02 May 2008

A visit to the sheep ranch.

It is sort of funny place to go. Once, a long time ago, it was a remote 500 acre sheep ranch, way up in the hills of Boonville, a little pit stop between Mendocino and Cloverdale and wine country. Old timey farmers and eccentric ranchers with their own language. Then wine started creeping in and the landscape changed. Pot growing hippies, the kind of artists who might have giant kilns and weld found objects and perhaps weave dream catchers. Wine tasting. There's a fairground and a taco wagon. A lot of migrant grape guys from Mexico. The guy cackling in front of the grocery store had on ropers and a buck knife and an alligator hide vest and big fluffy mustache.

The current sheep ranch owners came from the big city and converted a couple old ranch sheds into country-urban weekend rentals with giant panoramic views. And people come up from the big city up the long dirt road with their dogs and marvel at the nature of it all. Thanking the new owners with cash for letting city folks have some open space. The marveling is done inside decor that would be easy to architecturally digest if you were a lesbian patent attorney decorating your South of Market condoloft in 1998 with Ikea product. Can I just mention the colors goldenrod and eggplant and use of glass bricks? Whimsical art which may include a pastel drawing of a dog with nipples juggling fruit. Indeed. That and $190/per night is the price we pay to have a few days of nature for us and the dogs.

I am not even sure I am a big huge nature fan at all times. I can bring my computer and books and sleep in a bed at this nature, even though there are ticks. What I want to do is to spend long days walking around where I can't see people with my dogs running fast. And this place is where I can do that, even at the price of eggplant tiles and a huge bill at the end. You know when you are looking out the windows from the car at rolling oak hills and you wonder, what's it like to be up in those hills and live in them and walk around? That's the whole thing.

A pond. Massive old oak trees. Large moss covered stones. No one else. It's pretty simple and boring. We cover as much ground as we can. 550 acres is a lot of space. Up and down steep ridges on pig trails and into muddy ravines. Down a cliff to a river with a swimming hole. To the pond to throw sticks. I walk, the dogs run, and my husband can sleep and putter and drink and bike. We are simple folk.

I can hike with my dogs for hours. Ruby stays right at my heel at my pace, most of the time, the other 2, of freakish metabolisms, never stop running at top speed. Usually, right about when I'm thinking, My Dogs are so Good, is when the 2 non stop dogs take off down a hillside after something. Maybe jackrabbit or deer or pigs. Gustavo and Otterpop learned they can take out 2 turkey vultures and steal their dead prey, a neat trick for city dogs. Or when Ruby, who normally sticks like glue to my side, ran down to a ravine for a moment with the 2 wild dogs. Within seconds, I hear Ruby screaming horrible sounds, see Otterpop and Gustavo flush out a deer, and then here comes Ruby, dragging herself out of the brush, looking nearly dead. She stayed in her crate all day, and came out pretty ok but with sore ribs on one side, and never leaving my side again after that. Something happened in nature and I don't know what. As long as the giant birds that fly their menacing selves over us while we're walking don't pick up a small dog up in their claws, no one is bleeding too badly or limping too horribly, I'm pretty ok with it. They sleep some back at the house, then it's off and running again.

Timmy must be monitored at all times. It would be too easy for him to get lost and roll down a hill of high grass in nature. Our little house has about 4 fenced, steep acres of grass and oak trees around it. If he got out in the dark, we would never find him again. He is ok just sleeping most of the time and meandering near the house, on careful watch. I tranquilize him at night so he doesn't have panic attacks. He is happy to be out in the wind and grass. He can stand at the top of a hill and look across the blowing foxtails and flowers and remember back when he was a dog and this was where he was supposed to be.


Simba said...

It looks wonderful!


Double S said...


Anonymous said...

Capt TSD,
you have to stop making me cry.
my laptop keyboard can't handle it anymore. Just when I thought I had gotten thru the coffee-spewing-into-the-keyboard nature of your blog, now I gotta worry about the over-emotes!

thanks again,
good job

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sheep Dung Estates! I've had that in my favorites for awhile hoping I can treat myself and the mutts to a few days there sometime....
Also thanks for a fun blog. I think agility can be taken a bit too seriously... it's totally fun to be able to laugh about it. (I mean it really is a goofy and unique sport!)

Elf said...

Being among nature, even nature that does unexplained things to ruby, sounds so much more relaxing than going to another USDAA trial. But I'll do it* anyway because that's the kind of girl I am.

*unclear pronoun reference, I'm sure.


Anonymous said...

Let's not freak out Laura (do not split infinitives, Laura) with grammarizing. Sure it was unclear pronoun reference, grammatically-speaking, but it was perfectly clear that it referred to "relaxing in nature."

Elf said...

Well, that's your guess. :-) Plus she can split infinitives if she wants to cleverly do so.