Fall was absolutely stunning in Northern California. From the color of the leaves to the flow of the river, our first winter crept up on us and we learned a lot! We came from Southern California's toasty gem, Ojai. It rarely rained and if it did, the earth soaked it up in dehydrated desperation. Not the case up in Gold Country. In addition, our first winter was a record breaking, havoc wreaking, frenzy for the area. Rivers swelled and surged, many parts of the community experienced flooding, and major city infrastructures were compromised such as the Oroville Dam (spillway) and Highway 50. It was intense but we took it in stride and we were able to experience the sense of community that we had become a part of. Our friends, the Olesen Family, let us borrow their generator to have on hand for the season. A sense of comfort as it rests on the porch ready to take care of us at a moments notice.
The sanctuary property is nestled in the hills, out of harm's way with regards to any serious flooding. While the ground was saturated and mucky the animals were kept dry and bellies full. With the help of the Sanctuary Support Team contributions, we were able to build a large shelter in the main pasture. The shelter kept everyone dry and out of the wind. Some small animals were moved into the house or the garage to make sure everyone was well cared for.
We learned the nature of our property during major storms, what enclosures needed to be improved, carving drainage, and best practices for feeding and cleaning in the rain. Some days it was exhausting and there are no handouts for sick days. One of our volunteers, Sue, shows up rain or shine to give the grooming and cleaning routine her best. A fabulous and dedicated friend of The Ranch!
While there was a lot of work, we didn't miss out on play! The animals loved the snow, especially the equines. The herd played chase and frolicked across the hillside!
Another unruly rain storm just passed and we are hoping that the weather subsides as we scramble to clean up and dry out before the next hit. Not to worry though, being this far into the storm season we have settled into a more confident role. We have completed our first year with worn out muck boots, broken in work gloves, and the mud on our faces worn with pride as we can now truly call ourselves mountain ranchers!
We had a successful first year in our new home. We look forward to the adventures of 2017 and appreciate our supporters for getting us this far!