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Musings on Dreams Come True

September 10, 2015

Just insert horses 
(Old painting by Calli - she must have had the same dream.) Just insert horses
(Old painting by Calli - she must have had the same dream.)
(click to enlarge)

When I was young, I wanted to be a horse; if not that, I wanted to live close to them. Back then, I envisioned myself living in a tiny cabin (of course with all amenities, like toilets, running water, television and sugar cookies from Schupps Bakery1) nestled in a flowery meadow, far away on a mountainside beneath snow capped peaks. In my private little heath, wild horses would rear gloriously, frolic amongst the daisies and produce precious foals. I would be the only human they ever allowed to touch them. Life would be filled with sunsets, rainbows, gently swirling snow and always - softly nickering and whinnying horses nearby.

Flash forward seventy years… it's three months now I've been living with a herd of horses, but my situation is surely not a dream come true - as wonderful as this ranch is. Diamond K, a six acre ranch where I find myself on these 105 degree days, is home to thirty odd equines. Each one of them is loved and pampered by a "cowgirl" type. These women, I know, are quite lovely away from the stable; but here they are in dusty shirts, dirty jeans and manure caked boots. Smiling and yelling commands, they lunge their horses standing in the round pen while dust swirls onto their faces and into their mouths. Tan! Everybody in spite of their efforts is browned like butter. There's been no rain to speak of for several years now. The blowing dust particles are unending as is the blazing sun and strong "Delta Breeze." I care to not contemplate just what I am breathing in.

My childhood dream of horses in a Thomas Kinkadesque meadow died a thousand years ago. I now find myself obsessed with the minutia of life around me; here on the ranch is no exception. I have become a devoted tourist in the two square miles I live in. Every chicken, every cheesemaking goat, every bird, and nasty dog is to be observed with awe and catalogued.

The early morning wake up call is provided by the kicking of a few of the younger horses, while the grown-ups stand patiently in their paddocks waiting for ranch hand, Tim, of the body beautiful, to bring them their morning hay flakes. Finally, in the distance, they hear the motor of his Kabota start and as if controlled by a single mind, they turn silently and enter their stalls to wait for him to throw breakfast at their feet. The horses are silent in their stalls but I hear Tim gently greeting each one as he tosses them their breakfast.

Of course the twenty or thirty roosters that live nearby continue cock-a-doodling for another hour. And of course, no one can sleep through the braying of the donkeys and burros. The Swainson's Hawks, one of the few remaining predators in this drought stricken area, arrive early and their angry baby cries fill the air as they glide and hover over the fields. Hopefully, they search for one of the several million ground squirrels that are undermining the land. The little rodents are everywhere digging their mazes of tunnels beneath the earth… Hidden under this agricultural and equine hot bed, I picture miniature catacombs like Rome - the tunnels and passageways lined with tiny little martyred rodent skulls.

Once again, I have not heard the cars of the bean pickers as they pass us in the pre-dawn hours on their way to the bean field a quarter of a mile away.

Hi-fashion on the ranch. Hi-fashion on the ranch.
(click to enlarge)

6:30 AM: No more sleep, the dogs are milling about and making little moaning sounds. Time for the big walk. The big walk must be early, while it is still cool. By mid-day, the temperatures are hovering just below 100 degrees and late in the afternoon they often climb over 105 degrees.

Out of bed and into the bathroom - I conclude my business which sadly means looking in the mirror while I apply tons of sunscreen. It's too late for the thousand little freckles, bumps, and ominous spots that appear on me every few months. In the mirror, as so many of us do, I find my mother looking back at me with horror, "Child," I hear her say, "How did you ever get so old. You should have taken better care of yourself and what on earth are you wearing."

"Gotta go, mom, see you tomorrow." (I miss you, Mom.)

Dogs leashed, a quick good-morning to Griselda (Is this 23 year old, matted cat real or is it Elaine Paige?) and we head for The Bean Field or should I say The Bionic Bean Field. No early morning mist or dew, the sun is preparing to cook the animals and crisp the grass for another scorching day here in the Delta of the Sacramento River. It's late summer now, and about 2 dozen pickers have been working this field since early May.

Over, and over they rotate through the sequentially planted rows of formerly string, now stringless bush beans. The beans just keep coming. Leaves in some sections of the field are brown and dead, but the pods are still creating themselves from the burnt earth. The field was planted over a period of a few weeks back in April, and the pickers harvest across the maturing rows of beans and then start  all over again with the oldest bushes. They are on their third or fourth pass through now.

7:10 AM: I arrive at the edge of the bean field and begin the over 2 mile walk around it. The pickers have already been at work for hours. At the far end of the field the irrigation system is drenching the rows and turning the surrounding area into a sea of mud. Sully trots ahead to walk in the irrigation ditch while Harry prefers to walk in a nearby manure field -  adding his deposit to the ever growing pile.

30 miles from San Francisco, but I might as well be on the moon. I have found my "attractions" in this little piece of earth and am devoted to them. The foxes that I see creeping across the pasture away me, the friggin ground squirrels whose holes are placed in such a way that I will surely break my ankle some morning, good birds, the best being the Western Kingbird (I had to re-read the ultimate 70's road trip book [for me], Kingbird Highway), and of course horses. Probably 200 living along my pathway.

Maybe being here is a dream come true…beautiful land and sunsets, kind, generous people and real horses - funny, lovable and loving nuzzlers that they are.

Remember what you dream.

1 In 1985, after more than 40 years in Chevy Chase, Schupp's Bakery closed. I still miss it.

Oh how great What a treat to see and read your DK Journal. I think that you both are a permanent part of the ranch.

Always a home for you,

I had dreams too, but none came true. You are lucky....


Love your adventures. Isn't it great--we are not getting older, but living longer!


Lovely. I could even smell the hay and the manure, even the dust. I (Bob) lived on a farm for a few of my early, early years - like 2 through 5. All our best wishes!

Bob and Jimmy

Love your stories. You are not that far from our daughter who lives in Brooks, CA, outside of Sacramento and Woodland. I think you all would enjoy meeting each other. She has a 103 acre ranch and raises all sorts of animals.

Carmen L

Fantastic ! I loved it ! Frankly, I needed this because it brought a much needed calm. Maybe I can dodge a heart attack after all. Good job, Peggy!

Mom/Anne Pobiak

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