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Saturdays at the ranch

Windswept Ranch

Saturdays at the ranch begin with total chaos. In addition to our regular chores, we go to special lengths to make sure everything is super clean so our visitors have a great time.

We begin at 7:30 a.m. by making sure all the animals have clean water and that hoses are rolled up and out of the way. While the beet pulp is soaking, we begin the task of cleaning pens and pathways. Depending on what the wind has done, this can be easy, or challenging.

By 9 a.m., most of the pens are ready and it is time to cut carrots, hang signs and feed all of our special feeds. These include pellets for the deer and beet pulp and hay pellets for most of the equine along with supplements to the older horses.

And now, it is 9:45 a.m. Time to put out the banners so people can find us. And the chaos ends and we wait for our first guest.

Generally speaking, tours take 45 minutes to an hour. Invariably, at the end of the tour, guests settle into the picnic area. And this is my favorite part: Strangers become friends talking about the animals, the weather, and always, the views.

Most visitors say this is the perfect place to come to forget about the rest of the world and just relax. And so, they stay, visiting and relaxing, some for hours until the kids are tired and ready to go.

I have met some amazing people on Saturdays. Last weekend, a woman from Iran visited. She had come to Rosamond from Marina Del Rey for the “Festival of the Lanterns” and decided to make a day of it by spending time at the ranch. We talked camels and culture. I learned a lot about her country and hope she will come back and share more of her life with me.

That is what the ranch is all about: Sharing. Someone told me I was selfish having all these animals and not sharing, so now, every Saturday, I share along with some incredible volunteers. We try to give people an interactive experience while teaching them a bit about the animals they meet.

When volunteers start here, they all say, “You have all the good stories.” I tell them they will end up with their own stories with time, and they do. Each volunteer has a favorite animal, and that makes each tour unique. One tour, you may spend more time with Zoe and Zuri, our beautiful zebra, and the next time, you may not get past Valentine, our bison. And at least one of our guides will make sure you meet every camel. It just depends on your tour guide.

And there will be stories. Some of the stories will be about how the animals came to be at the ranch, like the emu or the bison. Some will be about a great escape, like the day the yak got out and we spent the day rounding them up. And, from time to time, there will be stories of animals who are no longer with us. But you can count on stories.

So come on out to the ranch and make some stories of your own. We open every Saturday, April through October from 10 to 4 p.m. And if you think teaching and sharing and storytelling would be fun for you, talk to us about volunteering. Every volunteer adds so much to Windswept. Either way, we look forward to seeing you on Saturday.