Closed – but not forever
March 16, 2019
Last year our open houses were better attended than any year since we opened! Almost twice as many folks came out to meet our critters and we are so grateful.
So why are we closing? The answer is complicated:
We have struggled with getting volunteers for the past two years. The open houses are run by the nonprofit which relies on volunteers and last year, it came down to three or four people to manage the open houses; that includes everything from cleaning and prep to leading tours. We were all stretched pretty thin.
Without adequate staff, there is a great deal of liability. We need to know where folks are at all times for their safety and for that of our animals. Three or four volunteers is simply not enough.
Couple that with the fact that we sustained some heavy wind damage last year that we are still recovering from and factor in this year's rains which have created deep gullies throughout the property and frankly, we are a mess. We have been slowly putting things back together, but the night of March 12, the winds came back and most of our efforts were blown apart.
This isn't forever. This isn't good-bye. This is "See you next year." We will devote this year to rebuilding. We will add features to the ranch to make it even better. We will make plans to make next year the best year ever here at Windswept Ranch.
We still need volunteers. We still need folks to help with cleaning, building, repairing, grooming, walking or just reading to our animals. The animals are enriched by our volunteers and I believe the volunteers are enriched as well. To volunteer, call (661) 809-3965.
I realize this is a disappointment for many. We will miss seeing our regular visitors and meeting new guests. We will continue to serve our community by opening for field trips by appointment.
On top of all the work ahead of us as we recover is the fact that we suffered a couple of catastrophic losses that I am still not able to talk about without crying. I think we all need time to process and recover.
And I need time! I need to reconnect with my animals, to take the time to just be with them. I have two older animals that have been with me over 20 years that are in failing health. This year will be about them. No more rushing. No more putting things off so we can be ready for guests. This year, my house will be a bit dirtier. The paint will peel a bit more. My time will be spent with these two critters during their final days here on earth. I will brush them. I will walk with them. I will sit and read to them. I will give them the time I have been giving to the open houses. And I will make their last days as special as they have made mine over the years.
We look forward to seeing you in 2020.