The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Diana Frieling
contributing writer 

Same time this year

Windswept Ranch


March 27, 2021

Pat Doody

Camel kisses on opening day 2020.

Every year at this time as we prepare to open the ranch, I look back at how far we have come. Our first opening was a two day experiment and we were stunned by the turnout.

We tried it one more time and again, the people came. That is when friends got together and formed "The Animal Education Center at Windswept Ranch, Inc.", a nonprofit educational foundation, and things got real.

Volunteers got busy and built a picnic area. A playground was added and pens began to get facelifts. The ranch began opening every Saturday, April through October. That schedule, while it seems light, is work-filled every day. It's not just caring for the animals. There are constant repairs. The wind is not our friend. We are constantly moving sand and cleaning waters.

And, of course, we are adding animals. And that means new pens need to be built. In the past year, we have added three more fallow deer placed by California Fish and Wildlife, two camels, a big old Hereford bull I call Ferdinand because he just is, and a beautiful Watusi cow that was gifted to the ranch.

We are on baby watch right now. Earl the emu is sitting on ten eggs which should hatch any day now. Our new fallow girls are probably bred and will be giving us tiny spotted creatures and the reindeer will be bringing new life to the ranch. And of course, there are a few adorable lambs. It all says spring!

What better day to open than the day before Easter! Volunteers have planned special activities for the day including an Easter egg hunt. The hunt starts at 11:30 a.m. for children ages 3-5, 12:30 p.m. for children 6-9 and 2 p.m. for ages 10-14. There will be a photo op booth complete with the Easter bunny and lambs and a duck pond where for $1 you can pick a duck to win a prize.

These volunteers go above and beyond to make the ranch a magical place. They say they want me to have "my dream" but the dream is bigger than me and now belongs to all of them. Be sure to say "Thank You" when you meet our volunteers. I know I don't say it often enough.

And don't forget, first Saturdays will always have special events going on. (Follow us on Facebook to keep up.) As always, the last Saturday of every month we do camel rides.

All your old friends are still here eager to see you. Just imagine the greeting you will get when we open April 3! These critters wait all week for the opportunity to greet you and take a carrot as a treat. Come on out. You know you want to.


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