For those of you who don’t know, Central California is beautiful in February. By summer, all the green will have dried to a brown crisp, a regular fire hazard, but for now, the hills and mountains surrounding our valley look something akin to Si’s pictures from his trips to Ireland. I have been assured, however, that it is much warmer here.
When we were invited out to a friend’s family ranch in Lost Hills, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I’ve been under the weather for a while now, and I didn’t think I was in the mood. But by Sunday, I had improved a bit, and some fresh air and a change of scenery seemed in order…even if it did mean I’d have to man up and learn to shoot a shotgun.
Now, the trick in going to Lost Hills is to be able to find them, of course.
We drove along a road, fenced in from either side. The fences mostly keep cows in rather than keeping people out. I loved the directions we received: turn left in three miles, then left again when you see the yellow gate, then drive on the dirt road, turning left at the “T” and right at the “Y”. Just finding this place felt like an adventure.
As we neared the yellow gate, we found some of those missing hills.
It doesn’t rain much here, and as you can see, the tops of the hills don’t grow much to speak of.
The cows saw us coming.
Apparently, they are tended by men driving white trucks, so they were pretty excited to see our white Suburban. Everyone was thrilled to see the herd run past.
Our day started with gun safety training for everyone, even, or maybe especially, the little ones. We had to learn four rules:
- Always treat a gun as if it is loaded.
- Never point a gun at something you aren’t willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger outside the trigger guard.
- Know your target and what’s beyond it.
Then, we ate lunch. And then the little boys disappeared, not to be seen for a long time. When they returned, they were red in the face from conquering the ranch’s three steep hills, and ready for shooting lessons. We took a tour of the 80-plus acre ranch, which is primarily used for a shooting range. We hiked too far with six of the children. I, reluctantly, got those shotgun lessons over. And then a friend and I practiced archery. I feel a new hobby coming on. I instantly wanted to be Queen Lucy.
I want my own bow and arrows, Husband. Are you reading this?
While we shot our arrows into a target, a handful of little girls climbed the nearby incline. Here are a couple of them.
In all, a good day.
Going to a place like this reminds me how confined children are when they are locked inside suburbia.
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