Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bucolic life but look closer and you'll discover...

"We lost twenty five chickens last night, we think it was a pack of coyotes."

This was the answer to the 3am hullabaloo involving the dog barking that I briefly heard.

And this was about the third sentence after "good morning, did you sleep well?" that was spoken by Natalie the morning after I stayed at her beautiful cottage in Fall River Mills, California. I found this cottage using airbnb.com, a personal favorite I resort to whenever possible.

The fact that Natalie was my host and yes indeed the chicken deaths were unfortunate, I felt like I had been part of the family for less than 24 hours while staying in their vintage cottage. The history was alluded to in the guest book when one person wrote "we enjoyed speaking with you to learn the history of your cottage." The building was constructed and used by Natalie's great great grandfather as his dentist office. Years later, a woman named Mott had lived their for 30 years and babysat all the children in the valley for which my host was one. Present day, this self-contained place is a spot for weary travelers like myself to seek refuge for a night or several instead of camping or the limited lodging options in that area.

So that morning when I woke up to go pack my motorcycle, I noticed two large dog paw prints on my motorcycle's seat. I offered that perhaps the dog had tried to ride my motorcycle and Natalie said the dog had run away after the chicken massacre at 3 a.m. At 9am, I headout down their dirt rode admiring both Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta in the distant horizons. I spied a lone chicken wandering around near the ditch looking confused and realized it was one of the lucky ones that got out without being attacked.

view from the kitchen at the end of the day
For the next few hours in the crisp morning air, I ruminated about the challenges of farm living that few people would be aware of if not experiencing it first hand. Through the unique situation of airbnb, I was able to have that short term inside look at a different kind of living that looks so picture perfect from the veneer of just driving by.

nearby Burney Falls State Park ~ worth a stop just for the waterfall!

inviting cottage with green grass in a fenced yard

view out to the cow pasture from the edge of the property

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