Why My Animals "Live on Dirt"
I have had some comments on social media posts lately asking why my animals "live on dirt". Some people may not realize it but farming doesn't look the same in Central California as it looks in Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Guam (all places I have lived) or a lot of other places.
I live in the Central Valley of California. This is where most of the food in the country is grown, all watered by a huge irrigation system. Back when we first moved here (I'm from Tennessee and my husband is from Maryland) it used to rain only in the winter. We had two seasons. Dirt and Mud. But for about a decade we have been in a severe drought. We get almost no rain and very little snowfall. The snow is what our irrigation systems run on. We have been in such a severe drought for so long that wells are drying up, mature trees are dying and farms are closing. New housing developments are not even allowed to put in lawns in some areas. Only rock gardens and drought tolerant plants. Or fake grass. In some areas entire towns have dried up. On our farm alone we have lost 30-40 mature trees. They just died and fell down or had to be cut down. Almost all of my neighbors and friends have had to put in new wells, because their wells dried up. We are just waiting for it to be our turn.
So why do my animals "live on dirt"? Because there's no water to make grass grow. There's no rain and not enough water to irrigate such luxuries as grass. Even our small lawn struggles to make it. I buy every bite my horses and goats eat, in the form of alfalfa and other hay. This costs me over $2000 a month and it's getting harder and harder to even find hay, much less afford it. Farmers are growing other, more profitable crops instead.
I love grass, rain and trees. Unfortunately those are luxuries I can't have, at least not enough of. So why do I stay in such an ugly, brown dust bowl, you ask? My family. My husband served 40 years in the Navy. We had 6 kids during that career and we spent the last part of his tour here, in the dust bowl. And our children grew up, settled down, got married and had kids. We now have 12 grandkids and they all live in California. We did move back east for a time. Bought a farm in Virginia, where we had all the grass, rain and trees we wanted. But we left half of our family here, in the dust bowl. And with it we left our hearts. So we moved back here. We gave up our 12 acres of green grass in Virginia and willingly moved to the ugliest place on earth. Because though we love grass, trees and rain, we love our family more. And they make this ugly place the real "happiest place on earth".
Hi I'm Kim. I have been an avid animal lover all my life but goats and dogs are my favorites so I built a business around them, breeding registered Mini Nubian & Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats and MSCA registered Maremma Sheepdogs. I love sharing my passion and knowledge of these amazing creatures with others.