Most days I feel like I live in a bustling metropolis, complete with traffic, shopping, nightlife and classy restaurants. But, lately there has been an influx of animal stories running in Valley News that reminds me, while the area offers me the opportunity to meet my every whim, we still live in a fairly rural area. From Disneyland goats to horse rescues to animals being used as a form a weed abatement, one just needs to stop and look around to see that the area we live in is full of diversity.
Every spring and fall near my house, a farmer brings in a herd of sheep, complete with shepherds and sheepdogs to keep the grass from growing too high over near the French Valley Airport. A couple of months back, I saw the same herd – or what I think was the same herd – grazing down by the Murrieta Triangle. This week, Staff Writer Tim O’Leary submitted a story on Temecula’s Meadowview tract swapping out golf for goats – and sheep as the case may be – and I was reminded of why I love living here so much.
You see, I was raised on a sheep farm in West Central Minnesota, Hawick (population 82 at the time) to be exact. When I was growing up, we had our obligatory herd of sheep, a few goats, lots of chickens, horses and every year we raised two pigs that my mother always named Petunia and Porky. Since we raised them as a food source, my father, sisters and I called them Ham and Bacon much to mom’s displeasure. As a matter of fact, the year we got two geese, Gertie and Gracie, we took our joking one step further and called them Christmas and Thanksgiving. My mom was mortified. Good times in the Olson household for sure.
Growing up on a farm taught me much about hard work and dedication. We were up with the sun and in some instances before it, feeding the animals, gathering eggs and turning the sheep loose to the “back 40” to graze. We cleaned the chicken coop, sheared sheep, baled hay and even butchered chickens a couple of times a year. So, seeing those animals grazing throughout the Temecula Valley and surrounding areas always brings back fond memories for me, reminding me that the area we live in has so much more to offer than shopping and dining.
The area here is rich in diversity, something I didn’t see much of growing up in a rural community. We have people of so many different ethnicities and backgrounds; we have blue collar, white collar and no collar types in our little slice of heaven and it all makes life so interesting to me to see everyone, from all backgrounds living together in harmony. Since leaving the farm in Minnesota 30 plus years ago, I have learned so much more about what this great big world has to offer and living here has only served to remind me of how wonderful of a place this is that I call home.
So while I love seeing all of the agriculture and livestock in the area and reliving the fond memories of my childhood on the farm, I wouldn’t trade my home in the valley for all of the goats in the world.