I have always loved camels. Ever since I was a little girl on a trip with my family up the winding California coast to Solvang and it took me an hour to pick out a plastic animal to take home as a souvenir. From farm animals, elephants, giraffe ... you name it; I took home the camel.
While at Moorpark College in 1980-82, I had the chance to work with one big female camel. She was a movie star and resident of the Exotic Animal Training and Management program. I loved being around her... even just to rake up her enclosure.
After school I moved on to performing bird and animal shows and pretty much figured my life experiences with camels had come to an end.
That was until I met Gil. A chance meeting eleven years ago, led to a friendship, a long distance relationship until we married in 2004. When Gil and I first met, I was definitely charmed more by him and his ease with my performing birds than I was with his four, unruly baby camels! But getting to spend time with Gil training them, walking them, grooming them; I remembered what I loved about that gentle giant of a camel I had been friends with at school.
I never thought at 47 that I would be here: living in an upstairs apartment over a converted barn, making soap in the kitchen while looking out the window at eighteen beautiful camels of all ages and sizes. Nor did I ever imagine I would be out in a corral in the middle of the night alone while a mother camel gave birth to her wiggly, squiggly calf right into my arms
We rarely seem to slow down or take much of a break between running the dairy, milking, soap making, caring for the animals which also includes donkeys, horses, sheep, pig, parrots and racing turkeys (you heard me..) When we aren't here at the dairy we are traveling throughout the West with my performing bird show or our Wild West Turkey Stampede racing turkey show. I will be the first to admit that this is not a glamorous or ginormously money-making career but I can say with certainty that I am rich in the ways that truly matter and I live just the greatest life.