Work day at Pie Ranch (Saturday, 4/16)

Mucking in the barn

This Saturday was definitely the first time I got typecast as a mucker.

So my brother and I had taken a trip down the coast to volunteer at Pie Ranch’s work day. (Pie Ranch is this awesome working farm in Pescadero, California that does educational programs and sustainable farming practices. I know them through an association with my local pie shop, Mission Pie).

All that muck


We arrived at the ranch and signed our waivers. As we were walking up the hill, a man poked his head out of a barn and said, “Is one of you AJ?” Seems like they were looking for some helpers to de-muck the barn, and had ID’ed my brother (probably not me, standing 5’2″, no matter how much I’d like to think so) as a good asset. Funnily enough, my brother WWOOFed last summer, and had had a whole month of mucking experience in a farm in Italy. So someone chose wisely!

Using a pitchfork to break up a year’s worth of straw, goat pee, poo, and mud was hard work. I got this mini blister within half an hour, and one day later, I am SORE. But it was immensely gratifying to assist with loading up three tractor-loads full of muck.

After the muck, we walked around the property. It was a gorgeous spring day, and the farm is beautiful. Old buildings from the original farm in the 1800s are still standing, as well as mobile chicken coops, friendly goats, and one very pregnant heifer.

Dulce de Leche, preggers heifer

Later we moved on to weeding strawberry plants. Fact: my meticulous nature is not at all useful while weeding. My brother almost completed a whole row while I was still toiling at the beginning.


We skipped out on the post-work day potluck (because all we had brought that day were Luna bars), but peeked in for the barn dance, where families jigged to a live band.

A really special day.


Want more?

Learn about Pie Ranch, or look for a local farm in your area at Local Harvest.

Confused by a chicken