The Grass Is Greener in the East Bay

by Heddi Cundle / May 21, 2012 / 0 comments

Disco chicken


Disco chicken




As I turned 40 last year, I wanted to do something different and memorable: I wanted to work on a farm on my birthday. Friends thought I was nuts, I thought they were nuts and I was normal. We’ve still not agreed to disagree on this. So instead of declining my greatest wish to milk a cow, hug a goat and befriend a black sheep, my pal Amy took the burden of finding a Farm that would accommodate a bunch of female city slickers Steven Kopp from Silver Springs Ranch graciously answered Amy’s plea. He thought initially the request was a joke and 2011 version of Candid Camera would hit him between the eyes. Yep, Amy’s task (bigger than finding a farm to accommodate our needs) was trying to convince Steven that we wanted to hoof away with pigs & weren’t mucking around (pun intended). He finally agreed and on my birthday weekend, with a mild hangover from a Karaoke birthday celebration, we traipsed off 40 mins east towards Martinez and this incredible Ranch.

Driving through the country lanes, rolling fields that wins cinematography Oscars and hills that look like they’ve been gently painted (not by numbers) – we arrived at our destination. Steven, his wife Lisa and a mini crew greeted us at the door. I absolutely expected to be covered in mud by the time we arrived. My friend, Jenny, reminded me that they ‘don’t throw a bucket of dirt on you when you show up, just to get you acclimatized!’ With that said, we spent the next few hours doing the following: chasing the chickens (I called them disco chickens – hence their 70’s looking feather-style); cleaning out the hooves from the goats including clipping their hooves; bottle feeding calves (my profile pic shows one of the calves I fell in love with); putting Factor 50 lotion on the pigs (yes, pigs will cook if they’re not SPF protected) and generally schlepping bales of hay around to feed the animals. We fell over pigs, got stuck with pigs between our legs, got hit by goats, chased by chickens, licked all over our faces by calves and a few hours later, left happy, content, valued and quite filthy. I cannot believe we put suntan lotion on pigs – 14 months later and it’s still a bucket wish list item I categorically never thought would be a prime, pride-winner!

We kept in touch with Steven and Lisa over the past year (including Facebook friends) so a few weeks ago, on my 41st birthday, Steven invited me to come back and see the animals. Kristy and I got in her car and rode through the countryside. This was a 1st time for her and she adored the rolling hills and Little House on the Prairie style scenery. We had an incredible few hours with the amazingly gracious Steven & Lisa and left with duck & hen eggs of all colors (peach, white, blue) and sizes; honey from their bee nest (I actually drank it out the jar, it was that good and because I could!) and gorgeous meats.

So if you think that having a staycation for a day means an ordeal, where to go, what to do, dramas on planning thinking it’ll cost an arm/leg/other limb, then think again. What’s on your doorstep and within a 1 hour drive is completely worthwhile exploring. And hey, you could befriend a pig who, ironically, is called Kevin Bacon. I’m now convinced he’s related to myTab’s Kevin Bacon and one day, they’ll both unite and ham it up (couldn’t resist, don’t judge me!).  In the meantime, check out SilverSprings website ( because their products-for-sale are seriously a must-buy.