WELCOME TO MENDOCINO. WE GOT YOUR MONEY, NOW GO HOME.
epilog of what has been happening since our decision to move the farm.....
are, as you probably already know, breeders of hookbills. We do all the hard,
hands on work that goes along with the science of birdkeeping, including writing
articles and working to support our flock. Between us we have over 70 years
of experience with birds.
We have been living quietly in the desert outside Scottsdale, Arizona, for 26
years. We had a valley that was 10 miles by 15 miles pretty much to ourselves,
and then the growth of the city began. Annexation was followed by subdivisions,
those by traffic, dust, noise, higher and higher water bills, and all the things
we had chosen not to live with. We decided to move. This would be our last move
ever, as the logistics of a large flock of parrots, cats, dogs, an art studio,
household goods and an art collection would mean at least a year of intensive
We searched in Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and
California for properties. We used the internet for the last 2 years, almost
daily, and sorted thru approximately 1500 property listings on line. Mailings
were sent to realtors who did not have Internet access, and trips were made
to preview those few properties that actually met our strict criteria for zoning,
water, soil types, and climate. Calls were made, and many many of them, to planning
and zoning departments, small town mayors, water companies, well drillers, and
chambers of commerce.. We finally found 4
parcels of interest in Mendocino, and thus narrowed the search.
We purchased a 26 acre parcel , and that deal fell thru, in November l998. Then
we were shown a 17 acre 'abandoned' farm property, zoned Agricultural, and it
was in the same valley as the one we had previously tried to buy property in.
Calls were again made to planning and zoning, in Fort Bragg, a Doug Zannini
and Woody Hudson. I gave them the parcel number, and they said it was indeed
an Agricultural parcel with a variance, as it is under 60 acres. Previously,
I had called them to purchase a Coastal Zoning Code Book (December l998) and
several other interim calls were made to obtain clarifications as to the rules
for animals on both Rural Residential and Agricultural properties. I sent my
rather unusual business cards to
the planning and zoning department here (as I had done elsewhere) and made them
aware of our website. I was told that we would fit best on an Ag property, and
so when we found this place, we fell in love the minute we stepped out of our
van to see it.
The house had been neglected for many years, as a rental, but was still sturdy
enough to do for a while until we could build a barn, and have some helper's
houses built. There is a 10 acre meadow that used to be 'hayed',and the topsoil
goes as far down as you care to dig. There is water here, lots of it, sweet
and pure. The entire property is surrounded by a wall of trees, and there is
a small meadow that slopes for an orchard, and a small section of woods. We
can see the waves break from the house, and have a great view of the Point Arena
We began negotiations in February, l999, and finally purchased the property
in late May. Early June l999 we started moving in. When we were unloading the
first trucks full of parrots and cages, there were 7 of us working for two weeks.
A foreman from the Turkey farm across the road drove his truck on to our farm,
up into the meadow, and parked next to the birds. Miguel Barba got out of his
truck, and told us that his boss "would tell us we have to move'", and then
he went back to his turkey barns, truck and all. Those of us that shook his
hand in "hello" immediately went to sterilize. We immediately put up a gate
to prevent further trespassing, and dismissed him and his message. I also had
a visitor at our gate, one Walt Stornetta,
who seemed friendly enough at the time; he asked about my birds, and I explained
who we were, that we maintained a 'closed facility', and were among the top
breeders of parrots in the world. He left my gate with a "God Bless America"
and off he went.
When that load of parrots was properly housed, one person was left at the new
farm to care for them, while Geoffrey and I went back to Phoenix for another
On the 17th of June, I received a call (in Phoenix) on the speakerphone from
a Scott Winchell, a foreman for Nicholas Turkey Farms, and his message was blunt
: " you have to move". I felt threatened at that point, and to say I did not
like his attitude was an understatement. He also told me that I knew nothing
about turkeys or poultry, and I told him why didn't he just stay on his side
of the road and we would stay on ours. End of conversation. One of my dogs had
gone down the road earlier, and he followed that 'almost trespassed' situation
with a letter to us, via Fed Ex, here it is. Read into it what you will.....