This article is featured in the Fall 2021 issue of LAND magazine. Click here to find out more.
The western way of life is a powerful and peaceful experience, especially in the Golden State.
The fabric of California is a diverse blend of cultures, ethnicities, upbringings, lifestyles and living areas. From bustling metropolitan cities to rural towns, the Golden State has something for everyone.
While the glitz and glitter of L.A. tends to attract the spotlight, the most satisfying—and sought after—lifestyle is one that’s lived out in the sprawling, spacious countryside. In fact, according to the Los Angeles Times, most Californians who moved in 2020 stayed in-state, with many trading city-life in for a more pastoral existence in a rural community.
In California’s varied countryside, the pastures are greener—or at least it seems that way. From waking up to the rooster’s morning tune as the glowing shades of sunrise color the eastern horizon, to feeding the animals and tending to the land, benefits of California’s western lifestyle are worth reaping.
While western living often includes a ranch and a variety of animals, it is so much more—it is a way of life that intermingles gratitude for nature’s bounty, respect for its hardships and vagaries, strength to overcome challenges and peace of mind from working to leave the world better than you found it.
Read on for our top tips for achieving the western lifestyle—authentic, rewarding and unmatched—in beautiful California.
Sustain a Balanced Ranch
Being a sustainable rancher can provide a variety of benefits: nutrient-dense food, higher quality of life and improved environmental management. Be aware though, maintaining a sustainable ranch is not as simple as it may appear.
Caring for livestock, improving the soil, managing grazing, harvesting crops, protecting waterways and optimizing energy efficiency requires a driven, dedicated visionary; a focused rancher who is able to balance these operations on a day-to-day basis and move the land toward long-term sustainability. Developing specific plans to achieve these goals is the best way to reap the benefits.
Planning should include a conservation plan, sustainability plan, habitat conservation plan and a strategy that outlines short- and long-term sustainability goals.
Committed private land stewardship can improve the land’s productivity and sustainability while providing immeasurable environmental benefits such as clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration. At the day’s end, a healthy ranch is an efficient ranch.
Find Your Escape in Ranch Recreations
California provides plentiful rural, recreational escapes. Those who embrace the western way play just as hard as they work and enjoy the rewards and happiness that the land has to offer. Between hunting, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, camping, kayaking, exploring by ATVs and so much more, it’s easy—and enjoyable—to immerse yourself in California’s legendary ranch lifestyle.
In California’s varied countryside, the pastures are greener—or at least it seems that way.”
While living the western way is not always easy, overcoming the challenges and adversity make the rewards that much sweeter. Finding peace and solitude in the ripples of a river or trekking through the hills and trees on horseback are just two of many ways to find your escape.
Adopt the Cowboy State-of-Mind
Californians (and those who want to be) cherish the intrigue of the western way. Adopting this lifestyle is a decision that extends beyond today and creates a legacy to be passed from generation to generation.
Little cowboys and cowgirls who, alongside their parents and grandparents, learn the ropes of ranch life as they help a heifer birth her first calf and nurture it through its life by the family’s collective sweat are changed forever—in the best ways imaginable. The western way is a lifelong journey shared between the land and its caretakers.
“I follow in the footsteps of my ancestors when it comes to sharing the love for the land, working with cattle and horses, and honoring a call to public service,” said Pete Clark, Corporate President and Real Estate Broker of Clark Company. “Sharing the benefits with my community is just one of many ways I enjoy the western lifestyle.”
While living in California and embracing the idyllic western lifestyle isn’t for everyone, it IS for those rare trailblazers who seek the priceless rewards of stewarding the land.
Clark Company began as a stage and cattle company in Ventura County in the 1890s. Five generations later, they specialize in ranch sales and land management in the western United States, engaging in ranch real estate since 1958. Find out more→ ClarkCompany.com