Who or What is WMH Cheryl ?
WMH simply stands for WindMill Hills. Windmill Hills Cheryl was my nickname on the Bay Area Equestrian Network (Bayequest.com). I originally started posting in the late 90’s as Windmill Arabians but soon found out that there were other Windmill Arabians out there. It was almost as popular as Pepper Tree Ranch which there were a few in my one town alone, LOL. So I changed my nickname and ranch name to Windmill Hills Arabians. Later when I started breeding sport ponies (Arabian X Welsh) I dropped the Arabians and just referred to myself as Windmill Hills. When I started going a bit crazy with rescuing horses and other animals I added “Misfits” for awhile to the Windmill Hills. Are you confused yet? Well so was everyone else so for the last 15 or so years it has just been Windmill Hills Cheryl and my internet friends shortened that to WMH Cheryl or occasionally WMHC (but that became associated with Women Men Haters Club so no more using those initials, LOL). I avoided Facebook for all these years, but after being told I HAD to get on Facebook if I wanted to start a blog, I obviously signed up as WMH Cheryl as 99% of my friends only know me by that name. You can also find my blog Facebook page at Off Grid Homestead Prepper.
My Life Story……
My dream had always been to become a veterinarian. I did the recommended pre-vet type of things in highschool like volunteering at vet hospitals. I even got a job as a lab technician in the Biomed department at a national laboratory with a security clearance. I was often mistakened for a grad student since I taught visiting world scholars the DNA extraction techniques we were using on Muntjac deer DNA.
I was admitted to the University of California at Davis as pre-vet in the Animal Science Department. Alas I received the first C of my life my freshman year in Woman’s Studies of all things. Feeling that my vet school chances had died due to the overly competitive nature of getting into the UC Davis vet school, I signed up to attend their Army ROTC Basic Camp that summer. To make a long story short, I won an Army scholarship that changed my life.
Upon graduation I entered Active Duty as a Military Police 2LT. I was blessed with awesome assignments and deployments world wide. I was a senior Captain after the first Desert Storm and was assigned to DC. Lets just say my eyes were opened and being assigned to the then newly elected President Clinton’s Inaugural Committee I decided to resign from active duty and return to California. I still played Army in the Reserves, but I no longer had aspirations of making General and “fixing” things.
This was the start of my “prepping” bug. Of course back in those days the term Prepper wasn’t used. Survivalist wasn’t even common. Being back in California it made sense to prep for earthquakes since I had been in San Francisco during the big 1989 quake. We were at the UCSF medical center ICU waiting room when it happened (I was on emergency leave from Germany at the time). Thankfully the hospital withstood it pretty well and the ICU got emergency power up quickly. We were able to run an extension cord to the TV and see all the shocking news coverage of the fires and freeway collapses, etc. My brother and his wife had left the hospital before the quake and it was a couple of days before we could get through on the phones to find out they had made it past the freeway collapses before the quake hit. We ended up stuck in San Francisco for a few days since the parking garage had partially collapsed and they wouldn’t let anyone near it until it was cleared. Thankfully our car was fine, we just couldn’t use it and were stuck in San Francisco. We were very lucky to have been at a hospital ICU with power and food available.
So obviously earthquakes are a mandatory thing all Californians need to prepare for. We had those large trashcans on wheels filled with emergency items, emergency kits in our cars, stocked pantry, etc. I still didn’t feel safe. I don’t like crowds and my hometown had tripled in size while I was away at college and on active duty. Plus now I had all that military experience with concerns about NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) threats. Having been deployed to third world countries also opened my eyes to the wastefulness of the USA and how the vast majority of people can’t take care of themselves. I needed to get out of the city.
I went looking for a ranch that would still be close enough to the Bay Area for my job, but away from people. The search was quite depressing. I wasn’t rich enough to buy a nice ranch in the greater Bay Area and the affordable ranches were too far of a commute to my job in Oakland. So I had to settle for raw land where I planned to build my dream ranch over the next year. I am laughing hysterically at that statement since it has been over 17 years since buying the land and I am nowhere near to having my dream ranch. That is because dreams change, finances and relationships change, and life just plain gets in the way.
Hopefully through this blog I can relate some of the hard lessons learned so that others may learn from them and just might not make all the same mistakes I made.