This Country Will Change You
Listen to our first audio story, featuring Dean Mcbroom. He's lived on the river for almost his entire life, and he talks about the way the rough country around him changes people, including their ethics about taking care of the land.
Audio Production and Photography by Avery Hellman
If you watched our short film , you probably know by now that our mule Fern was stolen by a herd of wild stallions. They came as the sun was setting over our campsite, and while the mustangs could fight them off, Fern wasn't so lucky.
I went back home for a week after losing Fern, without completing the trip I had planned. I was short one mule, and I returned to the river to look for her. With binoculars and a backpack, Dan (the film producer) and I wandered the hills looking around, but we couldn't spot her among the many horses all around.
I returned home again, somewhat defeated, but determined to bring Fern to safety before the freezing winter returned. Fortunately, my mom had the idea to bring flyers up to the river, and she posted them all around.
1 week before we had presented this short film, we got a call from a man who lived up on the river. He said he had grabbed Fern, but he had to let her go, because he had nowhere to bring her. We held out hope still that she would make it home before the winter.
3 days before we presented the short film, we got another call. It was from a man who worked at the electric company that produced power from the river dams. He said that he had been looking for her every day along the road to work. Finally, that day he had caught her, and put her in a round pen along the river.
We were overjoyed, and my mom and I drove 14 hours that day to bring her home. While she looked a bit worn, and she had parasites and a new scar on her foot, she was alright.
Fern currently lives happily at home in Petaluma, but she's a little bit harder to catch these days than she used to be.