BROWNS VALLEY, CA - It was not something a Browns Valley resident had expected to see.
"I first noticed it a week ago and I think I almost got in a car accident," said the woman, who wants to remain unidentified. "I did a double take. I'd never seen anything like it before."
What she saw was the head of a steer sitting on a fence. She had seen displays of cow or steer skulls before, but the problem with this one was that it hadn't quite gotten to the skull stage yet.
"I've seen skeletons before, but not something that looked like it was just alive," the woman said. "It was really disturbing to see it displayed like that."
The ranch owner, however, said it's just part of the rural lifestyle out in Browns Valley and what "cattlemen do."
If you go to the "e-how" website, you'll find detailed instructions on how to clean a cow skull. It's a pretty complicated process and at the bottom of the page there's a paragraph that suggests if you don't want to go to all that trouble, you can always just leave the skull out in the sun and let the bugs do the work.
That's what the ranch owner is doing here. In fact, once the skull is ready, it is going to be painted and turned into a piece of decorative artwork.
The woman is still disturbed by the sight.
"I don't want to see that," she said, "I love animals, so to see something like that is not very good."
Customers at the nearby Karen Kuts Salon, however, agreed that out in the country, such sights are not really all that rare.
By Jonathan Mumm, firstname.lastname@example.org