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In the most recent issue of Everywhere (a wonderful community-made travel magazine) I contributed a list of must-visit but oft-overlooked places in and near Tarzana, CA in the San Fernando Valley.
My list included a ramshackle petting zoo called The Farm, the high school stoner den called Vanalden Cave, a retired Nike missile launch site, an old-school health food market and cafe called Follow Your Heart, and the Red Barn Feed & Saddlery.
I rode my bike to the Red Barn Feed & Saddlery yesterday to load up on (ultra-low carb) cat food and (high carb) guinea pig food. My kids usually come with me, because we can visit the baby chicks for sale, fill up bags of popcorn from the popcorn wagon, and sit in plastic chairs in the parking lot under a shade tree and drink soda pop.
The owners broadcast patriotic marching band victory music over the sound system, and the walls of the barn are covered with framed front pages of newspapers with World War II major event stories. The row of signed celebrity photos includes Lt. Uhura wearing her red uniform and several cowboy actors.
The last time I was there with my kids, an older man with a lapdog sat with us. When it came time to leave, I looked for the trash can for the bottles and popcorn bags, but he told us to leave them on the ground. "They'll pick 'em up!" He was insistent on that point, so I shrugged and set them on the ground. I don't know if he worked there.