The Best Day of Your Life- Understanding your Core Values

Reading Holistic Management theory can be pretty boring. Boring means we yawn and don’t engage. Maybe that is why so few people that have gone through the Holistic Management courses actually practice Holistic Management. If we don’t get past the theory and bring it alive and meaningful to our life, it just doesn’t work.

How can we make our quality of life statement meaningful? I spent one of the best days of my life with my Uncle Tom. He provided the reality check in a way only a rebel could. Here is that story…

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Bullies with Guns vs. Nurturing the Desire to Aspire

We have two more mass killings fading into history without any meaningful action. Shootings are extreme symptoms of some imbalance. The root cause of that imbalance costs our communities more than we know.

It seems commonsensical that prudent background checks and access to military assault weapons need to be addressed. Beyond that, what is amiss in our community?

I think being more conscious of guiding those experiencing typical growing pains could better support our next generations to make empowered decisions at the soil surface. That begins with having an intolerance for bullies and nurturing the desire to aspire.

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We Have Data. Where’s Yours?

Daily blatant lying has become the norm. Letting lies lie can be dangerous if left to become a false reality. This can be particularly damaging when making decisions at the soil surface.

My neighbor in Wyoming pointed out this tendency to me years ago. Clyde told me that when something happens, it seems so significant that we can’t imagine ever forgetting. Yet, time has a tendency to warp our memory to shade the event in more dramatic or rosy hues. Monitoring can clear the lens of our perception.

After my first Holistic Management training, I came home with a new awareness of ecosystem function. I became certain that our water cycle was dragging down our ranch’s land health. After establishing permanent trend and condition transects, it became obvious that the mineral cycle was the most dysfunctional part of our landscape.

As old-time holistic manager, Greg Simonds famously said, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” This seems obvious but more importantly we need data to interrupt confirmation bias, develop a line of discussion for the uninformed, prepare a check and balance for the mis-informed, and establish a line of defense for the bullies. These characters may even be us.

A changing planet brings more scrutiny to land managers’ results. Many complex indicators weave an ecosystems tapestry beneath our feet and we cannot expect to make solid management decisions without knowing a site’s stability and/or trend. The question is not whether we should monitor our ecosystem health but how best to establish a baseline and monitor our context over time.

We have data, where’s yours?

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Skipped A Beat


For the past two years, I have been dealing with a nasty hip pain. I worked hard in physical therapy and exercise to heal without surgery. I learned that sometimes we just need to sleep in the bed we made for ourselves.

The Holistic Management decision-making process begins where we are, no matter what state that may be. We start with the state of our lands ecological health, today. We begin with the state of our bank account, today. We begin with the relationships we have with our family, our crew, and our community, today. We begin with the state of our infrastructure on our ranch and in our community, today.

This blog uses my hip pain to demonstrate how we use our holistic context on a daily basis. Every morning we wake up to the reality of our being. Every day our starting point begins here. Acknowledging the truth of our reality defines our ability to move toward our desired quality of life. Every decision we make begins by acknowledging truthfully, where we are, now, and continues with how we are going to get to create our future resource base necessary to achieve our desired future.


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Don't Fence Me In

The American Prairie Reserve and Wild Sky Beef are adding diversity and complexity to the Northern Great Plains. They are looking to free up the movement of animals, increase plant diversity, and be more tolerant of predators. They have the means to incentivize their neighbor ranchers toward this end. I recently was invited to be on a panel at their Living with Wildlife conference and I dropped the ball. This blog is about the message I wish I would have conveyed.

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