Since our last newsletter, I’ve had the chance to see most of you guys a time or two, with the exception of the New Zealand crew. I’m looking forward to getting back down there in October, when spring will be in full swing.
My summer travels have taken me to lots of country, including Montana and South Dakota, where the Bozeman crew (plus Zach and Tony) and I enjoyed seeing our on-the-ground crews in their element in June, working hard and making things happen. All you guys are relatively new to your respective operations, and while you’re all riding the learning curves associated with new roles in new country, it was reassuring and gratifying to see that you’re all up to the task. I look forward very much to seeing you guys soon at the Cinch Buckle Rendezvous.
Not long after our Northern Great Plains circle, Zach, Tony, and I headed to New York for a Grasslands board meeting with John, Larry, and Caroline. We met at an unusual site for a bunch of cowboys—the Won Dharma Center, near Claverack, NY, which is a meditation retreat run by a group of Korean Buddhist monks. It was actually a pretty nice place for a meeting (although beef was nowhere to be found on the menu!), and it’s adjacent to a new farm that Larry recently purchased—hence the reason for picking that location.
From there, Zach, Tony, and I headed straight to Fort Myers, FL, where we jumped in our rental car and headed out to visit the recently arrived Goddards (and Rowdy) at the Blue Head. Tony and Zach hadn’t been there yet. The heat, humidity, brush, palmettos, and exotic wildlife of south Florida are no longer abstract concepts for those guys—they’ve seen and felt them at the cellular level and now appreciate the challenges and opportunities we’re facing in that new and novel environment.
In late July I headed to Europe with the whole family. My oldest daughter Savanna was invited to participate in a summer ballet intensive in Hungary, so we decided to make a family vacation out of it. While Savanna was dancing, Daniela, Mia, and I rented a car and drove through much of Austria and western Hungary. We got to see the rich Hungarian Plain (the villages and fields of which were amazingly similar to the Pampas of Argentina), in addition to the incredible cities of Budapest, Vienna, and Salzburg.
We spent a good part of our trip in a tiny village nestled in the Austrian Alps (called Gosau), where we settled into our “guest house” and did our best to do a little work, Skypeing and emailing with our teams around the world. I also climbed some of the adjacent mountains, and it was highly interesting to hike and run through a landscape that has been inhabited by Europeans for thousands of years. Humans were using every bit of country, and it was beautiful and bountiful and thriving. The forests, dominated by several species of spruce and fir (reminiscent of high country Colorado), were being actively harvested, but it was being selectively logged on probably a multi-decade cycle. The forest was relatively open and stunningly beautiful, with incredible biodiversity in its understory, and lots of age diversity among the trees, including some massive old growth that had been there a long, long time. Much of the logs looked to be locally milled and utilized in local construction projects. The alpine pastures I ran through were stocked with Simmental and Pinzgauer cattle, complete with cowbells and herders. Down in the Gosau Valley, the locals were frenetically making hay with little tractors and rakes and loose stacking it all in ventilated wooden sheds. These hayfields were awesomely diverse with both grasses and forbs, almost all of which were the same species our European forebears transported to the Americas and New Zealand and now dominate our irrigated hayfields in the West, productive meadows in the East, and throughout all of NZ. It was neat to see them in their native landscape, with the native humans still making their living from them. Every bit of hayable area was being harvested, including the “lawn” right in front of our hostel.
The day after we returned back to Colorado, I took off for Hana, where we got a lot done with Tyler and his crew. On my last day there, I got to experience some of the stormy weather Tyler writes about below, which was probably the most intensely pounding and persistent and prodigious precipitation I’ve ever experienced. After my redeye back to Denver, we immediately began the process of moving into our new house, about 5 miles north of Boulder, which is where I now sit, in my new second story office space, gazing at the spruce and pines and peaks of the Rocky Mountain Front.
Near the village of Gosau, with the Dachstein Mountains in the distance
The idyllic, ancient village of Gosau, deep in the Austrian Alps
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!