Back in the ’90s, when I was running my research project on how to use goats to build firebreaks to protect homes and people, the folks around me thought I was a little crazy. Even the two faculty members listed on the project didn’t take it seriously. Whenever I went to them with a goat health issue, their solution to the problem was always, “BBQ him.”
I had a lot to learn in a short time. How do I set up a solar electric fence or get water to the animals when there are no instructions? Is that doe having trouble kidding, and if she is, what do I do? Over and over, I wished for a mentor – someone I could go to with questions who would give me a boost of info to make life a little easier.
I guess I wished hard enough because a great mentor stepped up. Cole Evans ran the University farm where my goats spent winters. What made him so good at mentoring is that he showed me how to do things once and then sent me off to try it out. When I wasn’t sure, he reminded me that I did know what I was doing and he sent me out again. And when I wanted to do something unusual, like bring in a donkey as a guard animal, he didn’t tell me I was crazy, he just helped me hitch up the trailer, showed me how to use the mirrors to watch for traffic, and sent me off on my first ever drive pulling a trailer – right through Salt Lake City traffic.
Cole helped me ignore the naysayers by just helping me take the next steps. When I screwed up, he didn’t say, “I told you so.” He never yelled. We just talked about what I could do better next time, and I did it.
If you appreciate On Pasture, then Cole Evans is one of the people you should thank. Not only did he make me a better person, but he also taught me what people can accomplish when they have the support they need at just the time they need it.
That’s what we try to do for you at On Pasture – give you the information you need, when you need it, along with a community to back you up when you’re not sure you’re doing things right. We have experts in grazing and livestock management, in soil and pasture health, all sharing their hard-won experience and research.
Thanks for reading and for all that you do!