Tuesday, July 16, 2024
HomeNotes From KathyMy Guiding Principles

My Guiding Principles

I like principles because they’re easy to remember when suddenly faced with a challenge or problem. For graziers, there are soil health principles, plant growth principles, and more – all valuable tools. But probably the most important of all are our personal principles. We all have them, but we don’t always articulate them. I think that makes them harder to keep in mind when tough times arrive, so I’ve written mine down. Here are some of them. I share them as they might be helpful as you consider your own.

If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.

Maybe your Dad told you this too. If not, I’m certain you’ve heard it a time or two. You may even have repeated it to yourself after making a purchase that didn’t turn out as hoped.

This principle is one of the reasons that On Pasture exists. I noticed how many opportunities there are for a farmer or rancher to buy something that over-promises and under-delivers. So I’ve worked hard to identify some of those things and point them out. I made it my job to help you save time and money.

Go ahead and try. If it doesn’t work out we can bury it in the backyard.

Back in the early days of parents’ marriage, when money was hard to come by, Mom decided to make a sofa for our rec room. It wasn’t going well and she was feeling stressed about having spent money on something that wasn’t going to work out. Dad told her, “Keep on trying. It’s OK. If it doesn’t work out we can always bury it in the backyard!”

That became our family mantra whenever we were looking at something new. It freed us up to take some risks, and so far, 60 some years later, we haven’t buried anything in the backyard. It’s what has made it possible for me to think and also step outside the box, like deciding that I could actually start up and run a successful, online grazing magazine. Without this family principle, On Pasture wouldn’t exist.

(By the way, my Mom finished the sofa, it looked great, and we used it for years.)

Be helpful. Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

I’m the tall person that reaches for things on the top shelf for shorter shoppers. If you write me a letter to ask for money or help, I’m hard pressed to say no. I feel responsible for doing good and making a difference in my community. It’s driven me my entire life. It’s why, when I retired, I didn’t just shut On Pasture down and turned it into a free library instead. If it’s helpful to you I’d love your support to cover its maintenance costs.

Make it beautiful.

Whether it’s a website, an article, a meal, or a gift, I always want the person I’m giving it to to have something lovely to look at. It’s just my way of adding to what is already a beautiful world.

Life is short. Do “it” now!

Tell the people you love that you love them – now! Spend time doing things with them – now! After that, well, there are all those projects, adventures, and more. Do them. We don’t know how long we’ll be here, or when our bodies might fail us. I promise, you won’t regret it.

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Vothhttps://onpasture.com
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.


  1. You are so brilliant Kathy and we appreciate all that you have done for us and our farm.
    Hamish and Amy Bielski South Otago New Zealand

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