The time is November, 1961. A new, wanna-be cattleman and his wife who would like to raise cattle and a family on a piece of land located on the Little Cholame Creek in southern Monterey County, California are in the local title company office dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s that will make them the new owners of what will become The V6 Ranch in 1965.
What happens next takes place after 30 years of using the traditions that were in vogue in the cattle industry then and are mostly still in practice today. They about had me “tapped out.”
Holistic Resource Management comes to my rescue as taught by its creator Allen Savory. This new way to care for land and all that live there has been a most wondrous and satisfying journey for me. It has caused me to no longer consider myself a cattleman first but a “soils man.” Care for the soil, which will care for the grass that will care for my livestock.
I want to fast forward again to today. It’s Sunday and I’m reclining in our living room watching a cozy fire warm my soul. It’s raining. I think every living thing is asking the same question: ” Is this the first rain of a drought ending era?”
My imagination is also excited at the prospect that this could be a weather game changer to wetter times. For some time my imagination has been itching to transform me into a conductor of the V6 soil symphony orchestra. Well, imagination, you’re going to get your wish. “Give me that baton and show me to the podium.”
Good afternoon all you folks who love dirt under your fingernails. I’ve been practicing for this day since 1991. First, I want to introduce you to the different sections of the orchestra. To my left is the soil section, next to them is the water section, contiguous to them is the green growing and insect group. Next comes all the animals, and finally the sun and the air we breathe for life.
The music that we will play today won’t be nearly as melodic as when Mother Nature lead the band. The earliest settlers didn’t have the luxury of considering the health of the land and all that lived upon it. They had to feed their families so the land and all the animals of value were mined. If erosion was sever because of the way they tilled the soil or they killed off a specie of animal for food, so be it. The family came first, so the soil, grass and wildlife took it in the shorts. For me, that type of land stewardship in today’s world is no longer acceptable. The verses that make the most beautiful music for me today begins with slowing down the rain that falls on the V6 and inviting it to stay as long as possible. Striving to keep our soils covered with grass, leaves, trees and brush is an important part of the music. Organic matter is very important and should not be allowed to disappear. Livestock grazing done right will help improve all of the above. Agri-tourism and hunting help stabilize the V6 financially and gives much joy and feelings of connection to the natural world for many of my city brethren. The grand finale with all the sections of the orchestra playing in harmony is a conservation easement that guarantees that the V6 Orchestra will make beautiful music in perpetuity and will never be divided by the hand of man.