Thinking about how our new land purchases went, I wonder how different our experiences could have been. What if we had come by those properties through inheritance, had grown up on them, or been born into a tribe that had lived there for centuries? In each case, we would have been given a lens to see them through, a framework of understanding to build upon. Perhaps it would have been the perspective that comes with a long-held ranch, where the land is intertwined with a proud family history and the practical challenges of raising livestock. Or it might have been a hunter-gatherer point of view with a deep cultural understanding of the land and every useful plant and creature upon it. As it was, there was no one to give us the background. We brought our own framework-- bits and pieces of land management, ecology, archaeology-- and experienced each property through this lens. I'm guessing that's how it is with most new landowners these days; we can't fully perceive everything the land has to offer. No one gave us the lens to see it, or a framework to interpret it by.
Now, that's where a new landowner manual would come in so handy.