About the Elzinga Family
GLENN: With training in forestry and forest ecology, Glenn began his forestry career in Maine. In the mid 1980s, he moved to Salmon, Idaho where he worked as District Forester for the Salmon BLM for over a decade.
As his family began to grow, he realized he wanted a better way to raise kids than leaving them for work all day. So began his current career in ranching. After ranching for over 20 years, Glenn’s cattle herd has grown from 7 head to over 600. He keeps his hand in forestry by working with his wife, Caryl, on consulting projects and by horse-logging occasionally with his two Belgian mares, Pet and Pat. He hopes to train his new draft Suffolk geldings, Red and Snap, to log as well.
CARYL: Caryl is a farmer’s daughter, having grown up on a farm in Indiana. Trained as a plant ecologist, she finished her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin in the early 1990s. After working as an agency botanist for about 8 years, she started her own company, Alderspring Ecological Consulting. She specializes in measuring and monitoring plant populations and communities for research and resource management purposes, and has published a book on monitoring (Monitoring Plant and Animal Populations; 2001; Blackwell Scientific). She also teaches short courses on monitoring. Currently, she is working on another book titled Wetland and Riparian Plants of the Intermountain West. In her “spare” time she is the webmaster for Alderspring Ranch.
The primary work for Glenn and Caryl now is raising their 7 daughters. Caryl only works part-time, and Glenn’s ranch work allows him to work with the kids. They believe raising children on a ranch is a valuable gift to their daughters, one that includes clean air, water and food; learning the meaning of work; developing relationships with animals and the land; and a chance to work side by side with their parents.
THE SEVEN COWGIRLS:
As the girls have grown up, they’ve become part of the Alderspring operation. They each have very different interest and are finding ways to make those interests part of Alderspring. From L-R:
Melanie: the oldest of the group, Melanie is a talented horse trainer, designer, photographer, and stock handler. She is currently attending University of Montana Western, where she is part of the colt training and business programs. During her spare time, she runs the Alderspring Instagram and takes many of the great photos you see on our website and social media. In the summers, Melanie is our head horse wrangler and riding teacher for new crew members and she works as a crew boss on the range managing the cattle.
Maddy: the youngest of the cowgirls, Maddy loves horseback riding and working around the ranch. Her favorite horse to ride is the small sorrel quarter horse, George, but she has a yearling colt that she and Melanie are training.
Emily: the middle cowgirl (both in age and in this photo), Emily’s passions lie in physics and computer science, and she uses these skills to help with web development on the Aldersping webstore. You’ll also find Emily on horseback, a pair of skis, or getting her hands dirty in the garden or flowerbeds.
Annie: the second-to-youngest cowgirl, Annie has an outgoing and up-for-anything personality. She loves riding, helping out around the ranch with whatever needs done, and working with Maddy building boxes for your beef orders.
Abby: the second oldest cowgirl, Abby is a talented writer and videographer. Many of the videos around the ranch are made by her. She runs the Healthy Meat Recipes Facebook Group and also manages the landscaping and gardening around Alderspring. She married Ethan, one of our previous interns who is now one of our top full-time employees (and he designs handcrafted leather gear on the side). Abby and Ethan produce the pastured pork sold seasonally on our online store. Abby and Ethan have 2 children aged 1 1/2 and 1-month, both of whom are spoiled by their many aunts.
Linnaea: the third of the cowgirls, Linnaea helps with much of the marketing, web design, and food photography for Alderspring. Currently studying business at Boise State University, Linnaea runs the Meathacker cooking blog when she has time. During the summers, she loves to get outside and ride the range behind a herd of cows.