Saturday, 31 March 2012

A new decade

Well, its official folks. I am no longer a teenager as of 4:20 a.m yesterday morning. With a new decade of my life starting, I though I would make some new goals and do some new things.

First things first, I must "rename" my blog-. I have decided to leave the same URL (to avoid making new business cards), but change the title. The second thing was to give my blog a  facelift. I kept the same concept, just changed some font and color choices. I think it looks a tad more sophisticated :)

I also thought I could take a moment and look back on my life, see what I have accomplished and maybe make a few new goals for this upcoming decade, or a "Bucket list" of sorts.

So a few things I have accomplished in my first 19 years of life:

-Won Grand Champion Steer at a cattle show.
- Finalist in Alberta 4-H Provincal Public Speaking
-Travelled to Japan for a month on my own.
-Travelled to Italy and Vatican City.
- Won a selections trip from Alberta 4-H (National Citizenship Seminar 2011)
- Accepted (and soon to complete) an agricultural diploma. (Animal Science)
- Travelled to Nashville, TN, and went to the Grand Ole Opry.
- Attended the National Western Stock Show in Denver, CO.
- Became an agvocate, and started a blog.
-Achieved my Platinum Award of Excellence with Alberta 4-H.
-Accepted to the University of Lethbridge to complete my degree.
-Elected as the President for the Lakeland College Students' Association-Vermilion campus.
-Accepted to interview for the Cattlemens Young Leaders mentorship program. 

Wow, when you put it down on paper it seems like so much more. So this has got me thinking about some things I would like to complete in the future:

- Be accepted into the Cattlemens Young Leaders mentorship program.
-Apply to University of Calgary to get my Vetrenarian Medicine degree.
-Travel to Costa Rica to do a Vet Tech program.
-Go on an Alaskian Cruise.
- Become a Professional Agrologist with the Alberta Insitute of Agrologists
 -Attend a championship sports event (Grey Cup, Stanley Cup, etc).
-  Gain my 3 and 5 year leader pins with Alberta 4-H.
- Get $20,000 in scholarships (already at $18,350- not much more to go!!!!!!!)

I am very happy with the first 2 decades of my life, and I can not wait to see what this next decade has in store for me.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Born in the wrong town.

Some people are old souls, and claim they were born in the wrong decade, as they believe they would have been more comfortable with different fashion trends and music. Other people were born in the wrong town, thinking they would much rather enjoy a life either with the big city lights, or the stars above their cattle pastures. This post is about a girl who was born in the wrong town.

Going to college or university is about stepping outside of your comfort zone and finding out who and what you are going to be. My friend Thea Reed, did just that by attending Lakeland College and taking Animal Science Technology.

Thea was born in Squamish, BC, and spent practically her whole life there. For those of you who do not know where that is, you can find her hometown nestled between Vancouver and Whistler. Typically, this town isn't home to many aspiring agricultural professionals, except one.

Out in Manitoba, her aunt runs a feedlot, which got Thea started on her love for everything cows.

This is just a taste of her cow inspired room.
After applying to come to school in September 2010, Thea applied to work on the college farm for the summer of 2010, to help herself gain more knowledge on everything farming. Most people would never travel over 1500km away from home to start a new adventure like this. This is why I am amazed by this girl, stepping outside of her comfort zone, knowing this is what she wants to do for the rest of her life.

Almost 1500km away from home.

Working at the college farm that summer, Thea was finally able to purchase her first real cow to call her own. She bought a Jersey steer, and named him Stetson. As you can tell from the picture below, there was a lot of love between her and this little steer. Everyone that Christmas got Christmas cards, from Thea and Stetson.

Merry Christmas! Love, Thea and Stetson
There is a bond between a girl and her cow.

Somewhere along the ride of college, she began a love for the breed of Minature Herefords, which of course caught a lot of slack from our classmates. This did not, and still has not diminished her dream of becoming a miniature Hereford breeder. After starting Lakeland, Thea got involved in the Stockman's Club The club's purpose is to bring together students who are interested in the future of the cattle industry, while going to shows as well as exhibiting cattle. Thea was given the opportunity to travel to Denver, CO to attend the National Western Stockshow with the club. This was an opportunity of a lifetime for everyone on this trip. We spent about 4 days touring the barns at the show and learning about the "odd" breeds of cattle that are not your typical top contenders. There was a great attendance from the Minature Hereford breeders in America, and helped make Thea's dream much more concrete.

Thea posing with a Minature Hereford in Denver.

Another dream of Thea's was be an exhibitor of cattle at a cattle show. She did not care where, or with who's cattle, she just wanted to try it. This past Saturday at the Lakeland College Stockman's Club Little Royal Steer and Heifer Jackpot Show, her dream came true. On show morning, Thea came up to me and you could tell she was very nervous as this would be her very first time in the show ring, and asked, "Weren't you nervous your first time showing?" In which I answered, "Probably, but I was 11 years old, so I don't really remember." Which got me thinking, how much passion and drive she had to do this for her first time at the ripe age of 20. Everyone she was competing with had been showing for years, which only made her nerves run higher. However, you would have never known this watching her in the ring from the stands. She knew exactly how to set up her animal, where to rub it's belly to keep it calm, and her heifer was the only one who stood still throughout the entire class. This has got to say something about her love for all things cow.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that Thea and her heifer won second place in their class!!

Thea exhibiting one of Lakeland College's heifers.
Photo credit: Cathy McKenzie

I am amazed by the passion and determination Thea exhibits when it comes to agriculture. Coming from a town where cow was simply a term used when talking about a steak or a glass of milk, she has found her home. I am confident that Thea will become a great Minature Hereford breeder, and an advocate for agriculture, I also believe she is a prime example of following your heart to do what you love, even if it does mean moving 1500km away from home.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Lambing & Calving 2012

Sorry for my lack of posting guys! Things have been crazy around the Lakeland College Student Managed Farm powered by New Holland. We are in the tail end of our calving season, and our lambing season is underway!

As part of my cow-calf management class, we must do the calving checks throughout the calving season. We start with one 24 hour check, and then move to 48 hours shifts. There is 5 groups with 5-6 students in each group. This class is offered for second year students, however as part the first year reproductive class, the lab portion requires them to do some calving checks as well. We do checks every 3 hours, unless it is below -20 degrees Celsius, then we check every 2 hours.

Black angus calf born Feb 9, 2012

My Student Managed Farm class requires each student to choose a team to be a part of. Our choices were the dairy, beef or sheep teams. I chose the sheep team because I wanted to gain more experience within the sheep industry. As part of this class, we must be on call for the first year sheep production students, who have to do the regular checks everyday. Their check schedule is 24 hour shifts, with one 48 hour weekend shift. They also check every 3 hours, unless it is below -20 degrees Celsius, then every 2 hours. For the second year Sheep Team, we are there to aid in any complications that arise, and be there to advise at chores with the lamb processing.

A commercial lamb born March 8, 2012

As you may start to notice, I have a lot more pictures from the lambing barn. What can I say, they are a little cuter and easier to photograph.

One of many sets of twins

One of our excellent mothers

As with any sheep operation, there comes a few orphans. This year, to date we have 20 orphan lambs that need to be bottle fed 4 times per day. They are fed at 1am, 7am, 1pm and 7pm. We have students that are our orphan managers that oversee the lambs health to ensure they are being fed appropriate amounts at each feeding. We typically try to foster the lambs to mothers who have lost their babies. If there are no mothers to take fosters, we have to orphan them if the ewe doesn't have enough milk to feed all her babies, or is not accepting the babies.

Our orphans drinking from a pail.
Overall, we have been crazy busy on the farm in the last few weeks. I hope this post makes up for my lack of posting!