First impressions are silver; lasting impressions are gold
June 21, 2014

Well folks, it’s time for blog post number two! This blog is supposed to be all about the first impressions our internship has given us as well as some of the projects we will be doing throughout the course of our internship.  Well, my first impression really came from meeting my supervisor at orientation. I moved almost 800 miles from home for this internship, so it’s safe to say I came in with my guard up and my pickup was left packed just in case.

My new pickup
My new pickup

My supervisor, Mary, seemed nice enough when I met her at orientation. I later found out I’d be working with her husband, Dan, more so, while she was just better with technology so she’d be handling anything that needed to be done online. Let me just start off by saying this: Dan is an interesting character. Most of my first week in Kansas was spent in Manhattan at a Walnut Counsel conference.

I really did hug a forester!!
I really did hug a forester!!

 

While at the Walnut Counsel conference, we were able to tour the Flint Hills Center. Here I met this great fella!
While at the Walnut Counsel conference, we were able to tour the Flint Hills Center. Here I met this great fella!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning Dan and I traveled to Westmoreland for a pheasant and quail workshop. Best part of today’s workshop? Elk burgers afterwards!!

Stopping to point out different plants during the Pheasant and Quail Workshop near Westmoreland
Stopping to point out different plants during the Pheasant and Quail Workshop near Westmoreland

Some of the things I have been and will be doing throughout the summer are cutting thistle, fixing fence, working cattle, planting a garden, as well as some other odds and ends along the way, such as fixing Dan’s flat tire.

Good job, Dan!
Good job, Dan!
Stacking wood for the winter.
Stacking wood for the winter.

Dan runs about 80 cow-calf pairs, and I have already noticed some things that could be improved upon to lower expenses and just make the overall operation run much more smoothly. Over the summer, I will be trying to help improve Dan’s operation.

All smiles on a hot day with Lassie!
All smiles on a hot day with Lassie!

One major goal that I will be working towards will be making sure clean water is always available to the cows, and within reach. At this point in a calf’s life, and when it is hot and humid out, it is crucial that there is always clean water available at all times.

Kisses from the bottle calf, Tator! :)
Kisses from the bottle calf, Tator! 🙂

Water tanks are just like swimming pools, if they are not maintained, they will grow algae and become pretty gross. Cows tend to be picky animals, so if you wouldn’t drink out of that tank, the chances of them drinking that water aren’t very likely either, even if it is 93% humidity and 90 degrees out. Sure, they’ll drink some of that water, but just enough to keep them going.

Cows and dusk, what could be prettier?
Cows and dusk, what could be prettier?

 

Another thing that I will be working on is establishing a schedule for their two horses, Pal and Blondie, to have a regular visit from a farrier. A farrier is someone who specializes in trimming and shoeing horses’ hooves. A horse’s hooves should be trimmed about every 8 weeks in the winter, and about every 5 weeks in the summer. Pal and Blondie’s hooves haven’t been done in over six months, so it’s definitely time that they both get pampered with a pedicure. I really try to help out as much as I can and follow the golden rule of thumb to leave things better than they were when you found them.

Going on a skid steer ride with Dan.
Going on a skid steer ride with Dan.
I will get to use this brand new Rawhide corral to work calfs over the summer.
I will get to use this brand new Rawhide corral to work calfs over the summer.
Dan's breeding bulls.
Dan’s breeding bulls.

I hope over the summer I can help Dan establish a better suited game plan to help his operation be better off in both the long and short go. I look forward to the challenges and goals I have to face this summer.

A gorgeous Kansas afternoon.
A gorgeous Kansas afternoon.