Skip to main content

Almost Done

I took a final exam today - just like my oldest daughter. Feels kinda strange to say - but we're both on winter break! And it feels pretty good!

I've been chipping away at a master's degree in integrated resource management via an online program from Colorado State University for almost two years. Lara, on the other hand, is completing her first semester at Montana State University in Bozeman. She's flying home tonight for the Christmas holidays; I drove home from my my office. For the next three-and-a-half weeks, I'll only have to work and take care of sheep; maybe I can get Lara to help me with the latter!

Earlier this week, I learned that my major professor will accept a research paper I did for one of my classes this term as satisfying the requirement for completing a professional paper. Upon completing this morning's final, I'm just two classes and 6 units away from having my master's degree. Wahoo!

As I reflect on going back to school in my extremely mid-forties, I've realized that in some ways, I'm still the same kind of student I was in my early twenties. In other ways, however, I've changed immensely. When I was first in school (at UC Davis in the late 1980s) I was driven to get good grades. Exams, for me, were like an athletic contest - I wanted to win (actually, I wanted to kick ass)! Today, my competitive drive is tempered by the knowledge that exam results do not necessarily equate to knowledge. In other words, I put slightly less pressure on myself.

I've also found that I have a much more sensitive bullshit meter than I had as a younger person. When I was 20, I figured that my professors probably knew more than I did. Now that I'm almost 50, I'm not so certain about this. Most of my classes at Colorado State have been outstanding; one or two have been dreadful. Perhaps the biggest change in my perspective, however, has been the fact that the dreadful classes don't bother me as much as they would have when I was 20!

Finally, tonight I'm celebrating the end of the semester much like I would have during my first round of college - I'm having a beer! Cheers!


Popular posts from this blog

Trade Offs

As we were building fence for the soon-to-be-lambing ewes this morning, someone drove by and asked my partner Roger how long it took to set up the electro-net fencing we use for the sheep. Roger replied, "It's not too bad," to which the driver said, "Seems like a lot of work." Roger's answer - which both of us use with some frequency, was, "Yeah - but this way we don't have to feed any hay!" The driver, who obviously wasn't a rancher, didn't understand - and I suspect even some of my rancher friends don't understand the trade off we're making. Building electric fence is a lot of work - wouldn't it be easier just to feed hay?

The paddock that Roger and I built this morning encloses about 5.75 acres of high quality forage. Since the ewes are on the verge of lambing, their forage demand is peaking. They're eating nearly twice as much grass now as they need in the late summer - after all, many of them eating for three (and p…

No Easy Answers Part 2

In mid October, some friends who graze their cattle in the mountains of western Lassen County (less than 200 miles from our home), became the first ranchers to have cattle “officially” killed by wolves in California in nearly a century. Wildlife officials confirmed that the Lassen pack killed a 600-pound heifer; four more heifers died (and were partially eaten by wolves), but the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) couldn’t confirm the cause of death. While I learned about the depredations shortly after they happened through the rancher grapevine, news of my friends’ losses weren’t made public until the California Cattlemen’s Association and California Farm Bureau Federation issued a joint press release this week. The October 28 edition of the Sacramento Bee ran the story.
If you’ve read my previous blogs about wolves, you’ll probably know that I’ve frequently been frustrated with the Bee’s coverage. The paper has run guest opinions disguised as news articles, and appar…

Humbled and Excited

More than 20 years ago, I went to work for the California Cattlemen's Association (CCA). After two internships, I'd been hired by my friend and mentor John Braly as the membership director in 1992. By 1996, I'd been promoted to assistant vice president - pretty heady stuff for a young guy who hadn't grown up in the industry. I started looking for new challenges. Dr. Jim Oltjen, who was (and is) the beef extension specialist at UC Davis (my undergraduate alma mater) suggested that I think about going to graduate school to prepare for a career in extension. I considered it, but the timing wasn't right.

Fast forward to 2013 (or so) - I'd been working as a part-time community education specialist in our local University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) office for several years. The farm advisors in the office - Roger Ingram and Cindy Fake - suggested that I consider getting a master's degree and applying for a future farm advisor job. This time the id…