This time…

They say time changes things. Country songs document a young girl’s brown hair turning grey or how time always marches on. Time, generally thought about as a long term concept, is said to heal, build up or create peace. However, this time I am talking about time in regards to the four short weeks I have spent as a member of the Rock Hills Ranch family. I am sad to see it end, but there are invaluable things I can take away from it.

If you asked me about myself six months ago, I would have told you I was a new transfer student at the University of Florida simply making it through each day. I was facing a very difficult and trying time in my young adulthood and felt as if I had no direction and no clue where I was going. I was defeated and I will admit looking back, weak.

IMG_1517Time moved on and I developed a wonderful group of friends, genuine happiness again and an endless amount of opportunities that if I only had the courage to pursue, I may get to experience. What better thing to do than to apply for an internship 1,900 miles away from home when one is seeking an escape? After all, I felt as if I had nothing to lose.

Weeks passed and I went to class, adventured with friends and started running to relieve the stress of the fall. If you have read my previous posts, specifically the first one, you would know that I interviewed with Garnet and the rest is history.

Since arriving here in Lowry, South Dakota I have experienced the highest of highs and some lower moments too. To say that I never missed home would be a tale and to say that I was ready to leave would also be a lie.  

I adjusted to the time change, the raging wind, and the longer days. I learned of the history of these Great Plains and the promise they hold for the future. I have embraced that I and my kind are as important as the badger, the hawk and the bees- but not any more so. I have been humbled by a moment sitting atop a hill on the ranch spending time with God; taking in as much of the vast space as possible in hopes of forever preserving the beauty in my mind.  The appreciation I developed for this land over the last four weeks is one that I don’t know I could extensively share through words. It is almost an emotion of overwhelming humility, to know that we as God’s children have the privilege of interacting with this magnificent creation. 

For anyone that is skeptical of the power of time, I will tell you that yes it can build up and yes it can heal. The time that passed, while the glaciers moved and melted, built these hills. The time I have spent with the cattle and a ranch hand has built up my confidence and courage. Time healed a barnyard cat that lost her tail, and brought back to life the thirsting prairies through rain.  Time, this short time, has healed my spirit and instilled in me a love for the unknown, contrary to my typical type "A" tendencies.  I have developed a desire to learn about the heritage of those who settled old claim shacks and a thirst to discover the rugged and beautiful history that is the West. IMG_1290

As I leave, I am still a student at the University of Florida. I am still going to face challenges ahead, and I still do not know exactly what my future holds. However, thanks to this time, this land and these people I am thriving beautifully in not knowing what lies ahead. I am ready to embrace the adventure and where ever it may take me. Four days, four weeks or four years from now I will look back and say I was a changed girl, no longer defeated and weak. I will look back and describe this girl as one with a desire for adventure and a grit that no one will ever take away from her again.



Nothing is a coincidence.

I am so excited to share that after I leave Rock Hills Ranch in just a few days I will begin an internship with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture!

The past week or so around the ranch has been a little slower now that cows are calving less frequently and the weather is staying pretty consistent. Apart from Garnet and I designing some promotional materials for the 100th Meridian Trail, Sam and I have spent a lot of time checking fence and checking cows in the evenings.

If there is something that I could choose to reflect on this past week, I would first share a quote shared with me by a friend:

                “As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

I will begin with this new opportunity in Pierre, SD. Originally I was scheduled to return to Florida on Saturday, May 30. I would then spend time catching up with friends and family I have been missing dearly and looking for a job the remainder of the summer. Last week, a fellow Floridian and UF alumna who works with Secretary Lentsch, Stacy Revels, shared with me a potential opening for a student intern in their office. I sent in my resume and waited to see if anything would arise from it. Shortly after, Deputy Secretary, Trudy Wastweet called me to arrange an interview. The rest is well, very recent history!

Now you can probably guess that the logistics at first were very overwhelming and intimidating. Where would I stay in Pierre? How would I get to work? How on earth would I swap my wardrobe from boots and jeans to pumps and pencil skirts? The worries started piling up but the support I received from everyone here at the ranch was very comforting and reassuring. Just as I have mentioned before about the good Lord always taking care of me, He didn’t fail to this time either. Within two days I had a place to stay and a vehicle to borrow. I am so grateful and blessed that His plan for me is so exciting!

Whether they realized it or not Garnet, Lyle and Sam played key roles in helping me through this stressful week. Mr. and Mrs. Perman were critical in finding a place for me to stay and Sam helped too in simply being the funny young man he is. I learned to rope, splice wire and was pushed out of my comfort zone to help in tagging some new calves during the evenings. Sometimes we need someone to push us to do something a little frightening on our own to teach us that we are capable of more than we think.

Now, a bellowing momma cow's muzzle up close and personal or, in some cases, literally against your cheek can be a little nerve-racking when you’re tagging and taking samples of ear flesh for BVD testing. However, just as with the new internship situation, when you have people you can trust to take care of you or, in the cattle scenario, guard you from potential harm you realize that trust in yourself begins with trust in others.

People and opportunities will come into your life to prepare you for all that lies ahead. Make sure you take a moment to realize that there is always a purpose and that nothing is a coincidence. These recent experiences have strengthened my trust in others and thus increased the confidence I hold in myself. Thanks goes to that friend, who with a few words and without even realizing it, has helped me to embrace all the adventures that lie ahead.  

Toothpick Sam

"It's not dying I'm talking about, it's living." – Gus McCrae

Hi readers my name is Sam Newell I come from a little town in Utah named Nephi. I go to school at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. I met my beautiful girlfriend Lauren Wellman in a livestock and carcass evaluation class.  I will be graduating with my Bachelor's in animal science in less than two years. After I graduate, I will be attending vet school and starting my own practice if all goes as planned. First Upload Of Phone 5-10-15 688I will then start my own ranch and get that going so I can retire as an old man, with his dog and his eyes on the skyline. I also plan to have a family, probably should have throw that in there. Who knows where life will take me though! I enjoy anything outdoors. I hunt whatever is in season at the time. I like to fish when ammunition gets too expensive.  I like having bonfires and good times around the campfire. I thoroughly enjoy country music by artists such as Chris Ledoux, Garth Brooks, "The King" George Straight, Brenn Hill, Ian Tyson and the list goes on.  I would choose a night in a bedroll under the stars over a nice hotel any day.                                                                                        

After a thousand mile journey in my little car " White Lightning" I made it to Rock Hills Ranch. I was recieved the nickel tour and then went to check cows with Luke. There are two internships here on the Rock Hills Ranch; the ranch living internship and the ranch and range management internship.  I fulfill the ranch and range management internship and Miranda fulfills the ranch living internship. My duties include checking cows and calves twice a day as well as tagging, checking and fixing fence, range monitoring , bee counting later in the summer and any other jobs Luke or Lyle need accomplished.  I have been here on the ranch for just about three weeks now and have enjoyed every minute. I am learning so many new things and am  soaking up as much information out of Luke and Lyle as I can.What I really enjoy about this internship is that it is not just learning how to milk a cow or catch a calf it is how to think in a management fashion, how to problem solve and think of things through a hollistic management process (the main way of thinking here on the ranch).  They are great teachers and know what they are doing. It is an honor to have this internship.       

Till next post “Watch Your Topknot” Readers, 

Sam Newell