Bringing Water Home

A few weeks ago I received a flyer about an essay contest on Communicating about Water. I decided to tell my unique story about water and thought I would share it here as well.

“Water, it’s a scarce resource,” may seem like a common environmental slogan, but in my home it was taught in a very primitive fashion.  Water is not always easy to access at the turn of a faucet handle. Granted understanding the better management of water is always important but on the other hand water creates a story in the trials it can present. Sometimes those inconveniences, carve out a place and time in my memories that I will not soon forget.

I grew up in a little farming community about two hours east of Yellowstone and not even five minutes from the Montana border. There are two spot in the road towns with nothing much more to brag about other than population signs on one side of town and the other. The rest of this basin area has scattered mail boxes of many farmers. Nine months out of the year the dirt and sage brush offer the most scenery but in the spring when the ditches are open the farmers grow anything from crops to livestock.

What most might not know when flying down the highway leaving Wyoming for Montana, is most the farmhouse scattered to the right across the highway cannot use the groundwater. That’s right we are literally from the stone age. The alkalinity of the soil contaminates the ground water making it undrinkable. Why did everyone decide to move and establish their family farms in the area – maybe it was the availability of ground? No matter the issue, the houses must have water in the cistern.

I don’t know when this began for the other residents much older than me, but all my life water day was an exciting day. Every household in this little area, own a large cylinder plastic tank, that either rides either in the bed of a truck or on some sort of trailer. Depending on the constant need for water some families owned 500 gallons and others 1000 gallons tank, to haul water from the water station 5 miles away in Deaver. If the family has livestock, they generally hauled water for their corral as well.

It was always important to make sure the water level did not get to low in the cistern and cause the pump to intake air rather than water. Our house usually used 500 gallons just a little under three weeks. We gather up the roll of quarters from our mother’s kitchen hutch, jump in the truck with our dad, and head off down the road. The watering station took about 7 quarters to fill the tank. It was also important to remember the exact amount of quarters that would fill our particular tank to the top. Too many quarters and the water runs over into the bed of truck and it is a mad dash to the emergency shut off.

These days are the best memories of home from my childhood. At a young age I learned the importance of conserving and managing the use of water in the home. Driving to get the water was the best part because the whole trip to town was on dirt roads. Dirt roads meant dad let me drive the truck, which I learned to steer at age 5, but let us be honest I was “driving” of course. Water taught me the daily necessities of home at a young age – water conservation, money management, hooking up a trailer, driving a truck, and always remembering to remove the water hose from the tank before driving away.

 

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The Country Women I Come From:

Scrolling through Pinterest, a pin caught my eye asking, do you know your heritage? Now in my family, it was common to talk about the old days while my great grandmas were growing up. At that moment, I wanted to know what the different last names would say about my heritage. The three last names I typed in all came from families deeply rooted in agriculture. Adding more to my pride of the women that came before me.

Then towards the end of February this year, I lost my last great grandma and it made me take stock in the incredible opportunity I had knowing 3 out of my 4-great grandma’s for the past 20 years. Recalling the old stories reminds me why I admire these tough ladies.

My Mamaw, Alama Wells was a strong woman of faith and praised her Lord with all of her heart. She lived in the farming country of Indiana. For her 97th birthday she made one more flight to Wyoming, saying one last good bye to her family. A few years before, my grandpa, or Buddy as Mamaw lovingly called him, discovered her old side saddle stored away where weather and years of neglect had taken its toll. Gift wrapped in an old toilet box, she was delighted to find her old treasure of her younger years, given back to her once more. Right there at the dinner table she held the restored black saddle, remembering the days she rode her horse to the Mercantile for soda or candy. She made an off handed comment of horse race against some boys on dare, but of course she did not want to give us any dangerous ideas.

Grandma Ellen was the daughter of Danish immigrants, who purchased a ranch on Monument Hill, in the mountains north of Cody, Wyoming. She and her sister Martha worked alongside their parents to sustain their lives on Monument Hill. Aunt Martha recounts her days riding horses with Grandma Ellen, tending the cows while the other sisters worked inside the house. In my mother’s living room is a small black and white photo of Grandma Ellen and her siblings piled into a buggy that they drove to the one room school house. She was a career woman before it even became a title. Supporting her family through her cafeteria and catering business that she ran with a partner for many years. She was a part of the many Cody historical societies and lived through losing a son to leukemia and an alcoholic mountain man for a husband.

Finally my Grandma Jeane was a wild vivacious woman. Her father was the first sheriff of Jackson but with her mother’s death at an early age she was sent to live with her older sister till 18. She went on to beauty school and with some girlfriends opened their own shop in Jackson. Then one evening going out to a social event and she danced with a rancher from Big Piney Joe Murdock. It didn’t take long till Jeane was a rancher’s wife on the Green River. Raising eight kids and ranch work is no easy task for a lady. Joe gave her some cows from the herd that were her’s to manage. Later she was received recognition as Sublette County Cattle Woman of the year.

As these stories surround me I realize that not only the last names of my ancestors indicate strong agricultural background, but it was the women that also provided my backbone in my name. My country passion comes from heritage and carrying on tradition. It’s encouraging knowing their stories after years of hard work, that maybe I will survive and hopefully live up to the standards they set in their own lives.

University of Wyoming Crossbreeding Yaks to Eliminate Brisket Disease


Research studies tend to get repetitive and remain generic. Well, at the University of Wyoming’s College of Ag., a team is tackling a troublesome issue of Brisket disease in cattle through crossbreeding Yaks. High elevation areas affect cattle’s respiratory system because it lack of design for that environment which results in the disease. Most summer pasture land for Wyoming ranchers is on mountain permits for four months of grazing. If the cattle cannot sustain this high elevation they will instantly die, which is financially costly to the rancher. Yaks are hardy animals that survive in the high altitude mountains of Tibet, India. Regardless of their similar makeup Yaks are more of a wild animal like elk and are not necessarily domestic like bovine. However they are close enough in their genetic makeup that they could be crossbred. Dr. Mark Stayton wanted to enhance the ability for cattle to sustain high altitude conditions  and by incorporating this gene into the commercial cattle breed at the university’s beef unit by artificially inseminating Yak semen into 14 mother cows to move the gene into cattle breeds.

The plan is to keep breeding back these new cows and isolating the gene so it passes on to other cows to genetically develop a stronger respiratory system. Maintaining the cross breed of cows-yak may not prove to be efficient since even though the babies grow up around their docile mothers there wild instincts over take their ability to react like domesticated cows. The ultimate goal is to gain the altitude resistant gene and not dilute in breed back which will hopefully leave the industry with a cow that its DNA is  99% bovine and only 1% yak. Nobody has ever attempted this research and currently the first generation of yearlings reside at the beef unit under the farm manager Travis Smith.

In creating this video having the main researcher, caretaker, and cows readily available to video offered a unique opportunity for reporting this new research. I really enjoyed interviewing the people creating and working with these cows. When interviewing I ignored the camera and made casual conversation with the interviewee which provided us with many great quotes and stories. I love putting stories together, so during the editing phase combining the B-roll for an effective story, came together so naturally. It really helped that we had high quality interviews and lots of B-Roll to pick and chose the best angle to piece together.

I did not enjoy struggling to find a topic. After this experience I would take time to brainstorm the close contacts I have before I go outside the box for a story.Our interviewee Dr. Stayton is my academic adviser, and I discovered his project through a presentation of a fellow Ag Communication student. After this project, the saying start with the topics close to you, makes more sense to me now.

I was surprised at how helpful the wind was for our B-roll. When we arrived at the beef unit we were nearly bent over and kept saying that the sound quality was going to be awful with the 60 mph winds. Once while editing at the computer, we realized the strong wind was helpful in showing the thickness of the hair so cattle people can see the physical differences in this crossbreeding. To go back and redo this project I would work on setting up the interviewees better for the camera. Unfortunately were we interviewed Travis there was only one good spot for Cassie to stand with the camera. After reviewing the film, next time I would take a moment to ask them to be conscious of their positioning.

I really enjoyed this project as a whole. Especially interviewing the experts and getting to ask questions out of my own curiosity. Then going into the computer lab I loved the control of designing and fine tuning the information to make interesting for a short video. I would really like to keep working on putting together videos. I love the short story we created on this insightful crossbreeding project, and am excited to see how this one project will open the door for me learn a new skill.  Another plus is the UW research center has already asked to see the video once this project is complete.

Meat Packing Industry Challenges and Opportunities presented by JBS: Live Tweeting

JBS, a fcxll6etuuaaxigjood processing company, is the world’s largest animal protein processor and is working to overcome new challenges and opportunities within the meat industry. UW College of Ag brought in guest speaker Trent Roberts, a former UW graduate, director of Supply Chain of optimization to present the information and statistics impacting the meat industry. Food is an important issue impacting all people and I wanted to make the highlights he provided to be accessible to the public to establish awareness. Roberts laid out generalized lists of challenges and opportunities in power point slides along with detailed charts showing the industrial impacts. Listening to the significant points of industry issues and the amount of preplanning that goes into operating the multiple JBS plants, was very engaging. To read the tweets click following link.

I really enjoyed getting to listen to the speaker and especially with his power point helped with accurately tweeting the highlights of his presentation. Being an Ag major, I was very interested in hearing how recent issues I have read about, impact their day to day operations. Coming from that mind set, allowed me to evaluate the tweets that would interest the public. I did not enjoy Twitter’s lack of editing tweet option. Auto correct changed some of my typing on a couple of my tweets. When I saw the error I had to copy my tweet, then delete then make a whole new tweet. The inconvenience of that aspect was very annoying.

I learned that tweeting a lecture is actually a lot of fun and after a couple of my Twitter followers retweeted a couple of my tweets, it showed they enjoyed the updates as well. I realized especially in a lecture type environment in a tight area like a classroom, it is important to consider your seating position so when taking a photo you do not have to work around odd objects. The classroom had tables packed from one wall to the next and so I was not able to move around. For taking a picture I had a direct view to the presenter, but as I began snapping the picture, I realized that a couple of audience members created distractions in the picture. It surprised me how few people were able to show up at 4 p.m. on a Friday and became slightly difficult to get solid perspectives that would interested a media audience. The main change I would make is practice writing high quality tweets, so at a high paced event the tweets might come off effortlessly without wasting time as the lecture keeps on moving. At some moments, I found myself pausing and really thinking about how I would state the topic at hand, and then I began stressing that it was taking to long, causing me to possibly miss the next important point.

I like reporting events via media. It requires paying attention, looking for the intriguing parts of the event that inform and show the audience the behind the scenes that make them feel involved, creating snappy written posts to hold an audiences’ attention and involved in promoting the event. I think social media creates a great connection with the public to see the importance or highlights of events. It requires quick and fresh thinking, where routine cannot exist or followers will find new accounts to follow.

Company Social Media Comparison

 

Social media makes an amazing tool for marketing a company/product, while creating a personal platform connecting companies to the public. It allows the company to have constant contact to stay current in a customer’s media viewing. This essential tool takes a lot of work and and consideration for meeting media users expectation of fun, quick and interactive. Maintaining the brand of the company, providing insightful news feed, and making the public feel a personal connection to the source empowers a company. If the message fails to meet these expectations the media public probably will find a new source to immerse their attention.

This analysis reviews Casper Star -Tribune

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Casper Star – Tribune Logo

and Wyoming Tribune Eagle

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Wyoming Tribune Eagle Logo

social media platforms to build a innovate news organization user friendly to demographics. Both organizations are considered  New York Times status in Wyoming, for they are the bigger news outlets and assumed to provide quality stories.

Casper Star and Wyoming Tribune both pride themselves on being the number one Wyoming News sources for daily information. Their brands and picturing represent associated Wyoming logos of the bucking horse and landscape views that represent dedication to the state. These two news outlets compete in the same category for staying fresh and reliable to maintain the most readership within the state.

Casper Star  identifies on all media sites, “is the leading source for Wyoming news.” That branding statement sets high standards for this news medium to provide all current and interactive news in any shape or form. Not only maintaining this expectation on print but in the high pace world of the internet. They use common Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even a Pinterest accounts. (Upon my research I did come across their Pinterest page but reviewing their website they do not include it as a media button to explore, so I assume they must have discontinued using that account.)

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Casper Star- Tribune Facebook profile picture.

The Facebook page was update, professional, including the nonlinear approach to breaking up the types of media and including multiple videos for viewers to watch as well.

 

 

 

Twitter also matched the Facebook page, its unique feature of Town Crier posts, which I am not positive if their team or an outside source posts to their page, adds a more human interest and a lighthearted aspect to their social media.

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Casper Star – Tribune Twitter page.

 

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Casper Star – Tribune photographer’s Instagram Page.

The Instagram page is assigned to the photographers and is used to showcase their photographers talent. The pictures reach to the younger audience of media users and incorporate their interests in the news world.

 

Finally, the Pinterest account repins most social media accounts and add another way to catch another iconic group that may not watch news media on other accounts.

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Casper Star – Tribune Pinterest page.

The Casper Star’s multidimensional aspect incorporates the fun interactive news that can not be included into the print version and web version of the newspaper adds an engaging element that keeps readers appetites wanting more. Especially the  Instagram pictures showcasing high quality aspects along with professionalism.

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Casper Star Tribune Facebook star rating.

Some technicalities brought down the media, like the Facebook reviews rating the Star 3.4 out of 5 stars, and they have the review posted at the top right corner of the page where any newcomer sees right away. It might cause new users to question the credibility of the news organization. The Instagram page had not been updated for more than a week. Not saturating each account at least weekly, lets down the followers. They follow because wanting the behind the scenes updates and action, but not receiving that media lowers the attention that could be offered to the Casper Star site. On the Facebook and Twitter article clicking the links, they did open up into a new table but every time before you could read the article a required Google survey overshadowed the story. That will lose the reading public, to another news source.

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Wyoming Tribune Eagle Facebook score of message response time.

 Wyoming Tribune Eagle maintains a Facebook and Twitter account. Each account was cohesive in posts and articles uploaded to each site.Rather than the 5 star review as seen with Casper Star Tribune they have the Facebook rate stating the quick message response time to the public is under an hour. Its a very clean setup with articles and some videos on either account and remains very centrally focused on both.

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Wyoming Tribune Eagle Twitter page.

The Twitter page has interactive quotes from many different speakers and events going on in the local area.  The WTE does not seem overstretched in maintaining their media accounts. The links to their articles on the website opened into a new tab and allowed immediate access to reading the story with no interference.

Despite their clean setup in management, it appears to get overly repetitive and lacking some creativity to break up the news stories that already appear in print and on the web.  Also, they targeted their two media accounts effectively, but maybe looking into an account to appeal to a younger audience would be in order. Finally, Casper Star stated their brand as the about info section on every media platform, that would offer more insight and pride to the viewer if WTE followed suit.

The social media panel indicated the importance of creating a relation with the public and saturating upbeat and engaging media. That aspect really helped me recognize the quality of Casper Star in their use of multimedia in pictures and videos. Also they mentioned only having as many accounts as can be maintained and I definitely recognized that aspect with the Wyoming Tribune Eagle which has a high response rate and is clean in all delivery of their media accounts.

CC Rabbitry: Cassie’s Story the edited version

First sitting down to edit this interview, many ideas for organizing the story kept rolling in my mind. I hit the play button anticipating my first editing cut. All of the sudden the guide that rushes horizontally across the screen indicating briefly the location of the audio blew past my screen and I realized I would be here for awhile. It took quite a bit of time to become familiar with the operational tools of audacity and the first hour was very frustrating. A very rough first cut between words spoken very closely together gave me an instant appreciation for the work professional producers do when creating audio going across the radio. After some playing around time, I developed a system of taking one section at a time first listening for nitty gritty details, then for awkward and or umh statemtents, and then moving the clip to a better position. Repetition of the process  continued until reaching the 2 minute flag. Seeing my clip stopped at the 2:11 mark, all I could think, it’s a story.

I really enjoyed taking a rough interview and turning it into a story that might catch the interest of others. So many unique experiences happen in different ways to many people and I love opportunities of hearing a story told. Reformatting the story into a quick listen about  childhood businesses benefiting a young Colorado girl, excited me that I created order of the story.

What is with the horizontal dial that fly’s across the screen? If I could have put a whoa Nelly on that little tracker, my life would have been simple. I am confident a shortcut does exist and probably takes a more computer savvy individual than myself. Honestly, most of the process not much frustration, but that indicator moving so fast because of humans voice speed was inconvenient. I found myself staring at the time numbers at the top of the audio so I could hit the space bar to find the section that needing editing. I wanted to depend upon the indicator but it sped by so fast it caused more confusion than aid.

Surprisingly, listening to the audio over and over again, made my decisions easier in keeping and organizing sections of the story. When I started the thought kept reoccurring, I will never want to hear this story again. Actually by the end my opinion changed, hearing the clip on repeat for a few hours allowed me to detach myself from portions of the story that I originally felt necessary. It may not be true in all interviews, but Cassie repeated herself in a couple of different sections and made it easier to chose which version explained her point better.  If not for listening to that audio over 25 times, let us be honest it was probably more, might have caused me to miss the benefit of telling certain parts of the story in one place over another.

A few sections in my clip did not cut smoothly and greatly disappointed me. Cassie did a great job in pausing between her answers offering plenty of easy cuts. However, some sections had and’s or umh’s at the beginning and end of certain phrases. I tried religiously to dismantle them smoothly, but I will require future hand’s on instruction for that hiccup. Using the arrows on the keyboard did help with moving one step at a time through the sound waves for a neater cut, but she ran her words over the top of each other making it impossible to have a clear separation. I think this audio has great potential for telling a positive story. I want to clean it up more from its current state. Overall, it is a big improvement from the first recording and conveys the story.

 

 

 

Raw Audio

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Pressing the record button and the recorder is going. I interviewed Cassie Pfeifer about the meat rabbit business she ran with her sister while growing up. We were sitting outside the classroom building with the nice fall sun shining down and for once there was not any wind. Ninth street was directly behind us so the mics picked up traffic sounds, but personally I think that will place the listener in the feeling of sitting at the park while hearing Cassie’s story.

Whenever I conduct interviews for volunteer activities and school research projects, I use a voice recorder app to capture the conversation to allow for a more comfortable interview. I enjoy the interaction that goes into specifically discussing topics that  I as an interviewer can gain the human interest angle. It is odd that I have rarely been interviewed. It was interesting getting to talk for the whole discussion and not limit my conversation so the interviewee can tell their whole story.

I actually enjoyed getting to do both aspects of audio recording. Audio stories are my favorite type of media and participating in this activity was great. I did find it difficult not to add filler words and interact with my interviewee. I conduct interviews like I am having a causal conversation and I add filler words to let them know I am right with them. However, I compromised by nodding my head rather than talking.

Honestly, I was pleased with the whole process.Cassie and I had both sat down with topics in mind and both of us were very prepared to be specific in our interviews that we helped each other reach specific criteria for the assignment. I look forward to seeing what I do with editing. Since I was a kid I have loved listening to radio dramas and podcasts and I never considered actually making an audio story.