Five years

My blog will be 5 years old on Jan. 11, 2017. Initially, it started as a way to get out the many thoughts I had swirling around in my head. It helped me get through maternity leave when my first son was born in May 2011. Same with the second in February 2014. It helped me get through the death of my father-in-law and other family and friends. More often than not, I write about subjects that annoy me or make me think, and often times others share my same thoughts and ideas.

Last week before the new year, I decided to go back and look at the statistics for my site. In 2016, I had one of the most viewed blog posts ever, I’m a rural voter. It had 6,517 views. I was completely blown away when it got shared and shared and shared again. In the history of my blog, I’d never had that kind of exposure. It also made me think about the subjects I write about on my blog and how they resonate with readers.

In 2016, I’d only written 11 blog posts, but garnered 8,415 views, most because of the rural voter post. Previously, the most views I’d gotten was 2,922 in the first year of blogging. I’d written 78 posts. So, I guess you can say, I’ve learned that less is more.

Here’s the top 6 posts in 2016:

  1. I’m a rural voter
  2. January 21
  3. Out of my comfort zone
  4. Losers live forever
  5. There’s always something new
  6. Thank you

I’d like to thank those who have taken the time to read my posts, and/or comment on them. Its amazing when people can relate to my thoughts and ideas. If you have any questions or ideas for me, just let me know. I look forward to interacting more with readers. Happy New Year!

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Who I am

I’m a mother. A working mother. Someone who puts in 40 hours a week; sometimes more, sometimes less. I spend 8 or 9 hours a day away from my boys and worry the entire time.

I’m a person who despite having a good job, where I’ve been for more than a dozen years, we still live paycheck to pay check. We have lots of wants, some means and a little bit in the bank at times.

I’m a person who wants to see her husband succeed. I want to see him have a cow herd and not having to work a job just so we can have health insurance.

I’m a mom who questions whether or not a sore throat merits a doctor visit. Not every sniffle or sneeze does so, but I second guess my choice. I’m thankful I have health insurance when I do have a sick kid.

I’m a horsewoman, who hasn’t ridden in more than a year. For years and years, my mare was the center of my universe. Ask my husband. He knew he was second place for many, many years. Now, I don’t “have time” to ride. The boys need shuttled around. I have work to deal with and they want to ride. There’s only 3 horses at the house, so when dad needs to work, guess where mom stays?

I would love to stay home and take care of cows, horses and kids, but lack of confidence, lack of experience and a little lack of patience keeps me working in town.

I’m a wanna-be photographer. I’m trying to get a few more clients after taking engagement photos for one friend and family photos for another. I absolutely love taking photos and capturing a beautiful scene. I hope people like my photos more than I do.

Last week I wrote about being a rural voter after the presidential election, and how I disliked being called an uneducated and rural voter. After fielding more than a dozen comments on my blog, I had to get away from the computer and get some fresh air. As I was feeding horses, I thought, “Who am I?” I always thought I was a writer, a photographer, a hard worker and I’m just me. I don’t like being called uneducated—especially since I’m still paying my student loans from my time at Oklahoma State University.

I came back in the house and wrote the above six paragraphs in about 12 seconds. Ok, maybe not that fast, but they came out on paper pretty quickly. The more I thought about it, the more I questioned who I was/am/were/will be. But who does it matter to who I am? Mostly me. I do my job, keep my head down and try not to cause much strife. I’ve changed over the years, and I hope the only one who is bothered by that is me. I’ve just got to be me.

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Out of my comfort zone

This past summer I was asked by one of my best friends to take her engagement photos. I told her sure, but I wasn’t making any promises on how good they’d turn out! Ha! But they turned out just fine. Better than I was expecting. I was pretty proud of them and asked her if I could share them on social media. Of course, she said. I was stoked at the reaction I’d gotten from friends, family and her contacts. I’d gotten energized about my photography again.

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So when a long-time friend asked to take her family photos a couple of months later, I agreed and again prefaced it with, “I’ll do my best.” The stars must have been aligned that afternoon. I had a babysitter. The grass was green and my subjects were stunning. Since she lived over an hour away I took my computer with me so she could look and pick out her favorites. Even though it was late when I finally got home, I knew I’d gotten something spectacular for her and her family. I couldn’t sleep that night because I was so jazzed about the images I’d captured for them. And again, I posted on social media and got rave reviews.

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After the engagement session and then the family session, I thought maybe this was something I can do to get my creativity flowing again. Something for me to do on nights and weekends to give me an outlet. Lord knows I need it.

So Kylene Scott Photography was born. For now, I’m focusing on southwest Kansas, mostly around Dodge City. I’m willing to take photos of families, kids, agricultural subjects or animals. I’ve taken baby photos of my own hooligans, but never for anyone else. And I don’t have all the neat props. I don’t have a studio either, but I do have a couple hundred acres of pasture and grasslands at my disposal. I love the golden hour and totally dig taking advantage of it.

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If you feel inclined go checkout my work that I’ve showcased on my Kylene Scott Photography Facebook page. If you know of anyone in my area, send them my way!

Be still my heart

Wednesday was the last official day of summer. I love summer time. The extra long days and warm weather. Tan lines and swimming pools. I even love the heat. I’m not as used to it as I once was, but I still like a good, dry heat with a little breeze.

The boys and I had arrived home later than normal on Wednesday because they wanted to stop and see their cousin. My husband was abnormally early that day and rode out to check the heifers and get a good count. He was closing the pasture gate when we got home and the boys begged from the backseat to go ride. Dad obliged and saddled all three horses. I started supper and went out to check on them only to be promptly left afoot since there was nothing left to ride. I went back in the house to get something and looked out the patio door to see the most beautiful light and my three boys riding across the CRP grass east of our house. I immediately grabbed my camera and shoes and headed out. As they got back to the house, the heifers had lined up against the horse pasture fence and I walked out to get some photos of them.

I couldn’t wait to get to the office the next day to see what I captured. The images I recorded made my heart swell. Of course I shared them on my social media and I’ve had way more praises than I ever wished for. I enjoy photography and enjoy my loyal subjects. I’ve also been teaching myself Lightroom, so I edited my favorites as well.

Here’s a few photos from that evening.

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Dozens of name badges

In the nearly 12 years I have been at my current job, I’ve hardly thrown out a name badge from various meetings, conventions and functions I have attended representing my place of employment. Partly because they have my name on them, but mostly because they show where I’ve been.

On nearly every one of those badges is a ribbon with MEDIA on it. I take pride in my job, but at times it can get pretty repetitive telling someone what I do and who I work for if they are outside the agriculture industry. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s wonderful we have all the news and information we cram in each issue for our readers; and that I can travel then consequently write about all I learned. What I get tired of is the misconception of what media in agriculture means.

I have a bachelors degree in agricultural communications from Oklahoma State. What does that mean? Well, I took journalism classes to teach me how to interview, write and take photographs. I also took classes ranging from agronomy to animal science. I even took an agricultural law class. The aim was to have knowledge of both sides – journalism and agriculture. When I graduated and left college, I felt as though I had a great mix of both subjects and in my first job as a general assignment reporter at a daily newspaper I was equally prepared enough to write about the school board as I was an agricultural meeting I was sent to cover.

In the last month I have questioned my chosen career path because of frustrations stemming from the most basic part of my job. Calling a farmer or rancher. I fear my luck has run out because of a couple of guys who just won’t call me back. It’s hard to say if they don’t like the subject, my publication or even what I’m writing about.

There’s a saying, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Well, I’m not a teacher or downgrading the importance of what teachers do. But I often feel as though it would be nice to be working on the farm or ranch every day, but I don’t think I have the skills and my husband doesn’t have the time or patience to teach me (he might though), so I write about it and photograph the beautiful things all around me.

I don’t expect everyone to understand the media, or what agricultural journalism is all about. What I do expect is for someone to take me at face value. Let my actions and not assumptions define who I am as a writer.

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Happy Halloween

I have a slight addiction to Pinterest (hence my 34 boards with 2,292 pins). I love looking on there for ideas for upcoming birthdays, holidays, meals, gifts, etc. It can also give unfulfilled expectations, but can also help make life events pretty special.

My parents have been asking my son what he wanted to be for Halloween. At 2 and a half he hasn’t quite grasped the concept yet, but he knows what candy is. He stayed the weekend with his other grandma (his words, not mine) while we went to the Oklahoma State/TCU football game. When we picked him up she said he kept telling her he wanted to be a dragon for Halloween. So I cruised through Pinterest and found a dragon tail to sew and a picture showing spikes added to a hoodie for the top half of the costume. Seemed easy enough, so I made my supply list and headed out at lunch time a few days the week of Halloween to get what i needed.

First problem, shopping choices in this town are limited. Looking for a plain, solid colored hoodie was almost impossible. Thrift store had nothing, craft store the same outcome. Dollar store nada. So i was left with Wal-Mart. There I found a solid black zip up hoodie. It was fleece, and not really the color I wanted, but I had to make it work since Halloween was only a couple of days away. Plus my son already had black sweat pants to go with the tail and hoodie.

The tail sewed up rather easily and I had no qualms about the hoodie being difficult. Placing and pinning the spikes on the hoodie was a challenge, but I made it work. Not a perfectly sewn masterpiece, but I don’t think my 2-year-old is going to tell anyone. However, when I got to sewing the hood, I lost my patience. My machine wouldn’t sew and I was getting frustrated. Eventually I found I needed to adjust my thread tension and slow down. Not the prettiest thing, but it was finished.

My son was eating his supper when I finished the costume and while I was sewing he had repeatedly came in to check on me. When I finally came out of the office/sewing room carrying his costume he was ecstatic. If he could have jumped out of the high chair, I think he would have. He wanted to try on his costume immediately. I obliged and was pretty happy that he was as happy as it was. As much as I was frustrated, it melted away when he asked, “Is that my dragon costume? I like it!!”

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The cowboy and the dragon ready to trick or treat.

The cowboy and the dragon ready to trick or treat.

Work

I ran across a tweet on Twitter this morning, that said, “I don’t want a job, I just want money.” Oh how perfect life would be if one didn’t have to work for their money. At least that’s what I am feeling this morning.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love my job, but it would be nice to be able to do every single thing my mind wanders to and wishes for. It would be nice to have a workshop and I could sand, paint, stain and create to my heart’s content. It would be nice to have a fully stocked office with a super fast computer and a bag full of awesome lenses that way I could edit the many magnificent photos I know I can find and take. It would be nice to have a way to make money at creating things and capturing images. I know many people do the things I am wishing for each day and are very successful at them. What is holding me back? Heck, I don’t know. Maybe its fear of failure. Maybe its lack of desire. Maybe it’s lack of time.

My very first job out of college started a week after graduation. In that week, I moved into my apartment, tucked away all of my things, and sent the rest of my stuff back home with my dad. One of my most prized possessions would have to remain there too, my horse. But it wasn’t long before I found a place for her to live and she joined me back in Oklahoma. At my job as a general assignment reporter I covered anything that was thrown at me – education issues, agriculture issues, news stories, and even features. It was a fun time, and one that I won’t forget and one that taught me so much, but I wanted to be directly involved in writing about agriculture.

Nearly 10 years ago I started at my current job. My title at the time was copy editor. My days were filled with editing stories and sending them to the right edition. I occasionally got to write stories and take photos. Then web editor was added to my resume. I did a lot of the same things, but with more of a web-influenced track. Then in 2012 I was promoted to associate editor. With more of a focus on stories, covering events, photos and other duties my job sure has evolved from what it did when I started in 2003. But I do like to write, really enjoy taking photos and traveling.

So, why then does the thought of changing my path creep into my brain? Am I getting a seven-year itch three years too late? Who knows. But what I do know is I need a steady job to pay the bills to survive. We have a house to maintain, horses to feed and Shaun to feed and clothe. Those things aren’t cheap, not to mention the bills that seem to always make their way to our mailbox.

When telling my husband about my thoughts on the subject of work last night, he asked, “what would you do if you didn’t work there?” Honestly, I said, I don’t know. But what I do know is that I will keep on keeping on. I’m not a quitter and will get the job done, no matter how unpleasant or unhappy I am. Then, as I was trolling Twitter again, thinking of how to finish up this post, I ran across this – Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely. -Unknown

Wordless Wednesday

I had the opportunity to take some photos of a friend of mine’s stud horse, GUY$POCKETFULLOFCA$H. (I use the term stud horse, because I despise stallion..) Anyway, when we finished taking the formal shots to be used for their ad, I suggested getting some action shots. I was excited to see what they looked like on the computer so I put them on my Mac as soon as I got home. I played around with the action shots some because the focus was a little soft. I sure like the result of this one.

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