About Me

Thanks for checking out my blog! I briefly introduced myself in this blog post but wanted to get some more facts into one page. My name is Mandy Thomas. I grew up in the oh so gorgeous (if I do say so myself) horse country of Northern Virginia. While we always had plenty of countryside to run free in, I did not grow up on a "family farm". So I guess you could say I'm not an average Aggie...but then again, we are seeing more and more "city kids" getting Agricultural degrees from universities, but that's what makes Agriculture such a wonderful family. My father farmed when he was young and worked on horse farms for most of his life and was an all-around handyman. My mom has been animal crazy her whole life and in an attempt to further her riding abilities she went to work at Morven Park, where my parents met. Of course, by the time I came along, the family had stopped working on horse farms (little to no health insurance and poor salary for hands). I have 3 sisters, Jamie, Kayce, and Kelly, all of whom live in Northern Virginia.

But back to how I ended up where I am...most of my friends growing up lived on farms and were part of 4-H and FFA, which I never had time for. My life revolved around soccer, and I guess my family's life did as well, since we spent all of our free time going to tournaments and games and camps and practice and ODP (Olympic Development Program) tryouts. But during a State Cup game when I was 15, I was slide-tackled by a goalie, which ended up in a broken leg for me (tibia and fibula). That ended my soccer career and has limited how much I've run ever since. To be honest though, it came at a time when I was getting burnt out on soccer and looking for a change. I became passionately involved with fostering litters of puppies and their mommas for the remaining years of high school. When it came time to pick a college (since soccer scholarships were no longer an option), I went looking for one that I felt would fit and that I could get a degree working with animals at. I wanted to get out and try someplace new and looked closely at all of the big Western schools...and the University of Wyoming (UW) was the one I felt at home at.

Dave's Cabin-My Home Away From Home
Adjusting to the West was an adventure, that's for sure. My sophomore year of college I decided I wanted to actually be able to handle the animals I was working with and changed my major from Wildlife Management to Animal Science. What I found in Animal Science was a family I will always cherish. And as I've mentioned before, meeting and working with Dave Lutterman really made my college experience a unique one. I was involved with a lot of different organizations including the Rugby team (only as a freshman until I reinjured my leg), Block & Bridle, Relay For Life, an Academic Quadrathlon team, and several other groups. But mostly I spent my time bossing Dave around in the Pig Barn and experiencing the West. After working with the pigs for several years, and then helping out a little with the local Extension office and the Wyoming Pork Producers Council (WPPC), and being poked and prodded by those around me, I decided to try for a Master's in Swine Nutrition at the University of Kentucky.

My bookends on the porch in KY
The past year has been an adventure that's for sure. I chose UK for many reasons, including that it was equidistant from my family and my boyfriend. Learning to live completely alone with no close friends or family nearby has shown me that I am capable of surviving on my own. Being alone has led to an increase in cooking, quilting, and maybe too much TV and Social Media interaction. This is my last semester of classes, after which I will finish up my thesis and search for a job. But in between I will have a nursery pig project, 2 classes, presentations for the National Pork Board's Operation Main Street program, and various other adventures!

I met my boyfriend, Cody, while he was attending WyoTech (in Laramie) to get a degree in Diesel Mechanics. At the time, I was dating his roommate...yep. Cody and I didn't start dating until the spring of 2012 (which Cody will tell you was 4 years late). Cody grew up on a grain farm in Wisconsin and currently works as an Ag Mechanic at a John Deere dealership near his home. At some point after I graduate we hope to start farming ourselves, but we will see what life has in store for us first.

So welcome and enjoy the ride :)
Big Boy-"My" Boar at UW

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