Hi, I'm Canda!
When I was 10 years old, I knew I was going to be a doctor. I didn’t know what kind, but I was definitely going to do BIG things far away from this farm in western Oklahoma. Never did I think I'd be back in western Oklahoma working, and living, on the family farm.
After graduating high school, I went to Southwestern Oklahoma State University with the intention of becoming a marine biologist. What I quickly found out was that I hated being in the lab during the spring and summer but I didn't hate doing my math homework. So I changed from a biology major to a math major so I could come home and help my dad work.
Once I moved away for graduate school, I was really and truly gone for the time it took to earn my Master's Degree and PhD from 1997-2004. While in school, I kept myself busy so I didn't have time to miss working on the farm. I was a full time student, teaching assistant, and had a full time job outside of all this, not to mention training and walking several half marathons and one full.
However, I was finally able to come back home once I was finished with my school work and working on my thesis. And once I came back, you couldn't keep me away.
I realized a couple things during this time in my life...
- It had been seven years and my parents had grown older and I hadn't been able to see them that much.
- Walking the farm, in the peace and quiet, I was able to process my thoughts and make connections for my dissertation and then into creating solutions for whatever problem my career threw my way.
When I was struggling to make those connections, it was nice to be able to do some good ol' fashioned work that had a start and a tangible end to your daily projects. The bonus was that I got time to talk with my dad. There wasn't anything deep or life altering in the content of the conversation, but just the fact of getting to be there with him and talk about the cattle or make fun of our fence while we worked was all I needed.
I am trained as a psychometrician. Psychometrics is the field in psychology devoted to testing, measurement, assessment and related activities. At different times in my career I went from Assistant Vice President of Psychometrics, to VP of Psychometrics, to VP of Assessment Services, to designing and creating an entire system of state assessments from the ground up. By this time I was traveling 3-4 weeks a month and when I wasn't traveling, I was home helping dad on the farm.
Then in 2017, there was a light switch moment when my mom passed that I realized I needed to figure out how to get some control over my life. I started focusing on creating a situation with my job that would allow me to leave and come back to the farm permanently. I realized I was definitely going to make a bigger impact here than any other place I could be.
One thing I brought back with me is something my incredible mentor from early in my career, Tim Vansickle, suggested I do to learn how to be the best leader that I could be. He suggested I find some leadership books that spoke to me and made sense to me.
One book in particular stood out to me - Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin. The thoughts in these books changed how I thought about and worked with people and animals. I was a high strung over-achiever in every sense of the word. Grandin’s research and observations made a tremendous impact on me-- being calm works better in ALL situations, leading from the front is so much better than trying to push from the back. For my work team, this meant that I coached them to be calm under pressure (and there was a LOT of pressure in the highly charged world of educational assessment). For the farm, it meant that I started REALLY noticing how my dad worked with the animals… how he moved slowly, ensured they saw him, talked to them, and how sometimes he’d just sit with them.
I've taken all the knowledge I've gained and the lessons I've learned, and am putting it all into making Osage Orange Farms an Agritourism hub in western Oklahoma.
One of my earliest memories was when I was around 5 years old and my dad needed help bailing hay. My mom was in town so I was the only help he had. The bales we used to haul were square bales and weighed about 75 pounds each, so needless to say, I was too little to carry them.
So my dad sat me in the tractor to steer, popped it into first gear (since I was too short to reach the pedals) and would run back to load the bales and then run up to help me turn the tractor. I was so excited I got to help but when I told my mom… let’s just say she was less excited than I was.
My childhood was spent on this farm. As I got older, I got to help more and more. We would load the hay, then have to unload and stack it, and take it out to the field to spread out for the cattle and sheep. I’d get to treat the cattle for pink eye, give them their vaccines, and even brand them. Similarly, I helped vaccinate, shear, and market the sheep.
Mom, on the other hand, was passionate about fishing and I was her little 'boat baby'. There weren't as many rules about what to do or not to do with a baby when I was young so she had me out with her when I was as little as a month old. I loved getting to go fish with her - until the day I started taking the fish out of the basket and tossing them back into the pond. She didn't think that was such a great idea when she saw what I was doing along with saying “bye, bye fishy”.
Nostalgic for the good old days of farming that included a whole lot of human and horse power? Fall will bring with it a cleared path winding back and forth through creek-beds that include some of the earliest equipment used three generations ago.
Bring your camera and a picnic if you like. Picnic baskets for you to take along are COMING SOON.
Looking for a great place to hookup your RV? Our RV pad will be equipped with a septic tank, water access, electricity, and fiber internet. It'll be a great place to 'come home' to after a long day in the fields, or a great place to camp along your travels.
Meet Our Team
Our 'staff' are always roaming the property, so please say hi if you see one of us!
Owner, Operator, Chief Cook & Bottle Washer
Chief Mischief Officer
It's All in My Name
Peat the Sheep
The Real Owner