'Prairie Diaries:' Life on the Ranch

Dakota Button

Dakota Garrett Button, on his family's ranch near the Colorado border. Maeve McGoran, NPR News hide caption

itoggle caption Maeve McGoran, NPR News
Denise and Miguel Aldrete

Denise and Miguel Aldrete, in Dodge City. Maeve McGoran, NPR News hide caption

itoggle caption Maeve McGoran, NPR News

On Oct. 11, 2001, more than 5,000 Kansans recorded their daily activities and thoughts as part of a project to preserve the history of their communities. Morning Edition continues its Prairie Diaries series with stories of life on cattle ranches and in meatpacking plants of southwest Kansas.

Following are the diaries of Dakota Garrett Button and Miguel Aldrete, recollecting their day in Kansas, Oct. 11, 2001:

Dakota Garrett Button

Hello, my name is Dakota Garrett Button. I am 13 and 1/2 years old. I live in the country. I live 22 miles from Johnson and about 8, 9 miles from Big Bow. Our town is a little farming community. I am going to write about my summer.

My summer started out easy. We worked about 1,500 head of cow/calf pairs. I dehorned, ear tagged and pushed calves in the chute. We had a good summer — all we lost was one cow and one calf. The cow got struck by lightning and died. I roped her calf and bottle-fed it. Then the calf got stuck in a tailwater pit and smothered to death.

After we got all the cows and calves worked, we started to cut wheat. The first wheat fields we cut were my uncle's. Later on my dad's wheat got ready. So we brought the combine up to Kansas so we could cut our wheat. After our wheat was cut we took the combine back to my uncle's in Oklahoma. After all that we did the summer fallow.

Then it was time for a vacation. We went to Cantan Lake in Cantan, Oklahoma. We went boating, fishing, and tubing. It got so hot that we had to sleep outside our tent. When we got back, we put up the boat.

Miguel Aldrete

Today people and kids went to work and school.

I like my city. It has wide-open spaces. I don't like how no big celebrities come here.

Dodge City has changed some. It has a new high school and houses on the outskirts of town.

As for me, I like to go hunting and fishing with my dad. I also enjoy puzzles and video games.

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