I often get asked by those that aren’t in the industry what a normal work week looks like. I have a tough time explaining, because even daily I’ll wake up thinking that my whole day is planned out, and by the end of it, it looks like nothing that I planned. The Boss Man is always chalked full of wisdom, and one of his sayings that I’ve always taken to heart is, “It is what it is.”
So, what does a week look like here at Wilson Ranch/FDG?
Saturday, April 27 — Was out the door around 6. My morning routine is pretty mellow for a female. It usually takes me about 20 minutes to get out of the house. Ran through the heavies in the lot to see what activity had occurred during the night, and tagged, weighed and banded a couple newbies. Sorted 10 bulls that we had banded off our home-raised bulls, and with the intern and Uncle’s help, ran them through the chute to implant and give them a shot of Long Range. I showed the intern how to administer Long Range, and after 10 head he was worn out. Uncle piped in “You realize she did over 500 yesterday.” The kid is great and can take a lot of ribbing.
We headed to the feedlot and grabbed the couple pens of steers and headed them out to grass with the cut bulls. That afternoon, I went into the “hills” and tagged calves out of the older cows. It was the Boss Man’s night to check, and I told him if he checked until 10 and let me know what was going on, I’d take over. I called him a quarter after, as I had yet to hear from him, and he said he had three heifers he was waiting on that weren’t progressing. I said I’d be right up. As soon as I got to the shop, it started down-pouring. I grabbed my ATV and headed to the lot. I was able to pull one right in the lot, and took the other two to the barn. The calves were both fine, just sitting high up on their feet, and I was able to get both done while the Boss Man took the skid steer and got another bale for bedding for the pens. Arrived home at 12:30.
Sunday, April 28 — Checked during the night at 2, and again at 5. Made it to Lakeside in time for Easter Sunrise Service. With the brisk wind and it being outside on a hill, it lasted for around 20 minutes. Skipped the breakfast, as my brother and I are having a food eating competition (a whole other story) and headed home for a quick change and headed to the barn. Finished barn chores, ran through the pairs on the pivot, tagged up in the lot and out in the pasture. Ate a quick lunch, and took an hour-and-a-half nap before I grabbed the pickup and trailer and headed to the North Place. I meet the brand inspector at 5 to look at the trailerload of cattle, and then caked May implants, went through the remainder of the heavies, and loaded the 19 head of half-blood Akaushis to head to Muleshoe, Texas. Picked up my Right Hand in Alliance on the way through and we started the 11-hour road trip south.
Monday, April 29 — We switched on and off driving through the night and arrived at the grow yard a little after 6 CDT in the morning, dropped calves off and started the drive home. I made it back to the Home Place around 5 that evening, just in time to head to the calving lot to assist a heifer with a leg back. I crashed before 9.
Tuesday, April 30 — Had a “pleasant” surprise when I woke up to over 6 inches of snow, and blistering east winds. Called the Right Hand and asked her to head to the North Place to feed as it was going to prove to be a long, miserable day of tagging calves and fighting snow. Fortunately, only had two that had to come into the shop office to warm up, but just my tagging half alone that day was over 20 and we aren’t even getting a good start yet. The wind died down in the afternoon, which made it a lot more enjoyable conditions. My body was feeling all of the pounding of the miles of the ATV that evening, but I did appreciate the extra cushioning the snow provided. Worked on replacement heifer IDs that evening and sent a couple of ET contracts out to clients for the May implants.
Wednesday, May 1 — It’s May finally! Was up to the shop before 6 to grab my ATV and head to the cows to see what “wrecks” happened throughout the cold night. Everything was up and nursing, so tagged and checked through pairs. That afternoon, we loaded the ATVs on the trailer and headed to the North Place to get in the May implant group. The crew and I pulled CIDRs and gave Estrumate shots after 5 p.m. My partner (also a whole other story) will be riding heats up there for the next couple of days to get us ready to implant embryos on May 11. The corrals were a muck hole, and I volunteered to work in the back sorting and bring the cows up to the tub for the intern. The Right Hand ran the chute and gave shots, while the Partner pulled CIDRs and put on back tags. It was an efficient process and we zoomed right through them. I did look like I had literally rolled in the mud after, and it took a heck of a wash job with the hose before I could even get back in the pickup. We made it home a little after 9, and called it a day.
Thursday, May 2 — Headed over to the cows first thing to tag up and start moving heavies. We move heavies from pasture to pasture leaving the pairs behind. It took most of the morning to make sure that we had everything pretty lined up, and the heavies were loving all the green grass on the feedlot pivot, and I’m loving the thought of not having to battle steep hills and soapweeds for a couple days. After lunch headed back over to tag up any I’d missed that morning and to make sure everything was paired. Doctored a couple calves on the Home pivot and got a heifer in around 5 that was taking a little longer than I liked to pull. With a successful pull, I headed home as my Partner and the Right Hand were coming up for supper to talk business. The insta-pot roast was edible and after great conversation, everyone headed home around 8.
Hopefully that gives everyone a little idea of what’s going on around here this time of year. It’s a little hectic, but at the end of the day it’s worth it. Or at least that’s what I try to convince my body.
Jaclyn Wilson is more than a rancher, raising Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Neb. She’s an artist with a welder’s torch. She holds leadership positions with several agriculture organizations. She can be reached at email@example.com