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No shortage of work on Labor Day weekend
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No shortage of work on Labor Day weekend

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Jaclyn Wilson

Jaclyn Wilson

Jaclyn Wilson raises Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Nebraska. Send comments to her at jaclyn@flyingdiamondgenetics.com.

Happy belated Labor Day!

On the day of labor, we labored. Breeding season wrapped up for the spring calvers over the holiday weekend. Sunday was 45 days, and it was as good as time as any to pull bulls. We had bulls everywhere, and what I mean by that is they were in pastures in all of the far corners of the ranch-which made it even more “enjoyable.”

Sunday morning started with the Boss Man, myself and a rider heading out with an UTV, ATV and a horse over to the far northeast side of the ranch to a pasture we call the Stoop. The bulls were located quickly. While we were up there, we had noticed three calves that were starting to get the makings of pinkeye. We went ahead and patched and doctored them up to hopefully stop any spreading. By that time the entire herd – including the bulls were over next to the exit gate. A little quick cowboying, and they were through the gate and heading south to the home place. Or so we thought.

The Boss Man figured he better head to the feedlot pivot to bale some alfalfa that was just about perfect. Somehow I ended up with three bulls one way and five went with the horse the other. In the process of trying to convince my three to head back to the west to join up with the others, the five crossed behind me and headed to the southeast corner of the pasture that we were in. Then they went down a massive set of hills to the solar tank, which was surrounded by 7-foot-tall horse weeds and some of the few trees that we have on the ranch. That wasn’t so good.

It became even a little more frustrating when one of the 4 year olds (the only bull left in the herd that we had purchased) decided that the perimeter fence across a mud hole would make a good limbo pole. It just happened to have two wires that were still intact, but limbo he did – directly into a massive lake.

So, there we were sitting on the beach, watching the bull head a little north then a little east, head bobbing above water. A couple times there was nothing showing but a couple nostrils peaking through the waves. At this point, I will admit there was a part of me that was wishing he would just drown.

After a long stretch and a lot of patience on our part he finally made it to the north shore where he pulled himself onto shore, stepped over some downed fence that the lake had taken out, and headed back to the south where he was suppose to go.

Our goal this time was to keep him a little higher above the fence line. He was not fond of that. He knew exactly where that mud hole was and headed on a dead run directly for it. Oh high and mighty bull catcher that I am, I decided that enough of my day had been wasted by this point so when he started to push through the wire, I bailed off the ATV, and headed into the lake boots and all to stop the jerk.

His surprise was noticeable. We had quite the stare off across two wires. The mucky lake water is mid-thigh high and I had moss in my pant leg. I realized that with the seedy glare he was giving me, that this may not have been the best idea ever.

A little sweet talk, and he headed away from the fence at a dead run up the fence line. Horse and rider in pursuit, he went through the fence back out into the lake. This time at least he started swimming south toward the remainder of the nice Wilson Ranch raised bulls – the well-behaved ones that I was about ready to start hand feeding our fourth cutting alfalfa and massaging with beer.

A couple hours behind “schedule” for the day, we headed down to the AI cows to pick up the cleanup bulls. Low and behold, some calf had evidently had a rude awakening when he (I’m just implying it was a he but this isn’t verified) took a bite out of the positive cord attached to the charger. The cord was not only laying on the ground, but a small stretch of movable fence was also down and the herd had moved themselves to the other side of the meadow.

Once the herd was back in place, the bulls separated, my ATV tank on reserve, I ran home to grab a set of waders. Realizing my feet and jeans were too wet still to fit into mine, I grabbed the Boss Man’s and headed to the AI cows to fix the temporary stretch. I got bogged down in the mud a couple of times, had my pliers end up in my wader boot about three times too many and at that point almost said “heck with it” for the day. I want to choose my lakes on Labor Day weekend.

Fortunately by Monday, all of the bulls were collected, sorted and back to take another 10-month vacation. Meanwhile, the first fall calf hit the ground. It just doesn’t end.

Happy belated Labor Day! On the day of labor, we labored. Breeding season wrapped up for the spring calvers over the holiday weekend. Sunday was 45 days, and it was as good as time as any to pull bulls. We had bulls everywhere, and what I mean by that is they were in pastures in all of the far corners of the ranch-which made it even more “enjoyable.”Sunday morning started with the Boss Man, myself and a rider heading out with an UTV, ATV and a horse over to the far northeast side of the ranch to a pasture we call the Stoop. The bulls were located quickly. While we were up there, we had noticed three calves that were starting to get the makings of pinkeye. We went ahead and patched and doctored them up to hopefully stop any spreading. By that time the entire herd – including the bulls were over next to the exit gate. A little quick cowboying, and they were through the gate and heading south to the home place. Or so we thought. The Boss Man figured he better head to the feedlot pivot to bale some alfalfa that was just about perfect. Somehow I ended up with three bulls one way and five went with the horse the other. In the process of trying to convince my three to head back to the west to join up with the others, the five crossed behind me and headed to the southeast corner of the pasture that we were in. Then they went down a massive set of hills to the solar tank, which was surrounded by 7-foot-tall horse weeds and some of the few trees that we have on the ranch. That wasn’t so good. It became even a little more frustrating when one of the 4 year olds (the only bull left in the herd that we had purchased) decided that the perimeter fence across a mud hole would make a good limbo pole. It just happened to have two wires that were still intact, but limbo he did – directly into a massive lake. So, there we were sitting on the beach, watching the bull head a little north then a little east, head bobbing above water. A couple times there was nothing showing but a couple nostrils peaking through the waves. At this point, I will admit there was a part of me that was wishing he would just drown. After a long stretch and a lot of patience on our part he finally made it to the north shore where he pulled himself onto shore, stepped over some downed fence that the lake had taken out, and headed back to the south where he was suppose to go. Our goal this time was to keep him a little higher above the fence line. He was not fond of that. He knew exactly where that mud hole was and headed on a dead run directly for it. Oh high and mighty bull catcher that I am, I decided that enough of my day had been wasted by this point so when he started to push through the wire, I bailed off the ATV, and headed into the lake boots and all to stop the jerk. His surprise was noticeable. We had quite the stare off across two wires. The mucky lake water is mid-thigh high and I had moss in my pant leg. I realized that with the seedy glare he was giving me, that this may not have been the best idea ever. A little sweet talk, and he headed away from the fence at a dead run up the fence line. Horse and rider in pursuit, he went through the fence back out into the lake. This time at least he started swimming south toward the remainder of the nice Wilson Ranch raised bulls – the well-behaved ones that I was about ready to start hand feeding our fourth cutting alfalfa and massaging with beer. A couple hours behind “schedule” for the day, we headed down to the AI cows to pick up the cleanup bulls. Low and behold, some calf had evidently had a rude awakening when he (I’m just implying it was a he but this isn’t verified) took a bite out of the positive cord attached to the charger. The cord was not only laying on the ground, but a small stretch of movable fence was also down and the herd had moved themselves to the other side of the meadow. Once the herd was back in place, the bulls separated, my ATV tank on reserve, I ran home to grab a set of waders. Realizing my feet and jeans were too wet still to fit into mine, I grabbed the Boss Man’s and headed to the AI cows to fix the temporary stretch. I got bogged down in the mud a couple of times, had my pliers end up in my wader boot about three times too many and at that point almost said “heck with it” for the day. I want to choose my lakes on Labor Day weekend. Fortunately by Monday, all of the bulls were collected, sorted and back to take another 10-month vacation. Meanwhile, the first fall calf hit the ground. It just doesn’t end.                         

Jaclyn Wilson is more than a rancher, raising Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Nebraska. She’s an artist with a welder’s torch. She holds leadership positions with several agriculture organizations. She can be reached at jaclyn@flyingdiamondgenetics.com. This column represents the views of one person and are not necessarily the opinion of the Midwest Messenger.   

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Jaclyn Wilson raises Red Angus cattle at Wilson Ranch near Lakeside, Nebraska. Send comments to her at jaclyn@flyingdiamondgenetics.com.

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