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‘Spring’ weather makes for miserable workdays

Jaclyn Wilson

Jaclyn Wilson

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

Good ole Nebraska, winds, fire, snow and 80-degree weather all in a 24-hour period.

We’ve all been pretty tolerant of the wind, considering it has been absolutely miserable. For the most part, there hasn’t been massive amounts of damage. But as the Boss Man said, we are going to have to spend some time at the lot as soon as we turn yearlings out to grass pulling the sand drifts away from the bunks and fence lines.

On Friday night I called the Boss Man and the Boss Man’s Wife around 9 and told them to make sure and consider that massive pine tree on the south side of their house when they were going to bed. The wind was so strong that night that my bed, which is on the north wall of my house, was shaking so bad from the south wind that I couldn’t fall asleep.

The Boss Man informed me the next morning that when grandpa built the house, he made it pretty sturdy. It was so sturdy that when they did a massive remodel in the late 1980s that the contractor said they could have added three more stories without having to change anything. They just don’t make things like they used to.

So, Friday night the wind blew. It did blow in some much needed moisture. Saturday morning, I had it lined up to preg fall cows with the vet. We used to do all of our pregging in house, but anymore, I would just prefer to hire it out for the couple times a year that we do it.

Our awesome vet had texted that morning, and I gave him a shout to see if he wanted to change to another day. At that time it was a downpour rain-sleet mix and just not very nice out. He said sure, and I headed out to check through cows.

The storm started to let up some, and upon checking radar it looked like we were going to have around a two-hour window of a little peace before it started back up. I texted the vet, and he said “let’s go.” Then I rounded up the crew and headed the 10 miles to the cows.

The weather report lied.

The next two hours were just miserable. The rain and sleet were beating down on us, the meadow didn’t provide any protection from the west wind that was pelting us, and the cows were just as unpleased with the situation as we were. For cows that “normally” work pretty well, I think there were just a couple that didn’t crawl through the chute on their knees, which just made the morning a little more unenjoyable.

The preg checking itself went successfully. There was nothing that was open that I wasn’t wanting or needing to get rid of. The crew hung in there, and it was another project that got marked off the list.

The cows are thinking about calving. They made the big move closer to home Monday morning. I have one AI sire that has a shorter gestation period, and pretty much all the calves I’m getting right now are out of him.

I planned to spend the afternoon sorting heifer heavies. I’ve only had two heifers that have calved so far. One had no issues whatsoever. The other calved during the worst of the wind, went over the rough hills and washouts to water a half mile away, saw the other calf and just decided by the grace of God that it was her calf that had been magically transported to the windmill.

I spent an hour and a half looking for her gremlin and finally found it in the furthest corner away from the windmill hunkered down in a tiny ball with the tumbleweeds. They were happily reunited, and I decided that maybe that was the sign that I should just probably sort heavies.

In the past we’ve brought in the heifers, and the second calvers through the lots. Last year I pasture calved the second calvers, and it went smoothly (now I’m sure I jinxed it) so I’m going to try it again this year.

On that note, it looks like we will finally get a break from the wind. It’s hard to find humor when Mother Nature is being just a “insert name here.”

This too shall pass. No matter how challenging the times are, we always need to remind ourselves that the wind does stop blowing, it does rain again, the grass does grow again and things can be rebuilt.

In the meantime, continue to pray for all of those that are battling - whether it be fires, drought or any other challenges they are facing. And make sure and lend a hand if you can, because we all struggle at some time, and sometimes all it takes is a kind word and some reassurance to pull through.

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 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

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