The first fall baby is on the ground! I’m putting an exclamation point on there though I’m not really for sure if I’m excited about it or not.

I guess it also means that summer is dwindling down, and fall is right around the corner. For as warm as it has been this last week, I think we are all looking for some cooler weather.

The biggest downfall for me personally about this time of year is that I start to notice the days are getting shorter. I got home one night this week around 8 and still had enough adrenaline going that I decided I needed to go run some of it off. I headed outside with the four-legged holy terror and realized after running around only a quarter of a mile, that I really could not see a thing and maybe that was not the greatest idea I’ve had lately.

But, with evening cow checks on certain days, I will have to drive by the local gym in Alliance, and I usually can guilt myself into stopping by.

I tell myself probably at least once a week that I need to be working out more. It seems that one of two things happen. I either have a really long, physically exhausting day on the ranch that makes me question why I need to drag my body through an hour of torture when it’s already sore and tired from being tortured all day. Or something happens in the work day that puts me severally behind, and I’m walking in the door just in time to take a bath and go to bed.

I have had a couple of people question the workout thing. Yes, I understand that I’m being active during the day. But hitting the gym for an evening workout with music blaring and breaking a sweat that does not require complete focus is different, or at least that’s what I try to tell myself.

The gym conversation goes hand in hand with the eating better conversation. That is one where I should just take my participation ribbon and leave. I have odd eating habits, and while I would like to take a little more time to cook, my intentions seem to go in the blender.

Sunday morning, I had dropped the Flying Diamond Beef trailer off with one of the business partners down at Lake McConaughy after making a quick run to Omaha and Lincoln for deliveries. We decided to eat breakfast at the local breakfast joint. I am not a tomato fan. Never have been. For whatever reason though, I will eat pasta sauce, chili and salsa juice (I also do not care for onions and green peppers), but I’ll always leave any chunks of tomatoes on the plate. I had ordered a BELT (bacon, egg, lettuce and no tomato). The plate shows up, and first thing I do is grab a bottle of ketchup for my sandwich.

I do not know why it is such a struggle sometimes to take better care yourself. When I think I’m doing good one day, the next it all goes south quickly. I try to meditate and I fall asleep. I try to eat better and then I raid the Boss Man’s potato chip cabinet. (I’ve learned to not keep any at my house as I evidently have no self-control with chips.) I’ll try to exercise, and end up grabbing a vodka popsicle instead. It’s a vicious cycle.

I have talked a number of times about mental health in rural Nebraska. As the economics of this year and the situations have become more and more of a struggle for farmers and ranchers, self-preservation can become a struggle. I have also mentioned that I have a family member that has struggled with severe anxiety and depression for a couple of years now, and after multiple forms of treatment, has yet to see any improvements.

In July, we made the trip to Lincoln to get some additional testing done. I kept thinking that there was some underlying cause that had to be the culprit of the illness since the “normal” treatment routes were unsuccessful. The test results came back this last week, and they were not good.

The family member has such severe mold toxicity that it does not even register on the charts, she’s also in the 95 percentile for glyphosates. After during a little research, would you believe that one of the major side effects for both toxicity and glyphosates is yep you guessed it, anxiety and depression?

Every treatment and most likely every prescription was ineffective because there was something else going on, and no one bothered to try and figure out if there was a cause. To say I’m beyond disappointed is an understatement. We can do better.

The good news is that toxicity is treatable. It will be a long and difficult process, but considering that a week and a half ago we were all feeling pretty bleak about the outcome as it was going, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted.

As farmers and ranchers we are exposed every day to multiple unknowns that may not be good for our bodies. Follow precautions – and common sense. Do not wear sandals and shorts if you are hand spraying weed killer. And if you need help, take the extra time to find someone who won’t just categorize you, give you a prescription and send you on your way, as it may not be the answer.

With all of this typing, I’m going to go find me some potato chips.

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.   

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