Hard to believe it’s October. I’m not for sure where the summer went but with the temperatures supposed to be in the 80s this week, evidently Mother Nature hasn’t got the memo that fall is here.
I think the biggest sign of fall is all the pumpkin spice everything: pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin spice Blizzards, the list goes on and on. I’m just waiting for a fast-food joint to roll out a pumpkin spice burger.
I never got into the pumpkin spice craze, though I’m a huge fan of pumpkin seeds and pumpkin soup. It’s a little challenging to find a pumpkin soup anywhere around the boonies, but I have the interns on a mission this week to come up with a new pumpkin soup recipe that will incorporate ground beef. If you see smoke coming from western Nebraska, it didn’t work.
Speaking of interns, we have a new one. She’s another student from Muscatine Community College. She has already been a great addition, and with weaning coming right up it will be nice to have an extra hand around.
We are hoping to start weaning next week. The health of the calves this year has been outstanding (and now that I said something I’ll have jinxed it). Because of how the calves are doing we will wean first with a round of vaccine and then follow up with boosters a couple of weeks after. The health of the calves is usually how we determine if we do it this way or precondition first and then come back and wean. I’m a huge fan of the boosters after weaning. It’s a lot less work for us moving portable facilities around to the different groups and sorting pairs twice.
The calves will go out onto an irrigated cool season blend to graze and rotate around until they’ll be brought into the background lot the end of December or beginning of January. I still do not know at this time what I’ll be feeding for a ration this winter. I’m hoping some of the options settle down a little first before I have to make that decision. Last year I used a ground hay, silage and pea ration, which was very reasonable, and the calves did well on it. I think that’s one of the most important things about the industry and all of the stuff going on right now in the country is to keep one’s options open and maybe realize that the “same way we have always done it” may not work year after year.
Speaking of fall, I was able to get back east last weekend for the Husker versus Northwestern game. It was a typical multitasking trip of hauling recip calves to clients, delivering beef, UNL Block and Bridle Steak Fry, meetings, looking at semis, picking up a horse and of course getting a game in. It’s been a couple of years since I have sat in Memorial Stadium, and it was a pretty dang good game to take in.
There was some time on Saturday to take in some of the Lincoln football activities, and I will say, that Lincoln has changed a lot since I was a student there – and even in the last couple of years. There was still a mask mandate in full force, which baffled me just a little as the stadium does not require them. I was a lot closer to anyone in the stadium and downtown than I was in any indoor place I went. Wear or mask or don’t wear a mask, vaccine or no vaccine. It’s just the lack of consistency that irritates me.
Since I’m on the soapbox, here is another irritant. I grew up with Husker football. I’m not a rabid fan, but I will follow and keep track of everything in good years and bad. I love attending a game and I love the state pride of our team. I cannot stand how we celebrate the first touchdown at home games. I hate balloons with a passion. I will not buy them. I will burn them if someone gives me one.
We take a lot of pride in the pristine landscape of our ranch. The most litter that we will pick up in a year in the pastures will be balloons. I’ve pulled them out of calves’ mouths, I’ve picked them up in calving lots and in water sources. Do not even get me started on the plastic strings!
As many intelligent people that we have at the University of Nebraska, can we come up with a better idea? How about balloons that deteriorate? How about strings that will be gone in a couple of days without causing issues for wildlife or livestock? These are not balloons that need to be around for days, so let’s do something a little smarter so they don’t end up having to be cut out of a belly. I don’t want to end up using my week’s supply of cuss words when I find one while I’m out running through pastures.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. This column represents the views of one person and are not necessarily the opinion of the Midwest Messenger.