The Right Hand and I were heading up to the North Place on April 1. We had a full day lined up of feeding, sorting and catching up on some odds and ends. The roads, like everywhere in Nebraska pretty much right now, were about the roughest they’ve been, as the last couple of storms have wreaked havoc on them.

The last little stretch of road is the worst. Deep ruts, sticky mud, and standing water make it a car wash nightmare. The tree-lined sides and deep banks cause the majority of the water to stay on the road. The only “safe” spot is the concrete bridge that passes over the Niobrara River.

We were almost to that bridge when the Right Hand goes, “This is like the Bayou.”

True grasshopper, true.

So, if you are imagining you are in the Bayou, and it’s April Fool’s Day, an idea might just form.

I told the Right Hand to listen and dialed the Boss Man’s Wife.

“You won’t believe what just happened! You know the concert bridge that goes over the river? We drove over it and there was an alligator coming up onto the bank! Yep, an alligator! What do we do? I have my gun, but it’s probably illegal to shoot it, so do we call Games and Parks?”

My excitement and disbelief sold the story. Within a very short time, the Boss Man’s Wife was getting a little too excited and I had to stop and go “April Fool’s!” I think her exact words were “You snot!” and then recommended calling the Boss Man with the same story.

The Right Hand got her phone out to record the call and I dialed the Boss Man on speaker.

The same story came gushing out, with a little more emphasis on the disbelief.

“What do I do? I mean really, what can I do, because we don’t want him to get away, right?”

The Boss Man’s reply: “Take a picture!”

He bought the joke, though he was with the new intern at that time, and the intern told me later that he got off the phone and said he didn’t. Uh huh, sure.

Our Crocodile Dundee escapade was the topic when we got home that evening, as it was just unbelievable enough that it was believable. But it will definitely go down as one of the best April Fool’s pranks up to this point.

Calving season at the North Place is just starting to wind down, and with yet another winter storm coming in this week, we are going to sort heifers at the Home Place for the “heavy” lot. With the grass just finally starting to show a little green, none of us are really looking forward to it being covered with the white stuff again.

Though I’m never one to say anything negative about too much moisture, as the opposite is just as bad, we really don’t need this one. The whole state really doesn’t need this one.

Hopefully, the weather forecast will be a little amiss, as I have six meetings starting this Friday on the eastern side of the state that would be incredibly difficult to cancel. Along with a tour of Neogen, working on our cattle software program and a speaking engagement, it will also be my first board meeting for Humanities Nebraska. I’m really looking forward to it — historical and cultural programming is something that I feel is very important for people to have. I’m already learning, as we will hear from our new state poet on Friday — evidently, Nebraska has a state poet. I did not know that one.

So, I guess I’ll have to dust off the calving dirt, get the grease out from under the fingernails and try to remember how to talk to people and not cows. On the plus side, I won’t be dressed up like Crocodile Dundee.

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

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