There are a couple of items I wished would have happened in history.

The first is that maybe if Noah would have been not quite as stressed out with the process of building an Ark and the whole 40-day flood, maybe someone could have been watching the door a little better and stopped the dang mice from getting on the boat. I’m sure somewhere, some little PETA lover is thinking that mice have a purpose — me, not so much.

The last week I’ve been test-driving a new pony. My jaw is finally to the point of being physically sound enough to venture back onto the four-legged beasts, and I have not realized until the last month how much my heart has missed that. Horses are not the most efficient thing on this operation, but I had forgotten how getting on one seems to calm the mind and body.

As of this point, the verdict is still out whether the four-legged test drive will be making his way home to this outfit, but for all of the happiness that came with riding this last week, something truly torqued me off — the dang mice.

Once upon a time, I had a nice saddle. It was a handmade roping saddle that the Boss Man had passed down, and I used for years. It seemed to have been custom made for my body and the horses that I rode.

Well it was, until you put it in a tack room and leave it unattended for God only knows how long, and don’t realize the extent of the mice population minus the couple times a year one would remember to open the door and throw some bags of poison in. Those jerks decided that not only was it the community restroom, they literally chewed up the seat, chewed up my breast collar, my spur straps, my tie down, reins — you get the picture.

If that wasn’t enough, they took my really nice saddle pad, and decided that it was going to be their new living facility. The real kicker was what they built their home out of. Yep, you guessed it — mouse poison.

The war has been started; it might be a long drawn-out battle, but I will come out on top. Even if I must burn the whole tack room to the ground.

Evidently, hatred of vermin just might be a genetic trait. Saturday, the Boss Man swung by my house over lunch and told me a story of swathing the hillside the evening before. We have had a porcupine issue the last couple of years. Kind of surprising, since we barely have a tree in sight, but the ones that we do have, they seem to love and can kill almost faster than I can saw down with the chainsaw.

The four-legged holy terror — as intelligent as she is — has not learned that porcupines are bad. Either that or the grandparents’ babysitting skills need some major help, as it only seems she finds them when I’ve left her with the parental units. I’m getting deterred here. For those of you who may not know porcupines — they are extremely tough vermin to dispose of, unless you tap them on the back of the head, and then they will just fall over dead.

Just before PETA gets cranky — we are really animal lovers, minus the vermin that destroy our saddles or our trees.

So, here’s the Boss Man out swathing alfalfa on the hillside in front of my house, and evidently a porcupine ran out of the row. The Boss Man thought he’d run him through the head of the swather, and decided that maybe that may not be the most intelligent thing to do, so instead he takes after him with the large piece of equipment and runs over him with the big front tire.

One big swather tire was not enough, as the porcupine gets back up and starts waddling away. Boss Man runs over him again, same effect, though the porcupine is getting a little slower. Seeing that this is not the most effective, he raises the swather head, and lowers it on the porcupine, and the tree eater is still mobile.

Deciding that he has had enough, he guns for him again with the front tire, sits on him and spins the swather around in multiple circles until there are no remnants left of the above-mentioned porcupine, except for the massive amount of quills that are now residing in the swather tire. Fortunately, the quills did come out of the swather tire with no damage, and I decided maybe it was not in my best interest to ask about the state of the hillside.

This week we are hosting PhotoArk, a project in collaboration with National Geographic. They will be out this week collecting and photographing bugs. I will make sure and keep the Boss Man and the swather away from this project.

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