November 12, 2014

Just stop… and count the blessings.

Filed under: Beef,Jaclyn Wilson,Life,Ranch — Jaclyn @ 6:31 pm

It’s a miserable cold day here in western Nebraska.   I’m well aware that cold should be the norm this time of year, but I wish Mother Nature would of acclimated us a little first!  The one advantage of cold weather is that it gives us time here on the ranch to catch up on some shop projects.   The shop projects have been ongoing the last couple of days.  The Boss Man tore “Bob” apart (yes, we named his Bobcat, and refer to it by name).  The mice decided that they would infiltrate the frame and deposit upwards of a bushel of corn in their nests.  The stupid critters also ate through a number of wires, including the radio wires attached to the radio that my brother and I had given as a birthday gift not even 6 months ago.  Along with Bob; UTV’s and ATV’s got serviced or worked on, tractors received service jobs, shop was cleaned, etc. etc.  The last couple of days have been also spent on the phone with the insurance company.

Saturday morning, I was driving my F350 down our gravel road.  It had been a couple of tough weeks.  Truth be told, the last couple of months have been challenging.  Dealing with business decisions, procrastinating people, a chronic injury that is requiring 3 appointments a week, and trying to stay on top of all my commitments hasn’t caused me to get grey hair, but I would not be surprised to wake up with one.  Saturday was no different, I wasn’t feeling up to par, and I had volunteered to co-host a dinner table at the community’s annual Habitat for Humanity fundraiser where my non Betty Crocker skills had decided to put prime rib on the menu.

So, there I was driving down the road, the sun was coming up above the hills, it was a brisk morning.  I was driving through one of our pastures that we had recently moved our steer calves into.  I remember the road being clear in front of me, and not recalling anything on my right side.  About halfway through the pasture I had slowed up some to look at the calves on my left, next thing I know my air bags go off, I see a red blur in front of me, my pickup dies, my flashers are going off, and SYNC is dialing 911.  It took me a couple seconds to gather my wits.  I was going slow enough that the airbag had only hit my arm and not my face.  I cancelled the 911 call, rolled down my window as the smell from the airbags was burning my nose, and turned off my flashers.  The calf had crippled away to the side of the road.  I get out and look at the front of my pickup, there are multiple colors of fluid leaking, my grill is gone, radiator is smashed in, and bumper destroyed.  Even my Beef State license plate is laying behind the pickup about 10 feet up the road.

Boonie living means sketchy cell service, and even with two, yes two cell phones I still had to walk to the closet tall hill and call home.  Luckily the Boss Man’s Wife answered and she and the Boss Man came to my rescue in just a matter of minutes.  I have a wall hanging on my bathroom with a quote by Mother Theresa that says:  “God never gives us more than we can handle, I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”  Sometimes when life gets in the way of living, it’s easy to feel that there is more out there than we can handle.  The pickup was my final straw, I had my 10 minute breakdown, and then recognized that I still had commitments for the day that I needed to focus on.

How we handle adversary makes us the people that we are.  By the time the Boss Man and I returned with a trailer and tractor to load the pickup and get it off the road.  I realized how lucky I was.  For what it could of been the damage was minimal,  the calf was still alive (and still is to this day), Jazz was not riding with me as she could of been seriously injured, and I walked away without a scratch.  Sometimes I forget to stop, and just count the blessings.  November is a time to be thankful… so I’ve put together a list of things that I’m thankful for this month.

1.  My family.  The Boss Man for being the awesomest teacher, mentor, and role model, and the Boss Man’s Wife for being a rock, best friend, and support system.  My brother and sister-in-law for being the amazing people that they are, and Haley, for being the absolute cutest niece in the world.

2.  My friends.  For saying it how it is, and for being a shoulder, or a kick in the butt when I need it.

3.  My lifestyle.  There’s no other occupation I can think of that lets me wake up every morning doing what I absolutely love to do.

4.  Opportunities, both professional and personally.

5.  People that make me laugh, whether it be singing idiotic songs, or making random comments.

6.  The mindset that always wants to learn and grow.

7.  Our industry.  There aren’t many people that are better out there than those that raise BEEF.

8.  Inventions.  The important ones besides clothing and shelter….like wifi, Keurig, and baseball caps.

9.  Animals, whether they are companions or part of the operation.

10. Most importantly, God; for the advantages, for the trials, and for making me the person that I am, and also for putting up with the person that I am.

There’s not reasons for a lot of things.  Why do people get sick?  Why are there car accidents?  Why did this happen or that happen?  But, staying positive, and counting the blessings that we do have make not only ranching a lot easier, but life in general.  Sure the last couple of months have been challenging, they have also been amazing.  There have been new opportunities, new joys, new laughter, and it sometimes just takes an event to stop and realize how blessed we truly are.

 

 

January 16, 2014

Intimidator

Filed under: Agriculture,Bad boy,Intimidator,Jaclyn Wilson,Life,Ranch,UTV — Jaclyn @ 8:52 pm

In the however long this blog has been in production, I’ve rarely done a product endorsement. Today that is going to change.

I’ve mentioned numerous times that we utilize the heck out of ATV’s on the ranch. At current count there’s six of them running around the operation. The Boss Man purchased the first UTV a little over a year ago, a Honda Big Red, I may be a little biased but our machine can kick his machine’s butt.

Ryan and I attended the Kansas State Fair this last year and right inside the gate was a UTV that caught our attention. The Intimidator was developed by Robert Foster most recently from Bad Boy Mowers. The company’s mission is to offer “world class, American made, side-by-side, 4×4 Utility Vehicles with unparalleled strength, power, and performance, at an affordable price.”

The UTV comes in three different body styles; classic, crew cab and truck series. Once you pick the style, there are three different engines; 1000cc Kohler Diesel, 750cc Kohler Gas, and 48v Brushless Electric.

When we were in Kansas for New Years, Ryan and I ran over to Wichita to test drive one of the “beasts.” The test drive went well. A little to well…because we ended up loading the creature and bringing it home.

The machine has been earning it’s place. The power steering and ride is incredible. Snow, mud, and sand has not been an issue, and the fact that you can carry the weight of a round bale is tempting. It even has the Boss Man’s approval…which is like a huge gold star in my book.

I’m looking forward to this summer and not having a radiator to blow out, or the dust sucking, and with a towing capacity of 2100lbs it should make a decent fencing wagon.

I can’t say I’ve used the turn signals, or the hydraulic bed yet, but I’m sure I will soon…well maybe not the turn signals.

Unfortunately the downside is that the headrests and nets are not dog proof as RYAN’s DOG decided to use them as a chew toy. Dumb dog won’t chew on a bone, but decides to eat the UTV within two weeks.

Visit www.intimidatorutv.com to check it out!

November 25, 2013

Play It Safe!

Filed under: Agriculture,Carbon Monoxide,Jaclyn Wilson,Life — Jaclyn @ 9:33 pm

I was a speech team geek back in high school. I’m not saying that all speech team members are geeks, so don’t misinterpret what I’m writing….I was just a geek. I loved extemporaneous speaking. The rules were pretty simple; draw a current event topic and depending on the meet, I had from a half hour to an hour to write a speech. The speech needed to be around five minutes or more, and you could use a 3X5 notecard if needed. I was reasonably successful (State Champion) but what I remember the most was my motto- “Just don’t let this be a character building day!”

We all have character building days, but my last couple of weeks have been full of enough character building to last a while. It all started with a birthday gift. My mother-in-law’s birthday was in May. I really lucked out and have a great mother-in-law, so Ryan and I told her for her birthday present we would come down and paint a remodeling project they were working on. I think she had heard stories on my house painting skills and decided to have it professional done…which meant we still were short a gift. By now I’m sure you all know that I have a metal side business where I like to hobby around with iron, so I decided to make a gift. Well, after some discussion, a centerpiece for her new dining room set was in order.

About three weeks ago, I decided that with the list of metal projects that I had on my plate, I would get this centerpiece started, and proceeded to spend some late evenings in the shop. The time change has one advantage in my book and with the earlier sunset, it means more shop time. So, there I was welding and cutting away one night. I noticed that one of the metals I was working with had a little bit of an odor to it. The heater was on over my head. I didn’t have any ventilation as it was freaking cold outside. Yeah, I sure everyone else could see where this was going. I’m cutting some rebar on the cutoff saw, and next thing I know I’m picking myself up off of the floor. I somehow scrambled and crawled my way to the office where I was trying to dial the phone and fell down again, just as mom walked through the door. The Boss Man showed up about five minutes later and they were able to drag my butt outside.

Carbon monoxide can be vicious, and this is just a reminder to all those farmers and ranchers out there that are around equipment, shop tools, vehicles, water heaters, exhaust pipes, and any other factors that can produce monoxide. According to the CDC, more deaths from carbon monoxide exposure occur in the winter months than at any other time. Play it safe this winter. Be aware, and hopefully the Boss Man won’t have to drag your butt out of the shop.

The character building has been in full effect since then. That nice little part of my brain called the amygdala keeps evaluating the shop as a threat, which is not real handy when metal projects have a deadline.  I’m now building benches and signs in freezing weather with the two shop doors, and a window open until my sensitivity goes down and my amygdala is no longer traumatized.

The humorous part out of all this…mom did ask who I was dialing that night. I informed here I was trying to dial 911, but I was enough out of it, I think I dialed 611. Her response…”Were you trying to get a road report?”

Oh and in case you were wondering, the centerpiece came out pretty neat!

October 22, 2013

Aliens and Swamp Gas

Filed under: Jaclyn Wilson,Life,Ranch — Jaclyn @ 11:52 pm

I support the second amendment…and like most people our household arsenal has expanded over the last year.  I do want it to be known that it hasn’t expanded on my behalf as I’m happy with my little handheld (and yes I’ve taken a concealed carry) that I purchased after a doe attacked Jazz in the yard.  But, that arsenal can come in handy…as Ryan and I found out the other night.

It was a typical Friday night in our household.  We were both reclining on the couch, Ryan was catching up on tv shows we had recorded throughout the week, and I was halfheartedly watching while trying to catch up on computer stuff that was behind…like always it seems.

Ryan usually heads to bed a couple of hours before I do, and that night was no different.  Around 11, the laptop screen was getting blurry, so I put it on the coffee table and stumbled towards the back of the house shutting off the lights as I went.  When I reached the bedroom, I realized I had left my Ipad on the kitchen counter and I can’t fall asleep unless getting lost in some meaningless book, so I returned to the kitchen stumbling back through the dark…and there in the living room window was a blue light.

Okay, picture this…we live in the boonies.  We have no yard light or outside lights.  Our closest neighbors are my parents, which are a mile away.  I don’t like scary movies.  I had been watching a cop show that was solving a murder.  Jazz had been acting weird all night, and earlier there was something digging around the outside of the house.

I pegged this light placement as someone or something that was either sitting on our patio, or on top of the patio table.  After closer examination from the darkened kitchen, I discovered as miniscule as it was, the light was moving.

So, I do what every good wife does…I went and woke Ryan up.

“Ryan, there’s a blue light in our window, and it’s moving!”

“What?”

“Ryan, there’s a blue light in our window and it’s moving!!”

Ryan stumbled out of bed, walked down the darkened hall into the kitchen and froze.

“What the heck is that thing?”

He moved around the counter in the kitchen and tiptoed out into the living room.  Meanwhile I’m being the brave one and hiding behind the kitchen counter.

“Can you see what it is?”

“No, but it’s moving!!”

Ryan tries to convince me to come closer as I have the better vision.  I refused.  I was happy to stay behind the counter.  Ryan retreated, and we headed back to the bedroom where he grabbed my gun.

“Whatcha going to do with that?”

“I don’t know, but I’m going to go see if it’s still there.”

“Well I’m going to call the Boss Man!”

“Why are you going to wake him up?”

“If something happens to us, somebody needs to know!!”

Ryan snuck back down the hallway, I picked up the phone almost surprising myself that there WAS a dial tone.  I woke the Boss Man up.

“Dad there’s a blue light outside our window, we don’t know what it is…Ryan’s shotguns in the office, grab it and please come down!”

Of course that had to be repeated a couple times till the Boss Man was coherent enough to realize I was almost hysterical.

So what does a person do in the ten minutes until the calvary comes?  Oh, you know things like go into a spare room and grab another gun.  I don’t know what it is…it’s like the ones in movies that shoots a lot and has the laser that somebody freaks out over.  I thought I could pull the case down the hallway and into the kitchen.  Yes, the blue light was still in the window swaying, so I ran back down the hallway pulling the camo bag to the bedroom where I sat next to it.  Because a gun in a bag that I don’t know how to shoot is going to protect me!  Ryan’s paranoid, I’m focusing on my breathing trying to not induce an anxiety attack. The calvary has not shown up yet. I pull the bag into the bathroom and sneak a peek out of the corner of the bathroom curtain.

“Maybe they got him too!!!”

Ryan’s trying to calm me down. I see headlights pulling up into the yard.  I collect every bit of nerve that I had left and run into the living room, around the coffee table, and up to the window….

The light disappears.

I move.

The light reappears.

Even in my weakened state, my brain registered pretty quick that the light was…

Yes, it was a reflection from the laptop I had lazily placed on the coffee table instead of putting it back where it belongs.

I sheepishly walked to the door as the Boss Man was coming up the steps.  He took one look at my face…

“Figured it out huh?”

“Um, yeah…I’ll see you in the morning.”

 

 

September 3, 2013

Here’s to Another 125!

Filed under: Beef,Cattle,Jaclyn Wilson,Life,Nebraska Cattlemen,politics,Ranch — Jaclyn @ 10:21 am

We had a shindig at the ranch recently in celebration of our 125th.  The year 1888 must of been a progressive one as we share the anniversary with the Nebraska Cattlemen, the closest “metropolis” (Alliance), National Geographic and Limited Edition Bourbon.  Dealing with family for a year or two can be a headache; but a 125 years (?!?!),  it definitely provided an excuse for a big party.

The evening was perfect, and it was great to hear some of the old stories that were being told.  One of the gifts we received was a copy of a letter that my great great grandfather had written in 1918.  The story was that there were some individuals that were wanting to divide Sheridan County into north and south.  My great great grandfather AM Wilson, was admittedly against it and got into a wordsmanship game with the editor of the Antioch News.  Editorial titles of “County Division Propaganda a Myth Advocated by Mythicals for Selfish Purposes Only” and “Hear the Mad Bull Bellow” were entertaining and effective as the county decided not to divide.  I included a copy of one of the editorials by AM.

Editor Rushville Standard:

Dear Sir: Kaiser Broom of the Antioch News seems to have been frosted a little following my letter to your paper a short time ago, expressing my views in regard to dividing the county.  I tried to state the facts as they actually exist.  I hadn’t intended to start a mudslinging game, but as the New editor has made some statements which are the blackest kind of lies, I will try to correct them.

First he says: ” Do we want old fossils and stiffs to dominate?”  No, Mr. Broom, certainly not.  The county affairs should not be trusted with the property owners and tax payers, but should be taken over by office seekers, hoodwinkers and rotten political shysters of Mr. Broom’s calibre, who would like to hold down a cushioned chair and do the wind work while the old stiffs go down in their pockets to carry out his own selfish schemes.  Indeed it would be lovely for the old fossils to empty their pockets into his-he might flop his wings harder in the 400 class.  He likes to do the dominating himself, but wouldn’t soil his white hands to help make those good roads he speaks of.  I, with my men and teams, have been out doing road work while perhaps this popular Broom was guzzling down beer or playing a game of poker or perhaps was in the Times office in Alliance begging the editor not to publish his name when he and his poker friends “got pinched.” I advocate good roads and bridges across the streams but I believe in using a little judgment in building them.  We can’t expect to have macadamized roads in the sand hills, but the man who says I am afraid to spend a few dollars for modern and progressive improvements is only wasting gas.  Talk about progressiveness, a $5000.00 court house would certainly denote it.  It would be a disgrace to the country.  Also the sand hill towns have nothing to do with the value of ranch land, the valuation depending largely on the demand for our products in the east and foreign countries.  The News editor also states the almighty dollar is my ideal and the statement is pretty far fetched when he refers to family affairs, and I will be explicit enough to say my family comes as near to having what they want as any family in the county and I may also add when my family asks for Mr. Broom’s sympathy along those lines will be plenty soon enough for him to grant it.  The News editor refers to me as an old stiff.  I wonder if the dear boy really knows what he’s talking about?  In the hospitals they call the “dead ones” stiffs but, my dear Mr. Broome, I’m a very lively corpse yet and as for my being an old fossil, unpatriotic and unprogressive, I’ll show the stubs to my checks to the Red Cross and Liberty Loan alongside of his any time.

-AM Wilson

They sure don’t write like they use to!

August 13, 2013

What’s In the Straw?

Filed under: Agriculture,Jaclyn Wilson,Life,NCBA,Ranch — Jaclyn @ 10:21 pm

My second cousin came to visit two weeks ago.  She is a horse loving nine year old from Carlsbad, New Mexico.  Babies scare me; I have this phobia about dropping one, but a nine year old I was looking forward to.  Growing up, there was rarely a summer that went by that I didn’t have a cousin out at the ranch.  Most grew up in urban populations and boy were there some stories.  My favorite cousin story was when the Boss Man convinced one that the only way to lift the loader bucket on a tractor that was being worked on was to blow in the hydraulic hose as hard as possible.  After about five minutes of the Boss Man encouraging with “a little harder I saw it move,” the cousin was finally let in on the prank.

It had been years since I had a cousin out for the summer, so it was a little nostalgic to start on the second generation.

We had a full week planned, with ai’ing, baling, checking pastures, moving cattle around, painting, judging at the fair and a board meeting rounded out her trip before I delivered her to Denver where NCBA summer conference was starting.

We were ai’ing cows when she arrived.  I did pretty well, or so I thought explaining the process.  We’ve had city folk come out before, but explaining the process to a nine year old was a little new.  Explaining the back tags, heat detection, Nomad, process, nitrogen etc. went well.  We ai’d for five days and every morning and evening she hung in there like a trooper.  The final day we rounded up the cows to move to another pasture.  She was riding on the ATV behind me, and out of the blue the question came out:

“What’s in the straw?”

Needless to say, she got the sex ed discussion that every ranch kid is privy to.  I didn’t know I could stutter while trying to explain, eggs, semen, reproduction but I did…I think I blushed too.

I guess even with my own blunderings, she loved the week…so much so that she decided that her goal in life is to own a ranch.  Meanwhile, I think I need to go back to PE class.

July 18, 2013

Counting Sheep

Filed under: Agriculture,Beef,Cattle,Life,Ranch — Jaclyn @ 8:55 pm

What does Google, NIKE, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, the Boss Man, Uncle and myself all have in common? We are nap takers! A daily power nap is almost a requirement around here with early mornings, and late evenings getting a 30 minute shut eye right after lunch has been passed down through generations. It helps mood, performance, memory, alertness; but, it does not help slow eating, as food is usually scarfed down Hell Week military style to get a couple of those much needed minutes of solitude.

A NASA study backs up the claim by showing that a nap of just 26minutes can boost performance by as much as 34%. Employers are also taking notice and companies are developing nap rooms and nap times to recoup some of the $150 billion a year of lost productivity because of tired workers.

There is a time and a place for a nap. With new trucking regulations that went into effect the beginning of the month, that place was going to be a loaded cattle pot for 30 minutes within the first eight hours of driving. I laughed outloud at the idiocy.

Well, last week the DOT kind of redeemed themselves as they granted a 90-day waiver for livestock transporters as a result of being hammered with request from livestock groups to rethink this stupidity. It’s not over people, this is just the beginning and I highly encourage you to contact the DOT or your politicians and encourage them to permanently repeal the 30 minute nap period. If we have cattle in the corrals, or on the trailer it is not the time to be taking a nap. Ranchers have figured that out, now the DOT needs to do the same!

July 2, 2013

Blog Vacation!

Filed under: Jaclyn Wilson,Life,Ranch — Jaclyn @ 8:35 pm

Happy early Fourth of July! In honor of Independence Day, I’m taking the week off of blog writing….okay truth be told, with a family reunion at the ranch, work, catching up, and trying to keep my sanity, I think my brain is totally fried.

I wish everyone a blessed holiday, may it be filled with family, friends, and a firework or two.

I will return next week in creative mode…..hopefully.

June 25, 2013

Passing on the Legacy

I attended the Nebraska Cattlemen Midyear this last week.  The meetings took place between The Prairie Club Golf Course and the Valentine High School.  One of the highlights for me was listening to a panel made up of the Nebraska Stock Growers, Nebraska Livestock Feeders and Nebraska Cattlemen Presidents and EVP’s that recalled and discussed history of key events and issues from the last 125 years.

The panel might not have had as much significance for me if we weren’t also celebrating our 125th year here at Wilson Ranch.  The last couple of weeks have been full of nostalgia as I’ve been looking through old photographs, listening to stories, and starting preparation for our birthday party in August.  I continue to learn something new about our history on a regular basis.  Today’s tidbit of information was that we originally started as a Shorthorn outfit before my ancestors started purchasing purebred Herefords in the 1930’s.

There are two sides to being part of a multigenerational operation.  I’ve heard both. There are those that commend the operation for functioning through the trials and tribulations of 125  years and still being successful, than there are those such as the dingbat in Kansas this weekend (that I met for the first time, but knew Ryan) that said “You got a pretty good gig going on up there don’t cha.”  Either way the stories are fascinating, the history is inspiring, and the legacy can continue on.

The moral of this blog is…we all have a history.  Whether we are ranchers celebrating a milestone, associations reaching the big one, or a town (Alliance is also celebrating their 125th) that has pulled through the tough times, that history is a vital part of who we are, why we are here, and how we can continue.

At the Prairie Club on Tuesday evening, with the Governor and a who’s who of past and present Nebraska ranchers, feeders, and agriculturist, there was a commemorative panoramic photography taken.  Sitting in that group looking around the circle made me choke up a little as my thoughts began to wonder to the future and what would someone think of the photo 125 years from now?  Besides wondering why the heck some of us were in golf clothes, I hope they can pick out a couple faces and say that’s why my family is here now and this is the difference that that person made.

June 24, 2013

Pass It On

Filed under: Agriculture,Fluffy cows,Jaclyn Wilson,Leadership,Life,Ranch — Jaclyn @ 9:34 pm

I read a great letter today that was posted on the BEEF website.  It was from a ranch mother whose child is battling cancer.  It was a tearjerker.  There’s a benefit coming up for the family this Wednesday, and one of the auction items happens to be a “revamped” fluffy cow photo.  I’ve questioned the whole fluffy cow craze that has been gone on lately, but this picture takes the cute cuddly bovine and shows the cuts of meat.  The bidding has already reached over $5000!

Check out the letter at: http://beefmagazine.com/blog/cowboy-cure-fundraiser-wednesday

Ryan, my cousin-in-law, father-in-law and myself golfed in a benefit on Saturday to pay tribute to two young men that had been killed.  Even though we shot 18 under, we were irritated in knowing that we could of won the whole dang thing (even with a girl on the team).  It’s important to give back and sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own little world that we forget that there are other’s out there that could use a helping hand.

I’d love to hear what you’ve done lately for someone else.  Comment at www.midwestproducer.com, facebook me at Jaclyn Wilson-Demel, or tweet @Jacd_up.  I might just have an awesome prize for the best story!

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