On the Ranch Journal
|Cris Paravicini has lived and ranched
in Wyoming all of her life. These are excerpts from her diary of daily
life on the family Pearson Angus Ranch northwest of Daniel...
October 1 - Hunters & gatherers
Sunday, October 1 Slightly overcast skies today. 'Tis the harvest month for hunters and gatherers. Several hunting seasons in various areas of the county are opening for elk, moose, and deer. Archery season has been open for a couple of weeks, already. The game seems to be getting edgier with each passing day. I feel sorry for them, but I also know that harvesting must happen to keep the herds healthy and at numbers that can survive our harsh winters and sparse, snow-covered vegetation supplies. Many of our pioneers, still living, were raised on this tasty fare. Many hunters welcome the season as an opportunity to enjoy nature with old friends and new, and to take advantage of a perfect time to teach their kids new life skills - respect for guns and rules, survival and safety, and the care and responsibility owed to our wildlife. And yet other folks count on the game meat to help feed their families during the upcoming months. But, many more of us simply love the unique flavor of this healthy, red meat. It's gotta happen to keep the balance in life.
Wednesday, October 4 Nights are getting colder again. Freezing ice. Horses growing extra winter coats. Looks like they're in light jackets right now. Soon be wearing down coats and coveralls. Cattle looking good. Calves sure are growing. Shipping time is soon. Grass feed disappearing quickly. Must plan with great efficiency and farsightedness - prolong grazing, preserve the hay pile, while protecting next year's potential new growth. Hope the drought ends soon...
Friday, October 6 100 Canadian Honkers settled in to the lower pasture at sundown. The flock congregates here every year to rest and eat for a few days before heading to their winter grounds. They'll then set up one a heck of a racket, saying goodbye to the milk cows, the sheep, and perhaps, me, as they lift off into the wild blue yonder.
Saturday, October 7 A rough and rugged two below zero hit us at first light! Sort of makes you step right along to keep warm. This is the transition weather that helps you remember to grab your gloves and neck scarf before leaving the house.
Sunday, October 8 I attended the Daniel Centennial slide show
at our old school house. Another peaceful time sharing good company and
great historic information about our area. The slide show is a prelude
to the new "old-time" book, due out in the near future, about the Daniel
Valley and its perpetual, die-hard inhabitants.
Monday, October 9 Rudy began the tedious, hair-pulling job of ripping 4-5 layers of petrified roofing paper from our 75-plus year old storage garage. The old roofing material is full of tacks, so we gotta keep 'em rounded up so the horse hooves and vehicle tires don't pick 'em up and get crippled. When the roof is stripped, he'll roll out the new tar and paper - if temperatures ever reach 50 degrees again before next spring.
Wednesday, October 11 A wintry storm marched in this morning
with the stealth and purpose of a cavalry unit. Nearly time to change the
straw and felt hats for woolen Scotch caps and mittens.
Thursday, October 12 Columbus Day! A day of new discoveries, new beginnings, new adventures... A circle, neverending... Almost as good a time to make resolutions as New Year's Day, yes?
Thursday, Oct 12 You know, I've always wanted to find a hobby,
a sport, or something that I could proudly say - "Hey, I'm pretty danged
good at this!" Well, over the years, I've looked and tried, tried and looked,
and tested and protested all of my options with great enthusiasm. Mostly,
though, I've heard only these comments about my efforts: "Well, Crissie,
sure tries hard, bless her heart...Boy, sure gotta give her credit for
trying...Man, she just doesn't ever give up, does she...Crissie, have you
ever tried sitting this one out...?
Saturday, Oct 14 First thing this morning, Rudy helped load out yearlings at the "Skunk Ranch" in the Cora Valley, then he worked on his roofing project. I made sourdough bread for our shipping day, chopped firewood, cleaned up the yard, brushed the stickers out of the dogs' hair, fed the little barn cats, did laundry, got the mail, grained the sheep and old horses...general errands and whatnots.
Sunday, Oct 15 Moved the big cowherd home from Horse Creek this morning. The alkali road was slick and muddy and slow going from recent snow and rain. The dogs worked with brilliant strategy. In other words, they behaved perfectly. I complimented them many times, saying. "You dogs are so good at what you do best!" Yep, it's countdown to our own shipping day next Sunday. Might call it our only payday of the entire year. Hope things go well.
Monday, Oct 16 Fixing gates, checking stock water, airing up horse trailer tires for shipping day. Early evening hours till midnight were spent in BS session with cousins and neighbors - sittin' around the kitchen table, drinkin' cowboy coffee, and telling stories about old county livestock brands and awesome historic legends and lore.
Tuesday, Oct 17 Rudy is still cussing his roofing project...wishes he was a better carpenter...knees hurt...dropped two rolls of roofing paper from the peak of the garage...cold enough they broke up and couldn't be used...will use the chunks to paper the dog house roofs...all is not lost if you use your imagination...Turned the boss's new desert horse, Billy, out with the main horse herd...Squealing, kicking, running...pecking order quickly reestablished...Hail, King Billy...The old dog, Lacy, killed a little barn kitten...Hollered at her, but not in time...Bad dog...Poor little baby kitty...Won't have to face the harsh winter, now...Nature calling...I guess...
Wednesday, Oct 18 Helped another cousin, up country, ship out his steer calves. Nice warm weather - brilliant blue sky. No horse wrecks today. Good cowboys, good help, good day. Raccoons tearing into our grain sacks. Hellava mess!
Thursday, Oct 19 All the cowboys here today to help cut out our replacement heifers, bull calves, and peewee calves. Long lunch "hour" recalling more "history!" Toward evening tide, when the calves are mothering up for their supper meal with mama, the crew rode out again, to cut out more cow/calf pairs. Two days till shipping...
October 20 - 25, 2000 Diary
Friday October 20 The season seems peaceful, but lots of work yet to do getting ready for winter. Helped our neighbors wean and truck calves up at the historic, old Bar JS ranch. Mornings are cold and frosty, but warm up by about 10 a.m. Evenings are chilly enough that we're building a wood fire about dark each night.
Saturday October 21 Shipped calves out to Oklahoma from my uncle's ranch in the Cora Valley. Hear tell that there's floods happening in that state. Wyoming calves won't know what to do with all that water, having migrated from our drought area! Mountain-raised calves are tough little critters, though, and I'm sure they'll do just fine with their new owners.
Sunday October 22 Working hand in hand with an accompanying snowstorm and lots of good teenage helpers (headed in the right direction, nothing matches the pure energy of teens!), we shipped OUR calves today. No one complained about the inconveniences of the cold, wet, winter storm, because Mother Nature was tossing million dollar snowflakes at us. While the drought is not officially done haunting us, the ground and foliage are damp and the water table is on the rise.
Monday October 23 First thing in the morning, we ran the cattle through the chute to give the mamma cows their fall vaccinations and vitamin shots. We then hauled our saddle horses to the Upper Green to help load out some neighbor's yearlings. Beautiful country up there - closer still to the head of the mighty Green River, the majestic mountains, and God.
Move em out
Tuesday October 24 Headed back to the Cora Valley to process more mama cows. Fairly mild weather and everything slid into place fairly well.
Wednesday October 25 Rudy scattered salt and minerals on Horse Creek in preparation for the return of the cattle. I headed for town in the late afternoon to pick up supplies - mainly dog and barn cat food!
Thursday October 26 The cows have forgotten their babies (weaned), so we were safe in moving them two miles down country - back to Horse Creek where they can finish grazing off the fall pasture. Gathered up the cranky, stray herd bulls, eased 'em home, gave them their shots, and tucked them into a fresh field where they can fatten up their big, ol' carcasses before the cold winter sets in. The saddle horses were glad to see the last bull walk through the home meadow gate. Been ridin' the hosses hard these past two weeks. Maybe now they'll get to rest a bit.
Where did that story go?!? The stories from earlier front pages aren't gone. We just move them to the monthly journal pages to make room for the latest diary entries on the front page. See the Journal Index for a listing of all previous front page journal entries!
|The Pearson Angus Ranch is located approximately 2 miles
northwest of Daniel, Wyoming, and 11 miles west of Pinedale, where she
lives along with her husband, Rudy. Historic old Fort Bonneville, built
in the late 1800s, is located next to her family's ranch. Cris is a writer
and photographer for The
Sublette County Journal newspaper, where you can find more of her
accounts of life on the ranch. Cris can be reached by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyrights: Photos and page text content copyrighted,
Cris Paravicini, 2000. No part may be reproduced without permission of
the author/photographer. Page graphics copyrighted, Pinedale Online, 2000.