On the Ranch Journal
Sunny: Lesson 4
|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...
September 1 - New Cowgirls & Cowboys
September 1 - 7
Friday, September 1 Dark, foreboding clouds at daybreak; heavy rain by late afternoon. Finished stacking the last of the bales just 15 minutes before the deluge.
Between bale loads and beneath threatening skies, a cute, four-year-old little lady - a summer visitor to Sublette County - enjoyed her first-ever-horseback ride on board JJ, my kindly, semi-retired gray Quarter Horse gelding. (You'll remember that earlier JJ had some swelling in his hock joint in July and August. It still bothers him, but he's solid on his feet, and though it hurts, easy exercise is just what the doctor ordered to keep the arthritis loosened up.) We rode around the meadow to watch the bale stacking operation and checked out the sheep in the river pasture. She and her grandparents and dad also tried their "hand" at milking Heidi. New cowboys and cowgirls! Great fun!
Saturday, September 2 Huge skunk year! Can't step out of the
house at night, without stumbling over a skunk. Big skunks. Baby skunks.
Moms and dads. Great-grandparent skunks. The whole family! That's what
the BIG problem turned out to be (Remember the unknown breaking and entering
at the hen house from the last diary). Yep. Herds of skunk roam up and
down the empty irrigation ditches, loping through the rustling grass, visiting
the chickens' feed each night, sometimes traveling in triplets.
Sunday, September 3 The old yellow rooster (his name is Yogi) is very weak, but still alive. Poor fellow. The blood dried up on his feathers, so the other chickens aren't pecking on him. I'll give him a chance to finish out his life cycle, hopefully in peace.
Monday, September 4, Labor Day What about Sunny? Well, he's now
18 months old, broke to lead, and pretty well "sacked out," as we call
it when a young horse is used to being handled: feet picked up, calm in
the face of rattling/rustling feed bags, and pretty much considered "dog-gentle."
(Tramp loves to help with Sunny's education!) The other day, a lady visitor
called Sunny: Black Beauty. In thinking about it, his looks and actions
kind of remind me, too, of Anne Sewell's famous horse.
Tuesday, September 5 J. B. Bond shod three horses for us. Will be working cows this weekend and next week.
Wednesday, September 6 Put the Horse Creek cattle herd onto fresh meadow feed.
Thursday, September 7 18 degrees this morning! I can sure feel winter breathing down our necks. Froze 1/4-inch of ice in the dogs' water buckets. Heavy, white frost covering the valley. Steam rising from the rooftops as the first rays of sunlight fall across the slopes and valleys and chimney tops.
Rib-Stickin' Ranch Vittles: Whole Wheat Crackers
Friday, September 8 At first light, the wind is already moaning in the gooseberry bushes beneath my bedroom window. The beaver continue damming off the pasture water. Fall is on the rise.
Saturday, September 9 Moved two bulls out of the Horse Creek pastures. The trio of dogs worked great! That is...until we were 100 yards from home. Mr. Jack Rabbit jumped out of a deep ditch, right up under their noses, and the deaf chase was on. I joined the race too, to no avail, hollering at the top of my lungs. "Come back, come back, you #@$*! bloody dogs! Get behind. Damn it! Bonnie, come back!" Yep, shy little Bonnie was the leader of the pack. By the time the rabbit hit the highway, I'd closed the ground between us and thereupon got their undivided attention. I stepped off my horse and delivered a quick swat across each rump, which hurt my feelings much more than it did their backsides. I was more afraid than any thing else, because of the danger on our sporadically busy highway. Will I ever get these "kids" raised?
Sunday, September 10 More hay being trucked in. We kind of resemble squirrels storing nuts; if we could only know how hard the upcoming winter would be, we could stockpile accordingly.
Monday, September 11 Vaccinated Horse Creek calves with their calfhood booster shots and roped and branded the slicks. Warm days, cold nights, dry, and dusty. Perfect pneumonia weather. Pulled porcupine quills out of three nosy calves. Usually not many of the sticky, little rodents in that area of the ranch, especially this time of year. Strange year. Strange happenings.
Tuesday, September 12 Vaccinated in the Cora Valley this morning. Went to town for livestock grain and groceries in the afternoon.
Wednesday, September 13 Last of the round bales hauled in from
Thursday, September 14 Having a tough time getting stock water out of the river. Sandbars and low tide and magnified drought.
Saturday, September 16 Helped cousin Gene do his calf vaccinating and branding. He's still limping on one stretched leg.
Sunday, September 17 Worked with some friends and neighbors identifying old area brands for the upcoming Daniel area history book. Awesome legacy in the works!
Monday, September 18 Nephew Toby, four dogs, and Aunt Cris took a "little" four-mile hike up and down the river bottom, collecting old bones, artifacts, and a fall bouquet for Toby's grandma. A warm, quiet evening rolled in, filled with the beautiful essence of Autumn, chattering laughter, and four rambunctious dogs.
Tuesday, September 19 Frost and ice clinging to the spiders' webs. They'll be hibernating soon, I hope. Never ever been able to warm up to the little buggers. For the real scoop on my "spiderphobia," you just gotta read ITSY BITSY SPIDER in the storybook section!
Friday, September 22 Autumn truly and officially begins with our first lowland snowfall. Scattered, at first, it didn't take long for all the clouds - big and bold, dark and threatening - to come together in a unified effort. Then behold! Wet and wild snow!
Saturday, September 23 More snow. Four inches by nightfall in
our area. Up to 14 inches in southern Wyoming - just what the doctor ordered
for our persistent drought. We'll take 'er in whatever form Mother Nature
sees fit to deliver.
Tuesday, September 26 Moved yearling heifers and two old crippled cows and their calves to new pasture. Saw a monster bull moose along the way. He was an awesome creature - tall and lanky, with a grayish-silver rack that was freshly out of the velvet, glimmering like the evening star in the fading light. The big boy nodded his head up and down, slightly hinting at his territorial rights, and though his gaze upon us was steadfast, he ignored the light bustle of activity - the horseback riders, the dogs, and the herd of cattle driftin' along right under his big bubble of a nose. Keep your head down, big fella; hunting season is nigh...
Thursday, September 28 Temperatures hit 50 degrees today, so
Rudy rolled out the roofing material and tar and set to work waterproofing
the new calving shed in the home meadow. Got most of it done by evening.
Saturday, September 30 This past month has been a busy one, but was especially fun, too. I got to help several young ladies experience their first-ever horseback ride...and it all happened right here on the ranch. Gals ranging in age from 4 to 80 years old climbed on board my perfectly awesome JJ horse and we had a ball. From the tiniest of cowgirls to the more mature, everyone was brave, willing, and excellent sports - as they waded in and around the cow and horse poop. Of course, JJ is a veteran at first rides, so he seemed to understand the need to behave and to show everyone what a prince he is. I was proud of him and his new riders! One more cowgal to go before too many "dawns" have come and gone and before the next snow flies!
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.