On the Ranch Journal
Feedin' the bum
|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...
First Week of April - Cora Jack
First week of April Calves starting to drop everywhere we look...lost
one premature calf...we had hauled the poor little fella to the hot
box, got him up and going and sucking a bottle...seemed happy and looking
forward to life...took him back to the meadow box stall...his crazy
mom must have stepped on him in the night...he died the next day...win
Thursday, April 12 Snow squalls, sunshine, snow squalls, sunshine...all
day long...calves arriving in great force despite the nasty weather...most
of the mothers doing the birth job and subsequent nurturing duties,
P.S. Oh, did I mention that I've started incubating seventeen chicken eggs. If all goes well (it'll be just my luck that the rooster was on vacation when these eggs were laid, and after 21, 100 degree/51% humidity-filled days, I'll end up with 17 rotten eggs setting next to Rudy at my kitchen table). Naw! Won't happen that way! Anyhow, I should have some little peeps by April 29 or 30. I need some replacement hens, but my main objective is to test the incubator to make sure that both it and the eggs are working successfully, because the Pinedale kindergarten kids are excited to hatch some eggs in May. They're hoping to accomplish the project via the natural, old-fashioned, "Mrs. Magic" hen method. But, if a hen doesn't get broody in time to hatch out before summer vacation starts, I'll just take some fertile eggs to school and let the children hatch some chicks, artificially. The live-hen-in-the-classroom way, though, is by far the most fun for the entire school! Over the years, many of my setting hens - Sonia, Henrietta, Sassy, Shasta, and Mrs. Magic, to name a few - have hatched eggs at school. I'll keep you informed of our progress or lack thereof...So long, for now...
To the awesome Adams Family from Alabama - A great big "HOWDY!" from good, old, wild, wooly, and a wee bit Western Wyoming!
Tuesday, April 17 I held my breath as I drove the
little Massey Ferguson tractor across the slimy, alkali-laden, bog-a-jack-snipe
path - that we've nicknamed the "Burma Road" - the only motorized
route to our Horse Creek hay meadow. I was geared up, today, and ready
to "recycle" cow poop dropped from last fall and winter (we
grow grass, cows eat hay, they expel it, we drag it...we grow grass,
cows eat hay...). I got about 3 stack yards done by 7-ish when Rudy
arrived via 4-wheeler to bounce me back to the home front... I'll be
returning for 4-5-hour increments of poop scattering during the next
few days. Perseverance will get the job done. Many projects are looming
during the coming spring days...fencing summer pastures...dragging poop...prepping
for drought irrigation...and still...the calving and cow feeding duties
and upcoming calf brandings.
Thursday, April 19 Traveled south into the historic
Fort Bridger country of Southwestern Wyoming where my sister Patty,
and bro-in-law JR, live with my niece and nephew, Ben and Jamie. Mission:
Pick up a calf that's mom isn't giving enough milk and bring it back
to an adoptive mom here in Sublette County. It was snowing and raining
hard when my Sublette County niece and nephew, Cindi and
Joe, and I departed for the approximately 2.5-hour, 140-mile road trip,
but the clouds and dampness gave way to only strong winds and hazy skies
just south of Big Piney.
Friday, April 20 Mother Nature seemed a bit confused
today - dumping an inch or so of snow, then raining, then sleeting...and
all the while...tossing out hot lightning bolts and crackling thunder.
Didn't last more than a couple of hours, though, and it did warm up
enough by evening tide to melt the snow before darkness wrapped its
chill around us. The ground is so darned dry that it quickly gulped
down every last drop of this moisture, then cried out for more...
Saturday, April 21 We heard last week that a WOLF
ate up one of my cousin's newborn calves...right down in the populated
valley near his family's ranch buildings and home and four little daughters.
The word on the "pecking post" is that the young beast didn't
even know how to perform its traditional, seasoned-wolf thing of killing
its way up the little calf's body - the infamous hamstring take down
and appetizer, followed by the gut-rippin' entree, and finally, the
throat and jugular-tearing dessert finale... Instead, the juvenile predator
repetitively bit and chewed at the helpless, wild-eyed and confused
calf...sort of ate it alive, I'm told...until finally death took mercy
upon it. Last I heard, those official folks who are "of the wolf
know" were going to "do something" about this outlaw
if/when it returns for more veal vittles. You know, I feel kinda sorry
for the wolf, though. He fits in around here about like a palm tree
in a snow bank or an iceberg at the equator. And sadly, the wolf didn't
even ask to be transferred to Wyoming... Lions, wolves, bears, drought,
and maybe rabies...what a smorgasbord of challenges we behold.
Sunday, April 22 Day 15 for the incubator eggs!
Dang sakes! The humidity gauge doesn't seem to be working. Air seems
way too dry in the unit. The wet wick isn't responding the way it's
supposed to when water seeps into the chambers beneath the eggs. Too
much mineral content in our tap water. Corroded the wick, I fear. Oh
dear, I hope I'm not cookin' up something rotten in the state of Wyoming...and
right beside Rudy's dinner plate!
Thursday, April 26 Four-year-old nephew Joe dropped
in to help Aunt Cris feed a bum calf (our first this season...born from
an indifferent, "career-oriented", old, ugly, old, mean, old,
irritating, old beast that just up and walked out on the poor, little
bull calf during the last storm. Oh, baloney!). Then it was: ask questions;
feed chickens; ask questions; throw up hay in the feed bunk for the
heifers; ask questions; put Bag Balm on the milk cow's teats; ask questions;
drive the alfalfa wagon for the Boss; ask questions; turn the incubator
eggs; ask more questions...
Friday, April 27 Day 20 for the egg project! Sure wondering what kind of trouble I'm cookin'? Well, we'll have the verdict very, very soon!
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 can be reached by e-mail
Copyrights: Photos and page text content copyrighted,
Cris Paravicini, 2001. No part may be reproduced without permission
of the author/photographer. Page graphics copyrighted, Pinedale Online,