Wyoming Cowgirl - On the Ranch

On the Ranch Journal
by Cris Paravicini

August, 2001

Doc Tiger helps Hawk
Doc Tiger Steuber helps our crippled Paint, "Hawk", with his gentle "horse whisperer" touch.
"Boy meets girl..."
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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...

July 29-August 4 Getting ready for haying
August 5-11 Something's trying to get into the hen house
August 12-18 Sharp-toothed Predator Strikes Again

Journal Diary
August, 2001

Getting ready for haying

July 29-August 4 Getting our moods, mentalities, and equipment geared up for the grinding hay season. Gotta get out there and round up whatever grass chanced to grow. Looks like the crop will be real short this year. What a bad year to need to buy a baler and a rake. Will just have to bite the bullet, cinch up the belt, and do the best we can to pay for 'em.
   A young bull moose ambled through the yard about breakfast time. Guess he smelled my mom's biscuits, steak, and gravy and couldn't resist trying to join the hay crew. He was much quieter than the one that had ripped through here a while ago. Hung out for just a while then jumped the fence and headed down river.

Moose to breakfast

Something's trying to get into the hen house

August 5-11 Talked to the Schwan man this afternoon. He told how a mad moose had harassed one of our neighbors, up river, while she was following her usual walking route. Michelle made it home safely, though. Because of the unusual behavior of the moose, her husband, Fred, jumped onto a four-wheeler to check out the situation. He soon discovered that the mom moose's calf was hung up in a fence. It was still alive, so he cut the wires, and it happily rejoined its distraught mother.
   Something is digging into my hen house; eating just chicken feed so far, but don't know when its diet will thirst for poultry...I'll set a live trap and catch it, hopefully. Probably a raccoon or skunk. Haven't had meat eaters in a long, old time. Hope it stays that way. Critters seem highly agitated this summer. Could be the smoke from the fires and the unusual heat.
   Hay project progressing well; a couple of damp rain showers have stopped us, but mostly we're tallying long, hot days mowing and curling swathes of hay into fluffy windrows for the round baler. Nighttime welcomed. Supper to cook. Tired. Dirty. Humorless. Hungry for something. And Tramp, my favorite orphan, contented with his day of field mouse chasing and dreaming of T-bones, lies like a crumpled rug, stretched out squarely between the stove and the kitchen sink, snoozing...
   The boss and a friend, who helps us mow our hay, and nephew Toby took time from the hay field to rope a young bull and doctor it for footrot. A dangerous, spooky lightning storm threatened them as they searched through the willows for the crippled bull. Miles of Horse Creek became electrified and literally snapped to attention as the storm cut along the valley floor. No place to go. No place to run. Had to hole up in a low-lying willow patch till it blew over, then hope and pray that the Maker wouldn't call someone Home. But after all was said and done and safe, this storm dumped some measurable moisture for a change. Will our dust and fires finally be put to sleep?
   Son John raked hay for me so I could deliver my sister's older saddle horse to Farson. Cousins Terri and Dan bought him as a corral mate to their nice Arabian, Zorro. Terri and I embarked upon a wonderful horseback jaunt around the Farson Valley. Should do this kind of thing more often! Then, while driving home across the prairie, drought relief poured down. Southbound cars and trucks were forced to park alongside the road until the deluge subsided. Northbound traffic, however, (my side of the road) kept plugging along. Must have had chores to do - pigs and orphan lamb to feed, eggs to gather, and hen house traps to set.

Sharp-toothed Predator Strikes Again

August 12-18 Predator now eating pullets (teenaged chicks). Gobbled down three, so far. Can't figure this one. Whatever it is, is like "sleeping with the enemy;" it silently befriends the hens, then picks a plump little lady right off the roost and rips her to shreds, leaving only a museum worthy skeletal remnant. And, so stealthy and sneaky is this "sharp-tooth," that the docile hens contently continue to lay 18-20 eggs each day. Now, think about it...a skunk is a rather lazy, little character with not the greatest IQ; a raccoon - much smarter than to tackle three foot of dirt and rocks. So is it - a fox, perchance? Can't say for sure, but after futile attempts to live trap the varmint and subsequently catching three skunks and a barn cat - none of which turned out to be the great and mighty tunnel digger, we had no choice but to lay out a trail set with a steel trap. A bite with no mercy! Take that you tender chickie eater! Well, come next morn, we'd caught another skunk. I fully believed that the 24-hour diner would now close for the season, but, NO...by next dawn's early light, the invisible menace was back to his excavating! Big time frustration! What's next?
The right side of the new rake broke down - three hours short of finishing the Horse Creek field. Universal joint gave up the ghost. Not my fault, though! Yes! Blaming rough ground and battle stress. Now, instead of covering 25 feet of hay with each circle, I'm reduced to raking with one, little half section of the contraption. It's much like goin' to town for groceries on a little kid's tricycle, for all the good it accomplishes. Patience, Cris. Patience! 'Twill be fixed tomorrow, if the equipment store has the part in stock...
   I'm babysitting a friend's little Aussie-cross dog. Sparkie is about 8-10 months old (a pound puppy) and was recently spayed. Needed TLC, so guess who has more of that to spare than is good for her? Well, this little 32-pound sweetie has surely been a busy, bouncy pup despite her surgery. She's like a bitsy frog on a pogo stick or a grasshopper on a trampoline! Keeps me on my toes and Rudy sporting pinched eyebrows!

Gooseberry pie

Hey, y'all take care now...till next time...!

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: cowgirl@wyoming.com.

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, 2001.

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