Wyoming Cowgirl - On the Ranch

On the Ranch Journal
by Cris Paravicini

June, 2001

Rafting the irrigation ditch
Rafting the Irrigation Ditch
"Stepping up to the spring starting line..."
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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...

June 1-6 - My life flashed before my eyes
June 7 - Tomorrow's uncertainty
June 11 - Nimble, high-jumpin moose
June 12 - Rain
June 13 - Snow!
June 14 - Arctic spring
June 15 - Huck Finn
June 16 - Family & friends
June 17 - Father's Day
June 18 - Trip to town
June 19 - John
June 20 - Cleaning
June 21 - Bar J Wranglers
June 22 - John is 23
June 23 - Pet chores
June 24 - Horse racing in Evanston
June 25 - Tramp to the Vet
June 27 - Fair Pony
June 28 - Claude Dallas
June 30 - Bull turn-out begins

Journal Diary
June, 2001

My life flashed before my eyes

Week of June 1-6 Reinstalled SULFNBK.EXE. Big, bad hoax! But, to my friends who were A ranch stallionkind enough to send the alert - Thanks, anyhow! - I'd danged well rather be "sitting square in the saddle when something gooses my horse, than bucked off in the rocks, because I didn't see the bad guys comin' down the trail!" Keep up the good work!
   Still getting moisture each morning, but only in the form of heavy frost - back to back to back to back to...icy, 18 degree break-of-day temperatures, and then, the wind, again...
   Watched a nasty, rogue coyote chase some little antelope across the river, then he promptly killed a big woodchuck and began lunching. Now, that ol' boy's days are numbered if he keeps chasing wildlife and lurking near the chicken coop and the new lambs!
   Went to the high school rodeo to take pictures of Nephew Toby. He's a good hand and comingBull Dogger Toby right along on his bulldogging and team roping abilities. He didn't place at the hometown show, but gathered points in Jackson Hole the next day...
   My life flashed before my eyes about dark-thirty on one fine evening about mid-week. The dogs had put in a quality day of working cows and "helping" with the irrigating, so, as a special "Thank You" treat, I'd hurriedly stepped out my front door to chop up a package of old, frozen hamburger. Well, it just so happened that at the precise moment I made my headlong rush to grab the ax at the corner of the house, a big-as-heck bull moose came rushing around the same corner. When we met eye to eye, at exactly the same moment, we each had major cardiac arrest and started ripping up sod in a smokin', super-revved, back-peddling motion. I had my eye on the door; the moose...well, he didn't have much of a plan, so he spun a fast 90 degrees...but the old dog, Cindi, was laying square in his path and, in her deafened geriatric condition, she still had not seen the big bull. The moose leapt in the air to miss trampling the old dog, and as his front feet lit beside her chubby body, she finally came to the party. The ruff shot up on her neck and she let out a "Yip! Snarl! Snap!" in rapid succession. Startled! Irritated! Protective! - all - in one split-second reaction. The moose bowed his neck, velvety horns ready for battle, if need be, then brushed on by the picnic table, jumped the fence by the kid's sand pile, slid by the car, and jumped the barbed wire fence into the sheep pasture - disappearing like a phantom of the night into his willow bush home. We see moose all the time up and down our valley, but rarely do we meet in this manner...
   Niece Cindi helped me plant the garden in a lovely, cloverleaf, arrangement of old rubber tires. We hope to grow wild flowers, carrots, sugar peas, radishes, lettuce, onion sets, potatoes, beets, and spinach. Didn't even think about buying corn, broccoli, tomatoes, or cucumber seeds. Now, why on earth, in snowy, old, 90-day-growing-season-if-you're-really-lucky Sublette County, do they even put those kinds of seeds on the sale shelf?

Kids and lamb
Kids and lamb

(Included in this diary are some pictures taken on the Memorial Day weekend here at the ranch by visiting friends from California, Beau and Adria Brown.)

Tomorrow's uncertainty

Thursday, June 7 Moved the last batch of cows out to pasture. The grass is being very stubborn in stepping up to spring's starting line. Can't say as I blame it - facing either wind or freezer-burn each time a new shoot sticks its head from the parched ground. Luckily for us, most of our pastureland is in naturally boggy ground, so, if the temperature ever warms up and the winds stop blowing, we'll hopefully grow enough summer feed. For ranchers living on the short creeks, though, luck has played hard ball with them. Many folks are selling their entire herds due to this drought and the high price of hay. Years of hard work in building quality herds are being loaded onto big cattle trucks and hauled down the road to market. It's sad and more than a little frightening, after many generations in the cow business, to be raising beef one day and then be looking for your next dollar in tomorrow's uncertainty. Good luck to us all.

Nimble, high-jumpin' moose

Monday, June 11 Rudy and I loaded the 4-wheeler into the old pickup and drove to the Horse Good Ole JJCreek pastures to mend fences. Lots of fence still to be fixed. On this particular day, the fence was still in pretty good shape after the mild winter and many thanks to all the nimble, high-jumpin' moose! Still, the fence line, which was no walk in the park, had to be gone around to be certain there were no broken posts or wires. Each step taken through the soggy alkali bogs, (and packin' the 16-pound post maul, fence stretchers, splice wire, and staples), literally brings you to your knees...sinking in the gooey quagmire, that is. The sucking, mucking soil can steal the shoes right off yer feet! A stiff breeze was blowing across our sweaty foreheads and the stagnant swamp pools, trying hard to evaporate everything in its path - but, it (on a happy note) swiftly swept the pesky skeeters away. Thank Heavens!


Tuesday, June 12 Wow! It's actually raining and the wind isn't blowing and it's not too cold and it seems to be a set-in storm! Wow! So to celebrate, right in the midst of the soaking deluge, the boss said, "Saddle up! We got some cows to rotate onto new pasture." When we made it back to the barn four hours later, the little filly I was riding looked like a drowned rat, and the chilling rain had soaked through my storm duster and was introducing itself to my goosebumps.


Wednesday, June 13 Oops! The rain has turned to SNOW! Zowie, I hate when it does that in the merry month of June, even if we do need the moisture. And all day long it snowed and snowed, leaving a couple of inches of wonderland sticking to the ground. But cold and damp as it was, Momma Earth smiled happily.

Arctic spring

Thursday, June 14 Now, you gotta love it! Today is ice cold and the wind is blowing - again - "90" mph and selfishly slurping up all that nice moisture. The first round of spring life - mosquitoes, young baby birds, grass, and garden sprouts - has already frozen or withered from the Arctic conditions.

Huck Finn

Friday, June 15 Docked the lambs this evening. Nephew Joe and Niece Cindi helped grab the Around this outfit, the "lions" and the lambs must lie down together and behave!little rascals so we could apply the bands to their tails and other private boy parts. Geez, I hate when we gotta do that to them, but it must be done. They'll forget about it very soon.
The bum (orphaned) lamb is growing fast and thinks it's a dog!
   We launched a borrowed "Huckleberry Finn" rowboat adrift in the irrigation ditch. First ones aboard were Niece and Nephew! It's always makes for fond memories when one can set his/her cares adrift for a spell.

Family & friends

Rafting the irrigation ditchSaturday, June 16 My niece and nephew and their mom (my sister) from Lyman, Wyoming came to visit for a few days. We then gathered 'em all up and headed for our neighbor boy's wedding reception at the old Daniel Schoolhouse. Way nice evening with friends!

Father's Day

Sunday, June 17 Dad's Day. Just worked and got supplies in Pinedale. Bumped into a friend in the grocery store, so we parked the shopping carts and shared a few stories. She told of a courageous, young lady who had rescued an old dog from the wild waters of the Hoback River, 30 miles north of the ranch. Seems that our heroine was driving by with a friend when she spotted a dog bobbing near the far shore, struggling to scratch its way up an under-cut bank. She could see that the dog was old and tired and just about to give up the fight. Well, without thinking, this gal waded into the icy river and swam/waded her way to the desperate dog. She knew she couldn't make it back by crossing in the same spot, so she dragged the exhausted dog up the steep bank and carried it upstream until she found a shallower, less ominous crossing. The dog is alive today and the brave, lucky woman had told the story on herself.

Trip to town

Monday, June 18 Went back to Pinedale to renew the licenses on one of the old ranch pickups.

John is back

As ong as Dad's holding meTuesday, June 19 Son John arrived for a visit between job interviews. He can help with the irrigating and fencing while he's here...but don't tell him I said that...


Wednesday, June 20 Helped my sister and brother-in-law wash windows at a retired couple's home. They have a highly successful cleaning and service business, and I help them when they are short-handed.

Bar J Wranglers

Thursday, June 21 Went to the "soon-to-be-famous" cowboy supper show in Wilson, Wyoming - compliments of my great mother-in-law! This talented group of gentlemen call themselves the Bar J Wranglers. What awesome musical abilities - from strumming guitars, fiddles, banjos, steel guitars and more, to singing and yodeling old-time western songs and telling stories about the Old West. To top off the evening, they serve up a big feed of your choice of steak, chicken, ribs, or barbecue. If you ever get the chance to see one of their shows, you will be greatly entertained! Check out their web site at: http://www.barjchuckwagon.com/

John is 23

Friday, June 22 Son John's 23rd birthday! Took him on cleaning detail with Shenefelt Services from 5 p.m. till 12 a.m. Happy Birthday! Does keep one out of mischief and sleeping good at nights!

Pet chores

Saturday, June 23 Did chores for my sister's pets while they embarked on a 250-mile trip to Utah with their youngsters.

Horse racing in EvanstonGotta run now!

Sunday, June 24 Son John took Nephew Ben home to my sister. Met them at the Quarter Horse racetrack in Evanston where my brother-in-law has now qualified his two horses for the Wyoming Downs finals in July.

Tramp to the Vet

Monday, June 25 Took little Tramp the Border Collie to the vet for his rabies and distemper shots and physical.

Fair Pony

Wednesday, June 27 Neighbor boy, Jake, called and asked if he could use my pony in the upcoming fair in the halter class. Seems they must have three ponies entered in the contest or they won't be able to have that particular class. They have only two at this point, so I told him we'd all work together to get the little roan pony ready for the big fair coming up during the first week of Getting the feel August.

Claude Dallas

Thursday, June 28 Showed Cousin Terri one of the ranch horses that my sister has for sale. "Claude Dallas" is a 14-year old ex-racehorse turned cowpony. Terri and I rode him a little bit in the corral, but plan to take a bigger circle on Monday...

Bull turn-out begins

Saturday, June 30 Bull turn-out begins today. When boy meets girl...When Harry meets Sally...True Ranch Romance...anyhow...you get the idea! Nine months from now - when it's a dark and dreary midnight, and cold and stormy and sloppy - we'll wish we had forgotten to do this job

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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