Story by Cris Paravicini
Diary June - October 2003
Howdy, friends! Long time since our trails have crossed... Where does the time seem to go, I'll never know...
This summer has been filled with change and curiosity...cavorting and chaos... But the more things seem scattered and out of sorts, the more someone will come along and tell us that everything seems to blend together around here...the horses and sheep... the bulls and dogs and birds and everything. Quite harmonious, they say...
Well, that was earlier in the summer...before the Lobo entered the lower valleys... Seems we couldn't save my sheep from these jaws of random destruction, so after two big lambs were killed in a swift, bloody attack one unexpected black night, we decided not to fight and feed this vicious parasite. So, after more than 75 years of raising sheep in my family, we hauled my beloved pets to market, and I cried. But, we knew we couldn't survive another sneak attack. Who could predict whether or not these beasts would rip, and gut, and wipe out the other 25 head in one silent night's rampage? And the question was not - If they would return, but rather, when would they return... I'd rather sell my life's work than helplessly watch the painful slaughter of the innocents...
Such a pity the damage these manmade predators are inflicting upon folks, livestock, and wildlife herds... Where, once, many elk, deer, antelope, and moose roamed the hills and valleys without fear, we now hardly see a buck or fawn deer, or a yearling or calf moose, and several elk feed grounds have simply been decimated...antelope herds are segmented and disturbed by this unnatural circle of beasts, and the coyotes and fox stir and bunch, confused... I blame not the wolves, however, but I do point an arthritic finger at the irresponsible "beasts," who turned their "pets" loose on all of us...
We shipped our calves today...weights were down by 10 pounds of average... Was it the drought, stirrings of strangeness, or a mix of both? ...Instead of listening to my whining, though, one need only watch a Sublette County sunset or two to be reminded of why we face each unpredictable morning and its subsequent promise of a gorgeous end-of-day splash of color, together with a fresh and lively, damp and crisp dance of dusk upon our noses. And though the intermittent icy breath of winter is now blowing across the fiery, yet fading colors of fall, the horizon never fails to paint a memory... and my heart is warmed once more...
Despite the worries of each day, this past summer we truly enjoyed the bounty that our beautiful countryside provides and with it - each season's blessings and cheer...At a newspaper friend's request, Mom and son posed for a quick pic at the July Oldtimers' Picnic and the Legend band entertained us at an impromptu summer practice at my son's 25th birthday...And Rudy and I were invited to play at a handicapped man's benefit this fall...
A mid-September day-hike into the Wind River Mountains was absolutely breathtaking...in more ways than one...However, I strongly recommend that you leave your circling, hyperactive cow dogs at home whenever you venture into areas where the valley floor lies 2000 vertical feet below! Tramp scared the socks right off us when we approached the cliff edges and he was still full steam ahead, looking over his shoulder at the rest of the dog herd trailing behind. Whoa! What a rush of panic and pandemonium! When he finally realized what we were shrieking about, he "fell" in behind us and let his herding instinct rest a bit for the remainder of the day... Yikes! The fright of it all has taken years off my carcass!
And yep! It was bound to happen again! A skunk hit the hen house three days in a row and finally I decided - ENOUGH! This young male skunk was frisky beyond belief! A real challenge, indeed! I'd not attempted to snatch one by the tail since last summer when I broke my finger and hither-to-this-day have compromised the snappy action of my entire hand. But, I figured there's no since waiting any longer to test my dexterity and efficiency, so I worked my "magic" on the chunky, little fat-butted skunk I named "Bob Square Pants Sponge Bottom" (or however the cartoon goes...), and after maneuvering myself into position, I snatched him into the air with the speed of rusty lightning, only to have his hind feet snag onto a live trap I had used to block an escape route. Pisssssssss!! Right into my eyes and upon the face of this varmint taming, skunk whisperer it splashed... It burns, if you must know, but it does not blind... and you don't have to puke or roll in the dirt like a dog if you don't want to lower yourself to such extremes... I, myself, chose to keep a firm, proud hold of Master Skunk and head for the stock water trough and wash my face and rinse my eyes as best I could before heading to the house to show my husband and mother-in-law my great "trophy" and show 'em that I hadn't lost my touch...not all together, anyhow! I figured this pudgy little rascal had won the first round, fair and square, so I heaved him into the darkness of the dry creek bed... But by next morn, he had stubbornly returned to the hen house and was locked down tightly in the live trap... Round one: skunk... Round two: me...
I'm working on a cookbook project with the Daniel Community Center and a bunch of great local folks. Perhaps you've read about it on Pinedale Online... We're seeking oldie and goodie recipes, home remedies, and wild wranglings from anyone who wishes to participate... Lots of good stuff is comin' in, but we need more! If you care to join the fun, read the info on the POL pages, then PLEASE send along something (hopefully in your own handwriting!) to: Cookbook PO Box 103 Daniel, WY 83115... I'd be right pleased to hear from y'all!
And so...life goes on and on and on here in the Valley
of the Green...The horses are fat and sassy and still enjoying the
last remnants of "the green, green grass of home"... A rare
black elk (picture: courtesy of a friend) grazes peacefully in a secluded
enough, little Peter Cottontail's numbers are increasing...Robins
and other summer birds have abandoned their nests and headed south
for the season...and the Cottonwood trees have long since shed their
thick, fluffy cottonballs... We, however, never give up the barbecue
season - rain or shine - winter or summer, as we must eat beef to
keep the spirit alive and well...
The Pearson Angus Ranch is located approximately 2 miles northwest of Daniel, and 11 miles west of Pinedale, Wyoming. Cris can be reached by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyrights: Photos and page text content copyrighted,
Cris Paravicini, 2003. No part may be reproduced without permission
of the author/photographer. Page graphics copyrighted, Pinedale Online,