Wyoming Cowgirl - On the Ranch

On the Ranch Journal
by Cris Paravicini
December, 2000

[Home] [Journal Index
[Stories] [Cowboy Poetry]
[Photo Gallery] [Recipes]

Feeding calves
Fattening Calves Before Winter Sets In
"Happy Holidays!"

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...

December 1 - Feeding Cora Valley cattle
December 2 - Truck brakes out
December 3 - Tropical twenties
December 5 - Calves to Riverton
December 11 - Full moon on the rise
December 12 - Rudy's special day
December 13 - President's day
December 14 - Christmas tree trip
December 15 - Horizontal snow
December 16 - Ranch retirement
December 18 - Heidi
December 19 - Horse Creek hay caravan
December 20 - Happy Holidays
Grandma Noble's Radiant Fruit Cake Recipe

December Diary
Jess Griffin
At a Meeteetse, Wyoming rodeo this past summer, Jess Griffin lends a helping hand to
a bull rider who is hung up in his rope.   Copyright credits: www.cowboyimages.net

Feeding Cora Valley cattle

Friday, December 1 Started feeding the Cora Valley cattle. It lies only ten miles away, but looks and feels more like winter in that valley than here on the ranch. Three-year old nephew Joe helped check swamp cattle via four-wheelers late in the afternoon...cold wind swept through the cracks in our coats causing shivers and red cheeks as the evening chill rolled through the willows...
   Don't even discuss the eyeball, now...must be okay...

Truck brakes out

Saturday, December 2 Brakes are gone on the big stock truck...need it to haul peewee calves to the Riverton, Wyoming livestock market on Tuesday, so we had to bleed the lines and replace the brake fluid. Now, all systems - go...Hope the weather holds...South Pass can be treacherous this time of year...
   Sawed and hauled firewood to stack near the house.

Tropical Twenties

A winter fire is always welcome in Wyoming.Sunday, December 3  "Tropical" twenties return to the valley by mid-day...Yea! Attended to the daily chores...fed calves, horses, sheep, barn cats, chickens, etc...opened waterholes...sawed more firewood...nothing like the warmth and scent of burning pinewood...sometimes we cut a willow stick and "fry" a steak or hamburger over the coals...pretty, danged, good eatin'...

Calves to Riverton

Tuesday, December 5 We loaded the boss's truck with calves and sent him on his way to Jake and DollarRiverton by 7:30 a.m...
   Made plans to pick up the filly, Dollar, from our neighbor, Jake Griffin. He's been doing some necessary training on her for the last 30 days. Jake reports that she has the potential to make a dandy, little mare. That's what I figured, but needed a second opinion...
   The boss rolled back in from market at 6:30 p.m...brakes worked fine all day...truck ran good...said it snowed all day long over the mountain...folks running off the road...scary canyon roads...

Deer in the sagebrush
Before the whiteness of winter comes, deer are comfortably tucked, 
safe and sound, into nature's natural cover.

Feeding calves
Fattening Calves Before Winter Sets In

December 11 - December 20, 2000 Diary

I can remember when I was a small fry, and my dad and I would ride into the mountains about this time of year. We'd search around on our saddle horses, sometimes bucking belly deep snow, until we'd stumble onto just the perfect Christmas tree. We'd cut it, carefully, so as not to break any branches, then tie onto it with a lariat rope and take turns dragging it back to the horse trailer. When we arrived home with the tree, my mom always had freshly baked fruitcakes scattered across the countertops and kitchen table. What an exciting treat to find waiting after the great Christmas tree hunt!

Full moon on the riseJust lookin'

Monday, December 11 Thanks so much to everyone who emailed concerns about Rudy's eye injury. I'm happy to report that his vision is back to 100%! Close call, but everything worked out just fine.
   We have a full moon on the rise! And a beauty, at that! I usually take a flashlight along when I do chores, but tonight, I just turned it off and set it in the manger and finished the rounds by moonlight. The man-in-the-moon was so cheery and bright, casting stark shadows, everywhere. It was quite cold - with a jaunty snap filling the still night air; all the animals hooves made crunching sounds as the critters made their way across the snow packed corrals. What a delightful evening!

Rudy's special day

Tuesday, December 12 Rudy's 48th birthday! Didn't do anything too special to celebrate - just fed young livestock, chopped waterholes, checked swamp cattle, hauled some set-up hay, and ate a grilled beefsteak and cherry pie (his favorite birthday cake!).

President's Day

Wednesday, December 13 "President's Day!"  Well, not really, but this year we can celebrate it early (or is it late?). After 35 or so days, we now know the name of our 43rd president!

Christmas tree trip

Thursday, December 14 After feeding the cows, Rudy and I (and the dog herd) stuffed ourselves into the cab of the old Ford pickup and went to the mountains to cut a Christmas tree. We waded through knee deep snow that was as fluffy and soft as goose down. The dogs had such a grand time romping and playing in this winter wonderland; I swear they were grinning each time they dove under and came up looking like marshmallow snowmen. We sure look forward to this holiday trek each year. 

Horizontal snow

Sweetie, Rudy and JoeFriday, December 15 It's a good thing we got our tree yesterday, because today, there's a wooly blizzard upon us. Horizontal snows agitated by high winds kicked butt all day and well into the night. Couldn't see past the big evergreen, 50 feet away. Took a long time to feed the livestock. Had to take extra time and roll the hay out in protected places like the good, old willow patch. Storm left a "guess"timated four inches of additional snow. 
   Heidi the milk cow was acting sick this morning; watched her during the day to assess her trouble. Had weaned her 7-month old calf more than a week ago. I milked her out for several days for the barn cats and chickens, but because she was only giving about 1/2-gallon of milk, I decided to dry her up. Now, for some strange reason her bag is swollen. She's pretty old, so I'm guessing she's having complications in drying up her milk. I was busy with other duties during the day, so come nightfall, Heidi had disappeared from her normal bed ground. I gathered up the rechargeable spotlight and headed out to make sure she didn't need attending to tonight. I was thankful for the super illumination capability of the lantern as it cut right though the driving snow and I could easily see into every nook and cranny. At last, I found her lying in a grove of tightly knitted willow "trees". She seemed content to just lie there out of the full force of the icy storm, All is calm, all is brightso I decided to leave her alone till morning.

Ranch retirement

Saturday, December 16 Windy in the morning then settling into a mild afternoon. Heidi came out of the willows to get a drink at the stock tank. She seems to be punier, so Rudy and I put her into the barn with the ancient horse and gave her some antibiotics. Now, we'll just have to hope she pulls out of it. Seems like I have many elderly pets at the moment - Scoop the horse, Heidi the milk cow, Spur the little rooster, Lacy and Cindi the old cow dogs, Pet the sheep, and Stub the barn cat. Can't part with the old faithfuls before it's their time. They've all earned a peaceful, ranch retirement...


Monday, December 18 Heidi is holding her own and eating and drinking better. Not over the mountain yet, but the view's looking better. Keep hoping for better days for the loyal, old milk cow. 

Horse Creek hay caravan

Tuesday, December 19 Went to Horse Creek with a caravan of pickups and wagons to haul round bales closer to home. Snow is deep and drifted in some spots along the way, but 4-wheel drive saves the day.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 20 Just want to say "Thanks for all the support and good cheer during the past year and  - A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR - from our outfit to yours! May you be warm and happy and surrounded with mighty fine blessings of love, luck, health, and lots of good grub during this holiday season and throughout 2001! CHEERS!!

Happy Holidays!
Grandma Noble's Radiant Fruit Cake Recipe

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, 2000. No part may be reproduced without permission of the author/photographer. Page graphics copyrighted, Pinedale Online, 2000.

Wyoming Cowgirl is sponsored by Pinedale Online, Pinedale, Wyoming

Pinedale Online