Wyoming Cowgirl - On the Ranch

On the Ranch Journal
by Cris Paravicini

November, 2000

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
"15 below . . . 20 below . . . "
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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...

November 1 - 10 Belooowwww Zerrrroooo
November 2 - Doctoring
November 3 - Spur
November 4 - Preg Testing
November 5 - Firewood
November 6 - Bull Calves
November 7 - Election Day
November 8 - Jess Griffin
November 9 - Birthday Day
November 10 - 2" of Snow
November 11 - 15 Belooowwww Zerrrroooo
November 12 - Sunny is Better
November 13 - 20 Belooowww Zerrroooo
November 14 - Amazing Power of a Wordsmith
November 15 - Uncle Mike
November 16 - Pink Icicles
November 17 - Rudy & Cris's Anniversary

"Jess Griffin-Bullfighter
Ichabod - A poem about a horse

November Diary

Starting the feeding process
Some Feeding Begins

November 1 - 9, 2000 Diary

10 Belooowwww Zerrrroooo

Old PumpWednesday, November 1 10 belooowwww zerrrroooo this morning! Stirred by a wildcat wind, the Daniel Valley now grudgingly acknowledges the inevitable coming of winter.


Thursday, November 2 Rudy and I doctored a bull calf with an ear infection. Just like with puny, little kids, this time of year brings on the need for extra attention and TLC. The calf is expected to show signs of marked improvement within 24 hours and will make a full recovery from this "bug."


Friday, November 3 Cold winds still sweeping the valley floors. Each day finds us distributing more and more feed and supplements to the animals. The fresh, green hay smells so good and the livestock seems so appreciative of our efforts to keep them "blooming." 
   Each night, now, I put the old horse, Scoop, into one of the barns. The recent cold snap is taking its toll on the thin, 30-year-old fellow, so I've resorted to letting him go into the warm, dry barn where I feed him extra "senior" grain and a full manger of hay. He's been a good horse and, expensive as it will be, he now deserves the best retirement we can give him. Each night, too, I tuck the little "pioneer" bandy rooster, Spur, under one of the fluffy, plump pullets (six-month old hen) so he'll be kept warm for the night. Spur is probably about 12 years old, or more (quite ancient for poultry in Sublette County). He seems kind of senile at times, but still does his job of crowing at sunset and sunup and dinnertime and suppertime and egg gathering time and any ol' time....

Preg Testing

Saturday, November 4 Rudy and I helped my cousin and a friend work their cows and preg Blaine Mathews is quite a little cowboy helper; and he's getting pretty danged good at doing a man's work!test the first-calf heifers, then we hauled all of 'em from the Upper Green to their Daniel Valley home for the winter. Lots of deer crossing the roadways from start to finish. Had to drive with extreme caution. Saw a fantastic buck deer in the headlights at one point in the journey.


Sunday, November 5 The family all worked at sawing and stacking winter firewood. Still more to do by dark. Will return to the project another day. 
   Plotted and planned to rewire all the corral electrical works. Work on this will begin next weekend. Big job. Probably will be a cold job, too.

Bull calves

Monday, November 6 Neighboring ranchers bought some bull calves from us today. Got the proper brand inspection done on them and then they hauled 'em off to their ranches.

Election Day

Tuesday, November 7 National and Local Elections! Went to cast our ballots in the afternoon. Stopped at my sister's home to trim the pony's feet.

Jess Griffin

Wednesday, November 8 Still don't know the important results of the dramatic race for the new United States Presidential spot. Very frustrating having to helplessly watch all the sorting of the credible and incredible! Guess I'm just impatient, but still confident that the wheels of democracy will roll in the right direction...eventually. Perhaps this is one that the Will of the Divine will have to settle.
   Enough of elections! Back to the grindstone.
   Went down river to interview a local rancher's son. Young Jess Griffin is a professional bullfighter, living out his boyhood dream, and recently stepping up the ladder in his chosen career. Watch for his full story in an upcoming diary.

Birthday Day

Thursday, November 9 More bull calves are loaded into their new owners' horse trailers. These sales are making lots of room in the corrals to wean our replacement heifer calves very soon. 
   Rudy played his accordion as entertainment for our local Hi-Country Senior Citizens' Center. Today was November's "Birthday Day" at the center. Everyone seemed to enjoy his music. I'm happy and proud that he shares his musical talent with so many folks.

Old Caisson Wheels

November 10 - 17, 2000 Diary

NOTE: As promised last week, the story's now done, so please read "Jess Griffin-Bullfighter" on the Story Page!

2" of Snow

Friday, November 10 Heavy, gray clouds clung to the morning sky-dropped two inches of dry snow, then feeling lighter, the clouds floated away. Rudy went to town to pick up a load of mineral salt for the livestock. 

15 Belooowwww Zerrrroooo

Saturday, November 11 15 below zero...Veteran's Day here in America and Remembrance Day in our neighboring country of Canada. What a coincidence, too, because "The Eagle Has Landed!" It was rather an exciting day for us, because "our pet" Bald Eagle pair returned to the valley while we were feeding the calves in the river lot this morning. Like a scene from a great movie, they alighted in a scraggly, leafless Cottonwood tree that clings to the south bank of the Green River. Really made us feel like stopping what we were doing and either salute the majestic birds or simply put our hand over our hearts and sing a few lines of The National Anthem "...what so proudly we hailed..."  The white-headed "statesman" and his adoring mate seemed to say, "Hey, folks, the Boss is back! Carry on!" 
   Eagles are notorious for feasting on young lambs, but we've worked out a wonderful compromise with this pair. We've issued an "edict" that our national bird "will" arrive in the late fall (after the lambs have reached one hundred pounds each), and "shall" then depart for their mountain nesting grounds in the springtime, before my juicy, tender-fleshed, baby lambs are born.Just a frosty handful Both parties agreed and everyone has happily coexisted for over 25 years!
   We noticed that Sunny, the eighteen-month old stud colt, has a bad bellyache (colic) - repeatedly laying down, switching his tail, circling, and moaning.  This can be extremely serious, if a horse twists a gut and it ruptures. I quickly caught him and started leading him up and down the road and around and around the corral. Can't let him lay down and roll any more...a gut might kink...poor colt...wants me to help him...no vet in the county answering their phones...all out preg testing cattle...what to do, what to do...continued walking him...gave him some painkiller/anti-inflammatory paste...some relief...the exercise made the gas start to move...continued watching him through the afternoon...seems better...checked him at midnight...eating hay like nothing had ever happened...breathed a sigh...went to bed...will add bran to his feed tomorrow...
   Rudy and Don, an electrician friend, began the process of updating our outside, electrical wiring. As I said last week it's gonna be a big, cold, but necessary job. 

Sunny is better

Sunday, November 12 Sunny much better...Running and bucking in the frost...
   I babysat for a 14-month old boy whose dad has a neck injury and must visit our nearest hospital, 75 miles away. We had great fun, looking at the sheep, petting the horses, and riding the dog herd. The dogs grinned all day long, having a new kid on the block. 

20 Belooowwww Zerrrroooo

Cold sunsetsMonday, November 13 20 below zero, folks! The river looks peaceful now with the ice floes bobbing along and a cold mist rising to greet the warm morning sun. Boy, spring seems a long way off! 
   Flu bug sneaked in and grabbed me during the night. Some fever, migraines, chills...aches...you know...the usual whining and belly aching...Fed chickens and old horse, drove for Rudy while he fed calves, checked Sunny, brought in firewood, then brewed some hot tea and stoked the fire till chore time...

Amazing Power of a Wordsmith

Tuesday, November 14 "Oh, the games people play..." as the old song goes...
Yep, it's now one week on the backside of our national elections, and we still don't know who our next U.S. prez will be! With our ever-growing, high-tech, cutting-edge world, seems like one important invention has sorely been forgotten - an undeniably, foolproof voting machine. Oh well, I'm still proud of all the U.S. folks, though; no major feuds or arguments; no battles or wars or blood - just the spilling of lots of magic marker ink, highlighting their opinions on poster board; wearing thin many pairs of pacing shoes; and apparently missing many days at their regular jobs; the media is as happy as a crowing cock at sunrise; and the lawyers are having a heyday with the alphabet. Words. And more words. How they're put together. What they mean to whom...for whom...Ah, yes, the amazing power of a wordsmith!  I'm sure, though, that at the end of this very LONG election "day" game, we SHALL name a winner...when "mom calls us all home to supper..." 

Uncle Mike

Wednesday, November 15 I learned this morning that a dear uncle had passed away yesterday evening after a lengthy illness. Uncle Mike was a great and honorable man - always a joy to be around...and he made the most wonderful, perfectly round hotcakes at 3 a.m. - before we departed on a grueling, 25-mile cow drive to the mountains each spring. He always had a twinkling smile offered freely to everyone and shared more than a few kind words with kids; his garden blossomed with things that can't ever grow in Sublette County; and he was proud of his family's picture book ranch, stocked with sleek, quality livestock. Uncle Mike shall long be missed and will dwell forever in our hearts and memories.
   Rudy helped the neighbors wean their last go-round of calves. Cold morning...more wool caps appearing...fiery red ears on those men refusing to give up their beaver felt cowboy hats...they'll learn soon enough...or be crop earred...

Pink Icicles

Thursday, November 16 Rudy went to town to buy kerosene for our all-important space Ma Cowheater. The diesel in the backhoe congealed yesterday, so he now must thaw the "pudding" and add another mix that will withstand our frigid temperatures - speaking of which - we can always tell the "mean" temperature by the stiffness and tingling in our fingertips. Tonight, beneath my "monkey skin" gloves, my fingers felt and looked like pink icicles, so I knew it had to be burning at nearly 15 below the zero mark. 

Rudy & Cris's Anniversary

Friday, November 17 Rudy's and Cris's Anniversary! Cowboys and cowgirls usually pick the late, late fall (when the work's close to done and before the feeding season really breaks loose) or in the late, late spring (after the feeding and calving and lambing and spring work's all done) to squeeze in the inevitable ceremony--tie the knot, hitch up the wagon, jump the broomstick, seal the bond, sign the contract, make the promise, take the big leap...! 


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.

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