Friday, January 22, 2010

The Parasite Ranch

If you drive Highway 12, you will see small, working ranches scattered along the entire 110 mile length of the highway. Many of these ranches have picturesque names like the Shooting Star ranch located a few miles south of Torrey. Well, not to be outdone by their neighbors, the "Grover Boyz" named their 3 1/3 acres of sand, volcanic rocks, and pinion trees the Parasite Ranch. You probably wonder how they came up with such a strange name. It doesn't have the romantic sound of other ranch names, but it does have an interesting history. I thought you might enjoy the story about how the Parasite Ranch got its name.

The "Beeg Juan," Caretaker and Maintenance Man

Since the story is pretty short, I thought I would introduce you to the characters who operate the Parasite Ranch for the "Grover Boyz." Like all the big outfits on the High Plateau, the Parasite Ranch has a full time caretaker and maintenance man. The "Beeg Juan" is a migrant worker from Sweden who lives full time at the ranch. In addition to maintaining two cabins, a horse barn, the outhouse, and a well, he patrols the ranch boundaries to discourage trespassers. Recently, he took Smokey Bear hostage. He isn't asking for a ransom, but only for the U. S. Forest Service to more aggressively enforce ATV travel restrictions. According to "Beeg Juan," if he finds one more ATV track, the "bear gets it."

"Neck-Less Dug," Stock Tender and Stall Cleaner

From the picture, I think you can easily tell how "Neck-Less" got his name. Unlike the "Beeg Juan," he is only part time at the Parasite Ranch. He shows up whenever Dangerous brings the horses to ride. Since "Neck-Less" isn't good with tools, the "Beeg Juan" limits his duties to feeding and watering stock. The only tools he is allowed to use unsupervised is a manure fork and Dutch oven.
Main Ranch House

Nestled in the trees about 400 feet off Highway 12 is the main ranch house. Calling it a ranch house is a bit of a stretch. The neighbors refer to it as the "shed in the woods,"but it serves the same purpose as ranch headquarters on bigger spreads. The "Beeg Juan" doesn't have a lot of maintenance work because the main house lacks indoor plumbing and central heat. When describing the Parasite Ranch headquarters, the "Grover Boyz" try their best to dress up the description, but basically the place is a shed with a loft and covered porch.

Roylance Cabin, Guest Cottage

If you come to visit, more than likely Dangerous will put you up in the Roylance Cabin. As you probably remember, Ward Roylance gave the "Grover Boyz" this old log cabin, and they restored it. To say the least, it is quaint inside and out. Some visitors prefer to sleep outdoors because the Roylance Cabin is infested with mice, but others think a mouse climbing across their face in the middle of the night adds to the experience. Again, the "Beeg Juan" has limited maintenance work, because like the main ranch house, the guest cottage doesn't have running water, heat, or lights. Why the "Grover Boyz" continue to employ the "Beeg Juan" full time with so little to do I don't understand. At the very least, he could try exterminating the mice living in the guest cottage.

Equestrian Facilities

You can quickly tell from the size of the equestrian facilities why "Neck-Less Dug" only works part time. You would think that Dangerous could care for his own stock like he does at home. However, you have to understand Utah ranching politics and economics. If you don't have hired hands, you are instantly classified as a hobby rancher by the IRS. Hobby ranchers can't claim the tax write-offs and government subsidies given to real ranching operations.

Tom and the Little Parasite

Now that you have met the staff and have a complete description of the Parasite Ranch, I will share the brief story about how the ranch got its unusual name. Actually, the story is pretty short. Dangerous and Utah Jack chose the name to honor Dangerous' father Tom. You would think calling it Tom's ranch would be more appropriate, but by now, you know the twisted sense of humor these two have. As the story goes, Tom had an unusual way of encouraging Dangerous to work hard. To say that Tom was a hard worker is a bit of an understatement, and his under motivated son never quite met his demanding expectations. As Dangerous tells the story, it didn't take long for his father to lose patience when they worked together. Since Tom never swore, he expressed his dissatisfaction with Dangerous' work ethic by calling him the "Little Parasite!" Occasionally, "never sweat" was substituted for "Little Parasite," but you get the idea. Remember to never share anything personal or embarrassing with Utah Jack because he never forgets and constantly reminds you of any weakness or indiscretion. Once he heard Dangerous' painful story from his youth, he had to find a way to remind him regularly, so what works better than calling the place in Grover the Parasite Ranch. Actually, I think the name is appropriate because as you all know, "Every day is Saturday in Grover!" Love to hear from you!


Bluester said...

Ahhhh........Nostalgic memories. My father had a nickname for me too. DLF, for short. I was going to call my place the DLF Ranch and Casino. I'm glad I settled for "The Bobarosa" instead. It stands for The Bo Bar and Outside Snake Auction. Best to all from the Fremont where the gentle and balmy breezes waft through the Rabbit and Sage Brush.

Red Rock Rose said...

I thought you might want to know what DLF stands for in Fremont Bob's comment. I know first hand that Fremont is a "Delightful Little Fellow!"

The Barratt Fam said...

The story sounds better coming from the "parasite" himself... thank you for some good advice and motivational tips for my two little "parasites"