north of Pavillion, WY
The area was part of the plan to bring irrigation to the Wind River Valley; however, in 1957, the farmers in this area formed their own irrigation district. Unfortunately for the homesteaders, the economy failed, and they were unable to complete the project. Hoping to get their original irrigation project on track, the Bureau of Reclamation purchased back the land from 78 original farmers (approximately 22,000 acres), and a six-year lease was offered to the general public for 8,900 acres in Third Division. My brother, Rich obtained the lease on the farm. The full history of this project can be found on the Midvale Irrigation website.
In 1971, the leased farms were put on the auction block with no preferential treatment for the lessor. Rich purchased the farm at the auction, but not without paying more than he had intended.
north of Pavillion, WY
The house in the photo above was moved to the farm in the mid-70s. My brother purchased the house from my cousin after its basement was destroyed by fire. Even though the house was habitable, the smoke smell was still evident in the 90s. I rented the house in the mid-80s to the mid-90s.
The trees west of this house were old Chinese elm that cracked under the weight of snow, but they provided some shade and shelter from the wind. After the photo was taken, I planted some trees on the property: spruce, pine, apple, poplar and lilac, and convinced my brother that a windbreak in the field to the west would be beneficial. We planted three rows of trees and shrubs, but they did not receive enough water to thrive.
My brother lived with my mother on the home place, and drove "Over North" every day to farm, to irrigate, and to feed cattle. He would often work in the fields late at night in the Spring and Fall, and since he had no way on contacting my mother if he had trouble, she would sometimes drive "Over North" to check on him. Eventually, he purchased a CB radio for his pickup, but communication was still poor. One night, his pickup died, and he had to walk the 10 miles home in his irrigation boots.
In the Winter, Rich would come Over North late at night and break snow drifts with his four-wheel drive pickup so I would have an easier time getting to work in the morning. At the time, I had a little Toyota Tercel with front-wheel drive. Some mornings, the road was slightly drifted, but I was able to make it up the hill; other times, my little car would be pushing snow.
While I lived on this farm, my life was dictated by the weather: I fought snow drifts and wind in the Winter and mud bogs and deep ruts in the Spring and Fall and sometimes the Summer.
"Over North" was a great place to see wildlife and nature at its best and worst. I miss that part of living there, but I do not miss the nasty roads.