You are not currently logged in.

Login through your institution for access.


Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Woman in Levi's

Woman in Levi's

Illustrated by VIC DONAHUE
Copyright Date: 1967
Pages: 208
Stable URL:
Find more content in these subjects:
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Woman in Levi's
    Book Description:

    The widely acclaimed autobiography of a lone woman rancher and country school teacher--the life she lived on the land she loved.

    eISBN: 978-0-8165-3473-9
    Subjects: History
    × Close Overlay

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments (pp. vii-xvi)
  4. CHAPTER 1 Kids and Cows (pp. 1-14)

    Thirty years and more in the San Pedro Valley have not lessened my sense of awe, as I return from a trip outside to crest the western rim and see the grandeur and color of thousands of square miles spread out before me. I had been an Arizona resident for a quarter of a century before I learned that the state hastwoscenic wonders carved out over millions of years by great river systems: me Grand Canyon of the Colorado, and the San Pedro River Valley which was named for St. Peter by the padres and conquistadores who passed...

  5. CHAPTER 2 Please Excuse the Pants (pp. 15-24)

    January nights are cold even in southern Arizona. Dashing along a Tucson street on the way to a drug store, I was comfortably wrapped, not modishly dressed. The Sunshine Climate Club would have hated me. On top of intimate garments I wore a two-piece red ski undersuit. Over that I had on a pair of Levi's, a man's cashmere shirt, a short woolen coat and a heavy GI pile-lined jacket much too large, belted around me in deep folds. My head was tied up in a red bandana and crowned with a snug-fitting western hat. Woolen socks and stout cowboy...

  6. CHAPTER 3 Water Comes First (pp. 25-36)

    When fate in the form of a younger, fairer girl de-spoused me, I sought a substitute teacher for my little cowpunchers and became, for a time (until I could get things going and find someone who would stay on the place while I was off at work) solely a woman-with-alittle-ranch: actually, a woman-about-to-lose-a-Iittle-ranch. The odds were overwhelming. No help, no capital, no credit, and—the greatest of all handicaps—no rain. But when everything is against you, when you haven't got a ghost of a show, the injustice of the battle enrages you to superhuman endurance and fighting strength.


  7. CHAPTER 4 My Trouble with Men (pp. 37-50)

    The usual man-trouble that every woman is heir to has no place in this chronicle. My bill of particulars is here alleged against the sturdy male—age under-fifteen to over-fifty—who, out of pity, or for the mere pittance I can dig up to pay, or in response to the call of the vast outdoor romance of range country, has fallen by chance into the small world of my authority,mi ranchito.

    Before making my complaint, let me express under solemn vow my sincere gratitude, and make a haphazardly hasty attempt to give the devil his due. That it is...

  8. CHAPTER 5 There Ought to be a Law (pp. 51-63)

    Sitting in a cattle growers’ convention where, in round numbers, four hundred members were gathered, it came to me that I was in the midst of four hundred practicing physicians. This was only a small swatch of the world's vast array of livestock growers—all qualified doctors. By what right qualified? By the ancient right of ownership—the same that gave Cleopatra authority to tryout her poisons and potions on her slaves. They were hers! Anyone who owns a four-legged creature is,ipso facto, privileged to dose it and practice surgery on it. For all practical purposes, a bill of...

  9. CHAPTER 6 To Market (pp. 64-78)

    Oh, we rounded them up and put them on the cars,

    And that was the last of the 2U-Bars

    sang the cowpunchers who followed the Chisholm Trail. But that quick summary wasn't the half of it. The hundred-odd verses in the old song—whatever version you hear—tell about hungry days and sleepless nights, blizzards, hailstorms, stampedes, dry runs . . .

    He jumped in the saddle and gave a little yell,

    And the swing cattle broke and the leaders went to hell.

    And the boss came around with a cutter in his hand

    And swore he'd fire every Dad-Blamed...

  10. CHAPTER 7 Beware the Buyer (pp. 79-89)

    Centuries ago, when barter was evolving into commerce, the trade policy was summed up ascaveat emptor, let the buyer beware. It was his own fault if the purchaser ended the deal with a balky horse or a barren cow. In general, dealers considered it respectable—even admirable—to cheat the customer. So what did the buyers do to turn the tables? The smart ones began moving westward, and the farther west they went, the smarter they grew. By the time they hit the American range country the boot was entirely on the other foot, and buyers were the terror...

  11. CHAPTER 8 The Rangeland Order of the Purple Heart (pp. 90-101)

    A cowman, writing with waggish outdoor Wit in a recent issue ofArizona Cattlelog, said he got hurt by “a sloppy old critter with no pride in the way she fell.”

    That could hardly happen here. The critters grazing my steep canyon walls have tough,surefooted sinews. They sometimes make threats—on purpose—with hoofs and horns, and are occasionally free with wallops from hard mulish heads, but none has hurt any person by accident. The only scar I bear from bovine assault is on the muscle of my left leg, where a steer gave me a kick with the fullest...

  12. CHAPTER 9 Caring for the Green (pp. 102-114)

    The morning Charlie and Paul came to make the cement slab in front of my kitchen door, I was busy doctoring cows at the corral.

    “We'll go ahead and make the forms,” Charlie said.

    When I returned, Charlie and Paul were down on their hunkers staking out the neatly arranged boards. Suddenly I gasped to see the tall green plant that had been growing to the left of the door now uprooted and leaning over against the garden fence.

    “Oh! You pulled up my little tree!” I cried, and squatted down at once to begin digging like a dog at...

  13. CHAPTER 10 They’ll Never Be Missed (pp. 115-122)

    Civilization, with all its achievements, ought to provide some better excuse than a hunting season to get townfolk out in the open—if for no other reason than their inability to distinguish between the wilderness (which presumably belongs to everybody) and somebody's back yard.

    American heritage includes the tenet of English common law that everyman's house is his castle, where he can be private and secure. He can, that is, if his house is in a well-policed city or town. A rural house is a magnet, drawing in a great many more than invited guests and friends. Some of the...

  14. CHAPTER 11 Under the Weather (pp. 123-137)

    A poet (Paul Hamilton Hayne, in “A Storm in the Distance,”) wrote these lyrical lines:

    The leveled lances of the rain

    At earth’s half-shielded breast take glittering aim.

    I saw a rain like that one time. It was lovely. It was twice lovely, because it was mine, the whole wonder and sweep of it falling almost exclusively on our little place, and nobody was out in it but me.

    At this rain view of a lifetime, I had a loge seat in a great balcony overlooking the countryside for miles around. I had seen the skyful of clouds gather into...

  15. CHAPTER 12 Too Much of a Good Thing (pp. 138-149)

    It puzzles me to find so much written on the subject of people bored with their daily lives. It is a cinch such people do not teach school or punch cows.

    The cowpunching range life—perhaps the least monotonous of all occupations—goes along in a manner that is adventurous, exciting, hazardous, and unpredictable. Day by day, it offers little irresponsible freedom and no unassailable security. When you think you've touched bottom, the bottom falls out.

    Ranching is a series of crises. To keep you alert, the animals become ill or get poisoned by noxious weeds or bad water, or...

  16. CHAPTER 13 Cooking for Cattle (pp. 150-156)

    The word ischolla. We pronounce itchóya, because the double “I” is a letter in the Spanish alphabet, having the sound of “y.” It is cactus of the prickliest kind, sometimes called “jumping” because of its facility for sticking you when you're not looking. Belonging to our Southwestern desert originally, it is widespread now, I am told, in Australia, South America, and other lands.

    In dry and hard times, when I go out to burn chollas, loaded down with paraphernalia, I tramp the steep trails in the twilight to the rhythm of the lines from Stephen Vincent Benet: “Fire...

  17. CHAPTER 14 The Wide Open Spaces Just Ain’t! (pp. 157-170)

    There was a place on the old road to the homestead (a few miles out from the village of Oracle) where, after many close turns and narrow passages through thick oaks and granite dells, you suddenly topped a clear rise above the trees and buttes and broken ridges, and had an overwhelming view of the thousand or more square miles of the great San Pedro River Valley, as it slopes gently downward fifteen miles to the river, and then upward in giant steps of mesas and ridges and foothills for twenty-five miles to the multi-colored Galiuro range that forms the...

  18. CHAPTER 15 Chicken (pp. 171-176)

    Halfway between the Homestead and the Windmill the Cowboy and I had made a nice round cement pila (drinking trough) ten feet in diameter and two feet deep to accommodate the cows in that locality so they would not have to walk another three miles to water. It was supplied by the pipeline coming down the canyon from the house well. Often when we pumped it ran over and wasted water. Later the Uncle, my schoolboy Trini, and I made a larger pila connected to the first and slightly lower to catch the overflow. We called this watering placeDos...

  19. CHAPTER 16 That “Ole” Talk (pp. 177-183)

    Hearing sounds of horsebackers, I looked out of a back window one cold, blowy day to see the Old Cowman and the Chuck-Line Rider hitch their horses to the big mesquite in the yard and stamp across to the ramada where they took off their chaps and spurs. A moment later the Uncle greeted them at the door of the main cabin, and when they made straight to squat down by the open fire to warm their hands, he said, hospitably: “Will you fellers have off your coats?”

    He threw another chunk of wood on the fire and was already...

  20. CHAPTER 17 And More Cows (pp. 184-211)

    I remember the exact moment when I lost my heart to bovines. I was following the Old Cowman along a lonely trail in and out of deep canyons, my whole attention focused on trying to keep up with his horse's expert pace without the disgrace of letting my pony break into a trot. Going down a brushy ridge, all at once he stopped beside a thickly spreading bush, got off, and parted the branches. “Want to see somethin' purty?”

    I rode up to see something pretty, surprised at his interest.

    “Oh!” I exclaimed in quick delight, looking down into the...

  21. Back Matter (pp. 212-212)