#AgLife: Fun on the Farm – Beau and Mac – Jarvis Farms

    There may be life off the ranch, but any Fremont County farmer or rancher will tell you – The #aglife is “the good life!” #Aglife is a County 10 series, brought to you by Wyoming Community Bank, that pulls the curtain back on farm and ranch life in Fremont County.

    This is the second half of the story of a pioneering farmer who came to Fremont County, had two sons follow him into the ag world and then three grandsons do the same. As the saying goes, “The apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”

    These aren’t apples, but the men of the Jarvis family that have carved out farming operations on the shores of Boysen Reservoir in Hidden Valley.

    If you mention the Jarvis name, and someone doesn’t break into a wide grin, then they’ve never met Myron, his sons Greg and Mike, or their grandsons David, Mac, Beau, Daniel, and Ty.

    In an earlier story about Fremont County agriculture Greg’s family was portrayed, this time it’s the children of the late Mike and Paula Jarvis.

    Grandpa Mike Jarvis with Mayce and Averie – h/t Codi Jarvis

    The Jarvis story begins with their grandfather Myron and his farming operation.

    Myron was a chauffeur for an admiral in the US Navy during World War II and took advantage of the GI Bill to learn how to fly at the Shoshoni Airport, studying under instructor Guy Worley.

    Family legend has Myron impressing his future bride Betty by taking his J-3 airplane into a stall over her home in Bonneville, dropping it into a tailspin, and then pulling out just a few feet above the ground because he knew she would hear him coming and watch.

    Stunts, usually not involving aircraft, were all part of life for these adventurous young men, and they transcended the generations.

    Myron arrived in Fremont County in 1938 when his father, Dewey (D.D) Durwood carved out a homestead in Missouri Valley.

    Dewey’s homestead was 160 acres of dryland sagebrush and low-lying cactus. He took a huge Navy surplus anchor chain, connected it to a pair of caterpillar tractors, and broke out the sagebrush.

    Betty and Myron were living in Dewey’s basement when their oldest son, Greg, arrived.

    Dewey and Myron built a new house, and in succession, three more children arrived: Mike, Jane, and Peggy.

    A model of the plane Myron Jarvis flew for decades outside Mac and Amanda Jarvis’ home – h/t Randy Tucker

    The Jarvis family lived in the house they built next to Dewey until 1954, when Myron leased a farm in Missouri Valley. They worked on that farm for the next 35 years.

    They had two daughters and two sons. All four children graduated from Shoshoni High School. The boys, Greg and Mike went into farming on land close to their dad’s place.

    Mike, as the younger brother, was always open to any challenge or stunt his older brother Greg could come up with. Flying off buildings with a weather balloon parachute, trying to fly off a haystack with arms tied to sheets of corrugated metal, and water skiing behind a pickup truck in the main canal were all part of growing up for the Jarvis boys.

    One day, they found a box of dynamite the irrigation company had been using to clear ditches. Over the next few weeks, the sounds of explosives blasted off the buttes in the surrounding area, and more than one sandstone boulder was knocked off the bluff west of Boysen Reservoir and into the water below.

    Mike graduated from Shoshoni in 1971 and enrolled at Wyo Tech in Laramie to study auto mechanics.

    Mac and Beau looking at an approaching storm – h/t Jarvis Farms

    He followed his father Myron’s path for a while, working at a car dealership in Casper after graduating from the Laramie technical school.

    Mike returned to Fremont County in 1974 and started farming with his dad. He bought Herschel Robert’s place and started farming his own operation in 1974.

    That same year, he married Paula Fabrizius in Riverton on July 20. Paula was the daughter of Alfred and Eleanor of Riverton and was a 1971 graduate of Riverton High School. She worked as a beautician when she married Mike.

    The couple had three sons, David, Mac, and Beau. All three graduated from Shoshoni High School. David went to work in the oil and gas industry, but Mac and Beau followed their dad and grandpa’s lifestyle and became farmers in Hidden Valley.

    Beau and Mac unload barley from the combine bin into their truck – h/t Jarvis Farms

    The boys inherited their father’s love of the land and his infectious sense of humor.

    In addition to farming, Mike owned and operated Jarvis Trucking. He hauled hay and other crops all over Wyoming and into surrounding states.

    Growing up on a farm and learning to drive anything with wheels before you hit first grade was common in Fremont County when the three Jarvis boys were growing up, so was hunting and fishing. With Boysen Reservoir literally touching their farm, they didn’t have to go far to hunt deer, waterfowl, pheasants, or antelope and fishing was a year-round sport.

    Life on the farm, Beau Jarvis plays with an angry bull snake – h/t Codi Jarvis

    One afternoon, Paula was working in the garden with the boys just around the corner. She noticed Beau was wearing a white t-shirt. A huge blast rattled the house and Paula caught a glimpse of something white flying through the air that landed beyond her field of vision.

    Terrified, she thought David and Mac had blown up Beau (not a farfetched idea with these brothers).

    She ran outside and was relieved to see all three boys standing beside the blasted hulk of an old refrigerator.

    They had built a bomb by filling a metal pipe with gunpowder and setting it off inside a refrigerator. The upper freezer door ripped off the refrigerator when it exploded and flew into the air; that’s what Paula saw after the explosion.

    Combining barley – h/t Jarvis Farms

    The blast destroyed the refrigerator but heavily damaged an old washing machine next to it. Mike had plans to convert the washer into a meat smoker. The boys took the washing machine and tried to hide it in a draw up in the hills.

    “Grandpa was flying over and saw the white machine stuck in the draw,” Beau said. “He told Dad and boy was he mad.”

    As the boys grew up they started families of their own. David married Emily Erramouspe, went to work, and started a family.

    Mac and Beau worked in the energy industry and farmed for a while but settled on agriculture.

    Mayce Jarvis does her mom Codi’s nails in their shop – h/t Randy Tucker

    Beau married Codi, and Mac married Amanda and they too began their own families.

    Greg recalled a family tradition with Mike and Paula.

    “Mike would have the Fourth of July down at his house,” Greg said. “We had some Lady Fingers with a fast fuse. We were always telling Mac not to hold those things they’d blow your fingers off. A few minutes later one of them went off in his hand. He was running around screaming I broke my finger off, but it just broke the skin.”

    Mac’s younger brother Beau remembered the incident well. “Mom told him don’t hold them they’ll blow off your hand,” Beau said. “It wasn’t five minutes later Mac was running around with blood dripping off his hand.”

    That same afternoon the family dog had a little fun. “The dog picked up a string of whistling firecrackers, “Beau said. “50 or so blew right into the garage, we had reloading supplies and powder in there, it was amazing nothing went off. The old folks sitting around the table in the garage had to duck out of the way.”

    Mac and Amanda Jarvis with their boys Brodie and Bradon – h/t Jarvis Farms

    Mike was an ice-fishing aficionado, but a jokester as well.

    One year, Mac brought back a three-foot-long shark from a fishing vacation on Prince Edward Island. Mike took the shark and put it in the freezer.

    On frozen winter days, Mike would load the shark into the pickup, take his ice fishing gear out to the lake, and drill a series of holes. He’d put the shark by a hole and partially conceal it with a tarp next to a string of walleye, perch, or crappie.

    When other anglers walked up and asked how he was doing, Mike would pull the tarp back, exposing the shark, and say it’s been pretty good or pretty slow depending on his mood.

    Wide-eyed the other fishermen always asked if he caught that shark here. Mike would say yes, on a jig.

    Beau Jarvis takes in the view of his farm with his daughters Mayce and Averie – h/t Codi Jarvis

    “Dad did that some many times he started to wear the skin off the shark,” Beau said.

    The game wardens laughed at the prank for years, but earlier, they weren’t so amused when Mike did the same thing with salmon caught on the West Coast.

    “The wardens were more serious about the salmon since it looked like something that could be caught here,” Mac said.

    Mike had an older VW Beetle. He didn’t like the crazy way the boys were handling it, so he pulled the ignition out. The boys had a neighbor kid show them how to hot wire it, and the fun continued.

    They drove it all over the area, and most of the time too fast. Often their friends Lance Jordan, Eric Donelson, James and Jason Gardner, and Terry Elliott would come over to join in the fun.

    Mac and Amanda with Bradon and Brodie – h/t Jarvis Farms

    “There is a ditch bank above my house, the corner is sharper than you think,” Beau said. ”We came up too fast and couldn’t make the turn. We didn’t roll the beetle, but it nosed into the canal.”

    Mac was a freakishly strong teenager and as the boys bailed out, he grabbed the rear bumper, holding the car from rolling into the canal while Lance ran to the house to get a tractor and chain to pull the car out of the ditch.

    One afternoon the brothers built a ramp, planning to jump the Volkswagen but they made it too steep, and instead of lifting off, it crashed into the ramp. That and all the other stunts with the Beetle were enough.”

    The infamous VW beetle parked on top of a hay stack – h/t Beau Jarvis

    “Dad got ticked off and put it on top of three big bales to keep us out of it,” Beau said. “

    Not to be denied the brothers came up with a way to drive the VW on top of the stack.

    “Dave and I stacked some more big bales and tried to drive it around on top, but it got a little sketchy,” Beau said. “We had a lot of fun with that Bug.”

    After surviving all that teenage fun, Beau and Mac followed in their dad and uncle’s footsteps and began farming.

    Paula passed away in 2011 and Mike in 2018, leaving the farming operation to the next generation.

    The brothers are very successful farmers and do a little trucking, mostly hauling their alfalfa to customers.

    Mac and Beau auguring barley – h/t Jarvis Farms

    They inherited their farm from their dad and have more land purchased from the family’s Flying M Corporation that included Grandpa Myron, brothers Mike and Greg, and sisters Jan and Peggy.

    Beau lives just off the highway on the northwest end of the farm, with David over the hill and Mac on his parent’s place near the center of the farming operation.

    They farm 500 acres, most of it under pivot, and have now moved exclusively to alfalfa, or barley as a cover crop for new plantings.

    “We raised corn, and sold it to Jock Campbell for silage,” Mac said. “But one year the guy we contracted to cut it was three weeks late and the corn was too dry for silage. We moved to straight alfalfa or barley after that. Beau and I decided that if we can’t do it ourselves, we won’t plant it.”

    Mac’s wife Amanda came to Fremont County from Lowham, Idaho to work for Jack Winchester. That’s where the couple met.

    Bradon, Mac, Brodie and Amanda Jarvis – h/t Jarvis Farms

    “I worked a summer for the Winchester Ranch and fell in love with horses and cows,” Amanda said.

    Amanda is a pharmacy tech at Pioneer Pharmacy on Main Street in Riverton after working at Walgreens, and Safeway.

    The couple were married on October 23, 2005, after dating for a couple of years. They have two boys, Brodie 10, and Bradon 7.

    After hearing the exploits of her husband and two brothers-in-law, Amanda plans to hover more around her two sons.

    Mac related how his mom, Paula handled it when he and his brothers were wild and driving her crazy in the house.

    “She sent us outside and said to go play in the hills,” Mac said. “That’s why all three of us always wear a wristwatch. We wanted to be back at noon and six every day for lunch and dinner.”

    Mayce Jarvis clips wire to a steel post – h/t Beau Jarvis

    A few times the boys would take hamburger with them on their treks into the hills.

    “We’d start a sagebrush fire and cook our lunch,” Mac said. “We found a yellow box in the back of a truck one day that made a great fort. We found out we could cook over a cup of gas, but one day we knocked the cup over and burned down our fort.”

    “After 20 years, you think you’ve heard all the stories about the Jarvis boys, but there are always new ones,” Amanda said.

    Mac graduated from the diesel technology school at Casper College but went into oil field work along with farming instead of becoming a mechanic.

    “The oilfield paid better,” he said.

    David stayed in the oilfield, while Mac and Beau worked during the winter months for Shawn Steffan at Non-typical Services and Logistics while farming during the summer. After 15 years, they decided to only farm.

    Beau and Mac formed Jarvis Farms, LLC but also have shares in Flying M with their uncle Greg owning 50% of the company and the three brothers sharing the other half.

    Beau and Codi, who grew up in Riverton, have two daughters, Mayce, 14, and Averie, 11.

    Codi worked as a cosmetologist but became a full-time mom. “I work when he needs help,” Codi said. “My job is to chase kids.”

    Beau in July corn with his daughters Mayce and Averie – h/t Codi Jarvis

    The girls are active in Shoshoni Middle and Elementary School activities and athletics.

    David and Emily have two boys, Aidan a senior at Shoshoni, and Dominic who graduated last year and now works at Brown Equipment. They have an older daughter Brook.

    The apples that fell from the family tree are now moving into the fourth generation of a farming family that thoroughly enjoys the outdoors and the joys and challenges of living in Hidden Valley.

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