Sunday, September 21, 2008

Driving the antique Case tractor, at the Threshing Bee

Never pass up the chance to have some fun. When I was asked if I wanted to drive this old Case tractor, I jumped at it. You can't tell it in the photo, but the tractor was moving. It was fun! I drove all around the yard, and down by where Robert was talking to some people who had an old sawmill working.

When I went by Robert, I yelled, "Hey Robert!" He looked up and saw me go by on the tractor. He got so excited, he told the saw mill people, I gotta go get pictures of my wife, she just went by here on a tractor!" They were laughing at him so hard.

I felt like a celebrity driving this because every where I went spectators stopped to take pictures of the old tractor.

There were also some old International M tractors here at the threshing bee. I couldn't help but remember the time I had the M up on the hill at Charlo in the hayfield. I was showing off for my kids and I came down the hill as fast as the old M would roll. I was on the county road. I got to the mail box, and I had planned to hit the left wheel brake hard and throw gravel all over the place, to make my kids laugh.

M tractors are designed for men, and if you're a short legged woman, and you want to use the brake or clutch pedals, you hold really tight to the steering wheel and pull against it so when you apply pressure to the pedals, you don't slide back on the old tin seat. At the point I got to the corner, I was pulling hard on the steering wheel, pushing hard on the left wheel brake, and the steering wheel came off in my hands. I was pulling so hard, the wheel came right up over my head and to keep myself from going backward off the seat, I let go of the steering wheel and grabbed the metal bar that held the seat to the tractor.

I held on tight to the bar between my legs, and frantically worked the steering brakes until the tractor came to a stop. My son has a real dry sense of humor, he said, "Real cool mom." And walked off. I sure impressed him...:)

Anyway, driving this old Case brought that memory back to me yesterday and it was fun to relive a little of the past. After all, that's what threshing bee's are for.

I've posted photos of more old time equipment on my photo site.
Donna Ridgway

Email Me if you have questions, or want to inquire about purchasing a painting or reference photo.

Remember, you can find horse art , Western art, Mule and Donkey art
wildlife art, cow art, and animal paintings, my reference photosfor sale on my website.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Draft horse photo, Percheron Team, Artist Reference

Artist Reference Photo DSC_9305

We attended a thrashing bee today and the highlight of the day for me, was watching this older horse teach his young team mate to handle all situations with aplomb! No matter what happened, the older team mate, was calm, giving the younger horse a good example to follow.

This photo of a Percheron Team is offered as an exclusive artist reference photo. Be the first to claim it!

Or see other photos of this Percheron team on my artist reference website. I'll be uploading the remainder of the photos tonight.

Email Me if you have questions, or want to inquire about purchasing this photo.

Remember, you can find horse art , Western art, Mule and Donkey art
wildlife art, cow art, and animal paintings, my reference photosfor sale on my website.

Horse picture, horse drinking, reflection.

I'd like some help naming this picture of Murphy as he stares into the water. What do you think I should call it?

I took this horse picture while we were at the ranch last week. I like the feeling of anticipation of a nice long drink of cool water on a hot day, I like the way he seems to be staring at his own reflection-I like the way you wonder what he's thinking....

What do you see in this photo? Leave a comment if you can suggest a name for this horse picture....
Donna Ridgway

Email Me if you have questions, or want to inquire about purchasing a painting.

Remember, you can find horse art , Western art, Mule and Donkey art
wildlife art, cow art, and animal paintings, my reference photosfor sale on my website.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Remember the Care Bears?

I call this guy Tenderheart! What a perfect heart he has on his chest!

Robert and I spent a week babysitting the ranch for my cousin who had to go to a wedding in Iowa. We stayed at the Dam house, near Swift Dam the first part of the week. The choke cherries are ripe and the choke cherry trees surround the house and yard. (If you read my previous posts, you'll find info on the ranch and Swift Dam)

We came home from the ranch one evening to find this guy in a tree in the yard.
You can tell, I was so excited to see the bear, my first picture was nothing but a blur! He's that little black lump in the tree.

He sat in the crotch of an aspen tree, about 3 feet off the ground, then bent over to eat choke cherries from the tops of the choke cherry trees. I suppose I was maybe 25 feet from him when I took the clear photo above.....I was standing near the old buckboard when I got the good photos.

I asked Robert if he thought I should go get the key to the house, so we could get inside quickly if we should see the need...he replied, "No! Just keep taking pictures!"

So of course, I took a lot of pictures of this bear! I walked right up to the buck board you see in the blurry photo. Tenderheart finally got tired of me and my camera and he climbed down from his tree to run over the hill behind the house. We followed him. He went up another tree, and we took some more photos, then he started down the tree again.

At that point, the hair was beginning to raise up on the backs of our necks, and we had such a weird feeling we were not alone with this bear. We decided we'd head back to the house, which was still locked.....

Came over the hill and into the yard to see this:

So here we are, cornered between two bears, and all I can hear going through my mind is the Forest Service mantra, "More people are killed and injured by black bears than grizzlies."

I told Robert, "I don't care what you're going to do, I'm going to unlock the house and get inside!" He grabbed the camera and took off in another direction, but this bear ran off before he got more pictures.

The night my cousin and her boyfriend got home from Iowa, this bear- without a heart on his chest- stood up and was looking in the dining room window. My cousin and her boyfriend have two little house dogs, who went crazy when they saw the bear looking in at them. He peeked in through the living room window first, leaving his paw prints on the glass, then moved around to peer into the dining room window. By then, my cousin and her boyfriend had got out of bed to see what the commotion was, and they saw the bear peeking in the window at them.

It's thrilling to live with the bears! I don't know when I've actually felt more alive. But now we're home again, and the most exciting critters we have around here are the donkeys and the cats....

Email Me if you have questions, or want to inquire about purchasing a painting.

Remember, you can find horse art , Western art, Mule and Donkey art
wildlife art, cow art, and animal paintings, my reference photosfor sale on my website.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Fencing at the ranch.

The cows got into the hay meadow, which is below this grizzly thicket and out of site. Naturally, the cattle came through the fence where it's most difficult to repair. At the base of this granite ridge, the cows come up against this rock, and don't want to turn around. I suppose the fence has been this way since my uncle Bob built it in the 30's.

I told my cousin, we couldn't keep the cattle out of the meadow, without creating a diversion away from this rock. So she sent me down the hill to move the pickup, and Russ came down the hill to get more posts. I was to move the truck to the other side of this ridge, into the meadow, and meet them on the other side.
I zoomed in with my camera and you can see Russ almost to the top of the hill, carrying the supplies needed to fix the hole in the fence and make the diversion.

I went on around with the truck, and worked my way back to where Russ and Mary were still working. He'd just driven three metal posts into solid rock. Which was quite a feat. Not to my cousin, she's an old mother hen, always worrying about everything, always doubting everything. She reached out and shook one of the posts, asking Russ as she did it, "Are you sure this is tight?" To which he replied patiently, "It ought to be, I drove it into solid rock."

Guess you know I got the giggles.

On the other side of the hill, Mary and I took the four wheelers to the far end of the fence. We were to work our way back toward the middle, fixing fence as we went along, and meet Russ, as he worked his way toward us. The trouble there was the fact there was a service berry patch at our end of the fence. We got started eating berries, and talking and sort of forgot about the fence until Russ came huffing and puffing his way up the hill to catch us with berry juice running down our chins. I suppose the bear who habits the patch wasn't happy with us when he came back that evening for supper either! We pretty much wiped out his berry patch. :)
Donna Ridgway

A couple of clowns, two silly horses.

I'm sitting here tonight looking through old photos. So many times, I forget what I have on this computer! Coming across this pair, was like visiting with old friends. They gave me a cozy feeling when I saw them, two horses, having so much fun playing together. And the looks on their faces, how funny can you get! Two silly horses for sure.

Let me know if you enjoyed them. Capturing photos of animals playing is one of my special joys and if you like them too, that would make me extra happy.
Donna Ridgway

Friday, September 05, 2008

Two handsome fellows. Skunk and a ground squirrel.

When we were at the ranch a couple weeks ago, I'd get up early in the morning to see what animals were stirring. Just back of the house, and over the hill, this handsome skunk was browsing for food, eating much the same as a bear. Digging for roots, ants, and other bugs, he worked hard for his breakfast.

Skunks are really peaceful little animals, and rarely bother you unless they've been tormented by people. He didn't seem to care I was nearby. Once in awhile, he'd raise up his head and look me over, only to go back to eating again. I visited with him each morning and it was a nice beginning to my days.

He wasn't someone I could pet, but I could get very close to him, and he'd tolerate my presence. He never stomped his feet at me, or warned me to get back.

You've got to admire his beautiful coat and his wonderful tail!

Once long ago, when my brother, sister and I were around 8 years old, we found a rabid skunk out in the corral. It truly was "foaming at the mouth" and the poor thing was crazy from the disease. It did try to chase us around, and we played with it for awhile before we went to the house to tell my mom there was a crazy skunk out by the barns. It was staggering and falling down when it tried to run.

My grandparents had just driven up in the yard to visit us when we got to the house. I'll never forget the urgency with which my Grandpa grabbed up a shovel, and told us to get into the house and not come out. Back then, you just killed the skunk, and buried it, you didn't worry about rabies epidemics or shots.

My brother, sister, and I were lucky the skunk was to far gone to catch us.

I guess the little guy in the photo above, is a common sight in other parts of the country, but this 13 striped ground squirrel was new to me!

We were almost finished fixing a line of fence when my cousin went to get on her four wheeler. She stopped before she climbed on, and said, "I don't know what just ran under my four wheeler, but it was either a snake or some other little critter!"

I said, "Start it up and we'll see what comes out!" So she started the 4 wheeler and this little guy came running out to stop at my feet. I didn't have the camera, so I ran to my 4 wheeler and grabbed it, thinking this guy would be gone before I got back. No way, he stayed around to get to know us.

I took several photos of him, and when we got home, I looked him up on the internet. I found a lot of photos of this species and learned they're common in the midwest. Hope I found correct information and if I'm wrong, please let me know because it was interesting to find this guy, and I did want to learn about him.

If they live near you, let me know about them!
Donna Ridgway

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Purchase my work on Red Bubble through the link above, or Email Me if you have questions, or want to inquire about purchasing a painting or photo.

Remember, you can find horse art , Western art, Mule and Donkey art
wildlife art, cow art, and animal paintings, my reference photosfor sale on my website.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Recipe for disaster, ranch rodeo, cowboy, photos.

Labor Day in Montana, means Rodeo! We chose to attend a ranch rodeo in Choteau, Mt. Half the fun was that we knew some of the cowboys, or knew their folks, so the action gets very personal. The crowd is involved, and loud, and the riders are totally harassed by their friends and viewers.

My favorite horse choice for this rodeo, was this buckskin. His performance was flawless! These photos are of the trailer loading contest. The announcer called out the number of a steer, the cowboys would rush the steers, sort out their number, and one of them would rope the steer.

Sometimes there are four or five ropes out at once, and there's more rope dodging than roping going on! In this instance, the buckskin and his rider, got the loop on the steer and began dragging him toward the trailer.

In this contest, the steer is drug to the trailer, the rider piles off his horse and hangs onto the steer, while the other cowboys on his team try their best to help him. They push the steer into a horse trailer, and get him into the pen at the front, then slam the door on him and go get two horses and load them into the back compartment of the trailer.

At this point, the cowboys lock both latches on the trailer gate, and run around to sit on the flatbed. Contest over! The team with the quickest time wins the money.
This guy got the steer to the trailer, jumped off and his friends grabbed the end of the rope with him. The steer made a big swing around the back of the horse, running the rope up under the saddle as he did so. One of the guys came running to try to extricate the horse.

When he ran up, the steer began to swing around the horse, and the rope came undone.

Some horses would have gone crazy in this situation, but not this buckskin! He calmly walked away. Now that's a horse! The crowd went wild, the cowboys got the steer and the horses loaded and that was that. What fun.

Ranch rodeos promote the old time cowboy ways of doing things. A real, hands on approach to rodeo, with lots of teamwork involved.
Donna Ridgway