Sunday, September 11, 2011

What the Hay!?!?

The What the Hay competition is held every year on the first Sunday following Labor Day. It is along a beautiful stretch of Montana backroads between Hobson and Utica, Montana in Judith Basin county. Neighboring ranches compete for the most creative hay sculptures.

Part 1

Part 2

One of my favorites - Wild Bale Hickock

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wildflowers on the Beaver Ponds Trail

An after work/dinner hike on the Beaver Ponds Loop Trail. 5 miles roundtrip. I've never seen so many wildflowers. Absolutely gorgeous!

Bull elk coming to greet us.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Grant-Kohrs Ranch

Denise, Kim and I head to Deer Lodge, MT to visit the Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.
Deer Lodge, MT

We were greeted by the friendly residents...

The ranch house

The ranch house was originally built in 1862 by Johnny Grant. It was a trading post downstairs, the living quarters were upstairs, and was 4,000 square feet. In 1866, Grant sold the ranch to Conrad Kohrs who became known as the "Cattle King" in Montana. Kohrs married Augusta Kruse Kohrs who transferred the trading post into the elegant, historic ranch house it is today. They did so by adding almost another 5,000 square feet to the house.

There were many exhibits to demonstrate the workings of the once headquarters of a 10 million acre cattle operation. We spent some time drinking coffee and bread made over a campfire at the Chuckwagon exhibit.

The kid pictured above was wearing an Alaska cap. The chuckwagon cook above asked if the boy was from Alaska and he said, "Yes, I'm from Wasilla, Alaska." The cook asked if there was a famous person from Wasilla. The boy couldn't think of anyone so the cook said, "Obama?" The boy said, "WHAT?" He couldn't think of Sarah Palin but he knew Obama wasn't from there. The boy was more excited to mention a driver from Ice Road Truckers that is also from Wasilla. Too young to follow the political scene!

The garden

The bunkhouse

We were lucky to visit on the Ranch Days weekend held once in July. Ranch folks from the area volunteer to demonstrate the Montana-made Beaver Slide haystacking method used on the ranch in the early days. A beaver slide is pictured above.

Horse-pushed buck rake and horse-drawn hay rake

Buck rake

Once the hay is raked into rows, a buck rake is used to push the hay towards the beaver slide.

It is pushed onto a basket at the bottom of the slide....

...Then a team pulls the rope that raises the basket up and over the slide...

hay rake

hay mower

Blacksmith shop and more equipment

backporch of the ranch house

We also took a ride in a little railroad cart. This had nothing to do with the operation of the ranch, but they were helping celebrate Ranch Days. Fun!

On the drive home, we drove through Butte, the Richest Hill on Earth thanks to the copper mines that surround the town.

Butte, Montana