Return to Grandfather’s Ranch


Almost 100 years ago my Irish grandfather had this farmhouse built on land he transformed from cattle range to wheat fields. While he plowed behind a brace of strong horses, an itinerant carpenter fashioned the basement then raised the walls. As grandfather tilled under weeds in the summer fallow, the carpenter affixed a roof and installed the big dormer window through which his grandson enjoys the view of Square Butte across fields of rising winter wheat. By harvest the four Greece inspired porch pillars stood, shinning with newly applied white paint, to tell all who ride by that our family’s escape from poverty is complete.

P1120937This Spring brought a blessing of rain, hard on the old house but a gift for the wheat, how green and tall in the fields surrounding the farm stead. A Meadow Lark on one of the pasture fence posts constantly repeats a lovely 6 note song, broken occasionally by the disharmony of a male pheasant, the more welcome music of curlews. I watch a small herd of Pronghorn Antelopes move cautiously from a stubble field toward a wheat fields across the road.  Beyond the pronghorns, Square Butte rises above the fertile, flat bench, a giant’s cowboy hat with crown smashed down. P1130011

Later we wait for the sun to set, battling mosquitos–Montana’s creatures of the night.  This being summer the sun lingers above the horizon then paints the clouds and vapor trails in pastels while falling off the Square Butte Bench. P1130096

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