Western Findings No. 6


My latest work, “Bison along the Madison River” is almost complete. My goal is to elicit delight or wonder from the viewer. These emotions would mimic my reactions to seeing buffalo calves for the first time. I am also fascinated with the buffalo’s sense of community. Older and younger buffalo guard, care and sidle up to the calves while they sleep, romp and graze.

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The end of our trip to Montana and our departure from Glacier National Park led us to Billings for a short but very hospitable stay with my husband’s cousins. We enjoyed walks around cousin Susan’s golf course community. Hiking away from the paved road into an open field or near the rimrock was out of the question as those spaces contain poisonous snakes during the summer. The dining at a neighborhood “Great Harvest” was delicious and nutritious with deli sandwiches made with fresh-baked, artisan bread. “Great Harvest” is a Montana franchise that features the state’s grain, which is milled at the store. The store/deli also sells “in-house” created and packaged breakfast cereals and ingredients for all sorts of baked goods. Another cousin, Shawn, introduced us to the steakhouse, “Granary”. The fare was tasty. We sat on the patio which gave the pleasant feeling of being in someone’s wooded backyard.

Perhaps the most unusual but the most gratifying sight to see while we visited Billings was a waterfowl sanctuary. Susan’s husband, Jack recommended that pay a visit to “WJH Bird Resources” which is owned and directed by his friend, Sheila McKay.

Sheila was very gracious and took us on a marvelous tour of the grounds. I became acquainted with an array of exotic ducks and geese. An East African Crown Crane and a Sandhill Crane reside there too. My plans for a future trip to Billings will definitely include ample time to paint and sketch at this preserve.

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