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Bell, Bark and Saddle: 1939

Bell, Bark and Saddle: 1939

June 1939. "Entrance to mess hall. Quarter Circle U Ranch, Big Horn County, Montana." Medium format negative by Arfer Ruffstein. View full size.


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My Greatgrandpappy Told Me.

"Yes son a nailed horseshoe on a building draws good luck but never nail it upside down because all the luck falls out if you do." True story.

And yes aenthal that be a eucalyptus trunk disguised as a bell tower.


I would have guessed a 20m Dipole antenna. That, along with 40m, was a popular band but it doesn't look long enough or high enough for 40m. I'd be curious to know what wire is going to the antenna. It looks like some kind of coax. I wouldn't have thought coax would have been available to the average person at the time, the same for 300 ohm twin lead, but the feed line looks round.

It also looks like other antennas are going on over the the left.

Eucalyptus Pole

The bell is mounted on a pole made from a eucalyptus trunk.
Like sycamore, the outer bark peels off as those trees grow.

What's the weird wood?

Never seen spiraling wood grain such as that in the pole (or barkless tree trunk?) holding the dinner bell. Anyone got a guess what kind of tree it is--or is from?

Rockin' out?

Never been out west; is that a rock roof and Rock Hudson's giant boot lying in the yard?

Unique Roof

Complete with wild growth.

Oh, I see.

So I guess that's Pyewacket the dog?


That appears to be an off-center-fed dipole antenna, which suggests a ham radio setup.

Feeding a dipole off-center matches its impedance to 50 ohm coax, which is way too much trouble for just a receiver.

Where You Buried the Bone

I've only been up about five minutes this morning and must thank you for the first laugh of the day. "Arfer Ruffstein".

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