Me, during a horse back ride to a lake near Phillipsburg, Mt.
Robert Lee Ridgway Donna Ridgway
My husband Robert and I like to do things together, so I am calling this an "about us" page.
I grew up in a family that homesteaded the Rocky Mountain Front, west of Dupuyer. My family farmed and ranched through generations.
I married, and continued farming and ranching for 25 years. During those years, one of my favorite things to do, was to help my neighbors move their cattle. Someone was always saying, "Hey Donna, saddle up your horse and come help me!"
After a divorce, I ran a small feed store, and worked nights in a cafe in Charlo, Mt, baking pies and doing dishes. Throughout my life I maintained a connection to my artwork....Painting and drawing when I could.
In the 90's I worked for the Lake County Leader, in Lake county, Mt. selling advertising. Back then we cut and pasted our ads, which I enjoyed.
For several years, I belonged to the Mission Valley Back Country Horsemen. We rode the mountains and back country, and cleaned trails for the Forest Service. I was secretary of that organization and publisher of their newsletter for a few years.
Robert grew up in a family that moved a lot, so he has lived in many Montana towns. He quit High School to join the Marines. In boot camp, he made PFC and shot a 234 score out of a possible 250 on the rifle range.
On the same day, he turned 18- he graduated boot camp, which was also the same day he would have graduated from High School.
He spent 22 months in Viet Nam as an 81 Mortars, Forward Observer, gaining the rank of Sergeant. He survived the seige at Khe Sanh, on hill 861 Alpha where the Marines were over run. He received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with the bronze star, good conduct award and others.
After his military service, he worked underground in a mine in Idaho where there was a cave in and the mine closed down. There are newspaper stories in old papers, of the mine cave in and Robert's part in saving trapped miners.
From there, Robert moved back to Kalispell where he worked in the timber/logging industry. He worked on the pipeline in Alaska in the 70's. Robert also managed a pipe yard, in Sydney, Mt, then moved to Nevada where he was a relief shifter and taught safety classes in the mines.
We met in 2003 when he walked into the cafe where I was working. We both knew that night, that we'd spend the rest of our lives together. From that time on, we've worked together, he drives while I take photos, he's very good at noticing everything that's going on around us, so if one of us doesn't see an animal, the other usually does.
Robert with our kitty, Scarlet
When we met, Robert told me, "I won't settle down and live in the same place." So I thought, ok, after a lifetime of being "settled down", I'm ready for some adventure! So we jumped into a reefer truck and drove cross country hauling goods. We worked for a blasting crew, drilling and filling dynamite holes, we worked on a forest fire and we worked following a crew around the state crushing cars. I have to say I loved all those things, I got a chance to see the country, I got a taste of living in a semi and cooking on the road. I learned so much!
Eventually Robert did decide he could settle down...:) He spends his time now collecting vintage cars. His favorites are the 1956 Buick Specials of which he has several.
We're retired now and live in Vaughn, Mt. Being retired gives me the time I need to create art, photographs, and digital creations. We love four wheeling, camping and traveling...all are activities that afford us opportunities for taking photographs.
Our yard and gardens also take up a bit of our time, we love planting trees, flowers and shrubs and watching them grow.
When it comes to creating art my motto is, "Never give up." Keep painting, keep creating and keep enjoying the talent you have. I've always loved animals, especially horses, so my work revolves around them.
Robert and I also enjoy combining our work. He's a poet, he writes poems straight from his heart, that are easy to read and understand. His poems tell stories of letting go of your children as they grow up, grandmothers, the war and other subjects. We like combining our work as you will see when you read the poem, "The Battle's End".
We are both self taught and draw on our many and varied life's experiences to create what you will see on this site.