There are many ways to decorate your yard for the summer. Whiskey barrels loaded with flowers, bedding plants blooming in a garden or hanging baskets with beautiful colored blossoms bursting over the edge, are just a few ways to beautify your outdoors. Bill and Linda Halvorson have some beautiful flowers gracing their yard at 418 9th Avenue South, but even better than that, they have some amazing yard art and almost all of it, is of their own making.
Many of the pieces are made up of vintage items that came from the family farm Linda grew up on, located 45 miles northwest of town. Other items are put together with vintage pieces the Halvorsons have gone on the search for at antique shops, second-hand stores or flea markets.
All of them are unique, original and are Halvorson-one-of-a-kind creations.
“Most everything we make comes from our own ideas,” said Linda. “Sometimes we see something someone else has made and we want to make it as well, but we put our own twist on it, so it becomes ours.”
A perfect example of this is their ball of mixing implements. It is a bowling ball like sphere, with holes drilled in it and each hole has a mixer implement in it, from a kitchen mixer. The ball is placed in a stand so all the little mixer pieces can be seen coming out of it.
“We saw this in someone’s yard, not here in Cut Bank, and decided it was cute and we could make it and do it a little different. So, we did,” she shared.
Once an idea takes shape in one or both of their minds, then the creation begins. Sometimes the idea comes from just seeing an old antique piece, like a drill bit, wagon wheel or old chain. Other times, an idea takes shape and off this pair goes to find the parts they need to complete the piece of art, adding another interesting, wonderful addition to their yard.
“It seems we always collaborate on an idea,” Linda said. “The ideas just evolve. It is really all about using your imagination and picturing what you can do. Bill always says when a plan comes together, it is a good plan.”
Some of their yard art is an item that gets bent or hand cut with a grinder to become something new–a flower, table or animal figurine. Other times, different items are left in their original form and are then welded or cemented together to take on a different look–flowers made of railroad spikes or a walkway made of old wagon wheels or a wonderful mixture of “this and that” that instantly becomes an innovative piece of yard art.
Every piece of art they have in their yard has a story, either from the items making it up or how it came to be.
“We have a lot of fun doing this and have been doing it for some time. We started making things a long time ago and over time we have made and accumulated quite a few pieces. I think we are going to start creeping into our neighbor’s yards with our stuff,” she said laughing. “We might be coming into your yard next.”
Linda was born and raised on the family farm and graduated from Cut Bank High School. Bill moved here while Linda was still in high school and began working at various jobs. He ended up working for Schlumberger Oil for 32 years.
Linda is a Registered Nurse and worked for a couple different physicians in Cut Bank before becoming the school nurse in 1985. She worked there for 29 years before retiring.
Together this innovative pair has three children: Amy lives in Missoula, Dan is in Denver and Tina, who just recently moved to Juneau, Alaska.
“I think we started making things early on in our marriage and it has been going on forever. It seems we always have something going on in our yard. We surely are not getting rid of anything, so instead, we just keep adding to it.”
Linda said they are a good “creative team” and have been since their marriage in 1971. “And it is something we can do together. Bill does a lot of the work on the grinder and welder and we both come up with the ideas. It’s fun.”
If you are looking for a fun, creative way to decorate your yard that involves something other than the summer-time looking plants and flowers, then a drive-by of the Halvorson’s yard will be just the inspiration you need.