Monday, December 4, 2017

Installing a Winch

Pam's dad, Ron Schwartz repairs large farm equipment in Iowa. So when he has time off for Thanksgiving, he can't resist tinkering and repairing his own equipment. One of the first things we did when we got to the family farm was to go out to the work shed and help Ron install the winch. At first he worked solo, but eventually he relied on his daughter for assistance. As Pam says, he has huge bear paws for hands and the task involved getting some bolts lined up in a very tight space.

I started the sketch as Ron drilled holes in the winch support assembly he had custom built. Then he spent the rest of the time at the utility vehicle so I switched gears mid-sketch. The task of installing the winch was harder than expected, giving me plenty of time as father and daughter worked on the install together. In random spots around the work space, deer skulls could be found in buckets or mounted to light bulbs. Pam's niece Destiny sat behind the steering wheel of the Rhino utility vehicle the entire time, as if she would drive off the second the install was complete.

After the install, Pam took me on a spin around the 16 acre property. There is a pond in the ravine and some steep hills that I felt might tip the vehicle over if approached at the wrong angle. The lake had a thin sheet of ice over its surface and the wind made the ice sing. There was what looked like a stabalized stick shift bar and grip on the roll bar that Ron referred to as "OH shit!" grips. I clutched those grips tight the whole time.

Ron needs the utility vehicle and winch to haul hunted deer back to the work space where they can be dressed and cut up as a winter supply of meat. The deer is field dressed where it is shot, leaving all the stink and weight of the innards of the animal behind. After being brought back the deer is skinned, hanged in a cooler for a few days before being processed. Each evening Ron would go out to shoot a deer but they eluded him all Thanksgiving. One faced him and was just six paces from being shot. That buck eluded the bullet by standing strategically behind a tree before bounding off just in time.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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