Montana Woman Magazine, Issue No. 5, March/April 2020

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women ’ s history month

issue n o 303 march / april 2020

celeste shaw: a woman of montana land

montana woman m a g a z i n e



GLACIER NATIONAL PARK | MEGAN CRAWFORD


HISTORY |

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L ADY EVELYN CAMERON

The female photographer of the American West

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WOMAN WORK

Redefining and reclaiming traditional craft

HOME & HEARTH |

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STATION 8

Ode to spring

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THE WRIGHT WAY

Hues of yesterday, today, & tomorrow

ART & DESIGN |

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L AUREN WOODS: HUSTLE & THROW

Self, ceramics, & being nice

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MORGAN IRONS

“Revery alone will do”

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KATIE RAE ALLISON

A Woman of the Wayward Wind

FOOD & SPIRITS |

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HERITAGE

Grandma Twila’s oatmeal raisin cookies

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FARMST YLE BEEF & BARLEY SOUP

Slow cooking for long days

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THE RANKIN BRIGADE

Meagan Schmoll & Drinking Like Ladies 4

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CELESTE SHAW // A WOMAN OF MONTANA L AND

KIRA BASSINGTHWAIGHTE // WESTERN CIDER


LIFE |

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REWRITING

Becoming a Montana woman

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MINDFULNESS MATTERS

Intention & impact

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HOW MANY CAREERS IS TOO MANY?

A coconut at sea

ACTIVE & OUTDOOR |

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CHLOE NOSTRANT

Storms

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GOING SOLO

Solo backpacking basics

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MELISSA PROCTOR

Talk less and do more

HEALTH & WELLNESS |

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LEVITATION NATION

Stephanie Breck

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KALISPELL REGIONAL

Movement: the key to longevity

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NORTH VALLEY

Getting your heart in shape

EDITOR'S DESK |

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SARA SAXTON

LITTLE BIGHORN; ANCESTRAL CROW, CHEYANNE, & SIOUX LAND | MEGAN CRAWFORD

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montana woman

OWNER & EDITOR

megan crawford

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

megan crawford

Montana Woman is a platform. It’s built by women, for women. It’s a place to celebrate our achievements, a place to support each other, a place to acknowledge the resilience of the women of this state. It doesn’t necessarily matter where you’re from, you’re here now. In all of your loudness, your boldness, your fearlessness— you are here. We’re here, together.

BUSINESS MANAGER

carrie crawford ADVERTISING

carrie crawford elaine nabors kelsey weyerbacher megan crawford

We publish a statewide magazine that features women across Montana— the movers and shakers, the go-getters, the rule-breakers, the risk-takers. We all have a story to tell.

PHOTOGRAPHERS

sheri beaman paige billings megan crawford jesslyn marie kelsey weyerbacher

CORRECTIONS Issue N o 302 featured Caroline Keys— the poem printed with the article was misattributed and was not written by Keys, nor was it intended for print. The organization Keys works with is the Missoula Writing Collaborative, not Consitorium, and Debra Magpie Earling shared stories at the Whitefish Review event, not Gretel Erlich.

EDITING DEPARTMENT

megan crawford kelsey weyerbacher

PUBLIC REL ATIONS

carrie crawford kelsey weyerbacher

BACK COVER megan crawford AVALANCHE GORGE, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK 35MM FILM, 2015 prints avail able , contact

info @ montanawoman . com for pricing

Montana Woman is a registered trademark and may not be used without permission. The information contained in this magazine is provided as is. Neither Montana Woman or the publisher make any representation or warranty with respect to this magazine

ADVERTISING, DISTRIBUTION, SUBMISSIONS Contact the editor at info@montanawoman.com or (406)260-1299. Submissions are not accepted through the phone, postal service, or social media.

or the contents thereof and do hereby disclaim all express and implied warranties to the fullest extent permitted by law. Montana Woman and the publisher do not endorse any individuals, companies, products, services, or views featured or advertised in this magazine. ©2020 Montana Woman. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced without written permission from the editor.

printed by century publishing in post falls, idaho 6

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LET TER FROM THE EDITOR mpowerment. At its core, the fourth wave of feminism is a proponent of empowerment across the board. Over the last 170 years, western feminism has marched onward for women’s rights, but a vital facet has been missing until the most recent wave: true equality. Each wave has fought for something: the first for a right to vote and the second for social rights, but both waves neglected to acknowledge and actively include people of color and minorities. Since we’re currently in the midst of another wave, it’s unclear whether this is still part of the third wave or a new fourth wave, but one thing’s for sure: this one’s different. Modern feminism is intersectional. It’s not limited to race, class, or creed— it’s for anyone who believes in equality and the power it holds. This issue celebrates the women of Montana in honor of Women’s History Month— women who have broken molds, paved their way, supported others along the way, and at the core are their own sincere, uninhibited selves. I’ve loved each issue I’ve worked with, but this one’s different. Each issue has shown the community we have in Montana, but this one yells it out. There are so many bold, driven, talented women in this state, and this is just part of that fraction. It’s incredibly humbling to work with the people in this issue and to have a platform for them. For me, that’s what so magical about Montana Woman. It’s empowering to empower others, even if it feels like something small. Every bit of support matters to someone. Every voice is a thousand voices, every story an echo. May you find yourself in this issue, may you feel heard and understood. From the blue peaks of the Rocky Mountain front to the gumbo hills of Missouri River breaks, the sweet sage air of the east to the cool cedar mist of the west— one voice alone may feel small, but together we can build a wave.

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contributors KELSEY WEYERBACHER

TIFFANY SALVESON

STEPHANIE EVANS PHOTO BY LINDSEY JANE

ALANA WRIGHT

CHLOE NOSTRANT

NICOLE DUNN

we all have a story to tell. ALYSON DORR

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MEAGAN SCHMOLL

RACHEL HOPKINS PHOTO BY SHERI BEAMAN

SARAH HARDING

AUTUMN TOENNIS

JESSLYN MARIE

KRIS SELL

MINDY COCHRAN PHOTO BY KIRALEE JONES

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38 Hwy 2 East, Columbia Falls, MT 406-892-1123

station8antiques.com photo by sheri beaman

behind the cover COVER MUSE celeste shaw PHOTOGRAPHER cami bradley LOCATION spokane, wa ARTICLE STARTS ON PAGE 54

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HISTORY |

lady evelyn cameron the female photographer of the american west BY KELSEY WEYERBACHER

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y family’s farm has sat at the site of where the Badlands and Yellowstone collide for four generations. My childhood was spent running barefoot to the river, collecting rocks and agates off the banks with my siblings, before irrigating the crops amidst clouds of mosquitoes. The history of the landscape of my childhood was documented in the paintings of C.M. Russell and the photographs of L.A. Huffman, two males chiefly responsible for the image of the American West in Montana. But, alongside these masculine documentations, I was also fiercely aware of the photographic documentation of a female photographer of the late 1800s, whose homestead had rested within an hour drive of my childhood home. This woman was known for her pioneer spirit, her incredible portraits of Eastern Montanans, and her devotion to the land. This woman was Evelyn Cameron. Born to a wealthy English family south of London in 1868, Evelyn Cameron began her life far from the rugged landscape of Southeastern Montana. Cameron’s early childhood was spent attempting to push against her privileged surroundings— often caught running to hunt with her brothers, she developed an aptitude for the outdoors that led her to fall in love with Ewen Cameron, an ornithologist bird enthusiast, who she soon ran away with, much to her family’s distress. The two moved to Montana, following a frontier dream of wildness following a “honeymoon” in which the two explored the area.1

ILLUSTRATION BY MEGAN CRAWFORD

Terry, Montana was a small outpost along the Yellowstone River, just north of Miles City. With the construction of the Milwaukee Railroad in the late 1800s, the area boomed, growing around cattle, sheep, and later, the founding of farming in the area.2 A town of just under 600 in 2017 according to the 2017 U.S. Census, Terry still constructs its business around agriculture, as well as the tourists that flock to the area for the main attractions: the hunting, the Badlands, and the history of Evelyn Cameron. When Evelyn and Ewen found themselves in Terry, Montana in the 1880s, they thought they would build their fortune by training polo horses to export back to England. However, the harsh reality of life on the prairie soon made Evelyn aware of her upbringing did her no favors in this new place. She depended heavily on the female neighbors around her to teach her to become a ranch wife, bonding and developing a community that would later serve her photography work.1

IMAGES BY KELSEY WEYERBACHER, RARE SPECIMEN. 2016.

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Evelyn was unique in her love of her ranch chores, but also in the fact that she almost single-handedly ran the ranch, while Ewen pursued his hobby of tracking golden eagle patterns in Southeastern Montana following his failed business plans.2 The livelihood of the pair rested on Evelyn’s shoulders, and she readily rose to the task, triumphant in this social turn of gender roles. She rode horses, worked the plow, harvested a large garden, milked the cows, and hunted regularly. She was a natural prairie dweller, finding herself at ease in the immense emptiness of Prairie County.1 But, despite all her hard work, life on the prairie remained difficult. From taking in boarders, to gardening, milking, and horse riding, Evelyn struggled to make ends meet. Regardless, she continued to keep avid diaries and notes, detailing her experiences in the great American West. As she grew more and more restless in her attempts to fund the ranch, she stumbled upon the puzzle of a glass plate camera, at the hands of a traveling boarder at her home.2 After purchasing one for herself, Evelyn turned her camera to the strange land around her, hoping to take portraits for money, as well as make sense of the geography of her surroundings.1 Among Evelyn’s first photographs were those of Ewen’s birds. The couple hoped to use Ewen’s research, with Evelyn’s photographs, to sell articles to magazines for money. However, without the use of a telephoto lens, Evelyn had to rely on her never-ending patience with animals to come close enough to the birds to photograph them. As a result of her efforts, Evelyn’s bird portraits became some of the earliest portraits of birds of the American West in their natural environments.1 Soon, Evelyn turned her camera to the communities of people she lived amidst. There was no money to be found in running a studio in a remote town such as Terry, so Evelyn took to her horse to ride and find photography work. Often traveling up to 50 miles a day, she sought out prairie workers, cowboys, railroad workers, and small communities interested in having their photos taken. Cameron quickly set herself apart from the distant, posed images of L.A. Huffman in her own portraits that detailed her relationships with the people of the prairie, often turning her 12

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camera most often on her neighbors and friends.1 In 1908, the construction of a new railroad brought immigrant workers and new customers to Evelyn’s business in addition to the new farmers who came to the prairie following the enlarged Homestead Act in 1909. But, Evelyn’s photography was unique in its focus on females. The women of the West were rugged, riding horses as men would, working cattle as men would, pulling plows as men would, and running households like no man could. Evelyn herself was unlike any woman of “civilized” nature, nearly getting arrested in Miles City for wearing a divided riding skirt on a trip into town. The Buckley sisters, neighbors of Evelyn’s, were among her prime photography subjects, being such incredible ropers and horse riders, that they were sought after for traveling Western Shows. But, with so much ranch work to be done, the sisters couldn’t be bothered to leave the family ranch.1 Ewen continued to pursue his bird hobby, leaving Evelyn in charge of the family finances. He grew sick, and distant, and Evelyn’s photography and journal entries soon modeled her attitude in this loneliness that ensued. But, her loneliness was soon remedied with the arrival of young Janet Williams, who Evelyn would befriend and mentor, allowing her to become excited in her surroundings again, as she introduced Janet to the same struggles she had faced as a young woman in the West.2 Through music, horse riding, gardening, and photography, the two formed a lasting bond.1 In 1915, Ewen died in California, where they traveled to seek medical help for his longlasting illness.2 Evelyn returned to her ranch in Montana, finding their home had been robbed in their absence. So, she did what any practical, hardworking woman would do: she left the upturned mess to go outside and plow her garden. For the rest of her life, she continued to photograph and journal, and remained close friends with Janet Williams, with whom she left all her glass plates and photographs.1 Evelyn Cameron, the symbol of female pioneers in Eastern Montana, died at age sixty in 1928, after a routine appendectomy. While her heart failure following the procedure was unexpected, the way Cameron got to the doctor was in true


EVELYN CAMERON STANDING ON JIM THE HORSE, C.1905-1915 EVELYN CAMERON HERITAGE. TERRY, MT.

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pioneer fashion: riding her horse for 30 miles by herself. Traversing the landscape that had become her home— living out her last days as a true Montanan woman.2 Few outside of the Terry, Montana area knew who Evelyn Cameron was. It wasn’t until fifty years after her death that author Donna M. Lucey discovered thousands of forgotten glass plate negatives in the home of her now-elderly friend, Janet Williams.2 With the profound discovery of these images came the work of the Prairie County Museum and Evelyn Cameron Heritage Organization in Terry, along with Lucey’s book, Photographing Montana 1894-1928: The Life and Work of Evelyn Cameron in 1991, and the awardwinning PBS documentary “Evelyn Cameron: Pictures from a Worthy Life” released in 2009. Like Evelyn, I find myself continually drawn back to the prairie. Nothing is more intoxicating than the smell of sagebrush following a summer

"FIGHT ME" | KELSEY WEYERBACHER, MS. MELANCHOLY.

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thunderstorm, or the powerful waves that grass makes in a breeze across the plains. I am a prairie woman shaped by the powerful women before me who shaped the path for me through their mentorship. Evelyn Cameron pioneered photography for women like me, but she also pioneered the story of women in the American West. As Montana women, we are left with a legacy: to be ferocious in spirit, kind to our fellow women, and damn tough when life calls us forth. 1 Twiggs, John. Evelyn Cameron: Pictures of a Worthy Life. 2009. Montana PBS. Film. 2 Lucey, Donna M. “Photographing Montana (1894-1928): The Life and Work of Evelyn Cameron.” Mountain Press Publishing Company: 2001. Missoula, Montana. Print. HISTORIC IMAGE CREDIT TO THE EVELYN CAMERON HERITAGE IN TERRY, MONTANA. EVELYNCAMERON.ORG


JANET AND EVELYN, DOORWAY, 1910. EVELYN CAMERON HERITAGE. TERRY, MT.

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HISTORY |

Woman Work

REDEFINING & RECLAIMING TRADITIONAL CRAFT

BY MEGAN CRAWFORD

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ntil recent history (we’re talking less than 100 years ago), women did not have a voice. Even with the 19th Amendment in 1920, women did not equally have a voice. We did, however, have domestic arts. Quilting, needlepoint, embroidery, cross-stitch— art forms that, in the past, were commonly looked down upon as “craft-making.” But while others were sleeping, women were working. The domestic arts have always been a legitimate art form. They’ve only recently begun to gain the recognition they deserve.

*** The domestic arts gave women a voice, from political pieces down to the act of creating work. They created a space for people who didn’t have a voice. While they didn’t have the sociopolitical presence that we have now, they paved the way stitch by stitch.

soon as I read those words, I knew that was the pattern. The deliberate act of stitching “I would be nastier” over and over really drives it home to whoever is making the piece. I’m a non-confrontational people pleaser, so creating this piece involved a lot of reflection. I looked back on times when I didn’t stand my ground because I didn’t want to be loud. The times when I folded because I didn’t want to sound “bossy,” the times I stayed quiet because why would someone listen to a young woman? (hint: they’ll listen because you have something to say).

OWN WHO YOU ARE & DON’T MAKE YOURSELF SMALLER FOR THE COMFORT OF OTHERS

A prime example of early activism in needlework is Alice Roosevelt Longworth— she stitched a pillow with the quote, “If you can’t say something good about someone, sit right here by me.” And now, some 110 years later, contemporary artists are metaphorically recreating that pillow tenfold.

Rankin’s words are a welcome reminder to anyone: own who you are and don’t make yourself smaller for the comfort of others.

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Starting with this pattern for Women’s History Month, we’re hoping to offer a free cross-stitch pattern in every issue. If you stitch this pattern, let us know! And don’t feel like you have to stick to the pattern, either— use different colors, switch cross-stitch for embroidery, write it out on a sticky note and keep it in your car. Create the way you enjoy to create! The beauty of art is that it’s completely different for everyone.

I write this with a book of feminist cross-stitch patterns by my side (Stephanie Rohr’s Feminist Cross-Stitch: 40 Bold & Fierce Patterns for those who are curious). It’s become even more accessible and more deliberate in recent years. After all, it’s one thing to say what you’re thinking, but it’s another to stab your words in a piece of cloth thousands of times.

IF YOU MISS AN ISSUE, PATTERNS WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD IN OUR ONLINE SHOP AT MONTANAWOMAN.COM/SHOP

This issue’s cross-stitch pattern features a quote from Montana’s own Jeannette Rankin. When I started drafting this pattern, I scoured the internet for the perfect words. During an interview at the age of 93, Rankin looked back on her life and remarked: “If I had my life to live over, I would do it all again, but this time I would be nastier.” As

MEGAN CRAWFORD is an artist and workshop instructor living in northwestern Montana. After graduating from Montana State University with a degree in Film & Photography, she started teaching alternative process printmaking workshops. Alongside teaching and creating, she’s the owner of this magazine and a collection of kitschy socks. mon tan awoman .com | marc h/ap r il 2 02 0

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note : I realize that I misspelled Jeannette’s name in my finished piece— sometimes that happens, and you just have to go with it (aka I gifted this piece and then realized the err of my ways).

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HOME & HEARTH |

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ode to spring ARTICLE BY RACHEL HOPKINS IMAGES BY SHERI BEAMAN

Now when the primrose makes a splendid show, And lilies face the March-winds in full blow, And humbler growths as moved with one desire Put on, to welcome spring, their best attire… william wordsworth, “poor pobin”

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pring is like mother nature showing off what she can do. As Wordsworth, says it’s the earth putting on its “best attire!” After months of dreary winter grey, here in Montana we embrace spring’s vibrant colors and the return of that bright orange ball in the sky. One of my favorite magazines to read is British Country Living— I always pick one up when I’m out of town and making my necessary trip into Barnes and Noble. The thing I love most about them is their nature section. Not only are they informative about the wildlife of Great Britain, but they always have the most amazing artwork of birds, rabbits, and all manner of other British critters woven throughout the pages of the articles. I always think of these illustrations in the spring, and often when I’m pondering new spring décor for the store. This spring, my goal is to recreate the feel of one of these illustrations in the shop! If you read my article in the last edition of Montana Woman, you know that one of the things that is inspiring me in 2020 is nature. For my spring display, I’m planning to bring nature indoors! Using a collection of flowers, birdhouses, moss, vintage terra cotta pots, and rusty metal outdoor furniture, I’m going to create a whimsical feast for your eyes.

without at least a nod to John James Audubon’s The Birds of America. Audubon (1785-1851) was an ornithologist and painter who spent the majority of his life studying and painting birds and other animals. His work, The Birds of America, was published as a series between 1827 and 1838. It featured 435 hand-colored life-size prints of 497 species of birds. I’ll have a selection of both framed and unframed prints available, along with a couple of copies of his book! A collection of these prints will brighten up any room in your home and add a vintage-naturalists feel that’s perfect for this time of year. The high point of spring at the store is our Spring Open House! Every year I close the doors for the week prior to the event to allow myself and my vendors time to create a wonderland for you all to shop. This year, our Spring Open House is Friday, April 10th, from 5-9pm and continuing on Saturday, April 11th, from 9am-5pm. I hope I’ve painted an intriguing picture to encourage you to come out for our open house and see what’s new in the shop for spring— flowers, and rabbits, and birds… oh my! –Rachel Hopkins Owner of Station 8

I’m also a believer that you can’t think spring mon tan awoman .com | marc h/ap r il 2 02 0

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HOME & HEARTH |

Hues of

Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow

BY AARON SKINNER & AL ANA WRIGHT WRIGHT’S FURNITURE

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olor and how we perceive it, the emotion it elicits, and its ability to affect our mood has been part of the human experience for thousands of years. From the earliest cave paintings to today’s home furnishings, color has been an integral part of the human experience. The color red was a popular choice among hunters and gathers to adorn the walls of their caves. Countless emperors, monarchs, and churches have all used red to convey power and regality. In modern times the use of color, much like hairstyles and fashion, has constantly changed and evolved. The post-war era in America and into the 1950s saw the use of oatmeal, navy blue, black, and grays. The 60s ushered in an era of bright tones, including harvest yellow. Anyone alive in the 70s can attest to browns, oranges, and greens. The 80s were bright and full of energy. The 21st century has been a mixture of old and new. Designers are pushing the envelope with new shades of familiar colors and sometimes finding comfort in old favorites. With Spring Market season upon us, our design staff has been scoping out all of the 2020 design trends. Springs colors have been really popular this year. Pastels bring the cheerfulness of the changing season without being overpowering; pinks, light blues, and chalky grays are a great way

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to bring color into a space. They evoke a sense of calmness and warmth. Taupes and greens are another way to liven up a room. They remind us of our connection with our natural environments and will help us find the calming, invigorating euphoria we feel while in the midst of nature. Ultimately, your space should be an oasis that brings in the best of the outside world while eliminating the bad. If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous, try cayenne pepper to add a bit of spice and brightness. Rocky grays can add a sense of mood and sophistication to an area— it works well in cozy rooms such as libraries and dens. Do you have a favorite color you would like to incorporate into your space? Your space should reflect your personality and sense of style. How do you incorporate a color into your space? The use of accent walls in areas without direct sunlight is one way to brighten a space. Looking for something less drastic? The use of artwork, floral arrangements, and accent pillows can add a splash of color with minimal effort. Can you use more than one color? Yes— multiple colors can be woven into an area for added depth. How can we help? Our design center has thousands of fabrics, and our sales staff has 50+ years of handson experience, interior design education, fine art education, product knowledge, and numerous best home décor awards.


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6 3 25 H I G H WAY 93 S O U T H , W H I T E F I S H M T 4 06-862-245 5 | wrightsfurniturestore.com FREE DELIVERY & FREE DESIGN SERVICES


hustle & throw

PHOTO BY DIANA DAVIS

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| ART & DESIGN

lauren woods

on self, ceramics, and being nice BY KELSEY WEYERBACHER

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he first time I met Lauren Woods, she was walking down the sidewalk with cutoff Carhartts splattered in mud, looking like a total badass. The second time, she was dancing with her dog in her studio to Drake and then Beyoncé, laughing from her belly. The third time, she was running past me, yelling, “Hey, babe!” with her hair shoved in a trucker hat as she zipped down the sidewalk faster than I’ve run since freshman PE. Lauren, the woman wonder behind Bozeman’s Hustle & Throw Ceramics is best described by the words she uses on her website: female owned & operated all handmade everything be nice or kindly f*ck off

She’s a hard worker. A damn hard worker. She’s almost always accompanied by her dog, Brady Woods, and a bundle of energy usually connected in some way to hip hop music. Most recently, she’s gained notable popularity throughout the Gallatin Valley for her feminist boob mugs. Strong, practical pieces of drinkware adorned with various sizes of female breasts, her work is consistently sold out. I can’t get enough of Lauren’s energy. And it’s obvious the general public can’t either. Born and raised in the small town of Waitsfield, Vermont, Woods worked various jobs across the

country before moving to Bozeman with her husband, Gavin, in 2015. She started working with clay in high school, and was quickly hooked: “I was definitely someone who tried all the arts in high school and I liked how you could do all those things with one thing with clay. I can carve, paint, draw, anything. And I can make it in the form of something that someone can use every day.” After spending time at the renowned Bennington Potters in Vermont, Lauren began working as the studio monitor at the Burlington City Arts (BCA) Center in Vermont. Woods would load kilns and clean up the space, but over the course of her three years there, she began assisting with classes. She now works from her own studio and teaches ceramics classes at Bozeman’s Emerson Arts Center, beckoning back to her time at the BCA. Two days a week, she teaches 22 adults at the Emerson in classes that are in high demand. As Woods notes, “The classes always sell out and there are always 1-4 people on the waiting lists. Half of the class are repeats. I just couldn’t help but think it wasn’t sustainable.” In 2017, Lauren opened her own studio space in downtown Bozeman. “I wanted a space where people could come to work on their clay that would open up more space on the Emerson lists so more people could take the classes.” Woods currently rents to 13 people, with the youngest renter being 21 and the oldest 89. “I want to mon tan awoman .com | marc h/ap r il 2 02 0

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PHOTO BY KELSEY WEYERBACHER

make art accessible for people. I know I can’t fill the need, because honestly, we could fill this entire downtown building with clay. But, I can help a little.” When she opened the studio space, Lauren decided to work full-time on her own ceramic art too. But, she also needed to pay the bills. That’s when she began throwing boob mugs. “I knew that I needed to make something that people would be into and that I knew I could sell but would fit into my philosophy. I used to be a bra specialist when I lived in Boston. I’ve seen a lot of boobs. I love women. I am a woman. I wanted powerful women to be the way my name got out there.” 28

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***

Despite her experience, Woods never attended art school— a stigma she witnesses, but works to combat. “I don’t feel like an artist. I don’t like telling people that. It’s not comfortable for me, because I never went to school and I just like to work in functional things that people use. I don’t want to make something you set on your shelf and don’t use. I want to make something you use every day and it becomes part of your ritual.” This intentionality is at the foundation of all Woods does, which is easy to see as you walk into her studio. The brick walls are covered with experimental flower hangers and feminist icons, coupled with


PHOTO BY KELSEY WEYERBACHER

shelves bowed under the weight of boob mugs and incense teepees. Lauren is honest about her work, saying, “My goal this year is to really make things that people can form a connection to and really make a part of their life. I want it to have meaning for them. I don’t’ want to make someone’s day, I want to change someone’s day.” Lauren continues to rethink ways in which she can engage the public, hosting Ladies’ Nights in the summer of 2019. “The Emerson doesn’t hold classes in the summer, so all of a sudden I had time and a lack of income and I started to think: How can I make this accessible?” Women come to class, at the studio, where the cylinders are prethrown. They pick two of the cylinders, watch

Lauren demo the boobs, and are set free to “run wild” with their creations. “Everyone was so fun,” Woods laughs, “I had one woman come to two, another come back and bring her aunt. They are so powerful. It’s super cool to see women let go and get into it.”

*** With so many students and so much production, Lauren has a new dilemma she’s rethinking in her work: clay waste. In the process of creating, ceramicists are continually removing clay and trimming from the pieces they sculpt into functional ware. Woods mon tan awoman .com | marc h/ap r il 2 02 0

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estimates, “If you’re not reclaiming anything by hand, it’s a solid 35% of clay every class being wasted.” With 14 people creating clay waste in her own studio space, the number jumps to 5060 people creating waste weekly if we include her Emerson classes. Basically: that’s a lot of clay being wasted. Her solution? To find funding for a pug mill. A pug mill is a machine in which clay scraps can be fed, where an auger breaks up any inconsistencies in the clay and repacks it into a recycled form for future use. Woods acknowledges: “Clay is a soup of materials. The mining for clay is not super great for the environment. Any way we can reclaim what we have and not constantly rely on mining and sourcing from the earth itself is amazing. Sourcing clay is not super sustainable. We have to try something.” But, pug mills are expensive, with the estimated cost for the right model for Lauren’s work coming in at nearly $5,000. For any small business, that kind of investment isn’t an easy one. So, she’s turning to grants: “I think that the kind of support I need is out there. It’s just going to take effort on my part to get it done.”

*** Lauren’s work days are long. From producing her own work to teaching others to loading kilns for all of her studio renters, she is constantly moving. But, it’s her students that keep her motivated: “So many of my students are like…accountants. They want something totally different to do from their

structured jobs. They want something messy, squishy, dirty. They have so much fun and I think they really gain the right insight with their clay work.” That kind of grounding is important to Lauren for her own health too, as she recognizes her work is “about as grounded an artform as you can get.” So, she digs in and gets dirty, just like her students, finding her center in the clay on her wheel. Whether through her Ladies’ Nights, classes at the Emerson, rental space, or changing the days of customers with her intentional work, Woods is continuously empowering others. She says, “I like giving women that power, because my mom was a single mom. She is my #1 fan and #1 supporter. (Love you to the moon and back, Mama). I get held back most by indecision and in not knowing. To have someone in your corner who is so knowing and so on fire is huge. When you can say, ‘Wow! You seem so confident. I may as well try and be confident too.’ If I can do that with one person in here, that’s pretty awesome.” KELSEY WEYERBACHER is a writer, fabric

artist, and mental health advocate living in Belgrade, Montana. After graduating from Montana State University with a Masters in English focusing in Disability Studies, she stays at home with her son, Connor, while freelance editing and advocating for mental health services in Montana. Her work can be viewed at her website: kelseyweyerbacher.com.

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PHOTO BY KELSEY WEYERBACHER

PHOTO BY DIANA DAVIS

Hustle & Throw is female owned and operated, featuring handmade everything. To view the work of Lauren Woods, visit her website at: www. hustlethrowrepeat.com or her Instagram at: @hustlethrowrepeat

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PHOTO BY RYAN PARKER

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| ART & DESIGN

“REVERY ALONE WILL DO” artist morgan irons BY AUTUMN TOENNIS

ON A WINTRY EVENING IN 2018, I was out walking with my boyfriend around the Downtown Bozeman Art Walk. It was cold, and we had ducked in and out of several businesses before we stepped inside Old Main Gallery. The first painting I saw held me still. The piece was called “Days End,” though I didn’t know that at the time. It was simply a painting of dusk in a field, with a man and woman nearly silhouetted against it. Their bodies were turned away from us, but in towards each other. The woman’s cotton dress was caught by an invisible breeze, the last of the sun illuminating it. It brought me to tears. It was one of those rare, visceral reactions that words, music, or art can cause in a person. I was looking at the work of an artist so utterly adept at conveying a feeling through paint that I had trouble finding words for it. I spent the better part of an hour drifting between the different paintings hung in that gallery. Wide pastorals depicting soft prairies and

skies, workers in fields cultivating the land, and women against this backdrop: in profile, straight on, hands twisting a braid. Quiet, intensely personal moments. That night was the opening of Morgan Iron’s first solo show, “To make a prairie.” When asked what her feelings had been on that evening, she said it had felt surreal to be showing work she had been alone with for so long. “Seeing people connect emotionally [to my work] is the greatest reward of all.” Different than many other artists from Montana whose work follow the more “Western” tradition, Morgan’s oil paintings are reminiscent of the naturalist greats of the 19th century like Jules Breton, Winslow Homer, or Jean FrancoisMillet. She is self-taught, and came to painting gradually; growing up, she drew frequently, but knew no working artists and had no idea art could become a career.

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autumn

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HOPE OF A NEW FIELD 24˝ X 30˝ OIL ON LINEN.


Morgan was raised in Idaho and credits much of her work to being inspired by the open landscapes that surrounded her as a quiet, observant child— landscapes that she would follow in the coming years, beginning first in Alaska after college, and then Montana, a place, she thought, where she could develop her sense of self. After finishing her work at a fishing and bear-viewing camp, she left Alaska and found a 300 square foot cabin outside of Bozeman, Montana. It was that move that would put her on track to discover painting. “It wasn’t until I moved to Montana that I finally saw art galleries and met professional artists,” Morgan explained. She was working at the hospital in town using her psychology degree when she first encountered the art world in Bozeman. “It was really as if someone tapped me

on the shoulder and said, ‘I’m sure you probably are aware, but we do apologize, we put you in the wrong life and here is the correct one.’ I left [the hospital] right around the time that I bought my first set of paints.” Morgan would spend the next few years studying on her own and attending two short workshops with classical-style painters Jeremy Lipking and Joshua LaRock. During this literal starving artist period, she supported herself by doing small commissions and web design, and the occasional odd job. “It was extremely stressful, and I was very broke,” she says of that time. But it paid off when she was featured in Southwest Art Magazine’s “21 Under 31: Young Artists to Watch.” Soon after, Old Main Gallery in Bozeman contacted her for representation and, after many of her paintings sold immediately, offered her a solo show for the next year. That show would become

DAY'S END | 30˝ x 30˝ OIL ON PANEL. 36

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“To make a prairie.” The title of the collection comes from an Emily Dickinson poem, one she says communicated the dream-like state of the world in which her paintings are created. To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee. And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few. The collection was a success; it would ultimately kick start her career as a full time working artist, an incredible achievement and something nearly unheard of for a woman in her 20s. So much of this is due not only to her talent and hard work, but also to her raw ability to communicate emotion between her paintings and the viewer, much like how I felt that night of the opening. Many of her subjects face away from the audience, an intentional choice she makes so that they can see themselves in the figure and feel a common connection: “I believe that the human soul is essentially the same as it was when we were painting animals on cave walls. There are themes that will always strike a chord with us.”

second solo show), Morgan’s painting remains, at its core, very intimate. “My hope is that I can find a way to communicate deeply personal feelings and struggles in a way that is relatable,” she said. “I might have read this somewhere, but I’ve heard or thought that art is a way of reaching a hand out and saying, ‘I’m here, and this is how it feels to me. Does it feel this way to you too?’ ” To learn more about Morgan’s work, visit her website morganirons.com, or follow her on Instagram @morganirons. Works of hers are available through Old Main Gallery in Bozeman, Montana. AUTUMN TOENNIS is a writer and artist from Miles City, Montana. She graduated in 2014 with a degree in English Writing from Montana State University Bozeman, and has spent her time since then following words around the country and the world. Last year, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in publishing, and continues to work remotely for Open Country Press, a small, independently-run Montana press. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and a small windowsill orchard.

In a time filled increasingly with more distractions, Morgan is dedicating herself to her work in a way that the modern world can sometimes make difficult. Her most recent studio is a cabin set on a few acres— slightly larger than the first she moved into when she came to Montana— that backs right up against National Forest land. So much of the calm and authenticity that her work evokes is a direct effect of her decision to live in this semiisolation, in a place where she is able to hear herself think, and create. “When you give your brain a break from the constant stimulation we have at our fingertips, it makes things, gets ideas. It’s outrageously interesting. To help myself, I don’t have TV, my internet is too slow for streaming, and I delete distracting apps on my phone while I’m working.” When asked what it feels like to look back on everything she has achieved thus far in her career, she speaks of an overwhelming amount of gratitude, but feels driven to keep pushing herself farther, to keep learning more. Through her body of work, which continues to grow and expand (she is currently working on her

BRAID | 16˝ x 20˝ OIL ON LINEN. mon tan awoman .com | marc h/ap r il 2 02 0

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LEFT AND RIGHT PHOTOS BY DIRK SCHMIDT

ART & DESIGN |

a WoMan of the

WayWard Wind Katie Rae Allison’s Contemporary Western Leatherwork BY KELSEY WEYERBACHER

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As a 6th generation Montanan

from the Miles City area, Katie Rae Allison is well-engrained in cowboy culture. Her leatherwork business, Wayward Wind, embodies that history while pushing the contemporary boundaries of what leather can do in jewelry and statement pieces such as custom belts. From painted landscape scenes to bright flowers, family brands to rodeo specials, Allison is not afraid to put her own spin on a traditional trade. Like her deep Montana roots, Allison’s leatherwork is also familial. “My grandparents, Bill and Brenda Allison, own a saddlery in Roundup, Montana. They’ve done leatherwork forever, and they travel to art shows, and do amazing work. They are super, super talented people.” Bill Allison was a rancher his entire life until 2000, when he decided to open a saddlery and work full-time with leather. The saddlery is a family business, with Bill building saddles and mirrors, his wife Brenda creating chaps and chinks, and their daughter (Katie Rae’s aunt) building tack.

Pinterest— it was just a simple basket-weave pattern, but I loved them. And I kept thinking about them when I moved to Billings. It was wintertime and I was bored. I wanted something to do after work, and I ended up pulling out my old leather tools from 4-H.” With calls to her grandparents in Roundup and fellow friends who did leatherwork, Katie Rae threw herself back into leatherwork. But, the reentry wasn’t easy. “I suck at traditional tooling. It doesn’t move me. I had to learn the rules, but now I can break them. I’ve been breaking the rules for two years now, and I’m not even sure what the rules are anymore.” Her jewelry and belt artwork speaks to this rebellion: traditional skills mixed with modern style and bright colors, much like the Western design she so loves:

I had to learn the rules, but now I can break them.

Katie Rae’s skills were developed by her family at a young age, when she and her sister would spend summers in Roundup with her grandparents. “During the summer, my grandma would help us with all of our 4-H projects. It was really a family effort: My grandpa, my Aunt Tassie, and my grandma.” Helping with her leather and sewing projects, Katie Rae learned the basics of the leatherwork trade, but didn’t touch it again for years. Following her graduation from Custer County District High School in Miles City, Allison pursued beauty school in Rapid City, but found after working in a salon that she wasn’t happy. “I’ve always been into Western fashion, design, and jewelry. But, the salon just wasn’t for me. I wanted to do something that incorporated more of my passions. With leather jewelry, I think I’ve found that.” Moving around Montana for a few years working various jobs attached to her Western history, Allison found herself in Helena for a short time, where she received a pair of leather earrings from her Grandma Brenda. “She found the design on

“I remember always wanting to paint. I would ask my grandma when we could paint and she would say, ‘Just be patient. We have to learn this part first.’ And I was just so frustrated because I wanted to get to the colorful part! So, when I went back to it as an adult, I went to the store and bought the paints and watched the videos online, and I figured out how to paint finally.” Allison stresses that “at first I really wanted to try everything, and that got to the point where it was stressing me out. I’ve gotten comfortable and know what I’m good at. I’m not interested in making wallets. I like earrings, bracelets, necklaces, belts. I’ve just recently sat down and figured out different kinds so I’m not always doing the same thing.” This kind of self-confidence in her work and her style has treated her well, helping Allison’s work to stand out from others’ work. “I don’t want my work to look like everyone else’s. I try to stay true to the craft itself, but I want to put my own spin on it as well.” What began as a hobby has grown to a small business, as Allison continues to juggle multiple jobs after returning to her hometown of Miles City. In her current schedule, she finds herself with 3-day weekends for leatherwork, which she says makes her excited for what will come next. mon tan awoman .com | marc h/ap r il 2 02 0

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“It’s an escape for me. We have to work all day, pay the bills, keep up with social events, do the dishes, do the laundry. But, it’s the things you daydream about all day and inspire you all day that keep you going— this is a chance for me to sit down and think about those. Everything else drowns out. I don’t just sit and daydream, but I get to make my daydreams come to life.” Like many other small business artists, Allison dreams of what will come next for Wayward Wind. Sticking to her gut feeling, she isn’t straying from her Western fashion. “Eventually, I want to grow this into a “small, high-end Western fashion boutique. I want amazing boots, amazing clothing, and my own jewelry. Western Pop-Ups are everywhere, but I want mine to be different. I want to hold onto tradition, but have a modernabstract feel to it. Just like with my jewelry.” With the support of her grandparents and friends, Katie Rae recognizes the history from which her craft grew. And in that recognition, she acknowledges the time and effort artists put into their work: “Support local artists and people in their creativity and what makes them different and special from everybody else.” What makes Wayward Wind different? It’s those 6th generation rebellious roots, says Allison. “Southeastern Montana is a huge influence on my artwork. The sunsets are the best. The people are the best. The sagebrush is the best. I’m happy that [Montana Woman] is bringing more people from this area to attention.” Katie Rae Allison is a Montana woman worth bringing attention to. Wayward Wind can be found on Facebook and Instagram: @wayward_wind_

KELSEY WEYERBACHER is a writer, fabric

artist, and mental health advocate living in Belgrade, Montana. After graduating from Montana State University with a Masters in English focusing in Disability Studies, she stays at home with her son, Connor, while freelance editing and advocating for mental health services in Montana. Her work can be viewed at her website: kelseyweyerbacher.com.

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see the art & make the art at the square a contemporary art museum

The Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art (The Square) in Great Falls, Montana has been exhibiting art, teaching art and supporting the development of contemporary art and artists since 1977. Housed in the historic Great Falls school built in 1896 by Paris Gibson, the founder of Great Falls. The Square is known for its exceptional rotating exhibitions showing local, regional and national contemporary artists, in addition to its outdoor sculpture garden and educational gallery programing. The museum offers outstanding onsite studio classes to the community in ceramics, printmaking, painting, drawing and more!

PARIS GIBSON SQUARE MUSEUM OF ART

1400 First Avenue North Great Falls, MT 59401 (406)727-8255 www.the-square.org www.facebook.com/PGSMOA/

HOURS OF OPERATION

Open Monday-Friday 10am to 5pm, including Tuesday Evenings 5-9pm, and Saturday Noon to 5pm. Closed Sundays and Select Holidays.

free admission!

Exhibitions presented by Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art are supported in part by the Montana Arts Council, a state agency funded by the State of Montana and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding is provided by museum members and the citizens of Cascade County, and generous support from Montana Federal Credit Union and D.A. Davidson.


ART & DESIGN |

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wallflowers sara saxton

Wallflowers represents the history of devalued female work in the art and domestic realm. Through mixed media and photography, the Wallflowers collection is a visual commentary on historically under-appreciated place using modern terminology. The pieces were created by an alternative printing process; the cyanotype to impose the vase, a domestic object and allegory of the female form on fabric once processed and dried, it is then secured in an embroidery hoop symbolic of a women’s sphere and traditional stitch work. Each image has dried flowers sewn into the fabric with gold thread allowing the two-dimensional to take on a three-dimensional quality, thus making the objective subjective.

SARA SAXTON saxtonstudios.com @sbsaxton @wallflowers_curated

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FOOD & SPIRITS |

GRANDMA TWILA’S OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES BY KELSEY WEYERBACHER

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MY MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER,

Twila Wilhelm, is the only person I know who still bakes a plateful of goodies to give to family around the Holidays. Miniature loaves of poppy seed bread, homemade potato mints, chocolatecovered toffee, and the ever-elusive divinity are coveted items that we all await to receive each year. But, the truth is that grandma’s counter always had cookies of some kind, or at the very least, a bag of fresh cinnamon raisin bread sat waiting for us to engulf when we walked in the door. My Grandma Twila is a skilled baker, though my favorite cookie that my grandmother makes is her Oatmeal Raisin recipe. Most kids (and to be fair— most adults) would shudder at an Oatmeal Raisin cookie, but that’s because they’ve never had these. Tender, with plump raisins and crumbly dough, these cookies keep me coming back to steal another again… and again… after baking. My grandmother and I have spent a lot of time together over the years— whether at daily coffee with her and my Opa’s friends, sleepovers at her house that always included a game of Chutes and Ladders and an old movie (preferably John Wayne’s Hellfighters), or on one of the many trips I took with her and my Opa. The most memorable of those was the one we took via

train to Chicago to visit family when I was 15, or when my grandmother washed my mouth out at 16 with Dawn soap for saying the word “crap.” When I looked at her in disbelief afterwards, she said, “Well, damnit, don’t use words like that!” The youngest of six children, my grandmother grew up in Miles City, Montana, supported by her strong, hardworking mother. She attended the Kinman Business University following high school and married a month after her graduation, later becoming the administrative backbone of her husband, John’s, mechanic business for many years. With three children of her own, my grandmother found herself in the kitchen often, beckoning back to her mother’s work as a cook in several restaurants around Miles City. The point is simple: these women knew how to cook, and they knew how to work. As a young woman, I was always intimidated in my grandmothers kitchens. Not because I wasn’t able to help, or that I wasn’t included in their act of baking, but instead, I was intimidated by the narrative they provided for me: to be capable mothers, wives, cooks, bakers, housewives, workers, and business partners. My own mother is the same— stubborn to the bone and a damn hard worker. But on each of their counters, you will find a jar or Tupperware filled with treats to offer to the next person that walks through their door. This legacy is one I hope to pass on to my son: Work hard. Stay stubborn. And always greet others with warmth, kindness, and a fresh cookie.

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GRANDMA TWILA’S OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES TEMP: 375˚F

BAKE: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS 1 cup raisins 1 cup water 1 cup shortening 1 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla

STEPS

1. Gently boil 1 cup raisins with 1 cup water until about 5 tablespoons of juice remain.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine shortening, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whip very well.

3. Add in the baking soda, salt, oatmeal, flour, and nuts if desired. Mix well.

4. Add raisins and any remaining juice in the bowl. 5. Cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour. 6. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet.

Bake at 375˚F for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

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1 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. salt 2 cups oatmeal 2 cups flour 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


“WORK HARD. STAY STUBBORN. AND ALWAYS GREET OTHERS WITH WARMTH, KINDNESS, AND A FRESH COOKIE.”

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FOOD & SPIRITS |

Farm Style Crock Pot Beef & Barley Soup BY TIFFANY SALVESON

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On a frozen Eastern Montana day, one of the best feelings is coming in from the cold to thaw out. Your toes and fingertips have a biting pain in them from getting too cold, your eyelashes are sprinkled with frost, and you’re covered in hay dust, manure, and God only knows what else is on that dirty coat. As a woman living on a ranch outside Glendive, Montana, I am constantly juggling this lifestyle with my full-time job in town, my own side businesses, and working to make sure my fiancé, who feeds us all, is fed.

D

uring a normal work week, Seth wakes up extra early to make my coffee for me before I leave for town. After a kiss goodbye, we won’t see each other for the rest of the day, but I know his day will be anything but luxurious. After I leave for work, he will spend the rest of the morning making sure everyone else is taken care of before he takes care of himself. The cows will be fed their balanced diets based on their nutrient requirements at the time, the ice will be broken, and the one cow he saw walking a little slower will be brought in so we can keep an eye on her and make sure she is cared for. As a woman on the ranch, I am not just a companion—Seth and I are teammates. We take care of the cows and we take care of each other. Some days, I stay at work later than normal, or I get groceries and dog food and pick up a pack of colostrum replacer for the calving box on my way home. Or maybe I get home before dark, but the moment I pull in the yard, we need to get a cow in or Seth needs someone to drive him up to the tractor. Maybe it’s just been a long week and we want to spend the time together doing the things we love—listening to music and talking about plants. Whatever the situation, I don’t always have the time to prepare a 3-course meal. Living out of town means grocery runs don’t happen for forgotten items. I’m lucky if I have even a portion

of the ingredients my last-minute Pinterest recipes call for. Most days after chores, Seth will go down to his parents’ house, just a mile from ours, and his mom always has something stewing for lunch. She’s one ranch woman I’ve looked up to since we met and I know I have a lot to live up to! On the rare occasion she takes a day off, I try to make sure Seth has a warm lunch to come home to. My Crock Pot is my saving grace. It gives me options and time: both of which are important when living a rural lifestyle. For lunch or dinner, this soup is a comfort food we crave on long days on the farm and ranch. There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to making beef and barley soup. We use what we have, and we get by without certain things when we need to. It’s easy to round up things that you have on-hand without having to get groceries on those days you need a last-minute meal or when you just want to be home after work. This recipe can be thrown together quickly, put in the Crock Pot, and be ready by lunch or by dinner. (You can also make it on the stove within minutes if you’d like). I hope this recipe meets you with some comfort and ease in all of our busy schedules, no matter what kind of work we do throughout the day.

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FOOD & SPIRITS |

ingredients • 2 Tbsp olive oil • 1½ lb ground beef • ½ tsp salt • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper • 1 tsp Alpine Touch • 1½ lb red potatoes, diced • 1 medium onion, diced • 2-4 carrots, peeled and cut • 4 cloves garlic, minced • 2 Tbsp tomato paste • 2½ Tbsp Better Than Bouillon, Beef flavored • 2 tsp Worcestershire

• 1 can beef broth • 8 cups water (can add more if desired) • 2/3 cup barley • 1 can of corn • Handful of green beans • 2 springs thyme • 2 bay leaves • Optional (for extra warmth):   • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced   • Dash of red pepper flakes

steps 1.

In a cast iron skillet, add olive oil and ground beef. Add salt, pepper, and Alpine Touch while browning burger.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

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Toss onion and jalapeño into the skillet and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add burger mixture to Crock Pot. Add remaining ingredients to Crock Pot. Stir & combine. Cover & cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Remove bay leaves & thyme stems and serve. Goes perfectly with some crusty bread.

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FOOD & SPIRITS |

the

Rankin Brigade

RECIPE BY MEAGAN SCHMOLL FEATURED IN DRINKING LIKE L ADIES BY MIST Y KALKOFEN & KIRSTEN AMANN

History is full of women: women that fight, stand up, thoughtfully express their hopes and dreams and shape society under the radar— comparable in my mind to a glacier. What better way to reflect on these and future women than to sip a drink or two guided by a book inspired by these historical Broads. Allow me to present Drinking Like Ladies, written by Kirsten Amann & Misty Kalkofen, featuring art by a nod to Montana within its pages called the “Rankin Brigade.” This cocktail was named in honor of Jeannette Rankin, a Montana native, pacifist politician, and the first woman to be elected into Congress. Amongst other things, she organized the Rankin Brigade, a group of some 5,000 individuals who marched in Washington D.C. in protest of the Vietnam War. Flavors of Blackstrap Molasses, Drambuie, Wyoming Whiskey, and Spotted Bear Gin in a Julep cup float over your tongue while a heavy bouquet of mint infatuates the nose. After partaking of the Brigade, don’t be surprised if pacifism and peace become slightly more palatable.

YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT KALKOFEN & AMANN'S BOOK AT DRINKINGLIKEL ADIES.COM

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AVAIL ABLE ON AMAZON


ingredients

1.5 oz Wyoming Whiskey, Small Batch Bourbon 1 oz Spotted Bear Gin 0.25 oz Drambuie 1 Heavy Barspoon Unsulphured Blackstrap Molasses 10 Mint Leaves

directions

Place Drambuie, Molasses, and mint in a Julep cup. Lightly muddle/press the mint into the Drambuie and Molasses. With your spoon, coat the insides of the Julep cup with the muddled ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and fill halfway with crushed ice. Swizzle with a spoon, or swizzle stick, until outside of the cup is frosty. Add more crushed ice and repeat. Top with crushed ice and make a little planting hole for the mint, place a bouquet of mint in the hole, and a straw next to it so each sip has your nose buried in the mint.

THE RANKIN BRIGADE | MEAGAN SCHMOLL

RANKIN IN 1973 | U.S. CONGRESS

MEMBERS OF THE 65TH CONGRESS IN 1918 | GROUPS NO. 331, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, LC-DIG-PPMSCA-13272

I may be the first woman member of congress, but I won’t be the last.

JEANNET TE RANKIN, 1916

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FEATURE |

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celeste shawa woman of

montana land

ARTICLE BY ALYSON DORR IMAGES BY CAMI BRADLEY 


FEATURE |

“As I live and breathe,” remarks Celeste Shaw with a wistful gaze when asked about Montana. This expression is generally used to emphasize the truth of a statement, but for Celeste, who now wears many hats as a trauma nurse, entrepreneur, restaurateur, and national magazine editor, the phrase conveys her feelings about her childhood home on the Hi-Line. Celeste was forever imprinted by her Norwegian grandparents, Hans and Selma Tveten, spending much of her childhood on a homestead farm situated on the remote plains of Northeastern Montana. The hallmark of her youth remains vital to her identity and the way she lives each day. Simply put, her soul longs for home, for Montana. It is a part of her. She recalls traveling across the HiLine, “We were small children, my sisters and I, as we made the frequent journey between Great Falls and Vida— sometimes by car, sometimes by train. Sometimes, like now, in a daydream about going home. I’ve never seen a more beautiful view than Montana land.”

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CELESTE'S CHILDHOOD HOME

Traveling Highway 2 into the badlands of the Missouri breaks, grand scenes of geologic wonders unfold. Space, much of it undisturbed, is the area’s greatest commodity. And, for the creative mind of young Celeste, the unending sky inspired the feeling to take flight. To soar. Her love for the land and the instruction of rural life were the fabric of her youth. Shaw reminisces from her home outside of Spokane, Washington, “I grew up rich on a poor farm. The lessons of hardship were the best education.” It was here, too, in the tightknit towns between Hill and McCone County, where Shaw learned the value of community. “Handshakes signify honor. Neighbors stand together. There is a raw, transparent authenticity that identifies a Montanan,” she reflects. The air on the prairie is sweet and dry, overwhelming in its perfection. Of course, when the thunder cracks and a storm rolls in over the bluffs, the ground turns to gumbo. The thick clay soil starts to lay claim to boots and shoes; it is impossible to remove. Likewise, for Celeste,

small town America certainly left its mark as she learned, like many Montana farm folk, to live by the seasons, to listen to the land, and to aim for self-sufficiency. The modest, insistent, and practical virtues of farming became the rhythm for life. “Plant, grow, harvest, and then “can” everything you are able to. My grandma Selma would say ‘put-up,’ so we did. Fruits, vegetables, syrups, butter, homemade soups, and sweetened chokecherries, very little escaped a mason jar and a wax seal,” remembers Shaw. The apron strings still dragged the floor when, at only two years of age, her grandma put a wooden spoon in Celeste’s hand; she’s been cooking ever since. For the Tvetens, mid-day dinner was an open jar of anything “canned” and bread. Celeste remembers, “We made bread— a lot of bread. I believed my grandma Selma invented bread pudding. What else would you do with old bread except soak it in eggs and ham, cheese, and fresh milk?” mon tan awoman .com | marc h/ap r il 2 02 0

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More than just cooking and baking, Selma taught Celeste many cherished lessons which continue to manifest themselves today in how she cooks and how she serves others. She explains, “I have never received any formal training as a chef or a restaurateur. I am a trauma nurse by profession, but I have transcended to what is deliciously prophetic. In my home and in my 1912-farmhouse café, Chaps Diner and Bakery, we are all about comfort food. Friends and neighbors in our community gather together to enjoy delicious food, drink strong coffee, and listen to great music and conversation. Many recipes I once accomplished as a child, I have reconstructed successfully to now serve at my café Chaps.” The menu includes a farmhouse twist on French toast, something likened to a blueberry muffin cake topped with blueberry cream cheese— a dish featured on Food Network’s “Diners, DriveIns, and Dives” with Guy Fieri. Grandma’s baked oatmeal is a local favorite said to satisfy that homemade craving. The name of the bakery itself pays homage both to Shaw’s grandparents and her own parallel, life-changing adventure— opening her own restaurant without any experience in the business.

freedom.” He left behind the fjords of Norway for the open range and a pair of leather chaps. Celeste explains her cafe “Chaps” was created, “As my tribute to Montana life, food, and faith.” While some people may not see the logic, or understand the leap of faith it took to switch careers, for Celeste, running a restaurant and nursing are very similar: serving others is serving others. “After attending the Masters program in Nursing at Gonzaga in Spokane, I jumped careers and opened a restaurant to represent my love of Montana and my grandparents,” elaborates Celeste. With the passion and work ethic of her homesteading grandparents, Celeste turned her dreams into a number of highly successful ventures. “My grandma Selma used to say, ‘decide to decide.’ Recognize your ability to be resilient. Courage starts with showing up and letting yourself be seen,” she adds. As a creative entrepreneur, Shaw inspires many women in a variety of fields. “I believe if you’re going to do something, do it with love,” advises Shaw. In addition to her roles as owner of the west Spokane restaurant, Shaw owns the boutique Lucky Vintage & Pretty Things. She is editor-in-chief for the international magazine Where Women Cook Holiday, and somehow, on top of all that, she also works part-time as a nurse, caring for patients in the intensive care unit as well as serving with International Open Heart. Her desire to serve others also led her to found an orphanage program in Bucharest, Romania.

Recognize your ability to be resilient. Courage starts with showing up and letting yourself be seen.

Growing up in Norway, her grandfather Hans dreamed of being a cowboy in far away Montana. As the story goes, at first, his mother adamantly opposed the notion of her son traveling to the wild and dangerous West. Eventually, she relented, going so far as to make Hans a pair of chaps to protect his legs while he was riding the range. Hans wore those chaps and settled down to stake his claim to a homestead on the frontier prairie outside of Wolf Point in the early 1900s. “My grandfather was a war hero. Brave and relentless, I suspect he longed to leave home to be a real cowboy, to have his own land, to raise his own family, his own crops, to live his own life.” Celeste, a mother of two, concedes, “Imagine his mother, knowing she would never see her son again as she sat writing him the love letter of her life, saying goodbye, and sending him off to an unknown world with her blessing, and giving him 58

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One may ask how a girl from a small town might enjoy such a big life, but if anything, growing up in rural Montana prepared Celeste to traverse her unexpected life journey. The landscape near Celeste’s childhood homestead is as rough as any mountain range. The land cuts away into coulees, or breaks, and then rises acutely into gumbo knobs. Sandstone spires, eroded cliffs, and crumbling buttes are loosely held together by sloughing dirt ridges. It’s like a landscape made


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You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody. MAYA ANGELOU 60

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of biscuit dough; navigating it requires grit and courage. When asked about her move from rural Montana, she explains, “It takes a lot of trust to jump like that, doesn’t it? To really trust yourself, do you have to truly know yourself ? I didn’t. But my faith was bigger than my fear. Although I didn’t recognize it as a child, it burned inside me.” While poverty often holds back a future of education or success, Celeste claims, “Not even close— you just get in shape to leap.” Rising above her circumstances did not happen without heartache, but Celeste doesn’t fear failure. “Big mistakes lead somewhere, usually to learning and creating in a new and remarkable way. Jump off cliffs! I’m a jumper— I wear many hats, and I love them all. I’m a big fan of education— not necessarily formal, but to continually ask questions, to listen and learn from others.” Learning from others, from her grandmother, or inspiring authors such as Maya Angelou has allowed Celeste to appreciate perspective. “When you know better, you do better. We may encounter many defeats,” Shaw reminds us, “but we must not be defeated. Make every success matter. Your success as a woman is a success for all women. Part of that success is having a place at the table for other women.” For Shaw, building a community of women is an important, worthwhile endeavor. She instructs, “Collaborate, don’t compete. Competition thrives on insecurities. Identify those women you feel you’re sitting across the table from and sit next to them. Find a common ground. Wanting women to succeed without jealousy is the definition of grace.” Her desire to inspire and to celebrate the successes of other women is evident in the pages of the magazine Where Women Cook. With its beautiful photography and storytelling, the publication features female chefs, farmers, homemakers, artists, and other creatives. “While each woman’s

story is unique, the messages remain universal. Women overcome adversity and learn the power of working hard to achieve many of their goals. These women have, in many cases, inspired others and have become role models for future generations,” explains Shaw. Celeste’s role model, her adorable, Norwegian grandmother Selma, remains her most influential teacher. “She was a quintessential mother and farmer’s wife,” describes Celeste. “After her death, I needed to return home, to Montana, to the now-abandoned farmhouse if I were to save anything before it was destroyed by nature or looters. It was remarkably difficult to go; painful, really. I couldn’t do it. It was all I knew of life. The place where I learned to feel safe, to know faith, to know the earth. This return, it felt poignant. I struggled with the ability to say goodbye to those memories and to the old house that I knew would soon be swallowed by the earth.” Pained by the longing for home and the loss of her grandmother, Celeste dreamed of the Montana Hi-Line. She imagined her car rolling across the windswept prairie, through endless fields of golden wheat, the towering mountains in the distance. But the vast space and the haunting remoteness seemed to be too much to bear. “A friend presented me with the gift of a pair of perfect, red ruby slippers made exclusively for my feet. ‘Go home, Celeste,’ she said.” With the power of friendship and the trust she could make this leap as well, Shaw drove the 28 hours from Washington to her “home” under Montana’s bluebird, big sky. Celeste recalls, “While stuffing my car with everything I could hold, I imagined the courage and conviction of those who came for land, to raise families, to withstand the perils of the earth, to homestead. It was then I really understood what it meant to be a Montana woman.”

CELESTE SHAW

CAMI BRADLEY

ALYSON DORR

@CELESTERSHAW

@CAMIBRADLEYPHOTOGRAPHY

@THEREDBARN_MT


Kira Bassingthwaighte

FEATURE |

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hen Kira Bassingthwaighte, head cider maker at Western Cider in Missoula, Montana, was presented the Peter Mitchell Award for Educational Excellence at an international cider conference early this February, it was a surprise to her but not to anyone else.

Bassingthwaighte is one of those people who, when asked what she does, could answer a lot of ways. She’s been playing cello since she was five years old and is part of a popular band, West Fork. She runs trail races and plays ice hockey on two different teams. She has a mean palate for scotch and a culinary degree from the highly regarded Culinary Institute of America. Bassingthwaighte throws herself with energy and enthusiasm into just about everything she does. And for the last two and a half years, that’s been learning the subtle craft of hard cider making. Bassingthwaighte may be only 28 years old, but her path to becoming head cider maker at Western was a windy one.

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Bassingthwaighte moved to Missoula, Montana when she was just five months old, and grew up playing public school sports and spending summers at her family cabin outside Glacier National Park. As a kid, Bassingthwaighte says, her all-time goal was to be a professional basketball player. She topped out at 5’2’’, that didn’t exactly work out. Her next idea, this one in fifth grade, was to open a coffee shop. “I guess I’ve always been obsessed with beverages,” Bassingthwaighte jokes. This dream lasted longer, the idea of food and beverage work striking a chord in her that held. At 17, Bassingthwaighte applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America, a prestigious cooking college based in upstate New York. She didn’t want to leave Montana, but she did want the skills to pursue her dreams. So she traded the Rockies for the Adirondacks, the west for the east. She never doubted she’d come back. Once in New York, Bassingthwaighte quickly discovered she was only the third Montanan ever to attend the Institute. “I had a lot Montana pride,” Bassingthwaighte says. She never forgot where she came from. Bassingthwaighte attended culinary school for two years and eventually got a job working in, then managing for a bakery and café. She moved quickly into managing the bakery’s booths at farmers markets across New York City, sometimes over fifty booths in one week. The bakery also sourced fresh produce from farmers at the markets, so she found herself growing connections to farmers and orchardists from all over the state. Bassingthwaighte loved the hustle of the city— the access to the diversity of food, people, and culture. But she also loved her time meeting farmers. She says she remembers walking through old apple orchards and looking up at the trees. She wonders now what varietals she might have been looking at then, without knowing it. “I think now about what cool varietals, types of cider apples, I was seeing,” Bassingthwaighte says.

“But I had no idea at the time.” Despite the draws of the job, two years after finishing school, Bassingthwaighte found herself quickly becoming burnt out on the food scene. Despite her dreams of working in the industry, things were not going as well as she’d hoped. She missed Montana and found herself at a crossroads. Get in deeper, or walk away. She needed time to decide. Through a connection in the food world she now knew so well, Bassingthwaighte got a job in South Africa, volunteering at a bakery outside Johannesburg. And here came the answer she’d been waiting for, albeit not at all in the form she’d expected. It was hot, she was working long days and she’d just turned 21. So she started drinking cider. Savannah Dry, to be exact. And something in her clicked. “I remember emailing my boyfriend at the time,” Bassingthwaighte says, “I told him, I think I want to make cider.” The middle school version of Bassingthwaighte who was obsessed with beverages was back and this time, she wasn’t interested in starting a coffee shop. She wanted to work in the cider world. After South Africa, Bassingthwaighte moved back to New York but now she knew what she wanted. Her background in culinary helped, but she still had no immediate experience with making alcohol. She started looking into more school, considered a bachelors in fermentation science. But she wanted to move back to Montana. The answer arrived in beverages of course, though once again not how she’d expected. There was no cidery in Missoula at the time, but she found a distillery and emailed them, begging for a job. She offered to work at first for free— anything to get her foot in the door. The answer she got back was encouraging. Yes, they’d give her work. And yes, they’d even pay her. Bassingthwaighte booked it back to Montana, eventually becoming assistant distiller at the award winning Montgomery Distillery for the next four years.

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At Montgomery, she learned the patience it takes to make high quality alcohol. She says that difference is part of what she’s grown to love about both distilling and fermenting over the years. The food industry, Bassingthwaighte says, is all instant gratification. But alcohol production is more patient. “You do everything you can to make the best product possible, and then you wait,” Bassingthwaighte says. “I kind of love that.” She learned, working at Montgomery, that she was correct in thinking she’d enjoy working in alcohol production and fermentation science more than she did in food. Through her work, she developed a good palate and eventually started leading distillery tours sponsored by Montgomery throughout Scotland. She didn’t forget her interest in cider. She heard rumors about Michael Billingsley, who had planted a cider apple orchard down valley from Missoula. She heard he and two friends were planning to open a cidery. Bassingthwaighte kept her ears open but continued on with her work, helping with the distilling process of gin, vodka, aquavit, and whiskey at Montgomery. When Western first started making cider, Bassingthwaighte applied but didn’t get the job. She’d never worked in cider. She had the enthusiasm and the passion, but her experience couldn’t compete with other applicants. She stayed in distilling but was realizing that once again she needed a change. It wasn’t until 2017, about fifteen months after she’d first applied, that Michael Billingsley, orchard owner, co-owner, and head of production at Western, got in touch. Bassingthwaighte had just given notice at the distillery. She was planning to move to Scotland, apply to play cello in the Glasgow Conservatoire, and continue in her explorations of the scotch distilling world. Billingsley suggested a different plan. Come to Western, learn about fermenting cider, and work for them. Bassingthwaighte didn’t hesitate. “They took a leap in hiring me,” Bassingthwaighte says. “I was familiar with the equipment, coming 66

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from the distilling world, but I learned a lot on the job.” When she applied the first time, Bassingthwaighte says she told Matthew LaRubbio, Jon Clarenbach, and Billingsley, the three co-owners at Western Cider, that what she lacked in direct experience with cider, she would make up for in her hard work and enthusiasm for learning. If the high quality of cider coming out Western these days and the award Bassingthwaighte received in Oakland last month at CiderCon mean anything, she was right. The award, called the Peter Mitchell Award for Educational Excellence, is given each year to one cider maker in the industry who is showing particular commitment to professional development, training, engagement with the industry, and leadership. It was presented at CiderCon, the 10th annual conference of its type, which this year hosted over 1000 attendees representing 35 states and eleven countries. Clarenbach, co-owner of Western Cider, says that even if Bassingthwaighte was surprised by receiving the award, no one else was surprised she got it. “The award recognized Kira’s thirst for knowledge, enthusiasm, and interest in cider making,” Clarenbach says. “Our success at CiderCon this year really showcased her talent, as well as what we’re doing here in Montana at an international level. We [at Western] got a collective pat on the back this year, which felt really good.” Bassingthwaighte has been at Western two and a half years now, and her passion for the work is palpable. With Billingsley as her mentor, a growing crew of talented cider makers and access to a variety of high quality apples, Western, Bassingthwaighte says, is something special. Western is well known around the state for its “easy going” cider, but Bassingthwaighte says what she likes best, beyond the great people she gets to work with, is the variability of her work. Whether it’s tinkering with a piece of equipment, experimenting with a new batch of apples, or checking in on a ferment, Bassingthwaighte says she’s learning every day, which is how she likes it.



“We’re so lucky,” Bassingthwaighte says, “that we have access to Michael’s orchard. Most cideries in the country don’t have access to something like that. It lets us dream big and be patient with our goals. It’ll be cool to see what happens in the next five years, with some new varietals Michael’s planting.” Bassingthwaighte’s favorite projects at Western so far are the specialty, small-batch ciders that Western is known for, often made with apples sourced from Billingsley’s own orchard. “We have something for everyone though,” Bassingthwaighte adds. “From our larger batch, commercial ciders to the more traditional, specialty stuff we make.” When Bassingthwaighte isn’t fermenting cider, you might find her on the local ice hockey rink or cruising the distilleries in search of a good scotch. Perhaps you’ll see her playing cello at a show with

her band, West Fork. They’re working on a debut album, coming out soon. At least five days a week though, at least eight hours a day, you’ll find Bassingthwaighte in the production area of Western, working away on the cider that consumers around the west are growing to love. She might be checking a ferment or moving a barrel, but she’ll be there. Worn Carhartts, weathered sweatshirt, and safety goggles on. KITT Y GALLOWAY is a writer and environmental

educator from Missoula, Montana. When she isn’t writing or teaching outside, she can be found slinging cider at Western or finishing up her master’s degree at University of Montana. She’s currently working on a book-length manuscript about healing and walking, and her stories can be found in places like Bitterroot Magazine, Camas Magazine and NRS’s Duct Tape Diaries.


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LIFE |

REWRITING BY STEPHANIE EVANS

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he moment your physical body steps foot on the soil of Montana, it happens. It’s a feeling to be a Montana woman. That beautiful, humble, grounding sensation that goes along with the scenery, the tranquility, and the presence of our body of just being in this majestic state. I have watched “Montana” (the feeling) as it starts to seeps into its visitors. The visitors coming to find nature and peace. The visitors who are seeking adventure. The visitors who have no idea why they ended up here, the ones with an open or wounded heart. “Montana” knows. Montana opens her arms to them. Those visitors have no idea that they are now part of the precious congregation of Montana Women. Montana welcomes them home and then teaches them the way. Teaches them the way of strength, resilience, and softness, for this is what it takes to truly integrate into being a Montana Woman.

them. They are like a quiet teacher watching from the sidelines, awaiting the right moment to infuse a quiet yet loud statement or jewel of knowledge on to those that are “young” in the Montana way. They listen. They observe. They know that everything will circle back at just the right moment, and they will be here when it does. Just like those majestic peaks that surround us. Strong, grounded and resilient, and wise.

There are a few of us rare creatures left who were born and raised here. We have chosen to stay and follow this fantastic teaching that Montana offers. I have come across several women born and raised in Montana that have graduated this glorious school of life called the Montana Way. They have a tranquil yet observant air about

I am saying that we do not become a Montana Woman— Montana becomes us. Montana flows into our soul, opens our heart, and offers her gift of wholeness. Accepting us as we are and allowing us opportunities to grow by offering four beautiful seasons. Each of those seasons offering us a lesson. Offering us a chance to

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I have lived in Montana my entire life and have been observant of the changes that start to happen as an adventure-seeking visitor starts to settle into this beautiful valley. Wide-eyed with disbelief of the friendliness of the locals. Awestruck by the untapped “opportunities.” The ability to breathe fresh mountain air. Maybe it’s the fresh air that first starts to make this visitor feel Montana. A slow seep of heathy oxygen is always an easy way Montana can welcome you to the congregation. Now, Montana really starts to embody them.


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LAKE MCDONALD, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK | PHOTO BY NATHAN PETERSON


truly see within. To see what it feels like to be a Montana Woman. The characteristics of being a Montana Woman came to me on a recent trip to Hawaii. I had the opportunity to stay at a glorious, magical ranch by the name of Dreaming Horse Ranch located on the big island. I suppose the “Montana” part of woman wasn’t actualized as much as the recognition of what being a woman means and how our roles are changing in society. I’ll back up a bit here… Rewind to November of 2018. I was on the path of discovery. I felt disconnected, lost, and dangerously depressed. I felt I was on someone else’s path and it felt scratchy, unfamiliar, and untrue. I started to write. I wrote stories of my past. I wrote in a way that it seemed like a fairytale full of the darkness that most fairytales have. I started to feel a deep emotional opening for me at that point. My true and higher self started to come out of hiding. Difficult life decisions started to happen as if they were spontaneous. I questioned if they were to myself and realized they felt more true than I had felt my entire life. I decided to quit my job. I went to a writers retreat. I went on a trip to Mexico— something I never dreamed I was strong enough to do. I decided to take a Yoga Teacher Training. I decided to embody me. I decided to change my path, knowing that this would be the most difficult decision I would ever have to make. I would leave my marriage of 17 years. I would step away from the home I helped build. I would give my children space to grow and spread their wings hoping, I was showing them that love didn’t have to look like what my husband and I shared. I hoped they would see that it was more important to be true to themselves rather than putting on a false face and enduring loneliness that had seeped into my and my husband’s and relationship. I decided to change the way I showed up in life and to finally become myself. Finally, after 44 years of living in this state, I have become a Montana Woman.

feminine. A woman who knows that her instinct is right. A woman who will look at her fears and find strength from them. A woman who feels in the depths of her soul that living authentically is the best and truest path, showing her children, family, and community that change and growth can sometimes bring forth pain and discomfort. Believing that the discomfort of going through this growth and challenge is what is best for my soul and that learning a new pattern, changing our patterns as women can pave the way for our future generations. Like the landscape of our beautiful state— rolling plains, vertical peaks, soft meadows, granite valleys, and the fertile marshlands— we, as the women of Montana, can be all of these things. Embodying one body and being happy, secure, and true to ourselves. Paying a tribute to the land that supports us. A land in which we are cherished, secure, and strong. Paving the way for our legacy to shine as it was meant to. A loud, startling embrace. The time is now. It is always now. You are a Montana Woman.

montana becomes us

A woman who embodies the strength of the 72

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STEPHANIE EVANS is a lover of nature, ceremony,

movement and adventure. She is the mother of four magical spirits, Writer, Ceremony Officiant, Yoga Instructor and Retreat Leader. She was born in Montana with the spirit of a fairy, the mouth of a sailor and the heart of a hippie. She learned early in childhood that Mother Nature and expression with movement and words were three vital ingredients to a beautiful life. The ability to release tensions, aggressions, anxiety and fear while in nature is a tonic. She would like to share with all who walk into her path how to open their senses to all the magic that surrounds us in this beautiful state and to extend it into their life. Body, mind and spirit.


from our readers

I love this magazine, it’s my favorite— I read it from cover to cover (sometimes more than once). The articles are always well written, and I love the photography. The recipes all look so tasty, and the ads are so well done you read them too! I also love the poems scattered throughout. I distribute Montana Woman in our business and have many customers who also love reading it, they always want to take one for their friends too. We have many conversations about articles we enjoyed and recipes we want to try. I have also seen a few men pick it up in our waiting area. Megan and her contributors have done a wonderful job of creating a beautiful magazine that all women can enjoy no matter where they’re from. ANNETTE MCNEILL ANACONDA, MT

It starts with the luxurious feel of the cover, then the imagery is divine, followed up with incredible and pertinent content!! I am so enamored with this magazine and all that is being done with it! What a great time to be a Montana Woman! INDIGO C. FOUNDER OF SATORI INTL.

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LIFE |

intention impact

&

IN HONOR OF WOMEN’S HISTORY

Month, I’d like to relay a recent personal victory in the speaking up and using my voice department, which aligns with a common thread that I address often on my blog: words matter. A couple of months ago, I took an opportunity to speak up to an unrelated elder male friend/ mentor of mine, who has long taken to calling me ‘kiddo.’ I’ve allowed this dynamic to take place for years, never expressing my dislike of the term. It took me this long to speak up to him for a few reasons: 1) Respecting my elders is important to me. 2) I knew his intention wasn’t to cause harm; I knew he regarded the word “kiddo” as a term of endearment. 3) I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by saying something. 4) I didn’t want to seem overly-sensitive, and last but not least, 5) I’m conflict-avoidant.

Since taking a locally held White Awareness class series in the fall of 2018 and reading the book What Does It Mean To Be White by Robin DiAngelo as part of the class, I’ve been delving into the importance of differentiating between intention and impact, and I was finally able to see the situation I was in more clearly. While yes, it’s true his intention is good— which does very much matter and make a difference— it’s also true that the impact is harmful, as to me it feels demeaning and devaluing of my experience and age when he calls me kiddo. So I finally mustered up the 74

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BY NICOLE DUNN

courage to tell him how it makes me feel when he uses this word with me; how at 40-years-old, I wonder if he’ll ever get to the point where he sees me as having grown up into an adult. It was hard. It was hella uncomfortable. But I did it, and I felt proud of myself that I spoke up. Intention absolutely matters and: it’s not the whole story. Impact matters too. Last fall, in an interesting coincidental stroke of timing, when my stepson was close to turning 20-years-old, I decided I wanted to make a concerted effort to change the in-house vernacular I used when referring to him and or his girlfriend (whom he lives with in an apartment a few blocks away from us) to my husband. For example: the kids are coming over for dinner or have you heard from the boy lately? A meme I came across on Twitter from @TinyBuddha speaks to my motivation for wanting to update my languaging: “So many people from your past know a version of you that doesn’t exist anymore.” While I don’t think my use of the words “kids” or “boy” negatively impacted my stepson, they weren’t serving my intention of wanting to invest in letting go of my past ideas of him as a young child and actively enter into this new chapter of being a stepparent to a budding adult. As my husband and I are quite playful together and share a quirky sense of humor, we’ve now taken to calling him the dragon, or dragons when referring to both him and his girlfriend, and it’s working famously!


Words matter. They really do. And both intention and impact matter. Just because our intentions are good doesn’t mean harm is immune from resulting as a product of what we say. We also need to be connecting to how what we do or say lands for someone else. Even with the best of intentions, we have the power to cause a great deal of upset and hardship, and this is something worth becoming aware of and tuned into. Too often, I’ve fallen into the trap of saying or thinking: But I didn’t mean it that way, when confronted with a friend I’ve hurt in some fashion by the words I’ve said. And I’ve also been on the receiving end of this sentiment many times as well. I’d invite you to think of a time when you’ve been on the receiving end of: But I didn’t mean it that way. Did those words ever help or feel good to hear? Probably not.

May we all practice using our voice skillfully, in an on-going effort to connect. Whether it’s to address our own feelings of dis-harmony or in hopes of helping to foster a sense of support and ease for someone else. We’re all in this together. And thank goodness for that.

WORDS CAN BE A TOOL OR A WEAPON

NICOLE DUNN is the director of the Open Way Mindfulness Center in Missoula, MT, and helps lead retreats, organize events, and serves as the program director for Be Here Now, a weekly meditation group she founded in 2002. For more info: InMindfulMotion.com

PHOTO BY MASAAKI KOMORI

Communication is a huge part of our daily life. Whether it’s: in-person dialog, quick greetings in passing, emailing, texting, or social media posting, word exchange is an ever-present function of being human. And words can be a tool or a weapon, depending on how we wield them.

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LIFE |

how many careers is too many? BY SARAH HARDING

I

recently overheard a man on TV brag on his many lives and varied interests. And I thought, isn’t that interesting— that he would be so proud of himself, yet I see my many lives and varied interests as a flaw. I should be more steady, focused, sure of my purpose in life. But I’m not! So far, I have been: an ocean lifeguard, yoga teacher, barista, farmer, parenteducator, crafter, and visual merchandiser. Most recently, I started a soap company called Coconut at Sea. The name Coconut at Sea was inspired by a friend’s comment over 20 years ago— she likened my life to a coconut at sea, drifting wherever the currents take me. I don’t think it was meant to be a compliment. I have often wished my life will last long enough for me to pursue an outrageous number of interests. But in the meanwhile, I wonder if there’s something wrong with me because my goals are shifting and numerous. I have fretted and obsessed and searched for the job that I could do for the rest of my life. I have beat myself up and called myself a failure when I wanted to move on to a new interest. I have wished and hoped and dreamed of finding my one true calling. Maybe you can see yourself in these lines. Have you dreamed of a singular and clear purpose in life? Is your biggest worry that you will never find it? Or that you just don’t have one? Our culture holds people who devote their lives to one purpose in high regard. As they should. But, what

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about those of us that are multi-passionate? Is our contribution just as valuable? What if we don’t have to have just one career? The word multipotentialite was recently coined by Emilie Wapnick in her TED talk to describe someone like me. If specialists focus on and excel in one field, multipotentialites are interested in several. She encourages us to throw off the unfocused and flighty labels and embrace our interests. Give up the idea of just one purpose in life and be proud of our inspirations, just like the man I overheard on TV. His skills and strengths translated from one business to the next. Or my grandfather, Gordon, who was a sharp-shooter in the Marine Corps. When he retired from the Marines in his 40’s, he went to Italy to study oil painting with the masters. Then he came home and built clocks. He learned photography. Then he learned to be a woodcarver. He was an early adopter of computers. He was the first person I knew with a computer! I don’t recall him lacking confidence because he didn’t stick with one hobby for 40 years. I can see how, freed from my own vicious labels, my experiences are an asset in my soap business. Multipotentialites, because of the wide range of our interests, tend to be resilient, versatile, and flexible. We are used to learning new things, starting over, and being brave. We can stop lamenting the fact that we weren’t born specialists and maximize the potentials that we are inclined to.


PHOTO BY IRENE KREDENETS

Sometimes multipotentialites thrive as an entrepreneur who is required to wear many hats and keep all the plates spinning for their business. This was my experience as a farmer. There is always so much to think about, so much to be done— it kept my mind and body occupied for many years. I was completely devoted to and fascinated by this path. Until I wasn’t. I struggled and grieved giving up the farm dream, even though it wasn’t what I wanted anymore. It had been comforting to have such a perfect picture in my mind of where I was going. But after the letting go comes the delight of new inspiration. I started a soap company. I hungrily learned how to build a website, modern marketing, graphic design, and chemistry. Soap is a fascinating product of acid and alkaline in solution. But don’t get me started on that. Right now, I have 5 separate, diverse gigs to satisfy my creative cravings, pay the bills, and provide a sense of significance. When people ask me what I do, I have to decide whether to give the whole story or the abridged version. Along with starting a soap company, I’m an environmental activist, I homeschool my kids, I sell plants and treasures at Station 8 in Columbia Falls, and I’m an Airbnb Superhost. I have embraced the idea of being a coconut at sea. Coconuts don’t just drift, they

wash up on beaches and sprout into palm trees. They drop more coconuts to drift and spread. Coconut palms provide nourishment, shade, and beauty. They are versatile, adaptable, resilient, and useful. If you recognized yourself as a fellow multipotentialite, does it ease your burden to know that one path is not better than many? Can we stop beating ourselves up for not having one true calling? I accept that I have more than one true career love, and I plan to enthusiastically follow my curiosity, even if I look like a coconut at sea to everyone else. SARAH HARDING grew up in North County San Diego. She spent her childhood surfing and loving the ocean. She and her husband, John, moved to Montana when they were 22 and spent the second half of their lives farming and raising a family. Now they’re Coconut at Sea Soap Co.; a family business determined to reduce the amount of plastic in our world. Sarah and her family live on their tiny homemade farm in Whitefish. For more information on her soap and shampoo bars, visit her website at coconutatsea.com

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ACTIVE & OUTDOOR |

STORMS BY CHLOE NOSTRANT

I

stood on the dirt road and looked up at the Charlie Russell sky. The pastel blues and pinks mingled and cast a faraway glow on the mountains in the distance. Wind blew the grass and somewhere to my left, a rooster pheasant cackled. The bird dog next to me perked up. “Not today Shep,” I whispered to him and gave him a pat on the head. I walked down the road and set my fly rod in the rod holder on the boat. The boat sat on its trailer— water still draining from the bilge off the back. Thunder rolled in the distance. The storms were like clockwork coming in over us from the prairie every hour and a half, throwing lighting to the ground and making us race towards the shore. At one point the lightning did get too close for comfort. We hadn’t seen any in a while, but suddenly my fishing friend and I both got a feeling of danger deep in our bones— doom was imminent if we didn’t get off the water. I jumped down from the casting platform and hooked my fly to one of the guides on the rod. That ninefoot graphite rod was like a lightning rod in the middle of a barren landscape. As soon as the metal hook on my fly touched the rod, I got a light jolt. I handed the rod down to my friend and as soon as he grabbed, so did he. I sat quickly down on a cooler and we ran the aluminum jon boat back to dry land. I saw my friend’s face drop as he looked at me and said “Chloe, all of the hair on your head is standing straight up.” We moved faster to the shore, watching the storm brewing above us. Once at the shore, we quickly jumped out of the boat and left everything behind. The dog could sense our nervousness and wouldn’t hop out; as we pulled

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the boat on to the shore, we coaxed him out of the vessel and into the truck. We sat in the truck and watched the storm build and build. “Do you believe in Bigfoot?” I asked, “I think I had an encounter once— but I don’t know.” My friend looked out the windshield and laughed. The storm darkened the sky, and just when we thought the weather would unleash on us, it blew past. We decided to call it good on fishing for the day. We had a reasonably successful day and would rather end the day at the bar down the road that happened to be the only “live” building in the otherwise ghost town. We sat at one end of the bar, an older couple came in and sat at the other end. They looked at us for a moment before leaning into each other and telling secrets. We ate our meals and drank our drinks. We told stories from hunting and fishing trips that have long passed. Maybe the older couple down the bar from us thought we were also telling secrets. The only secret here was where we were, a sacred fishing spot. The type of spot where you go to get away from everything else. Where you disappear into the landscape and every obligation or worry you have sinks into the choppy water. You don’t just want to be here, you need to be here. Somewhere in between the storms, the angry fish, the secretive older couple, and the dusty washboard road, I learned to love the storms and the calm moments between them— or was it the calm moments with storms between them? I laid in the back of my truck, staring at the flies I had stuck in the headliner. Each one represented


a monumental fish. Toothy pike and muskie, dozens of redfish, beautiful trout. Each fly adorned the headliner of my truck like a saint in the Sistine Chapel. Instead of frescoes, they were small creatures made of feathers and craft fur, marabou and flash. I slowly started falling asleep, wedged between the door and a duffel bag of rain gear. I listened to the deep reverb of thunder in the distance and water lapping at the shore. I wondered what the fish were thinking about and if they too could come to appreciate the storms as much as the calm. CHLOE NOSTRANT is a writer, photographer, and artist (among other things) from Livingston, Montana. Finding stories in Montana’s vast landscapes, winding rivers, and saloons, she pulls inspiration from the characters born of these circumstances. Curious with how a place dictates the people, she travels around Montana and the American West documenting its people and places (and fishing its streams).

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ACTIVE & OUTDOOR |

going solo ARTICLE & IMAGES BY JESSLYN MARIE

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ACTIVE & OUTDOOR |

S

olo backpacking can be extremely intimidating, and this was the number one thing several of you asked for when polled about what topics you’d like to see me cover. While there are plenty of ladies out there who jumped straight into it without ever having gone before (even in a group!), that’s not for everyone— and that’s okay! I certainly didn’t. I spent years going with others before I ever even thought about delving into solo trips and, even then, it was mostly thrust upon me in an unexpected manner (a story for another day). As daunting as it may seem, there are several ways you can ease your way into it. In this piece, I outline a handful of things I’ve found helpful in my own journey, as well as some safety precautions to keep in mind.

Day Hike Alone

Start by doing some day hikes alone. This will get you well-acquainted with the feeling of being alone on the trail but without that whole “night” thing. Let’s admit it— even as adults, we’re still scared of the dark to varying degrees, especially in the wilderness. Going out on well-traveled, popular trails is an excellent introduction, as there will be plenty of other people around, but do keep in mind that this could vary greatly depending on the day of the week (weekends are typically busier!). You can slowly build up your confidence and work your way towards less-traveled trails and, eventually, ones that are completely new to you.

Practice Makes Perfect

Even before you go out, practice using your gear. I recommend trying this on day hikes so you can get a feel for everything you’ll be doing “out in the elements.” Pack your bag up as if you were camping and hit a trail for a couple hours! Set up your tent, blow up your sleeping pad, cook a meal; this allows you to figure out the kinks in your process before committing to an overnight stay somewhere. You’ll have a better idea of what you do (and don’t) need to bring, how to pack your bag, what changes you might need to make to your gear… maybe your stove isn’t working well in windy conditions and you need to acquire a better one. These kinds of trial runs are what we call “shake downs” and allow you the time and space to properly assess your gear (and your knowledge of it) without any harsh consequences. 82

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Go Somewhere Familiar

The best piece of advice I have for the camping part of solo backpacking would be to stay somewhere that you have gone before for your first few times out. Maybe that’s an established campground or a day hike you’ve done, but these places should feel relatively “safe” to you; you know the trail, you know the spots where you can pitch a tent, how long it will take you to get there, etc. The more “unknowns” you can nix from the equation, the better an experience and less fear you will have. My recommendation would be to change it up each time you go out, rather than going to the same spot three or four times. You’ll acclimate, so to speak, to varying environments and get yourself used to the feeling of being somewhere “new.”

Start Small

Backpacking doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go big or go home. I’ve camped out only a mile or two into a trail, and I still felt just as much removed from civilized life as if I were 20 miles into a mountain range. While it’s no guarantee that mishaps won’t happen (those can occur even 20 feet away from the parking lot!), it’s not nearly as imposing. If it’s starting to get to be later in the day and you’ve decided you’re really not feeling it, you can still get back to your car before dark and there’s no harm done. Heck, even I’ve turned around and gone home because I didn’t feel entirely “into it” when the wind was howling to high heaven in the winter. You are not


a failure for bailing out for any reason, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Take a Dog

Simply having a four-legged companion can do wonders to calm your nerves on the trail, though it does add some other factors to consider, such as waste and extra supplies. In the literal sense you are not alone, but in many other ways you are. The vast majority of dogs (unless specially trained) cannot go find or call for help, and they can not assist you with first aid or create shelters. Likewise, they can’t help themselves when injured. Dogs are great companions and adventure buddies, but be sure you know first aid for them, too. As a courtesy to others, be sure they are under unfaltering voice command if you

choose to go off-leash (check regulations, as this is illegal in many places)— the last thing you want is for your companion to be bothering other hikers/dogs or chasing wildlife, which could be potentially dangerous.

Safety

Safety is always important and most especially when you’re alone. You don’t have anyone else to rely on if something happens to you, so keeping your head above water, metaphorically speaking, should be at the forefront of your mind at all times. Always keep your first aid kit in an easily accessible location and know what is in it and how to use it. Items that you don’t know how to use are literally dead weight. If need be, educate yourself by taking a Wilderness First Aid course mon tan awoman .com | marc h/ap r il 2 02 0

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(First Responder/EMT for the more ambitious). Carry a GPS system with an SOS feature in case you become stranded, and always have a map and compass in case your GPS dies (and know how to use them!). Bright colors, be it your gear or your clothing, are easy ways to stay visible, as well. If you ever needed to call in Search and Rescue, making it easier for them to see/find you could be crucial.

Bears

If there’s one question strangers ask the most about my solo backpacking adventures, it’s whether or not I’m scared of bears. I mean, of course I’m scared of bears but in a healthy way. What I mean by that is I’ve done the work to educate myself on their behaviors, how to deal with an encounter should one happen, and (even better) how to avoid one altogether. I don’t let the thought of seeing a bear stop me from doing what I love, but that doesn’t mean I’m altogether oblivious or ignorant to the dangers, either. When I’m out alone, I’m much more cautious, my awareness of my surroundings is heightened, and I go out of my way to make sure my presence is known. I can’t recommend bear safety classes enough! Carry two cans of bear spray with you, for two reasons: 1.) If you need to use one, you’ll want another handy as you make your way back out, and 2.) although rare, there can be duds. If one can is a dud, you’ll be happy you had the second handy. Likewise, don’t make the rookie mistake of carrying your bear spray in your bag or in another inaccessible location that you can’t easily reach. Wear it on the front of your body (hip belt or shoulder strap is usually easiest); aggressive bears will not wait for you to dig it out.

When and Where

Continuing on the line of safety, a simple thing you should always do is tell a few trusted friends or family where you are going, when you are leaving, and when you plan to be back. Likewise, you can leave a note on the inside of your car, visible through the windshield, saying where you are going and when you plan to be back. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your location, then your return date should be the bare minimum. In

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this regard, rangers or other hikers who come to the trailhead can be warned/warn an authority when your car is still in the parking lot after you were supposed to have returned, and they can then send Search and Rescue to find you. Along the same vein, don’t stray from your planned route unless absolutely necessary! If something happens to you and you’re not where you said you would be, it only prolongs any efforts of finding you safely. Do anything and everything in your power to stay safe and found as the stakes are much higher if you don’t when you’re alone.

Friends + Family

This is by far and away one of the largest obstacles when it comes to going out alone (most especially as a female). Everyone comes out of the woodwork to tell you how careless you are being, and they actively discourage you from doing it with horror stories of others who did the same. There is no one right way to help alleviate the fears of your loved ones, but I know firsthand how difficult it can be to feel “okay” going out anyways, in spite of their concerns. Honestly, I’d be a bit put off if nobody worried about me at all, but several of those fears are based on a lack of understanding and education on the matter. So, when someone expresses a concern, I lean into it with them by asking questions. What is it that they are afraid of ? Why do they feel this way? I don’t reject their fears, I acknowledge them. Yes, I could be hurt and stranded. Yes, I could run into a bear. I make no illusions that these things can’t or won’t happen. But I answer to the very best of my ability so that they feel more confident in the fact that I am being as safe as possible and am constantly educating myself on the matter. Finishing this off, I always add in the positives of my experiences to show just how much it means to me and how it has profoundly changed my life. If I were to live in fear of consequences and risks, I likely wouldn’t even get into my car each day (which is one of the most dangerous things we do). Some won’t ever accept your decision to go solo, but I’ve found that my concerned relatives have become a lot more encouraging and excited to hear of my adventures when they know I’m not being dismissive of them.


These are certainly not all of the ways in which you can help prepare yourself for solo backpacking, but these have proven to be the most beneficial for me. The more you go out alone, the more confident you will feel in your knowledge, skills, and abilities (but don’t get too cocky, that’s a recipe for disaster!). Even if backpacking alone isn’t on your radar, and you simply wish to do more hiking when your friends can’t join you, I hope that many of these items are still useful to you! For those who have and do go solo backpacking, what tips and tricks would you share with others? Or maybe you have more questions or want some friendly encouragement, I’d love to hear from you! Either which way, hit me up on Instagram (handle below in bio) and, as always, the happiest of adventures to you, my friends. JESSLYN MARIE is a Bozeman-based photographer and avid outdoor enthusiast, combining these two passions into adventure elopements. Her main jam is 4-season solo backpacking, but can also be found skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, playing hockey, and empowering/educating women on recreating in the outdoors. Jesslyn has taught women-specific classes for REI, SheJumps, and Bridger Babes, and is the backpacking mentor for Bridger Babes. To see some of her work and follow along, check her out on Instagram or visit her website for more info. INSTAGRAM: @jesslynmariephoto | WEBSITE: www.jesslynmarie.com

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PHOTO BY MEGAN MILETICH, SECOND SIGHT | BLUE MOON ARENA, COLUMBIA FALLS

MELISSA PROCTOR BY KRIS SELL

Melissa Proctor believes that the way to make history, the way to set an example for other women, is to talk less and do more. Proctor is a woman who does what most women will not. She has camped in the woods with troubled teens for up to six weeks, including in the winter. She has pushed her thoroughbred horse, Zach, to jump fences over miles of a crosscountry course. She has backed her horse, Riggin, into a roping box and nodded for her calf or steer to be released. Proctor says she has been inspired by women who are willing to do the unconventional, and she wants to spend her time in those ranks. 86

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| ACTIVE & OUTDOOR

Proctor’s current job is certainly unique. She is the clinical director at a therapeutic boarding school called Montana Academy near Marion, Montana. She lives at the school with her two dogs and four horses. Proctor believes it is her role in society to support and assist young people in being successful through her work, rather than having her own children. Proctor has also found she would rather be single than be with a man who feels threatened by her drive and competitive nature. Proctor’s intense side was clearly visible during her many years of competing in the world of eventing. Eventing is a discipline where a rider on one horse must compete in dressage, arena show jumping, and cross-country jumping. During the winter of 2018-2019, she came to understand that the eventing world was no longer working for her. The multi-month, multi-state circuit was difficult to balance with Proctor’s profession, and she was self-sponsored— lacking financial support from family or sponsor. Wins meant horse blankets with logos and ribbons but no money to help with gas or hay expenses. Proctor decided to rewrite her goals and take her horsemanship into an area where there were plenty of local opportunities to compete and where winning meant picking up a check. The male-dominated sport of roping drew Proctor’s attention, and she suspected she had found her new competitive home. Proctor says she found a lot of support and encouragement, beginning with her very first conversations about starting to rope. Proctor’s farrier, Marion Eash, was the first person she approached about making the change about a year ago. Eash introduced Proctor to coaching team Tammy Jo and Rich Carpenter, and Proctor soon was competent in breakaway roping and competing by the summer of 2019. Proctor found additional inspiration at a roping clinic with Lari Dee Guy instructing. Guy has been a champion roper for decades and started the “Rope Like A Girl” movement to help get in-person and video training along with social support to new and experienced competitors. On January 17, 2020, Guy was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. A board member of that organization, Pam Minick, said Guy was

honored because there are hundreds of ropers just like Proctor that Guy has welcomed into the sport. At the end of 2019, Proctor added team-roping to her résumé. At the same time, she was winning breakaway competitions, like at a December 20, 2019 rodeo in Kalispell. Proctor said that team roping, getting to ‘dally’ the rope around the saddle horn and turn a steer, rather than releasing the rope like in breakaway, increased her confidence and improved her breakaway roping. When Proctor started team roping, she found very few women at the arena competing in ‘Jackpots’ where fees are paid out to the best ropers. Proctor says she appreciated having Tammy Jo Carpenter close by for support, and she improved her roping with advice from experienced ropers. Proctor is keeping one boot in eventing because her eventing horse, Zach, needs to find a new partner. Zach is still in his prime and thrives on the competition, so Proctor wants to find a rider who brings out the best in him. Just like last summer, during the summer of 2020, Proctor might compete at ‘The Event’ at Rebecca Farm during the day and hurry to the Blue Moon Rodeo Arena to rope in the evening. Should Proctor or any woman want to pursue a professional roping career, the Pro-Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) spokeswoman Cassie Emerson says the door is open but, so far, no woman has qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas in team roping. The PRCA does not host breakaway roping. Proctor has yet to decide where she wants breakaway and team roping to take her. What she does know is she will continue to encourage other women, and her students, to pursue with commitment whatever makes them happy in the areas of family, work, and sport. After all, tomorrow’s history is being written every day.

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the best. That’s why we have made it our mission to bring unmatched pediatric care home to our Montana families.



HEALTH & WELLNESS |

STEPHANIE BRECK MINDY COCHRAN | LEVITATION NATION

IN 1987, THE UNITED STATES

Congress designated March as Women’s History Month. It’s a month to celebrate the contributions women have made to building our great nation. Further, it is an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come in the struggle for gender equality. From gaining the right to vote, to closing the pay gap, to more options for reproductive health, we have a lot to celebrate. Acceptable fashion in the workplace is no longer limited to just dresses and skirts. In fitness, gender stereotypes that once discouraged girls from engaging in sports are dismantled more and more each decade. Several decades ago, it was considered unladylike to be seen sweating, so exercises for women were characterized by stretching (1940s), hula hoops (1950s), and vibrating belts (1960s). Fitness culture for women started to change shape with the advent of Jazzercise (1970s), which invited women to find the joy in working out. Jane Fonda’s aerobics videos (1980s) brought with them a distinct fitness fashion— hello, leg warmers, belted leotards, and side ponytails. The revolution continued into more recent decades when high-energy group exercise classes such as Zumba (1990s), and Soul Cycle (2000s) gained popularity. Women everywhere were beginning to take charge of their bodies and their lives. Today, at-home exercise programs with celebrity 90

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fitness trainers can be queued up with just a few clicks of a button, and there are endless options of group fitness classes to choose from. As the owner of Kalispell’s aerial fitness studio (which uses cirque-style exercises with silk fabric, aerial hoops, and dance poles to build strength and flexibility), I view the last decade as an era where exercise isn’t just a means to an end, but rather a celebration of what a woman’s body can do. Yet I acknowledge there is still a little work to do in the struggle for gender equality. As a personal trainer, I have worked with clients who are nervous to walk into the weight room at the gym because it is still viewed somewhat as a men’s domain. I believe, with a little work, we see the end of that misconception in this new decade. Which is why I am proud to present to you this interview with Stephanie Breck of Columbia Falls, Montana: lawyer and mother of a 14-yearold by day, and bad-ass bodybuilder and fitness coach by night. Stephanie competed in her first bodybuilding competition at age 49. Now at age 50, she spreads a message that fitness can be found at any age, and her mission is to empower women from a place of self-love. She just happens to be dismantling gender stereotypes and what she calls “gym-timidation” along the way. May you feel empowered by her story and join us in our quest for health and the celebration of what women are capable of.


STEPHANIE BRECK | PHOTO BY WAYNE MURPHY


MINDY: Congratulations on your successes in the bodybuilding competitions in Spokane.

I believe finding your blueprint is the key to lasting change.

STEPHANIE: This is the second year I have competed. The first year I just did a show in Spokane. This year, I did one show in Utah, and then the weekend after that I went to Spokane. This year, I hired a husband and wife team as coaches, and they were amazing; I did really well.

For me, I eat six times a day. My diet is pretty limited, but it works for me because it is all foods that I like. I make the main portion of my plate protein, then I add in the carbohydrates and vegetables that I like and put those things into a food plan. A food plan works really well for me. Planning is part of the 3 “P’s” of my program, which is planning, preparing, and prioritizing. I plan and prepare my workouts and food, and I prioritize where I need to. I have a lot of things going on, so time management and prioritizing are really important. The key to sticking to your priorities even when you don’t want to— it comes down to discipline.

MINDY: What inspired you to want to do competitions? STEPHANIE: I was twenty

“EXERCISE ISN’T JUST A MEANS TO AN END, BUT RATHER A CELEBRATION OF WHAT A WOMAN’S BODY CAN DO”

pounds overweight and struggling with alcohol. I was ready for change, so I got sober and did the 21day fix [one of the Beach Body®’s diet plans], and it helped build my selfconfidence. So. I went to a Beach Body® Convention and the bodybuilding show there, and it made me want to immerse myself in it even more. So I did the 2018 show in Spokane and the two shows this year. It has been such a great experience, and it made me want to help other women achieve a deep transformation like I had.

MINDY: Can you tell me about the coaching program you created? STEPHANIE: The program I built is called “The

Midlife Maverick” because I wanted to help women ages 40+ who are experiencing the same types of changes with hormonal fluctuations and changes in their bodies as I am. We hear from society that once you hit age 40, it’s okay to settle for where you are or give up on fitness altogether, but you really can overcome the challenges that come along with midlife. You just have to learn and apply yourself. Most women don’t want to take the time to learn, and they tend to be distracted by all of these quick-fix diets, but the best way to find a plan that will give you long term results is to experiment. So, my program helps women figure out what works for their own bodies because what gives one person results might not be the same for another person. I call that figuring out your fitness blueprint, and 92

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MINDY: This interview is running alongside an article about how women’s fitness has changed over the years. We have come a long way, but I know there are still women who are nervous to walk into the weight room at the gym because it’s viewed as men’s domain. What do you think needs to be done to break down those misconceptions? STEPHANIE: I can understand why women feel

that way. “Gym-timidation” is what I call it. It’s a muscle you have to build in your mind to get over that, and I think education helps. Some women fear the weight room because they think they are going to get gigantic muscles, and that just doesn’t happen. And they’re also afraid of building muscle because it makes them heavier and they are connected to the scale. My body looks totally different at 135 pounds now than it did at 135 pounds five years ago. I wish I had known when I was younger the importance of a weight training program. I used to just do cardio, but now I know the stresses on your muscles from weight training creates shape. MINDY: If you had just one pointer that women

could use to elevate their health and fitness, what would it be?


STEPHANIE: I don’t want to say something lame like “drink water,” but that definitely helps! But I really think the key is to educate and take responsibility for yourself and be consistent. MINDY: Where can people find you if they want

to work with you?

STEPHANIE: If people want to find me, I’m on Facebook as Stephanie Breck or Instagram as Midlife Maverick. MINDY COCHRAN is the founder of Kalispell’s Levitation Nation Aerial Studio, where the catchphrase “fitness is fun” is embodied alongside a culture of movement & women empowerment. Mindy believes that “The Real Levitation Experience” lies within elevating your health & wellness. Mindy loves to share the expertise she has acquired through her certifications as a personal trainer and life coach. For more about Mindy or Levitation Nation, please visit www.levitationnation.org.

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HEALTH & WELLNESS |

MOVEMENT the key to longevity BY JAEL ESPINOSA | KALISPELL REGIONAL

W

hen people think of massage therapy, normally they envision getting a massage for pleasure and relaxation. Maybe it’s been a long week at work, and you need to de-stress, or maybe the in-laws are in town and this is something to take your mind off of things. Though these are all good reasons to get a massage, Diana Stephens, a massage therapist at The Montana Center for Wellness and Pain Management, treats her massage therapy practice as much more than that. When Stephens meets with her patients, she helps heal the body from the inside out— and she does this through movement. The room where Stephens works her magic is a very relaxing environment, with beautiful smells and peaceful music playing in the background— the experience is very different than any other patient room you’ll walk into. Massage therapy is known to be one of the first types of medical therapy used as early as 2700 BCE. Egyptian tomb paintings showed that massage therapy had been a part of their medical tradition. Their practice greatly influenced the cultures around them, and shortly after, the Greeks and Romans caught onto this practice. According to the National Institutes of Health, massage therapy is used to help patients with fibromyalgia, infant care, and even cancer symptoms and side effects. This type of preventative practice is important for each of us. “We are hard-wired for touch and

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movement— these are both crucial things for us as human beings,” states Stephens. “Nowadays, we’ve become so sedentary. Some of the most important parts in our body are not blood pumping, such as our lymph nodes, which clean out all of the bad stuff that sits in our body. Massage therapy movement is what helps move the blood through the body and increases circulation.” Massage therapy wasn’t a route that Stephens’ ever thought she’d ever get into. “I had a shoulder injury when I was younger. There was a knot in my shoulder, and it was causing pain all over my body,” says Stephens. The medical professional she met with told her they could cut the knot out, however this would not decrease her pain or give her the range of motion back. “I started to study herbal medicine and visited with a naturopath, and they suggested I go get a massage. After several massage sessions, my shoulder was painless, and I will never ever forget that moment— that is truly where everything had begun,” Stephens states. Her interest in body work started then, and she has put an emphasis with her patients on ‘the bigger picture’— focusing on the body with a holistic mindset. She makes sure to emphasize the importance of movement with all of her patients. “To rest is to rust,” she states. “Movement is truly what is going to keep us going, however we are becoming a much more sedentary society. It’s the static behaviors that are always the killers of the body.” One thing she tells her patients to practice is


PHOTO BY CHRISTIN HUME

rolling your shoulders back regularly. “Everybody needs to be doing this— especially if you work at a desk for most of the day.” Even if you don’t work on a computer all day, we all have ‘computer’ like items that we carry around with us— such as our phone or tablet. A study that was published by a New York spine surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, states that bending your head to look at your mobile devices can put up to 60 pounds of pressure on your neck. The Montana Center for Wellness and Pain Management providers are known for helping their patients treat chronic pain in very minimally invasive ways. They have made a tremendous impact and have changed the lives of many people in the Flathead Valley and surrounding areas. To book an appointment, contact The Montana Center for Wellness and Pain Management at (406) 756-8488.

DIANA STEPHENS

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HEALTH & WELLNESS |

Getting Your Heart in Shape with Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation NORTH VALLEY HOSPITAL

F

ebruary is National Heart Month as designated by the National Heart and Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Also, National Cardiac Rehab Week is in February as well, per the American Association for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehab (AACVPR).

emphysema, bronchitis, lung cancer or lung cancer surgery, and other pulmonary diseases. It helps you improve your quality of life. Although pulmonary rehabilitation cannot cure your lung disease, it can be of great benefit. You may notice improved breathing effort and fewer breathing problems.

This means that this month North Valley Hospital and partner organizations in Kalispell Regional Healthcare and around the valley are focusing on the patient benefits of heart health, and especially cardiopulmonary rehab, through promotional activities, education, and exercise challenges.

Bates explains, “Patients can learn about heart disease, how to address the heart disease, how to prevent different kinds of heart disease, and other contributing factors from our professional team in cardiac rehab at North Valley Hospital.”

WHAT IS CARDIOPULMONARY REHAB? Carrie Bates, Director of Respiratory Therapy at North Valley Hospital, is happy to share the benefits of cardiopulmonary rehab and activities scheduled for this month to recognize the patient benefits. Cardiac rehabilitation is an individualized and personalized treatment plan following a heart attack, angina, heart surgery, or other heart disease. It includes evaluation and instruction on physical activity, nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle. Pulmonary rehabilitation is a service designed for those who experience lung problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), 96

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HOW IS NVH CELEBRATING HEART MONTH? Bates is enthusiastic about bringing fun activities and challenges to cardiopulmonary patients and their families during February and into March. Patients can take part in exercise challenges, like a sit to stand challenge, which includes patients going from sitting to standing as many times in a row as they can and trying to improve the number and their mobility throughout the month. Bates points out that this is not as easy as it sounds, “It’s not easy for anyone! It’s like repeated wall squats,” she says. The cardiopulmonary rehab team is also doing a Bingo game throughout the month, along


with Kalispell Regional Healthcare partner at The Summit Health and Wellness. The monthlong Bingo game includes game pieces that are all health or wellness related goals to complete. Participants mark each one off as they complete it to try to win a “Bingo!” on the game board. Game boards include activities such as checking sodium and sugar on foods, getting 7-9 hours of sleep, exercise for 45 minutes, and calling a friend or loved one. “The game improves patient outcomes, and helps to build a fun, social atmosphere in the rehab program, which boosts patient satisfaction,” says Bates.

Other activities include motivational videos, relaxation techniques, and other individual requests for educational resources from medical experts. The expert team available to patients includes pharmacists, registered dietitians, respiratory therapists, registered nurses, and other specialists.

Cardiopulmonary rehab staff is also working to guide patients in building good nutrition habits by emphasizing healthy eating through a recipe exchange. The recipe exchange allows patients and employees to bring in favorite healthy recipes, copy and share with other patients and staff as part of the cardiopulmonary rehab program community.

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON IN THE AREA?

The team is also hosting an open house that allows employees and family members of patients to come see the program facility and learn about the rehab program and how it improves patients’ life and health goals.

North Valley Hospital Cardiopulmonary Rehab has partnered with The Summit in Kalispell to support educational and awareness activities valley-wide, include physician lectures, chair massages, exercise classes, cooking classes, and other informational resources.

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