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In this issue

Bitterroot Fish Hatchery Coddling moths Permaculture and more

march 2016


We dig Montana since 1987


Agriculture Magazine, March 2016 - Page 3

in this issue Bitterroot fish hatchery...................... 5 Controling coddling moths.............. 7 Permaculture...................................... 9 Rush Skeletonweed......................... 12 Food facts at the extension office.. 14 Herbicide damage........................... 16 Agriculture Heritage notebook...... 18

MAGAZINE How did you like this issue of Agriculture Magazine? Do you have any ideas you’d like to share with us for our next issue? Let us know. Sent comments to: 232 West Main, Hamilton, MT 59840 or Photos on this page provided and by Perry Backus & Wendy Beye Cover Photo by Perry Backus Agriculture Magazine is published by the Ravalli Republic & Missoulian Newspapers, divisions of Lee Enterprises Mark Heintzelman, Publisher Matt Bunk, Editor • Perry Backus, Associate Editor Kathy Kelleher & Jodi Lopez, Sales Dara Saltzman, Production & Design Agriculture Magazine is copyright 2016, Ravalli Republic.

232 W Main, Hamilton, MT 59840

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Agriculture Magazine, March 2016 - Page 5

Dan Brandborg’s solar system produces 5,000 watts of power on a sunny day.


Bitterroot Fish Hatchery is powered by the sun By stacie duce For the Ravalli Republic

After almost a century since its construction, the long outbuilding at the Bitterroot Fish Hatchery in Grantsdale is still lined with gurgling concrete water tanks filled with growing trout. But much has changed since Marcus Daly Jr. established the hatchery in 1919 – especially the sources of energy required the run the operation. Short wooden shelves sit empty between each tall window inside the hatchery building where

kerosene lamps once perched. Instead of relying on gravity flow, now 11 water pumps run 24 hours a day using solar energy. Mules still graze in fields at the hatchery, but a Kubota tractor now performs the heavy lifting using the same biofuel as the delivery trucks, which is processed onsite. Dan Brandborg and his wife purchased the Bitterroot Fish Hatchery 20 years ago. Their prior experience with their solar business allowed them to effectively integrate alternative energy sources on their farm with immediate returns.

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late 1800’s ran on peanut oil and Henry Ford’s “For anyone interested in solar power, the first cars were designed to run on ethanol made system is actually very simple,” Don said. “It from starch products grown on an average farm. has three components – the panels, aluminum rods attached to the roof and the inverter which But then the petroleum industry took over.” He said biodiesel has many advantages allows us to produce energy that ties right into including clean the grid. The power exhaust, but the one comes into our disadvantage is durmain electrical line ing colder temperaand flows where it’s tures the fuel gels needed on the farm. and needs to be If I produced excess mixed with petroenergy, it would turn leum. For his operaour meter backtion – which includes wards and I’d get a a lot of drive time financial credit, but for fish delivery – for now, we’re using Brandborg uses everything we creabout 2,500 gallons ate.” of fuel each year. Brandborg said “My costs for his system produces biodiesel are still 5,000 watts of power less than what we on a sunny day and can buy diesel at somewhere around stacie duce/ RAVALLI REPUBLIC Dan Brandborg shows one of the solar panels he uses the power he uses the pump, even at 1,800 watts on a at the Bitterroot Fish Hatchery. these low prices,” cloudy day. The panels on his barn are producing approximately he said. “But my motivation is more than money. I’m a big advocate of renewable energy. So 9,000 kilowatt hours per year, which is what an even though it’s labor intensive, I’m motivated. average household uses. Since his farm uses Making your own fuel is hands on, but I like that more, Brandborg has plans to install more panI can consider the gas station as my back up.” els on the south-facing roof of his new barn. Brandborg receives a tax credit of one dol“The costs of solar has come down dramatilar per gallon because he makes sure to certify cally in the last four years, so now’s a great time his biodiesel. The 100-gallon processor and the to think about transitioning,” he said. “For an storage tanks outside his barn are not cumberaverage home, the cost of solar installation is some or unsightly. somewhere between $12,000 and $20,000 after “We’ve got a good set-up,” he said. “But incentives. The panels are made of tempered the best is that biofuel is non-toxic. You could glass and are warranted for 25 years. They’re so drink it and if you spilled some on the grass durable and they have no moving parts, that’s accidentally, it’s not going to kill everything. It’s why they last so long.” also better for your engine because of the high In addition to solar power, Brandborg has a lubricity.” fully integrated biofuel production operation For the Brandborgs, their operation includes onsite as well. traditional methods and new technology that “I collect fryer oil from a number of restaurants in the valley,” he said. “It’s a waste product they hope to perpetuate far into the future. For more information on solar energy, contact that goes through a chemical reaction in my processor. It changes from pure vegetable oil to Dan Brandborg at 406.381.5643 the chemical known as biodiesel. It’s not a new idea. Rudolf Diesel’s first diesel engine in the

Agriculture Magazine, March 2016 - Page 7


Bill Fleming of the Western Agricultural Research Center takes a peak inside the codling moth trap at the center east of Corvallis.

Successful control of coddling moths requires integrated approach By Katrina Mendrey MSU Extension

“I’ve got worms,� is not typically something you tell a stranger, but here in the Bitterroot Valley most people with an apple tree or two have them--well at least their apples do. These tiny white wrigglers are the larval stage of the codling moth, a relatively non-descript insect that has zero interest in your apples aside from a place to lay their eggs. Oh and technically, they are not worms. That said, their babies can ruin an apple crop, so each year we must take measures to control and limit codling moth. Successful control requires an integrated approach, meaning you will be most successful if you employ multiple methods of deterring

the insects rather than simply relying on chemical sprays. This is true for other pests including weeds, fungal and bacterial diseases and other insects. An integrated approach includes cultural, mechanical, biological and finally chemical measures to control a pest. Integrated pest management (IPM) focuses first on cultural controls to prevent a problem, non-chemical controls to reduce the impact of the issue and finally chemical controls when economic or emotional thresholds for damage have been breached. For codling moth an integrated approach includes cultural measures such as picking and destroying infected apples both on the tree and ground throughout the season. Thinning apples

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so they do not touch can also reduce the number of affected apples. For small trees and crops, apples can be individually wrapped with paper bags to prevent worms from entering. Mechanical methods include wrapping tree trunks in corrugated cardboard to collect pupating larvae or using a bug zapper hung in the tree to kill adult moths and reduce mating. The later, however, could potentially harm beneficial insects attracted to the bug zapper as well. Biological controls can be encouraged by providing habitat for natural predators including birds, bats and certain wasps to help naturally diminish populations. Finally, strategic chemical applications can kill larvae before they enter fruit. This strategy requires accurate timing and proper application of labeled sprays as they must make contact with the larvae to actually have an effect. As mentioned the adult codling moth is not the target of chemical controls, but it is important in deciding when to spray. This is because we calculate spray dates based on accumulated temperatures from when we first begin to trap adult codling moths. Fortunately for Ravalli County residents this information is monitored by the Western Agriculture Research Center and distributed to residents via the Ravalli County MSU Extension Office. In the past two years the first spray dates have occurred in early June but it all depends on the weather. If it’s an unusually warm spring spray dates will be sooner. Conversely if we have a cold spring, dates will be pushed further back. For apple growers interested in receiving notification of spray dates they can contact the Ravalli County MSU Extension office at 375-6611 and be put on a list for spray date notifications. Notifications are sent out by either email or a rotodial message with a recording providing spray dates and chemical information. Integrated approaches to controlling codling moth, as with any pest, are far more effective than using one strategy alone. By reducing populations at several points in the lifecycle a homeowner will be more successful in their long-term management. While the effort may seem daunting, come fall apple growers will be rewarded with a worm free sweet and juicy treat. A joy well worth

Agriculture Magazine, March 2016 - Page 9


Tim Southwell of Hamilton’s ABC Acres finishes moving his herd of Scottish Highland cattle into a new paddock filled with lush grass.

A fresh perpsective on gardening By Tim Southwell & grant shadden for the Ravalli Republic

As the winter season wanes, and average daily temperatures start to rise, one’s mind drifts to the garden and the thought of what can be. Taking a step back from your traditional strategy of garden planning, preparation and installation, let’s approach things from a fresh perspective. Imagine a setting where color, fragrance and the hum of honeybees fill the air. At the same time, the call of a distant rooster momentarily disrupts the tranquil atmosphere of the neighboring cattle grazing on fresh pasture. Livestock, plants, and nature’s birds and insects

in concert together to create a system in balance. Balance promoting health and healing for all playing their part in the symphony of a system which creates harmony.. Permaculture, coined by Bill Mollison, has been in practice at one level or another since the ‘70’s. Bill, the Father of Permaculture, describes Permaculture as a, ‘conscious design of agriculturally productive systems which have diversity, stability and resilience like that of natural ecosystems’. While you flip through the seed catalogs and peruse your local plant nurseries, keep these three principles in the forefront of your mind; Diversity, Stability and

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Resilience. The ecosystem out your back door does not get a weekly visit from a lawn crew, seasonal pruning from an arborist, nor a dowsing of chemical fertilizers and herbicides to artificially promote production. The ecosystem shares the common principles above for its health and longevity, and your garden planning can too! A diverse set of plantings, whether annuals and perennials or shrubs and trees, will perform best when working together. A landscape full of different colors and smells at varying times of the year, along with differences in size and shape will be aesthetically pleasing to the senses, promote high yields in harvest, create habitat for wildlife and heal the land. Diversity counteracts the liabilities of monocultural ag practices. Singular plantings and grain crops require seasonal soil amendments and pest management which take money and time. Conversely, diverse plantings promote healthy populations of birds and insects. Some act as

pollinators, while others as sentries over the food producing edibles. Together, balance is reached, positive yields are obtained, and both costs and efforts in management are kept to a minimum. As we prepare for spring and consider what seeds and transplants we desire in the garden, we research germination rates, last frost dates, and the timeframe to harvest. All of this is good practice, but we have to admit that from season to season, no year is the same as the last. By creating a potpourri of plant selections in your landscape, you are by design creating a level of stability when facing Mother Nature and the uncertainty of a late season frost, cooler than usual summers, dry or rainy conditions, or early season snows. As a result, you may lose your tomato crop, but your squash is outstanding‌ or your peach trees may succumb to the frost, but the apple crop is bountiful. A mixture of varying plant selections give you great confidence that both your plate and pantry will be

Agriculture Magazine, March 2016 - Page 11


ABC Acres manager Grant Shadden puts his pest control chickens to work breaking up cattle manure in search of all the insects its attracts.

stocked with a selection of edibles come season’s end. The outdoor garden can only offer so much opportunity when considering what to plant. A hardiness zone of 4 indicates winter temperatures could reach between -20 & -30 degrees Fahrenheit. By researching what plants and edibles work best in your climate, you are taking notes from the local ecosystem all around you. By doing so, you can install a guaranteed level of resilience in your garden and surrounding landscape. We all remember that winter season when the cold was biting and one didn’t dare venture outside. Think how your plants felt! By taking various design parameters into account, you set yourself, and your plantings, up for suc-

cess. Diversity, Stability and Resilience are the key components that go into implementing a Permaculture landscape. By shifting our train of thought away from conventional practices, we start to live in line with natural systems. In time, energy output starts to decline, and seasonal harvests start to increase. As you start to put pen to paper this winter season to commence your garden planning strategy, I ask you, ‘What could be better than that?’. Collaboration by: Tim Southwell & Grant Shadden; ABC acres, a Permaculture farmstead, in Hamilton, MT

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An unwelcome visitor:

By christy schram Ravalli County Weed District

Rush Skeletonweed

Rush Skeletonweed

provided photo

Rush skeletonweed is very difficult pant to control and it spreads very easily. Seeds of this plant have been documents to travel up to 20 miles from the original plant via the wind. Plants spread by seed from each mature plant. It also spreads by shoot buds found lateral roots and from shoot buds found near the top of the main root. It also grows from root fragments. It also out competes native vegetation and creates poor wildlife habitat. Management tools are limited. Hand pulling will cause the remaining roots to grow and spread dramatically sending up new plants up to 50 feet away. Very small infestations can be controlled by handpulling and digging if done diligently throughout the year for up to 10 years. Pulled plants should be burned to destroy the seeds and root system. Mowing is ineffective because it will not sufficiently stress the plant. Tillage will not work; it will spread the plant further. If you are considering herbicides to treat the rush skeletonweed, or have any questions about rush skeletonweed or other noxious weeds please contact the Ravalli County Weed District at 777-5842. The weed generally inhabits well-drained, light-textured soils. It can tolerate extended periods of drought and occupies disturbed habitats such as overgrazed rangeland, waste places, logging, farm-

Agriculture Magazine, March 2016 - Page 13

ing, and road construction. Also be on the lookout around gopher mounds or around badger holes. Rush skeletonweed is a tap-rooted perennial that can grow up to four feet in height. The stems of this plant are completely leafless but the base of the stem is covered with downward facing, coarse, brown hairs. Rush skeletonweed is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The weed was accidently introduced in the United States in the early 1900’s. It was first discovered in Spokane, Wash. in 1938. Today, Idaho and Washington have serious infestation of the weed. About nine years ago about six plants was discovered in the Bitterroot National Forest in the Chicken Creek, Deer Creek, and Rye Creek areas It has a long slender taproot can grow up to 7 feet deep. Plants begin as a basal rosette of leaves and then grow 1 to 6 branching

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flowering stems. It will exude a latex sap from injured surfaces. The sharp toothed leaves that are lobed with lobes pointing back towards the leaf base. The leaves are only at the base of the plant. The leaves are not easily seen, giving the plant a skeletal appearance. When the plant does flower, it produces a bright yellow flower about ž inches in diameter. They typically appear at the branch tips and are in clusters of 2 to 5 blooms. A mature plant can produce up to 20,000 seeds. When the plant does go to seed, the seeds are light brown to black, ribbed, and have white-ish bristles at one end that aid the seed in being dispersed by the wind. Roots are narrow and deep, sometimes penetrating the ground up two to three feet. Roots not only run vertical, but can run lateral near the surface.

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provided photo

Experimenting with new food can be a daunting task, but the Ravalli County MSU Extension Office has materials that can help.

Finding facts about food at the MSU Extension Office By Katelyn Andersen MSU Esctension Agent

When the days start becoming warmer with a little more sunshine, people usually start to plot out their garden plants or imagine trips to the Farmers Markets for local produce. When a consumer looks at the big picture of growing the produce and enjoying the food at the dinner table, there can be a lot of unknown factors. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of farmers markets, community-supported agriculture organizations

and farm to school programs is increasing. More consumers are purchasing fruits and vegetables directly from producers or growing their own. This has expanded the variety of produce available to the general public. Often the consumer many not know how to prepare it. In recent years, MSU Extension has developed and offered a series of 22 full color food fact sheets available for purchase to help consumers understand the big picture a little better. Each of the guides describe how to grow, harvest, store, prepare and preserve common Montana grown food products. Originally, the guides focused on Montana

grown fruits and vegetables. This last fall, the food fact sheets were expanded to include beef, whole grain and lentils. The easy-to-follow guides were created to give consumers all the information they need in one source, including nutritional information and food safety tips. These fact sheets are available for free online or can be purchased at the MSU Extension Store at Families can get into a rut of purchasing or planting the same produce. By experimenting and enjoying a wide variety of fruits and vegetable, families will be eating a wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other essential nutrients that are critical to overall health. Experimentation with new foods can be daunting for a lot people to know how to prepare some of the food. This was one reason why the food fact sheets were created and offered through MSU Extension. There are many ways to prepare yummy and healthy meals, the food fact sheets are a way to help think beyond the basic ways of using the produce. For example, lentils can be blended into smoothies, ground to be used in baked goods, added to salads or pureed to spread on sandwiches. As your garden progresses throughout the season, your MSU Extension office is available to provide information and educational resources. From understanding proper fertility in your soil or learning how to preserve the produce at the end of the season, the office is available to help local residents make the most of their garden bounty. There are also many upcoming hands-on workshops available to the community for free or low-cost. Connect with the MSU Extension office through Facebook, website, email or visiting the office. Katelyn Andersen, M.S., is an Associate Professor for Montana State University. She serves as the 4-H/Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent for Ravalli County. Contact: 375-6611 or 215 S. 4th Street Ste G, Hamilton, or

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What to do if you see signs of herbicide damage By Katrina Mendrey MSU Extension

Every so often a sample finds its way into the extension office with the tall tale signs of herbicide damage. Spindly growth, cupped and curled leaves, fringed and feathery leaf edges, dead. While these symptoms are sometimes attributed to insect damage, lack of water, or disease, a few quick questions can usually help in determining the cause of the damage. A few more will help you prevent it in the future. The first question to ask is, do you treat weeds in your lawn or landscape? If the answer is yes, more often than not the damage was applicator error. Herbicides can find their way into garden beds when spray applications drift, labels are

not followed, equipment is not calibrated properly or is used for both herbicide applications and say applying liquid fertilizers. Further, chemicals like 2,4-D can volatilze in warm temperatures drifting to unintended areas. Lawn clippings treated for weeds then used as mulch or compost can also be a cause of the problem. But sometimes, the landowner reports that they don’t chemically treat weeds. This brings us to the next question, how do you amend your soil? If compost, hay, straw, manure, or grass clippings have been applied to the soil, it’s possible that a group of residual herbicides called plant growth regulators are at play. While 2,4-D is a plant growth regulator and does have some residual effect, certain herbicides containing aminopyralid, clopyralid, picloram and aminocyclopyrachlor are also residual. These herbicides can remain in the soil or plant material for a very long time, especially when consumed by animals, becoming part of the resulting manure. Compost made with sprayed material or manure from animals fed treated forage contains the chemical which can be taken up by plants resulting in abnormal growth, reduced productivity and death. Soils amended with these materials may remain contaminated for years to come as the chemical is slowly broken down by microbes. These microbes require moisture and warmth to thrive and do their work. Montana’s cold and dry climate results in very low microbial activity and thus very slow decomposition of the herbicides. If you are growing broadleaf plants there are some questions you should ask yourself prior to applying anything to your landscape including herbicides and compost. First, if you are controlling weeds ask: Is this means of weed control necessary? Followed

Agriculture Magazine, March 2016 - Page 17

by: What do I want to plant here in the future? If you hope to plant a garden or orchard in your pasture down the road, you might choose to control your knapweed using other means aside from simply applying a residual herbicide. Also, know your weed. Not all herbicides are effective on all kinds of plants, figuring out which one is best suited for the task will go a long way. If you are amending your soil, ask: Was this soil amendment treated for weeds or made from materials treated for weeds? If so, using what chemicals? Ask the seller (or giver) of the product if they know how the material was treated. If they are proud of their weed free topsoil, you might steer clear. If they don’t know who grew their horses’ hay, you might also pass. Without actually talking to the producer of the hay, straw or grass clippings there is no guarantee the amendment was not treated with a residual

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chemical. Should you choose to use such a product do a bioassay to test it for residual herbicides before applying it to your garden. A bioassay is a simple test with a fancy name. To perform one, you prepare three small pots with a bagged potting soil you know is not contaminated. You then prepare three additional pots with the unknown soil or your suspected compost/hay/stray/grass clippings mixed in a 1:3 ratio with the potting soil. Next plant three beans or peas into each pot and observe how they grow. If all goes well you will see similar germination and growth in all the plants. If seeds in the soil under scrutiny do not germinate or plants exhibit signs of herbicide damage, do not apply that soil or amendment to your landscape. If you have questions regarding herbicide application, contamination or how to properly amend your soil, please contact the Extension Office at 375-6611. Happy planting!

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Agriculture Heritage Notebook The Bitter Root Cultural Heritage Trust

interpretation and affirm cultural values.

works in partnership with families,

The Heritage Trust provides an article for

neighborhoods and communities to restore

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historic structures, bring back traditional

highlighting the Bitterroot Valley’s

events and celebrations, encourage

agricultural history and heritage.

Story and photos by WENDY BEYE

I worked hard to convince Neil Maki to let me do a story on his family barn east of Corvallis. When I first called him, he said, “It looks terrible, and I haven’t had time to paint it.” I did, however, extract a promise from him that the

next story would have to be about his barn. He is a man of his word, even though he still hasn’t had time to paint the barn. After a few wrong turns, I finally pull in near a loaded bale wagon parked near the buildings that make up the Maki place. Neil’s son,

Agriculture Magazine, March 2016 - Page 19

The weathered south side of the Maki barn.

Alan, meets me and says his dad got busy irrigating, but will be back shortly. We stroll toward the barn and I shoot a few photos in the morning light. It does indeed, need paint, but the roof is in good shape and it sits square on its foundation with no sag in the ridgeline. Alan and I continue past the barn to an old hog shed in the gully. The Makis no longer raise hogs, but the chubby animals once added to the farm’s income, as was the case

with many homesteads in the Bitterroot. Sheep graze on the hillside below the barn, and Alan says they serve mostly as organic weed control. We hear the throaty sound of an ATV, and soon Neil pulls up, boots and pant legs muddy from irrigating. Now the barn story begins in earnest, but it’s not so much about the barn as it is about the family that moved from Finland to the Bitterroot in the late 1800s.

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Wooden hay trolley pulley hanging in the barn.

Milking stool made by John Maki.

Herman Maki was the first to make it to America, leaving his wife and children behind in Finland. He sent for his wife and daughters while living in Michigan. His son, Jacob, arrived in the Bitterroot and farmed in the Charlos Heights area. His other son, John, was conscripted into the Russian army before he could leave his birth country. He apparently was not happy about serving, and went AWOL, hiding out before gaining passage on a ship for America. He made his way to the Bitterroot in 1898. John Maki didn’t become a citizen until Marcus Daly was running for office and promised immigrants that he would make sure they had the proper documentation to become citizens if they would vote for him. He kept his word, and citizen John went to work at Daly’s Hamilton sawmill until it closed down and the equipment was transferred to the Bonner millsite. In 1908 John met a pretty young Finnish woman named Amali Kangas, who followed the trail of Finns who had immigrated to the Bitterroot. She had arrived in New York in 1903 at age 17, alone, nearly penniless, and knowing no English. An older Finn befriended her, told her that he could put her to work in his hotel restaurant in Ohio. It seems he really did have her best interests at heart, and she soon found

Agriculture Magazine, March 2016 - Page 21

Handmade wooden stanchions in the Maki barn.

herself in the hotel dining room, pushing a dinner cart toward the kitchen to load it with food. When the doors swung open, there was a six-foot tall black woman standing in front of her brandishing a large butcher knife. Amali fainted, as she had never before been close to an African American, let alone one who carried a knife. She came to her senses cradled in the bosom of the woman who said, “Don’t you worry, honey, I’ll teach you how to cook and speak English!” Amali carried the secret recipe for the cook’s special crepes with her to the Bitterroot, where she married John in 1909. John purchased an 80-acre piece of ground

along the river south of Hamilton and farmed it for nearly a decade to support his family. He moved east of Corvallis by trading his first farm in 1925 to homesteader Judson Caple, a Tennessee native. Caple had a deed to his Corvallis homestead signed in 1906 by Theodore Roosevelt. John added to the acreage over the years, converted Caple’s horse barn into a 30-stanchion dairy and started milking cows by hand. The cream was sold to Hamilton Creamery. John and Amali had a son, Urho (known as Earl) and daughter, Helma. They were teenagers by the time the family moved to Corvallis. After working at various jobs related to

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equipment and maintenance including driving tourist buses in Yellowstone Park in the summer, Earl took over the ranching operations in the 1930s. He switched the ranch production from dairy cows to beef, sheep, and hogs, supplementing his income by working at the Darby sawmill. Earl fell for Helen Burke, a lively Irish girl from Butte who came to the Bitterroot to pick apples every fall. They married in 1937, and had four sons -- Jack, Neil, Ralph, and Kevin. Neil continues to carry on the Maki ranching tradition with the help of his wife Frances and two sons, Alan and Andy, while daughter, Joan Maki Bryan, lives in Hamilton.

Hanging clamshell hayfork (right) and the west door (below) of the Maki barn.

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Agriculture Magazine March 2016  

A look at agriculture in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana

Agriculture Magazine March 2016  

A look at agriculture in the Bitterroot Valley, Montana