Apple orchard life lessons

On August 25, amidst the fields of Woodson Ranch and with the mountains of the Ruby Valley as his backdrop, Ruby Habitat Foundation Executive Director Les Gilman addressed a small crowd of listeners with varied backgrounds but at least one thing in common: their respect and admiration for the Ruby Valley.

Ericka Kirkpatrick demonstrates the hat smoothing process. After sanding the felt a torch is used to get rid of any remaining fibers, creating a hat as smooth as velvet. PHOTO BY JOLENE PALMER

Tip of the hat

Growing up watching her mother Sheila make cowboy hats, Ericka Kirkpatrick certainly learned a lot about the unique trade. She’d help with all the aspects of the trade, but she was sure it wasn’t something she’d take on as her own career.

An excerpt of the Madison Ranger District recently introduced weekly trails report. Green indicates trails that are cleared, yellow indicates trails in progress of being cleared and the white trails included have notes. If you would like to receive the weekly update, email Joel Sather at joel. .COURTESY USFS

Clearing trails

Two weeks ago, the Southwest Montana Mountain Bike Association (SWMMBA) helped clear the Gazelle Creek trail because “once a trail disappears, it’s gone forever.”

Judi Ward gets things in order on the last day of her 40-year career. PHOTO BY JOLENE PALMER

A fond farewell

The year is 1981. Ronald Reagan is leading the country. Sandra Day has been appointed to serve as the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. Raiders of the Lost Ark topped the movie scene while Dynasty was all the rage on television. And in little old Harrison, Mont., Judi Ward started her career at the Harrison School District.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Turner

Finding your own last best place

If you’re like me, your days of extreme hiking, rough climbing and sleeping on rocks may now be fond memories. Or maybe not so fond. If I never again carry a backpack for days, subsisting on dehydrated food, that will be OK. Done that. The aging process has slowed down my pace and made me protective of my kneecaps.


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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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