Author Archive


Bottle of the Sexes


Text by Heather Palermo & Cory Crawford • Photography by Jesse Martinez

“Summer, summer, summertime… time to sit back and unwind.” Ok, who knows these lyrics? Fresh Prince, of course. Summertime in Montana is amazing. Long, warm days, perfect nights – what a great time for some refreshing adult beverages. What are your favorites in the summer? Below are some of ours for you to try. 

 Once again, I am starting off with one word – vodka. Vodka drinks in the summer are cool and refreshing from the basic vodka and soda (or tonic) with a lemon (or lime) to boozy Arnold Palmer’s to Moscow 

Mules. While there are many drinks to choose from, one I happened to have in Helena, a while back, is a favorite. 

Back when Gulch Distillers was Triple Divide, I had their “Standard House” drink. They still serve it, only now with Triple Divide Vodka. It is super refreshing and perfect on the river or on your best friend’s deck while watching the sunset.


        • 2 oz Triple Divide Vodka (any vodka will work)

        • ¾ oz of Ginger Syrup

        • ¾ oz of Lemon Juice

        • ½ oz of Honey Syrup

        • 1 dash of Lavender Bitters

        • Put all of these in a shaker with ice and shake.

        • Pour in to a Collins glass, or a red solo cup, and top with soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge. 

Wondering about the Ginger and Honey Syrup? These are easy to make at home (which the husband did for me). Basically, you need water, sugar and the ginger/honey and bring it all to a boil. For more detailed recipes, search them up on Google. Lavender bitters are a bit harder to find but can be ordered online. 

Meanwhile, back on the farm…because that is pretty much all I do during the warmer months.  

While my lovely wife is gallivanting about the state, trying tasty new libations and enjoying the sunshine, I find myself 

getting lots of equally enjoyable time driving around in big boy toys – tractors, sprayers, trucks, combines, and the like.  But life cannot be all work, and I find myself grilling and chilling in the evenings; maximal flavor and minimal work, aka dishes.  Smoke, spices, herbs, and a fine piece of meat.  What more can a (seasonal) bachelor want?

And this is where my summertime sweetheart comes into the story.  Bursting with raspberries and fresh herbs, red pepper, minerals, and sometimes a strange, but welcome hint of bell peppers, Cabernet Franc is just the ticket for my quiet nights on the back deck.  It takes well to being chilled a little – a precious attribute for a red in ninety-degree heat.

Cab Franc can be difficult to find, but persevere and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  Look to Washington and California vineyards, the Chinon and Bourgueil appellations of France, Livorno province in Italy, and Colchagua in Chile.  Like any wine, the flavors will reflect the dirt and climate of where they are grown, so be sure to try a variety of the vintners’ offerings.

As a parting note, try this:  grab a grilling fork and use some string to tie a handful of herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley) to it.  Use this to baste a mixture of olive oil, lemon, garlic, and a little red pepper onto whatever you feel like grilling.  Turn and baste every couple of minutes.  When the food is done, chop up the tip of your basting brush and mix it with some salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Drizzle that delicious concoction over your grilled masterpiece, and serve.  With a Cab Franc, of course.

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Settera Customs

Creating One-of-a-Kind Fly Rods and Custom Furniture in Highwood, Montana

Text by Shane Klippenes • Photography by Sara Young

“When you’re first married, young and broke, you can still have nice things if you build them yourself rather than buy them.”

Jake’s passion for music, graphic design, photography, woodworking, fishing and all things outdoors distilled over time, leading to the creation of Jake’s cottage industry in the shadow of the Highwood Mountains, near Great Falls, Montana. 

Jake and Kelli Jo Settera’s fledgling business bears the stamp of the faith, hard work, skill, creativity and character that was imprinted deeply during their upbringing from multi-generational, Montana military and farming families. 

Although Jake has always been handy with tools and possesses a master’s eye for detail, he “never thought of creating things as a job until it became one.”

Jake works on the family farm out of an old shop, which he is actively restoring in exchange for use of the space. The large, drafty building keeps the bulk of the weather out, while providing the square footage he needs to work on several custom pieces at once, and leaving room for everyday farm work and expansion. 

Montana craftsman, Jake Settera, feels at home in his dual purpose shop surrounded by the tools of his trade. Whether performing the detail work of wrapping fly rod guides (as above) or turning a piece reclaimed farmhouse into a unique and useful piece of furniture, the shop is a place where he’s able to block out distractions and focus on creating functional works of art.

The Fly Rods

The “Original Settera Custom”, Jake’s first “from scratch” fly rod build, still looks great and fishes well.

Fly fishing can be as much an art as it is a science, with practitioners of the fly casting culture coveting unique gear that portrays personality while functioning without flaw. After years of fishing the myriad waters in the mountains surrounding his home town, Jake discovered fly fishing when he and his bride moved to Missoula for college. 

Shortly after wetting his first fly, Jake was introduced to veteran fly fisherman and rod builder Dane Scott, who teaches fly rod building classes when not covering water in the Missoula area. He quickly saw talent and promise in Jake, and began using him as co-instructor for multiple courses. 

Taking full advantage of the adage that “there is no better way to learn than to teach,” Jake immersed himself in the process, becoming exceptionally skilled, while creating solid rods with cool vibes along the way. 

Now, years later, customers seeking a one-of-a-kind fly rod that functions as flawlessly as it looks, look no further than Jake’s unassuming shop. 

Function follows form or does form follow function? In the custom fly rod business, the two are impossibly intertwined, a paradox that Jake embraces and weaves into the process of helping customers choose each component of their custom creation. 

From the blank that acts as the backbone of the rod, to the handle design, reel seat material, thread color and eyelet style, every component of a Settera Custom Rod is selected by the end user, and handcrafted into a quality piece that the owner will be proud to use on local waters or hang above the mantle. 

The Furniture

An artisan’s eye combine with the skill of a do-it-all carpenter to create this one of a kind, hairpin legged coffee table.  Jake travels far and wide to save and reclaim materials like this well preserved ranch house door to use on his custom projects.

While friends and family had been requesting custom furniture builds and restorations for some time, low wheat prices were also responsible for the creation of the furniture division at Settera Customs. Seeking to find balance between finances, family, friends and ministry, Jake and Kelli Jo saw the creation of their business as a way to provide custom-order furniture to a rapidly expanding clientele while minimizing the impact of wildly fluctuating grain prices.  

From traditional pieces to funky tables that combine the modern look of iron hairpin legs and genuine barn wood tops, the Setteras have been working hard to keep up with demand. Kelli Jo provides her unvarnished critique on each project, keeping creative influences tight, while Jake

Locally sourced aromatic cedar provides the platform for this beautiful, yet robust island table, sure to be a focal point of the consignee’s kitchen.

procures the reclaimed wood and metal from local farms and ranches that produce the unique designs for which they are rapidly becoming known. 

Now that the word is out, Jake finds himself working full-time on a large project for a local real estate firm, building custom cabinets, desks, shelving, storage and art from “raw metal and reclaimed wood.”

Fully functional with unparalleled form, (function follows form, right?) his latest project will be completed summer 2017, and will showcase the best of both form and function. 

Designed from its inception to be a means of expression as much as a means to an end, Settera Customs is off and running. Jake has, in fact, proven that building it yourself is the best way to go!

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Text by Angie Windheim


Conservation is underway at the original Charles Marion Russell studio, pictured here, which together with the house is listed as a National Historic Landmark. The C.M. Russell Museum is currently raising funds to complete conservation and install a new exhibit to tell the story of Charlie and his wife Nancy for generations to come.

Charlie Russell Inspires Film and Whirlwind of World Premiere Events in Great Falls

Artist. Historian. Conservationist. Charlie Russell (1864-1926) is well known as the original “cowboy artist.”  In a new film documentary from Montana PBS, Charlie’s timeless message will go beyond the canvas to the big screen at the September World Premiere of C.M. Russell and the American West in Great Falls. 

Caught in the excitement of hosting a World Premiere movie, the Great Falls community and C.M. Russell Museum are preparing to Raise the Roof for the Russells.  Two days of fun-filled events lead to the free and public Mansfield Theater screening on Saturday, September 9.  Charlie fans are invited to enjoy gallery openings and dedications, a lively auction benefiting The Russell House and Studio, and a Chuck Wagon Barbecue. Those looking to experience a touch of Hollywood can even attend a VIP Access Party to meet special guests who will share their passion and stories about the film.  

“In Great Falls, Charlie’s chosen home, we are immeasurably proud of The Russells. It is an honor to be able to launch this film and be the first to share Charlie’s treasured story and the true spirit of the American

Location Scout Jim Combs (r) helps producer Gus Chambers identify landmarks that reveal where CM Russell composed some of his paintings. Photographed by Paul Zalis

 West with the world,” said Tom Figarelle, C.M. Russell Museum executive director. “Our community is energized and dedicated to hosting a wonderful celebration, and we hope visitors and residents are as excited to be a part of it as we are.”

Montana PBS brought an impressive team of talent together to create the documentary. Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons will narrate, Bill Pullman will voice Charlie Russell’s illustrated letters and assorted writings, and Kathy Baker will voice lines from Nancy Russell’s memoirs. The film was created by Producer/Director Gus Chambers and 

Producer/Writer Paul Zalis. William Marcus and Aaron Pruitt of Montana PBS are Executive Producers.

C.M. Russell and the American West showcases the life and art of Charles Marion Russell. Viewers will follow his arrival in Montana as a youth, his apprenticeship and work as a cowboy on the open range, and his self-taught, almost explosive growth into an iconic American artist who affected generations. Charlie’s body of work was panoramic and modern and notable for its sensitivity and reverence for the land, wildlife and its Native people.

The C.M. Russell Museum will be open both days offering the opportunity to be inspired by Charlie’s art, original home and studio before being inspired by Charlie’s story at the premiere.





More details and ticket information at

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Curating Perfection

Celebrate with Vintage Charm

Text by Holly Matkin • Photography by Matt Ehnes

The allure of nature becomes part of the décor at Kayla McAnally’s event rental and design business.

Never underestimate the potential beauty of chicken wire, mismatched china dishes or a timeworn three-paned window once they become the muses of an artistic soul. For Rustique owner Kayla McAnally, recognizing the latent elegance of simple objects is more than a talent – it is the catalyst that turns special events into unforgettable memories.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to have my own business,” Kayla explains, “and I always knew I wanted to do something creative. I just wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it.”

Kayla’s timeless designs add class and romance to any special event.  “I want to stay true to our brand of vintage and rustic,” she says.

Getting the Party Started

After graduating from college, Kayla took a position which provided her with opportunities to plan and coordinate large company events. “I found that I really enjoyed putting everything together and making it work,” she recalls, “plus I actually liked the pressure!”

Rustique’s inventory features hand-selected pieces for your special day. Photo by Ariel Dawn Photography.

She honed her skills further while helping friends with décor and design of their weddings, baby showers and other special gatherings. 

“Whatever they had going on, I really wanted to do whatever I could to help make the day special,” she says. “Everyone kept telling me that I was good at it and that I needed to turn it into something bigger, but I still wasn’t sure.”

When the time came for her own wedding, Kayla had already envisioned the rustic, vintage style she wanted, but struggled to find a place in the Great Falls area where she could rent the décor she sought.  As a result, Kayla decided to track down the perfect collection, hand-selecting individual items – classic furniture, table settings, yard games and countless “special touches” –  that would later become the building blocks of  Rustique’s inventory.

“Auctions and estate sales are great,” she notes. “I found a lot of pieces in Spokane and Kalispell, or sometimes on Craigslist or online garage sales. Now that I have the business, people are starting to approach me with things they have for sale, which is nice.”

Design Your Dream Day

In November, 2016, Rustique opened for business via the launching of the company website. “First and foremost, we are an event rental business,” Kayla explains.  “But we also do event design, event décor setup and custom event décor.  If a client has an idea, I will make it happen or I will reach out and team up with other people who can help make it happen.”

What Kayla is unable to find, she creates. “Take our farm tables, for example,” she says. “I collaborated with my friend, Matt Steffens, who is a carpenter. He made them for me from the designs we put together.”  Many items in the Rustique inventory has Kayla’s personal touch – whether adding wording to windows, refinishing furniture or adding chicken wire to screens for displaying photographs.

“More than anything, I want people to know that if they attend one of our events, the scene will be nothing short of amazing,” Kayla says.

 “I consider Rustique to be a boutique,” she explains. “I don’t want mass-produced items, and I want to stay true to our brand of vintage and rustic.  We curate every piece, so if we add it, we absolutely love it. Some items – like the glassware – I’ve collected one piece at a time. There’s just something very romantic about using things that have their own history and their own story.” 

Perhaps the best illustration of Kayla’s talents can be seen on Rustique’s website,  “The photo on the homepage is my wedding,” she says, almost shyly. “I did all of the décor you see there.  Our goal is to make customers’ events above and beyond their expectations. We don’t take shortcuts, and we are invested in their projects from start to finish.  It’s all in the details,” she emphasizes. “ That’s where the “wow” comes from!” 

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An Artistic Adobe

Where Friends Are Like Family

Text by Heather Bode • Photography by Jim Wells

The arched exterior of the patio area is echoed by the window structure leading into the great room.

Love at first sight. That’s essentially what Kate and Don Bolia experienced upon an inaugural trip to Montana. They fell in love with the land, the sweeping vistas, and the big open sky. After a return trip in the winter to make sure they were equally enthralled, they took the leap and decided to build a second home.

The Bolias connected with James Klippel of James Klippel Design Studio to begin the preliminary sketching. “Kate, being an artist, saw it all in 3-D. Don put his full trust in her and I was simply the ‘pencil in her hand’ as we sketched,” says Klippel. A two year project from land purchase to completion, the  Bolia’s Sky Walker Ranch, with an unparalleled panoramic view, won the Great Falls Parade of Homes People’s Choice Award in 2016.

Upon entering the house through the handmade tessellated front door, you are greeted by the welcome bar in the foyer. Combining good old Southern hospitality and harkening back to the days when guests arrived after many days of dusty travel, this welcome bar is your first glimpse of the charm that is Sky Walker Ranch.

To add an updated feel to the rustic cabinets, Bolia chose a light colored granite from Cascade Granite & Marble. A copper farmhouse sink adds a bit of shine and melds the modern and rustic aesthetic.

Entering the kitchen, the flooring blends almost seamlessly with the cabinets. Both are constructed out of reclaimed wood from area barns. Kate Bolia says, “We had a wonderful contractor, Leski Whitmore, who helped us find a couple of barns that were over 100 years old and we were able to reuse the wood. It’s really nice for us to have that historic aspect to the house.”  That rustic feature mixes with a fresh subway tile backsplash and open shelving surrounding the gas range to provide smooth clean lines creating a modern feel. 

Texture galore: The rough look of shiplap is balanced by the soft white Pottery Barn stools and a leather couch topped with cozy throws.

Opening into the great room, the fire feature is a wood burning stove with shiplap surround. Adding the picturesque Highwood Mountains as a backdrop, this area provides a cozy, comfortable place for guests to gather in casual conversation. 

Another unique aspect of the Bolia home is the two master suites. Yes, two. Not wanting guests to feel slighted in any way, the Bolias asked Klippel to convert theoriginal master suite into the guest suite and transform two bedrooms on the opposite side of the main floor into their personal master. The result, Kate says, “Everyone hangs out in the great room and kitchen, but they still have plenty of their own 

private space.”

Kate, an artist specializing in Native American subjects, provided all the interior finishes. From the artwork gracing the walls, all her own original work, to the color palette and textures throughout, this house was built as a guest-friendly retreat. It will, eventually, also encompass an art studio complete with a Juliet balcony where Kate can gather inspiration for future projects.

Now that the main construction is complete, the Bolias welcome guests from all over. The Sky Walker Ranch can be booked for a stay through contacting the Ranches at Belt Creek or websites like and

Master Suite #1 boasts rustic shiplap and recycled floors whereas the master bath has a modern amenities such as marble countertop, white tile, and a seamless glass dual-head shower. An additional side entrance on the front exterior of Sky Walker Ranch provides guests of Master Suite #2 with a private entry if they desire and mudroom accessibility.

James Klippel concludes, “I’d call it a home for the ages, where the natural world and human art merge into an inspiring composition for all.”

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We Can Do It!

Frankie the Riveter | A Real Life “Rosie” Recalls Answering the American Call of Duty

Text by Heather Bode • Photography by Jim Wells

At ninety two years old, Frankie Powell recalls her life as “Rosie the Riveter.

Story Down Memory Lane for Signature Montana Summer 2017 from Polly Kolstad “Everything turned out well,” says Frankie Powell, referring to her life of ninety-two years. Born March 29, 1925, in  Los Angeles, but raised in North Carolina, Powell  calls California home where she attended grade school and graduated from Dorothy High School. Named after her mother, “Frankie,”  Powell is thankful for life.

She met and married Charles E. Powell, Jr., in 1943 when they both were going to riveting school. They were married in Mississippi but worked together in Leavenworth, Kansas until World War II ended. They moved back to Inglewood, California, and went to work for North American Aviation as riveters. According to Powell, riveting was a big factor in WWII.  Many women were employed as riveters. She reaches for a picture of herself, a beautiful young woman dressed and ready to go to work as a riveter.

Rosie the Riveter became the female icon.  She was depicted in pictures.  She was the likeness of so many women doing this work because men were involved in the war.

“I have flown very little on a plane,”  she says, “but, I helped build the P51 and the B25.”

“The P51 is one of the best planes they put on the market; the B25 bombed Tokyo the first time.” When WWII was over, her husband continued to work for North American Aviation which wasn’t far from LAX. Powell didn’t drive until after WWII.

“So many people at that time “pooled;”  four of us went to work together. We didn’t have transportation, gasoline, cars; everything was rationed.” They were allworking for a cause and it was to be expected they wouldn’t have the luxuries they had before  the war.  That was the way it was. “When you go through war, things change in thinking, attitude and way of life.  That’s war.  Let’s hope we don’t ever have to go through that again,” she exclaims.  “People wouldn’t know what to do.”

The aviation employment was a good wage in those days, with benefits.  They tried to keep employees. It was the first time in Powell’s life that she had worked. Then, WWII stopped, she got married and came home. After the war, Powell didn’t work but her husband continued with North American.  He was an engineer.  They moved around with his job, living in many places in California. They had four children: three sons, and one daughter.  One son, lives in Choteau, a daughter in Sweet Home, Oregon,  a son in Corvallis, Oregon, and a son in Loveland, Texas.

“Let’s hope we never have to go through a war again,” exclaims Frankie Powell.

All four children have military service connections. They represent all branches of the military family:  Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force.

The wedding picture of Frankie and Charles Powell, World War II riveters.

“I’m very proud of that,” she admits. Powell moved to Montana in 1980, settling in Big Sky, where her husband had invented something, “a solar system,” she calls it.  Eventually they moved to Ohio, then, to Bozeman, where he died.  As a widow, she came back to live in Choteau where her son is employed by the postal service. She describes raising a family as the best part of her life. “We had two children and then, nine years later, we had two more.” Powell has had relatively good health, “a few things, but normal; I’m thankful.” She has seen a lot of change in the world with computers, and television.  Her first TV she bought right after WWII.   It was a black and white,  and small. “TV has taken over a lot of people’s social lives,  she laments, “where we used to visit, people now sit and watch TV.”

Powell enjoys living at Skyline Lodge in Choteau.  They have community involvement; coffee breaks, and she gets to meet a lot of people.  She has been there for two years. “Today, my favorite thing to do is “just relax.”  As kids say today, “kick back.” “We all try to do well, there is comaraderie here; we understand each other.” Retirement suits Powell. “I’m thankful I’m at that point in my life.  When I get up in the morning, I thank the Man upstairs.  I’ve had a diversified life: ups and downs;  but you learn from the downs.” And then, she pauses. “My big thing is: I was a California Beach Girl. I enjoyed tremendously being out in the sun constantly, but now, I’m paying for it with skin cancers.”


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