Milk River Genetics

A Business Operated by Women

Many of the cows on the Milk River Genetics Ranch live to be twenty years old. That’s old for cows. Kathy Creighton-Smith, the business owner, has patience and compassion for the cows that live in her pastures. Maybe that’s why they live so long.

Creighton-Smith was fortunate to attend Colorado State University at Fort Collins, Colorado, when an embryo transfer lab was established. When she graduated, embryo transfer was so new that few had the skills that she had learned while working in the lab. She was offered several jobs, but her husband’s family had a ranch in North Central Montana, and that was where she wanted to make her life, so in 1991 she started her own cattle embryo transfer business near Chinook, Montana, and named it Milk River Genetics.

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the Doula Decision

Adding Physical and Emotional Support to the Birthing Team

Bringing a baby into the world is truly one of life’s most memorable moments. Statistics show more and more Montana mamas are searching for doulas to share their experiences.

From the ancient Greek word doulos, meaning servant, a doula is often confused with a midwife. Unlike a midwife, a doula does not deliver a baby. In fact, doulas do not replace any medical personnel. Donna Sanders, a doula in north central Montana, explains, “I am trained in breathing, relaxation techniques, and massage. It’s my job to be a tool for a mother and father whose wish is to have a natural birth (although I have been a doula for women who have undergone c-sections as well) and to give continuous physical, emotional, and informational support before, during, and just after birth.”

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A Girl, a Gun & Her Dogs

“If you can keep him alive, you can have him”. Courtney Funderburk absorbed these words as she cradled the two day old English Setter in her hands and vowed to nurse him to health. Bailey, as Courtney and her Dad named him, required round the clock care for two months, including bottle feeding every three hours and a rotating “potty schedule” that few could understand or appreciate. As a result of this deep love and incredible care, Bailey gained weight and strength, and became intimately connected to his caregiver. As he grew into a healthy, energetic pup, the quality of his breeding and love of the hunt poured out of him, and it was obvious that he wanted to work the field. Training, direction and loving discipline molded him into more than a trusted companion; Bailey became a gun dog and hunting partner for life, one that lasted 14 years, and provided countless memories in the field and home that will never be forgotten.

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The Call to Hunt

On Point with seasoned fetch masters

It happened in an instant: the mallards that had been committed to the decoys flared at my movement, but not before a migrating greenhead folded at the bark of the gun and fell onto an ice floe. Daisy, my yellow lab and hunting partner, bolted from the natural cover of cattails and plowed into the slushy water. Her zeal for the hunt and the retrieve combined with an error in judgment on my part, erupted simultaneously to embroil her in a life and death struggle that I could only watch from the safety of the shore.

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More than a Milestone, A Ruby Runner Camp 45 years in the Making

A hunting camp means many different things to many different men, but for Vern Raymond and Al Stenhjem it means nothing if not commitment. Not a commitment to each other (it’s not that kind of story), but a commitment to an idea, a connection to wilder times and wilder ways.

For the past 45 years these two men have led a rotating roster of regulars into the wilderness, setting up camps across South Central Montana, making life a little less comfortable but all the more enjoyable.

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Phantom of Grandstreet: Clara Hodgin

The strange sensitivity of presence. The prickle of aura. The unexplained specter of a protector – a hovering apparition, an unexplainable form of residual energy.

Grandstreet Theatre is one of the most haunted buildings in Montana. Many believe that one of its most enduring and patronizing poltergeists is a woman named Clara Bicknell Hodgin.

“Clara was beloved by the people of Helena,” said Kal Poole, managing director of Grandstreet Theatre. “Many think that she is part of the community once again—in the form of a ghost.”

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