Letter from the Editor — Spring 2017

Like Oprah “loves bread,” I love spring! While wandering through months of darkness, as the cold clutches the earth and trees raise their bare branches to a somber gray sky, I think where is global warming when it’s needed? But, at the doorstep of worn patience, spring bursts forth, much like the first movement in Beethoven’s Fifth symphony. The first four notes are like a knock on spring’s door, summoning its awakening –Da-da-da-daaaa, followed by a sort of urgency and foreboding for earth to come to life. The birds begin to sing, banishing the silence of winter. Misty-eyed cubs rouse from a long slumber while playful fawns prance among the wildflowers in the meadows. Snow-capped mountains release a winter’s bounty that swell the rivers while the pitter patter of warm rain cleanses the land allowing earth to release its shackles on the seeds below. The glisten of fresh dew, the smell of sweet fragrances and the early morning hum of a lawn mower speaks of a day full of triumphant celebration. What other season rolls out the welcome mat in such colorful, formal attire? When you think about it, summer has it pretty easy… maybe that is why it is referred to as the “lazy” days of summer.

SignatureMT rolls out its spring welcome mat with a lineup of fresh and colorful stories. We begin with a labor of love as writer Shane Klippenes takes us on an overnight adventure to a historic stock operation just south of Great Falls, where ranchers prove their mettle through minor irritations to life-threatening emergencies during lambing season. And, delving deeper into Montana’s number one industry, we explore how women are breaking the glass ceiling and making huge strides in a career field traditionally made up of men. Gardener Amy Grisak, provides some insightful tips on how to grow the best and most treasured fruit of the garden, the tomato! Great Falls author, Ryan Acra, visits with us about his new book and how his super hero concept combined with humor and sharing the gift of laughter is challenging students, in grades three through six, to think outside the box when it comes to problem solving. And, have you ever wondered how Montana ended up with such a patchwork of unique counties? Writer Michael Ober takes an in-depth look at historical maps and discovers how the peopling and populating of Montana can be told in the origins of its counties. Join us as we take a trip down “Memory Lane” with World War II Hatch Gunner, Edward Maierle, as he recalls his days of service and reason for enlisting in the U.S. Navy. These and many more stories await in this issue of SignatureMT.

Remember, as the majestic fanfare of spring unfolds and the revitalization of life perpetuates around us, take time to step outside each morning and see the glisten of dew on the fresh cut grass while embracing the possibilities and work that can be done. Then, as the dying light speaks of the day’s many accomplishments, sit a spell and allow the last hours to be enjoyed in relaxation and, of course, with the spring issue of SignatureMT in hand.

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Letter From The Editor – Winter 2017

I am not really one to make New Year’s resolutions, not because I think they’re pointless, I’m just not a fan of the hype surrounding quick fixes for happiness, weight loss, or twelve-step behavior modification miracles. This year I’m going to make an adjustment to my life metaphor. We all have a life metaphor; a lens through which we view the world. This deeply held, unconscious belief determines how we experience everything that happens within and around us and is a powerful determinant of happiness and contentment or stress, depression and anxiety. The New Year can often bring a mixed bag of emotions and memories for many of us. Some may have experienced a year of joy and healthiness and look forward to an even greater one emerging ahead. Others may have journeyed through one hardship after another. This year, I’m refocusing my metaphoric lens so that I can view the world with a greater conviction for hope.

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Letter from the Editor – Autumn 2016

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As I write this autumn letter, Central Montana is enjoying a cool spell – a respite of sorts from the dog days of summer. I love to think of autumn as the most civilized season, when the violent storms subside and the mercury relaxes to a cozy warm during the day and a welcomed chill at night. The days wane, the nights close in and the brilliance of autumn pours over the landscape in orange, red, yellow, gold and all the hues in-between. Subtle notes of caramel, apple, pumpkin and wood smoke permeate the air. Stewards of the earth celebrate the bounty of the harvest while birds begin their migration to warmer climates and animals gather food in preparation of winter. Football kicks off and seasonal treats make their debut —and there is nothing that screams fall more than breaking the seal on a fresh bag of Brach’s candy corn. Yum!

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Letter from the Editor – Summer 2016

By Hayley Leray

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I often forget how relaxing fly fishing can be. Perhaps it’s because I don’t get to do it as often as I would like. I recently spent an early morning fly fishing the Smith River (I call it my “happy place”) …just me, the wind rustling through the trees, and the music of the dancing water. The truth is I find my strength through fly fishing. I’m not being dogmatic by any means but life is so cluttered with one daunting task after another that time for reflection or meditation is often cast to the wayside. Fly fishing offers a challenge of leaving the day-to-day demands behind and allowing nature to set the pace.

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Letter from the Editor – Spring 2016

By Hayley Leray

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“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” — Mark Twain

I adore spring! It’s like Christmas in March with nature offering up an abundance of gifts that quietly awaken and unfold before our eyes. From the budding trees, the blossoming flowers, the birds serenading from the treetops to longer, brighter and warmer days. Spring is green, gentle and alive. It’s the infant stage of the seasons of transition where innocence and purity resonates throughout the landscapes. It’s a season of hope and renewal that encourages months of optimistic dormancy to awaken while gently nudging the seeds of new beginnings to burst into fruition. How can you not love spring?

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Letter from the Editor- Winter 2016

By Hayley Leray

sig winter 2016 coverThe New Year lends itself to reevaluation.  In the warmth of my office, I ponder some ambitious resolutions while staring at the neatly organized clutter invading my desk.  A sea of yellow sticky notes frame my computer monitor while to my right, two stacks of neatly aligned and prioritized papers beg for attention.  A half full or half empty (depending on how you look at it) coffee cup rests upon three identical notepads while a systemized  stack of paper scraps with hieroglyphics scribbled on them sits next to a tall but tidy pile of receipts.

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