Way of Life

Working With the Earth

In the summer and early fall, my fiance, Eduardo Garcia and I wake early at our home in Bozeman, Montana. Between running our own businesses, we manage our ½ acre food forest, a permaculture garden that feeds us for eight months of the year. During the warm seasons, work days don’t stop at 5pm and weekends don’t exist, but it’s all worth it to know we are living more sustainably.

Becca using a draw knife on a log
Working with the earth is a chemistry equation of timing, weather and soil science. I’ve botched that equation many times. That’s part of the learning curve of working with living things. My hope is that each year, I can better read the natural signs and become a stronger farmer.

field at sunset
Weather and changing seasons are a cha...
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Marisa on a tractor

An average summer day at Ploughgate Creamery goes something like this: You’re up at quarter to six to start the churn. An hour later you’ve got golden butter and buttermilk (the latter you feed to the pigs). Next, you divide the butter into three thirty pound batches. The slow churn is what takes some time, and the butter falls in on itself to expel the moisture. Lastly, you hand slap the butter to remove every last bit of moisture, mix with salt, make butter balls, weigh and wrap each individually by hand. That’s 220 lbs of butter a day. 440 pieces. The whole process takes between ten and fourteen hours.

Another day of butter on the books. But wait, don’t forget the outside chores: caring fo...Read More

Garrett sitting on the fence ready to ride a bull
Rodeo culture is often synonymous with small-town America: Everyone knows everyone, a strong work ethic is the norm, and more often than not, children pursue the same profession as their parents. The more time spent around the bucking chutes, the more apparent it becomes that bull riding is as vital to a family’s lineage as their last name. For better or worse, it’s who they are.

At first glance, the life of a professional bull rider seemingly comes down to the eight seconds they spend [hopefully] atop two thousand pounds of muscle and rage; however, it’s more complex than that. For the cowboys who are serious about making a name for themselves, it’s their commitment to the grinding lifestyle...

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Family At Sea

Morgan Lohrey has been sailing for as long as she can remember. Suppose it to say that a sailing life has not been an unlikely outcome given that her father is a boat captain himself. Together, they have restored the Dirigo II and now can be found at sea, amidst the winds both fair and foul. Read on below as Morgan shares a look at her life aboard a sailboat.

The cold, clear emerald water parts in foaming crests and valleys, silently sliced by the ship’s bow, as it rises to meet the next wave. Back on deck, the captain grasps the helm and adjusts his gaze on the horizon. Salt and sea mist have collected in his beard over the last four hours of his watch. He pulls his wool hat further down on ...Read More

Washed Ashore in Port Townsend

Olivier Huin has spent his life amongst salt air and sawdust. A seafarer and wooden boat builder, he has travelled around the world by sailboat, often built by his own hand. Now an instructor at the Northwest School of  Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Townsend, WA, he is passing along his passion, teaching the students the art and love for crafting the soul of a boat.

In December 2014, Olivier Huin walked into Sunrise Coffee Company in Port Townsend, Washington, with his wife and daughter, wearing his distinctive white beard, to perform a ritual he’s conducted on four continents. Bill Curtsinger, co-owner of the coffee shop in this seaport community two hours north of Seattle by ferry and car, no...Read More

Soul of a Boat

Over the past four decades, Port Townsend, WA has become an important hub for the building and maintenance of wooden boats on the West Coast. It is there that the history and skills of wooden boatbuilding are still taught, shaping the souls of those that go to sea.

Video by Brother for Filson.

Early in the long days of summer here in Bristol Bay, I constantly feel as if I am holding my breath. Our family’s 32-foot drift boat has sat on blocks all winter, and the anxiety for the moment when my husband will turn the engine over for the first time each spring is incomparable. Commercial vessels here log a full year’s worth of hours in 4-6 short weeks only to sit dormant for months in the freezing cracks and thaws of winter.

Invariably in early summer, at least one cussing injury will occur, some type of frustration will spring up, grease will permeate every load of laundry we run, and in every conversation will be the silent, lingering question, “When will the boat be ready?” The batt...

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Red Gold: The Livelihood of Bristol Bay

The Bristol Bay salmon run attracts people from all over the globe, who work around the clock from late May until the end of July. They harvest sockeye salmon, known as "Red Gold" for the fish's deep unique color, it's sought-after flavor, and it's lucrative value to the men and women who work feverishly in the fishery.

Video by Brother for Filson

How To Get on a Fishing Boat

Some are born into it, some stumble upon it, and some, like me, seek it out.

The lure of Alaska's "Red Gold," the Sockeye salmon run of Bristol Bay, hit me when I was twenty. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I often heard how rewarding a summer spent fishing in Alaska can be, so I decided to give it a go. Now at twenty-eight, with five fishing seasons under my belt, I have learned that commercial fishing is a lot of hard work with very little sleep, oftentimes rewarding, and incredibly addicting. If you are willing to endure the physical and mental stress of a season for that gamble, here are some tips on how to start fishing.

First, choose your fishery.  You'll need to learn the duration ...Read More

In the Company of Wolves

Look across the valley and you’ll see old fence posts that mark the corners of properties, they collect the bleached skulls of field mice left by hawks who see fence posts not as boundary markers but as windows into a world free from want. You see, mice fuel hawks so that the observant rancher might know when the seasons come and go. Fall is when red-tailed hawks pass by and winter is when rough-legged hawks adorn their perches as if they were cut from the same stump. While fence posts demarcate the beginning and end of a pasture, the arrival and departure of certain wildlife marks the passing of time in Montana’s Tom Miner Basin.

Wolves live here too. Their history on this landscape is a com...

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