State Symbols in West Valley

by Pat Jaquith
pat@westvalleynaturalists.org

Over the years, the State has adopted plants, animals, stones, songs, and other artifacts as symbolic of Montana. Here are several that I have collected just because I found them interesting, beautiful, awesome, and wonderful. Only recently have I discovered that these have gained such stature. Scroll down to see if the images inspire a reaction in you!

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Barns are Noble

By Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

If you came here looking for the latest Harry Potter book, you probably should go to Barnes & Noble.

But if you came here because you, like me, can’t pass a barn without thinking about the stories behind it and the practical structural aesthetics of the building, then welcome. I have a thing for barns—old, new, and falling down.

This is just an uncommented photo essay—some images taken around the valley (and slightly beyond, in a couple of cases)—and not a history. But I hope that any readers that know anything about any of these barns will leave a comment and tell us a story.

This is part one of a photo essay of West Valley barns. You may view the other parts here:
Barns, Part Two
Barns, Part Three

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The Keller Homestead

by Jeanine Beuttner, with photos from Pat Jaquith
nammy@montanasky.com, pat@westvalleynaturalists.org

Editor’s note: Pat Jaquith came across a barn wood reclamation team dismantling an old pump house on Spring Creek Road. Pat contacted Jeanine Beuttner for more information and learned that this property was established by Jeanine’s great grandparents, Charles and Rosalia Keller. Jeanine graciously offered us this fascinating historical vignette.

Editor’s note 2: Don’t miss Jeanine’s follow up comments at the end of this post.

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Flathead Valley Water Resources

by Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

Mike Koopal, Executive Director of the Whitefish Lake Institute, pointed us to some exceptional resources for learning more about the Flathead Valley watershed and the numerous lakes and streams that make up some of the most beautiful areas of the west valley area and the rest of Montana.

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Kuhns’ School, 1913

by Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

From Linda de Kort (linda@westvalleynaturalists.org): Reta Sweeney shared some photos from her mother in law’s (Merle) collection. Merle put them together for her 90th birthday celebration. Merle taught at Kuhns for one year. Her photo is included. Apparently Bowser Lake was the place to go for “outings.” The school was moved to its present location on Lost Creek in 1962. There are also some photos I took this week of the old Kuhns school as well as the original outhouse.

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The Kuhns Homestead

by Skip Via, with Jeanine Buettner
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

General Information

The Kuhns homestead consists of farmland and several original buildings erected along a small creek across Farm To Market Road from the Pig Farm state land area. It is managed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the purpose of wildlife protection. The homestead is an important winter wildlife area because old growth Douglas fir provides food as well as tree wells for browsing on Oregon grape for deer and other wildlife.  It is also at the perfect elevation–not too high and not in the creek bed, which is where the cold gathers in winter.

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