Articles written by Heather Layman


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  • Ridin'

    Heather Layman|May 10, 2018

    Yesterday, as I was sitting in the alleyway of the barn watching Twist munch on his oats, listening to music, drinking a beer and taking in the first signs of spring, I thought about my Grandpa. It always hits me being in the barn, and especially this time of year, just how much I miss him after all these years. I don't know if it's the old, dust covered harness that hangs in the rafters, the pile of tack that needs to be oiled and cleaned, the smell of horses, leather, wet earth and oats, or...

  • Horse Tradin'

    Heather Layman|Apr 12, 2018

    It's springtime... no wait. Not in my neck of the woods anyway. It's January 78th, but that's another story for another day. Anywho... What I meant to say is that it's horse trading season again for the dude ranch, and given the going price of horses these days, we should've spent less money on diesel for snow plowing, starved the kids, forgone Christmas, hit the millionaire jackpot and hocked granny's fine china. All I can figure (and hope for) after reading through some of these for sale ads...

  • Woodworth School Colapses

    Heather Layman, Pathfinder|Mar 15, 2018

    WOODWORTH - The Woodworth schoolhouse located near Kozy Korner, succumbed to the heavy snowloads this winter. The schoolhouse, operational from the late 1920's through the 1950's, was an intricate part of the rural Woodworth Meadows as it transitioned from a viable logging community to more agricultural-based area. Seeley Lake resident Denny Dreyer recalls riding his horse to school here....

  • Skin in the Game

    Heather Layman, Pathfinder|Mar 15, 2018

    One of the most beautiful effects of living your passion is that it inspires others to live theirs. I believe this wholeheartedly. It's catching. It isn't about wanting what others have and duplicating that. It's about you deciding to throw some skin in the game of your life and give your own dreams a shot. We get one life on this earth. It really is up to us to live it as beautifully and bravely as we can. And we're darn fools not to. We all get a little lost. We all go a little crazy....

  • Winter Funk

    Heather Layman|Feb 15, 2018

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know when to just pull my lip over my head and swallow… Riding my horse is a wondrous salve for my salty soul. The salty soul is getting saltier with every falling snowflake. Winter is getting to me this year. I think it may have something to do with the fourth broken snow shovel, armpit deep snow and the 20-foot snow banks outside my door. I’ve seriously thought about packing up and heading south for the winter but then I rem...

  • {Her Name}

    Heather Layman|Jan 18, 2018

    Heather Meaning: In American, the meaning of the name Heather is: A flowering evergreen plant that thrives on peaty barren lands as in Scotland. Social media... {insert ginormous eye roll}; the place people feel entitled to know your business, your relationship status, your kids' birthdays, be informed of your dinner choices, criticize, laugh at you, know where you've been and with whom you've been doing it, satisfy their curiosity, speculate, compare themselves, think they know best, want to in...

  • Used Bookstore Comes to Life

    Heather Layman, Pathfinder|Dec 28, 2017

    OVANDO - Sunset and Ovando Elementary Schools collaborated again this holiday season performing the story of "The Enchanted Bookshop: A Likely Story" Dec. 21. Characters of familiar childhood books and novels came to life at night inside the used bookstore. Six of those characters longed to help Margie, the bookstore owner, save her business. When trouble appeared for Margie in the form of thieves looking for a necklace hidden in one of her books, the characters worked together to help Margie....

  • Goodbye, Old Friend

    Heather Layman|Nov 23, 2017

    For Grandpa and Teton. May they be riding down those trails together again... It's been time for a while now...to say goodbye. And I knew you knew that when I walked out in the corral the other day on that cold and frosty morning. The time had come to let go. And I could hear Grandpa saying the same. The goosebumps came, the hair stood up on my neck and the tears welled on my icy eyelashes while I slipped the halter on and walked you to the trailer... It's funny how one, single moment can cause...

  • Alive

    Heather Layman|Oct 19, 2017

    3:15 a.m. I open one eye and look at the alarm clock as it sounds, my body not wanting to leave the warmth and comfort of bed. My brain starts slowly processing the day's task at hand. Ten hours in the saddle, thirty miles to ride into the wilderness to our hunting camp and back out, the rugged, rocky trail, the mules loaded with hay. Damn. No. I can't force my body out just yet. Ten more minutes of useless sleep... 4:02 a.m. The lights are on at the barn. I hear hoof beats running in the dark a...

  • Trail Time

    Heather Layman|Aug 24, 2017

    I've logged some serious miles on my saddle this summer and I've had the pleasure of riding some fine horseflesh. With each mile looking out between those ears, I soak up the intrinsic value of time spent doing exactly what I love; riding my horse through the wilderness and the backcountry, over new trails and old. I'm always amazed at the newness of this country I've ridden through my entire life. Every turn reveals a slight change and offers up a new perspective physically, as well as...

  • Home Again

    Heather Layman|Jul 13, 2017

    My eyes popped open this morning, and as I wiped the sleep from them, I read the alarm clock’s time, 5:39 a.m. I woke with a jolt realizing I was supposed to be at the barn over a half hour ago to help get a backcountry trip packed out before the mid-July heat pounded down from the sky. I pulled on my pants while brushing my teeth and putting my hair back in a ball cap, and I rushed out the door to the barn. The sweet morning smell mixed of grass, dew and horse greeted my nose, and I heard the morning routine in full swing at the barn, the s...

  • Heads Up Boys

    Heather Layman|Jun 15, 2017

    The following story is dedicated to the men in my life: my grandpa, dad, uncle, brothers and friends that continue to answer the call the mountains ring out. The same ones that share a passion for a well-matched mule string, a fine lead horse, tidy packs, a campsite next to a stream brimming with cutthroat trout, campfire coffee and the sight of a high, wide and handsome mountain pass stretched out for miles ahead... It's late spring hedging into early summer here. It's that time of year at the...

  • Under this Big Sky

    Heather Layman|May 18, 2017

    I've often found it easy to wax poetic about the mountains of home in western Montana. I've always referred to them as the supermodel of landscapes, so easy to admire with their grandiose perfection in almost every season, the clearest of streams that flow with force and clarity revealing colorful stones that tell of it's geological history and beauty, high alpine basins that offer refuge to an abundance of wildlife and coniferous trees of every variety. The mountains of Montana always seem easy...

  • Horse Tradin' With Siri

    Heather Layman|Apr 20, 2017

    Every spring, we embark on long, arduous adventures crammed in a truck in search of replacement horses and mules for the ranch. This is a family tradition, and one we ALL do together. It's an opportunity to shake off the winter blues and pass along a little knowledge to the next generation; even if that only means knowing what kind of licorice to buy Grandpa at the one convenient store stop we get along the way. This spring was no different, as my folks ventured east of the divide to Havre,...

  • She Walked Beside the Wagon

    Heather Layman|Mar 23, 2017

    I believe five foot tall Lizzie Kate Longstreet (Hunter) Rich, my great, great grandmother, with her dark, raven hair is my guardian angel. Here's why... The stories of Grandma Lizzie have always intrigued me. She came west with her family on an oxen train in 1864 from Missouri and settled in Montana where she met her husband Frank Rich. It was always said Lizzie was a crack shot and a helluva horsewoman, breaking her last colt at age 76 while riding sidesaddle. One of the stories my grandpa C.B...

  • A Story Worth Tellin'

    Heather Layman|Feb 23, 2017

    The following post is dedicated to and written for the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame. “The idea is not to live forever. It is to create something that will.” ~Andy Worhol As I was driving home yesterday, we passed our neighbor’s teams of black percherons standing together in the corral. It was said to me, “that is something I could never get into or find the fun in.” And I thought about that, and it hit me hard how much the world has changed into a fast and so-called improved pace of life. And I slowed down and I smiled to myself thinking,...

  • Hometown

    Heather Layman|Jan 26, 2017

    Hometown. You spend the entirety of your childhood waiting for the day to leave this god-forsaken place just knowing there must be a bigger, better world out there awaiting you. And there possibly is. But what you don't realize at the time is you will come to miss what your hometown has truly manifested in your heart of hearts. It won't be a sense of success or money that you seek but the first time you come back home after a long period of being gone, your heart will see what really mattered...

  • Just Your Time

    Heather Layman|Dec 29, 2016

    I was asked recently what I wanted for Christmas this year, and I thought about that. Of course there are material items that came to mind (I am only human.) A horse trailer was at the top of the list but then a truck upgrade was, too. I'm not much for impractical items like pretty jewelry or fuzzy leggings. Leggings tell entirely too much truth for my liking! So, I decided it's not about what material item I could want or need. My needs are met but sometimes the needs of the heart fall...

  • Life, Live It!

    Heather Layman|Dec 1, 2016

    "The trouble is, you think you have time." ~Buddha These past few weeks, I've once again found myself looking at life through a lens of loss and struggle and a gamut of emotions I am unable to reign in, and not even really wanting to try. I've needed to feel the rawness of it, the deep love of my family, and not take one, single breath for granted. It isn't all sad but I am learning to highlight the good moments and savor them a little longer; letting them take the edge of the sadness that...

  • Get It Together, Women

    Heather Layman|Nov 3, 2016

    It was recently pointed out to me by a male counterpart (and I am sure a trustworthy source like Hillary's email) that after my last rant about woman logic, women are twelve percent more likely to be violent during road rage. After I talked myself out of taking a swing on the unsuspecting dude, I sorta decided to go ahead and let my calm, cool woman logic prevail...hahahaha. Even I was surprised by how quickly and fluidly the words came in my retort to his ridiculous accusation! And I felt the u...

  • That's Women's Logic

    Heather Layman|Oct 6, 2016

    Women think we have a logical reason for everything we say and do, whether subtle or blatant. We don't understand ourselves any more than the next person but we always promise an entertaining and enlightening adventure... For instance, why do we wax or tweeze our eyebrows just to draw them back on? Woman logic. Somewhere in our warped little mind, society has trained us that perfect eyebrows must look better shaped and sculpted and painted on. Who really knows why we think this looks better?...

  • Electile Dysfunction

    Heather Layman|Sep 8, 2016

    I normally shy away from discussing anything religious or political but I sincerely {and I have tried} could not help myself this go round. Thanks to social media and the Internet, it's a free for all for opinion slinging these days on a bevy of topics from race, email servers, candidates, etc... And I don't like to jump in the fight {particularly when I am not educated enough to do so} but I did anyway. This year's election has me feeling like the second coming couldn't happen faster, because...

  • A Pace I Long to Keep

    Heather Layman|Aug 11, 2016

    These past few summer months have been nothing short of crazy and chaotic between work and home life. Some of you may know that I work for an electric and telecom company here on the hi-line of Montana, but what you don't know is I am a credit representative. That means I get the pleasure of disconnecting services for non-payment and am somehow the late bill and payment negotiator. Let me just say right off, I am fairly sure this must be karma biting me square in both butt cheeks because I have...

  • It Matters

    Heather Layman|Jul 14, 2016

    These last few weeks in our country have been rough, raw, emotional and painful. In these times, I find it hard to find ground that is inspirational and peaceful; I find it difficult to spread words of love without at first having an angry, knee-jerk reaction to the news that is poured out over televisions and social media platforms. Never have I felt our country is more at a loss for direction than now. I am not so naive as to think that my words will change anything. I am not educated by socie...

  • When They Call

    Heather Layman|Jun 16, 2016

    "When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I." ~Psalm 61:2 When they call...those mountains. They call to me this time of year. They call to me always. They call me home. They say it's time to feel alive again. It's time to shut out the noise. It's time to be where you're most at peace. It's time to be grounded again, yet elevated. It's time to live simple and simply live. It's time for reflection and time to breathe deep. It's time to awake there and watch the sun ri...

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