moving back home to her small ranch in south-central Montana, Stephanie keeps
busy writing, touring, and heading up her own small label, Recluse Records.
Daily ranch life provides Stephanie constant inspiration. "Each season
brings distinctive chores and changes," she says. "Springtime to me
means calving and branding, rejoicing at the sight of the first crocus, and
listening for the distinctive trills of returning sandhill cranes.
Summertime brings herding cows to new grass, haying, gardening, and putting
up pickles and jellies with the neighbor ladies. With fall comes gathering,
sorting and shipping calves, extra blankets on the bed at night, blazing yellow
displays of quaking aspen, and flocks of southbound geese. Winter means feeding
hay, chopping ice, wearing three or more layers of clothes, and some serious
cribbage games at the kitchen table. One night last January while trudging
to my writing cabin, I looked up to see a green curtain of northern lights
rippling across the sky, accompanied by a choir of coyotes. Who wouldn’t be