Mountain magic and valley bliss, long summer days, and deep fluffy winter months make Columbia Falls, Montana an outdoor enthusiast’s haven. Situated at the edge of the wilderness, where the sparkling Flathead River flows from Bad Rock Canyon and meanders along the edge of the town, hometown hospitality and original small town flare are the norm in this quaint community.
This week we’re in Columbia Falls, Montana (pop. 4,710) with Alyson Dorr of The Red Barn. Alyson is a fourth generation farmer who is helping bring up the next generation of family farm kids. She and her husband Casey share their little slice of heaven through The Red Barn, their luxury loft vacation rental, their farm-grown peppermint oil, raw honey, and pastured, all-natural pork. And she’s telling us all about it on today’s podcast.
This week on the podcast we’re in Pawhuska, Oklahoma (pop. 3,589) with Callie Lee of Osage Outfitters. Callie and her husband Joey moved to Pawhuska in 2013 to open their store, and since then have helped completely transform the town’s historic downtown and bring the best quality boots and highest end of western fashion in the area.
We never know when it’s our time. None of the victims of the 9/11 attacks expected their time to come that day, but it did. All we can do is live our life the right way, with the right priorities, every day, so that when it IS our time, we’re ready. But the truth is, we really don’t know if tomorrow is coming. We carry on and make plans for tomorrow, taking for granted that tomorrow will come. But what if it doesn’t?
This week we’re in Cody, Wyoming (pop. 9.885) with Jesse Renfors of Cody Coffee Roaster. From a professional luger to a stay-at-home dad turned coffee roaster, Jesse is sharing about his journey and how he has grown his company from a side hustle to an international success. From turning an older service station into the ultimate Cody Coffee shop or opening two locations in a month, this episode is packed with value.
When you drive by a vacant building, how do you see it? Do you see it for what it is? Or do you see it for what it can be? Or maybe, if you remember its past life or know its history, do you see the building as it used to be? Each of us might see buildings through all three prisms, from time to time. As we look at individual buildings and consider our own dreams, we’re actually dreaming about the whole community, whether we realize it or not.
Our lives are short and they pass by quickly. Using life for the right reasons, to glorify the right things, requires us to have the right priorities. Andrew Luck was clear about his priorities, so when he came to a fork in the road of his life, he had no trouble making that decision, even if millions of people couldn’t and wouldn’t understand his decision. His decision inspired me to think—how often do we think about our life priorities?
This week we’re back in Harrington, Washington with Karen Allen of Hotel Lincoln, The Electric Hotel. Karen and her husband Jerry have a love for restoration and their work on this hotel, originally built in 1902, is a labor of love that is ten years in the making. It was called The Electric Hotel because the building was provisioned for electricity before the City of Harrington had electricity supplied to the town. At the time it was very innovative and a cornerstone for the development of Harrington. Now Karen and Jerry want it to be the cornerstone for redevelopment.
Living in the middle of nowhere was never a thought that crossed this city girl’s mind! I know you’ve heard this scenario a time or two — “city girl meets country boy.” I can truly say there is something that magically happens when country meets city. I call it, “Wheat and Roses.” In my early 20’s, falling in love with my farmer/rancher was all things exciting, new, and came with lots of learning curves. This new found country lifestyle was packed full of changes for me.
In 1980 I moved back to Harrington to work the family wheat farm. This allowed me to independently develop my art and design career. With the newly regenerated community enthusiasm in Harrington to awaken the past, and push to the future, a new spirit has arisen. I have spear headed the effort to repaint and electrify old and new neon and signage to enhance the downtown look. My past love for graphics has now found a new life in Harrington. I have become a passionate member of the Rural Revival.
I left my job working for the county almost four years ago to be more available to our ranch. Even though our older boys became extremely helpful, there was always more to do as we grew our herd and then of course our family. We had Cass in 2016 and my role on the ranch took a different turn. Looking for ways to create income from home while chasing a toddler, Ag Swag was born.
While Josh always dreamed of one day owning and operating a farm, there was one problem: neither he nor I had a family farm to come back to. Josh’s dad worked as a farm manager locally, and that’s where he realized his love of farming. In 2006, we heard through the small-town grapevine that a farmer named Jim in Harrington was getting ready to retire and didn’t know yet what he wanted to do with his farm. Josh decided he was just going to write Jim a letter and I remember him saying, “What’s the worst he can say? No?”
I know growing up in a small town and a farming community has helped me exponentially in life, from work ethic to common knowledge and motivation to go out and accomplish something I want to achieve. I think all kids should have to spend a summer working harvest or stretching miles of fence. It seems to give people a different level of respect for the things that you have to work for in life. I want my children in the future to know the value of hard work and a handshake...I want them to grow up in a community like this.
This week on the podcast we’re in Harrington, Washington (pop. 424) with Justin and Heather Slack of The Post & Office — a local coffee shop and co-working space. As self-described ‘accidental business owners,’ Justin and Heather are sharing about their quick move to Harrington and the adventures that have followed — from opening up new businesses to Justin’s new role as mayor. Plus, you’ll appreciate the perspective they gained from their time spent living in a big city, and the ‘why’ behind everything they’re doing: to bring the community together.
We spend a lot of time in our life being “busy.” We are busy, we tell others we’re busy, we ask them how busy they are. Americans glorify being busy as if it’s a good thing, because we see “busy” as a sign of success and prosperity. People ask how we’re doing, how work is, how the kids are. We say we are busy as if it is a badge of honor. But is it?
This week we’re in Harrison, Montana (pop. 137) with Nikki Edmundson of Canty Boots. Nikki’s sharing how a custom pair of boots she made for herself turned into an international business. You’ll love Nikki’s perseverance as a business owner - from establishing her trademark to pursuing the stores she knew were the right fit for her product. She’s also sharing about her new store that opened this summer and life as a working mom.
There’s always that one building. So many towns have them. It stands out like a sore thumb. It might be the tallest building in the community. Maybe it’s the square footage. Maybe it’s the location. It’s vacant. It has been vacant for decades. When someone comes to town, they immediately notice THAT building. Even as other buildings around town are restored, that one building still stands out. It feels like an albatross on the community’s revitalization. If a building could talk, it seems like the building is saying “good work on those other buildings, but you still haven’t restored ME.” YET.
For the past nine months I’ve made my home base in the quaint town of Adel, Iowa. The original goal was to continue to split my time between Franklin, Tennessee and Iowa. But let’s be honest. Rent is expensive, especially in the Nashville area right now. And, after two years of living in Nashville and 19 years of living in the city, I felt the pull to go back to my small town roots and live the life I was sharing with the world through Rural Revival. So in a very quick turn of events, I found a loft on a town square in a small town, above a retail shop, in a place where I already have friends, and it seemed like the right fit.
This week we’re in Chugwater, Wyoming (pop. 212) with Jill Winger of The Prairie Homestead. After growing up in the suburbs, Jill and her husband Christian knew they wanted a life in the country. So they went all in and started building what we now know as The Prairie Homestead — and pioneering the way for today’s homestead movement. Jill’s sharing all about her life as a homesteader, what she has learned as this brand and business has grown and expanded, and how, as someone who didn’t love cooking, she ended up with a cookbook. You’ll love Jill’s passion and intentionality, and how it shows in everything she’s doing.