Liz Marchi: Summer on the Ranch


I have missed writing.  The warmth of long days, after the everlasting winter of 2017-18 in Montana, has made computer time far less appealing. Writing, like everything, gets easier the more we do it.  So as Mark Twain, one of my favorites said, “Getting started is the hardest part.”  I am back.

We are home this summer.  Jon, at 72, has truly returned to his first love, cows.  We bottle fed babies this spring that are now thriving.  We didn’t do our traditional Spring Production Sale with lunch but did our silent auction online and over the phone.  My husband is smarter than me in a lot of ways.  I like grand starts and stops; he is much more about making slow changes.

I would love to have a firm life plan for 5, 10, 15 years but no chance with Jon.  There is a silver lining in that for me.  I have learned to live in the moment, worry less about tomorrow and take the time, as they say to, “smell the roses.”  Speaking of roses, mine are spectacular this year.  It’s getting a little hot, but this spring was a daily joy of flowers.

We  made tempo changes this summer.  Many of our summer friends at the lake are retired, they play.  We are working.  The ranch is a lot of work in the summer with haying, fencing and irrigating.  I have to admit, I love my yard and garden.  The first vine ripe tomato, for me, is better than Christmas.  This year I have wonderful strawberries.  As a child, I spent time every summer with my grandparents in North Alabama.  My grandfather had the most wonderful garden.  Eating warm, sweet, ripe strawberries with just a little sandy dirt on them takes me right back there.  I am grateful for those memories.

We have enjoyed having house guests this summer because they remind us how fortunate we are to be living in this beautiful place on a working ranch.  I have learned not to see it as a burden but as a marvelous blessing to enjoy.  There is still a lot to “fix”, but we are making progress.  After 20 years, we actually had some driveway work done this year.  If you have ever been down a 2-mile, rutted dirt driveway, you know how rough it can be.  Now, every time I drive on it, I am happy.

How grateful I am for my rancher partner.  We have made a commitment to healthy eating and are both near or at our high school weights.  It took almost a year but is so worth it.  We watch far less news and have decided that we are going to get more engaged in local issues.  We are taking the time to really question how we allocate our time and resources and are letting go of things that no longer bring us joy.  We have three beautiful grandsons.  It’s important that we share with them this unique life we have carved out over the river in Western Montana.

I am starting a new job in the fall, excited for an encore career with kids,  It is the right thing at the right time.  We have a daughter getting married in late September.  Life is good.  Summer in Montana…like nothing else.


Liz Marchi



Liz-MarchiLiz Marchi lives on a ranch in Polson, Montana  with her husband Jon. She is the Fund Coordinator for the Frontier Angel Fund and spends a lot of time thinking and learning about entrepreneurs, the economy and Montana’s unique place in the world. She has three daughters and a stepson and daughter and a grandchild.  She graduated from Hollins College and is entering the final quarter of life…unless we go into overtime.