Spring 2014 kicks off the first season at Coulee Creek Ranch. We aim to be a diversified and sustainable family business with the goal of providing quality food to our community. Stay tuned for future developments.
Thanks for stopping by!
Bart & Heather Bilden, Co-owners
I grew up near the shores of Lake Ontario in the relatively large city of Rochester, New York. We were surrounded by rolling, green farmland and apple orchards. I was fascinated by our local living history museum – the Genesee Country Village – and by the tales in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, which I read feverishly cover-to-cover. Yet ranching and farm life were far removed from my personal reality during childhood. Perhaps it was a drive for exploration in the Ristow or Clark family genes that led my two sisters and I west in our early 20s. I was immediately hooked on the wide open spaces and relaxed atmosphere of Montana. I spent the better part of 7 years in the small mountain town of Cooke City where I worked as a seasonal wildlife researcher and occasional waitress.
In 2008, I moved to Billings to finish my Master of Education degree. I landed a job at a nature center where I taught science and outdoor skills. Within a month there, I met my future husband, Bart, who was working in town as a carpenter. Bart grew up on a cattle ranch in Lavina, which his great-grandfather Enoch Bilden established, and which his father, Dan, continues to operate. Bart had lived and worked in Billings for close to ten years, and knew he ultimately didn’t want to put his roots down in the city.
Together Bart and I dreamed of living a simpler, sustainable existence up on the prairie. After five years of scheming and saving, we moved north and started Coulee Creek Ranch with cooperation from Dan. I spend my time on the ranch taking care of the chickens & the gardens. Bart manages our herd and is constructing ranch infrastructure – everything from corrals to fences and a barn. He also creates custom furniture as the Snowy Mountain Craftsman, LLC. He specializes in mixing wood and metal to create unique, hand-crafted pieces.