An Index to the Website
may be found by clicking here

Looking for the
Home Page Essays?

Since December, 2009, I posted a new message here on the Home Page for the eight seasons of the year. As of the December, 2014 Winter Solstice Home Page Message, I have turned my writing energy in other directions, including more frequent, but shorter, blogs.

We've archived the Home Page Message essays (click here) so you can read the ones you missed and re-read the ones you enjoyed. Some of them include recipes or poems or writing suggestions. All of them have photos.

You may follow my blogging and other writings in several ways:

Subscribe to my WordPress blog "Notes from a Western Life" and have it delivered to you via email, complete with photos

"Like" my Facebook page ("Linda M. Hasselstrom's Windbreak House") and see notices of each new blog posting, along with other photos and announcements​WindbreakHouse

Or check this website's blog page periodically​blog

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Worldwide Circulation!

Ted Kooser, US Poet Laureate from 2004 to 2006, writes a weekly poetry column sent to 3 million readers worldwide via newspapers and individual email subscriptions.

In August, 2014 he shared Linda's poem "Planting Peas" in his column #490.

Read it here.

Listen to Linda:

Stories and Essays by Linda
may be found on this website.

* Linda's Blog
Linda covers a wide range of topics.

* Home Page Message archives
Many of these essays have writing advice. All have photos, some have recipes, a few have poems.

* Poetry Page essays
Read suggestions for writing and performing poetry and the stories behind some of Linda's poems.

* Critter Stories
Brief stories and photos of birds and wildlife seen on Linda's ranch may be found on this page.

* Gallimaufry Page
Stories and photos that don't fit anywhere else.

Linda on YouTube

Nancy Curtis, publisher and owner of High Plains Press, recorded a couple of videos of Linda reading her poetry and posted them on YouTube.

To see Linda read "Where the Stories Come From"
click here.

To see Linda read her poem "Make a Hand"
click here

Or go to and search for Linda Hasselstrom.

You may also want to visit the High Plains Press facebook page where you will find these two poetry videos and much more about the many great western books-- poetry and non-fiction-- published by High Plains Press.

Thanks, Nancy!

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Linda M. Hasselstrom's Windbreak House Retreats
books, writing retreats, more.

Welcome to Windbreak House.

In the center of the nation, deep in the grasslands of western South Dakota, essayist and poet Linda M. Hasselstrom grew up as an only child on a family cattle ranch homesteaded by a Swedish cobbler in 1899.

Today she invites you to benefit from a writing retreat on that same ranch. Come to the house where she discovered the Great Plains outside her windows, where she began to write the poetry and non-fiction books that have established her as one of the strongest voices on behalf of the prairie.

Linda holds a BA in English and Journalism, an MA in American Literature, and has been a teacher of writing for more than 45 years. She has hosted writing retreats at her ranch since 1996.

Not a writer but a reader? Enjoy Linda's vivid descriptions of her life and work on the ranch, as a writer, and as an advocate for the preservation of the prairies and the people and wildlife who inhabit them.

What's Happening at Windbreak House?

March, 2015

At the Journey Museum on March 8th, 2015.
Photos taken by various women photographers were projected on the screen behind me, adding a nice visual element to the presentation.

On Sunday, March 8, I was at the Journey Museum and Learning Center in Rapid City, SD, to give a presentation called Women Writing the West: This Soil, My Body.

I read true stories and poems written by contributors to the three western women's anthologies that I co-edited (with Nancy Curtis and the late Gaydell Collier) between 1997-2004. March is National Women's History Month and this year's theme is "Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives," so reading the words of some of the wonderful women who wrote these books was very appropriate.

I've been busy with Writing Conversations by eMail this month, and I also hosted a gentleman from the UK at the retreat house. He was visiting the USA "to write about winter in South Dakota, trying to describe both historical and contemporary experiences, including my own." Though some of his travel plans had to be changed due to winter weather, the week he visited Windbreak House was downright balmy for this time of year. A shame we couldn't show him a good, wet spring blizzard. He's been living in eastern South Dakota for most of his stay, so he's experienced plenty of cold!

Fraser Harrison gave us permission to use his name and said he'd enjoy having anyone interested stop by his website. He also says, "I would be glad to hear from anyone who has interesting memories of winters in Yankton or the state." Contact him through his website:

If you would like to spend some time writing at Windbreak House see the Retreats Page for the list of available retreat dates in 2015 and all the details you need to know about applying for a writing retreat (working with me) or a solitary retreat.

If you can't take a retreat holiday because your time or your budget is tight, we can still have some writing fun together online. See the Online Writing Help Page for complete details on how to sign up for a Writing Conversation by eMail.

Though I've discontinued my Home Page Messages, I've set up a new WordPress blog (with the help of my web-wrangler) because it gives me more options than the blog on this website, including the ability to post more photos, the ability to link with social media across the web, and a subscription service that sends a dandy version of the blog directly to your email inbox. Try it out.

My WordPress blog "Notes from a Western Life."
Come on over and sign up for a subscription.

New blogs posted in March:

"Writing: Where I've Been" -- posted March 5th
An introduction to my new series of blogs that will publish some of my older unpublished or published-but-uncollected work.
Read it on my WordPress blog.

"Moon Meadows Road" -- posted March 6th
The first in the series of "Writing: Where I've Been."
A true story told to me that I fictionalized. Readers and I had some good discussion in the comments section about fiction, nonfiction and "creative nonfiction."
Read it on my WordPress blog.

"The Cloak of Visibility -- Foofaraw, Jangles and Clanks" -- posted March 13th
A description of my western jacket with foofaraw (decorations) tied in the fringe. Read about why I began decorating the jacket and what I've added over the years. As a special bonus there is a YouTube video of me in the jacket so you can hear the jingle jangle-- a complement to the blog, with different material.
Read it on my WordPress blog.
See the YouTube video here or search YouTube for "Windbreak House" or "Linda M. Hasselstrom."

"Dust, Grass, and Writing" -- posted March 20th
Looking at the dusty prairie on the Spring Equinox, I realize there is green in under the brown debris. "Like the native grasses, the roots of writing go deep and reach out in many directions."
Read it on my WordPress blog.

You can also find most of these blogs on the Blog Page of this website by clicking here.

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Toby the Westie nice and clean after his encounter with the resident skunk, is absolutely sure there is a mouse under this railroad tie. His wiggling efforts never fail to make me laugh.

It has been unseasonably warm and dry, which makes heating the house, travel, and walking the dogs a pleasure but does not bode well for the grasslands unless we get a good spring blizzard or some steady rains in May. Wildfires are now a real possibility and fire restrictions are in place.

Meadowlarks and red-winged blackbirds arrived a week or so earlier than usual because of the warm weather. The stock pond below our house has hosted some Canada geese and seagulls on their way north, and now killdeer are swooping and calling in preparation for nesting. A pair of ducks have taken up residence at the pond; it won't be long before they have another group of young swimming in a cluster with them.

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As the weather warms up and the days lengthen, the animals and humans on the ranch are out and around more than during the cold, snowy parts of winter.

Last year's rains and the mild winter have left us with a bumper crop of little critters-- voles, gophers, and meadow mice. It's good hunting for the native predators whether four-footed or winged.

I walk the dogs daily, but soon I'll be getting more exercise as I work in the gardens.

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Connect with Windbreak House on Facebook and with my WordPress Blog.

If you "Like" me on this Facebook page you'll get notifications of my newly-posted blogs as well as announcements about my books, writing retreats, and other events to do with Windbreak House.​WindbreakHouse

No kitten videos, but I post Stories from the Writing Retreat and various other writing-related photos, announcements, book reviews, and the occasional joke.


You can sign up to follow my WordPress Blog "Notes from a Western Life" here:

Once you've subscribed you will receive the blog in your email, complete with photos. The WordPress blog has the exact same content as the blog on this website, but WordPress allows me to post more photos throughout each entry.

And as a bonus, WordPress does not require you to decipher some squiggly words in order to post a comment.

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