An Index to the Website
may be found by clicking here

Books! Books! Books!

To learn about my books:

The Non-fiction Page -- Publication information about my many books of non-fiction stories and essays as well as the more informational texts about Bison and the Roadside History of South Dakota.

The Poetry Page -- My poetry collections are listed here, as well as a number of poetry-related stories and essays, some of which (surprise!) contain poems.

The Wind Anthologies Page -- I co-edited three collections of stories and poems by western women (with Nancy Curtis and the late Gaydell Collier); read all about them.

The Books That Include Work By or About Linda Page -- My work appears in many anthologies of essays and poetry. See a list with book covers and descriptions.

These pages, and many others, are found on the BOOKS & MORE link in the menu bar at the top of the website.

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 my poem "Planting Peas" in his column #490.

Read it here.

Listen Up!

Some of My Stories and Essays
may be found on this website.

* My Blog
I cover 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 my poems.

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

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

Watch me on YouTube

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

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

To see me read my 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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Quick Links

Find Authors

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?

April, 2015

I've been enjoying working with a handful of writers with Writing Conversations by eMail this spring. I'm also trying to find time for my own writing projects when I'm not busy getting some early gardening done or helping out at the Hermosa Arts and History Association (HAHA) museum. And the South Dakota Humanities Council is getting promotional information from me (and all the many other authors and presenters who will attend) in preparation for the South Dakota Festival of Books that will be held in Deadwood, South Dakota this fall.

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.

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

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.

New blogs posted in April:

"A Writer's Best Friend: The Faithful Editor" -- posted April 1st
A humorous comparison between interacting with editors and with dogs.
Another blog in the "Writing: Where I've Been" series of older, unpublished pieces.
Read it on my WordPress blog.

"How To Write a Poem: The Snake Within" -- posted April 3rd
April is National Poetry Month. In this blog I present various drafts of a poem, showing the changes I made as I moved towards a finished piece.
Read it on my WordPress blog.

"Blacksmith or Wordsmith: Time, Patience, Skill, Artistry" -- posted April 10th
I wrote about my collection of Rusty Things and made a connection: "Suddenly the similarity between writing and blacksmithing is obvious. Writing, too, requires planning and the ability to imagine the finished product from the crude materials."
Read it on my WordPress blog.

"Creating a Cowboy Poem: How Buzzards Turned into Priests" -- posted April 17th
For National Cowboy Poetry Week (April 19-25, 2015) I walk you through the creation of one of my few rhyming poems, "Priests of the Prairie," which I sometimes perform at cowboy poetry events.
Read it on my WordPress blog.

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

* * *

A star lily in the brown buffalo grass.

Despite the fact that 99% of the state's ground is abnormally dry, including this area of the ranch and retreat, wild iris and star lilies are blooming. The buffalograss is so dry it crunches underfoot, but the roots reach deep and it will get green.

Spring is still fresh enough that the redwinged blackbirds and meadowlarks are singing on top of every tree, chimney, fence post and bush. As we walk the dogs, check the fences, turn on the water in the garden, and talk over our day, hundreds of the birds are singing, trilling, warbling in all directions. As soon as the male meadowlarks arrived, they began choosing nesting territory, defending it with their songs so that its ready when the females arrive in several weeks.

If our ears turned toward sound like those of a dog or deer, wed be swiveling madly in all directions. I try to stop every day and just inhale the sound, storing it up for later in spring when all those birds are too busy supporting families to sing as much.

Experts say that meadowlarks face the sun when they sing, and that their songs are combat, as they mark their personal territory, which may be as much as six or seven acres of prairie. If a male meadowlark enters the territory of another, they may lock their talons and roll around on the ground, pecking at each other with their beaks until one flies off.

By the time the females arrive, the males have established territories so that the females can immediately begin building a nest. She may choose a hoof print from the cattle pastured here, or a natural depression. She shapes the nest site with her bill, and lines it with grasses. Then she pulls nearby vegetation over it, and weaves more grasses in to create a sheltering and waterproof roof. Walking in prairie with deep grass, as we have here, its good to be alert so as not to step on a nest. If you watch carefully, you may see one of the parent birds zip out from nearly under your feet.

Once the eggs are laid, the birds go silent, busy feeding their brood. When they start singing again, in mid-summer, I know the first batch of birds has hatched and flown, and the pair are about to nest again.

* * *

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.

Every day or two I hear a peculiar ZZZzzzzZzzzzz above my head and look up to see a wasp crawling on the light bulb, probably trying to get warm.

Immediately I reach for my handy-dandy swatter with the nifty handle that telescopes out so that my reach is nearly three feet. Then the wasp and I begin our dance: I try to maneuver it into a position where I can swat effectively. The wasp tries to stay close to the warm bulb. I try not to hit the wasp hard enough to break the bulb or knock him down into my upturned face.

Eventually, I tire the critter into landing where I can dispatch it with either swat, step, or squish it in a tissue.

My final thought is always to wonder where it came from. If there were wasps hatching from some hidden nest, surely Id see more than one at a time. I lean over plant stands, crawl across the floor to look under tables, peer into dark nooks in my basement office and the adjoining rooms. Usually Im startled by the two-foot tarantula I hung in the dark reaches of the ceiling joists as a joke, and give up the search, having gotten a considerable amount of exercise.

Besides wasp-hunting, another common sport out here on the ranch is bird watching and wildlife viewing.

Early in the morning on the Easter weekend we drove to a spot near our ranch house and watched the prairie grouse dance their courting rituals, booming and chuckling as they faced off, spread their wings, backed off, leaped in the air. Amazing that I'd never seen this before, and after the lunar eclipse, this was like another little miracle. And while we were there, I met a new neighbor, who said that when she came out her gate, a golden eagle remained seated on the fence, undisturbed by her passage.

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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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