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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Quick Links

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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?

February, 2015

In early February I returned from the Western Folklife Center's Cowboy Poetry Gathering-- my 11th visit there-- and am working on my own writing before the Writing Retreat season is upon us.

See the Retreats Page for the list of available retreat dates in 2015.

If you can't take a retreat holiday because your time or 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.

New blogs posted in February:

"Sunrise" -- posted February 6th
Read it on my WordPress blog.

"Cowboy Poetry Gathering" -- posted February 10th
Read it on my WordPress blog.

"Valentine's Day" -- posted February 13th
Read it on my WordPress blog.

"Thinking Is Writing: The Bathtub" -- posted February 20th
Read it on my WordPress blog.

"Clicking 'Like'"" -- posted February 24th
Read it on my WordPress blog.

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

* * *

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.

The stock pond below our house is completely thawed, and opportunistic Canada geese have been going north the past few days, though they may turn around if an Alberta Clipper sends cold wind this way. It won't be long before our resident ducks return to raise another group of young on the pond.

* * *

Cosmo hunting under the junipers on a snowy day.

Ranch sporting events keep humans and animals alike in peak condition and break any monotony that may set in as we do the same work over and over. For example, my neighbors used to let their dog ride in the pickup to the far corner of the pasture, and then let him out-- and race him home!

Every day Jerry and I go out at noon with the dogs and circle the four spreading juniper bushes north of the house. The bushes are like hobbit houses, with arching entrances over dusty trails the rabbits make dashing in and out. Cosmo usually dives into the bush while Toby stays outside. And every day, a rabbit zings out from under a bush; we never know in advance which one it will be.

If the dogs happen to see the rabbit, one or both of them chases, and sometimes the rabbit keeps hopping until he reaches the Botanic Garden Headquarters a quarter-mile away. We crawl through the barb-wire fence and trot along behind the dogs, and wait while they sniff around the pile of logs waiting to become fence posts. Then we all stroll home.

Toby jumped a rabbit in the Writing Retreat yard the other day and went yipping after it-- followed by another rabbit, apparently confused about how these things work. Cosmo swung in behind the second rabbit and they all disappeared into the corral in a flurry of dust. Needless to say, when the dogs came panting back, they weren't carrying rabbits in their jaws.

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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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