An Index to the Website
may be found by clicking here.



Windbreak House
Now on Facebook.


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.

www.Facebook.com/​WindbreakHouse

No kitten videos, but I will post some writing-related jokes and grammar tips.



An Index of Blog Topics
may be found lower down in this left-hand column so, for example, you can search for all blogs with "Writing Suggestions."

A dated archive of blogs is also available below the index.

Click here to jump to the index, or scroll down to see what you might find in this left-hand column.



Between Urban and Wild
Read about the author of this book in the September 15th blog.


Summer Basil, Winter Pesto
Read about Linda's basil harvest and how she saves it for winter in her September 10th blog.


The End of Summer


Want to know more about this critter?

See the Gallimaufry Page for more photos and some odds and ends that don't fit anywhere else on this website.



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

* 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 www.YouTube.com 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!

# # #





Index of Blog Topics

Quick Links

Find Authors

Notes from a Western Life
Ranging Far and Wide on the High Plains and Beyond
Linda M. Hasselstrom's Blog



The Black Hills Yesterday and Today, by Paul Horsted

September 19, 2014

Tags: Book Recommendation, Photographer: Paul Horsted

. . .
I’m so glad that I finally bought this book!

Paul Horsted spent four years of intense work visiting archives, museums and photo collections to glean some of the early images of the Black Hills region, in which he includes the area “within view of the Hills, including towns like Newell, Belle Fourche, Wall and Sundance,” as well as towns that boomed and died, like Cyanide and Crook City. He even included Hermosa, which is often absent from books about the scenery of the Hills.

From the work of about 50 different photographers, he selected images that showed significant scenes in the Hills. The original photographers included Eastman, William Henry Illingworth, Rise Studio, Stanley J. Morrow, and many unknowns. And then, incredibly, he located the spots from which those photographs were taken and provided a modern view of the same scene.

That’s amazing enough, but he didn't stop with the photograph. He included the date of the original photo, if possible, credited the photographer and collection, provided GPS readings for the location (unless it was on private property or in a few other instances). Furthermore, he added field notes, which included descriptions of what he encountered while locating the photograph, or other observations he made.

The photographs are delightful; Horsted hauled his camera to the top of rugged cliffs so we don’t have to climb there in order to see the sights these early photographers observed. In some cases he placed his camera’s tripod in the precise location where a photographer had taken a photo a hundred years before.

I studied each photo and learned so much about the Hills. But my favorite part of the book is the field notes, because of Horsted’s generosity. He says things like, “It is a beautiful place to have a picnic lunch and ponder the changes that have taken place in more than 100 years of Black Hills history.”

Additionally, he notes where changes have taken place since the original image, or since his own photograph. He explains how he balanced on roofs and dangled from rusty ladders to capture a shot. When photographing from streets, he was occasionally threatened by cars, and in Newell, SD, he was nearly run down by a thrashing machine.

He adds travel suggestions like this, “When you go to Deadwood, be sure to stop at the Adams Museum behind the depot. It is a treasure trove of Deadwood history that could easily occupy a few hours.”

A handy index helps the reader quickly locate favorite photos. Many of the images in the book are available as prints.

The Black Hills Yesterday and Today was published in 2006; I never should have waited this long.


# # #

For more information:

To learn about this and other books by Paul Horsted, visit his website at www.dakotaphoto.com

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Between Urban and Wild

September 15, 2014

Tags: Writer: Andrea M. Jones, Promoting a Book

Andrea M. Jones with her book.

Andrea Jones, who came to her first Windbreak House retreat in 2007, came to her sixth retreat in September this year (2014), bringing a friend. While on retreat, Andrea, hikes and thinks and writes ferociously and this year she's working on a proposal for her second book.

Her first book, Between Urban and Wild: Reflections from Colorado (see information below), explores the crucial question of whether it's too late for residents of the West to really live with the land, rather than perching on it. And she offers hope.


At my Road Scholar presentations, I always display postcards advertising Andrea's book, along with cards about other books I recommend. The cards are scattered attractively among my books, which I also sell to participants.


I was signing one of my books last Friday when a woman from the class snatched up Andrea's postcard and said, "Do you know her?"


I was able to say, "Yes, I do. As a matter of fact, she is at my retreat house right now, working on a second book."


"Oh, good," said the woman. "I want to get her book!" And, carrying the postcard, she turned away from my stack of books.


Then she turned back around, blushing, and stammered, "I mean, not that I don't want your books, but she's from Colorado, where I'm from and . . . ."


I assured her that I was perfectly happy for Andrea to make a sale!


# # #

For more information:

Between Urban and Wild: Reflections from Colorado by Andrea M. Jones
is available from University of Iowa Press, www.uiowapress.org or 800-621-2736.

Andrea's website with information about her book and an entertaining blog BetweenUrbanAndWild.com


For information about the Road Scholar program in the Black Hills see www.roadscholar.org

Or see "Where in the World is Linda M. Hasselstrom?"


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Summer Basil, Winter Pesto

September 10, 2014

Tags: Gardening, Herbs, Recipe: Basil Pesto

The basil harvest done by hand.
I've had better success growing basil in a very large pot near the house rather than in the garden.

. . .
Near the end of August, when the gardening chores become lighter, I love harvesting basil-- though it can be harvested several times in a season.

I clip off individual leaves with my thumbnails-- giving them black tips for a month no matter now much I scrub-- and each leaf drops into my bowl. I try to pick clean, that is with no stems, no dried or yellow leaves.

Then all I have to do is wash the basil thoroughly in a big bowl and tip it into a strainer. To finish the drying I bundle the leaves in a dish towel, take it outside, and swing it around. Then I spread those leaves I’m not using for pesto in my homemade food dryer. (see website information below)

Once the leaves are crisp, I'll pack them into recycled jars for use in soups, stews and spaghetti sauces during the coming winter. Some go into decorative jars for gifts to friends who appreciate the scent.


Here’s my recipe for Basil Pesto:

INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup (firmly packed) snipped fresh basil
1/2 Cup snipped parsley May omit
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (approximately 2 oz.) – don’t skimp; use more if you like it
1/4 Cup pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds
1 to 2 cloves garlic, quartered (may use 4-6 if you love garlic)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup (or more) olive oil


FOOD PROCESSOR:
For each batch of basil pesto, put above ingredients, except olive oil, in the food processor. Turn it on and begin pouring in olive oil in a thin stream. Cover and process briefly a couple of times, then use the ON button until the paste is smooth; takes about a minute.

Possible additions: a few drops lemon juice when serving, or a few sprigs coriander.


GOOD EATING:
Serve over pasta, without any other sauce. Spread on sandwiches, or bread or crackers


STORING:
Pesto can be kept in refrigerator for weeks if covered with a layer of olive oil to keep it fresh and prevent discoloration.


FREEZING:
You can freeze pesto in muffin tins lined with paper cups; once it’s frozen, pop each “basil muffin” out of the tin, and package several in a double layer of plastic bags. Each “muffin” is enough for a single serving of pasta, and one batch of ingredients makes 6 pasta “muffins.” Or put one or two servings in small plastic bags, flatten them, and freeze. Then enjoy this summer green all winter long.


This year I'm not making pesto because I have an ample supply in the freezer left from last year. Still I can't resist nibbling some of the leaves as I pick, and will no doubt sprinkle some over the scallops and pasta I'll fix for lunch.


# # #
For more information:

Living Foods Dehydrators website: www.DryIt.com

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Death Sentences by Don Watson

June 9, 2014

Tags: Book Recommendation, Writer: Don Watson

. . .
I just discovered a book that I highly recommend to folks like me who cringe at the language of politicians, daily newspapers, radio announcers and others.

Death Sentences: How Clichés, Weasel Words, and Management-Speak Are Strangling Public Language by Don Watson. (Gotham Books: 2005.)

If I deface a war memorial or rampage through St. Paul’s with a sledgehammer I will be locked up as a criminal or lunatic. I can expect the same treatment if I release some noxious weed or insect into the natural environment. It is right that the culture and environment should be so respected. Yet every day our leaders vandalize the language, which is the foundation, the frame, and joinery of the culture, if not its greatest glory, and there is no penalty and no way to impose one. We can only be indignant. And we should resist.


Here’s another significant statement:

Wherever demagogues and bullies went, there also went obfuscation, pomposity, and doublespeak. . . . Civilized society depends on the exercise of common sense, which depends upon our saying what we mean clearly enough for everyone of reasonable intelligence to understand. The political point follows from the general one Ben Jonson made. ‘Language springs out of the most retired and inmost parts of us, and is the image of the parent of it, the mind. No glass renders a man’s form and likeness so true as his speech.’

Democracy depends upon plain language. It depends upon common understanding. We need to feel safe in the assumption that words mean what they are commonly understood to mean. Deliberate ambiguities, slides of meaning, and obscure, incomprehensible, or meaningless words poison the democratic process by leaving people less able to make informed or rational decisions. They erode trust.” (p. 120)


Don Watson, who is Australian, goes on:

That is why we should not vote for any politician who says, for instance, there are no quick fixes more than three times a year. Punish her for banality and the contempt for us that it implies.” (p. 137)


And he adds a glossary of words and phrases that should be banned from our language. The list includes (but is not limited to) the following:

Action/actioned/actioning, bottom line, closure, commit/committed/commitment, core, customer, deliver/deliverable, empower/empowered/empowerment, enhance (and all its forms), event, going forward, hopefully, impact, implement, input, in terms of, issue, outcome, point in time, prioritize, product, scenario, strategic in any form, and workshop.

Thank you, Don Watson.

# # #

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Scam Warning: No such thing as a free book

June 4, 2014

Tags: Scams, Copyright Infringement, My Book: Dirt Songs

. . .
Twyla M. Hansen, Nebraska State Poet and co-author of our poetry book DIRT SONGS: A PLAINS DUET, warned me today that she was notified about an unauthorized downloadable PDF version of the book.

When Twyla contacted our publisher, The Backwaters Press, they checked into it and this is what they learned:

"I found many websites saying that www.download-genius.com is a scam. That is the website that it directs the person to 'download' the book. I read complaints from people saying they signed up, gave their credit card for a $3.99 trial run fee and then they never could download anything and they had to cancel their credit card because it was impossible to cancel the subscription. So NO ONE sign up please!"

They also turned up this site complaining about Download Genuis:
http://bookblogs.ning.com/forum/topics/alert-copyright-theft-of-our-ebooks

So, as the old saying goes, if it is too good to be true (Free Books!) you should be very cautious. And hey, the copyright holders of books, music, and videos deserve to be paid for their time, effort and (ahem) creative genius, don't they?

# # #

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When I Discovered Mari Sandoz

May 2, 2014

Tags: Writer: Mari Sandoz, Family: Father, Inspiration for Writing

Linda with Mari Sandoz sculpture, 2004
at the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center, Chadron, Nebraska.

. . .
No doubt it was my father who introduced me to Mari Sandoz, maybe by handing me a copy of Old Jules without realizing his resemblance to the title character. I clearly recall shivering because I recognized her home place; I knew the hills and plants and coyotes and buzzards and people who were the subjects of her fiction and nonfiction because they so closely resembled the inhabitants of the western Dakota prairie ranch where I lived. At five years old, I’d gotten a library pass and begun reading books, but that was my first realization that someone like her-- someone like me-- might write them.

Studying Western history and literature in college, I asked why her work wasn't included-- and only then realized that almost no women appeared as authorities in those studies. The writing lords of the same era were always men: A. B. Guthrie, Walter Van Tilburg Clark and Stanley Vestal. I found their views narrower than Mari’s, their writing competent but less stimulating.

Older, I learned to relish Sandoz's careful research and historical accuracy, even in her fiction. More important to me was her deeply personal knowledge of the grasslands, and her demonstration that in understanding a small community, one may learn and relate important universal truths. Likewise, she prepared me for being treated as a several minorities-- as a woman, a westerner, a grasslands resident, and a rancher-- by publishers.

When I began writing about my own life on the prairie, my father ferociously objected, and even quoted Old Jules, insisting that writers and artists are the “maggots of society.” But Sandoz hadn't quit writing, so I didn't either.

Sandoz also fought for respect as an expert in information unknown to many editors, publishers, and readers. She was an authority on homesteading the Nebraska plains because she’d lived it. So I've had to defend my knowledge as a working rancher to editors who have never set foot on prairie grass, never met a cow, never hefted a firearm. In both cases, editors felt free to contradict knowledge we gained from direct and sometimes painful experience.

When I read Mari’s collected letters, I kept saying, “Yes!” in agreement with her answers to readers who disagreed with her, lectured her, and asked her for help. When my pile of mail threatens to bury me in a paper avalanche, I quote her: “I either answer letters or write books-- never both.” Yet Mari wrote hundreds of letters, offering friendship and encouragement to other writers, and perhaps gaining validation of her work, and relief from the solitude of writing. I've tried to emulate her generosity as well, helping other writers, especially those in the very minorities where Mari and I found our writing selves.

By the time I read Crazy Horse, I’d had my own strange experiences while researching the strange man of the Oglalas; and at the Custer battle site, I’d argued with authorities who at that time refused to stock her book The Battle of the Little Bighorn.

When Mari Sandoz died in 1966, I sat at a desk in a newspaper office and cried. I’d always fantasized that I might meet her, tell her directly that she was the only writer I’d found able to convey my feelings about the Great Plains and its people.

Still, though I never heard her voice, I have continued to learn from her, from her writing, her research, her letters, and most of all, her spirit.

# # #

Note: This essay was originally published in the StoryCatcher newsletter, May 2010.

For more information:

See the website for The Mari Sandoz Heritage Society at www.MariSandoz.org
The Mari Sandoz Heritage Society publishes the Story Catcher newsletter four times per year-- they are archived on their website.
Stories about people's connections to Mari Sandoz are a regular feature.

Also see the website www.SandozCenter.com

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The Diversity of the South Dakota Grasslands

February 5, 2014

Tags: Spiders, Grasslands

A male Theridion pierre spider found on the Fort Pierre National Grassland. The tiny spider was discovered by L. Brian Patrick, an arachnologist from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD. [photo courtesy L. Brian Patrick]

. . .
Recently I read that an arachnologist from one of South Dakota’s small universities, Dakota Wesleyan in Mitchell, discovered a new species of spider on the Fort Pierre National Grassland. Named for the grassland, the Theridion pierre spider is one of more than 500 species confirmed and announced in a six-month span.

Experts believe only 10 percent of spider species, and in fact all animals on earth, have been documented by humans so far, says the discoverer, Brian Patrick. He thinks he may identify as many as five new species from the spiders he has already trapped in the area.

Patrick has also found spiders in his traps whose find in South Dakota is the farthest west, east or north they've ever been documented. That's because few scientists are working on the sparsely-populated northern Great Plains, says Patrick, who is probably the only arachnologist working in the state. "It's not very sexy to work in South Dakota," he said. Big grants are usually given to study new species in places such as the rain forests of Borneo.

"I'm poor; I have to work in my backyard. Turns out my backyard is pretty fertile," he said. He added that "another common misconception about the prairie is that it's a two-dimensional environment, unlike rivers or forests where completely different creatures can live at different depths and heights." The researcher said in talking with colleagues, he's learned that, "I always have more diversity in my grasslands than they do in their forests."

I'm so delighted to see this story for several reasons. First, the local newspaper gave it prominent placement; I can't help think the management is reminding readers that they should not be so hasty to encourage "developments" that include mining and paving the prairie. Second, this is more confirmation for the fact that we haven't begun to discover what rich knowledge the prairie might still conceal.

# # #

For more information:

See the article in the Rapid City Journal.

See the article in the Capital Journal, Pierre SD.

See the article in the Sioux City Journal.

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Janet Lembke: Leaving Us Wanting More

January 7, 2014

Tags: Writer: Janet Lembke, Recipe: Cheese Bread, Recipe: 13-Bean Soup

Janet Lembke's "Soup's On!"
Published 2001 by The Lyon's Press.

When my Christmas card came back the other day, I feared the worst and found it was true: My friend Janet Lembke, the author of 20 books, a friend and chicken enthusiast, died in September. She was working on her memoir, "I Married An Arsonist"-- I was really looking forward to reading that.

Among her many books, I particularly enjoyed Because the Cat Purrs: How We Relate to Other Species and Why it Matters; Touching Earth: Reflections on the Restorative Power of Gardening; and The Quality of Life: Living Well, Dying Well.

I contributed a recipe to her collection Soup’s On: Sixty Hearty Soups You Can Stand Your Spoon In. This was one of those publishing stories: the book was published, and then because someone at the publishing house saw a competing book by a better-known author, the ENTIRE PRINTING was shredded. Janet later was able to get the book republished-- but I have one of the few copies of the original printing that she was able to get before it was destroyed. Lesson 9,999,999 in the strange world of publishing.


Besides the luscious soups, the book contains my favorite cheese bread recipe-- much better than Red Lobster’s.

Cheese Bread

2/3 Cup water
½ Cup butter, cut into pieces (not bad with Smart Balance)
2/3 Cup flour
¼ tsp salt
3 large eggs
½ Cup Swiss cheese, shredded (I use cheddar)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bring the water and butter to a rolling boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and immediately add flour and salt. Beat with a wooden spoon until blended. Return to the heat and beat vigorously until the dough balls up and leaves the sides of the pan, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the batter is glossy. Blend in the cheese thoroughly.

Dampen a shallow baking pan or cookie sheet with cold water. Drop dough in large dollops onto the pan to form a ring, with the sides of the dollops touching.

Bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and loosen immediately from the pan with a spatula. The cheese bread will stick a little.

Serves 6. Or maybe only two if you can’t stop yourself.

Janet said she got this recipe from her daughter Elizabeth.

* * *

Here is my recipe used in Janet Lembke's book:


Jerry and Linda’s Lucky 13-Bean Soup Mix

My partner, Jerry Ellerman, and I developed this recipe some years ago as a Christmas gift. For each recipient, we packaged all the beans and spices in a single quart jar, and tied a tiny bottle of Tabasco sauce in the bow.

Beans:
Black-eyed peas, green and yellow split peas, lentils, pearl barley, bulgur, and the following beans: black, anasazi, baby lima, red, navy, pinto, and garbanzo.

Spices:
1 bay leaf
1 chopped onion (or 1 Tblsp onion flakes)
1-2 garlic cloves (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp savory
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp dry basil
peel from 1/2 lemon, or 1/8 tsp lemon peel


To Make the Soup:
Use any combination of beans available. Dump beans into colander and wash. Cover with water and soak overnight. (Or see Options, below)

Pour one glass of your favorite wine or beer. Sip slowly as you follow these instructions.

Drain water and discard. Cover with 2 quarts water and simmer slowly until tender.

Add spices provided, and choose from the optional stuff listed below. The bay leaf will keep the beans free from crawlies for at least a year. Toss it in the pot too. But don't eat it. Bay is good luck as seasoning, very bad luck if eaten.

Simmer another 20-45 minutes. Serve with french bread, crackers, and a green salad. Sprinkle with Tabasco sauce to taste. Or shred cheese on top.

Options:
To skip soaking the beans overnight, simmer them slowly for two hours. Or, if it's too late, put beans in a large casserole with 3 cups cold water. Cover with lid or vented plastic wrap. Microwave on High 10 min., or until boiling. Stir. Microwave on high another two minutes, covered. Let stand covered for an hour.

Add red peppers, salt and pepper to taste, along with tabasco sauce.

For a thicker soup, mash or puree some of the beans and return to soup.

Add almost any meat, including sausage, hot dogs (bleah!), leftover meats, bacon, or ham. Add ham bones, or, to avoid having to remove them later, boil ham bones and scraps and add the water (stock) to beans as part of the 2 quarts, above.

Add a can of tomatoes, tomato paste or sauce, or leftover vegetables.

Add 1-2 Tablespoons of chili powder, cumin, oregano, or other spice.

Add a handful or two of pasta 10 minutes before serving. Dump in some of whatever you're drinking, unless it's milk.


# # #

For more information:

Janet Lembke's official website

Janet Lembke's GoodReads author book list


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Tom Laughlin: "Billy Jack" and Crazy Horse

December 19, 2013

Tags: Brush with Fame, Actor: Tom Laughlin, Crazy Horse

Tom Laughlin in his "Billy Jack" attire.
The photo is from the internet; I don't believe I have any photos of him in my personal collections.

. . .
I note with sorrow the death of Tom Laughlin, the star and producer of the "Billy Jack" movies.

While Laughlin was a student at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion (where I also attended college) he met his wife Delores Taylor. He said he wrote the original screenplay for the first "Billy Jack" film after visiting her hometown of Winner, South Dakota, and observing the prejudice against Native Americans there.

Laughlin wasn't only an actor and activist; with his wife he founded what became the largest Montessori school in the U.S., in Santa Monica, California. He left acting to devote all his attention to the school, which went bankrupt in 1965.

In another lifetime, one of my many past lives, Tom Laughlin read some of my writing, and invited me to meet with him and with his wife Delores Taylor in Minneapolis. There he hired me to write the screenplay for a movie he wanted to do about Crazy Horse, the charismatic Lakota leader who also caught the imagination of sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski.

I don't recall the exact dates and don't care to delve into my journals for the details, but I do recall that I was working on the screenplay during the Rapid City flood of 1972. After proofreading the first published issue of my arts magazine Sunday Clothes, I had left Rapid City early that afternoon in my VW van. Because the storm was so severe, I pulled over not far outside town and sat on the floor in the back of the van while the storm winds made it rock and roll, recalling that Crazy Horse, who was born along Rapid Creek, had once predicted a devastating flood there.

The next morning, I heard about the Rapid City flood, which killed hundreds-- and incidentally washed away the company that had printed the first issue of my magazine.

The Crazy Horse movie was never made, of course. And despite all the research I did on Crazy Horse, including some that I believe has not yet been duplicated, I have never turned the screenplay into a book.

But I appreciated the dreamer, Tom Laughlin, who had the thought, and the strength of his opinions and his devotion to them.

# # #

For more information:

See my website's page about Sunday Clothes Magazine


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HAHA Winter Carnival: Pumpkin Bread -- With Love

December 3, 2013

Tags: Hermosa Arts & History Association, Fundraiser, Bread-making

Linda serving at the HAHA Winter Carnival in 2012.
There is some debate over whether she is a "kitchen witch" or a "dessert elf."

. . .
In one of my many former lives, I lived and worked in Columbia, Missouri, where I was a graduate instructor in English and a grader for an English professor at the University of Missouri from 1969-1971, while working on my MA degree in English there.

I recall clearly my first sight of the woman who became my friend Kathy. Sometime during those years, I had probably trotted past the quadrangle full of war protesters on my way to the next class on my teaching schedule, freshman composition. I may have been wearing my favorite leather miniskirt, which I wish I’d kept just so I could be shocked today at what I once wore out in public.

As I took roll, I became aware that the class was almost entirely young men, their fresh and pimply faces upturned with various teenage looks of disdain or eagerness. But in the corner of the back row as far as possible from all of them sat a young woman with long black hair and an expression of loathing-- whether for the boys, for me, or for the class, I wasn't sure.

I don’t recall the details of the class that day, but as the others filed out, I asked her to stay and tell me who she was and what she was doing in my class. As I’d guessed, she was a senior, an art major who had left the dreaded freshman comp class until her last semester, hoping she could wiggle out of it. But the University had decreed she had to take it.

I couldn't absolve her. I asked her what she was reading.

"Goethe."

I had no knowledge of Goethe, but we worked out a plan whereby she would write a comprehensive paper on Goethe's writings, presenting it to me several weeks before the class was scheduled to be finished. I didn't want her to neglect the paper in the rush to graduate, but I also was protecting myself; if she failed to deliver, I'd have time to devise an alternate plan.

The next morning I rode my bicycle to work as usual, locking the frame to one of the racks outside the English building and hauling the front tire up the steps with me. I threaded my way among the glass-walled cubicles of my fellow slaves-- I mean graduate instructors-- and thumped my books down on my desk. As I tucked the tire behind my desk, I realized there was a shiny package on my chair: a loaf of bread wrapped in tin foil.

On the outside of the package was a note from Kathy, explaining that she had been in St. Louis recently, and been handed a recipe for Pumpkin Bread by a hippie who told her that receiving the recipe required her to give it away-- with love-- to anyone who asked.

The bread was delicious.

I learned that Kathy lived only a few blocks from me and we became close friends for the rest of the time I lived in Missouri. She graduated in fine style and eventually moved to Montana; we remain friends.

So now I've been baking the pumpkin bread and giving it away for at least 43 years, always with the recipe and the reminder to give it away-- with love.

This week I baked loaves of the bread to donate to the Hermosa Arts and History Association’s fundraising Winter Carnival on December 8. Inside each one, I tucked the recipe, with love.

Besides my pumpkin bread, I’m taking pumpkin cake and rhubarb dreams for dessert, and a roaster full of posole. I’m told that other volunteers will bring soups including cheese, beef barley, potato knefla, chicken noodle, cheese tomato, and gluten free chicken and rice.

You're invited to the second annual Winter Carnival, which is being held to raise funds to continue with our project to turn our building, erected in 1896, into a community gathering spot and museum. As usual, we will be serving soup and desserts created by HAHA members, and offering a huge assortment of tasty things baked by volunteers, as well as providing games and entertainment for children and photographs with Santa Claus.

# # #

Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Single

1 and 3/4 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon each:
– cinnamon
– nutmeg
1 teaspoon each:
– cloves
– ginger
– allspice
– mace
1 and 1/2 Cups brown sugar
1/2 Cup oil
2 eggs
1/3 Cup water (but see below)
1 small can, or one Cup pumpkin


Double

3 and 1/2 Cup flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon each:
– cinnamon
– nutmeg
2 teaspoon each:
– cloves
– ginger
– allspice
– mace
3 Cups brown sugar
1 Cup oil
4 eggs
2/3 Cup water (but see below)
2 cans, or 2 Cups pumpkin


Mix dry ingredients; mix liquids in separate, huge bowl. Add dry ingredients a little at a time to liquids, mixing well each time.

Grease pan(s) well. Bake 350 degrees F. for 1 hour and 15 minutes or so, until top springs back when you poke it lightly with one finger. Cool before removing from pan.

Doubled, this makes 2 large loaves and 1 small one or 4 9x3; grease well.

Substitute for brown sugar: 3 Tablespoons molasses added to 1 Cup white sugar

Can use whole wheat flour, but half white and half whole wheat works best.

WATER: If you use canned pumpkin, or frozen yellow squash you won't need the water, and no one will know it's not pumpkin. I've also used dried pumpkin and dried winter squash for this; just soak it in milk or water overnight in the refrigerator, and add the milk with the pumpkin or squash.

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For more information: See the HAHA website at www.HermosaHistory.org

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