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



New WordPress Blog!

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.

Notes from a Western Life at WindbreakHouse.WordPress.com

You can continue to read the blogs here, however a few of the very long blogs under the category of "Writing: Where I've Been" will only appear on the WordPress blog.



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 a selection of photos related to the blog posts.






Blacksmith or Wordsmith

Iron legs from yesteryear.

Smaller iron items inside.

The scrap-iron table.



Dust, Grass, and Writing

Like the native grasses, the roots of writing go deep and reach out in many directions.

Tough prairie grass roots splitting open a rock.

Green life may be found under dry debris.


Fringed Jacket Foofaraw

Turtle carved from bone.

Turtle made of silver.

Warrior Woman pin.

George's grizzly bear claw earring.

Powwow jingle cones made of tin.

Brass bell.

A tiny dream catcher.

Harley Owners' Group pin in honor of Jerry.

Wally McRae's cufflink and tooth.





South Dakota Poet Laureate? Not Right Now, Thanks.


"An older writer, conscious of his or her limited life span, may have specific projects in mind to complete. Thus, requiring that the Poet Laureate travel and teach extensively may exclude older writers regardless of their worthiness to hold the position."



Don't just click "like" about some political story you read.


Pick up the phone or write a letter and make a difference.



Ah! The Bathtub.

A brass hook on a nearby wall to hold my robe or a towel.

A removable wire basket stretches across the tub to hold my soap and sponges.



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 post Tuesday Writing Tips, Wednesday Word Posts, and various other writing-related stories, announcements, book reviews, photos and the occasional joke.



Ah, Spring!


Want to know more about this critter?

See the Gallimaufry Page for more about the bird, including 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!

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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



Making Your Own Journals

May 30, 2013

Tags: Journals, Recycle and Reuse

The handmade journal.

. . .
On a recent reading trip, I stayed a couple of nights with Deb and Tim Nolting in Bushnell, NE. Deb is a teacher, singer, poet. (See her website at www.LeadersAndLegends.com)

Recently, Deb has been making journals for her students using recycled materials. The journal covers are taken from discarded Readerís Digest condensed books, surely a source that may be almost inexhaustible. Probably the only published material that exists in greater quantities is the supply of National Geographic magazines in the nationís attics and basements.

Deb has sliced off the book covers and has hundreds, maybe thousands, stacked on shelves in her home office (and boxes and boxes more in storage, she says.) She also collects all kinds of paper: old notebook pages, notepads from advertisers, deckle-edged paper in delicate hues, everything.

When she offered to make me a journal, I leaped at the chance to see how she does it.

From her stacks I selected first the coverĖ a dark brown with an embossed horse. Then I looked over the shelves for the front matter and chose a page that said ďEx Libris.Ē

For the interior of the journal, I chose a notepad from a pharmaceutical company that had Leonardo da Vinciís Vitruvian Man at the top. She was able to slice off the advertising from the bottom, leaving me with lined pages decorated with a pen and ink sketch of the proper proportions of a naked man at the top of each one. Surely my notes in this journal will be particularly profound.

Once sheíd trimmed everything to size, she moved to the table containing the single machine which allows her to put all these elements together. She bought the binder at www.mybinding.com; several moderately-priced models exist.

First she set the machine for the size of covers she was using, so that it punched 21 holes for the spiral binding in the cover. Then she punched the interior pages and finally the front cover.

Once the covers and pages were aligned, she slipped the book into another slot in the machine. She cut a length of spiral binding with 21 holes and used the machine to apply it instantly. Still using the machine, she crimped the binding to fit the book.

Voila! A personal, handmade journal. She says she enjoys making the journals so much she could do it all the time. I hope she will eventually make them available for sale, possibly in her daughters' book shop, The Sisters Grimm.

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Urgent Help !! -- Not Needed

May 17, 2013

Tags: Computer Scam

Hello.

Hope you are keeping fine. Am sorry for not writing you before leaving to Johannesburg to help my cousin that she was diagnosed with blood and the X'Ray scan showed an "incidental finding" of tumors in her liver and appear to be Surgery Operation. The news of her illness arrived to me as emergency that she needs family support to keep her life going. I got robbed on my way, My Credit card, cash and other valuables things I have with me got stolen, And the hospital management is demanding for a deposit of 2500 euros before they can carry out the surgery operation to save his life. Please I will be happy if you can assist me with a soft loan of $2000 to make the necessary arrangement for her surgery operation cost on time. before she died here, I promise to pay you back when i return home. I did not take along my phone and it is currently switched off because of the time frame I had to be here...

Please am counting on you and kindly get back to me on time. so that I can email you the details information where the money will be sending to. as soon as possible


Regards,


* * *

This is the text of an email scam sent out under Linda's name to her personal email address book. No, Linda does not have a cousin (male or female? hard to tell) in Johannesburg who was "diagnosed with blood" and no, Linda did not get robbed on her way to South Africa.

Linda's computer is now in the shop being de-bugged and she'll soon have a new personal email address. How annoying!

(The business email, however, will remain info@windbreakhouse.com.)


On the plus side, Linda began to hear from friends--

So glad to hear that you got to go to Johannesburg! Hackers should never try to fake an email from a writer, should they?
--- Andy

I also knew the email wasn't from Linda because it was poorly written. Ha!
--- Jane Wolfe, prairiespirits.blogspot.com

Linda has lost her writing skills.
--- Kevin

Unless you have suddenly taken up English as a Second Language as a quirky hobby, I'm quite sure you didn't write the message . . .
--- Teresa Jordan, www.teresajordan.com

The writer struggled to sound as if English was her first language, but failed miserably. C and I cracked up at the irony of the scammer posing as a writer!
--- K. M. O.

If it did come from you, then you are in so much distress your brain is addled.
--- F. B. from Missouri

You also seemed to have lost your ability to write well in English. That's what happens when you travel overseas! Hah!
--- Laural, www.thewildburro.com

Ah, of course it wasn't from Linda. She would never whimper like that.
--- Faye


Linda was pleased that the reason most people recognized the email was a scam was not because she has no cousin in Johannesburg, but because of the lack of writing quality. Thanks to all the folks who reported this scam and apologies for any inconvenience. Keep your antivirus system updated and scan your system frequently!


Notice posted by Linda's assistant, Tam

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Giving Away the Saddles

May 8, 2013

Tags: Saddles, Family: Father, Horse Riding, Horse: Zarro, Thank You Letters

This is the saddle made by Charley Streeter of Buffalo Gap, South Dakota.
It was made for me when I was 12 years old. This photo was taken in the late 1980s.

. . .
Note: This blog was originally posted on January 12, 2013.
It is re-posted now with the addition of the thank-you letters at the end.


Recently I gave away my saddles: my fatherís old Duhamel saddle, the saddle made for me when I was twelve by a saddlemaker in Buffalo Gap, and Georgeís, also an antique. They went to a family in the neighborhood, with two sons and a couple of nieces who may eventually grow into one or more of the saddles. The two boys have been wanting saddles of their own but the cost simply wasnít possible. And the nieces, coincidentally, are descendants of a man who used to repair all our riding boots in his saddle shop.

When I showed the high school boy my fatherís old-fashioned saddle, his eyes opened wide and he smiled so hard he must have strained a muscle. Suddenly I could see my father on his Tennessee Walking horse Zarro. And I seemed to see him smile at this long-legged kid, as tall at 17 as my father was as an adult.

Then the younger boy took my saddle in his arms-- the weight nearly felled him-- and with a determined frown hoisted it over his shoulder to carry it outside. He put it down on the ground while his mother opened their car-- but he put it down with the sheepskin lining against the ground. Quietly, the older boy corrected him: when you put a saddle down, you tip it over, so the horn rests on the ground, to keep from breaking or straining the tree inside and to keep the sheepskin lining clean.

After they left, I cried, thinking over long memories of riding with my father and George, but I smiled too, to know those saddles will be ridden and cared for by another family for more generations than I will live.

Later I realized that giving my saddles away is an admission that I am unlikely to ride a horse again. Of course I didnít ride all the time we lived in Cheyenne but I always had my saddle oiled and ready.

I'd suffer plenty of muscle pain if I rode again but the worst part would be that Iíd be riding a horse I didnít train. Many of the times Iíve done that, Iíve regretted it: no one trained horses the way I learned to do from my gentle father. Horses are intelligent and sensitive and too many of the ones Iíve ridden that were owned by someone else had been treated so that they were untrustworthy. Iíve been kicked in the upper arm, thrown, rolled on.

No, Iím not likely to ride a horse someone else has trained and that means Iíve given up something that was of deep importance to me. The freedom of riding a horse here on the ranch has been unparalleled in my life; the sheer joy of moving in such harmony with a horseís muscles and mind is like nothing else Iíve ever experienced.

I have made this choice many times in the past few years and giving away the saddles was making it again, more permanently. Iím nearly seventy years old but Iím not in bad shape. I could buy a young horse, train it, spend time riding. Or I could buy an older, well-trained horse and enjoy rides all over the pastures I still own. But I have responsibilities to my partner, to my dogs, to my garden and most of all to my writing. The time I devoted to riding would need to be taken from something else and I choose not to shortchange those other elements of my life. Most importantly, Iíve chosen to sit in this office chair and write about the life I lived, hoping to help inspire protection of the prairies and the ranching life so that other youngsters may know the life of freedom I knew on horseback.

When the family asked if they couldnít pay something for the saddles, the teacher in me arose. In return for the gift, I asked only that the two boys write me their thanks. I reasoned that besides providing them with good practice in writing in general and in expressing gratitude in particular, the exercise would serve as an illustration that generosity is an important part of enjoying a satisfying life.

To prove my confidence was not misplaced, here are the letters I received.

From the high school student:

Linda, I want you to know how awesome it is to have a usable piece of history. Every time I use the saddle, I think about your Dad and the kind of hardworking but interesting person he must have been. Thank you for sharing your history with me!


From the grade school student:

Linda, I like character. The saddle I ride has that. Plus it has a neat story. A South Dakota author grew up having adventures in my saddle. Pretty neat.


From their mother and father:

Linda, Your husband's saddle has been used by __________ (two nieces who are neighbors). We do cherish the fact that you saw our children and extended family as keepers of your story in any form. We also love that you see them as responsible and caring enough to preserve some very fun saddles that would have stories to tell if they could talk.



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