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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

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.​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.

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

Wild Onions on the Roof

June 5, 2010

Tags: Great Plains Garden, Friend: Cindy Reed, Wild Onions, Death Camas, Teaching, Family: George, Rendezvous

. . .
The Great Plains Native Plant Society hosts the Claude Barr Memorial Great Plains Garden on part of my ranch. The visitor center, currently under construction, is a reconstructed log cabin moved from its original site some miles east of here. The roof is "gumbo"-- a thick clay natural to this area, that sets up almost like concrete.

In her early-June, 2010, report to members, Cindy Reed, president of the GPNPS wrote: "I could see that some struggling weeds had sprouted on our roof, so I went up the ladder and began pulling them. There are many wild onions . . . delivered in the gumbo last fall. I left the onions, but removed the beggar ticks and such, in the fear that in the usual manner of such annuals, they would respond to their dry lives on the roof by producing as many seeds as they could even if they themselves are only the smallest of plants. Depauperate is the word. The onions don't appear depauperate, or at least not yet-- they don't have much for a root system, so it will be interesting to see if they survive."

I particularly like the fact that the wild onions are sprouting on the roof. I used to earn the ire of the buckskinning mothers at Rendezvous because when their kids followed me around camp, I'd teach them how to tell death camas from wild onions by eating some-- and send them home stinking.

The teaching evolved by accident. When I took the solitary walks I enjoyed, carrying my journal and camera, I would often be followed by children who wanted to know WHY I was looking at the plants, WHY I was writing, WHY that plant looked like that, WHY the bear had scratched that tree. And they'd been warned by their parents not to eat death camas, but they weren't sure why, or what it looked like. So I showed them that death camas and wild onions do look a lot alike. Just looking might not be enough to distinguish them, but a wild onion crushed in your fingers smells and tastes like super-powered onions. Death camas just smells like a crushed green plant.

Once they knew, they'd delightedly pick wild onions to take home to their mothers for stew, and eat a few on the way. Some of the mothers were horrified; even brushing their teeth didn't get rid of the smell-- it oozed out their pores for days. And of course the kids were thrilled to know something the old mountain men knew.

In commemoration of that lesson, one of those kids later planted a wild onion from the Big Horn Mountains on George's grave.

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For more information:

The Rendezvous Page on this website

The Great Plains Garden Page on this website

Great Plains Native Plant Society website

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