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

e.g. Fiction, History, Magazine Articles, etc. goes here
Very brief description goes here

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 Amazing Benefits of Grassfed Meat

September 24, 2010

Tags: Beef, Cattle, Grassfed Animals, Writer: Richard Manning, Grit Magazine, Meat

. . .
I’ve just read a great article by Missoula, MT, author Richard Manning (eight books, including Rewilding the West, Against the Grain and Grasslands) in the November/December 2009 issue of Grit Magazine, pp. 36-39. The title says it all: “The Amazing Benefits of Grassfed Meat: A profitable model brings healthy beef to market.”

“For years now,” Manning begins, “I have been fascinated by the permanence and healing power of grassland. If we respect the great original wisdom of the prairies, I’m convinced we can heal the wounds inflicted on the American landscape by industrial agriculture.” Manning explains that he first considered this possibility when a friend decided to raise bison, but soon realized it worked just as well [or better? Adds Linda] with cattle. Now there is diverse collection of people across the nation raising grassfed beef and dairy.

And, says Manning, “Powerful solutions self-replicate. Like viruses, they creep from one farm to the next, eventually exploding in exponential growth. They scale up.” And grassfed beef production, he believes, is poised to scale up.

“It is not unrealistic to expect that we as a nation could convert millions of acres of grain fields (plus millions of acres of land in federal conservation programs) to permanent pastures and see no decline in beef and dairy production in the bargain."

Among the benefits of permanent grass pasture Manning notes are the following:
--- a more humane livestock system,
--- a healthier human diet
--- less deadly E. Coli
--- elimination of feedlots
--- more wildlife habitat nationwide
--- enormous savings in energy
--- virtual elimination of pesticides and chemical fertilizers on those lands
--- elimination of catastrophic flooding that periodically plagues the Mississippi Basin, and, “most intriguingly,” says Manning,
--- a dramatic reduction in greenhouse gases.

Manning discusses The American Grassfed Association, a network of almost 400 graziers, with examples of how these families operate. He supports each of the points on the list above.

“We are slowly learning,” says Manning, “that human enterprises work best when they mimic nature’s diversity.” At first, he suggests, many organic farmers believed this meant vegetarianism. But organic farmers found out “the hard way” that they could not make their operations balance out-- either biologically or economically-- without animals, just as nature provided.

# # #

For more information:
Website for Grit Magazine
For information about grassfed animals see the website for the American Grassfed Association
and the website for Eat Wild

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Fan Conditioning

August 10, 2010

Tags: Air Conditioning, Fan Conditioning, Writer: Stan Cox, Cattle, Grassfed Animals, Clothesline

. . .
I believe people should adapt to their environment, adjusting themselves to the climate in which they live, rather than trying to force nature to suit their whims. Air conditioning is one example of how we twist nature, using huge amounts of energy to create an artificial environment.

A friend recently sent me a news item about a Salina, Kansas, author, Stan Cox, who has made news by refusing to use air conditioning even when temperatures rise to 105 degrees and cattle are dying. (The cattle are dying because they are confined in feedlots; cattle left to roam on our ranch have no trouble with those temperatures, because they spend the day by alternately standing knee-deep in a stock dam or lying on top of a breezy hill chewing their cud. And see Pasture Perfect: The Far-Reaching Benefits of Choosing Meat, Eggs, and Dairy Products from Grass-Fed Animals by Jo Robinson for information on the unhealthy stuff those cattle in feedlots are eating before they appear in your local supermarket in plastic wrap.)

Stan Cox hasn’t turned his air conditioner on since 1977 He and his wife, Priti Gulati Cox, an artist, use fans to cool their rooms. They move around the house and yard in the opposite direction of the sun’s rays, staying in the basement or in shade.

Cox is the author of Losing Our Cool: Uncomfortable Truths About Our Air-Conditioned World (and Finding New Ways to Get Through the Summer). He says, "In a country that's among the world's highest greenhouse-gas emitters, air conditioning is one of the worst power-guzzlers. The energy required to air-condition American homes and retail spaces has doubled since the early 1990s. Turning buildings into refrigerators burns fossil fuels, which emits greenhouse gases, which raises global temperatures, which creates a need for -- you guessed it -- more air-conditioning."

He adds that air conditioning has helped turn suburban neighborhoods into dead zones; people’s interaction with their neighbors and with nature is almost nonexistent because no one goes outside. Meanwhile, in the American Sunbelt, for example, a husband and wife may get up in a 3,000 square foot air-conditioned house, get into two air-conditioned cars and commute to an office block that has cooled all night in preparation for the workday while their 24,000 cubic feet of living space is being cooled with nobody in the house.

One of the results, says Cox, is that between 1993 and 2005 our use of electricity [in the U.S.] for cooling residences and retail space doubled over that period and that, over that same period, more or less, we doubled our use of petroleum energy used in cooling automobiles.

Furthermore, he suggests that spending most of our time in a zone where the body doesn’t have to work hard to stay warm or cool could contribute to obesity. And there’s some evidence people eat more when they are cool. Instead of staying outside in summer, many people now stay inside, where activity is more sedentary.

After Cox was interviewed, many commentators wrote angry emails against his viewpoint, including predictions that the economy of the U.S. would collapse and thousands of people would die without air conditioning. When his ideas were mentioned in The Washington Post, he received 67-pages of angry emails, including death threats.

Cox notes that builders of new homes often ignore opportunities for passive cooling; a lot can be done with landscaping, with insulation, extending the eaves of houses, and other instances of planning ahead. Older homes sometimes are more easily cooled without air conditioning because it wasn’t available when they were built, so these homes often have more insulation. Some modern homes and office buildings have windows that don't even open whereas in older homes windows were properly placed for cross-ventilation. A modern home may not have a basement to supply cool air to the upstairs in the evening, and some older homes have attic fans or swamp coolers. Consider your own situation, research the possibilities, and see what you might do to eliminate or reduce your use of air conditioning.

Because of all this uproar, I’ve decided that by “fan conditioning” my homes, I’m not only reducing costs but being incredibly brave. Both my own home and Homestead House (where I conduct writing retreats) are fan conditioned.

Homestead House is well-shaded by trees, which helps keep inside temperatures down. My home, Windbreak House, is not. Because we are concerned about prairie fire, our nearest trees are too far away to cool the house. Yet this method works to keep both houses at comfortable temperatures during the hottest summer days. To be honest, I must admit that the thermometer has not registered triple digits since sometime in August, 2007, more than 1080 days without temperatures over 100 degrees. And while I have experienced many days of 100 degrees and above here, they are usually in July and August, and the humidity is usually low.

Fan conditioning a home begins with shutting windows and pulling shades early in the day, especially on the sunny side of the house. Trap cool air inside, and keep warm air out. Do this early! If you are an early riser, try shutting windows before the sun rises. By eight a.m. on warm summer days, the temperature in the house has already climbed 10 to 20 degrees from its overnight low. To test the truth of this statement, open a window in the sunshine and feel the hot air flowing in.

During the day, if the house gets warmer than is comfortable, use fans to move the air around inside the house. Fans cannot cool the air, only move it. Pointing a fan directly at you cools because it evaporates moisture from your skin. Drink plenty of water on hot days; dehydration also makes you feel warmer. You might drape a wet towel over a fan, or place a bowl of water in front of it, to put more cool moisture into the air.

Remember, though, that fans use electricity, and increase energy use and costs. Moreover, the heat given off by the fan motor increases the heat of the room. In a small room, with windows and doors closed, the heat is easily felt.

Try dampening a scarf and tying it around your neck and head; evaporation will cool you even without a fan nearby. Or soak your shirt in lukewarm (not cold) water, wring it thoroughly, and put it back on. Spray your head and clothing with water from a spray bottle. (This cooling method is portable, too; see my “Heat Wave on the Highway” in Land Circle.)

Since the body radiates heat from hands, feet, and face, cooling any of these will help cool your body; soak your bare feet in a tub of cool water. Natural fabrics (cotton, silk) wick water away from your skin better than nylon, polyester or other synthetics. If you’re going outside, wear lighter colors since dark colors absorb heat. And covering up with loose clothing, long sleeves and long skirts or pants, as citizens do in Middle Eastern countries, may keep you cooler because your skin is shaded; covering your skin also helps prevent skin cancer. And the spicy foods popular in warmer countries is part of a natural “air conditioning” system: eating them increases perspiration which cools the body by evaporation.

In late afternoon, when windows are in shadow, compare the inside and outside temperatures. Only when the air outside is cooler than that inside should you open the shades and windows.

Place a fan in a west-facing window in late afternoon, blowing out; this will help draw cool air inside from the east side of the house and from the basement. Close the window firmly on the fan to keep it from rattling itself out of the window, or buy fans made to fit windows. Later, you may wish reverse the flow, blowing cool air in.

One source says you can speed the house’s cooling by opening cupboard doors at night, too; cupboards store the heat. Turn off unnecessary lights and other electrical equipment; TVs, computers-- they all give off heat.

Windbreak House doesn’t have a clothesline (yet), but I frequently air blankets and pillows and dry laundry by hanging it on the deck railings. We often use the Homestead House clothesline-- refurbished since my mother used it-- to air out blankets and throws between retreats. Some neighborhoods ban these devices as “unsightly,” thus making it actually illegal to save energy and get fresh air while doing laundry.

But that’s another rant.

# # #

For more information:
Search the term "clothesline ban" or see the following websites
Earth911 website
Care2 website

For information about grassfed animals see the website for the American Grassfed Association
and the website for Eat Wild

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