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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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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For more information:

Janet Lembke's official website

Janet Lembke's GoodReads author book list

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