Between Grass and Sky: Where I Live and Work

Overview

Acclaimed nature writer Linda M. Hasselstrom sees herself as a rancher who writes-a self-definition that shapes the tone and content of her writing. Now owner of the cattle ranch where she grew up in western South Dakota, she lives in daily intimate contact with the natural world. As she says, "Nature is to me both home and office. Nature is my boss, manager of the branch office-or ranch office-where I toil to convert native grass into meat. . . .If I want to keep my job as well as my home, I pay attention not ...
See more details below
Hardcover
$22.19
BN.com price
(Save 11%)$24.95 List Price
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (9) from $2.01   
  • New (2) from $9.92   
  • Used (7) from $2.01   
Sending request ...

Overview

Acclaimed nature writer Linda M. Hasselstrom sees herself as a rancher who writes-a self-definition that shapes the tone and content of her writing. Now owner of the cattle ranch where she grew up in western South Dakota, she lives in daily intimate contact with the natural world. As she says, "Nature is to me both home and office. Nature is my boss, manager of the branch office-or ranch office-where I toil to convert native grass into meat. . . .If I want to keep my job as well as my home, I pay attention not only to Nature's orders, but to her moods and whims."

The essays in this book reflect Hasselstrom's close attention to her homeplace and the depth of her sympathy with the world around her. She writes knowingly of the rancher's toil and of the intelligence and dignity of the animals she tends, especially the much-maligned cow, as well as of the wild creatures-the owls and antelope and coyotes and others—-that share the prairie grassland she calls home. Hasselstrom's voice rings with the ardent common sense of one who knows and loves the land, who appreciates the concerns of environmental activists but also knows the role that responsible ranchers can play in nurturing a healthy rural ecosystem.

This book is by no means an apologia for ranching but rather a lively picture of a specific part of the world, a world of which Hasselstrom writes with candor, love, and the clear sight of one who knows it well. The essays are rich in closely observed details of the natural world, in humor and pathos and wry commentary on the scope of human folly and the even vaster potential of humans for community and empathy. "Only people who live in the country," she writes, "could form a relationship with nature so intimate that they feel concern for one lonely duck. People who live in cities . . . only glimpse nature from high windows or speeding vehicles. Even wilderness lovers who probe deeply are only passing through. We who live on the land truly live within the land, each of our lives only one among the other inhabitants of the place." These are essays to read with wonder and delight, to relish and ponder.

Linda M. Hasselstrom combines forty-five years of experience raising cattle on the Northern Plains with thirty years as an environmental activist to create essays and poetry, and co-edit anthologies that make a significant contribution to environmental writing today. She is the author or editor of twelve books including Woven on the Wind, Feels Like Far, and Leaning into the Wind. She has received a number of honors for her work including an NEA fellowship for poetry and the South Dakota Hall of Fame's Writer of the Year award.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Essays by the South Dakota nature-writer and rancher (Feels Like Far, 1999, etc.). Hasselstrom writes with grit and determination, but also good humor, about the hard work of ranching and the bad luck that has plagued her in the last couple of decades: the deaths of her husband, her mother, and her best friend; her expulsion from her ranch home by her father, "his mind damaged by strokes he wouldn’t acknowledge," after she refused to give up writing; her subsequent exile to an apartment "in a city five hours’ drive away from the ranch that I love." Formative experiences all, though they came well in middle age; Hasselstrom has made art of them, and while they will be familiar episodes to readers of her past work, those who are new to Hasselstrom will find this collection to be a useful introduction to her lyrical take on the High Plains. Many of these previously published pieces, however, will not earn Hasselstrom friends among environmentalists, for she insists often and forcefully that ranching—the bane of peers such as Edward Abbey and Terry Tempest Williams—is in the balance a good thing, not to be equated with mining, logging, and other extractive industries that have so badly scarred the West. "Even the most cursory thought reveals the fallacy of the generalization: mining companies remove resources from the land permanently. Logging companies remove old growth forests and "replace" them with rows of immature seedlings planted by underpaid laborers on hillsides bare of other vegetation. . . . Conversely, a rancher’s livelihood depends on harvesting some of the native herbage on his land in a way that keeps it healthy and growing, renewable and constantly renewed." Hasselstrom’sdefense of ranching is well taken, but some of her pieces on this theme—such as a rather pointless one insisting that cows are part of nature, too—are too ineffectual to serve her cause well. A pleasure for her fans, then, but ammunition for bovine-berating detractors.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: From Rancher to Nature Writer 1
Learning to See the Unseen 23
Whirlaway 25
Making Hay 30
Out to Pasture 39
The Owl on the Fence 44
A Mouthful of Mice 54
The Pot of Hospitality Still Simmers 62
The Totally Integrated Crawly Kingdom 66
Coiled in the Pressure Cooker 72
The Duck in the Highway Department 84
Running with the Antelope 93
Black Powder Smoke and Buffalo 112
At the Rattlesnake Rendezvous 126
Sleeping with the Grizzly 132
The Second Half of Life 143
Cattle Ranching in South Dakota 157
The Cow Is My Totem 173
Waddling over the Dam 187
Rising from the Condos 194
Coda: Walking Burial Grounds 209
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)