Gathering Memories


Yesterday, after months of combing through the archives, I’ve finally compiled and submitted a collection of what I think tells the story of my relationship to memories, family and place for the book I’ve been working on. I’ve been back at the ranch for almost six years and have been writing about it since day one.

The process of combing through the stories, musings, recipes, poems and photos captured during these years was different than I expected. I felt a little like this deer outside my window, trudging through the pileup trying to reach the open road. Reading through pieces written during the months we first moved back to the ranch and into gramma’s little brown house, I was reminded of just how much this place inspired me and how it gave me the opportunity to see it again with new and grown up eyes. Coming home restarted my music and my writing. It coaxed me to pick up a camera. It made me creative again.

Reading back through the archives reminded me of this. And it made me grateful and happy and lonesome for the little brown house and the young woman with all those plans.

And it also made me a bit crazy. Spending that much time by yourself in a quiet house trying your best to focus, wondering what it is that people might want to hear from you will do that to a woman.

I’ve been working on it for months and I’m sorta sick of myself, but so grateful for the opportunity and sorta proud that I stuck to writing it all down so that I can look back on the winter of 2010 and remember those snow drifts and that young woman who claimed to the top of the biggest hill in sub-zero temperatures just to catch the sunset.

On nights the baby doesn’t sleep or supper is a third helping of leftovers, it’s nice to be reminded that that hill and those snowshoes and that sunset is still out there. And it’s even sweeter knowing that you all want to go along on that walk with me.

That’s been the best part of all, the knowing that you’re out there listening and reading and sharing your stories with me too.

That’s the whole reason I started writing it down in the first place, so that we could share a piece of what we love about our life on the ranch in the middle of nowhere western North Dakota, and that story and your support has gone further than I could have imagined.

And so that’s why I’m doing the book. To give you something to hold in your hands, to page through, to touch and give as gifts and sit on your coffee table as a reminder of the common little memories, moments, fascination and love we share of this beautiful weird wide-open life we’re living

And I don’t know everything about anything, just a little about horses and how to play guitar, but as we grow older we gather things; books and news, fine china and canning jars. 

Broken down pickups with no back seats…


I gather memories.

Thank you for reading. 






10 thoughts on “Gathering Memories

  1. Looking forward to your book being published. When do you plan to have it done and where will we be able to buy it? I thoroughly enjoy your stories, humor and pictures. Keep it up. I live in Oregon but visit family and friends in North Dakota every summer . . . even a few times in the middle of winter. I do agree with the saying that you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl.

  2. Your book of memories should be great to read. I am trying to do the same thing. Using old family pix to put together life stories of mine & my hubby’s families for our kids. Then our united story. It is sometimes happy/sad & very emotional all at the same time. Been working on it for going on 3 years, hope to be done soon.

  3. Jessie –
    I am so looking forward to your book. I’ve already shared many of your posts, music and photos with friends that think people are crazy for living in ND (especially in the winter)!

  4. I’ve only been with you for a year, I do go back and find older posts tho. I look forward to reading your posts and definitely want your book. We are from western Montana and my husband works in the oil fields. Happy New Year to you, hubby and cutie Edie. Ginger

  5. Jessie, you can be sure that you give us a most wonderful sense of what your life is like on the ranch and all the human and other creatures who share it with you. Thanks so much for sharing your good days and bad, the frustrations and the perfect moments, and your evocative writing and beautiful photographs. It’s a delight to be part of your life, even if half a continent away.

  6. Have you considered publishing your book through

    I have helped several people do just that.

    There is no charge for my help and most people can get their first galley proof for less that $10.00.

    Additional books are printed on demand so you do not have boxes of unsold books sitting in the garage.

    Michael and Margo Harvey


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