Sunday Column: Gardens and Grass and Work Girl…

IMG_5428Things are starting to shape up around here. We spent the weekend with family and friends working on sprucing up the barnyard. We painted out-buildings, built new fences and painted those, pruned some dead trees,


cleaned up old rusty pieces and parts, painted signs and made more plans for next time.


It’s funny what a little bloom on the trees and a little paint can do the spirit of the place. This barnyard facelift has been a long time in the making, but tough to get to because when we’re all working full time and getting ready for cattle in the spring, sometimes all we have time for is the basics: fix the fence so the cows don’t get out, make sure we have water. Ride to check on things.

But because Little Sister’s wedding and the 100 year celebration of the ranch is coming up on us quickly, we have a goal to make the place functional as well as presentable to the public. And so that’s what we did.


In the time in between, back over the hill at our house, my husband has been busy working on building the walls in the basement and I’ve been busy obsessing over our new lawn.


And making plans, finally, for a garden of my own over here.

It’s coming on time for planting. It was pretty cold the last couple days, but in a week or two I think we’ll be in the safer zone for frost and I can get my hands in the dirt to plant some beans and peas and cucumbers and corn and carrots and onions and tomatoes and anything else I can find room for there.

This garden has been on my list since before we got this house built over here, and each year it seems more important projects sort of push it out of the way. So I head on over to mom and dads and help plant theirs so that I don’t feel as guilty when I raid it come July and August.


But this year is my year. I mean, we got the grass growing. We got our fence up. We’re getting the barnyard under control. We’re getting our shit together…

And I’m getting my garden dammit.

Coming Home: Green grass inspires the year of the garden
by Jessie Veeder
Forum Communications

And in honor of the work getting done around here, I want to share with you another song off of the new album, which will be available to download on CD BABY and at my front door TOMORROW!

“Work” Jessie Veeder, Northern Lights-2015 

 And if you order the signed album at today, I’ll throw in this cool sticker as a token of my appreciation 🙂


Jessie Veeder discusses her Nashville album, “Northern Lights”

The Sun–Vegas Style.

I am obsessed with the evenings, especially in the summer. After a long, hot day working or playing in the sun (or just watching it bake the landscape out your open office window), the sun that you thought might hang happily in the sky forever has been slowly creeping down the other side of the world while you talked on the phone, shoveled dirt, sped happily along the highway or slept the day away.

I imagine the sun feels under appreciated during this time of year, especially in North Dakota. So when it’s finally time to hit the horizon, it goes down with drama and flair, accessories shining, hair coifed for a night on the town saying: “Hey, don’t take this for granted people…I’m going on vacation in a month and you will miss this hot mess then!”

But I don’t take it for granted. In fact, I am filled with guilt on a beautiful night in the summer if I am not out there in it, soaking it up, breathing in the calm air in the cool valleys if the ranch, and climbing to the top of the hills to watch the sun put on his Vegas style show. And each time the summer sun sets out here I quickly re-hash my day, counting all of the ways I really lived it…all of the ways I frolicked and smiled and sweat and basked in the rays. It’s almost as if I am collecting these perfect summer days in order to seal them tight in a jar on my desk so I can use them later, you know, like on one of the cold days we have around here.

So I am thinking about these days of summer, and all of the sunsets I have witnessed from the top of the buttes. Especially today. Because today is August 25th, the first day of school and my birthday (in case anyone was waiting for it), which always signals for me, really, the last day of summer. The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler, the clover and the wildflowers that were so lush are drying out, the wild berries dropping from their stems.

North Dakotans everywhere have made and lived their final vacation plans and filed away their summer photos. The kids of summer traded swimsuits and jeans with worn out knees for fresh school clothes and were forced by their loving parents at 7 am this morning to stand up against the front door (eye crusties, freshly washed hair and clean, new backpacks in tow) for a final farewell-to-summer photo that will be used against poor child in every slideshow of their life to come. The first of many organized mortifying moments to occur this year.

So since I am not of school age anymore (my 27th birthday reminding me of this today as I got out of bed, looked in the mirror and my hair still looked like a lion’s mane, but with a few grays poking through) I decided, last night, to make my own farewell-to-summer slideshow.

And the sun must have noticed my camera, because what a show it was. He pulled out all the stops as his light reflected off prairie grasses, creating a sparkle, a shine, on each stem. He cast long, dramatic, shadows along the hillsides and off the bodies of beasts. He turned the trees black, gave the clover one last shot at bright yellow and painted the sky orange, then pink, then a dark, dark, blue, then all of those colors combined.  He was in such form even the coyotes stood on the hills and the deer came out of the brush to lend their applause.

And even with all of the frills, the sun is generous at the end of the day, especially when the moon has gone to the trouble of putting on his party pants. So after the fireworks and the spectacle he created,  the sun turned the lights down low, calmed the wind, made everything dead quiet, and left with a whisper.

And all eyes were on the moon.

Happy end of summer kids and parents and people like me. Hope it has gone out with the style and fashion of the sun.

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Cheers to a new season and a new outfit!