The Power of Stories

Stories have played a large role in this Farmgirl’s life for the last week and a half.  From teaching, to reading, to interacting with people and plants, words and their transformative powers abounded enough for me to take note.  I read an Orion piece in which the author, Brian Doyle, reflects, “My god, stories do have roaring power, stories are the most crucial and necessary food, how come we never hardly say that out loud?”  So here I am saying it out loud: Stories have roaring power!  Fact or fiction, long or short, succinct or rambling, the best stories transport us, transform us and leave us changed.


Image of a woman reading from the National Media Museum, circa 1900

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  1. Dorothy says:

    Thanks for the blogs Alex. Love reading them.

  2. diana says:

    Here in the Missouri Ozarks, we long for rain!
    Our temps have been over 100 for the past few days and so we are
    hibernating thru the day time, working our gardens only in the early mornings and late evenings.
    There’s lots of time for reading in the afternoons.
    My daughter bought me a journal filled with beautiful thoughts for each day, then a few lines to write my own, so thats just what I do on hot afternoons, write a poem about each day!
    Thanks for the cheery thoughts! Hugs, Diana

  3. As a storyteller by professional trade I say: "Hear! Hear! Huzzah!"

    Bring back oral tradition and the spoken word!

    Wonderful post!

    Have a truly creative day!

    The Goat Borrower

  4. My husband is a great storyteller. He can keep groups spellbound for hours with tales of WWII, the war between the states, historical facts, etc. He also writes books and has two of a trilogy in print, check out his website above. Stories have always been a means of learning things for me. Like you say, either fact or fiction they are interesting and I am an avid reader. Thanks for your blog and the opportunity to add my comments.

  5. Laura Ann says:

    It was a delight to read about you and Stories! Yes, stories do have power. I am hooked very often listening to my family and friends. I have gone to a couple of professional storyteller conferences…what an art!
    Thanks for the reminder,
    Laura Ann

  6. Stephen says:

    One of my very favorite mirmoees when I was growing up, was going to the Bookmobile every two weeks. Oh, how I loved this special treat! I stayed with my Aunt Dianne every summer when I was little and this was something that I looked forward to from one visit to the next. I can remember counting down the days until its next arrival in the nearby little town of Richfield. This is where I could spend hours just reading and looking at books. I would have the hardest time trying to decide what adventure I wanted to go on next. Would it be with Tom Sawyer or the brothers and sisters from the Boxcar Children Series? Most of the time, I went with the children on a boxcar adventure. I still remember how when they first started living in the old abandoned red boxcar on the hill and how they found old metal spoons and scrubbed them with sand so that they could use them. I know I read every book in that series at least three times each summer, plus all the other books as well that I loved reading to my little brother and younger cousins. Whenever I think about the bookmobile, I can still remember that very distinct smell. All those books, in that one small space, gave such a wonderful aroma. It was like medicine for my soul. I still love books to this day, especially old books. It’s funny because whenever I find an old book, it is not unusual for me to open it up and put it to my nose to see, if just by chance, it has that wonderful smell that I still long for. This is such a fond memory for me that I talked about it all the time when I started dating my now husband. A few years ago, when he found out that the same bookmobile that I used to visit was up for sale, he tried to buy it for me as a surprise. Unfortunately, we could not afford it. Which in retrospect, I guess was a good thing, because I would have been in there all the time and never accomplished anything. I have thought many times about how I would love to give that same memory to my own two children. There will never be a more special place to me in my childhood mirmoees. All I can hope for, at this point, is that my mansion in heaven, is an old tan colored bookmobile. Until then, it will forever be in my heart!

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Nature vs. Nurture

“There are those who can live without wild things and there are those who cannot.” ~Aldo Leopold

I am one who cannot.

The Wood Frog–The only wild frog species in Alaska.

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  1. nameMaureen says:

    I see mud! Rich dark mud! Does the permafrost hamper your gardening?


    From fire scorched Colorado!

  2. Cindy Sym says:

    Alexandra, you hit it on the head for me with this statement:
    "Small scale organic agriculture is a very happy medium between the untamed wilderness and the chemical killing of bigAg."
    Tho it would be wonderful to return to our hunter-gatherer roots where we make no radical changes to any ecosystem in order to feed ourselves, our enormous population does not allow for that. ORGANIC agriculture is really our only hope, and that’s been proven in study after study despite what big ag manages to get published in the press to make the minions think otherwise.
    I appreciate your insights very much as well as the photos of your beautiful Alaska. Keep it up, farmgirl, I love it.

  3. Lisa says:

    "Happy radishes come from happy farms." 🙂 I think that’s adorable!

    I loved your article and look forward to reading more. I would love to have a larger farm and plant to my heart’s desire. Instead I live in the suburbs right now and have a small backyard garden. We lovingly grow only a few of each type of vegetable we eat regularly. This year we put in kale!! The strawberry patch is threatening to take over the entire area within a couple of years. We have to figure that one out! (care if I share some strawberry plants with you?) 😉

    Even though our garden is small, I still experience what you experience, but in a different (and smaller!) setting. The birds also greet us morning and evening, butterflies gather and flutter when the garden is watered, and catbirds taste our strawberries. Now we have to fence our garden in to keep out Mr. Groundhog and the little bunnies that abound in this area.

    It’s beautiful and wonderful growing even the smallest garden of your own organic produce. Looking at a happy radish, one realizes they have control of the chemical and GMO onslaught that threatens our bodies and environment daily. The happy radish invokes in me a good, settling, connected, grounding and protected feeling. I think that’s what I’m seeking each year when I put in my garden!

  4. Diana Henretty says:

    Your quote "just hit the spot" this morning!
    Your pictures are out of this world with beauty, how blessed you are.
    It reminded me so of our lives in the wilderness of Montana!
    Now that we are in the Ozarks, it is a little more difficult to find wild places, but there out there, even if it is in our own back yard, sitting out drinking our morning coffee in between raised beds and gazing at the stars before bed every night! Thank you for sharing your beautiful life with all of us!
    Hugs from the Ozarks, Diana Henretty

  5. Alex, I love your blog about nature, nurture, the land and being good stewards over it. I love the fact that you can find a place that is virtually untoched yet by man. I wish all of your generation could see the land like you do. I saw a good video about this man who asked God to show him how to tend his gardens. I thought you might like it, so I will include the link. I think I may have gotten it from another farmgirl blogger.

    I love my little 2 acres of land and I try to be a good steward over it. I do not use any herbicides or pesticides in my garden, so I know when I go out there and I see something that is ready I can pluck and eat and not worry about it. I wish you and your new soon to be hubby lots of blessings and lots of farm to nurture. Be Blessed. Neta

  6. That was a truly inspiring message from your heart about the land, agriculture, nature and growing all things organic. It put me in touch with how I really feel about what is happening all around us that is destroying the land and wildlife. I live in Idaho and am surrounded by yellow buzzing airplanes that spray pesticides on practically every crop. I hate that! I’m trying to have an organic yard and vegetable garden and it’s nigh unto impossible. You also sparked an interest I have, and that is learning about biodynamic farming. I just started hearing that word! Thanks for letting me see the passion and purpose you have. It truly inspired me and gave me hope.

  7. What gorgeous views! Thank you for sharing with us a peek into your wonderful wilderness!

  8. Jhon says:

    very nice. I knew a lady that loved to help shave llamas for their fur to make sawrtees. Had a spinning wheel in her living room.. was not to much fun to watch while I sneezed up a storm.

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