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Born in Santa Monica, California, I was raised in the small bedroom community of Sunkist Park that borders Culver City, Playa del Rey, Mar Vista and Venice. I attended Venice High School, West LA Community College and California Institute of the Arts. My studies included English, English Literature, Poetry, Creative Writing, Choir, Classical Voice, Shakespeare, Musical Theater, Television and Film Acting and Art History. In 1980, I relocated to the Pacific Northwest and in 1982 I married Kurt Wolf in Corvallis, Oregon. During the course of our long journey together, I have remained devoted to not only my husband, but to my friends and family, and the arts. What defines me most is my passion for expression through art. I’m an avid reader, writer and poet.I also enjoy painting and photography. Additionally, some folks consider me a pretty good cook.

Email Susie Rosso Wolf

If you have any questions about "New Prairie Woman", "Saving Susie", my "Phoetry", Montana, or writing in general, please email me directly at: GrumpySusie@msn.com — Looking forward to hearing from you. I hope you enjoy "New Prairie Woman". ~ Susie

"Saving Susie" a Video Production by Susie Rosso Wolf

Friday, August 31, 2012

Prairie Post # 9 - August 31, 2012

Back in the Saddle!

Hello friends! It's been a long but wonderful writing hiatus that was sorely needed but now I'm ready to get back to the keyboard and begin to pound out the words needed to convey to you the journey of my life. It has been a great summer, for the most part, and I look forward to sharing with you some of the more colorful events that I've experienced throughout this past season. I look forward to not only posting new Prairie Posts for you, but also, I'm filled with opening night jitters at the prospect of continued postings of snippets and excerpts of New Prairie Woman and will complete the book by years end.

Thank you for hanging out here, coming by to check in, and for your loyalty to my story. I'm eager to share with you the events of our daily life here on the prairie in Montana and I can't wait to share more of NPW with you, my friends! I expect to be back a few times in September and then in October, once the season fully wraps up and our home is set and ready for the upcoming Fall and winter temperatures, I will be back full time. Until then, I leave you with this:



Nothing is impossible
never give up hope
never use the expression 
"I'm at the end of my rope" 
there is no end to anyone's rope
when the truth be told  
hope is alive and well within
no matter how young or old
set your mind to achieve
your goals your desires your dreams
get up, get busy, do the work
no matter how hard it seems
keep your goal in your heart
stay on track
don't look back
before you know it
you've chipped off a bit
then you see how easy it can be
to be true 
to the real you
to escape the fear 
with your goal so near
hope can fill your life with joy
when you touch the stars
reach up
reach up
grab hold of your life
although your dream is far










Friday, June 15, 2012

Prairie Post # 8, June 15, 2012

While walking in the pasture just after a rainstorm I was on my way back home when I looked up to see this elegant sky just before dusk. At first I only noticed the color of the clouds but suddenly I noticed the high moon emerging smack dab in the middle of the cloud cluster. It was breath taking, viewing it at the moment, and I wanted to share this with you. I named this shot "Margo's Moon."  You can read my reason for the name, below.



Prairie Post #8
New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf


We've been experiencing a long hard wave of rainstorms here in Three Forks. Although the rain temporarily  put the kibosh on my garden planting goals, I must say that the hills and the valleys and our country roads are bright green in color and filled with lovely swaying grasses and many plants, trees and blooming wild flowers indigenous to Montana. The color is medicine to my eyes, eyes that were commonly spoiled by lavish color year round in Southern California. But as I mentioned in my last post, at last, I have trained my eyes to appreciate the new colors of brown and wheat and sage that sing to me in ways I never thought possible. However, the yellow and green and purple and blue of plants and flowers popping up here and there from the rainfall and sunshine that has finally broken through the clouds has drenched my eyes with rejuvenating joy. 

Last week the rain quit after several days on non-stop pounding. I waited a few hours and hoped that the sun that emerged earlier in the day had done its job and dried the soggy soil enough for the dogs and I to take a walk. We set out in the evening and made our way up to the prayer post. Although still a bit squishy in some spots I was surprised that our walking trail was hard and clear of mud for the most part. My Muck boots aren't the most comfortable walking shoes ever made but serve a great purpose in Southwestern Montana. As I made my way up in the cold hard souls I mostly focused on the ground, not wanting to slip and fall and break my neck. Believe me when I tell you...I've come close to killing myself as I slipped in the mucky mud around here, ever grateful for my trail being so close to the fence line making it easy for me to grab hold of.

Beany & Cecil and I stood at the prayer post for a long while that night, watching the clouds merge their colors then separate into bursts of white and back to pink, purple, gray, blue and shimmering silver. Although I was completely captivated by the show taking place on the heavenly stage above, I prayed my daily prayers and meditated for a while. In my prayers that night, I focused on my dear and darling little buddy, Miss Margo, whom I miss so very much and who had not been feeling too well that day after having some minor surgery. I thought about Margo so much and prayed that her surgical site healed well and without complications. 

Through the years that we've been living here we have both made major adjustments to the lifestyle, harsh extremes and the difficulties that we have had to face on many levels. After six years of adjusting to our move we've done fairly well to melt into the pot here but the one aspect that can't be cured by time and change is missing my deep friendships, bonded ties of a lifetime that tug on my heart each and every day. My Linda, Diane, Stella, Julie, Lois, Jo (who has since passed away, God rest her soul) and my little Margo continue to own my heart and soul and that ownership makes it all the more difficult for my soul's friendship to reach out to even the thought of inviting someone new to enter the heart that beats for my friends back home...and yet..we have been so fortunate to meet many fine people here that the loyalty I feel for my California home-girls and my Oregon cohorts weeps with sorrow as we both take the long walk toward new friendships with the special folks of Three Forks that are now woven into the life and times of Kurt and the New Prairie Woman.

Noticing this emerging moon while thinking of and missing Margo, I realized how blessed I have been throughout my life to have made not one but so many deep and meaningful friendships over the course of fifty some odd years. And now once again, I'm blessed (we both are blessed) to have the opportunity to forge new deep and lasting friendships on the prairie. Margo's moon is a reminder that no matter how far away one might be from home and the people who love and care about you, the heart is a constant vessel of love that beats on and on over the course of many years and thousands of miles...

...My heart beats...

...because you are in it.............

Margo, sitting at our kitchen table visiting with me just days before our move to Montana in September, 2006.

Susie Rosso Wolf
New Prairie Woman  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Prairie Post #7, June 9, 2012

About 900 square feet, this is my new garden just to the right of the front porch, situated in a bright, sunny location. Ninety-nine percent of my garden is planted by seed. Still a work in progress, I pray for improved weather and for the deer to be intimated by the eight foot tall fence that Kurt lovingly built for me!



Prairie Post # 7
New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf



Although it seems as though I’ve been missing in action I haven’t been missing at all. Just a wee bit busy these days during the one and only planting season of the year. Knee deep in mud from the heavy rains that have drenched my new garden, I have worked tirelessly day in and day out to complete the planting of seed that hopefully, if the sun ever appears for more than half a day at a time, will germinate and emerge as tiny little sprouts that will eventually become food that will sustain us through the winter.

This isn’t my first Montana garden so I haven’t been shocked by any of the strange and wonderfully weird items one can discover underground in this wonderland of western oddities. Yesterday, for instance, I had to work ever so hard at breaking up the block of planting bed soil, that had already been vigorously tilled by the old man on the tractor, because the rains came so heavy that the water compressed the soil, turning it into clay, essentially. So, with spade in hand I did the back breaking work of breaking it up again in order to plant the corn, which I was in a hurry to do as it’s already so late in the season but as I said, weather simply has not cooperated with my gardening plans. Anyway, I’m digging away and digging away and finally I’m ready to build the corn rows-planting beds, and furrows. Once the beds were built I applied some fertilizer to the beds and worked it into the soil by hand. It was then that I felt something strange against the skin of my garden glove. Deeply buried under the planting bed I pulled up as I held onto the end of the treasure and was so surprised to find an old ink pen. Last week I found a tooth belonging to some kind of K-9, perhaps a coyote or wolf. It’s always a mystery when you begin to dig around out here on the prairie…

After many hours of grueling labor at last I finished planting the corn which provided me the freedom to sit down at my desk this morning to post a new update on what’s been happening out here in this amazing place that we live in. All of the bedding planting is complete now so my load is much lighter. Although I have many plants and seeds that must be planted into containers, such as my herbs and flowers and a few veggies too, it’s time I take a short break and get out of the mud and dirt. Oh, speaking of mud, yesterday, as I was frantically digging away and trying to build the corn rows, I was constantly watching the sky that was filled with black and grey rain clouds. Looking up in-between smacks to the earth with my spade, I pleaded with God to spare me the downpour that was surely ready to bust out at any minute. As I kept on working and working and working, I would feel a rain drop or two as the wind howled and roared through the garden. I worried about my newly planted Marigolds that were bent sideways as well as my pepper plants and tomato plants that I had just planted the day before. But you know, and this is the honest to God’s truth, the sky didn’t open up as I had expected it too. After the task of planting the corn was complete I should have watered the entire garden, but I just knew that the rain was coming so I waited. And I waited. But the rain clouds blew away to the south from a northern wind so at six in the evening I realized in a panic that my garden hadn’t had a drop of moisture all day, well, a couple of drops but certainly not enough for new seed beds that require even moisture until germination is complete and seedlings appear and break ground. So, I ran out with my rain hat on my head and gloves on my hands and dragged the hose to the garden and let the water rip through the wind at full force in order to reach every square inch of the garden, corner to corner.

I soaked my little garden down and then I dragged the hose back to the area behind the back door where I have my rose lady water fountain and my little daughter bird feeder bowl. I power washed the fountain so the wild birds would have a clean bowl to bathe in and then I filled up the bird feeder bowl with fresh seeds. It was as if God was speaking to me in a loud and clear voice when I head the rumbling of thunder from the garage while putting my garden tools away on my garden bench. I peeked out of the garage to see drops on the ground and the wheel barrow. Hmmmm, is this possible? I ask for dry weather to complete my work and now that I’m ready to call it a day the rain breaks loose from new clouds that just rolled in? “Is this a joke, Lord? Are You toying with me, Lord?” Seriously, the rain broke free from a huge black system that must have come in while I was watering and didn’t notice at all. Lost in thought, most likely, I never saw the sky turn black again. So the drops surprised me and I laughed as I said out loud…” Thanks for the lesson, God, I know, I blew it, I should have listened to you the first time and trusted you, listened to the warning that indeed, it was going to rain.” I shook my head in humility as the drops quickly became a heavy rain that sent our two yellow labs up to the back porch deck, under cover.

It rained most of the night, giving my garden a soaking, on top of a soaking, and so now you know why I have time to sit here and type away this silly little story. I do believe it will rain again today which means I will have to find something other than gardening to amuse myself with. Perhaps I could drag out the vacuum cleaner, and mop the kitchen floor. Naaah, that doesn’t sound like much fun now does it? No, I think I’ll put my rain gear on and stand at my growing table and plant those pots of herbs and flowers and veggies I mentioned. They need to get into their containers. Neighbor Jeff generously gifted me with several heirloom tomatoes that I will put into five gallon buckets and then place them around the garden up against the fence. I believe I will have about fifteen tomato plants all together when all is said and done. Enough tomatoes to get us through the year, if we’re lucky. I will can them all for spaghetti sauce and soups. But we never know what is to come from season to season.

Two years ago when I had my little garden right next to the back door so my oxygen tubing could reach out there, allowing me the opportunity to plant and enjoy the sunshine, you know, mostly to get out of the house, I had a very successful planting and was close to harvesting all of my squash and broccoli and cabbage when out of the blue sky a sudden change in temperature brought in by a sixty-five mile an hour wind swept through the prairie bringing with it a hail storm unlike anything I’d ever seen in my life. In fact, you may have actually heard about this storm as it was all over the news that year, the summer of 2010. Bozeman suffered a great deal of damage from the baseball size hail that broke out many of the windows at MSU and car windshields galore. I remember running into the house for cover and was so frightened that I hid in the pantry for cover, knowing for certain that our windows would be smashed by the huge rocks falling from heaven with a mighty powerful force. But our strong storm windows were spared and after twenty minutes of hiding I peeked out from the pantry to see blue skies again outside but when I inspected my darling little garden, well…it was sad, no longer a garden, but a lake of icy water, burying everything, everything. Within two days all of my crops had turned black and began to die.

God, if you’re listening…and I know that You are, please let us all have successful gardens this year. Gardens that will feed our families and friends and neighbors. Gardens that will sustain us with fresh wholesome nutrition for the year to come. We need Your cooperation, dear Lord. I know You hear me when I say to myself, “Why do I continue to bother to attempt to grow food in this place of mystery and tormenting, extreme, weather?”  The answer is that I continue to face this challenge because when I’m out there, I feel closer to You. Keep the rain coming, God, it’s okay with me…we need it to feed our rivers and lakes and streams and to water our gardens and farms and livestock. Thank You for the many blessings of Montana and for the many lessons I've come to learn as well…

"Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps, perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvest reaps."

~ Amos Bronson Alcott - 1868 ~ 






Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Prairie Post #6, May 30, 2012

Our American Flag Waving in the Wind From Our Front Porch View of the Spanish Peaks
Three Forks, Montana



Prairie Post #6
New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf


Happy Two Days After Memorial Day! 

By the skin of our teeth we have some sun breaking through the dark sky that has hovered over us for the last several days. Clouds that were filling the sky with heavy white and ominous black, rain and snow filled pillows that flooded us with downpours and sloppy frozen early morning flakes that did not stick, thank God, and have mostly passed on to other towns while now it seems that Spring has returned to Three Forks this morning. On Monday, Memorial Day, it was quiet and peaceful although somewhat chilled from a hard breeze in the low temperatures for most of the day. But the rain and snow kept its distance from our lovely little town on Monday and our serene patch of paradise here on our prairie land pasture. The chill in the air prevented us from cooking and celebrating in the typical Memorial Day traditions. Just us though, we are wimpy Californian's  that were wrapped in sweaters and blankets watching racing from Sunday's NASCAR and Indy 500. I'm sure that most of Three Forks's citizens celebrated in the usual manner. I was dreaming of their potato salad and watermelon...and the sweet sticky savory flavor of barbecued baby back ribs. Ooooooh!

Although it was quite cold Monday and yesterday, as I said, I managed to brave the cold for a good long walk around the pastures in my Muck shoes wrapped up like an Eskimo in thermal underwear and a heavy jacket, hat, gloves and my cell phone in my pocket just in case I fell on my butt and broke a bone or popped my hip out, again. (I have a paranoia about walking without my phone and upon occasion have left it behind in the house and felt so panicked that I ran all the way back to fetch it, and then resumed my walk! Silly, I know, but we have SNAKES out there!) Although the ground was wet the muddy walking path around our property was solid, not slippery as I expected, so the walk was good and very invigorating. It was grand to get out of the house. "Cabin fever" has set in now, building up inside me, taunting me with images of my ocean on the Pacific Coast, calling me to warmer temperatures, flowers and green plants growing wild along PCH and Topanga Canyon. I find that I'm most homesick during this time of year when Montana just won't let go of the winter and California is bursting with color and sunshine...and then suddenly, the subtle green of the sagebrush appears with the straw colored grasses up in the hillside as desert flowers pop up along with cactus blooms and wildflowers and as the natural, untouched, unaltered, landscape here emerges under the muted blue gray and white of the enormous sky I take a deep breath in, exhale, and stand in awe and wonder by the sheer elegance of the transforming painted sky above me with color one can only witness here, in Montana and certainly not anywhere else, least California. It's easy to be homesick this time of year during our transition into warmer days. But then again, it's also easy to come back down to the ground under my feet, in this most beautiful, ever changing picture of nature in the natural nature of things. I have learned that there is a difference between natural nature and planned nature. My eyes have fully opened now and I see the amazing beauty in the natural order of landscape with fresh eyes and better understanding.

Last night on Television we were watching America's Got Talent and during the teaser, the opening of the show, they filmed footage of Tampa Bay Florida as the camera zoomed into the city from the Bay. When the camera arrives into the city you (the home audience viewer) are deluged by people, buildings, traffic, noise, chaos and activity. Watching masses of people tugged at my heart a bit, I will admit, because it is a quiet life here that is simply unimaginable for a city person. Unimaginable silence. There is a beauty in that silence that can only be felt by the soul who is sitting in sheer bliss, appreciating what it is and savoring every moment. I couldn't help but think, while watching the show, how much "talent" there is here in Montana that goes unrecognized, and under appreciated. The carpenter, the hunter, the farmer, the rancher, the game packager, the horse trainer, the bull rider, the conservationist. The list goes on but you get my point. The artistic skills here thrive in abundance yet go mostly ignored due to their lack of excitement, bling bling and Hollywood influence. But I'm telling you, I'd rather wait four to six months to have a gorgeous log home built by a Montana carpenter than have the instant gratification of listening to an artist sing, or watch an artist act or play in a band. I'm just saying, the talent here is so under rated. Does it take talent to sit on a tractor all day plowing a field of wheat? Yup. I can tell you why from personal experience; driving a tractor requires a great deal of concentration and ability to multitask while hanging onto the wheel as you bounce over gopher holes and rabbit holes and hidden boulders underground and sagebrush roots that all are cause for a dusty bumpy ride. It takes an artist to swing that huge machine around and around while tilling ground to plant the seeds of nature. It's a beautiful thing.............The heart tugs more for my dear friends that I miss so much from day to day, and that, I believe, is much of the cause for my homesickness.

In the coming days I will be very busy creating my own art out in my little Montana garden, planting my seeds and starts of vegetables that hopefully will sustain us throughout the Fall and Winter. I look forward to posting stories about the garden, there's always drama here while attempting to grow during our very short season. Hopefully, I won't be reporting to you that a massive hail storm has wiped out all of my luscious plants by turning them black enough to send them to their eventual death. This is a typical example of how challenging gardening is here, but I have finally learned that the challenge is an essential a element of the beauty.

Until next time,

Susie Rosso Wolf



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Prairie Post #5, May 21, 2012

Our friend and neighbor, Jeff, as he begins the process of falling this Conifer.

 Once Jeff makes several cuts into the base, Jeff watches to see the direction that the tree is leaning in attempt to fall the tree exactly where he wants it to land.

 All three trees have fallen and now Jeff saws off the limbs and branches.
Dead Conifer, all the way to the top. 

Local Montana boys play on the fallen trees.




A quiet Sunday morning lends this opportunity to finally catch my breath, take a few moments out of what promises to be another jammed packed day of Southwestern Montana hurry up and catch up on all of the many things we need to accomplish during the busiest time of year here. Indeed, it's a very exciting and fun- filled season as the Spring that so suffers to rear itself into our exposure barely comes to fruition while we all hustle and bustle-as our temperatures are finally fair-the sun is shining just about every day except when we're being hit by rapid passing systems of electrical storms that most definitely will knock your socks off and rain storms too. Yes, it is an incredibly beautiful time of year now for us all and we are working hard to fulfill the hopes and dreams of our winter fantasies of Spring.

On the long to-do list for our little lot of heaven is of course planning and planting our yearly sustainable organic vegetable garden. I will go into the details about our garden on the next post because I'm not quite ready to place the starts I planted in peat-pots into the soil for we were working on building a deer defense barrier around the garden which gobbled up most of Kurt's time off of work and a cold weather system came through this last week which delayed much to do with the garden. That's Montana. Don't think you can outsmart the weather here...it won't happen! It's a great lesson in patience. I'm sure though, rather, I'm very hopeful, that soon I'll be able to share with you the lovely new garden space that Kurt worked so hard on creating for me. And although I've been unable to get the green edibles I planted in the pots into the ground I have been out there, no matter the weather, designing the garden and building planting beds and furrows. Hard work but I love it.

Speaking of hard work...another item on the to do list was the removal of three huge Conifer trees (Colorado Blue Spruce) that were victim to a long drought period here in our region. Initially, I had been told by a local gal who worked for the United States Forest Service for many years that our trees were being eaten alive by the dreaded North American Bark Beetle that has rampaged our beautiful forests across the state. However, upon further inspection, we discovered that in fact, we've been losing our trees to drought. So sad. We loved these trees from the first time we drove up Conifer Trail and they were a huge selling point for us when we made the decision to buy our land. I'm no expert on trees so I can't explain to you exactly what happened here, why three of our trees died but the rest are alive and well and beautiful, but I do know that their demise is related to how they were originally planted and cared for.

Fortunately for us, we have a close friend and neighbor who lives just up the road who is a natural born Montanan and was raised around the influence of knowledgeable Montanan men who taught Jeff, our friend and neighbor, all about trees and how to fall them. I do believe that's the term they use here and elsewhere, to "fall" a tree when they cut them down. Now, please, don't get excited and upset by the notion of us cutting down our beautiful trees. Correction-trees that were once beautiful. I want you tree huggers out there to know, to believe when I tell you, that we tried many different approaches and methods to save the trees. And although our attempts did provide a bit of new growth on two of the three fallen trees the last year of drought was the last straw in trying to bring them back to life. All three of them were indeed, thoroughly dead.

Last weekend neighbor Jeff dropped by to chat for a while and as he was walking along the driveway where we have two of the Conifers that were dead, Jeff looked up and said, "Why don't we get these trees down now?" I said yes! Let's do it! Kurt, well...he wasn't too enthusiastic because he has been working in construction building a house from the ground up and he is extremely tired from the job. 

So, Kurt's reaction was bland at best but I ignored his vague and distant response to Jeff's most generous question by rubbing my hands together, jumping off the ground a little saying "Yes! Yes, yes yes...Let's do it!" Jeff looked at me and smiled. Kurt looked at me as if he wanted to kill me.

"Today? You want to drop them now? Why don't we wait? It's too late in the day now." Kurt's statement went ignored as Jeff walked across our pasture out the gate and headed for home. Less than fifteen minutes later Jeff returned with his great big mountain man's chain saw and his tools needed to complete the job. I was absolutely amazed by the level of his skill. This young man is so TALENTED. Honestly, after knowing Jeff for several years now, I'm enamored by his abilities. He can do anything. Jeff is a carpenter who builds gorgeous homes and who has actually kept Kurt and I alive and in our home during the past few years of economic crisis in our country. It has been Jeff and our neighbor Dan, another great man and skilled carpenter as well, who have made it possible for us to survive the crisis by employing Kurt and teaching him the ropes of carpentry. It wasn't easy easy for Kurt to learn a new trade but Jeff provided the knowledge and taught Kurt well. Neighbors helping neighbors. That's how we survive here in Montana. No questions asked, they simply arrive with the necessary tools to lend a hand and keep you up and balanced. That's Montana living and that's why we continue to fight to stay here.

Jeff expertly and skillfully dropped our three trees in a matter of forty-five minutes. And can you believe that not only did it require less than an hour of his time to fall the trees, but, more impressive than that, he dropped them exactly where he had planned to; away from the gates, the fences, the house, or anything else that was in the path of their fall. With orange blocks that he wedged into the base, or trunk, of each tree, Jeff directed the giants to land exactly where he wanted them to land. I was absolutely amazed. Not only was I amazed by his skill and abilities and his knowledge, but I was amazed by Jeff's sense of kindness and friendship.

As the fallen trees lay on the ground and Kurt could only see work and nothing but more work ahead of him,   Jeff held up the saw and coaxed me over to the end of one of the enormous trees. He handed me the heavy saw and said that it was time I began to learn how to use a saw on my own. What? Me? Are you serious? Yes, he was serious! He started her up and directed me to place my hands where his hands were on the handles and together we sawed through the trunk of the tree as the long blade sliced it into a beautiful round disc that fell to the ground and I squealed in delight. But that wasn't the end of my lesson. Jeff gave me some verbal instruction and expected me to plow through the trunk for another slice and while I had this monster saw in my grip Jeff coached me from the sideline. It was thrilling, exhilarating and fun! The smell of the fresh cut wood filled me with delight and reminded me once again that I'm living in an extraordinary place and that I'm blessed, every day, to experience Montana.

Two local children climbed up on the fallen trees to play fantasy games and while I watched these country boys actually play like real boys, I couldn't help but think about all the millions of children around the world who are sitting on their butts inside their houses playing video games, watching television or on the computer doing who knows what without supervision. Boys will be boys here in Montana. And girls will be girls, or rather, ranch girls or cowgirls. Yes, it's a different world all-together here and I love it. I love the lifestyle that preserves fresh air activities for kids and wholesome behavior. Climbing on a neighbor's fallen trees, being boys and getting exercise is just one example of how Montana preserves a natural way of living. Another example are the 4-H clubs around the state that teach children how to sustain themselves for the rest of their lives. Raising cows, chickens, horses, goats, etc., teaches these kids not only how to take care of and be responsible for another life, but it gives them opportunities galore. It might be considered a simple, uncomplicated, "Redneck" lifestyle in most eyes, but for us, this is life as it should be and Montana is where to find it.

I can't thank Jeff enough for falling our three dead trees and I've been racking my brain in attempt to think of some nice way to show him our appreciation. A chocolate cake, batch of cookies, a tray of fresh enchiladas...an invite for he and his wonderful family for dinner? I'm not sure, but eventually I'll think of some nice way to say thank you, for all he has done and all he continues to do to help us, with an open and accepting heart, become the Montanans that we continue to strive to be. Life here is so good, and we are living it! 






Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Retraction, May 9th, 2012


New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf


RETRACTION! RETRACTION!

It has been brought to my attention that I have put my big fat foot in my mouth and have become exactly what I loathe about folks who jump to conclusions about Montana, Montanans, and living life in Montana. Let me explain:
In my last Prairie Post I listed a couple of recipes for Mexican dishes to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  In the post, I used my own personal dining experience to write the copy for the post in regards to the quality of ethnic foods here in Montana. Honestly, I meant no harm. I had no malice or maniacal intentions to hurt Montana’s food industry reputation or the good people who work hard as restaurant owners here in this incredible state. As a cook myself, I understand that food, like art, is subjective. So, the Italian food at such and such restaurant in Butte or Billings might be to die for, for one person, and the most horrid plate of dreck for another. However, having said that, I do apologize for my thoughtless manner in which I describe the lack of authenticity of the local Mexican cuisine. Although I do stand by my opinion based on my own experience, the manner in which I describe the food I have eaten here was mean spirited and insulting to those who work an honest day.
But what comes to mind more than the food and beverage industry topic itself, is once again, the nature of Montana’s people, lifestyle, personality and strength. Montana represents strength and fortitude, if not anything at all. It takes fortitude and back bone to come knocking on the door of some Californian who thinks she knows about Montana merely because she has survived a few winters here. Yes, I have disturbed the locals with my editorial and was told under no uncertain terms, that the last thing I need to do is to do “that.”
“Don’t do that. Don’t do what every other writer does who doesn't know anything about Montana. Don’t become just another writer who insults us with their opinions of our way of life when they know nothing at all about living here or what it takes to survive here. I have been reading New Prairie Woman and enjoying it because it’s different and unique and because your story is fresh and interesting. Please, don’t trash Montana or insult its people in your book. There are many great restaurants here. Have you ever eaten at Ferraro’s in Bozeman? It’s as Italian as Italian can get. People work hard here; don’t ruin their reputations by writing about something you don’t know. Don’t do that. Don’t become just another ignorant source of bad information. Don’t backslide, get back on track and tell your story.”
Wow. I had no idea. And, my anonymous source of a tongue lashing was right. I don’t know. I don’t know about Ferraro’s because I've never eaten there. Actually, I've only eaten at a handful of restaurants in Montana. It is true, as I said earlier, that according to my taste and dining expectations, I've not been impressed with Montana’s restaurants. However, based on my limited experience, my door knocker was right. I don’t know squat about Montana’s restaurants and thoughtlessly gave opinion when I had no right to. For that, I woefully apologize. Hurting Montana is the last thing I want to do. New prairie Woman is not about “that” and if you've been reading my book, you know that I love this place and have no intention of hurting it. I celebrate this magnificent place. I honor Montana, its people, wildlife, mountains, lakes and rivers, its extreme experience. And while I’m here apologizing let me say this…the fact that a local person took the time to drop by my back door speaks volumes about the people here. This young man takes pride in “The last best place,” his home. This is his home and I insulted it. Please excuse me for becoming just another ignorant source of bad information. It will not happen again……….

~ S ~

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Prairie Post #4, May 4, 2012

Prairie Post #4
New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf



Susie's Shredded Beef Taquitos Rancheros Topped With Fresh Home Made Guacamole!


Happy Cinco de Mayo! And while you're dining in a fine Mexican restaurant munching on tacos and taquitos and burritos, tamales enchiladas...drinking those salty edged margaritas, and then taking a dip into the salsa with a fresh fried tortilla chip, we will be hard pressed to find anything that remotely resembles Mexican food in this state. Sorry about that, Montana. You know how much I love you! However, ethnic cuisine is not your thing, ya know? In fact, the only two Mexican food experiences I've had here were so horrendous that I have sworn off ever trying so called Mexican food here ever again. I don't consider stale prefabricated predigested crackers made from genetically altered corn a taco shell. And I certainly don't consider mealy meat made from oatmeal and tomato sauce beef or pork or chicken. So, you can't take a cracker shell type thingy, stuff it with a tablespoon of the mealy oatmeal colored with plain read tomato sauce and a tiny bit of chopped romaine lettuce (Not for tacos, no! no! no!) topped with prefabricated predigested imitation shredded cheese. Oh dear. I think by now you get the point. Don't order Mexican food in Montana. If you're hungry in the Big Sky state I highly suggest steak and potatoes. Oh! They know how to cook a cow all right. Steak and a baker is always a good bet in a state that has more cows than people. Ribs are also safe. But Italian, now, that's just something to run not walk away from. I'm not kidding!

A few nights ago I put a three pound chuck roast in the crock pot for Carne Asada and it was terrific. Such a simple dish and yet so elegantly delicious. After scoring the roast with garlic and browning well on both sides, I placed it over a bed of chopped onions in the crock then dumped in one 14.5 ounce can of petite diced tomatoes, one 4 ounce can of Ortega Green Chilies and 1/4 cup of water. Eight to nine hours later the roast was falling apart and very tender. I cooled it on my cutting board and then cut it into four sections, freezing three sections for use at a later time and then served the fourth section to Kurt with refried frijoles dotted with diced onion and shredded medium cheddar and Mexican rice, a small salad and chips and salsa. Being on a diet, I have to avoid certain foods so I enjoyed my Carne Asada in this manner: I poured one small dot of olive oil into a non-stick fry pan and heated until hot. I then put one small corn tortilla onto the oil and cooked on medium low until crisp. Placing the tortilla onto a plate now, I dabbed it with two Tbs. of the beans, 4 ounces of the shredded meat and then covered it all with a pile of fresh salad made with shredded iceberg lettuce, finely shredded red cabbage, shopped tomatoes, grated carrots, finely sliced white onions, 1/4 C diced avocados and salsa. It was fantastic. A fresh low fat low calorie high protein tostada salad. Yay!

Tomorrow, for Cinco de Mayo, I will be making my traditional taquitos platter for Kurt to munch on but will be resisting myself because I'm avoiding all fats and oils and taquitos just aren't taquitos if they aren't fried in oil. I will be making my shredded beef taquitos using chuck roast much the same way I cooked the Carne Asada, minus the chilies and tomatoes. A very easy recipe for the first part of the cooking, and then a tiny bit complicated for part two. I'm just saying, it takes a bit of practice to roll the meat in the tortillas so if you try this I highly recommend that you cool the meat prior to shredding, don't over fill the tortillas with the meat and make sure it isn't too close to the edges of the tortilla so it doesn't pop out into the hot oil and burn you while frying. I also recommend that you preheat each tortilla prior to stuffing with the meat, this alleviates the tortilla from breaking and cracking. And also, make sure you drain these delicious little monsters very well on paper towels before serving. If you're serving more than one or two people, feel free to place each fried taquito into a baking pan and place into the over on the lowest heat for warming until all are fried.

Well everybody, now that I've given you some ideas for the Mexican holiday cuisine, I'm wishing you a fantastic weekend and hope that you enjoy whatever it is that you'll be doing and eating...even if it's barbecuing a steak! Moooooo!

Be well and happy happy happy,

Susie Rosso Wolf



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Prairie Post #3, May 2nd, 2012

Prairie Post # 3
New Prairie Woman
Susie Rosso Wolf



Although it's only been a couple of days since I've last posted it seems like a million years because I've been coming and going and oh so busy here tending to our little life. The old man and I were exhausted last night and this morning after an extensive day in Bozeman yesterday visiting, of all places, the many pawn shops that dot the landscape from Belgrade to the farthest corner of Bozeman. Kurt was looking for something in particular, some tool of some sort and thought maybe he could find it in a pawn shop. Never having stepped one foot in a pawn shop before I was so surprised by the plethora of odd and interesting items in these stores. At the very first place we stopped in I discovered a beautiful silver plated ladies dresser hand mirror that had my name written all over it. Although no, it wasn't sterling silver, the pretty little thing had enough silver in it to catch my eye while the roses scrolled around the edges of the glass and the perfect lines of straight scrolls that became patterned looping scrolls screamed 1960's. I had to have it and so I treated myself to something I've been wanting to find for a long time. I was hoping to find the brush and comb that went along with the mirror but the friendly salesman explained that the mirror had come in as a solo item. Too bad. After the first Belgrade store we stopped in at three or four more before heading to Bozeman from frontage Road.

Just at the 19th Street exit we stopped in at Cashmen's Nursery to investigate their prices on soil amendments for the garden and then we drove up to Seventh Street and visited Murdoch's Nursery to compare prices. We walked around both nurseries enough for a bit of fatigue to set in but Kurt insisted that we continue on to most of the pawn shops on the Seventh Street strip, as he was in serious search of the item he simply had to have. When we entered a store named "New 2 You" my eye was immediately caught by a huge and beautiful hutch near the back of the store. I wandered off from Kurt, while he made a b-line for the tool section, only to discover that "New 2 You" had an antique furniture showroom that included a French Provincial dining room table that was so gorgeous my mouth fell open and din't close, I'm sure, for a full minute or two at least. It was one of the most unusual pieces I've ever seen and was indescribable in the English language so I won't attempt to paint a picture of this stunning furniture, rather, I will only tell you that it was drop dead Ga Ga gorgeous and I wanted it in the worst way. However, it didn't really belong in Montana with its smooth rounded lines accented by fast jabbing edges and its exquisite table top of actual tortoise shell and then there was the issue of it costing a cool $11,785.00 which of course I didn't exactly have enough quarters in my thrift shop coin purse to handle the bill. So I walked away for the incredible piece only to feel happy that at least I was able to see such a thing in the land of rustic log furniture, deer, bear, moose and elk head mounts in most homes I've had the pleasure to visit. Ah, Montana! Nothing like French Provincial here! Yes, that would go over really well on the prairie!

After quite some time Kurt finally located me in the back of the store looking at artwork of various strengths and weaknesses and then together we made our way over to the cowboy boot section, the fitness machine section, the vintage clothing section, the vintage glass-works section, the jewelry section and then out the door and heading for home. But not so fast, there were three more stores to stop at and so I tagged along strictly for the sake of being a good wife and not for the sake of curiosity. Ha ha. Unfortunately for Kurt he never did locate the special tool he needed but we had a great day anyway, out and about together, which happens far and few between his road trips and construction jobs.

It was quite a cold day today with dark clouds hovering over our pastureland and the wind coming off the snowy mountains was biting and mind numbing so instead of working in the garden, starting to prepare to plant seeds and starts, I spent the day cooking and cleaning and running errands. I did manage to make a trip out to the garden to add a bowl of compost from today's kitchen trimmings to the compost bin our neighbor and friend, Jeff, helped Kurt to construct for me on the edge of my garden. Bundled up as if it were December, I quickly dumped the contents of the stainless steel bowl, (onion skins and carrot ends and cucumber peeling, etc.,) and then I ran back to my kitchen where it was warm and cozy. Today, as most days here do, I was reminded that I don't live in just anyplace on the planet, I live in Montana and here one never knows what to expect. One day you can be doing nothing much at all and enjoying a mild Spring day and in just a moment you are dashing across your pasture trying to dodge a rain-burst from a system making its way from the North and that system could be dumping rain, snow, sleet or snow. Even in July. Inasmuch as I'm waiting with great anticipation to break out my nice navy blue Capri pants and white top to wear with blue sandals, or my lovely dress hanging in my closet now for quite some time without ever coming out, chances are I'll be wearing long pants with thermal underwear and my Carhart jacket for much of the rest of this year, minus a few weeks once we do actually see some warmer temperatures.

Montana remains a mystery to me and each and every day I'm enamored by it's audacity and ability to keep me on my toes with never ending surprises. Yes, indeed, I was surprised by pawn shops, and so many of them, and all of the wonderful things inside these shops that held such secrets of their own. I look forward to pawn shopping with Kurt again some day, perhaps I will find something to knock my socks off!

Be well and happy,

Susie Rosso Wolf


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