Jane Kirkpatrick will be the keynote speaker at NCWA’s Renewal Conference in May. See end of post for links.
With dreams of creating a home and vineyard in the rugged terrain of eastern Oregon, modern day homesteaders Jerry and Jane Kirkpatrick left “secure jobs and family.” They sold everything and moved to 160 acres in the canyons along the John Day River, “twenty-five miles from the nearest town and eleven miles from a paved road.”
In her adventurous book Homestead, Kirkpatrick describes the beauty:
“To our right, benches of sagebrush-sprinkled land reached out like fat fingers toward the river. Between the benches sank jagged ravines crisscrossed with deer trails. Like a blue-satin ribbon circling a gift wrapped in hazy greens and browns, the river wound its way along the entire edge of the property on the right.”
“I handed Jerry the Special [.38] and reached down to pull the rock back that harbored the snake. I jumped three feet instead when Jerry yelled, ‘Don’t touch that rock! It’ll strike!’ Instead, with his high western boot, Jerry rolled the rock with his foot and, with one shot, did in the rattler coiled in the shadow of our house.”
To lay phone lines, the Kirkpatricks rented a “trencher,” purchased “eight-hundred-pound spools of wire,” and worked for weeks to bury the cable to their house. In the midst of trials such as these, their resolve to homestead is tested as is their devotion to each other.
Interspersed with vivid descriptions of everyday adventures with rattlesnakes and the wild terrain, Kirkpatrick wrote several articles and books which have touched lives in ways she could not imagine. She is a firm believer that every word matters, even the inscription as she signs a book:
“For me, those little comments written in books, just like the little stories I tell when I speak, find their way into a hundred different hearts in a hundred different ways. It is the power of the story, I believe, and that’s why I can’t stop listening to the stories and writing them down.”
Don’t miss Jane Kirkpatrick, homesteader and cherished Northwest novelist, keynote speaker at NCWA’s Renewal Conference May 17 & 18th! Click the conference picture on the right-hand sidebar for more information.
Jane Kirkpatrick is internationally recognized for her 20 published books, 17 of which are historical and often set in the American West. Several of those books have been Book of the Month and Literary Guild selections.