Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Day

At least I hope it is a good day for anyone who is looking at this.
I am connecting with you by trying to make my wishes for this coming year come to life on this page.
Wishes for me and for you. I,m satisfied to tell you that I have ideas and plans that only God as given me and only He can bring to fruition. Do you feel that way? The impossible can become possible. I am the person who can say this with living conviction and experiences since my husband Jim passed out of my life.
I'm in a really new place due to God becoming my "sidekick" and showing me He is ready and waiting to give and care before I could even dream of what has happened in the last six years.
The barn is only a beginning of this story.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

So HERE is my blue. It showed up on my third try. (I need blue since it is the color I use for inspiration in the barn). Oh well, persistence is the reason for all we accomplish in life.

Now my need for persistence is the calendar year of workshops in 09. The one thing I know that we will be doing, is the second Wednesday in August the barn will host a 5 day John Steinbeck Fiesta. We will do theater, readings, discussion, spending time out in the field, eating, feeling the dry air of North Dakota in August, maybe even sleeping out in that air.

Probably September might be more dry, but the summer is better than the fall to get together with folks who teach when Sept comes. We hope to have some of these experienced Steinbeck experts along with us for our benefit.

After all, CA is dry in summer so that is why Aug in ND seems the time to do it. If you like JS, let me know. I do have limited B&B space for eating and sleeping. It is my decision to keep the number of attendees to 12 or under. I have not formulated the cost as yet. It is different if you are here as B&B, or driving in each day from whereever.

This idea changes if we have theater or movies.

JS wrote two books that we will concentrate on this summer. THE MOON IS HIGH, and MY RUSSIAN JOURNEY. The first takes place in Norway and I am Norwegian. The second takes place in the cities where I visited while we lived in Moscow from 1975 to 1977. Please keep this in mind if you're interested.

Enough hard work for tonight. I will sign off. JoAnne of Volden Farm Bed and Breakfast. website And my Email is

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


The time has come for a few words of life in the barn.
This past 8 weeks there have been hunters using the barn.
They have come from places distant, such as PA, WA, OR, WI, LA, MI, MS,

Did you know that their reservations are made through Cabela's?
They get what and where they want.
Ducks, Pheasant, Bow for deer, even fishing.
All this right here where I live and breathe and cook.

Sleeping is done in the main house and napping in the barn
while they watch TV on the new 50"(owned by the outfitters).
I've learned there is rest needed and allowed between the forages
into the wilderness of the wild!

Yes, they also eat in the main house and snack in the barn..not to forget
some liquid refreshing. Spacewise the old made new barn is
just plain good for the mountains of stuff their sport calls for.
Who could guess a year ago that my days would be made cheerier
by these folks who think North Dakota is great!

I love them all. Especially the small family from Las Vegas who
brought along their kids, Hunter, 4 and Hannah,6 --who named my 4 new kittens
--after themselves, adding also Sarah, (coincidentally the day McCain brought his
VP to our political stage), and Mattie.

Last Friday as we waved off the last couple we went into party mode, getting the house under control and then attacking the barn, carting things hither and yon to
celebrate Halloween with book club and neighbors and guitar and mandelin.
At 5:oo I slipped on a step coming down from upstairs and proceeded down the rest
of the way thumping and rolling til my body hit the cement. Only a toe is hairline fractured but the rest of my body is black and blue in all the expected spots. Enough.
That was Friday and this is Wednesday and tomorrow I fly direct from Fargo to Pheenix-Mesa where I'll continue to heal with fun and fancy and friends.

Can you believe that was all? I was happy to discover when I got untangled from
the stairs, that I could walk.

The best news of the last month is that I have a great-grandson. Kate and Nick produced
him, Kaj Delys Naujokas, (you should see the red lines under those 3 misspelled words!!)
--nine pounds seven ounces and twenty one inches long
with a pug nose and beautiful hair. Two days later he fell asleep in my arms.
It feels like a fresh breeze - a new start - and a reason to keep an
eye out for those toys that my eight grandsons didn't quite wear out.

God is good in each day and each minute of each day. It's like getting up on
my tiptoes to see over into the day to come, because I always wanted to
know ----- what next.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Photo and Music night

Here's hoping that I can make this blog do what I want which is to have my message centered like it was from the first until the last couple.  But to get to the point, the evening of  the BARN was a success to my way of thinking.  About 50 or so turned up and that was after only two weeks of advertising in the local paper, the Courier.  We did have about 30 classy posters in strategic spots around the county.  Merry made those and she used the great photo of a new colt twisting around her mommy's legs..stunning, I think.

There are over 20 pieces in the show, which will hang in my barn for a few more weeks, in case any of you want to come look at the Elk, and the eye of the Buffalo, and numerous black and white cows as well as horses.  The prices range from $125 up to $255 for the show centerpiece.  I want some of them, to put it lightly, because at least one of cows and one of horses should stay here where we opened the barn to the public for the first time.  

And the excitement was huge for me to have such a mix of neighbors from all directions.  I was gratified and honored, really, that this effort was recognized  and enjoyed by so many. 

The food was fun.  Blueberry, Cranberry and Wild Rice sausage cut into bite sized squares and eaten with Olive bread covered with  a smear of Basil Pesto.  Havarti cheese on flatbreads, as well as crisp Flax crackers.  Citrus water and wine filled out the menu.

It was good to hear Merry tell how she found the animals she has captured, even as
this is  a new venture for her.  At least in this venue.  Her many other forms of "fun" are too many to mention or even remember, but do include writing in many forms, historical research, gardening seriously ( dozens of Iris ),   Creating  screen and music  work..etc.  We are just  fortunate tonight to have her share with us

 So that was Merry's intro, but more than food and photos, came when Roger began to play one of the three guitars he had on our Zebra covered "stage".  His intro, was to chat some about the difference listeners feel when they hear new music for the first time,  instead of the comfortable oldies everyone knows.  We actually did singalong on the choruses of a few that caught our ear.  Roger and Merry have voices that are together in tone and intensity whether soft as a whisper or belted with gusto.  So much of their music is complex in it's intent to tell a story with both voices cutting in and out in a manner which surprised and pleased me.  This was an event that would have been  worthy of having saved on a video.  Oh well.   Especially in the barn which is set up for a 10 week Hunting Lodge.

I could go on,  but better quit this blog now.  I'm happy happy to have the barn move this far in only a matter of months.  Steps and a porch of steel with holes and some other touches have come  into reality for more happy happy.  Next year -  ramp and some color - red oil stain, will add even more...and perhaps some bunk room and small kitchen and small bath???? On the lower level where cats and kittens now live.

I want and need! to sell more Russian Art so that I can do all this for family and hunters and friends!!

Whee.....for now....Jo Abigail...who is 75 in a couple days and will be on a plane to DC and then NC and the beach with some kids and grandkids...hang gliding and hours of swimming.


Monday, September 1, 2008

This has been a long month because I have been away from my farm and my barn. There have been no workshops and it makes me anxious for the next event which will be on

Mary Helm
September 12, 2008
6:30 - Refreshments
7:30 - Artist's Talk
8:00 - Original Music by Mary and Roger

So come and see these horses - descendants of the horses of Sitting Bull - in a new way.
You'll be as surprised as I was when Mary, who is my sometimes neighbor, took some of the framed pieces out of the trunk of her car and laid them on the grass so I could see and decide if it would be a good idea to use my barn for the display and sale of same.

The work on my workshop barn is going along at a small pace, but enough to encourage me as I plan to invite the public to attend an evening such as I am describing.
Certainly I will say more in a few days - I just needed to get it "out there"

As for where I've been: August 1 through 10 I flew with my granddaughter, Ashley Vigesaa,to Japan to visit another granddaughter, Anna Dyrud. She is now leaving to return home to Mpls after teaching English for a year in the northern city of Morioka. We also spent time with my friend, Yayoi Kamamura, in Kawasaki.

From August 15 through 25 I was in CA visiting friends and family.

I am taking care of Hunters for the next couple months as they bow hunt for deer in the area.
This is my idea of fun - meeting people from Falmouth, Maine and Las Vegas, Nevada this week. We have breakfast at 10:00 AM and supper at 10:00 PM. This year they are enjoyng the use of my renewed barn which is equipped with a 50" TV and comfortable seating.

My next trip will be with grandson, Jacob Vigesaa, to the beach on the Outer Banks of NC, by way of VA where we be joined by my daughter, Lisa, and her son Bjorn. The boys are both 9th graders and so will be taken out of school for this educational experience. This will be September 18 ( my 75th Birthday ) through 28 - surely a good reason for celebrating, don't you think?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

We did the Health thing...

We had a great gathering of like minds in the BARN that is, we all were and are interested in taking care of our bodies and our families and our homes.

Sherry gave us info on all those matters.
She has been garnering material in many ways for years and so when she explains the gifts she feels she has been given by God, it is a wonder to see how she uses those gifts.

I can't go there in this format and couldn't anyway since it is her world, not mine.

I know this much...that I want to clean up my eating habits for a more comfortable life..why not?
I 've already given up pop in any esp.

And I have a filter for water, at least at my sink, which takes out chlorine and flouride.
It would be best to have a filter for the entire water supply because then you wouldn't be bathing in nasties.

Shelley was really a STRECTH the next day as she lectured on all the ways our muscles woud be better off if we treated them with respect.

This was videoed and so when she gets it ready, maybe you could send me a message and for sure I will let you know. (or the other way around)

Holly took the Saturday afternoon and gave us a chance to see by way of handouts, what is pulling her into this world of wating the right things. Five of us did lots of asking and sharing and we were
STILL having massages until around 7:00 or so.

I forgot to tell you that on Friday night we were 15 interested people.

Let me say that men are welcome always.
And for those who don't know, this is a B&B with comfy beds etc, for a reasonable fee.

bye.... from the BARN hostess!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hi here I am again to tell you what happened at the Health Workshop last Friday and Saturday.  It was beyond my other words, I didn't know what to expect.  Fri we had a surprising total of 15 attendees, including the leaders for the entire event.  Sherry brought a neighbor and friend who often works with her when they are asked to help anyone who may need their advice.  To make you curious, they do DOWSING when asked.  That is not something that I will try to talk about since it is not a familiar topic for me.  Just let me say that we all found the talk about food and energy and chemicals and negative space in our lives and homes, jump started our curiosity beyond  describing.

The next day we were down to 5 attendees, but that just meant that we all had more time to absorb what Shelley told us of the stretching we should be doing for optimum health.  She took this time to have her talk videoed and it will include the stretches we did.  She gave us all personal attention as she taught us what to do.  Now if I could just remember!!!  Oh yes, I will buy the video.  Won't that be handy?  

After lunch, Holly gave us a chance to see why she is so excited about all the new sources she has found and continues to find on the net.  Her tabbed notebook is 5 inches thick.  We didn't have time to look through it, but just seeing it was a lesson.  Because we were so few, there was energy and time for each of us to have a chair message from Shelley.  Do I need to tell you how good that felt?

This concludes the Workshops that are planned for this year.  I will be leaving for Japan and after that for a trip to good ol" California, land of part of my childhood and home of my sister Rhoda andbrothers Lowell and Ralph. Then September, October and two weeks of November, my Bed and Breakfast becomes a Hunting Lodge.

Actually, I've not said a thing on this Blog about the fact that I have operated a B&B since 1989.
There is a Website,, where you can take a look at some info about it.  On my page which descibes my starting workshops, I need to take off the three months when I won't be doing any.  That is due to the need of my space for hunters this year.

So this" brief" overview of the use of the BARN is ended for tonight.  Do keep reading as I post items of interest (maybe) for you.  

Thursday, July 17, 2008

new workshop soon

I am finally back after quite a long spell of not writing due to not having time.
Now I have a lot to write about.

The day after tomorrow, which will be July 18th, at 7:00 PM in the BARN, we will be having the first discussion on the subject of Health.

Our speaker is Sherry Loen-Bakke
Her specialty as I understand it, will be in the area of all natural living. She is the mentor of my daughter, Holly Vigesaa, who has become interested and somewhat passionate about improving a situation concerning bone loss, to be specific.

Please call me at 701-769-2275 if you would like to attend.

The next day, July 19th, will be an all day workshop in the barn on various ways we can improve our overall health.

Another special guest is Shelley Zimprich.
At 9:00 AM she will tell us all the reasons we should be STRETCHING for our health. And next she will demonstrate for the Video camera just how we will do the same Do you believe that? Well--
Come and see...for sure it will be fun!
If the filming is a success, the video will be available for us to buy and
use when we stretch and teach others to stretch..hopefully.

For the rest of the morning there will be coffee and a few further suggestions for ways to relax and think about what we can do to improve.....

Lunch is in the house at noon

After lunch there will be time to wander to a quiet spot and do "solitude" , bringing perhaps pencil and paper for drawing or writing a few thoughts from the day so far.
Volden Farm has gardens with places to sit and vistas to see. This includes a Sculpture Garden created for Jim, my husband of near 50 years whose ashes are
scattered across what he called "the tree farm". I have a Prayer Chair there with a tool box and in that is a plastic bag and in that are two instruments for your musical moment as well as a map and list of hidden farm "junk sculptures" I've been adding to the garden over the past five years. It is also good to sign a sweet book which is in the bag..

At 1:30 we meet in the BARN and will be sharing ideas with Holly from research she has been exploring about natural food and it's sources.

During the day there will be a possibility to signup for a massage in the house. Shelley is my massage therapist and I am happy to share her strong hands and years of experience with you. There will be a sign up sheet as well as info as to the cost.

While we're on the subject of cost, I want to explain that since this is
my first year of workshops and that there is still much to finish in the barn, I'm not asking a specific fee. It pleases me to trust that you will feel the time has been worth your while and what you are able to leave for expenses in the jar on the desk will be appreciated.

Now if only someone wil read this in the next few hours.
Truth is that I couldn't figure out how to post after it had been so long away from it.
For your amusement, it is 4:00 AM since I couldn't sleep.

Surely it is the FULL MOON out my sunroom window which is keeping my eyes from closing.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

This blog thing is going to be fun, I can tell.
I''m learning more each time a helper comes along with an expertise I need.
For instance, I was sure that I'd lost the 1st and 2nd posts and was crushed.
But along came a friend who was also a blogger and on her computer she found them for me and so they are back.
Maybe not in the order I did them, but I will learn soon how to 
fill in a kind of overview of all that I'd like to blog about.
And I have decided to actually punctuate and NOT run on like my brain does.
My barn is not finished, since it still needs outside steps and a ramp going down from a 
porch which will be 12'by 6' . That is not all it still needs.  It needs a door at the top
of the inside steps, which are newly built.  It needs book shelves with room for
serving coffee,  as well as a wide screen with tech  accoutrements to aid in telling
the story, whichever the workshops will need to tell.
Of course water as in kitchen and bathroom will be desirable,  hopefully, 

next year.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Volden Farm Workshops

What is sad about having a barn and a new computer
is that I can't yet show you my barn or some great shots
of my first workshop about gardening and landscaping with rocks

We had that last weekend and we had the perfect time together even with three nice people I had never met and that is the point of having barn workshops new and fresh apples which no one ate they all said I fed them too well for lunch

You know, I live here in farm country in N.D where
lunch at noon is dinner so if you didn't know that tidbit before you know it now!

I've lived on this farm since 1977 and before that I lived many other places some of which are Brooklyn (was born there) Pasadena Great Britain Arlington Dayton Moscow and this is where I belong now.

Some years ago I began to worry about the barn It was clearly deteriorating
SO last winter we began to fix the broken parts and soon we made unplanned decisions such as the roof needs to be made straight and let us insulate everything and pretty soon I began to think that more than cats should occupy this kind of nice looking space even windows with a good view of the hills
Yes I said hills with Angus moms and little onesin the summer.

During the 19 years I've had a B&B some guests have suggested the barn could have a purpose Potting Drawing Basketing Writing or making any kind of a mess whether on the floor or in the head and THAT is how voldenfarmworkshops got it's START!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The story goes like this. I am a new computer person. I acquired a Macbook so I could publish a book about my Russian experience (to be mentioned at a later date). Meantime, I have in the last few months been changing the nonuse of the barn (except for housing cats, mostly calico types, and kittens), to a good use!

This weekend in my barn, I have held the first workshop, called Lilac Days, maybe more appropriately called, Daze.
We were a few
More information to come in another post

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

introducing the barn @ Volden Farm

Hello I live on a farm
and on my farm I have a barn
and now I will tell you
what I am doing in my barn.
The point of it all is that
I am saving a barn built in the year