May I introduce to you the…drum roll… “Confounded Sneetch”

Congratulations to E. Victoria Flynn of!!!
YOU WIN A FREE SIGNED BOOK! My kids (the judges of this contest– skilled out-of-the-barn thinkers) are die hard Dr. Seussians and have always loved this story about racial profiling, even though they see it simply as a tale about the pain and trouble that ensues when we live in a world of Us/Them. Thank you, Victoria!

AND THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED! Your wit and outside-the-barn thinking truly mesmerized me. I have some of the coolest blog readers around, and for that I am deeply thankful. When I started this blog a year ago and had zero readers (okay, maybe my mother), I never dreamed that I would find an audience out there in cyberland, and especially one so loyal and supportive. You all teach me so much. Thank you for showing up here at These Here Hills. The next contest will be announced soon… Hint: turn to page 301 of my book (THIS IS NOT THE STORY YOU THINK IT IS)

I’m going to be travelling in the next few weeks doing book promo in the New York, Hartford, and Chicago areas, so I may be thin on the blog entries… yrs. Laura

Hello, everybody. I’ve been having fun barn chasing this summer– which is how, at least this gal, deals with FINALLY getting a book published after 20 years and all that comes along with it. Better than therapy. Thinking outside-the-box as a practice is a total blast. I encourage you to try it. What designs do you see in the world over and over? For me it’s often heart-shaped things, especially rocks. But as a little girl growing up in Illinois, it was always faces in barn fronts. Living in Montana, there are lots of opportunities to engage this childhood fantastical thinking.TO THAT END:

I’m holding a contest here on my blog from now until September 12 (which my calendar tells me is Grandparents Day– seems somehow approriate).

To enter the contest, simply send in your best shot at naming the above barn in the comment section here on this post. Is it a celebrity? A concept? A country? A kind of sandwich? Let your common sense go and dream a little. It’s good for you.
The winner WINS A SIGNED FIRST EDITION copy of my book THIS IS NOT THE STORY YOU THINK IT IS. This contest will be judged by a team of highly skilled professional out-of-the-box thinkers: my two kids. (14 and 10. Girl and a boy, to be gender fair, but hopefully not ageist, as I’ll probably weigh in too. And probably my husband too– 44 years old, each of us.)

Additional opportunity for the extra outside-of-the-boxers: A signed book will also be sent to the person who sends in the best original barn photo and name…

Please feel free to pass this contest and link along to your friends. Imagine what could happen with a whole lot of people thinking outside-the-box and sharing as much. (Even if you live in the city, I bet there are barns in your life somewhere. If not, feel free to name any building that has a face to you and submit that photo. Could be really interesting…)

To get the out-of-the-box juices flowing, you can see what I did on my summer vacation here:

Kalispell, Montana (side-talker)

Valier, Montana (needs braces)
Belt, Montana (has braces)

Red Lodge, Montana (that mean Nellie Olson)

Lewistown, Montana (Cyclops, the 8th dwarf)
Lakeside, MT (Meow)
Evergreen, MT (Mrs. Havisham maybe better on a foggy morning…)
Great Falls, Montana (Namaste or Burl Ives as the snow man in Rudolph. Can’t decide.)
Whitefish, MT (Hannibal Lecter)
Chester, Vermont (Gerorge Washington and his wooden teeth 1700s barn from Amy)

Kenosha, Wisconsin (a literal face sent in by Robb)
Bartow County, Georgia (Rapunzel Rapunzel, let down your hair… from Lisa)
Bartow County, Georgia (Old Mother Hubbard–the face is in the cupola, her skirts below– from Lisa)

Proctor, MT (Dr. John.)

Proctor, MT (Jim Henson)

Lake Mary Ronan, MT (Tweety bird)

Somewhere in Montana (Little Red Hen)

Libby, MT (Baby Face)

Sweden (A Work In Progress from Terri)

Missoula, MT (Ghost of Christmas Past)
Arlee, MT (Fu Man Chu)
Polson, MT (Not the gum drop buttons!)



Filed under Contests! Win a signed hardcover of THIS IS NOT THE STORY YOU THINK IT IS!, Every Barn Has a Face, Little Hymns to Montana, My book: This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness, My Posts


  1. Autumn

    Upside-down Texas with a moustache.

  2. Hmm. Star Treatment is the name I’ve chosen. :)

  3. Jane Lustig

    Betsey Ross Side Car

    One entry per person?

  4. Jane Lustig

    Betsy Ross Side Car

  5. Carolyn Gordon

    “The Little Barn that could …”

  6. Laurie

    Ol’ Mutha Duck

    • lauramunson

      I love that it’s “ol mutha duck.” Sounds like something naughty. I’m sure my kids will love this one. They love it when their mother (mutha) swears, which is often. Dirty secret. THANKS!

  7. Brett

    American Gothic by Grant Wood is at the Art Institute of Chicago, your hometown, yet your barn isn’t exactly in the gothic revival style with that star and all.

    Ah, but wait… the state bird of Montana is the Western Meadowlark, and which famous sportsmen wore stars upon their jerseys (the 1979 Houston Astros excluded please. God, those uniforms were not only coyote ugly but a fire hazard as well) ? Why.. none other than the Harlem Globetrotters.

    My proposal is: Meadowlark Lemon

    • lauramunson

      All I can say is OMG. I’m not letting my kids see these comments so it’s totally non-partial, but this one…!!!!holy shit, it made me laugh. THANK YOU, then, for that!

  8. Julie Adams

    That Darn Barn

    • lauramunson

      Which has so much to do with My darn Cat which I think had a run in with an owl– maybe you’ve read my obnoxious FB entries about it, hence your churlish humor. Truth be told: the cat was a pain, but now I’m realizing how much more of a pain it is to have my office covered in mice. But that’s another story. Think I need to go find a barn! Thanks for this, Julie! yrs. Laura

  9. Love the barn shots! It carries a lot of nostalgia, for me. Growing up in the midwest, then moving to LA – where you never, ever see a barn. Thanks for posting! Great job. And, congratulations on the book!

    • lauramunson

      Thanks so much. Maybe you need to have a midwest respite? As a photographer, however, I KNOW you understand the art of watching, sizing up, and stopping to capture. (or free) That’s really what I’ve learned in all this barn chasing.
      yrs. Laura

  10. Julie Adams

    Frieda and her naturally red curly hair (Peanuts)

  11. Julie Adams

    Frieda with her naturally red curly hair (Peanuts)

  12. There’s a cartoon character that this totally reminds me of – but I haven’t a CLUE what the cartoon character’s name is! This is driving me crazy!

    However, in the meantime, I’ll say “The Walrus.”

  13. Jane lustig

    Pandora’s Wish

  14. Jane lustig

    The Enterprise

    ok I’m done hahahaa

    • lauramunson

      Hey– keep them coming. We are all having fun here. At least I am. You must write the essay though about Pandora’s Wish. I want to read it… yrs. Laura

  15. Not Just Another Country Barnkin!

    • lauramunson

      LOVE IT, Robin! After all the mice I’ve dealt with today, (post cat– Sylvester R.I.P after 10 years) I’m feeling a bit “barnkin-ish.”

  16. Katie Jane Wennechuk Thomas

    Charles Mansion (because of the star tattoo on his forehead). Laura’s kids: since you are running the show this is a play on words for Charles Manson who is a crazy murderer in jail who has a swastika tatooed on his forehead that he did himself. This is a dark name, I know. But I still think it is funny. Hugs to you.

  17. john

    Red ‘there’s a what on my forehead’ Gables.

  18. Andy

    Baby lucky duck takes flight

  19. Patsy Barthen

    Woody Woodpecker

  20. Janis Schmier

    How about “Barn-E”?


    She looks like the “Little Red Hen” with her feather skirt spread out to gather in all of her chicks. Can’t you see the barn sitting in a wheat field with the lazy dog, the sleepy cat, and the noisy yellow duck just inside?

  21. Patsy Barthen

    The beak screams out “Woody Woodpecker”!

  22. My name for your barn is “look Mom, I got a gold star” in memory of that kid who had to stick it on her forehead to make sure everyone knew.

  23. I’d say: the confounded sneetch–it even has a beak and a star on the forehead from all that oning and offing. :)

  24. Oh Little Barn of Bethlehem
    Converse Constellation

  25. I have another one: A Star is Barn!

    • lauramunson

      Veddy veddy witty, my dear. Good one! I’ll have to play some Streisand for the kids. Have you ever seen the orignal of that movie? I saw it in college and it put that “someday I’m gonna be somebody” spark in me, whatever that means.

  26. Robert G. Longpré

    The Doors – Reference to the music of the grandparents as well as the fact of a lot of doors. As well, it reminds me of the song “Paint it Black” (I see a red door and I want to paint it black) by the Rolling Stones.

    • lauramunson

      Thanks, Robert. You all are so witty! We’ll have to crank some Doors and Stones for the kids to make it fair! yrs. Laura

  27. Heather Rue

    Sorry if this is a repeat from an earlier comment I sent – we lost power and not sure if it was submitted.

    Star Grazing

    Little Red Siding Stood (praying for no wolves)

    Lady BaaBaa

  28. Hmmm doesn’t look like my entry showed up. Here goes again: The confounded sneetch :)

    • lauramunson

      Hey, Victoria. I approved it this morning, so I’m not sure where it went, but I mentioned that my kids will love the Dr. Seuss allusion! Thanks! yrs. Laura

  29. Rosemary Russett (type of apple)-all dolled up and no place to go!

  30. Zuckerman’s Famous Pig


    Twinkle, Twinkle Little Barn

    • lauramunson

      Charlotte’s Web is a house favorite around here so youmay just have sonmething! Made me belly laugh! yrs. Laura

  31. Christmas Wabbit Caught with Carrot, ears flopped down in embarrassment.

  32. Chicken Little :)
    I see “Chicken Little’s face from the Walt Disney’s Chicken Little Movie…..a favorite in our house!
    With one teen and two little ones we seem to see a lot of Disney :)
    Also I wanted to say “Hey” :) We are currently in Illinois with our home for sale and as soon as it sells we are headed to Montana. So when I found your blog on the Big Sky Blog I was instantly intrigued, you having been a mid west gal and all. :) We have been working toward our goal of moving to Montana since 2007 and hope it is all coming together now. We are headed for the Garnet Mountains! Take care and thanks for the fun contest!! I have a feeling you may hear from more of my family as they observe the picture.
    Take care and soak up that Montana air for me!

    • lauramunson

      Thanks, Michelle! I hope your journey here feels clean and new and that you have a warm welcome in the Garnet Mountains! That is my other favorite area in Montana. We’re up in the NW corner. Are you moving to Livingston, perchance? I have a lot of friends down there. The Paradise Valley is truly paradise. Stay in touch, from one IL/MT gal to another. Oh, and thanks for the Chicken Little comment! The kids will love it. yrs. Laura

  33. bailey

    i think it looks like a duck :)

  34. Kristy

    the Plucky Barn.
    I like Plucky because it also has the word Lucky in it!

    • lauramunson

      Good one, Kristy! The word plucky should be used more often! The contest ends next week and the winner will be posted here. yrs. Laura

  35. JJ North

    My name is Jimmy Durante. ‘Goodnight Mrs.
    Calabash, wherever you are.’

    • lauramunson

      As the daughter of a WWII era father, I know EXACTLY what this alludes to and it made me think of my dad. Thanks for that. He used to always say, “Write when you get work” which was another popular radio send off. He never got used to the idea of watching TV. He “listened” to the TV, and just to keep him alive in my living room, I say the same. Thanks, JJ. Barn winner to be announced on the 12th. Loved this one in an intimate way. yrs. Laura

  36. Donald J Stifler

    Name the barn: The Aristocrat

  37. Donald J Stifler

    Barn Name: The Aristocrat

  38. Kathy O'Neill

    “Centered and Balanced”
    “Writers Retreat”

    • lauramunson

      Funny you should write that, Kathy. I have a dream to build a barn on my property out here in Montana and have the top floor be rooms, and a central living area for writing retreats. Involving horses. Dreams come true, I’ve found, so maybe this is prophetic… Thank you. yrs. Laura

  39. Susan Morgan

    I can’t stop thinking this, so I’ll get it out of my brain and hopefully into yours…

    Barn to be Wild

  40. This is…

    The Purposeful Pentacle Magick Barn

    Throwing a stone into the sky with best wishes -

    Laura Brooks

  41. Ahhh, multiple entries?
    Being a natural Green Witch (green thumb, natural healer, unwanted psychic abilities), though I don’t go for organized ANYthing, I have thought of a less witchcraft-y name – White Good – like Glenda the Good Witch in the *wonderful* Wizard of Oz – (*I* want a horse of many colours!) or Black (imagine black with an HTML cross-out line through it)…

    ‘O Starry Barn

    With a teeny green stone throne up high,
    Laura Brooks

    P.S. Like T.C. Boyle, I like run-ons. Sometimes. Forgive? I couldn’t not talk like I talk =)

    • lauramunson

      Run ons are just fine on my blog. I am a fan. I’m going to be singing Starry Starry Night all day. yrs. Laura

      • Yes! I’ve been caroling it as an earworm all day!
        As a child, I was in choir (like in Lake Wobegone, Lutheran LOL) till age 15. We’d carol holding candles during Xmas seasons in the Catonsville, MD neighborhoods.

        Oh, Starry Barn! Your warmth is softly call-ing…

        (that should be a New Farm Carol)


  42. julietwilson

    wonderful series of barn photos! I’d call it ‘Starry Red Fields’

    Crafty Green Poet

  43. Cradle of Dreams

    That’s what I would name the barn, Laura. Not sure why, it just jumped out at me today … the name, that is! Hope all is well with you. Looking forward to reading your lovely memoir … as always, Daisy @ Sunny Room Studio (hard at work today!)

  44. Patty Viers

    Hi Laura,

    I’d like to offer my suggestion to name this beautiful barn “Mr. Keating’s English Class” – in honor of Robin Williams character in the movie “Dead Poet’s Society”. In this youtube video, he is telling his students that we must all constantly strive to look at things in a different way. “When you read, don’t just consider what the author thinks – consider what you think.” … “you must strive to find your own voice.” Also wanted to let you know -that I recently discovered your book at the library-and just bought a copy to keep. I’m only on page 60 something-totally LOVE your writing. And so happy to have found you on facebook. : ) Patty Viers Toledo, Ohio

    • lauramunson

      Patti– you just made my evening complete. I LOVE that movie and that scene. Thanks for sharing with all of us. Great reminder. Glad you found my book. I hope it continues to touch you. I would add to Mr. Williams, that we must strive to find our voice…and then we must be HUNGRY for it. Whether we’re writers or not. yrs. Laura

  45. Heather

    Wise Man’s Third Eye

  46. Sarah Baughman

    “Wish Upon A Barn”

    I love reading the entries!

  47. Congratulations, Victoria! Great barn name!!

  48. Congrats, EVF! Looking forward to your visit, Laura.

  49. Thank you so much, Laura! I’m so thrilled your kids liked the name and the book so much. It’s on my top shelf of kids book titles.

    I’ll pass on the news and maybe I’ll see you in Chicago.

    I would also like to mention that my blog has moved to Stop by for a visit :)

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