Valerie Biel, WI

Critically Acclaimed Writer

Valerie is the author of the award-winning Circle of Nine series, stories inspired by Celtic mythology and Irish legend. The UK Writers Hub has honored her blog as one of the top 50 of 2018. When she’s not writing, she’s wrangling her overgrown garden, traveling the world, researching genealogy, and reading everything she can find. She holds journalism and political science degrees from the University of Wisconsin, and lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband and occasionally a grown child or two. She passionately believes that everyone has a story to tell and would be honored to help you tell yours.

As a Story Terrace writer, Valerie interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.

Christmas on the Farm

I grew up on a dairy farm, the youngest of six kids. Even though I am over 50, my mother still refers to me as “the caboose.” (And I still roll my eyes.) My birth order position insulated me from some of the harsher chores, something my older siblings point out from time to time. So, while I can claim the title of “farm kid,” I must admit that I never milked cows before I had to get on the bus for school. I occasionally baled hay, popping the clutch on hillsides with regularity and sending my brother flying off the back of the wagon into the field. (I was not a particularly skilled tractor driver.)

As a teen, living on the farm was a burden. We were too far from town, I never knew what was going on with my friends, and I definitely didn’t want to do the chores I was assigned. I vowed to move away and never live in this boring place again! I went to college and lived in or near bigger cities for more than a decade. I even spent one glorious semester living in London.

But then, my husband and I did what was previously unthinkable. We decided to move back to the farm and raise our children near their grandparents. We are continually grateful for my parents’ willingness to sell us some acreage to build our house. Now, I live in a place where I can see my brother’s home across the farm fields (formerly my grandparents’ home), and if it weren’t for a smallish hill and a stand of trees, I could see my parents’ house too.

I am most appreciative for this closeness as Christmas approaches. The snow will soon blanket these fields. The lake where I made my first attempts at ice skating has a skim of ice. And the enormous pine trees near my parents’ home remind me of the many times we were able to harvest our own Christmas trees from these rows before they grew too big.

I still look forward to many of the same traditions I enjoyed as a child. We continue to cut down our own tree each year, always agreeing it is the most beautiful one we’ve ever had. We decorate outside until our fingers turn numb and force us inside for a warm-up break that often involves eating some of the many cookies we’ve baked for the season.

I have no regrets in letting go of my teenage-vow to live somewhere more exciting, because this is home and family—no matter the season.

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