ST. GEORGE — Hurricane resident Jarolyn Stout is a singer, a member of the Peach Days board, a preparedness guru, a farmer, a mother and a grandmother.
She is also a passionate writer whose memoirs of raising her family on a 4-acre farm in Hurricane were recently published in Country Magazine, a publication which, by its own description, shares authentic stories about life and the land in America.
Stout’s story paints an idyllic picture of life in small-town Utah, and though it is emphasized by hard work, it is a story that helped her children learn the value of the earth, family and of life.
An excerpt from her story reads:
Here, on our 4-acre farm in Hurricane, Utah, the kids learned how to work hard hauling hay, building fences, caring for animals, and growing and canning fruits and veggies. And they became lifelong best friends in the process.
Stout and her husband bought the land where they raised their eight children in 1990, she explains in her story, and there welcomed a host of farm animals, planted a garden and an orchard and worked to create an outdoor paradise.
“We said we were not raising hay, fruit or cattle; we were raising kids,” the article said.
Other passages in her story describe how her children would float along the canals created by irrigation water and take naps on large swings made of mattresses.
Stout’s article, entitled “The Great Harvest,” was written as part of a contest that Country Magazine was holding. The theme for the contest was “The View From Our Place,” Stout said, adding that the rules asked for pictures and a story explaining what entrants’ homes and the surrounding areas look like and what they might tell someone who was visiting from out of the area.
“I didn’t win,” Stout said.
The magazine chose a winner and runners-up and published those stories, Stout said. Then one day she got a letter from the magazine wanting to publish her story.
The story appeared in the April/May issue of Country Magazine, and in addition to reminiscing on raising her children on the farm, the story reads as a sort of love letter to Southern Utah, its scenic beauty and all the adventures that Stout and her family found and continue to find in the landscape.
Stout’s Southern Utah roots are deep, having been raised in Hurricane herself and having spent ample time on her extended family’s properties; a cabin on Kolob Mountain and a ranch near the Arizona border.
And she loves her hometown, serving diligently on the city’s Peach Days board, singing at events like the Washington County Fair, Peach Days and the Festival of Trees, and helping to maintain the small-town feel despite the area’s growth.
Stout is no stranger to having her work published. A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she has also had work published in the religion’s “Ensign” magazine, and she writes a monthly preparedness blog – or what she calls provident living based on things her grandma taught her – which contains all sorts of tips for food storage, emergency preparedness and more. Though Stout is quick to say she is not a prepper.
“It just helps people think of more ways to be prepared,” Stout said. “Hopefully it will inspire more people to be prepared for things like the coronavirus.”
Stout is also dedicated in keeping a journal, something she said helps her bring life to her memories and empowers her future.
“It seems like when you paint the picture of life, it helps you see how much you have to be grateful for. When my kids read the article, it made them all reminisce and express gratitude for their growing up years,” Stout said.
Stout said she hopes to one day write and have a children’s book published, but for now she has a garden to plant, a farm to take care of and grandchildren to lull to sleep on mattress swings.
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