Hashes & Bashes

Sparty darted from the corner of the barn, his Dalmatian dots blurring like flurrying snow. He'd been idly nosing a Daddy Long Legs, a passel of sticks that wouldn't play. Steve's head jerked to follow his dog, and because his arm followed the trajectory, Old Bessie mooed "red alert!"

Odd. Sparty seldom left Steve's side for long when he was milking, content to supervise stoically. Outdoors the squirrels scampered in disquieted haste, to beat the winter that always seemed on its way. Sparty could chase them all day.

Odder yet, Sparty's bark was neither rascal-pursuit or guardian-like. Steve deciphered his dog's messages as readily as Jackie understood Brandon's baby whimpers and coos. Sparty sounded like boyhood Christmas.

"Sorry, Old Bess," Steve said with a pat to the cow's haunch, "but I gotta go reconnoiter. Sparty is playing the scout."

Steve lifted his cap to scruff his longish hair and then resettled it. He hoped the S aligned properly, his version of company best. Whoever was out there was new, not a neighbor. He may have heard tires crunch the gravel of the lane moments ago, plausible because the postman and pastor made rounds.

His recently-divorced and near-thirty son, Brandon, might be home from a date, stumbling in soon to do chores. More likely lurching toward his personal suite, their Winnebago parked between the two small yellow barns, to game.

Steve was unalarmed. It was, after all, his property and his dog, both long tethered to his soul. His wife, Jackie, was cooking massive quantities of homogenized, teen-pleasing fare at what she called her lively 'hood, the local high school cafeteria.

Steve strode purposefully to cross the milk barn threshold, yet his curiosity threatened to loft his cap into the breeze. Fall swirled the air with possibility. With winter's frosty temps, folks bought more milk, probably for vast quantities of hot cocoa and holiday baking. "Hurrah" for health benefits sabotaged by season-sanctioned treats and extra cash for the Breeden Dairy.

"Howdy. To what do I owe the pleasure?" Steve said to the figure backlit by midmorning sun, his tone friendly yet authoritarian. Cautious, strangely calm. Sparty's tongue vigorously worked the stranger's extended palm, as if he was lapping up crumbs. His body waggled more than it did for Brandon.

"You owe the pleasure to our awesome mom," the man boomed. He patted Sparty's head, stood, and extended his arm.

"Say what?" Steve took in the Tony Lamas that trumped his functionally forlorn rubber boots, his gut struck with emotion as if kicked.


Faith, family, and frenzy—handled with humor and aplomb by a group of lively characters who populate small town and rural America. Hashes & Bashes flirts with satire on contemporary social issues, clashes fraught with folly rather than fists. Nine months after their abbreviated RV road trip, detailed in the award-winning book, Stashes, the Breeden family farm routines have stabilized. Jackie returned to her school cafeteria job and thirty-year-old son, Brandon works alongside his dad, Steve, in their dairy business. Conniver Amy, now Brandon’s ex-wife, has been jailed. Steve was already perturbed with family when Carl Edwards strides onto his farm, claiming to be kin. Carl's high-spirited presence rocks the entire community, especially when he gets rich quick. Will this charismatic outsider earn his way into their hearts? Other characters assault Steve's calm-against-chaos preferred life style in this humorous small town tale: • his spunky wife, Jackie, and her meddlesome church lady friends • his recently-divorced son, Brandon, pursued by young ladies who secretly deliver the goods • his brother, David’s penchant for monetary bailout • his pastor, who fosters guilt while groveling for funds • the lure of medical marijuana and adventures uncommon to farms Only Sparty, Steve’s dog, remains steadfast throughout the hijinks. But then… Laugh beyond the contemporary social issues that confound family life in this humorous fiction for adults.
I am PJ Colando. I’m a Baby Boomer, retired and footloose. My husband is glad I didn't choose French horn lessons as I considered post-career options. I write while he watches TV sports. Writing is my elegant hobby.

With an insider's glimpse of life on a Midwestern dairy farm, and the solid, loyal people who live in its small town community, HASHES & BASHES entertains us with daily life amid high drama. It's a humorous contrast between the simple and complicated, the ins and outs of a farm family who have surprising secrets and make this novel intriguing.

PJ Colando's work is authentic, passionate, and witty. But underneath the turmoil of conflict and betrayal, I sense a deep love of the land between each line in the book. Over and over the farm is saved, the land kept pure, a way of life preserved. The abiding goodness of a most traditional way of life is held sacred, no more so than around the dinner table with Jackie at its head. Jackie is the quintessential farm wife, ever ready to resolve all issues with good food, even with an extra dash. While all the chaos ensues around her, Jackie can dish it up. And so can PJ Colando! -Kate Farrell, San Fransisco Library System

Hashes and Bashes by PJ Colando is a hilarious family saga with high potential for great entertainment. The Breeden family seems to have a very normal life, with Jackie busy with her job in the high school cafeteria while Steve and their son, Brandon, manage the family dairy farm. When someone walks in claiming to be part of this simple, yet happy family, no one's life is going to be the same again. It's the beginning of a conflict that plays to a satisfying conclusion in this story.

Hashes and Bashes is a great read, a well-crafted family saga depicting what happens when one's comfort zone is rocked. The characters are colorful and they blend seamlessly with the setting, showing what life looks like in a Midwestern farming community. The story is entertaining, structured to entice the reader and make him want to keep on reading. The solid cast of characters is one of the things that will keep readers reading on. Yes, PJ Colando's characters are worth following.

The conflict begins early on in the story and the stage is set for drama. The friction that rocks the entire community, including gossip, allows readers to get a very clear picture of both the setting and the lifestyle the author recreates in this marvelous work. The writing leaps off the pages with elegance and the author comes across as confident and gifted. This is one of those books that will entertain many readers and leave powerful images on their minds, even long after they have put the book away. -Readers' Favorite