Wednesday, June 26, 2013
|More frightening to me than any ghost--Alligators!|
|Cougar - common in Texas|
|Wolves also frighten me - I'm not a fan|
even of werewolf tales
|Wolf Girl? I'm skeptical.|
Monday, June 24, 2013
It’s amazing to me how fast things change, sometimes without us really realizing it until we see an old picture or something else triggers a memory. Recently I came across an old copy of the Ladies Home Journal (from the 1970’s, so in reality it wasn’t that old) and I had to laugh out loud at some of the articles in it…which got me doing an online search…
Louisa Knapp Curtis married Cyrus Curtis in 1875. He was the publisher of The People’s Lodge in Boston. When that business was destroyed by a fire, they moved to Pennsylvania. He then founded the Tribune and Farmer magazine and a few years later, Louisa started writing one page supplements to be included with the magazine titled, Women at Home. The additions became so popular they became a standalone magazine in February of 1883.
Originally titled Ladies Home Journal and Practical Housekeeper, a year’s subscription cost fifty cents.
By 1903 the magazine had over 1 million subscribers.
A transition from the ‘newspaper’ look to the magazine image took place and this 1885 edition was their first color cover.
The magazine was said to offer practical instructions of duties, share experiences, anecdotes, hints and recipes in housekeeping as well as domestic management, all which were sure to increase the comforts of house and home. The magazine also hosted several pages of advertisements where women or men could order everything from the latest oil lamps and flour shifters to embroidery stamps and self-adjusting toasters and everything in between!
Here is a one page section:
In my imagination I can see a young pioneer woman anxiously awaiting her next edition of the magazine and completely devouring it upon arrival.
There isn’t a magazine in my next release, The Cowboy who Caught her Eye, but there is a heroine who’s anxiously awaiting an arrival. That of her baby—however that is also what she’s hiding. Her pregnancy.
The Shopkeeper's Shame
Pregnant and unmarried, Molly Thorson knows her livelihood is under threat. The
last thing she needs is a distracting cowboy swaggering into view. Especially
one who knows she has a secret and still looks at her with desire in his eyes.
The Cowboy's Secret
Carter Buchanan knows all about secrets. It's his job to know. And Molly sure
has something to hide. But the fear in her eyes touches a place he thought
long-ago dead—and now this cowboy can't help but consider exchanging his pistol
for a band of gold.…
Posted by Lauri Robinson
Saturday, June 22, 2013
As a family we had always been into horses with my Dad, my mother reigning over the house and trying hard to coax my sister and me into regular fashions instead of boots and jeans. She always dressed in skirts and blouses or housedresses herself, never in slacks. She never stepped outdoors near the stable area and horses.
Some years after my sister and I had left home and my parents had changed locations, I returned for a visit. When I walked into their new place the first thing I saw was a very large poster of John Wayne hung prominently on the living room wall.
Delores Goodrick Beggs is a prolific award-winning author in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, having started in high school when she would often awaken with a dream demanding to be captured on paper.
She turned her notes into her first stories, often writing during short-lived Kansas thunderstorms that barely thinned the sweltering heat of Pony Ring Ranch where her father raised horses and ponies. She wrote her first collection of fiction on a mountaintop in California while watching her part-Appaloosa mare assert mischievous independence in the exercise corral.
Place in the Heart Book Three: Perfect Tenderfoot, by Delores Goodrick Beggs is
Now available at Amazon.com, http://goo.gl/qJxUC, publisher Desert Breeze Publishing,
and most other e-book venues
Place in the Heart Book Two: Substitute Lover
Photo of John Wayne-Wikimedia Commons
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Recently, I discovered a book titled Domestic Technology: A Chronology of Developments on Amazon. Written by Nell Du Vall, It’s a font of data about the beginning of many household and community advancements. Some topics included are Food Origins and Production, Preservation and Processing, Cooking, Clothing,Cleaning, Water and Waste Disposal, to name just a few.
With Nell’s permission, I’m going to share with you some entries from her Table of “Food Origin and Migration.” The listed developments reach back into prehistoric times, but I’ll concentrate on the introduction and growth of foods in the Americas during the 18th and 19th centuries. Be aware, this is not a complete list of that time period. I don’t want to test Nell’s generosity in allowing me to quote her work to much. The author cites her sources at the end of the book, in case you want to dig into her research.
- 18th c. Spanish missionaries introduced almond trees into California.
- 1707-10 Oranges planted in Arizona.
- 1719 Irish migrants began potato cultivation in New Hampshire.
- 1751 Sugarcane planted in Louisiana.
- 1765 Chocolate factory established in Massachusetts Bay Colony.using … cacao beans from the West Indies.
- 1769 Oranges planted in California.
- 1769 Spaniards introduced domestic pigs to California.
- 1781 Thomas Jefferson listed tomatas in his garden journal at Monticcello,
- 1790 Thomas Jefferson grew peanuts in Virginia.
- 1791 Antonio Mendez made sugar from Louisiana cane.
- 1820 Robert Johnson demonstrated the tomato was edible by eating one … eating one in public and surviving.
- 1820 Large-scale peach cultivation began in the U.S.
- 1825 Jefferson Plum developed in Albany, New York.
- 1836 Scientists discovered how to pollinate vanilla artificially, enabling … cultivation outside Mexico.
- 1850 The banana was first brought to the U.S.
- 1850 Large-scale cultivation of asparagus undertaken in the U.S.
- 1863 West Indian avocado introduced into Florida.
- 1869 Joseph Campbell and Abraham Anderson of Camden, New Jersey,… successfully canned tomatoes.
- 1870 Dutch farmers in Kalamazoo, Michigan, began growing celery for … commercial consumption.
- 1873 Washington Navel Oranges, originally from Baia, Brazil, planted in … California.
- 1876 Tinfoil wrapped bananas sold for ten cents at the American … … Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
- 1890 Thomas Lipton began selling tea.
- 1893 Thomas Lipton entered his tea in Chicago’s World Fair and received … first prize.
Perhaps knowing when these foods were introduced in the U.S. might make interesting tidbits for our stories. More importantly, this info can help us avoid having our characters eat foods that weren’t yet available in the old west.
I faced a food dilemma (actually a beverage) while writing Dearest Druid. Rose and Jack are visiting a family of sharecroppers who rent land from Jack. I wanted their hostess, Mattie, to offer them a cool drink -- but what? This family is not well off; they couldn’t afford store-bought tea like we take for granted today. (Iced tea is the “national drink” of Texas.)
After discarding several ideas, I decided upon sassafras tea, which is made from the roots of sassafras trees. These trees grow in the sandy loam of east Texas. Taking a leap of faith, I stretched that local to near the Red River, where my sharecroppers live.
Here’s an excerpt from the scene. Warning, it’s a bit of a spoiler because it comes near the end of the book and hints at a happy ending. But there are still a few surprises to come.
Clearing his corded throat, [Oscar] added, “I reckon yuh already said how-do to my Mattie.” He laid a big paw gently on his wife’s shoulder and they exchanged an affectionate glance.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t have the chance, but I’m most happy to make your acquaintance, Mattie.”
“Same goes for me, Rose. Come and set a spell in the shade.” Pointing to the cabin’s porch, their genial hostess led the way, chattering, “Land o’ Goshen, it shore is warm for a spring day! I brewed us some sassafras tea a while ago. It’s mighty refreshin’. And Oscar has him a jug stashed away, if you wants a taste, Mr. Jack.”
“The tea will do fine, Mattie.”
With a nod, she looked up at her husband, who was a good foot taller than her, and commanded, “Oscar, go fetch some ice from the ice house.”
“Yessum. Be back right quick, folks,” he told Rose and Jack, and he loped off to do Mattie’s bidding.
Mounting the shallow porch steps, she pointed to a pair of rough-hewn chairs padded with calico covered cushions. “Set you down and be comfortable. Where’d y’all ride in from?”
“From the Territory,” Jack replied, refusing a chair in favor of leaning against one of the porch roof supports framing the steps.
“Visited yore mama, I reckon.”
“Yeah, I wanted her to meet Rose,” he said, not mentioning his mother’s illness.
“Uh-huh.” Planting her hands on her ample hips, Mattie eyed them shrewdly. “How’d she take it seein’ the two o’ you together?”
Rose caught her meaning and stiffened while Jack merely crossed his arms and crooked his lips in a half smile. “She wasn’t in favor of us marrying at first, but she came around.”
Mattie opened her mouth as if to question him further, but she evidently thought better of it. “Glad to hear that. I’d best collect the tea and some cups.” With that, she turned and entered the cabin, leaving the door ajar.
Rose searched Jack’s face, looking for his reaction to the woman’s question. Meeting her worried gaze, he moved to crouch beside her and patted her knee. “It’s all right. She wasn’t judging us. She’s afraid for us, the same as Khaw.”
Taking his word, Rose’s trepidation eased. Before she could speak, Oscar returned. Jack rose and stepped back as his tenant – and clearly his friend – took the steps in one giant stride. He carried a bucket filled with chunks of ice, no doubt chipped from a larger block.
“This oughtta do us. We’ll have that tea nice n’ cold. Just yuh wait n’ see.” Grinning, he marched into the cabin to help Mattie prepare the drinks.
Moments later, as promised, Rose enjoyed her first swallow of the iced drink from a cold tin cup. “Oh, that’s delicious! Ye must give me your recipe, Mattie.”
“Glad yuh like it, M . . . er, Rose. Ain’t nothin’ to makin’ it. Just boil some chopped up sassafras root, strain it good and add honey, or sugar if you got it.”
“Think I could have some more?” Jack asked.
“Lawsy me, course yuh can.” Taking his cup, Mattie dashed inside to refill it.
Do you have any historical food facts you’d like to share? Don’t be shy. I’m always eager for more info to tuck away for future books.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
In my all time favorite western, Tombstone, Johnny Ringo was portrayed as a well educated member of the criminal gang known as The Cowboys. He mentally sparred with Doc Holiday and was apparently the fastest gun in the gang. I remember the part where Wyatt asked Doc why Johnny Ringo did the terrible things that he did and Doc replied that Johnny was angry for being born which implies that Johnny had some dark childhood. In the end, Doc beat Wyatt to the wooded area where Johnny waited to shoot it out and shot Johnny Ringo in the head with one fatal shot while Johnny had his gun in his hand, but didn’t get off a shot before he died.
Wyatt Earp killed Ringo’s friend, Curly Bill, in a gunfight in Iron Springs, about 20 miles from Tombstone 2 days after he killed Cruz. Wyatt later told his biographer that Cruz confessed to being an outlook for Morgan’s murder and that Cruz said Johnny Ringo, Frank Stilwell, Hank Swilling, and Curly Bill were Morgan's killers.
William Brocius "Curly Bill"
On July 14, 1882 Ringo was found dead leaning against a tree with a bullet hole in his head that exited out the back. His gun hung from one finger. Now the mystery/controversy begins. Some said that Ringo’s gun had one shot out of the chamber and his feet were wrapped in pieces of his undershirt. They found his horse two weeks later with Ringo’s boots tied to the saddle. The coroner declared the official cause of death was suicide. Some reports revealed that no bullet had been fired from Ringo’s gun leading to the suspicion of murder either by Wyatt Earp or Doc Holiday. Of course, there was that memorable scene in the movie Tombstone where Doc Holiday challenged Johnny Ringo to a fight and shot him before Johnny could fire his drawn gun.
Ringo was buried at the site of his death In West Turkey Creek Canyon which lies on private property now. Visitors must request to view the burial site from the owners before they can be admitted to the area.
The controversy over Ringo’s death continues to this day.
It must be said that Louis L’Amour didn’t think much of Johnny Ringo as a tough outlaw. He perceived him to be a loudmouth, mean drunk who wasn’t even fast with a gun and that his only claim to fame was killing the unarmed Louis Hancock over a drink of whiskey. Some authors believe Ringo’s claim to fame only came because of his opposition to the popular good Earp brothers.
One thing’s for sure; there is nothing boring about the old west. No wonder we just can’t get enough western stories. So, what do you think? Did Ringo commit suicide? Did Wyatt kill him? Did Doc Holliday kill him? Do you think he was murdered or did he lose in a gunfight with either Wyatt or Doc?
You can find Sarah McNeal at http://wwwsarahmcneal.com.