Sunday, November 24, 2019

COLD WEATHER, COWHANDS, AND CATTLE COUNTRY by Marisa Masterson

November started out feeling like January here in Michigan. The cold wind and blowing snow sent shivers down my back as I looked out the window. It was nasty weather to dart from car to store when I needed to shop for groceries.

Fall of the Cowboy by Frederic Remington
The cold started me thinking about cowboys and the winter weather. Here I am in my cozy, warm house. What about the cowhands?

Not every cowboy stayed employed year-round. The ranches required fewer hands after the fall cattle drive finished. The cattle still might wander during the winter so some hands were needed. Also, cowhands were kept busy cutting holes in ice so the animals could drink or checking on the herd as rustlers might strike, even during winter.

Waiting for a Chinook by C. M. Russell
One winter was particularly historic for the cattle industry. During 1886-1887, freezing temperatures and blizzards killed up to 90% of cattle that had been left to graze the winter range. No wonder that winter is also know as the Big Die-UP (a play on the term round up).

Prior to this winter, life had been relatively easy for ranchers with extremely mild winters in the previous two years. The summer of 1886 was brutally hot and dry which didn't allow for any hay to be harvested and stored in the winter.


That terrible winter began the end of the traditional cowboy way of life, at least that's what I've read. Ranchers faced foreclosure along with a range dotted by carcasses and live cattle that were far from healthy. (To read more about this, check out https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/1887-blizzard-changed-american-frontier-forever-1-180953852/.)

Here I sit, much more than a century later, in my warm house kept warm by central heat. A little early winter might not be such a terrible thing after all compared with the life of a rancher or a cowboy in winter.



A man might homestead, but it takes a woman to turn that place into a home! This matchmaker will settle the West one couple at a time.
Under suspicion after his wife’s murder, Elias Kline  heads west. It seems a fine way to start over, but he’ll need a wife to raise his son and cook his meals. 
Reading the widower's letter, Ruby Hastings aches for the little boy and seizes on this chance to be a mama to him. It should be a convenient arrangement. 
What happens when danger follows him from Mills Bluff? Will Elias be able to keep his family together? 






Christmas, 1921

Victrolas, flappers, and a rooming house where two lonely people live. Good thing for them that Mrs. Klaussen, their landlady, has Christmas magic at her fingertips.
Del Peale and Josephine Withers have both loved and lost. That is why neither has pursued their mutual attraction. A newborn left on the front steps brings them together. A cold house forces Del to face the home he shared with his wife and son. Is it enough to let them see that love is still possible if they share that love?
Will strange twists and an abandoned baby be enough to lead them to a Christmas wedding? Perhaps Mrs. Klaussen will need to step in with a miracle and a very special Christmas ornament?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081PBQCFY

2 comments:

  1. What a heartbreaking time in history for animals and ranchers/farmers. I'll be putting coats on the goats tomorrow, snow coming our way!

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  2. Wow, it sure was so, so very hard for them in those days. Your book sounds like a very good read and the cover is Beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this story. Something to think about for when I complain that I am cold. Have a Happy Thanksgiving. God Bless you.

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