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Good Old Fashioned Harvest Festivals and a Give Away!

Hi, Kit Morgan here and today I want to talk about harvest festivals in the old west. Or anywhere for that matter!

Harvest time has classically been an important event in the year to celebrate bountiful crops. Among the most famous is America’s Thanksgiving, which was originally celebrated in the Plymouth Colony after the successful harvest of the Pilgrims.

For hundreds of years, harvest time has been one of the most important periods of the year, because let’s face it, people were either going to starve or be well fed for the coming year. Traditionally in Britain, local communities appointed a “Lord of the Harvest” who would oversee things such as the gathering of the crops, payment for the farm laborers and of course, a celebratory feast at the end of a good harvest. He got to sit at the head of the table of course!

The Harvest Supper was held on Michaelmas Day and pride of place would be given to a goose stuffed with apples and served with freshly harvested vegetables. Legend has it that Queen Elizabeth I was dining on goose when she heard the news that the Spanish Armada had been defeated, so she declared that goose should henceforth be eaten on Michaelmas Day. Goose Fairs were popular and even today a few still survive, notably the Nottingham Goose Fair which is over 700 years old.

And then we have our pioneer settlers, frontiersmen and farmers who also in one way or another celebrated at harvest time. All hallow’s eve got into the mix along the way and “Spook Hollows” were a fun part of some small town’s (not to mention a few big ones) harvest time festivals. You might have read a western romance that included a harvest festival and spook hollow. I have a book where part of the story is set during an annual harvest festival. Pumpkins and corn mazes, hayrides and yummy food, are all part of many a town’s annual traditions of the harvest festival!

When was the last time you attended a harvest festival? Does your town have one? I’ll pick a random winner from the comments below to receive an e-book copy of The Harvest Time Mail-Order Bride. Here’s a little about the book …

The Weavers. They were boisterous, rambunctious, some would even say wild, and, until recently, unwed. First Arlan, the oldest, got himself a mail-order bride, followed by his younger brother Benjamin. Now it was Benjamin’s identical twin brother Calvin’s turn. But Calvin’s mail-order bride was different, really different. For one, she was Italian, an immigrant who spoke broken English. She was also the most beautiful woman Calvin had ever seen. But this vision of loveliness had a not so lovely secret. Can Calvin and his new bride make a go of it while other secrets threaten the family’s peaceful existence? Find out in this hilarious romp with the Weavers!

 

 

 

Updated: October 21, 2019 — 8:03 pm

Mary Connealy Winner(s)

I found so many of the comments on Thursday inspiring.

So many great accomplishments among our readers here at Petticoats & Pistols.

Because of that I’m naming some extra winners.

Winner #1 Tonya Lucas

Winner #2 Stephanie Jenkins Ortiz Cerrillo

Winner #3 Charlene Whitehouse

Okay, I found five more.

But I need to quit now. 🙂 

I will email each of you to get your mailing address

And thank you all for leaving comments about your accomplishments. It was a really fun and inspiring day.

Updated: October 21, 2019 — 7:50 am

COWBOY DREAMS–THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF THE ABERNATHY BROTHERS! by Cheryl Pierson

In the summer of 1909, two young brothers under the age of ten set out to make their own “cowboy dreams” come true.  They rode across two states on horseback.  Alone.Temple_&_Bud_in_Manhattan--1910page81-2[1]

It’s a story that sounds too unbelievable to be true, but it is.

Oklahoma had been a state not quite two years when these young long riders undertook the adventure of a lifetime.  The brothers, Bud (Louis), and Temple Abernathy rode from their Tillman County ranch in the southwest corner of the state to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Bud was nine years old, and Temple was five.

They were the sons of a U.S. Marshal, Jack Abernathy, who had the particular talent of catching wolves and coyotes alive, earning him the nickname “Catch ’Em Alive Jack.”

Jack Abernathy

Odd as it seems to us today, Jack Abernathy had unwavering faith in his two young sons’ survival skills.  Their mother had died the year before, and, as young boys will, they had developed a wanderlust listening to their father’s stories.

Jack agreed to let them undertake the journey, Bud riding Sam Bass (Jack’s own Arabian that he used chase wolves down with) and Temple riding Geronimo, a half-Shetland pony.  There were four rules the boys had to agree to:  Never to ride more than fifty miles a day unless seeking food or shelter; never to cross a creek unless they could see the bottom of it or have a guide with them; never to carry more than five dollars at a time; and no riding on Sunday. Temple_and_Bud_in_Amarillo2[1]

The jaunt into New Mexico to visit their father’s friend, governor George Curry, took them six weeks.  Along the way, they were escorted by a band of outlaws for many miles to ensure their safe passage.  The boys didn’t realize they were outlaws until later, when the men wrote to Abernathy telling him they didn’t respect him because he was a marshal.  But, in the letter, they wrote they “liked what those boys were made of.”

One year later, they set out on the trip that made them famous.  At ten and six, the boys rode from their Cross Roads Ranch in Frederick, Oklahoma, to New York City to meet their friend, former president Theodore Roosevelt, on his return from an African safari.  They set out on April 5, 1910, riding for two months.

Along the way, they were greeted in every major city, being feted at dinners and amusement parks, given automobile rides, and even an aeroplane ride by Wilbur Wright in Dayton, Ohio.

Their trip to New York City went as planned, but they had to buy a new horse to replace Geronimo.  While they were there, he had gotten loose in a field of clover and nearly foundered, and had to be shipped home by train.

They traveled on to Washington, D.C., and met with President Taft and other politicians.

It was on this trip that the brothers decided they needed an automobile of their own.  They had fallen in love with the new mode of transportation, and they convinced their father to buy a Brush runabout.  After practicing for a few hours in New York, they headed for Oklahoma—Bud drove, and Temple was the mechanic.

Pierson blog 1

They arrived safe and sound back in Oklahoma in only 23 days.

But their adventures weren’t over.  The next year, they were challenged to ride from New York City to San Francisco.  If they could make it in 60 days, they would win $10,000.  Due to some bad weather along the 3,619-mile-long trip, they missed the deadline by only two days.  Still, they broke a record—and that record of 62 days still stands, over one hundred years later.

The boys’ last cross country trip was made in 1913 driving a custom designed, two-seat motorcycle from their Cross Roads Ranch to New York City.  They returned to Oklahoma by train.

As adults, Temple became an oilman, and Bud became a lawyer.  There is a statue that commemorates the youngest long riders ever in their hometown of Frederick, Oklahoma, on the lawn of the Tillman County Courthouse.

StatueBoys[1]

 

Winner!

Howdy!

Thank you’s go out to all you who came to the blog yesterday, and left a comment.  We do have a winner for the gift of a free e-book, and that winner is:

Congratulations go out to Teresa and if you will please email me at karenkay.author@startmail.com, you can let me know which book you would like to have.
 
Again, thanks to everyone who visited the blog yesterday, and a particular thank you to those who left a comment.  May the rest of the week be filled with beauty and love.

 

Updated: October 9, 2019 — 7:15 am

When is a Western a Western?

Well, this cover leaves no doubt, right? Aya caramba!

This is one of those conundrum questions with no right answer.

Does a Western need cowboys?

No.

But cowboys are always welcome here! 🙂

Does a Western need six-shooters or guns or shoot-outs?

Nope, but they want you to respect the 2nd Amendment and their right to carry.

Where are Westerns located?

Oh, gadzooks, this is a tough one! Typically west of the Mississippi, but would you set a Western in California? Probably not. Oregon? Yes, in parts, away from the coast especially. How about Washington state?

Yep, Central Washington is cowboy territory, with or without traditional cowboy dress or western garb.  Texas, yes… Arizona? Not so much, maybe, even though there are ranches in Arizona, the spiking temps and lack of water don’t lend themselves to a lot of Western settings. But like anything else, there can be exceptions to the rule.

Part of this is researching your area. We all understand western expansion, the purchases that netted America from “sea to shining sea” which is pretty amazing in and of itself, right? And that gives us a whole scope of locations and settings, and then the author’s job is to be true to the setting. It’s amazing how differently school calendars and sports and systems are run from the east vs. the west. Or even within certain states. Learning the flora and fauna so you don’t plug sagebrush into Indiana or Missouri… or Live Oaks in New York or Ohio when they love, need and want a warmer climate.

We authors think long and hard about setting. We want it to balance the book and fit the situation and often to tax the characters whether it’s my blizzard-like snows in “Back in the Saddle” in Central Washington (Double S Series) or the hard, craggy landscape surrounding Pine Ridge Ranch in my Shepherd’s Crossing series set in Western Idaho.

And of course living in Western New York gives me every right to write westerns, right? 🙂 Laughing here, because an author’s love of genre or setting or style isn’t about where they’re from–

It’s where they’re willing to go and research and explore! To that end, I loved creating my historical western series set in Second Chance, South Dakota, smack dab in Laura Ingalls Wilder country. It’s so much fun to mix two favorite genres: Western & Historical and come up with absolutely delightful stories.

What’s your favorite kind of Western? Contemporary? Historical? Or is it the location that makes it sing to you?

 

I’ve got a copy of my Sewing Sisters’ Society novella collection for one commenter today… a fun look at settling the west, one romance at a time!

 

Updated: September 11, 2019 — 9:11 am

Julie Benson’s Winner!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to talk about the pumpkin spice craze. The consensus was that pumpkin baked goods are a good thing, and the rest of the items…we’re not so sure. Mixing pumpkin spice and coffee? Well, the reviews were mixed.  But everyone agreed. None of us are brave enough to try the pumpkin spice Spam!

The winner of the Starbucks gift card, zipper pouch and Colorado Rescue is:

Tonya Lucas

Congratulations. Look for an email from me on how to claim your prize. Again, thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat.

                                      Julie

Updated: October 2, 2019 — 7:35 pm

Pumpkin Spice Everything? Maybe Not.

With the temperatures still climbing into the nineties here in Texas, it doesn’t feel like fall even though the calendar says it’s October. I admit I miss the beautiful fall colors and the crispness in the air from my childhood and college days living in Iowa. I close my eyes and see the huge trees brilliant display of gold, maroon and orange on my grandparents’ farm. I hear the leaves crunching under my feet as I strolled to the barn, and I miss the traditional falls of those days.

Living in Texas I’ve learned to manufacture my own sense of fall. I decorate my porch and landscaping beds with pumpkins, scare crows and fall colored mums. I also go a little pumpkin crazy baking. I make my mother’s pumpkin bread and shared her recipe with you one fall. I bake pumpkin cookies and pumpkin bars. And yes, I’m one of those people who has been lured into trying a few pumpkin spice creations to get in the fall spirit. I thought I’d sampled quite a few until I started searching for what’s available. The plethora of pumpkin spice items I found has exploded over the last few years, but I guess that’s to be expected because everyone wants to cash in on a trend. To help you bravely face the fall prepared, here are my thoughts and those of some Facebook friends.

The first category is my I’d try those items. Special K, recommended by Teresa Fordice, Cheerios and oatmeal. While I prefer the original Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice latte that started the craze, Emily Snyder and Jennifer Jacobson recommend the cold brew with pumpkin spice cream. Jell-O-O pudding and dog treats, not for me, but rather for my dogs ?, are also on this list.

Next, is my I-haven’t-decided-about-these-products list. Gum, deodorant—because I’m not sure I want to smell like pumpkin spice—and lip balm. Then there’s my you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-someone-must’ve-been-drinking-on-the-job-to-come-up-with-this category. This list includes Pringles, tortilla chips, salsa, cough drops, and believe it or not, Spam. By the way, there’s no way on God’s green Earth I’d try that one!

Lastly, is my that-sounded-good-but-wasn’t category of items I’ve tried but didn’t like. I couldn’t believe it, but the pumpkin spice Oreos were terrible. I ate a couple and threw the rest away. How could Oreos go so wrong? Kit Kat bars were also something I expected would be a sure good thing, but nope. I bought them last Halloween in snack size with the regular Kit Kits. The whole family hated them. Then there was the pumpkin spice hand soap I bought last year. While it wasn’t a fabulous scent the way I anticipated, hubby asked I get rid of it. He said the smell reminded him of medicine he took as a child! So the results are mixed on that one. And according to Von Jocks, we should pass on the pumpkin spice rum.

Now it’s your turn. Share your pumpkin spice recommendations or warnings in a comment and be entered for the random drawing. One person will receive a Starbucks gift card, zipper pouch, and a copy of Colorado Rescue.

Updated: October 2, 2019 — 8:42 am

The History of the Potato Chip

 

Ah, potatoes! This week here on Petticoats and Pistols you’ve been reading all sorts of fun facts about this wonderful vegetable! So let’s round out the week with some more fun facts!

Did you know that the potato chip was discovered on accident? Well, that’s what some say. Today it is America’s number one snack. There’s even a national Potato Chip Day held on March 14th!

A man named George Crum is the one that came up with this wonderful snack food we all love (some of us have a love/hate relationship with them) and take part in devouring 1.2 billion pounds annually. Yes, that’s right, annually. Little did George know he was going to create the greatest snack food known to man.

George, an African American, and Native American worked as a chef at Moon Lake Lodge, a swanky resort near Saratoga Springs back in the late 1800s. He’d been getting gripes from a visitor staying at the lodge about thick, soggy, fried potatoes. George, thinking he’d teach the man a lesson, sliced up a few spuds as thin as he could, fried them until they were crunchy, the doused them in salt. Wasn’t he surprised when the man loved them! And voila! Potatoe chips were born.

This turn of events made Crum very successful with his invention. He even opened his own restaurant called The Crumb House. And what did they serve each table prior to their main meal? You guessed it! A basket of potato chips! The snack was a hit with George’s upscale patrons. Unfortunately in those days, people of color were not allowed to take out patents on their inventions so poor George never really got credit when the chips were later mass-produced and sold in bags.

So here’s to George Crum, the man who gave us potato chips! Here’s a more modern recipe for making your own potato chips. These are made in the oven!

  • 2 medium Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes (peeled)
  • extra virgin olive oil (for brushing)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  • Slice potatoes into 1/8-inch thick pieces.
  • Put slices in one layer flat on baking sheets. Brush with olive oil, turn and brush the other side. Sprinkle with salt and paprika, turn and sprinkle the other side.
  • Bake for 10 minutes on one side then flip them over.
  • Bake for another 10 minutes or until potatoes are crispy.

What’s your favorite kind of potato chip? Have you ever tried to make your own?

Updated: September 25, 2019 — 2:25 pm