Tag: Jeannie Watt

Beaverslides

Hey everyone! Today I’m talking about beaverslides, which are not fun devices located on playgrounds for flat-tailed furry mammals, I’m sorry to say. A beaverslide is a way to stack loose hay.

In the eastern part of the United States, it wasn’t necessary to store as much winter forage/hay as it was in the west. Due to the long, harsh winters, western ranchers often needed to store more hay than the average hayloft could hold. Thankfully, due to the low humidity, hay could be stacked outside, rather than under a barn roof, without rotting as it would do in the east.

When my mom was a kid, the field hands pitched loose hay from the fields into wagons, where people (kids) would stamp down the hay to make room for more. The trick, she said, was to not get a pitchfork in the leg. Having once had a pitchfork in my leg, I think about that often. The wagon of loose hay was then pitched into haylofts where it was protected from the weather, or it was stored in stacks. In the early 1900s, however, two ranchers in the Big Hole country of Montana, very close to where I now live, invented the Beaverhead County Slide Stacker, soon to be known simply as a beaverslide, which provided a quicker and more efficient way to stack loose hay. 

Now I saw these contraptions in hay fields as a kid, most of them falling apart from lack of use, and while I knew they had something to do with haying, I didn’t know how they worked. Here’s how:

I’m happy to say that while most farmers and ranchers bale hay, the beaverslide is still being used today. Here’ a beaverslide in use close to where I live:

How cool is that? Using a beaverslide today might be more labor intensive than using a baler, requiring a crew of 6 to 8 people, but it saves on fuel, which is huge. A beaverslide can stack hay up to 30 feet high. They are usually made of lodge pole pine and wooden boards, but some have metal components.

About 24 tons of hay can be stacked before the beaverslide is moved to make a new stack in a new area. An average size cow consumes 24 pounds of hay a day, so one stack will feed 2000 cows for one day, or 500 cows for 4 days. We have 50 cows on our place, so a 24 ton stack would last us for about 5 weeks.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our adventure in loose hay today!

Best,

Jeannie

 

Jeannie Watt Goes to the Rodeo

One of my favorite rodeos is not a PCRA (Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association) sanctioned rodeo, but rather our local rodeo, where we get riders from southwest Montana.

As we headed out to the rodeo, my husband had reservations… What is that, you ask? The view from inside the truck as we drove to town.

I assured him the skies would clear and sure enough they did, but not before making a nice amount of muck.

The arena hadn’t gotten sloppy, however, so it wasn’t too slick to ride in. This is the mounted drill team my mother coaches. She rode with them for over a decade, then retired from performing at the age of 76 and took over coaching.

What follows are views from behind the chutes where the competitors saddle their broncs. I do love me a yellow slicker, thus the photo of yellow slicker guy.

Each cowboy puts his own gear on the horse he’s going to ride. In general there are fewer bareback bronc riders than saddle bronc riders because it’s so hard on the body. They were vests with special neck rolls to cushion their head as it snaps back. The cowboy in the pink chaps is wearing his vest and you can see the roll on it. By the by, cowboys are not afraid of pink. Something to do with being comfortable in their masculinity, I think.

These are the saddle bronc riders getting ready to go.

The rodeo is a real family affair. If you look closely you’ll see a cowboy holding a baby, another holding his toddler and, of course, a dog. This photo was taken behind the chutes as they were prepping the bulls for the bull riding. The guy in the chaps is a bull riding contestant, who is thankfully wearing a helmet. I’m a proponent of helmets in rodeo events.

It rained during the bull riding and got my boots wet, but they didn’t soak through. I could have sat under the cover of the grandstand, but I like to sit on the open bleachers next to the chutes. You can see why…it’s worth getting wet.

All in all it was a great time at the rodeo!

TV Cowboy Trivia Game Day

 

Did you watch Classic TV westerns back in the day? If so, this quiz is right up your alley. All you have to do is to match the horse to the cowboy or cowgirl. I’ll name the cowboy, you name the horse in the comment section.

The winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift certificate and a copy of my next book, Her Cowboy Boss, when it releases on August 27th. Winners will be chosen by random drawing from those who get all eight answers correct.

Ate you ready to go? To help jog your memory, I’ve included a name bank, but be warned—there are more names than questions.

NAME BANK

Tony

Topper

Diamond

 

Scout

Songbird

Silver

Buttermilk

 

Trigger

Belle

Champ

Fury

Bullet

 

 

 

 

  1. What was the name of The Lone Ranger’s horse?
  2. What was the name of Dale Evan’s horse?
  3. What was the name of Hopalong Cassidy’s horse?
  4. What was the name of Tom Mix’s horse?
  5. What was the name of Roy Roger’s horse?
  6. What was the name of Tonto’s horse?
  7. What was the name of Gene Autry’s horse?
  8. What was the name of Sky King’s airplane?

 

Please just write the number of the question and your answer in the comment section. No need to type out the cowboy’s name.

 

Good Luck everyone!

It’s Yee-Haw Day!

Welcome to Yee-Haw Day, the once-a-month day we’ve reserved to share our news with you – all sorts of fun news!

So check out the post below to get the details on the kinds of things that make us go Yee-Haw!!

Karen Witemeyer

My brand new release is on an incredible sale until July 31.
Grab an e-copy of Zach and Abigail’s story for only $1.99 today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook

“Fans of Karen Witemeyer know that she excels at writing sweet, subtly sexy Western romances which are full of charm and joy. Her genuine, heartwarming stories never fail to bring a smile to my face and her latest book, More Than Words Can Say, completely met that expectation. . . fans of Inspirational romance will find a lot to love here, and I urge them to rush out and pick up a copy as soon as possible.”  ~All About Romance

Cheryl Pierson

Guess what, y’all! I just had a birthday yesterday! I know most people aren’t excited about getting older, but I am–even with all the aches and pains that come along with it. This is a big birthday for me–I’m 62! How many of us, when we were 16 years old and learning to drive a car, ever imagined that we would live to be as old as our grandparents were right then? LOL I sure didn’t. I couldn’t even THINK that far in the future–but now that I’m here, it doesn’t seem so old at all. 

The picture above left is me when I was 17, the end of my junior year of highschool–never dreaming I’d one day be old enough to collect my Social Security. Above right is a recent picture of me with my daughter, Jessica. She’ll be 33 this year, and she can’t imagine ever being 62, either. Growing older “ain’t” for sissies, but I’m glad to still be here, alive and kickin’! 

As a way to celebrate, I want to offer a digital giveaway of the Prairie Rose Publications boxed set UNDER A WESTERN SKY to two commenters who are interested in reading some excellent WHR stories!

I love this collection because it’s six books–full-length novels–by six different authors, all western historical romance! Just let me know if you’re interested and leave your e-mail info in your comment–I’ll be drawing two names! My story, FIRE EYES, is included, along with 5 other stories by Celia Yeary, Tracy Garrett, Kaye Spencer, Agnes Alexander, and Patti Sherry-Crews.

 

Y’all wish me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 

Linda Broday

I have a book trailer for LONGING FOR A COWBOY CHRISTMAS!

It comes out Sept. 24, 2019!

AMAZON  |  B&N  |  APPLE  |  Indiebound

 

Jeannie Watt

I just got the cover to my August Tule Publishing release, Her Cowboy Boss. Brodie and McKenna had last seen each other in high school when she was part of the social elite and he was the quiet ranch kid who liked to draw. Now she’s a single mom building a new life and he’s her boss on a cattle ranch. He’s interested in building a relationship, but McKenna is fighting ghosts from her past.

Her Cowboy Boss will be available for pre-order soon.

Ruth Logan Herne

Ruthy is celebrating being a finalist in the Maggie Awards for Excellence, sponsored by Georgia Romance Writers! Winners are announced at GRW’s wonderful Moonlight & Magnolias conference in October, but Ruthy is thrilled to be a finalist with her Amazon bestseller “At Home in Wishing Bridge”! Thank you, GRW!

Pam Crooks

Coming VERY soon!

Book 2 in the C Bar C Ranch Series

Kidnapped by the Cowboy

 

Callie Mae Lockett is betrayed by the man who claims he’s responsible for her young brother’s tragic death. She chooses another to help carry on her precious legacy, the C Bar C Ranch , and he’s the farthest thing from a cowboy she’s ever met.

TJ Grier has always been one of the C Bar C’s best cowboys, but one horrible night destroys all he’s ever known.

Desperate to prove his innocence, he steals Callie Mae away, and together they plunge into danger to solve the secret that has torn them apart.

Watch for it!

Greetings from the Big Apple

Oh my gosh, I’m in New York City for the annual Romance Writers of America conference. This was my view the morning I took off–that’s my husband waiting for me to actually get into the truck so that he can drive me to the airport. I’m sure the cows behind the truck are waving goodbye.

And this is my view today. It’s just a little different, but I love the energy of the city.

Going to Conference is a big deal for me. I meet with my editors and fellow authors, take classes and get ideas for my next stories. I always come home excited and ready to tackle at least three or four new projects. Reality will eventually settle in and I’ll pare my project list down to one or two, but I always learn something new about my craft and I get to connect with other writers. In fact, Kit Morgan and I met for the first time on an airplane flying to the RWA Conference several years ago. I was writing on my laptop on the plane, and she asked if I was going to RWA. We had a great talk, and now we’re fellow Fillies. (Try saying ‘fellow fillies’ fast three times.The conference starts tomorrow, so today my daughter and I ate pizza and went to Macy’s. They still have wooden escalators between some of the floors. 

It’s also the location of one of my favorite Christmas movies. 

Later in the week we plan to take in a Broadway show and see some museums when we aren’t busy with the business of writing. And the lovely part is that as the conference winds down, I’m usually pleasantly exhausted and ready to go home to my cowboy and the cows and my keyboard. The city is fun, conference is exhilarating, but there really is no place like home.

Forty years ago…

Forty-one years ago (how time flies) I was a young geology student. One of the final hurdles before getting a geology degree is Field Camp. This I where you camp for weeks with other geology students and professors and learn to map and apply your knowledge to the real world. It’s fun and challenging and nerve rattling.

Also forty-one years ago, a handsome guy I didn’t know attended field camp. He’d started college late, after being discharged from the military and then working for several years. We were way different people and had essentially no contact during camp, although I was very impressed when he read Robert Service while everyone sat around the campfire, slapping mosquitoes and enjoying the smoke.

Three years after camp, we met again. Just like in a romance, sparks flew and not that long after we were married—a matter of months. And the crazy thing is that we now live very close to the area where we went to field camp and ignored one another. Last week we took a trip to see if we could find some of the places we’d been way back when and I want to share the photos with you.

If you had told people in camp four decades ago that the two of us were soulmates, I think they might have laughed, but you know what? It worked.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Mary Edwards Walker–Lady Doctor, Spy, POW, Activist

Mary Edwards Walker was a doctor, a Civil War POW and alleged spy, and she is the only woman to have ever earned a Congressional Medal of Honor. She was also a “radical” feminist activist, and an advocate of comfortable dress for women.

Mary was born in 1832 in Oswego, New York to a family of free-thinking abolitionists. Mary’s father thought that women’s clothing was restrictive and encouraged his five daughters to dress as they wanted. Mary embraced the style of Amelia Bloomer, a proponent of dress reform who introduced Turkish-style pants that came to be known as bloomers. Mary went on to wear pants for most of her life. She was arrested several times for impersonating a man. Later in life, she adopted the habit of wearing men’s evening wear to deliver lectures at various gatherings.

Mary’s parents encouraged her to get an education. She became the second woman, after Elizabeth Blackwell, to graduate from Syracuse Medical College in 1855. She was 21 years old. She married a fellow doctor (while wearing pants) in 1856 and kept her own name. She and her husband set up a joint practice, but it did not thrive. People did not want to see a female doctor. She and her husband divorced in 1869.

In 1861, the Civil War broke out, and Mary traveled to Washington D.C. in an effort to join the Union Army. She was denied, so volunteered instead. She was appointed assistant surgeon for the Ohio 52nd Infantry and in addition to treating wounded Union soldiers, made many trips over Confederate lines to treat Confederate civilians. It’s generally thought that she was serving as a spy at this time.

Mary was captured by Confederate troops and sent to a prisoner of war camp in 1864, but after serving 4 months was part of an exchange for Confederate doctors and returned to the Ohio 52nd.

Mary was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1865. Sadly, in 1917, her medal was rescinded, along with those of 910 other recipients after the standards were changed to actually seeing combat with the enemy. According to legend, when federal officers showed up at her house to retrieve the medal, she met them with a shotgun and told them she would not surrender the medal. The federal officers retreated empty-handed. Mary died in 1919, one year before women received the right to vote.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter reinstated her medal, citing her “distinguished gallantry, self-sacrifice,patriotism, dedication and unflinching loyalty to her country, despite the apparent discrimination because of her sex.”

Three-Week Winter

I honestly thought we were not going to get winter this year. It happens. When February 2nd rolled around and the ranch still looked like this–

I had a bad feeling that it was not going to be a good water year. And then we had our first winter storm–three days before we were supposed to drive to Nevada for the Ranch Hand Rodeo, where I have a vendor booth. The highway was closed for two days, but when it opened we assumed the worst was over and headed south. While we were gone, the cold snap hit, and it was much colder than anticipated, or we would not have left. My mom texted on our first day at the rodeo to tell me that when they fed the cattle that morning, it was -38 degrees F. Cue really bad feelings.

When we got back to Montana, the first big question was, could we get to the ranch. My folks  spent hours on the tractor to open up a road across a field to give us access. The official driveway was too drifted to tackle.

We made it home and took over feeding. It was still well below zero and we had to suit up.

There was a lot of snow. We’re supposed to give vaccinations soon, but with the condition of the chute, that isn’t going to happen for a while.

We spread straw so that the cows had a comfy place to cozy up together and weather out the temperatures.

My husband and stepdad worked for days to open up the driveway, working against time because once the melt started, the field would turn into a bog and we would have no way out of the place. Finally they broke through and we had an escape route. 

Today’s temperature, 25 days after our first storm? Almost 50 degrees F. The cows, and the feed crew, are very happy.

A Quick History of the Pony Express

I lived in rural Nevada for thirty years and because my husband and I were originally geologists, we spent a lot of time beating around the state before settling down. The northern and middle part of Nevada can be either blazing hot or bone numbing cold, depending on the season—as near as I could tell, there were two: summer and winter, with three or four days of spring and fall between them. But don’t get me wrong, I love Nevada and its outback, and have so much respect for the early citizens—those that stayed and those that were there to do a job. The riders of the Pony Express were there to do a job. I’ve experienced the country that they crossed, and these guys were amazing.

So how did the Pony Express come about?

Ruby Valley Nevada station. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

In brief, Senator William Gwin of California wanted a faster mail service between the eastern part of the country and California. He conferred with the operators of Overland Stage Line of Leavenworth, Kansas, which ran a stage between the Missouri River and Salt Lake City, asking them to develop a mail system. Reluctantly, due to the costs, the owners of the stage line agreed and began developing the Pony Express. On April 3, 1860, less than two months after promising the senator to develop a faster mail system, the first express was ready to run between St. Joseph, Missouri and Sacramento.

In those two months, the organizers found 80 riders and 500 horses, and stations were built along the route through Wyoming, Utah and Nevada. The riders received $25 per week, two revolvers, a rifle, a bowie knife and a bible. The ponies were sturdy stock, many of them carrying California mustang blood.

The mail was carried in a leather mochila with four locked boxes sewn to it to carry the mail. The mochila fit over the saddle horn, and when the rider arrived at the station, he threw the mochila to the next rider, who would then be on his way. The Pony Express carried mail 2,000 miles in 10 days.

The Pony Express lasted only 18 months, but even in that short amount of time, it left an indelible mark on the history of the county and the region. Finances were part of the reason for the demise of the express. Mail carried by the express cost the sender between $1 to $5 dollars per ounce, but despite the high prices, the Pony Express failed financially, as its organizers had feared. Congress offered no financial subsidies to help the express, despite the fact that it helped keep California in the Union.

Ultimately, however, it was technology that ended the Pony Express. When the transcontinental telegraph system was completed on October 24, 1861, there was no more need for the Pony Express. Four days later, the Pony Express officially ended.

 

Wish Book Western Dreamin’ and a Give Away!

Do you remember the excitement of getting the Wish Book in the mail? To me, that event marked the beginning of the Christmas season. My brother and I would pore over the pages, marking the things we wanted. One of my most fervent wishes was to receive a full-on cowgirl outfit, so those pages of the Wish Book were always well worn by the time Christmas rolled around.

Because of my Wish Book cowgirl outfit mania, I thought I’d share some catalog pages showing western wear from bygone eras. Do these bring back memories for any of you? And was anyone lucky enough to actually get one of these outfits? (If so, I’m officially jealous.)

Aren’t these outfits great? Playing the game I played as a kid, I would have wanted either the boy outfit with the rearing horses on the chaps, or the red girl outfit.

Roy Rogers was such a huge influence on me–and everyone else, it seems–back in the day. I didn’t know anyone who tucked their pants into their boots back then, but Roy carries it off well. And, now that I have fancy boots, I’ve been known to do the same!

I always thought that boys got the best western clothing. Look at the cool fringe jacket hidden in the lower corner. One thing that I really like is the fake boot tops in the lower left of the picture above. What a great way to handle not needing or being able to buy cowboy boots. I was one of the lucky ones in that regard. While growing up, I had four pairs of shoes for the year–school shoes, dress shoes, sneakers and…yes…cowboy boots. But if I hadn’t had cowboy boots, I would have had the tops to make my school shoes into cowboy boots.

Oh my goodness! Leopard print cowboy wear! Does it get any better than that?

Okay–I can’t help myself. I still want a full-on 1950s cowgirl outfit. I wonder if I have time to shoot off a quick letter to Santa?

Now the give away part! I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift certificate, that you can put toward a cowboy outfit or something else of your choosing. Just leave a comment to be entered. The winner will be announced in the comments on Wednesday, so check back tomorrow afternoon. 

One caveat–I am going to the dentist today, so my replies will be a little late, but I’m excited to check in with everyone.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Happy Holidays!

Jeannie