Lighthouses – a Brief History by Annee Jones

Greetings!  I’m excited to be your guest author today on the Petticoats & Pistols blog!  I write inspirational romance, both historical and contemporary.  It is my hope that my books will encourage you and warm your heart!

I live in the Pacific Northwest, on the coast of western Washington.  My upcoming book, A Child’s Faith in the Keepers of the Light series is loosely based on the Browns Point Light Station that marks the hazardous north entrance to Commencement Bay, located outside of Tacoma.  In writing this story, I became curious about the history of lighthouses and their development in America, particularly along the Pacific coastline.

Before the development of clearly defined ports, mariners were guided by fires built on hilltops.  They realized that by raising the fires up high, they would be more visible to sailors out at sea and began lifting the fires onto platforms.  In antiquity, the lighthouse functioned more as an entrance marker to ports than as a warning signal for dangerous promontories and reefs.  The first lighthouse, a stone column with a fire beacon regularly maintained to guide mariners, was built in Athens sometime during the 5th century BC.

The first lighthouse in America was the Boston Light, built in 1716 at Boston Harbor.  In 1851, the U.S. Congress passed “An Act Making Appropriations for Light House, Light Boats, Buoys, &c.”, leading to the creation of the United States Lighthouse Board to replace the Department of Treasury’s Lighthouse Establishment as the governmental agency responsible for the construction and maintenance of all lighthouses and navigation aids in the United States.

The intermittent flashing mechanism was developed in 1870 and used clockwork to time the gas supply.  A Swedish engineer, Gustaf Dalen, helped commercialize gas as an illuminant and his equipment was used as the predominant light source in lighthouses from the early 1900s to the 1960s when electricity became dominant.

The Northern Pacific Railroad reached western Washington in 1873 and the Lighthouse Board recommended that Point Brown be marked with a light; however, it wasn’t until 1887 that Browns Point Light Station was marked with a post lantern.  The light at a height of 12 feet was built on tideflats, about 50 yards offshore and at high tide could only be reached by rowboat.  A contract lightkeeper was hired to row from Tacoma once per week to clean the glass, replenish the fuel tank, and trim the wick.

Unfortunately the channel from Commencement Bay to Elliott Bay was treacherous, renowned for its thick fog blankets.  Mariners complained that the light at Browns Point couldn’t be seen.

A wooden tower finally replaced the post in 1903 to house a brighter light as well as a fog signal.  The beacon and fog signal are still in use as navigational aids today, and both the lighthouse and keeper’s cottage are on the Washington State Heritage Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

Have you ever visited a lighthouse before?  Where?

Let’s talk about lighthouses, and I’ll give away an ebook from my backlist to one lucky winner!

My book, A Child’s Faith, is set in 1892 in Tacoma, WA.  Elin Kristiansen has her hands full as a single mother following the tragic death of her husband in a shipwreck off the rocky coast of the Pacific Northwest. Thankfully, the U.S. government has recognized the need for a lighthouse at Brown’s Point, and Elin couldn’t be more pleased when her father accepts the position of Keeper. However, she just can’t seem to bring herself to accompany him on his weekly rowboat trips to the station to tend the lamp – and what’s more, the mere thought of Finn, her son, setting foot on board sets her insides churning.

Elin knows her father keeps hoping she’ll get over the terror that washes over her every time she considers braving the waters, but she’s starting to have doubts. When she gets into an argument with Finn over his adamant wish to learn how to swim, she can’t possibly trust the handsome captain who offers to instruct him and vows to keep him safe – or can she?

Links:

PreOrder/Buy link to the book on Amazon:  https://amzn.to/3uFy0We

Amazon Author page:  https://amzn.to/3Fgbk3Y

My website:  https://www.anneejones.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnneeJones

Bio:

Annee Jones is an inspirational romance novelist who enjoys sharing her heart and imagination with others.  She is passionate about writing stories that offer hope and encouragement and likes to think of her books as “romance filled with faith and a sprinkle of fairy dust!”

Annee is also a professional book reviewer for Publishers Weekly in the genre of faith-based fiction (fun tidbit: she drafts many of the editorial reviews you see on Amazon).

Professionally, Annee works as a disability counselor where she helps her clients navigate through complex medical and legal systems while rediscovering their wholeness in Spirit.

Pam’s Winner!

Winner!   Winner!   Winner!

I really enjoyed reading about the places you’ve been and the misery you experienced!  Ha!  No doubt some of you can relate to what our 19th century soldiers endured.

Trudy C!  You’re my winner of an ebook copy of THE MERCENARY’S KISS!

 

Watch for my email, and I’ll gift you a copy right away!

Winnie’s Winners!!

Hello everyone. Thanks to those who dropped by on Monday to leave a comment on my post.  I tossed all the names in a virtual hat and drew out the following names:

Alicia Haney

Connie Lee

Patricia B.

Rachel

Congratulations ladies!  If you’ll visit my WEBSITE and select the book you want, then send the title and your mailing info to me I’ll get your book right on out in the mail to you

 

A Soldier’s Harsh Life ~ by Pam Crooks

The heroes in my two-book connected series, THE MERCENARY’S KISS and HER LONE PROTECTOR, are soldiers.  Mercenaries, specifically.  They were soldiers for hire who commanded a handsome price from the War Department to fight for America’s freedoms in their own way. Undercover, nonconforming, but no less effective.

Both educated in West Point Military Academy, their dreams to be a soldier in the traditional sense fall apart, but they remain fierce patriots. They travel throughout the world to fight with skills and daring few soldiers could imagine.  Their life isn’t easy–or safe. They battle betrayal, harsh environments, malaria . . . and emerge victorious.

Soldiers throughout the nineteenth century didn’t have it any easier.  Worse, most likely. Oh, my, many of these soldiers were young.  Late teens, fresh-faced, and eager to serve.  It wasn’t long before their determination is tested, for sure.

A typical routine for a calvary on the march would be like this:

  • 4:45 am – First Call. No hitting the snooze button. Soldiers had to get up and moving NOW.
  • 4:55 am – Reveille and Stable Call. They came to order, saddled the horses, and harnessed the mules.
  • 5:00 am – Mess Call. Breakfast, both prepared and eaten.
  • 5:30 am – Strike Camp – meaning take down tents and store equipment.
  • 5:45 am – Boots & Saddles – the soldiers mount up.
  • 5:55 am – Fall In – Calvary is assembled and ready to march.
  • 6:00 am – Forward March!

An hour and fifteen minutes to accomplish all this!  No dawdling allowed.

Some days, they traveled thirty, maybe sixty miles. Imagine sitting in the saddle that long! The men rode in columns of four when the terrain allowed. Single file, if it didn’t. If the wind and snow blew hard, they rode hunched in the saddle, their eyes slitted against the stinging wind, their hats pulled low over their eyes.

At night, they might have to sleep on snow. If they didn’t die of pneumonia, frostbite and gangrene often set in, and Army surgeons chopped off blackened fingers and toes. In the South, the heat was brutal, water scarce, and the flying insects merciless.  The feared threat of an Indian attack was constant.

Fresh meat was in short supply.  Soldiers reported the meat putrid and “sticky”. Yuck! Clean water was a precious commodity, too. Soldiers suffering extreme thirst desperately drank water wherever they could find it, even if it was green with slime, which only brought on instantaneous vomiting when they were already weak and dehydrated.

Even if decent water could be found, their canteens were lacking.

Wooden canteens tended to leak and/or dry out.

The water in India rubber canteens tasted terrible.

Tin canteens were probably best, but in extreme heat, the water got hot.

If a soldier was pulled out of the field and ordered to a post, amenities were minimal.  Barracks at a fort were small, overcrowded, poorly constructed, poorly ventilated, cold in winter and hot in summer. Privacy was non-existent for most. Privies were outside and bathhouses rare. In fact, despite the War Department’s stipulation that the men should bathe at least once a week, one officer reported that after 30 years in the Army, not once had he seen a bathhouse at a fort.

Still, not every soldier thought his time in service to his country was endlessly miserable.  One young lieutenant wrote his mother, “I could live such a life for years and years without becoming tired of it. There is a great deal of hardship, but we have our own fun. If we have to get up and start long before daybreak, we make up for it when we gather around campfires at night. You never saw such a merry set as we are–we criticize the Generals, laugh and swear at the mustangs and volunteers, smoke our cigars and drink our brandy, when we have any.”

I like his attitude, don’t you?

What is the farthest you’ve ever traveled?  Have you ever had a miserable trip?

A number of years ago, to celebrate our anniversary, my husband and I traveled to Cape Cod in the fall, hopeful to see the beautiful colors.  Alas, it had been too warm and rainy that year, and we didn’t see a SINGLE leaf that had turned color.  Worse, on the way home, more stormy weather cancelled flights, and we were forced to spend the night at the Boston airport.  I can still remember those creaky cots they gave us to sleep on.  Although my husband slept, I couldn’t relax out of fear someone would steal our luggage.  I was in tears checking my watch constantly.  I can’t remember being more miserable, and that night is still vivid in my memory.

Let’s chat, and I’ll give away an ebook copy of THE MERCENARY’S KISS to a winning commenter.

Series on Amazon

We Have a Winner — Well, Two — for Karen Kay’s e-book BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER

Good Evening!

Before I announce the winners, just wanted to say a very big thank you to everyone who came to the blog yesterday.  So very appreciated.

As sometimes happens when I draw names, I come up with two names instead of one.  And so we have two winners.

And the winners are:  Colleen & Denise

Colleen & Denise, if you would please contact me at karenkay(dot)author(at)startmail(dot)com — we’ll arrange to get the e-book to you.  Congratulations to you both!

 

 

Annee Jones Comes to the Junction!

Miss Annee Jones has set out and will arrive here in Wildflower Junction Friday, October15, 2021!

Her topic is lighthouses. This should be a fun conversation. I just love them myself.

She’s also toting a copy of one of her books to give away! That’s a big Yee-Haw!

Come Friday, get your chatting britches on and let’s get started.

You might just come away a winner.

For all things western romance, keep P&P bookmarked.

A Different Kind of Wrangler

As I was working on my current manuscript this past weekend, I found myself needing to do a research check on the role of a wrangler on a 19th century ranch. I knew they dealt with horses, but I didn’t know if the term wrangler only applied during cattle drives or if it would be applicable in a ranch setting. So I pulled up Google prepared for a quick, fast-checking search.

Well, at first all I found were Wrangler brand jeans. Not exactly what I was looking for. So I added “19th century” to my search about what a wrangler did. That search still didn’t pull up what I was looking for, but what it pulled up instead was an incredible story about a woman breaking academic barriers in mathematics. With a daughter who graduated with degrees in Math and Computer Science who is working on a PhD in a field dominated by men, I was immediately intrigued and dove head first d own the rabbit hole.

Cambridge University was considered the center of academic achievement and learning during Victorian times. Those who excelled at Cambridge went on to have amazing careers and were considered some of the greatest minds of the age. All of whom were, of course, men. During the Victorian era, the predominant medical opinion was that women were delicate, fragile creatures, unable to achieve greatness in academics or athletics. For a woman to dedicate herself to strenuous study or exercise was to run the risk of mental illness or sterility. Medical experts believed that the body could only handle a set amount of development and since a woman’s reproductive system was so much more complicated than a man’s if she diverted too much energy to academic study, her development in other areas would suffer. Not only that, but women’s skulls were smaller than men’s, so there brains were therefore smaller and unable to comprehend the complexities of high academia.

Girton College Cricket Team 1899

Near the end of the 1800’s however, the suffrage movement had picked up momentum and more and more women were seeking opportunities for higher learning. Women’s colleges began to appear, including Girton, a college associated with Cambridge. A handful of women proved to have very capable, bright minds. One such woman, Agnata Ramsey, even managed to take top marks on the Classics exams in 1887, besting all of the men from Cambridge. While a remarkable achievement, this accomplishment did little to sway the men at the time to consider women their intellectual equals. You see, women had been achieving similar scores to men in many academic subjects for years. All save one–mathematics. Men always placed higher in this exam. Victorian-era scholars believed women’s minds incapable of the complex logic required in advanced mathematics since everyone knew they a woman’s nature was based on emotion.

Enter Philippa Fawcett.

Philippa was the only child of Henry and Millicent Fawcett, two people who were extraordinary in their own rights. Millicent was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement and Henry, though blinded at age 25, became a minister in the British government. Such forward-thinking parents no doubt aided Philippa’s rise to greatness. She showed an early talent for mathematics, and her parents eagerly aided her growth. She earned a place at Newnham College (another women’s college associated with Cambridge) and took courses in pure and applied mathematics at University College London, a more progressive school that allowed females to take courses alongside males. Despite access to collegiate coursework, nothing could adequately prepare her for the extremely rigorous 8 days of exams known as the Cambridge math tripos. This exam was created to be nearly impossible. Those who did exceptionally well managed to complete 2 of the 12 papers. Results of the test were announced in numerical order. The group with the top scores were known as Wranglers. And the top scorer for the year was known as the Senior Wrangler. Female students from Cambridge’s sister schools of Girton and Newnham were allowed to sit for the same exams as the men. However, their ranking was kept separate. When the results were read, they would be announced as falling between the men’s ranking. So if a women scored higher than the 18th position and lower than the 17th, her result would be “Between the 17th and 18th Optimes (Optimes were the group below Wranglers).

The man who earned the position of Senior Wrangler was guaranteed a stellar career in academia and a great deal of prestige. Students would hire tutors and study up to 20 hours a day for months. As you can imagine, this led to health problems and mental breakdowns. In 1890, when Philippa sat for the exam, she took a much more measured approach. She worked with a tutor but kept to a strict schedule, rising at 8:00 am every day and never staying up later than 11:00 pm. She would study for 6 hours a day. Not only was she an orderly, self-disciplined person by nature, but she was well aware that she was being scrutinized by society within and without academia. She was determined to give them no fodder that could be used to denigrate the role of women in higher learning.

On June 7, 1890 the results from the Cambridge math tripos were announced and the world erupted. When the women’s results were read, Philippa Fawcett’s name came last, and her result – Above the Senior Wrangler! She scored 13% higher than the top man. The news spread worldwide and challenged traditional beliefs of what a female could achieve. Her remarkable accomplishment paved the way for equal opportunities for women at institutions of higher learning around the world.

It took significant time for change to reach the hallowed halls of Cambridge, however. They didn’t allow women to pursue degrees alongside men until 1948. (In the United States, Yale did not admit women until 1969 and Harvard until 1977.) Thankfully, Philippa lived long enough to see this day. She died at age 80 after a long career teaching at Newnham College. Her death came one month after Cambridge finally opened its doors to women, and 58 years after her society-rocking achievement of being ranked Above the Senior Wrangler.

What area of gender equality are you most thankful for today?

 

What a Beautiful Month! Give-Away, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER

Howdy!

Welcome to another terrific Tuesday!

Yummmmm…  Autumn — crisp air, scented delicately with falling leaves and the smoke from wood stoves;  Cinnamon and fresh apple cider, pumpkin pie, turkey and cranberry sauce, apple pie, the last of the corn on the cob…

And what about the “feels” of autumn? Traipsing through leaves, racking them up and jumping in them; picking up a leaf and tracing its pattern; warm days, cool nights, the pleasure of feeling Mother Earth prepare for a few months’ sleep.

And how about the sounds of autumn?  Cold nights and warm blankets, football games announcing the players; the sounds of cheerleaders and marching bands; long practices — even the quiet sound of leaves falling to the ground.  How I love it.

thanksgivingOf course, to the people who lived close to the earth, these were all the beauties of autumn, also.  So much was this the case that an entire festival of fun and merriment was devoted to autumn — and that festival was called the Harvest Festival.

Of course we are all pretty much aware that our Thanksgiving comes from the Eastern Indians, and in particular Squanto — and if you didn’t know about Squanto, I would highly recommend the movie, Squanto, starring a young and dreamy Adam Beach.  Sigh…

But what was this festival called Thanksgiving?  Did it happen just this one time?  Or was this Thanksgiving part of an ancient celebration of the American Indians to give Thanks to He who is known as the Creator.

Thanksgiving was one of several festivals amongst the Eastern Indians — in particular I’m talking about the Iroquois.  However, these ceremonies were common to all the Eastern tribes.  There were many festivals throughout the year, and they tended to follow the seasons.

The Iroquois celebrated six festivals, wherein they gave thanks to the Creator for all they had.  These festivals would open with speeches by leaders, teachers, and elders.  And of course there was much dancing, which was done not only for the fun of simply dancing, but it was also a sense of worship.  It was thought that because the Creator needed some sort of amusement, He gave the people dancing.  Let me tell you a little about some of these celebrations.

In spring — early March — it was time to collect together tree bark and sap – this was needed to repair houses and other things, such as canoes, bowls, etc.   Spring was also the time for planting.  This was the maple festival.  Next was the Planting festival.  Here prayers were sent to the Creator to bless their seed.

The Iroquois’ main food source was corn, beans and squash (the three sisters), and of course deer meat or other meat when available.  Family gardens were separated by borders that were broad and grassy — they would even camp on these borders and sometimes they were raise watch towers.

The next festival of the Iroquois was the Strawberry Festival.  This is where the people gave thanks to the Creator for their many fruits (like strawberries).  It was summertime.  The women gathered wild nuts and other foods, while the men hunted, fished and provided various meats for cooking.  Again, each festival was greeted with much dancing and merriment.  Did you know that the some Iroquois believed the way to the Creator was paved with strawberries?

The festival after that was the Green Corn Fesitval.  Again, the people thanked the Creator for the bounty of food that had been raised all through the summer.  Dancers danced to please the Creator and musicians sang and beat the drum.  Again there were many speeches to honor the people and the Creator.  There were team sports.  Lacrosse was the game that was most admired and it was played with great abandon by the men.  Women played games, too and often their games were as competitive as the men’s.

The season festival following that was…are you ready?  You’re right — The Harvest Festival.  By this time the women had harvested the corn, beans and squash.  Much of it would be dried.  Much went to feed families.  Husks were made into many different items.  Dolls, rugs, mats.  Did you know that the dolls didn’t have faces?  Now was the time to gather more nuts and berries.  Men were busy, too, hunting far away.  Bear, moose, beaver were all sought after and hunted.  Again, there was much celebration.  Dancing, speeches, prayer.  And of course — food.  It was this particular festival that was shared with the newcomers to this continent.

Can you guess what the next festival was?  Although this is a Christmas tree, it was not a celebration of Christmas — but if you guessed this, you were very close.  The next and last festival of the year was New Year’s.  At this time, a white dog was sacrificed as a gift to the Creator.  This was also a time for renewing the mind and body.  (Does that not remind you of our New Year’s resolutions?)  At this time, the False Face Society members would wear masks to help others to cleanse themselves of their bad minds and restore only their good minds.  There was again much celebration, much dancing, much merriment and enjoyment as each person would settle in for the long winter ahead of them.

The First Americans indeed did give this country very much, not only its festivals which we still remember to this day, but also it gave to this nation a fighting spirit for freedom.  In these times when there seems to be a forgetfulness about our American roots, it is wonderful to remember that the American Indian and the Love of Freedom went hand-in-hand.  What seems interesting to me is that our Thanksgiving festival still honors the custom of giving thanks for those gifts that He, The Creator, has given us.  To the American Indian all of these festivals contained this special element — that of giving Thanks to our Maker.

Perhaps it’s only because this one festival was shared by American Indian and Colonist alike that set the tone of Thanksgiving for future generations.  And I do believe that the love of autumn and giving thanks for that which belongs to us has its roots in The Harvest Festival, so beloved to the Eastern Indian Tribes.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about this.

Now, with this said, I’d like to mention that I do have a new release which can be puirchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, ITunes and Google Play.  And, I’ll be giving away a free copy of this book, BLUE THUNDER AND THE FLOWER to one of you bloggers today.  All you have to do to enter is leave a comment.

Be sure to leave a comment to be entered into the free give-away.  Giveaway Guidelines are off to the right here on this page.

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/4k6ahyfr

KOBO: https://tinyurl.com/3abxfuh

B & N: https://tinyurl.com/exadvx7n

Google:  https://tinyurl.com/uavkxz4

ITUNES: https://tinyurl.com/w2z7adxk

Meal-In-A-Loaf

Hello, Winnie Griggs here. The other day I was going through my old recipe files as I’m gradually digitizing them. Some of these were handed down from my mom, slipped to me by friends or relatives, or developed by me over time. Just reading through the creased and food-stained notes had me reminiscing over my childhood an early married life – I’d never realized how foods could be so deeply associated with comforting memories.

Today I thought I share one of those with you – a hearty, perfect-for-Fall recipe called Meal-In-A-Loaf.

First of all, since most of these rcipes are more than twenty years old, they come from a time when I was a working mother with four youngsters and a 45 minute commute to and from the office. In those days time was always at a premium (but isn’t it always!). So when it came to meals I took advantage of the weekends and my great big freezer. I’d cook up meals like soups, gumbos, and one-dish casseroles in double or triple sized batches so I could freeze part of it to prepare for a future meal. I would also cook large batches of what I called my meat base.

Ground beef dishes – whether cooked up in a casserole, tacos, chili or spaghetti – were big hits around my house – not only with the diners but with this cook.  However, I’ve always found having to deal with browning and draining the meat itself to be time consuming and something of a hassle.  So I got in the habit of getting that prep work out of the way ahead of time, during one of my not-too-frequent down times.

This is how I do that .

  • Place 5 lbs of lean ground beef and 1 lb of ground pork in a large pot and cook until browned
  • Drain then return to pot with a little water or stock
  • Add seasonings such as chopped onions, green onions, peppers and celery – this varies based on what I have on hand and what mood I’m in. Sometimes I just use Sloppy Joe mix.
  • Continue cooking, adding liquid as needed, until seasonings are tender and flavors are well blended.
  • If I haven’t used Sloppy Joe mix, I’ll add some tomato sauce and cook a little longer
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool
  • Then I separate the batch into six individual one pound portions and freeze them until I’m ready to use one or more in a favorite recipe

Now, on to the recipe I promised you

Meal-In-A-Loaf

Ingredients

  • 1 large unsliced French or Italian bread loaf
  • 1 pound meat mixture, thawed
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup, undiluted (Note: I will sometimes take a can of Rotel tomatoes and chili peppers, drained and substitute it in for half of the soup)
  • A large dollop of sour cream (I don’t measure, I just plop it in)
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite cheese, shredded

Directions

  • Heat meat and soup together in a saucepan. Just before you remove it from the stove, stir in the sour cream, mixing well
  • Slice the bread loaf lengthwise, making sure the bottom portion is slightly larger than the one on top
  • Scoop out both halves of the sliced loaf, leaving a roughly 1/2 – 3/4 inch shell
  • Break about 1/2 of scooped-out bread into bite-sized portions and stir into warm meat mixture.
  • Spoon meat and bread mixture into the bottom portion of the hollowed loaf, allowing it to ‘mound’ above the top of the bowl
  • Sprinkle the shredded cheese evenly over the top
  • Cover with the top portion of the bread shell
  • Wrap loosely in foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes

To serve, unwrap the loaf and cut it into serving-sized slices.  This will make 8-10 servings, depending on the size of loaf and thickness of slices.

NOTE: I sometimes stir in taco seasoning to change it up a bit

That’s it – Enjoy!

Do you have any meal prep or planning shortcuts of your own to offer?  And if you have any quick and easy recipes of your own, especially one that would utilize this pre-cooked meat mix, share!

Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for winner’s choice of any book from my backlist.

 

 

Jodi Thomas Has Winners!

Thank you so much for coming to see us, Miss Jodi! It was fun. Keep those stories coming.

And now for the drawing……..

MELANIE BACKUS – Dinner on Primrose Hill

SALLYCOOTIE – The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas

LOIS IMEL – One Night at the St. Nicholas

Oh my goodness! Congratulations, Ladies! What for Miss Jodi’s email and check your Spam if you don’t get it in a few days.

By  the way, Jodi got the title of Father Goose from the movie with the same name that starred Cary Grant.