Paty Jager: Perfectly Good Nanny

paty.jpgHello Everyone!  Thank you, ladies of Petticoats and Pistols for letting authors of western romance be guest bloggers.  I’ve been scarce making comments this week because my two daughters and their combined four children – all under the age of four – have been at my house since last Saturday. While it’s fun having them- it puts a crimp in my usual daily activities. Such as blogging and writing.  

My newest release is a contemporary western set on a cattle ranch in SE Oregon. This book was the easiest to write because I didn’t have to do as much research as I do with a historical. My husband and I raise cattle, so the day-to-day worries and work were easy to write. Our little “hobby ranch” is nothing like the one in my story.

perfectlygoodnanny_wrp308_680.jpgPerfectly Good Nanny is set in a remote area of sagebrush, rabbit brush, and bunch grass. It is harsh land that requires diligence on the part of the rancher during calving season.  It is a part of the country where the cattle had to scrounge to find feed all year round until the invention of irrigation pipes.  The hero and heroine are thrown together by a 12-year-old girl, tired of taking care of her 2 year-old brother, and a meddling Klamath Indian neighbor. The two hire a nanny without the father knowing. When the woman shows up knowing everything about his family, Brock Hughes is not the least bit hospitable. But between the nanny and the girl they manage to get him to agree to the one month the neighbor paid for. Sparks fly and two people who’d given up on love learn to love again.   

My story depicts the daily lives of remote ranchers. To some extent though they have the newer equipment a lot of the day-to-day chores are the same as a hundred years ago.  Before haying and equipment, herds were moved to the higher range in the summer to eat the grass, saving the lower, taller grass in the meadows to feed the cattle during the winter. They also hayed, but would not reap as much feed from their hard work as they can now with the modern equipment.   

Grass was cut, usually from a meadow that was watered from a creek or a spring. A hand-held scythe was used to cut the grass. And later on in the 20th century a ground driven sickle was pulled behind a horse to cut the hay. By the late 1800’s they used a dump rake pulled by a horse to “rake” the hay into piles.  Those piles were then forked onto wagons or sleds.  The hay was then either forked into a barn or loft or a large outside pile. In the winter, this pile was pulled onto low sleds and dragged by a team of horses. These piles were then towed to the pasture where the cattle were wintering and forked off to feed. 

dscf0190.JPGIn the 1800’s just feeding the cattle could take half a day or longer if they were scattered among several fields. Of course, if it was a large enough operation, they would have several feeding sleds.  Being from a ranching family, I find the historical aspects of ranch living more interesting than the day-to-day lives of people living in the cities in the 1800’s  

What is something you have always wondered about? What kind of bathroom facilities people living in apartments in large cities in the 1800’s had? How long did it take to make soap or actually weave enough cloth to make a garment, or even how long did it take to sew by hand a dress or shirt?  That is what I find so fascinating about writing historical stories, the research that answers these questions. Why do you write or read historical romance?  

Thank you for participating today.  Leave your comments and I’ll pick one person to win an autographed copy or their choice of either my current contemporary western “Perfectly Good Nanny” or one of my previously published historical westerns.  

Also check out my website to enter my November contest and read my reviews.  

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29 thoughts on “Paty Jager: Perfectly Good Nanny”

  1. Good morning Paty!

    Your novel sounds wonderful.

    I love to read historicals because it gives me the opportunity to slip into a different time and place. I’ve only written one 1st draft of a paranormal historical romance set in Virginia in the late 1700’s. It was the first time I’d been inspired to write a historical. But I also knew I had to write it. It niggled at me until I did.

    The inspiration came from an image I used to have on my myspace that haunted me for several months. I started hearing someone whispering that I had to tell this story. It was Catherine, my MC, begging me to tell her story, a haunting tale.

    Being from Kentucky, I had to research a lot about the Virginia coast during that time and found it fascinating and that surprised me, since I’d never enjoyed studying history before, though I love to read historical romance novels.

    Researching for my story opened my mind up to wondering about all sorts of things in history. It also gives me a greater appreciation of the historical novels I read because I know how hard the writers work to give accurate details and how often they surprise me with cool tidbits of historical information that I might never have known about.

    Hope you have a great Saturday!

  2. Hi Paty! (who gave me a cover quote for my book :o) Wanted to stop by and say hello and wish you all the best with “Perfectly Good Nanny.” I haven’t read it yet, but it sounds like a lovely story.

    I’ve always been amazed by your energy, working with cattle and still finding time to write. How many of us can say we do that every day?

  3. The book sounds great, Paty.
    thanks for posting today.
    I, too, live on a farm. We have beef cattle. Not a hobby farm though. 120 breeding cows with their babies born every Feb.- April. which we raise for a year, then sell just before the cows calf again.
    Do all you ladies realize how many levels of cattle operations there are?
    Cow Calf herds
    There’s a market for very young calves to be weaned and raised.
    There are feed yards who buy our young calves and raises them for another year before they go to market.
    The bigger animals sell for less $ per pound but they’re bigger so it’s a balancing act how big you let your yearlings get before you sell, before you start to get diminished returns because of feed costs vs selling weight vs high prices for smaller calves.
    It’s pretty interesting.
    And I go with my husband every year to the auction when we sell the cattle. Talk about a different world. It’s very interesting watching the almost invisible bidding and the cattle run in, be weighed (the whole floor of the auction ring is a gigantic scale) and the bidding begins and the auctioneers to their chatter.

  4. Hi, Paty! Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols. And like Devon says, with a shortage of time, we appreciate you finding time for us all the more!

    Why do I write or read historical romance? I developed a love for the Old West since I lived in western Nebraska, and folks out there work hard to keep the era alive. I guess for me, the 1800’s are very intriguing. While the era wasn’t nearly as backward as we might think it was, the manner of living was fascinating.

    For instance, the fashions. Some of the gowns were gorgeous, and I’m amazed at the yards and yards of fabric they needed. Most of all, the hats! I wish women still wore them.

    Thanks, Paty!

  5. Hi Paty!! Welcome to P&P. You’re an interesting author. I enjoy your comments when I blog. But, I’m thrilled to get to know more about you. I think it would be wonderful to live on a ranch, so peaceful and quiet. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of city life gets to me and I yearn for a moment to slow down and enjoy all that God has given me. Your book looks really great. It’s one I’m going to have to get.

    I love reading and writing historicals and finding out more about the simple life when a man’s word was his bond and he knew how to treat a lady. Somehow we’ve lost all that.

    Hey, I’d love to hear how the people who stayed in hotels took care of personal needs. Did they have outhouses in the towns? Hmmmmm. I’d sure like to know. These little details bring our stories more alive.

    Have a great day and enjoy being with us. 🙂

  6. Back when I had to decide on a major for college I was stuck between history and criminal justice. CJ only won out because I figured I’d find a job easier in the field. Because I didn’t go the history route, I find I love reading many different kinds of historical books. That said, I find myself drawn to western historical romances before any other kind. I have found I like historical mysteries too, Barbara Hambly had a great series set in New Orleans in the 1800s.

    Paty, your book sounds intriguing and I might check it out when I have time. I have the greatest admiration for people like you who work so hard.

  7. Hi Taryn,

    I love the research as I said. It seems like I always find something interesting to put in a future book when I am researching for the one I’m working on.

    One of these days I want to get to the East Coast and explore all the historical places.

    Hi Devon!
    Glad you stopped by! Angel in the Rain is a fantastic read I loved reading it and giving you a quote.

    Hi Mary,

    As I said we have a hobby farm. 70 acres and 37 mother cows. We are actually calving right now. My dh likes to calve now and have calves ready to go to pasture when the grass comes on in the spring. We’ve bought and sold animals at the local auction here. We also raise all our hay.

    Hi Pam,

    Fashions were so restricting for women in the 1800’s. That is the one thing I don’t think I would have liked had I been living then.

    Hi Linda,

    I’ve done some research at least of the Oregon hotels in the 1800’s. They would bring bath tubs into rooms for baths and pack in the water. The upscale hotels had stoves with water reservoirs in them to provide hot water any time the guests want it. I have them throw the used water out the windows. I found a map of a town that is part of the setting for my second Petticoat book. It was drawn in 1890. They actually had the outhouses marked on the map. There were generally two to a block behind the buildings. Unless they showed a residence then the residence had their own.

  8. Hi Lynn,

    Thanks for stopping by. There are some days I wonder how I stay sane, then I sit down to the computer and live my stories as I type. It is almost better than a vacation. Almost. 🙂

    My son in law is in law enforcement. I admire those who can work in that field.

  9. Hi Patty,

    Your book sounds wonderful. I love historicals, especially westerns. My two older sons have recently started raising cattle. They go to the auctions, plant grass hay, haul water, etc. I can’t imagine how much harder it must have been 100 years ago without 4-wheelers, trucks, electricity, etc.
    I’ve always wondered what people did about their teeth and breath. What did they use for toothpaste and for a toothbrush?

  10. Hi Paty. Your book sounds great. I love to read historicals because it allows me to escape back to a different time and place and learn how they lived, the clothing of the time and the cultural events that occurred. I have always been a fan of westerns.

  11. Great post and your books sound really good! I read historicals to visit time periods and places that I know I will never get a chance to visit (unless time travel becomes an option in my lifetime)…it is nice to get a glimpse of an era or life from long ago. I have always enjoyed historical movies and tv shows and that love influenced my reading as well. I read other genres as well…but my first love(s) are the historicals.

  12. Hi Christy,

    Toothbrushes could be bought in stores in 1820 but according to a book I have people didn’t really start taking care of their teeth until later in the century. They also would take teeth from dead people and implant them. (this makes me queasy) LOL The 1897 Sears and Roebuck catalog shows tooth powder and tooth soap as well as brushes.

    Hi Maureen,

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Hi Crystal,

    That’s what I love about historicals and in particular westerns- learning about how they lived back then and learning something about our history that I didn’t get in a history lesson at school.

    Hi Jennifer,

    I read about anything, but I prefer western historicals. For the same reasons as you stated. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Hi Paty ~ Welcome to Petticaots & Pistols 🙂

    Your book sounds wonderful! Nothing draws me in like rugged, hard-working, stubborn cowboys—and the women who tame them *ggg* The more remote and perilous the landscape, the stronger my interest 😉 I read and write westerns for the sense of adventure, the window into our history in an era where opportunity was there to be had for those with the courage, strength and endurance to seek it out.

    Thanks so much for joining us today!

  14. I am intrigued with Westerns. Now that I live in the SW even moreso. The mystique of the cowboy, the beauty of the limitless horizon and the vistas. Your book sounds fascinating.

  15. Paty, in all the westerns I’ve read, I’ve never seen a reference to anyone brushing his/her teeth. We’ve had several discussions about this very topic in my local RWA chapter. It’s strange, since there were toothbrushes and powders back then. Wonder why romance authors didn’t include this info with all their other period details. Just think about all that kissing and lovemaking, and no teeth brushing. LOL! Honestly, I’m making a note. Somewhere in one of my current wip’s I’m including a reference to the hero or heroine (maybe both) brushing their teeth.

    You know, cans of tooth powder were still hanging around back in the ’50’s. They looked like smaller versions of talcum powder in a tin with a tiny cap on top. My grandparents had some. I tasted it one time and it was minty. There’s no telling how long it had been there, they never threw anything away. :o)

  16. Great point, Devon! I have thought the same exact thing about toothbrushes, which were available in most merchantiles (though by most accounts I’ve read, were not broadly used *g*). I haven’t made any such reference in my stories either—but seeing as I comment on my heroes gleaming white teeth, I should! *g*

  17. Stacey and Devon,

    Knowing how few and far between people took baths in the times of westerns, I like to make sure the H/H have taken a dip in a stream or a bathtub at least once in my stories. LOL That helps take away some of the unflattering attributes of living in the 1800’s.

    It is interesting how you do see books with men shaving, or a woman brushing their hair, but any other hygiene seems to be thrown out the window. I seem to have an outhouse fetish. LOL I always have someone either in or around an outhouse or at least having nature call. I mean really, we want our characters to appear realistic.

  18. Hi Paty,

    So good to see you guestblogging here. I love western historicals because I find it so fascinating to learn about how people lived in that time. I remember one time reading a historical where the heroine talked about the all day process of doing laundry. LOL! After reading that, I looked at my washer and dryer with alot more appreciation. I remember another one where they were doing the barnraising and they talked how all the women helped with the food while the men worked on the barn. You really got a sense of community in the story. These kinds of details really give you a good feel for that time. Thanks for being here! I enjoyed your post.

  19. Hi Cherie J., Lila, Nathalie, Lily-
    Sorry I’m late getting back to you. Seems my company gave me the flu they were battling during the week.

    Thanks Nathalie, I appreciate hearing people like my writing.

  20. Hi Paty,
    I’m published in inspirational fiction, a first timer, and it’s great to be here. I’m also the daughter and granddaughter of real Texas cowboys; so I know I’m in the right place.
    All the books at this site sound wonderful. And if you have a minute, please stop by my website and meet the cowboys in my life.
    Just scroll down my main page and click Molly’s Family. Or Molly’s Books is you want to see my pretty covers and read excerpts.

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