Welcome Guest – Shanna Hatfield

It is such a pleasure to be back here at Petticoats & Pistols with you all. Thank you for inviting me to join you today!

Bertie promo 2Bertie, the latest release in my Pendleton Petticoats series (set in Pendleton, Oregon) includes a few scenes of the wheat harvest.

Back in the early years of the twentieth century, Umatilla County (where Pendleton is located) produced approximately one percent of the nation’s wheat crop. Wheat harvest brought workers to town, provided income for families, and an event many looked forward to all year. It was also a lot of hot, sweaty, backbreaking work. From experience gained during my childhood on a farm, I state firsthand that the dusty, itchy chaff that makes the air thick and hard to breathe.

Although I’m familiar with modern harvests and the equipment involved, I wanted to know more about a harvest taking place in the early 1900s.

combine 2

This photo was taken in 1903 in Sherman County, Oregon. (If you’ve read my Grass Valley series, it is set in Sherman County.)

Combine-harvester-pulled-by-a-thirty-three-horse-teamThis was another photo that provided a great visual of how I picture wheat harvest at Nash’s Folly, the ranch featured in Bertie’s story. Taken in 1902 in Walla Walla, WA, this photo shows not only the machine, but also the deep dip in the hill as well. Wheat fields in this part of the country are often planted on rolling hills.

32 mules

This photo, also from the oldoregonphotos.com website, shows a team of 32 pulling a hillside harvester in 1900. Because of the rolling hills, the farmers needed a machine that wouldn’t tip over on steep inclines.

Combine drawn by 26 head of mules and horses in a field of FederIt took a large number of horses or mules to pull the heavy equipment, especially up the hills.

After gathering the historic photos and studying them, I still had no idea how to describe the equipment, so I emailed my octogenarian dad the photos and asked for his sage advice. He called me back with a wealth of information.

My dad comes from a long line of farmers, and also spent several years after he and my mother were newly wed working in Pendleton in the early 1950s. He had firsthand experience with the terrain, the hillside harvesters, and even told me why so many of the farmers preferred mules to horses (because the mules could go all day without a problem and the horses often got sores or sick.)

In addition to providing descriptions of the equipment, he told me the names of some of the jobs involved with wheat harvest. The jigger sewed the sacks of wheat shut once they were filled. The tender made sure the cutter was going where it was supposed to while the skinner drove the team.

Pendleton Petticoats Series

Read more about Pendleton, wheat harvests, spring balls, outlaws and in-laws in the Pendleton Petticoats series.

If you found yourself cooking for a harvest crew in 1906, what one thing would you bring along from the future to help you survive the heat and hard work? Post your answer to enter for a chance to win one of three digital copies of Bertie being given away!


Shanna Hatfield 2Convinced everyone deserves a happy ending, USA Today best-selling author Shanna Hatfield is out to make it happen, one story at a time. Her sweet historical and contemporary romances combine humor and heart-pumping moments with relatable characters.

When this hopeless romantic isn’t writing or indulging in rich, decadent chocolate, Shanna hangs out with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller.

Find Shanna’s books at:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords | Apple

Shanna loves to hear from readers. Follow her online at:

ShannaHatfield | Facebook | Newsletter | Pinterest | Goodreads | You Tube | Twitter


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25 thoughts on “Welcome Guest – Shanna Hatfield”

  1. Hi, Shanna! I’m happy to see you here today. Congratulations on the new release!

    Can I bring an air conditioner with me for the house so I can go cool off afterwards?

  2. Sounds like a great book.
    Hmm. I like all kinds of kitchen “things”. I would bring my Kitchen Aid.
    Thank you for opportunity to win.

  3. Welcome to Wildflower Junction, Shanna! So good to have you hear again! I love the pictures of the huge horse and mule teams. What a challenge to rig them all up for work. It must have taken hours! And it must have been quite a rush for the skinner to feel in control of so much natural power!

    If I could take one thing back to the kitchen of a harvest crew cook, I would have to say air conditioning! (I was going to say a fan and then thought–why stop there?–so air conditioning it is!)

    Best wishes on your release of Bertie!

    • Thank you for the warm welcome, Kathryn. I can’t begin to imagine all the work of rigging up those big horse and mule teams – or, as you said, the power of handling them!
      I think I’d be right there with you standing next to the air conditioner!
      Thanks again!

  4. Hi Shanna! Thank you for a great post and giveaway. I would bring back refrigerated air, hands down!

  5. Wow, I never knew it took so many horses/mules to do that! I am LOVING those pictures. I grew up on a farm, also, and totally remember the dust and itching. Oh man, baling hay was awful with the itching and sneezing. Hmmm, I love my ice water and the availability to have it handy, so for the harvest days I’d bring back my camelback (water holding back pack) and a way to make ice! So I could have that ice water with me all day. LOL

    • Hello to a fellow farm girl! Thanks for stopping by today.
      Love your idea of taking something to make sure you could have ice water all day. The thought of drinking warm water… yuck!

  6. I’d have to have cold drinks to survive the heat so a huge freezer with an icemaker. It would a.so help keep things fresh and reduce the chance for food poisoning. 😉

    • I like the way you think. Some of those women from back then would probably become your immediate best friend if you arrived with one of today’s modern fridges.
      Thanks for stopping by today!

  7. Hi Shanna–I love this post so much! I sent a link to my mom so that she wouldn’t miss it. I grew up in the Palouse in Idaho, also a wheat area, and its also very hilly–I think it’s the steepest non-terraced wheat farming area in the country, but I could be wrong. I had no idea how many horses/mules were involved in pulling the harvester. Incredible! You have totally made my day and I can’t wait to read your book!

    • Hi Jeannie! Oh, that is awesome you grew up in that area! We’ve driven through there a few times. Yes, very hilly!
      The huge mule teams they used were amazing. If you ever have the opportunity, go to the Fort Walla Walla Museum in Walla Walla, WA. One building has a hillside wheat combine, complete with lifesize replicas of a team of 33 mules. It gives you such an interesting perspective of what it would have been like to handle that big team! So glad you shared this with your mom. Thanks for stopping by today!

  8. I think I would want a nice cooking stove and maybe a microwave so I could cook ahead and heat it back up. Electric stove would be great but would need Kim’s generator.

  9. I can’t believe how many mules were used at one time or how the skinner ever handled them all at once. His shoulders and arms must have been huge and his hand tough. How about bringing apples both for eating and moisture and bribes for the teams! And water whether warm or cold for the animals as well as the workers.

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