Four Season Cowboys

I love northern cowboys.

It’s not that I’ve got anything against all those smokin’ hot Southern cowboys, or the rugged, Stetson-wearing men of the Southwest…

It’s snow.

And wind.

And avalanches.

Blizzards.

Calving.

Gathering animals or spreading hay to keep them strong in adverse conditions.

I love this series:

It’s the kind of grit and guts that either draws you in or sends you running!

I was totally drawn into the lives of the Stucky, Hughes and Galt families and their ranches.

 

Animals are survivors by nature. You’ve only got to look out your window at birds and squirrels and ants and rats and mice and snakes to realize that without any human intervention, animals survive.

But in a for-profit operation, it’s crucial for as many to survive as possible. And that’s where the true cowboy comes in. Or the rugged farmer, dedicated to his farm/ranch no matter what part of the country he hails from.

I’ve noticed distinct differences between Eastern and Western ranches. Eastern ranches tend to house cattle overwinter. Western ranches let the animals roam.

Western ranches use SUVs, utility vehicles and horses to gather and monitor their spreads, and their spreads often cover thousands of acres.

Eastern ranches tend to be in the hundreds of acres, marked with hedgerows spawned by being in Eastern woodlands.

The physical differences are notable, but the intrinsic love for their job, their animals, their stock, their families… that’s universal. Success arises from sacrifice, and that’s what we love about a cowboy story. The sacrificial component of their life, their choices, appeal to us!

Which then makes the cowboy the Almost Perfect Hero.

Of course he can’t be perfect.

Perfect is boring and gets old real quick.

But the profile of a cowboy, the hard-working sacrificial nature makes them great romance hero material.

Now here’s the REALITY: They get annoyed. Grumpy. Mad at the weather and forces of nature… Very few stay even-tempered when their livelihood, family, stock, homes are threatened.

But that’s normal. We wouldn’t want a hero to gloss off everything. We want him to buck up and stand strong and get back on the horse and keep on trying. Because that’s what a hero does.

They don’t give up.

Do you have favorite heroes? Who are they?

Name me your favorite hero to be tucked into a drawing for a copy of the second book of my Double S Ranch cowboy series… “Home on the Range”….

He doesn’t have to be a Western hero… any hero will do.

I want to know what appeals to you, like the northern cowboy appeals to me.

I brought coffee… and peach pie. I might be a Yankee… but I make an absolutely amazing peach pie!

 

RUTHY’S WINNER FROM AUGUST 31!!!!!  DEANNE, YOUR NAME CAME OUT OF THE COWBOY HAT FOR A COPY OF “HOME ON THE RANGE”! E-mail Ruthy at loganherne@gmail.com and she’ll get your snail mail! 

Julie Benson’s Winner!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat about their favorite getaways. I now have a new list of places to check out!

The winner of the wine stopper, wine charms and Firelight wine glass is:

Denise

Congratulations, Denise. Please contact me privately at Julie@juliebenson.net to let me know your address.

Again, thanks to everyone who stopped by to chat. I loved hearing from you.

Julie

 

Becca Whitham Comes to the Junction!

Ms Becca Whitham has climbed aboard and will visit us on Friday, September 1, 2017!

Mail order brides had many reasons to set out to marry a man they didn’t know. Ms Becca will talk about that so have your questions ready.

She’s also toting a new book to give away.

Leave a comment to enter the drawing.

Come and help us welcome her and sit for a while.

We won’t even charge you or anything.

 

My Favorite Small Town Getaway

Last summer after dropping off our youngest son at college in New Jersey, we visited wineries on the return trip to break up the endless miles. Once home we discovered quite a few wineries in our area. Now I had a goal I could really get behind–visiting local wineries!

I found Valley View, Texas because of a billboard advertising its local winery. What I never expected was to also find a Texas getaway gem in this town of seven hundred fifty-seven people.

The minute I drove into Valley View, my tension drifted away with the warm Texas breeze, and that was even before I had a glass of Firelight Vineyard’s sangria! The town reminded me of my childhood spent at my grandparent’s farm in northeastern Iowa. There was open space, trees, horses and cows. Often all in one front yard. There life doesn’t speed by. Neighbors know each other. Everyone’s friendly and laid back. Whenever I’m there I run into someone who wants to talk. Whether it’s someone at the winery, a local business owner, or an Army/Air Force Veteran. Whenever I hear Josh Gallagher’s “Pick Any Small Town” Valley View’s the one I’d pick.

The last year has been stressful, so for our anniversary, my hubby and I headed to Valley View for a getaway weekend. We wanted to spend time away from email, texts, social media, and other city commitments. For us, when we’re away from the city and in the country, life’s troubles fade away and we focus on what’s important—each other and family. The drive to our B&B, Towering Oaks Haven, took us on a gravel road, once again reminding me of my childhood. The fast-paced-need-to-get-ahead-world disappeared. We spent the weekend wandering around antique stores, shopping at my favorite boutique Rustic Ranch, and becoming reacquainted with each other. We weren’t on our phones constantly. We weren’t worried about spotty internet service. We connected with those around us, rather than those on social media sites. We listened to stories, told some of our own, and were simply in the moment. We ate fantastic gourmet pizza from Lil’ Brick Oven delivered to us at the winery. After that, we listened to the David Alexander Trio while sitting on the Firelight Vineyard’s patio chatting with someone my husband knew from years back and a wonderful couple from Oklahoma.

Life was simpler, personal and connected. And I loved every minute of it.

I remembered why I write stories set in small towns, because of the feelings I rediscovered in Valley View. Because of the way I felt at my grandparents’ farm and in their small town.

I can back rejuvenated and my head spinning with story ideas! A Texas winery owner heroine and a rancher in a small Texas town trying to revitalize the town square. Hmmm. It’s a start.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me about your favorite getaway spot that rejuvenates your body and soul. Enter a comment for a chance to win the wine charms and a wineglass from FIrelight Vineyards.

 

 

Civilian Conservation Corp — Yesterday and Today

 

As a baby boomer, I thought the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) first came into appearance in the United State as a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.  A national project that provided unskilled manual labor job related to conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments.  Boy, I was ever wrong!

One of the CCC’s local projects is the two sets of cabins at Palo Duro Canyon, only a short distance south of Amarillo, Texas.  The canyon is known as the Grand Canyon of Texas. It’s absolutely beautiful. In this blog, I’m sharing many of my own pictures, especially of the three stone cabins deep into the canyon built by the CCC. I’ve spent more than one night at the old “cow camp cabins”, as they are known, with a number of writers and friends.  We’ve actually filled up all three of the cow camp cabins, just like the workers who lived there while building the roads and bridges in the 1930’s.

But here comes my surprise. The future CCC was originated on June 16, 1775, nearly two and a half centuries ago, by General George Washington, who appointed Col. Richard Gridley as the first chief engineer of the Continental army.  In 1779, The Corps of Engineers was established by congress as part of the Continental army.  The engineers’ fortifications played an important role in many Revolutionary War battles, including the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Battles of Saratoga.

In 1802, Congress, supported by President Thomas Jefferson, established the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.  This was after recognizing the need for a national engineering capability.  For more than a quarter century, West Point remained the only engineering school in the U.S.  Congress also established the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which dates its continuous origin from 1802, and was started at West Point.  Until 1866, the academy superintendent was a military engineer.

Our nation repeatedly called upon the Army Engineers to perform civil works as well as engineering projects.  During the 1800’s, the Corps supervised construction of extensive coastal fortifications and built lighthouses, piers, and jetties, as well as mapping navigation channels. A Corp of Topographical Engineers, a separate unit in 1838-63, helped explore, survey, and map many regions of the new frontier.

During the Mexican War and Civil War, in addition to supplying many important commanders such as Robert E. Lee and George McClellan, the Corps of Engineers played important roles in mapping, road and bridge construction, fortifications, and siege craft.  The 2,170 foot pontoon bridge built across the James River in June 1864 was the longest floating bridge erected before WWII. One of the army engineers, George W. Goethals, supervised the construction of the Panama Canal.

Now for the biggest surprise I found … The Corp of Engineers, thru their military role, shifted their attention away from the footprints of the United States to a military role, as seen in its construction of army and air force facilities in the buildup of the 1980’s Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as peacekeeping operations in other parts of the world.

 

Please tell us two things.  First, did you realize the CCC, as we know it today, was founded so many years ago? And, secondly, where is your favorite place to go, relax, and enjoy the wonders of nature?  My answer … is spending time with friends in the cow camp cabins in Palo Duro Canyon.

To one lucky winner, I will give away an eCopy of your choice of my “Kasota Springs Romance” eBooks plus a $10.00 Bath and Bodyworks gift certificate.  The winner will be selected from those who leave a comment.

The Horse Podiatrist

No, that post title isn’t also the title of an upcoming book. After all, I’m not sure it’d be flying off the shelves if it were. Instead, it’s a clue to today’s topic, that of farriers.

As you might expect from a long-running western series, many of my heroes in my Blue Falls, Texas series are ranchers and/or rodeo cowboys. Every now and then, I throw in a little something extra, too. That was the case for A Rancher to Love, which was book eight in the series. Tyler Lowe not only has a ranch, but he’s the local farrier — or the man you call when your horse needs a hoof trim or new shoes. When you think about it, farrier seems an odd word for such a profession. But not surprisingly, it’s because the term has its roots in other languages — this time French and Latin. It’s comes from the Middle French word ferrier,

meaning blacksmith, and the Latin word for iron, ferrum.

Although in the past, farriers did blacksmithing work as well, today the two professions are more distinct. Unlike podiatrists, farriers in the United States don’t have to have any formal education or certification. In fact, scary as it might seem, farriery is not regulated at all in the U.S. There are voluntary certification programs through three organizations — the American Farrier’s Association, the Guild of Professional Farriers, and the Brotherhood of Working Farriers.

By contrast, in the UK it is illegal for anyone to call themselves a farrier or to carry out any farriery work. This is so that no harm or suffering are endured by horses through the unskilled efforts of someone who isn’t qualified. They are organized as the Worshipful Company of Farriers and have been around since 1356!

While trimming hooves and shoeing (including for such special purposes such as racing) are the farrier’s main duties, they also take care of damaged or diseased hooves.

It was fun to write a different aspect of life surrounding ranching and the cowboy life, but next month I’m back to rodeo cowboys with the release of book number 12 in the Blue Falls, Texas series — Her Texas Rodeo Cowboy. Hero Jason Till is in hot pursuit of a national championship in steer wrestling.

COWBOYS, HISTORY, AND ROOTS BY KAY P. DAWSON

 

Kay P. Dawson has tied up her pony in the corral and is here to sit a spell and tell us a bit about herself and her writing journey. She’s also offering a few of her books and items to one lucky individual who comments.
Please give her a warm filly welcome! 

Kay Dawson roots
I grew up on a farm, and spent a great deal of my early life hanging around my grandparent’s farms. (We come from a long line of farmers, and my younger brothers are carrying on the tradition).
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In the fall, we even used to have an old-fashioned “thrashing” day when my great-uncle would fire up the old steam engine and all of us kids would follow along in the fields throwing the hay up onto the horse-drawn wagon.
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So, hearing the stories of when my grandparents were young, and when their parents were young always fascinated me.  I used to imagine being back in the times they were talking about, scenes that I would play out in my mind as I pretended to be a pioneer.  Of course, right around this time, Little House on the Prairie was a massive hit on our one channel TV, and I was drawn to the stories playing on the screen.  (I always pretended to be Laura, and my sister was Mary.  Sometimes I’d drag my brothers and my cousin in to play too, although I don’t think they were as excited about it as me.)
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                                              Cowboys, History and Roots     Cowboys, History, and Roots
Writing historical western romance was natural for me.  I began reading the old western love stories when I was a teenager, at the same time everyone was reading the Sweet Valley High books.  Something about the past intrigued me, and when my grandparents would tell a story about how they’d lived, I couldn’t get enough.
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 The part I love the most about being able to write western romance is the time I get to spend researching.  Sometimes, I can lose a whole day of writing because I’ve found something else fascinating that takes me off the path I was originally looking up.
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I’ve recently started writing some contemporary stories too, but all of my books have a “western” or small-town, rural feel to them.  That’s all I really know, so that’s what I like to write about.
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Cowboys, History and Roots by Kay P. DawsonWhen I was a little girl, I had a great uncle Rob who was the truest cowboy you could ever meet.  He used to let me and my friend hang out in the stables with his horses for hours on end, and never once lost his patience with us.  He had a smile for every one he met, and he had a soft, quiet voice you’d have to strain to hear.  I always remember him with a cowboy hat on his head, and his dusty blue jeans.
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So much of what goes into my books is taken from the people I’ve known and where I’ve grown up. Even though I’ve had stories take place in Montana, Wyoming, Oregon, Kansas, Texas…and now British Columbia and Yukon in the early 1900’s – I’ve never been to these places.  I’ve had to research and learn, and spend some time getting a “feel” for the places I’m writing about.
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But they all have a common element, and that’s family, small town, rural roots.  Those are the virtues that have defined me as I grew up, and that’s what I know best.  Something about the call of home and family, where neighbors look out for each other and life moves at a slower pace.

  *  *  *  *  *  *  

 What about you?  Have you noticed how much of your own upbringing and the people and places you spent time around as you grew up has defined what you do today?

I’d love to hear your comments below!

For those who comment, Felicia Filly plans to draw one of your names
for this sweet giveaway offer from Kay P. Dawson!

Kay Dawson

Thank you to everyone – all of the authors of the Petticoats & Pistols blog and the readers – for letting me hang out with you all today!
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I have a variety of books out at the moment – Mail Order Brides, Oregon Trail, and even a cattle drive romance!  I also have some contemporary stories that take place in rural, small towns and a couple western time travel stories.  (These I really enjoyed because it was so fun to imagine being able to actually travel back to the times I write about!)
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Kay P. DawsonYou can find all of my books listed on my website or Amazon author page:
Kay P. Dawson Author Page:  amazon.com/author/kaypdawson
If you’d like to join my fan group – http://www.facebook.com/groups/kaypdawsonfans/
You can also sign up for my newsletter at http://kaypdawson.com/newsletter/
**I have a book releasing today in the popular Mail Order Mounties series…you can see all of the newest releases as soon as they are available by joining the readers group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/MailOrderMounties/

Mind Yer Manners

Is it just me or have good manners gone the way of trail drives?   I have three grandchildren working summer jobs and I’m appalled at the stories they tell about customer rudeness.

It didn’t always used to be that way.  Back in the Old West, manners ruled.  A cowboy might have been rough around the edges and whooped-it-up on occasion, but he also knew his Ps and Qs.  To show you what I mean, let’s compare today’s manners with those of the past.

Hitting the Trail:  Navigating some of today’s roads is like steering through a metal stampede. It’s every man/woman for his/her self.  Cars ride on your tail and cut you off. To stay on the defense, today’s drivers must contend with drunkenness, speeding and texting—and that ain’t all.  If this doesn’t make you long for the good ole days, I don’t know what will.

The Cowboy Way: When riding a horse, a cowboy would never think of cutting between another rider and the herd.  Nor would he ride in such a way as to interfere with another man’s vision. Crossing in front of another without a polite, “Excuse me” would not have been tolerated.  As for riding drunk; that would have gotten a wrangler fired on the spot.

Please and Thank You:  Recently I saw a young man hold a restaurant door open for a young woman.  Instead of saying thank you, she chewed him out. Oh, me, oh, my. What is the world coming to?

The Cowboy Way: The first man coming to a gate was expected to open it for the others. Everyone passing through would say thank you.  Holding a door open for a lady went without saying, as did tipping his hat and saying a polite, “Howdy, ma’am.” Back in the old days, a cowboy might have gotten a smile from the lady, but he sure wouldn’t have gotten a tongue-lashing.

Cell Phones: I could probably rattle on about poor cell phone manners, but for me, loud talking is the worst offense.  During a recent visit to the emergency room, I was privy to every patient’s medical condition and more. 

The Cowboy Way: Those early cowboys didn’t have cell phones, of course, which is probably a good thing; A ringing phone would have startled the cattle and maybe even the horses.  John Wayne wasn’t talking about cell phones when he said, “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much,” but that’s not bad advice.  Especially in the ER.

So what do you think?  Are good manners a thing of the past or are they still very much alive?

 

 

How the West Was Fun!

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