Caryl McAdoo Comes Calling!

Our dear friend, Miss Caryl McAdoo, will visit on Friday, May 8, 2020!

She’s going to talk about heading West by wagon train and all the perils the settlers faced.

Plus, she’s offering everyone a book for FREE! 

AND….talking a brand spanking new one.

That deserves a big Yee-Haw! 

So head over come Friday and chat with her a while.

This’ll be exciting and loads of fun, I guarantee it!

We surely would love to see you.

 

A Treat From My Childhood

My grandparents’ farm in Decorah, Iowa

The older I get the more I appreciate the multitude of things I learned from my Grandma Walter. Being an Iowa farm wife with six children, she learned to stretch things as far as she could. For example, a talented gardener, she always had plenty of potatoes. To make her homemade chicken soup go farther, more filling and need less chicken, she served her soup over mashed potatoes. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized this wasn’t how everyone ate their chicken soup.

I remember my grandmother saving Wonder Bread bags and crocheting them into round “rugs” for the porch. She also made the most beautiful dollies. One day I asked her to teach me how to make them. (She’d already taught me to crochet.) But like so many things she did, she simply did them without a pattern or recipe. She explained how she created the intricate design, but I couldn’t keep up. I wish now I’d tried harder and made at least a few notes.

Whenever I was at the farm around my birthday in July, my grandmother would make me an angel food cake. We’d smoosh up fresh strawberries along with sugar. When they became good and juicy, I’d pour spoonfuls over a slice of cake and add a dollop of fresh whipped cream. That’s still my favorite cake today, though with a store bought one, it’s never quite the same.

Today I’m sharing my Grandma Walter’s Lemon Bars recipe. Whenever I’m asked to bring cookies or bars, this is what I make. That way I get to them enjoy them. With the rest of my family being chocolate fiends, lemon bars aren’t their favorites, and if I make them at home, I eat them all myself! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Lemon Bars

2 C flour

½ C powdered sugar

1 C butter

Mix the above ingredients well with pieces of butter being pea size or smaller. I use a fork or a pastry blender. Press evenly into a 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

4 eggs slightly beaten

6 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 C sugar

4 Tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

 

In a bowl mix the sugar, flour and baking powder well. Combine slightly beaten eggs and lemon juice. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Pour this mixture over baked crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.

 

When cool, sprinkle with more powdered sugar and cut into bars. Refrigerate.

To be entered in the random drawing to win a signed copy of A Cure for the Vet and the Wine makes a good book great glass leave a comment about a dessert or treat you love but your family isn’t crazy about.

1800’s Frugal Frontier Housewife

 

THE AMERICAN FRUGAL HOUSEWIFE.
DEDICATED TO
THOSE WHO ARE NOT ASHAMED OF ECONOMY.

When I began my novella for Be My Texas Valentine, some nine years ago, I had to do some research on how laundry was done in the late 1800’s, so I went to my bookcase literally filled with reference books not only on the craft of writing, but books about everything anyone would ever want to know about the 1800’s. I’d totally forgotten about a CD I’d purchased with a number of works on it, including one written in 1832 and simply titled The American Frugal Housewife by a woman only identified as Mrs. Child. After reading a while, I decided in today’s economy it might be fun to visit some of Mrs. Child’s philosophy and guidelines from yesteryear.

The author’s premise is simple: “The true economy of housekeeping is simply the art of gathering up all the fragments, so that nothing be lost … Nothing should be thrown away so long as it is possible to make any use of it, however trifling that use may be … every member of the family should be employed either in earning or saving money.”

Here are some of her tips. Please note that I left much of the spelling and punctuation as it was originally written to truly reflect her authentic voice and the era.

• In this country, we are apt to let children romp away their existence, till they get to be thirteen or fourteen. This is not well. It is not well for the purses and {4} patience of parents; and it has a still worse effect on the morals and habits of the children. Begin early is the great maxim for everything in education. A child of six years old can be made useful; and should be taught to consider every day lost in which some little thing has not been done to assist others. They can knit garters, suspenders, and stockings; they can make patchwork and braid straw; they can make mats for the table, and mats for the floor; they can weed the garden, and pick cranberries from the meadow, to be carried to market.

• Provided brothers and sisters go together, and are not allowed to go with bad children, it is a great deal better for the boys and girls on a farm to be picking blackberries at six cents a quart, than to be wearing out their clothes in useless play. They enjoy themselves just as well; and they are earning something to buy clothes, at the same time they are tearing them.

• ‘Time is money.’ For this reason, cheap as stockings are, it is good economy to knit them. Cotton and woollen yarn are both cheap; hose that are knit wear twice as long as woven ones; and they can be done at odd minutes of time, which would not be otherwise employed. Where there are children, or aged people, it is sufficient to recommend knitting. Run the heels of stockings faithfully; and mend thin places, as well as holes. ‘A stitch in time saves nine.’

• Patchwork is good economy, but it is indeed a foolish waste of time to tear gppd cloth into bits for the sake of arranging it anew in fantastic figures; but a large family may be kept out of idleness, and a few shillings saved, by thus using scraps of gowns, curtains, &c. 

 

ODD SCRAPS FOR THE ECONOMICAL

• Look frequently to the pails, to see that nothing is thrown to the pigs which should have been in the grease-pot.
• Look to the grease-pot, and see that nothing is there which might have served to nourish your own family, or a poorer one.
• See that the beef and pork are always under brine; and that the brine is sweet and clean.
• Preserve the backs of old letters to write upon. If you have children who are learning to write, buy coarse white paper by the quantity, and keep it locked up, ready to be made into writing books. It does not cost half as much as it does to buy them at the stationer’s.
• The oftener carpets are shaken, the longer they wear; the dirt that collects under them, grinds out the threads. Do not have carpets swept any oftener than is absolutely necessary. After dinner, sweep the crumbs into a dusting-pan with your hearth-brush; and if you have been sewing, pick up the shreds by hand. A carpet can be kept very neat in this way; and a broom wears it very much. When a carpet is faded, I have been told that it may be restored, in a great measure, (provided there be no grease in it,) by being dipped into strong salt and water. I never tried this; but I know that silk pocket handkerchiefs, and deep blue factory cotton will not fade, if dipped in salt and water while new Keep a coarse broom for the cellar stairs, wood-shed, yard, &c. No good housekeeper allows her carpet broom to be used for such things.
• Suet and lard keep better in tin than in earthen. Suet keeps good all the year round, if chopped and packed down in a stone jar, covered with molasses. Pick suet free from veins and skin, melt it in water before a moderate fire, let it cool till it forms into a hard cake, then wipe it dry, and put it in clean paper in linen bags.
• The covering of oil-flasks, sewed together with strong thread, and lined and bound neatly, makes useful tablemats.
• Never leave out your clothes-line over night; and see that your clothes-pins are all gathered into a basket.
• After old coats, pantaloons, &c. have been cut up for boys, and are no longer capable of being converted into garments, cut them into strips, and employ the leisure moments of children, or domestics, in sewing and braiding them for door-mats.
• An ounce of quicksilver, beat up with the white of two eggs, and put on with a feather, is the cleanest and surest bed-bug poison. What is left should be thrown away: it is dangerous to have it about the house. If the vermin are in your walls, fill up the cracks with verdigris-green paint.1
• Eggs will keep almost any length of time in lime-water properly prepared. One pint of coarse salt, and one pint of unslacked lime, to a pailful of water. If there be too much lime, it will eat the shells from the eggs; and if there be a single egg cracked, it will spoil the whole. They should be covered with lime-water, and kept in a cold place. The yolk becomes slightly red; but I have seen eggs, thus kept, perfectly sweet and fresh at the end of three years. The cheapest time to lay down eggs, is early in spring, and the middle and last of September. It is bad economy to buy eggs by the dozen, as you want them.
• If feather-beds smell badly, or become heavy, from want of proper preservation of the feathers, or from old age, empty them, and wash the feathers thoroughly in a tub of suds; spread them in your garret to dry, and they will be as light and as good as new.
• Feathers should be very thoroughly dried before they are used. For this reason they should not be packed away in bags, when they are first plucked. They should be laid lightly in a basket, or something of that kind, and stirred up often. The garret is the best place to dry them; because they will there be kept free from dirt and moisture; and will be in no danger of being blown away. It is well to put the parcels, which you may have from time to time, into the oven, after you have removed your bread, and let them stand a day.

I don’t know about you, but I became exhausted by just reading about the do’s and don’t of a frugal frontier housewife. May of her tips are still used today.

So, what chore do you find the least pleasant and which might be fun?

I will be giving away a copy of my newest contemporary romance “Out of a Texas Night” to one lucky commenter, but if you have already read it, I bet I can find one of the others to give away in it’s place.

 

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!!

Margaret Brownley

I’m excited to say that my new book will be released May 26th, but can be pre-ordered now.

Amazon

B&N

 

Mary Connealy

On Sale Now!

Tried and True

Book #1 of the Wild Women series

is

ON SALE NOW

99 cents in all ebook formats

Kindle-Click to buy

Nook-Click to buy

 

http://www.maryconnealy.com

Linda Broday

 

TWICE A TEXAS BRIDE

#2 Bachelors of Battle Creek

ON SALE $2.99!

Left with emotional scars from his time in an orphanage, Rand Sinclair has vowed never to marry. But when he discovers Callie Quinn and a small orphan boy hiding on his ranch, he can’t help but open his home to the desperate runaways.

AMAZON  

Karen Witemeyer

I just learned that More Than Words Can Say is a finalist for the Holt Medallion Award!
Yee Haw! Winners will be announced in June.

 

Karen Witemeyer

Serving Up Love, a novella collection of Harvey House Brides

On sale for only $1.99 through the month of May.

 

Might make a fun Mother’s Day Gift.

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Christianbook

 

Cheryl Pierson

How many of you are ready for summer? WE ARE! Here in Oklahoma, we’ve had a loooonnngg winter and it was wet. We broke some records for rainfall! The dogs were not happy, and neither was I, since they were so bored and sad about not being about to go outside! But all is well for the time being, with the last two days being in the high 80’s–just like Oklahoma should be at this time of year!

Here’s Sammy enjoying some poolside time alone! It’s not often he gets a few minutes to himself without Maxie!
Max wants to play, but Sammy has moved to the sunlight to soak up the rays.
The aggravating little brother will not be denied! He’s ready to play!
Ah! All’s well that ends well. Time to go find some water and rest a bit.

 

Hope this brightened your day a little! Though we’re stuck at home, we are sure enjoying the warm temperatures and good weather, and being able to get outside. How are you managing during this time of being isolated and staying home?

Howdy!

During this time, I decided to put almost all of my books on sale.  Those on KindleUnlimited are priced at $.99 cents.  Lakota Surrender e-book is priced at $3.99 and my newest release, THE EAGLE AND THE FLAME is on sale in paperback for $9.99.  Here are the links:

Gray Hawk’s Ladyhttps://tinyurl.com/qtl7hsu

White Eagle’s Touch — https://tinyurl.com/vbanq3m

Night Thunder’s Bride — https://tinyurl.com/twdjtx4

Wolf Shadow’s Promisehttps://tinyurl.com/v54t6jw

Lone Arrow’s Pridehttps://tinyurl.com/t2ubbzp

War Cloud’s Passion — https://tinyurl.com/wu824lt

Soaring Eagle’s Embrace — https://tinyurl.com/rfal22h

The Angel and the Warrior — https://tinyurl.com/um834p2

The Spirit of the Wolf — https://tinyurl.com/svyqbxt

Red Hawk’s Woman — https://tinyurl.com/wzyfjqf

The Last Warrior — https://tinyurl.com/uxglq4t

Black Eaglehttps://tinyurl.com/vyygnvn

Seneca Surrenderhttps://tinyurl.com/wjj49nk

Lakota Surrenderhttps://tinyurl.com/wpgbyw9

The Eagle and the Flamehttps://tinyurl.com/w49evpb

 

Hope y’all are doing well!  May God Bless!

Phyliss Miranda’s Game Day Winners!

Thanks to everyone who participated in my Game Day! It was lots of fun.

The Winners of the Bath and Body Gift Cards are………..

SABRINA TEMPLIN

PATRICIA B.

Congratulations, ladies! Look for my email to obtain your mailing address.

As promised, here are the correct answers to the match ups. 

1. Albert – A short chain connecting a watch to a buttonhole
2. Bangup – Overcoat
3. Boiled fabric – Clean
4. Dandy – Meticulously groomed man
5. Doctor’s Clothing – Goldheaded canes, wigs with long black
6. Calico – Cowboy’s nickname for a woman
7. Cordwainer – One who makes shoes
8. Cornette – Bonnet tied under the chin
9. Gallowses – Suspenders
10. Knickerbocker – Men’s loose breeches ending at the knee
11. Hawker – Street Peddler
12. Unwhisperables – Inexpressibles
13. Pagoda – Parasol
14. Rationals  – Women’s bicycle bloomers
15. Reticule – Small handbag made from fine fabric
16. Saratogas – Huge Trunks (we have one)
17. Spun truck – Knitting work or yarn
18. Tinker – Repairs or makes tinware 
19. Wright – Skilled workman or craftsman

Thanks again for playing!

Jennifer Uhlarik Has a Winner

Thank you so much for visiting, Miss Jennifer! Blacksmithing is very interesting stuff!

Now for the drawing………….

The person who gets the autographed copy is………..

ROXANNE C.

Yippee! I’m so happy for you, Roxanne! 

Watch for Miss Jennifer’s email asking for your home address.

And everyone come back Monday….It’ll be Yee-Haw Day!!

 

Phyliss Miranda Asks…Hangin’ or Jury?

 

 

In the Old West, the terms rustling and rustler had several meanings. Livestock who forged well were called rustlers by cowmen; meaning the animals could graze or “rustle up” nourishment on marginal land. A horse wrangler or camp cook was also a rustler, but the most widespread and notorious use of the word referred to a cattle thief.

On the vast open ranges of yesteryear, rustling was a serious problem and punishable by hanging. At its peak, one of the largest ranches in the Texas Panhandle had over 150,000 head of cattle and a thousand horses. Obviously, thieves could drive stolen livestock miles away before a rancher learned he had animals missing.

cattle-rustlersThe vast distances to town, hence law enforcement, often prompted ranchers to take actions of their own. Court convictions for rustling were difficult because of the animosity of small ranchers and settlers toward big cattle outfits. Many times, “vigilante justice,” hang ‘um first…ask questions later, was handed down by organized stockmen. Like horse thieves, cattle rustlers could be hanged without benefit of trial, judge or jury.

Today, even with detailed brands logged in books, registering with state officials, inspectors, and the meticulous paperwork involving transportation, not to mention a new era of branding technology to keep track of animals, ranches still face cattle rustlers…those dishonest people who want to profit from selling cattle without the bother of raising them.

cowsNo longer is a single head of beef stolen for food or an occasional Native American slipping off the reservation to provide for his family… it is big business. Modern day rustlers often sneak onto rural ranches at night, or on weekends when the owners are away, steal and sell cattle. An average calf can bring thousands of dollars on the open market; so multiply that by a trailer, or even a truck load, of cattle and you can see why it’s a profitable business for thieves.

Amid warnings that cattle rustling is on the rise in Texas, recently the state Senate passed a measure that would stiffen penalties for stealing farm animals, making theft of even one head of livestock a third-degree felony drawing up to a ten year prison sentence and a fine. Until the proposal is signed into law, a rustler can steal ten or more head of livestock and the punishment is a drop in the bucket in comparison to the law of the Old West … hang ‘um high and fast.

rustling-wanted-poster

But was hanging always fast and efficient?

I delved into the subject of cattle rustling and the methods of rustlers while researching for Give Me a Cowboy where my Pinkerton Agent comes to the Panhandle to break up an outfit of rustlers. But I became interested in “vigilante justice” from my mother-in-law, who recently passed on at the age of 92. A story teller, she was reared in Clayton, New Mexico. One of her favorite tales was about the outlaw Black Jack Ketchum, the first man hanged in the town. His execution turned into a big town event, with the lawmen actually selling tickets to the hangin’. As history has it, the sheriff had to use two blows of the hatchet before the rope broke. Probably because of their lack of experience in “structured” hangings, coupled with the lawmen misjudging Ketchum’s weight and stretching the rope during testing, he was beheaded.  Ketchum was buried at Clayton’s Boot Hill on April 26, 1901.

blackjackketchum-hanging

But my mother-in-law’s story only began there. Three decades later, when she was in grade school, Ketchum’s grave was moved to the new cemetery. Because her father was Clayton’s mayor, she witnessed the reburial. According to her, they opened the grave and she and her cousin touched the bones of Ketchum’s little finger. I’m sure in those days a casket did not weather well.

To me it’s so fascinating when history bridges time and touches our lives. Do you have a family story where history inserted itself into reality?

I’m giving away your choice of either hardback or paperback of either Give Me a Texan or Give Me a Cowboy to one of the commenters.

 Click on Cover to order from Amazon

Visit me at http://www.PhylissMiranda.com

A Blacksmith is a Blacksmith, Right?

Ask our guest Jennifer Uhlarik that question. She’ll tell you!

 

Blacksmiths—those who work to shape metal into useful tools, decorative pieces, or bits of jewelry—have been around since our earliest history. In the Old West, a blacksmith was a highly valued member of any community, as at some point, most people would find a reason to visit his shop to have a new tool crafted or an old one fixed or restored. A well-trained blacksmith would earn good pay for his craft. But it might surprise you to learn that not all blacksmiths could do all types of metalwork. Quite the contrary. Some were very specialized in their skills while others had a rather broad ability to work in many areas. Here’s a quick primer in the various types of smiths:

 

  1. Blacksmith—one who works with iron and steel. Going back to the Colonial days of America (and far earlier), blacksmiths made most of the metal tools anyone could dream of. Plows, hoes, shovels, door hinges, metal chains, and everything in between. Your typical village blacksmith had a wide range of knowledge and could work on lots of types of projects.

 

  1. Farrier—a smith who shaped and fit horseshoes. Since the Industrial Revolution, horseshoes have been mass-produced, but before that, shoeing horses required someone with the skill to be able to shape the iron into the horseshoe as well as adhere them to the horse’s hooves. In addition, this type of smith would have to have knowledge of how to clean, shape, and trim the horse’s hooves. Many farriers were general blacksmiths, but not all blacksmiths were farriers.

 

  1. Wheelwright—a craftsman who could create or work on wooden wheels or wagons and other conveyances. This included crafting the metal wheel rims and other metal parts of wagons, carriages, and the like.

 

  1. Locksmith—someone who forged locks from metal. Initially, locks were made from wood, but as man learned ways to craft with metal, the locksmiths changed their chosen media. They would work for hours, cutting and filing small pieces to create the inner workings of the locks.

 

  1. Gunsmith—one who designed, built, repaired, and/or modified guns. In addition, they might also apply decorative engraving or finishes to the completed firearm. Gunsmiths still have a place in modern society, working in gun-manufacturing factories, armories, and gun shops.

 

  1. Bladesmith—as you might guess, a bladesmith was someone who used blacksmithing techniques to shape metal into knives, swords, and other bladed implements. In addition, this smith would have knowledge of shaping wood for blade handles, as well as some leatherworking ability for creating knife sheaths, etc.

 

  1. Swordsmith—an even more specialized form of bladesmith, who worked only on swords.

 

  1. Coppersmith (also known as a Brazier)—this craftsman worked mainly with copper and brass, creating anything from jewelry to plates/platters to sculptures and more.

 

  1. Silversmith—a smith whose chosen metal was silver. An interesting tidbit about silversmithing: in this craft, the metal is worked cold, unlike iron which requires great heat. As it is hammered and shaped, it becomes “work-hardened”, and if it isn’t periodically “annealed” (heated to soften it again) the silver will crack and weaken.

 

  1. Goldsmith—Closely related to a silversmith, a goldsmith worked with gold and other precious metals to create silverware, jewelry, goblets, service trays, and even religious or ceremonial pieces.

 

There are other types of smiths, but these are some of the most common.

 

For the most part, the skill, craft, and artwork of the blacksmith is a thing of the past, though you can find working blacksmith shops in some places today. Sometimes they are part of historic sites or living history museums, meant to show what life was like in a given time period. Others are meant to introduce today’s culture to the craft of blacksmithing through simple hands-on classes where you can make an easy project in a few hours. Most common in today’s culture, those with smithing skills work in jewelry designing/sales, the firearm industry, or as locksmiths.

 

It’s your turn: Did it surprise you to learn that not all smiths could do all types of work? Which type of smithing work intrigues you the most? Leave me a comment with your thoughts, and I’ll give one commenter a signed copy of my latest release, The Blacksmith Brides, with four fun romances all containing blacksmith heroes.

 

Available now on Amazon!

Blacksmith Brides: 4 Love Stories Forged by Hard Work

 

Hearts Are Forged by the Flames of Gentle Love in 4 Historical Stories
 
Worth Fighting For (1774—Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) by Pegg Thomas
Talk of war has surrounded Meg McCracken, including her father and four brothers. Alexander Ogilvie doesn’t care about the coming war; his plans are to head west. When Meg comes to his smithy, sparks fly off more than the forge. But can they build anything during unstable times?
 
Forging Forever (1798—Cornwall, England) by Amanda Barratt
When the actions of Elowyn Brody’s father force her into a marriage of convenience with blacksmith Josiah Hendrick, she consigns love to a bygone dream. But as Elowyn comes to know her new husband, her flame of hope begins to burn again. Until heartache threatens to sever the future forged between them.
 
A Tempered Heart (1861—Charlottesville, Virginia) By Angela K. Couch
Buried under a debt that is not his own, Thomas Flynn’s only focus is gaining his freedom. He has learned to keep his head low and not pay attention to the troubles of others, until a peculiar boy and his widowed mother show him how empty his life has become. After years of protecting her son from slights and neglect of the people closest them, Esther Mathews is not sure how to trust the local blacksmith with her child…or her heart.
 
A Malleable Heart (California—1870) by Jennifer Uhlarik
A hard-hearted blacksmith finds acceptance with the town laundress. But when his past comes to call, will he resist love’s softening or allow God to hammer his ruined life into something of worth?

 

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list several times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers, Women Writing the West, and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.