Sasquatch – Legend, Hoax, or Something More? by Pam Crooks

Last month, we enjoyed a family vacation at the breathtakingly beautiful Ponca State Park in northeast Nebraska.  The park, and the nearby town of its namesake, are named for the Native American tribe who once claimed the land.  While traveling along the Missouri, Lewis and Clark passed right through, and the National Park Service has since designated this state park as part of the Lewis and Clark Historical Trail.

Even though it’s only two hours from where I live, except for one family member, none of us had ever been there.  The get-away promised to be relaxing, and with ten grandkids in tow, family-friendly.

Since we were only going to be there for a few days, the #SelfieSasquatchChallenge soon became a priority.  Once a week, park rangers move a seven-foot tall Sasquatch figure to different locations throughout the park’s trails.  The fun is to find him, take a selfie of you and your group (if you’re in one) and post the photo on their State Park Facebook page.

My husband hamming it up with Sasquatch.

We were up for the challenge, I tell you!  My three sons-in-law found Sasquatch first while mountain-biking, and the news upon their return was so exciting!  It wasn’t long before we hit the trail to find him, too – and of course, take a photo of him.  I have to admit, seeing that hulking figure against a tree shrouded in shadows on a heavily wooded trail was startling!  Even though I knew Sasquatch was just there for fun, well, he’s not something one normally sees while hiking.

Sasquatch’s fame comes through in many names – Bigfoot, Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, Sokqueatl, or Sesquac, as spoken by Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest, but whatever name you give him, his name will mean “wild man.”

Sometimes depicted as covered in black, dark brown, reddish brown, or even white hair, he is ape-like with feet believed to be two feet long.  Hulking, with no neck, eyes that glow red or yellow, too.  Some describe him as much as eight feet tall, others even ten.  Supposedly, he makes hair-raising sounds like howls, screams, grunts, or roars.  Still, others claim the sounds are simply mis-interpreted and actually made by animals such as owl, wolf, fox, or coyote.

A US Navy cryptologic linguist, Scott Nelson, said of audio recordings from the early 1970s that “It is definitely a language, it is definitely not human in origin, and it could not have been faked.”

In another report of Sasquatch’s realism, the owner of the Bigfoot Discovery Museum in northern California claims to have smelled the beast, saying, “Imagine a skunk that had rolled around in dead animals and had hung around the garbage pits.”

Others, however, have completely different theories.  Scientists and non-believer professionals claim the Sasquatch sightings are simply large bears, hermits or feral humans living in the wilderness.

And then there was the group of researchers in Washington State who used 200 pounds of plaster to take impressions, ultimately named the Skookum Cast, which is 3 1/2 feet wide and 5 feet tall. As quoted from an article written by Kelly Milner Halls, Rick Spears, and Roxyanne Young, “A Bigfoot by Any Other Name,”

“Measurements of the imprints indicated that whatever creature made this impression was 40 to 50 percent larger than a 6-foot-tall human being. When the cast was cleaned, hair samples were extracted. All of them turned out to belong to deer, elk, coyote, and bear—all but one. One hair had unique primate (ape) characteristics. Dr. Henner Fahrenback, a biomedical research scientist from Beaverton, Oregon, has labeled it “Sasquatch.”

So there you go.

What do you think?  Are you a believer or a non-believer?  Is Sasquatch real or a hoax?

And that question reminds of UFOs and how the Pentagon has been holding historic hearings on supposed sightings of UFOs just this spring.  Sure makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

What about UFOs?  Are they real or a hoax, too?

Samoas, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos – Oh, my! by Pam Crooks

Okay. I admit Girl Scout cookies don’t evoke an image of a hunky cowboy or anything much western, except, well, cowboys love to eat the cookies, too, don’t they?

As a grandmother and aunt of Brownies and Girl Scouts throughout the years, I’ve done my share of supporting their cookie sales, and I look forward to them every spring.  This year, with two granddaughters selling, my haul was twice as big as a normal year.  And at $5 a box, I don’t eat them as fast as I’d like.  I stored most of the boxes in my freezer to ration out as I wanted them, and when we opened up our cabin at the lake, I brought several boxes to keep out there, too.  In fact, I just had a couple of Thin Mints at lunch yesterday.

Nom, nom, nom.

 

ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO (can you believe it’s been that long?) five years after the Girls Scouts were organized in 1917, one of the directors printed a sugar cookie recipe in the group’s magazine, and councils across the country used the cookies as a fundraiser.  The girls baked them with their mothers, packaged them in wax paper bags sealed with a sticker, and sold them door-to-door.  The idea grew in popularity, until 1934, the first batch of Girl Scout cookies were made by a commercial baker.

Once World War 2 hit, shortages of butter, flour, and sugar forced the girls to sell calendars instead, but by war’s end, the cookie sales resumed big time.  By 1948, 125 licensed bakers were baking up the treats.  In 1951, there were three main varieties – Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints (now known as Thin Mints).

As the decades rolled by, the cookies flourished in scope.  Packaging became more uniform.  More varieties were developed–some tossed aside, some kept. Eventually, those 125 bakers were whittled down to just two today, Little Brownie Baker and ABC Baker.  Though the pair used the same recipes, they named the cookies differently. Even the infamous and most popular Thin Mints began as Cooky-Mints, which changed to Chocolate Mint, then to Thin Mint, then to Cookie Mint to Chocolate Mint to Thin Mints to Thin Mint and finally, back to the plural Thin Mints.  🙂

Depending on where your cookies are sold, here are the differences in names.

 

I had no idea.  Never heard of a Trefoil.  Or a Samoa.  They were always Caramel DeLites and Shortbreads to us.

What’s your favorite Girl Scout Cookie?  Were you ever a Girl Scout?  Do you have good (or bad) memories of selling cookies – or anything – door-to-door?

Bachelors & Babies 99¢ Sale Comin’ Up! ~ Pam Crooks

Howdy!  I’m stepping in for Winnie Griggs today since she’s having Internet issues and couldn’t get a blog done.

But it’s actually a great day to share with y’all a new sale coming up, and it just so happens both Winnie and I have a book in this series.

 

I would say TRACE has been my bestselling book ever.  There’s just something about a bachelor and a baby and all the different scenarios that can happen when we pull a man out of his comfort zone, isn’t there?  Every book in the series has the same premise – a baby unexpectedly shows up in our hero’s life and turns his world upside down.

Of course, he always needs a woman’s help, and you can bet there will be a little falling in love happenin’ when he does.

 

Trace McQuade has lost everything–his ranch, his brother, the woman he wanted to marry. When his quest for justice fails, he leaves Texas to head north, but he never expects an outlaw’s baby along the way.

Morgana Goldwater needs to be needed. After she endured a terrible tragedy, she lives in a narrow, protected world. When Trace needs help caring for the baby girl, she is quick to take them both into her heart and into her life.

But their troubles return, and Trace and Morgana must face their past to keep loving the little girl–and each other–in their future.

#kindleunlimited

Here’s Winnie’s book, SAWYER:

Sawyer Flynn vows to see that the man who murdered his brother pays for his crimes, but becoming the sole caretaker of an orphaned infant sidetracks him from the mission. Sawyer can’t do it all—run his mercantile, care for the baby, and find justice for his brother. He needs help. But not from Emma Jean Gilley.

When her father flees town after killing a man, Emma Jean is left alone to care for her kid brother, but her father’s crime has made her a pariah and no one will give her a job. Learning of Sawyer’s need, Emma Jean makes her case to step in as nanny.

Sawyer is outraged by Emma Jean’s offer, but he’s also desperate and he reluctantly agrees to a temporary trial. Working together brings understanding, and maybe something more. But just when things heat up between Sawyer and Emma Jean, the specter of her father’s crimes threatens to drive them apart forever.

#kindleunlimited

Every book in the series will be reduced to 99¢ starting this Friday through Sunday, Father’s Day!  Three days isn’t very long, so you’ll have to hurry to take advantage of our sale! 

To see every book in our series, click the Bachelors & Babies Series Link on Amazon

Would you say you pay full price for most of your book purchases?  Or a sale price for most of your book purchases?

Are you willing to pay full price for your favorite author’s books as soon as it comes out?  Does price matter?  Or are you a bargain hunter?  Do you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited?

On the “Fringes” of History ~ Pam Crooks

Back in August of 2015, I announced that Petticoats & Pistols had opened up an official Pinterest account.  Pinterest was just gaining traction as a site featuring all kinds of fun pictures that one would pin to these strange things called ‘boards.’ It also turned into a valuable tool for businesses to market their goods, a big reason why we jumped on board (pardon the pun), too. Since then, we’ve grown to 164,200 views a month.

That’s right.  Our pins are viewed 164,200 times a month.

Pretty incredible, right?

Through the years, we’ve amassed more than 1,800 pins on 42 different boards that highlight not only each filly and an assortment of her books, but . . .

  • Recipes
  • Hunky Cowboys
  • Favorite Western Movies
  • Vintage Clothing
  • Wild West Weapons
  • Western Lawmen
  • Old-Time Medicine
  • Texas History
  • Turquoise and Silver Baubles
  • Windows
  • Cowboy Country Christmas
  • And more.

As I was drooling–um, I mean scrolling–through the boards, I was struck by several really cool western outfits decorated with really cool fringe.

Did you know fringe has been around since 3000 BC, was first discovered in Mesopotamia which is now modern-day Iraq, and was used on shawls and skirts and eventually the entire garment, and that depending on the fabric the fringe was made from denoted one’s class in society?

I didn’t.

Not surprisingly, linen and cotton fringe were worn by the lower classes, and silk fringe by the wealthy.  And . . . fringe was so important and carefully unique, it was actually used as a signature when pressed into clay business ‘contracts.’

Who knew?

Fast forward lots of years, and the Native Americans used fringe as a way to repel rainwater, forcing it to drip down the tassels and off their bodies.  We all know they wore leather, which took tons of time and effort to tan and prepare for wearing.  They refrained from trimming seams in their garments, which would be wasteful after all that work, and thus using fringe solved the waste problem.

Not long after, the 1920s hit, and who doesn’t love a flapper swirling and swinging fringe when she danced?

And then came the 60’s.

Elvis and Priscilla

Now, modern day western wear is adorned with fringe.  Here’s a few straight from our “Western Duds” Pinterest board.

Check out our boards on Pinterest for all things western!  https://www.pinterest.com/thefillies/_saved/ 

Moda Luxe Fringe Purse - Brown , Women's Brown Faux leather fabric lined purse Zipper closure Interior zipper and two pouch pockets Removable shoulder strap Dimensions: 11 1/2(L) x 14 1/2(H). Shell: Polyurethane/Leather. Lining: Polyester. Do not wash. Luggage & Bags

Back when I was twelve or so, I bought a faux suede purse that had a good 12 inches of fringe at the bottom very similar to this one.  I remember vividly coming home and showing my Italian immigrant grandparents (we were visiting them at the time).  As I pulled it from the sack with a great deal of pride, triumph, and flourish, neither of them said a word.  I could hear a pin drop, it was so quiet.  I can only assume their silence meant my prized purse was definitely not their style.

Did you wear fringe? Did you have a favorite garment or accessory with fringe?

Pam’s Kitchen Tools Winner!

Well, it seems I’ve stumped most of you today, but I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing what homemakers in the past used in their kitchens.

stejoc1968 did an amazing job knowing what these tools are used for.  Steph, you got 6 out of 7 correct!  You’re my winner!!! Watch for my Facebook message, okay?

Here we go – the answers to the vintage kitchen tools!

 

Number One

Pot Strainer

These are still available today and are very helpful in draining water from pasta or grease from browned hamburger.  Whatever needs straining!

 

Number Two

 

Baking mold for Cookies, specifically Pizzelles.

 

Number Three

French Fry Cutter

I thought for sure no one would guess this one, but Steph knew it.  Good job, Steph!

 

Number Four

Cookie Scoop

This was a strange one for me, but you scoop out the cookie dough, squeeze the lever, and the dough drops onto the cookie sheet.

Number Five

Cake Breaker

Used for delicate cakes like Angel Food cakes.  Who knew?

 

Number Six

Ice Shaver

Snow cone, anyone?

Number Seven

Chopper

Used to chop vegetables like cabbage for slaw.  Just put the vegetables into a bowl and chop away!

(I actually have one similar to this from Pampered Chef, Steph.)

BONUS!

This is a classic found in many kitchens mid-century.  I remember my grandmother had one, and in my youngest years, so did my mother!

Do you know what it is?

Vintage Tools for a Day in the Kitchen by Pam Crooks

As I wrote in my blog last month, the heroine in my newest release, CHRISTIANA, is a pastry chef, a skill she learned in France, which compelled my visit to a French patisserie.  For research, you know.  Ha!  Inside, the chef (named Ed) offered amazing pastries that you would not find in a fried donut shop, let me tell you.

I promised a few more pictures:

 

 

A fruit tart – oh, my goodness.  The crust was made from vanilla wafers ground so perfectly fine, they were almost like a powder.  On Ed’s only day off, he goes to select food markets to buy his fruits, taking the time to smell each one before buying.  This tart was filled with a vanilla and orange zest custard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mille feuille- means “thousand sheets” in French and is composed of three layers of puff pastry filled with creamy vanilla cream and topped with chocolate and vanilla icing.  The high-quality dark chocolate is hand-swirled with a toothpick.  This pastry is comparable to a “Napolean.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macarons (not to be confused with macaroons which are made of coconut). They were so beautiful in color, I had to buy one of each! The first thing I noticed (and didn’t expect) was that there was no crunch of the lemon macaron I chose. That’s because of the absence of sugar. What I got was a soft, chewy cookie that burst with the flavor of the lemon.  Fantastic!

 

 

 

The perfection and skill required to make these French pastries not only made me suspect that some things never change (as in how they were made in the 19th century when CHRISTIANA was set) but also made me curious what other kind of utensils cooks and bakers used in the past.

I found some unusual ones.  Try to guess what they are used for!

Number One

Number Two

 

Number Three

Number Four

Number Five

Number Six

Number Seven

Guess all seven correctly, and I’ll give away an ebook copy of CHRISTIANA.  If there are multiple winners, I’ll draw one winner from the pool of those who guessed them all correctly.  

Watch for my post tonight!

 

Sweet Historical Western Romance (Love Train Series Book 1)

When her mother is taken to jail, Christiana Turcotte loses the happiness of her childhood. By the time she’s a grown woman, she’s determined to escape the scandals in her past and live a respectable life. First, though, she must return for the diamond ring she’d hidden that terrible day.

As a rifleman for Union Pacific, Holt Maddock’s job is to protect the train from outlaws. But he’s been riding the rails too long, and it’s time to settle down. Only one thing stands in his way. The elusive beauty traveling on his train and the diamond ring she’s determined to keep.

Holt’s plans for the reward money threatens to destroy her dreams. Will stolen diamonds destroy their love, too?

Sweet Romance.

#kindleunlimited

BUY on Amazon

 

Pam’s Winner!

Many thanks to everyone for chatting with me about their favorite ethnic cuisine – and French pastries!

 

My winner is:

 

Lori Smanski

 

I’ll message you so I can send you an ebook copy of CHRISTIANA, the first book of the new Love Train series.

Amazon

(Winner chosen by Random.org)

Don’t forget – tomorrow (Friday), Book #2 of the Love Train series will be released!  

HENLEY

by Shanna Hatfield!

 

AMAZON

My Visit to the Grand Patisserie! By Pam Crooks

When I happened to notice this little shop tucked in the corner of a plaza on a busy main street I take almost daily, I thought “What the heck is a patisserie?”

My first thought was that it had something to do with ‘rotisserie’. They sound alike, right? But my friend, Google, set me straight. A patisserie is a French bakery (could also be used for an Italian or even Belgian bakery) that specializes in pastry.

I can’t say for sure, but perhaps it was a subconscious inspiration for my newest release and the launch book for Love Train, the new sweet historical western romance series, CHRISTIANA. After a traumatic childhood, Christiana goes to France to learn how to become a pastry chef so that she may lead a respectable and independent life once her mother gets out of jail.

One of Christiana’s specialties is making chocolate truffles and croissants. We’ve all heard of those, right? But another of her specialties is pain au chocolat.

Pan oh sho-coh-la.

Google helped me out with that one, too, and the pastry becomes a focal point in my book.  So it wasn’t long before I wanted to move beyond a YouTube video to learn how to make pain au chocolat.

I wanted to see and TASTE one, too.

A-ha! The Grand Patisserie.

My husband and I stopped by for a lesson in French pastries, and oh, my, the owner, simply called “Ed,” was a master of the subject. He is, of course, a pastry chef who learned to bake at the age of eleven, and yes, he did study in Paris! He left a six-figure job at a major financial company here in Omaha to follow his dream of opening his own little bakery so he could make French pastries every day and present our city with a rare and lovely cultural experience.

No fried donuts in his shop. No sirree. Instead, two simple display cases feature an array of perfectly baked and arranged desserts that made my eyes pop and my sugar addiction kick into overdrive.

But it wasn’t long before I learned that Americans cook with way too much sugar and most countries don’t.  The pastries Ed makes are not of the commercial variety we find in the majority of bakeries, especially in the food giants.  He uses only fresh eggs from a local farmer. He squeezes his own lemons and oranges for their juice.  Vanilla from a vanilla bean instead of a bottle. His tarts vary depending on the sweetest fruits in season. Everything is made fresh, never frozen. Every day brings a different line-up of pastries depending on ingredient availability and his own choices.

I could go on and on, but that would make this blog too long. I’ll share photos of Ed’s luscious French pastries next month, but for now, I’ll share a couple to get your mouth watering.

Ed was generous in giving us samples.  A lemon and caramel macaron, baklava (which I didn’t recognize) and mille feuille, similar to a Napoleon.

 

 

 

And of course, the pain au chocolat. I was delighted to learn that Ed’s pastry was as I described in CHRISTIANA. The croissant dough is light and layered, very buttery, and the small pieces of dark chocolate really make the pain au chocolat pop on the taste buds.

 

 

Forgive me for looking like a drowned rat.  It was super-windy, humid, and misty when we stopped by the Grand Patisserie. But I just had to take a picture with Ed, and he was very happy to let me.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll stop here and save more pictures for my May blog.  Until then . . .

Have you ever been to a patisserie before?  What is your favorite type of ethnic food?  Do you have a favorite or uncommon ethnic restaurant you frequent?

Let’s chat, and one of you could win an ebook copy of CHRISTIANA.

AMAZON

Love Train Series Page on Amazon

And if you happen to be in Omaha, stop by the Grand Patisserie and see for yourself how wonderful Ed’s French pastries are!   Tell him Pam sent you!

 

 

London James’ Winners!

 

Did you enjoy London’s monkey story as much as we did?

Even better, HER MAIL ORDER MIX-UP, the first book of her new series, Brides of Lone Hollow, promises to be just as entertaining, and, of course, romantic!

The winners of an ebook copy of HER MAIL ORDER MIX-UP are:

Denise

Nancy

Judy Sexton

 

Thanks for stopping by and chatting with London

about animals that make you freak out!!  🙂

 

(Winners chosen by Random.org)

Pam’s Knock-Knock Joke Winners!

 

What a fun day we had!  Knock-knock jokes are timeless and make us all smile. Or roll our eyes from their corniness.  Maybe even urge us to write them down so we can say them, too!

I’ve picked my favorites, and these are my winners:

Colleen

Quilt Lady

Tonya

Watch for your $5 Amazon gift cards, ladies, and THANK YOU for making our world a happier place with your silly jokes.