Most readers know me for my historical romances about lighthouses, orphan trains, and bride ships. But a western? Whoa! What’s that all about?
No, I’m not switching genres. My friends here on Petticoat and Pistols have the western genre well covered! But I am delving into a five-book family saga set in the high country of Colorado in the ranching area of South Park.
The Colorado Cowboys Series has all my usual trademarks—deeply emotional characters, fun plot twists, and sizzling romance. But this time the package includes hunky cowboys!
Most of the time when we think about cowboys in Colorado, we think of the ranches on the eastern plains, not the mountainous high country. But believe it or not, ranches started popping up in the mountains very early in Colorado’s history.
One of the first ranches in South Park (near Fairplay), was Hartsel Springs Ranch, founded as a homestead in 1862 by Samuel Hartsel. He started his ranch by buying oxen brought into the mountains by men arriving to mine for gold. The oxen were often worn out and worth little after making the long trek to the West. But Samuel fattened them and then turned around and sold them as beef to the mining community.
By 1864 Hartsel decided to branch out and diversify his livestock. He went to Missouri and purchased a herd of shorthorns that he then drove to Colorado along the Santa Fe Trail. It was a tough trip, but he eventually completed the cattle drive and made it back to his ranch with 150 head of short-horned cattle.
Hartsel went on to become a very successful rancher, capitalizing on the rich grassland in South Park that fed his cattle. He also took advantage of a natural hot spring near his land that he developed and used for tourists who wanted a chance to bathe in the “healing waters.”
A Cowboy for Keeps, the first book in the series, is inspired by this real life cowboy and ranch. The hero, Wyatt McQuaid, is attempting to make a go of homesteading and ranching. But with all the obstacles he faces, he’s having a hard time making a new home. When Fairplay’s mayor offers him a deal, one that involves taking a bride in exchange for cattle, Wyatt can’t resist.
If you like hunky cowboys, mail-order brides, and marriages of convenience, then I invite you to give A Cowboy for Keeps a chance!
Leave a comment on this post if you’d like the chance to win a signed copy of the book! (Sorry, U.S. mailing addresses only.) I will choose a random winner on January 16.
What’s your favorite thing about cowboy stories?
Jody Hedlund is the best-selling author of over thirty historicals for both adults and teens and is the winner of numerous awards including the Christy, Carol, and Christian Book Award. She lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy teens, and five spoiled cats. Visit her at jodyhedlund.com
I hope 2021 has started off with a bang! Mine has. I found some things in the Old Farmer’s Almanac I want to share with you.
Some New Year Traditions I found interesting are:
Let’s Make Some Noise
In the early American colonies, the sounds of pistol shots range through the air.
Today, Italians let their church bells peal, the Swiss beat drums, and North Americans sound sirens and part horns to bid the old year farewell.
Eat Something Special
In the Southern United States, black-eyed peas and pork foretell good fortune. I thought we had some for New Years Day but didn’t; and, of course, no grocery stores were open, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ve eaten enough black-eyed peas in my life to have good fortune in 2021.
Apples dipped in honey are a Rosh Hashanah tradition.
Drink a Beverage
Wassail, the Gaelic term for “good health”, is served in some parts of England.
In Holland, toasts are made with hot, spiced wine.
Give a Gift
New Year’s Day was once the time to swap presents.
In Scotland, coal, shortbread, and silverware were traditionally exchanged for good luck.
Now, I ask you all, do you have a traditional you follow each year?
I waited until the end to add more to my part of yesterday’s Yee-Haw Day. I’m so excited to share some personal news with you all.
Oh, I have so much good news and things to be thankful for that I can hardly restraint myself.
First, the holiday weather was pretty. I didn’t get to join the family for Christmas in Dallas because of the virus but I got zoomed in, while everyone opened their presents. I received my traditional Tootsie Rolls from my youngest grandson, and a pink fitbit from one of my other grandsons. What a wonderful day. Hubby watched football and after holiday gift exchange I watched Hallmark movies. I’m so thankful for my family.
I’m so proud of my two oldest granddaughters who are essential workers, both in hospitals here and in Dallas. They are called our “trailblazers” since they got the pandemic shots first out of the box with no adverse reactions.
My oldest granddaughter became engaged to a wonderful man right before Christmas. They knew one another when she was in school and he was stationed at the airbase. Now Daddy was in the Army Air Corp, as it was called at the time, here in Amarillo. He met and married Mother, so he was called our “Flyboy” since he was in the Air Force. I call Dylin that. July here we come!
Since my middle Grandson was an Eagle Scout, he was sworn into the Navy just before the schools were closed down due to the Pandemic. He left for Chicago in April and then to begin his submarine training in Connecticut. He’ll be graduating with Honors! I’m so proud of him. He doesn’t know where he’ll be stationed next, but it’ll happen pretty soon. We are extremely proud of our Sailor.
I’m so proud of my family that I can hardly breath because of the excitement.
Since love is in the air, answer my question to be in the drawing
to win an autographed copy of one of our favorite anthologies,
Be My Texas Valentine.
I ask you all, do you have a traditional you follow each year?
I don’t know about you, but when I have a houseful of guests, I love to cook, but three meals a day gets a tad overwhelming. That’s why I love this recipe. It’s quick and easy, and I get rave reviews, even from people who don’t think of themselves as Tex Mex folk.
Here we go:
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream (I cheat and use half and half)
1 cup of grated cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 4 oz. can mild diced chilies
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray or butter a shallow baking pan. I often use a 9×9 brownie pan. In this case I used my fancy pan.
In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs. Mix in cream, salt and pepper.
Add chilies to egg mixture.
Spread the cheese in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour egg mixture over the top.
Bake for 25 minutes or until eggs are set. (Living at altitude, it always takes longer where I live–usually between 35-40 minutes. Keep an eye on it.)
Broil the top if you want more browning.
I’ve doubled the recipe and cooked it in a larger pan quite successfully, because funny thing–in our house, this only serves 4. Hmmm…
We always top the eggs with hot sauce or salsa and serve with bacon or ham.
I’m so honored to be here today! When I received the invitation to write this guest blog post, I was beyond thrilled! So thank you so much for the invitation, Karen!
I thought the best thing to do was tell you about my debut novel which just launched.
I’ve always been drawn to mail order bride stories. My heart has felt so compassionate for the women who found themselves in the position of needing to marry for financial survival in times gone by. I marvel at the bravery of the couples that took that risk.
“The Expectant Mail Order Bride” is such a story. Meggie James is heartbroken and hopeless when she loses her husband in a tragic accident. Her options are few and her situation is dire, complicated by the fact that she has a baby on the way. With little family to turn to, she sees an ad for a mail order bride.
Thomas Kellen has suffered his own losses. He’s lost his wife and is left with a beautiful little boy to raise on his own. It’s a task that’s proving to be too much with a ranch to run and he’s desperate for a solution. Though it’s unconventional, he advertises for a wife.
When Meggie arrives in Springwater, Texas, there’s a little detail she may have neglected to mention. She’s expecting and that’s something Thomas never expected!
In addition to that little tidbit, other issues arise. Thomas can be gruff when afraid, which is practically all the time since he lost his first wife in childbirth and his new wife is facing just that. He’s also very much a man’s man (don’t we just love those?!) and Meggie has a very independent spirit! Clashes are bound to happen.
Then there’s the more tender element that they don’t have a matching faith and Meggie is discovering that her hurts can only be healed by The One she’s ran from for so long.
I hope you’ll come along as their story unfolds.
You’ll also meet other characters that will have their own personal journeys and love stories in books yet to come. “The Expectant Mail Order Bride” is book one in the “Springwater Sweethearts” series.
You’re in for a treat. Jan Sikes is sitting in for Linda Broday today and she has a heck of a new book to tell you about. Oh, by the way, she’s also Linda’s talented little sister. Please welcome her to the Junction!
I’m so happy to be here at P&P talking about my first contemporary romance. Thank you for having me. I’ve written four full-length biographical fictions about my life with country/western performer Rick Sikes. But now I’m writing romance and it’s so much fun. My creative juices are flowing in a totally different way.
One of my greatest joys in life is going to hear live music. I loved it as a little girl and even more now as an adult. COVID-19 has put a halt to all live music for the time being, but I miss it and long for it to return.
In Ghostly Interference, Jag Peters plays an electric keyboard. Music is his passion. He loves every aspect of it. He longs to play on the big stages to sold-out crowds. It’s the dream he holds and protects deep in his heart.
In a scene early in the book, he confesses this desire to Rena, then questions himself at his willingness to share that secret.
So, when his mother sets up a benefit concert and brings a man out of retirement to perform that Jag has idolized his entire life, he is on cloud nine. All his life, he’s wanted to meet his idol and now he has the chance. Little does he know this will change everything.
Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.
Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?
A local radio DJ personality took to the stage and slipped a microphone off the stand. “Ladies and gentlemen, if you’ll all take your seats, we’re just about ready to get this show started. Are you excited to be here?”
The crowd applauded and some whistled.
“All right! But first, I want to say a word about the charity you’re supporting here tonight. The Exodus Project has helped women escape from abusive situations for over six years here in Cedar Springs. And without your contributions and fundraisers like this one, it wouldn’t have the outreach that it currently does. So, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.”
Jag grinned and winked at his mother when she slipped into the empty seat next to Rena. Again, he had a strong feeling something was up with her.
The DJ continued. “So, without further ado, I present to you a man who has graced stages around the world, and we’re honored to have him here in Cedar Springs on this stage tonight, Damien Blue!”
Jag held his breath. The band came on first kicking it off with the intro to Damien’s first big hit. The high-energy straight-ahead rock, heavy on the backbeat sound, they were famous for poured out of them.
The crowd cheered.
Thirty seconds later, Damien strolled onto the stage, guitar slung across his back, both hands in the air greeting the audience.
Jag felt Rena shift beside him and glanced at her to see her eyes wide and mouth slack.
Mesmerized, he focused on the man he’d admired for a lifetime. Tall and lean, he had a commanding presence. Dressed in black pinstripe pants, white silk shirt open to mid-chest and matching pinstripe vest, he could have stepped out of a fifties gangster movie. The fedora pulled low over his eyes and sharp-toed shiny black Spats completed the look.
People were on their feet, clapping, whistling and yelling. One woman’s voice rang out. “I love you, Damien!”
He flashed a dazzling grin and stepped up to the microphone. “I love you too, darlin’.”
Even under the fedora, Jag could see streaks of gray in his brown hair. He was close enough to see small lines at the edges of his idol’s blue-gray eyes. Eyes that held intrigue, mystery, and power.
When Damien shifted his vintage Les Paul Gold Top guitar around to the front and delivered a blistering riff, the audience went wild before they finally took their seats. Damien’s soulful whiskey flavored voice filled the auditorium.
Jag knew every word and every chord. He immersed his entire being into the music, unaware of anything else. He never took his eyes off his hero. The electricity he’d felt earlier settled down to a low steady hum under his skin and rang in his ears along with the amplifiers.
Tell me about the most amazing concert you ever attended. Did you get to meet the artist? I want to hear about it! I’m giving away one ebook copy of the book to two people who comment.
We are pleased to welcome Regina Jennings as our guest blogger today! No doubt you’ll be amazed with the circumstances surrounding her topic…”Buy a Ticket, Win a Baby.” Enjoy!
You’ve probably heard of some crazy raffle prizes, but they all pale in comparison to what I found in the Joplin News Herald of 1910. First, some background.
After the Civil War, Joplin became the land of opportunity. It didn’t seem you could dig a hole in the ground without hitting either lead or zinc. Stories were told of poor families traveling through the region who decided to do a little digging around their campfire one night and a few years later they might be living in a mansion in the expensive Murphysburg neighborhood.
But with easy riches came a host of other problems. First off, there were purported to be seventy-five saloons in the newly-settled town, along with gambling dens and houses of ill-repute. Before long, the respectable citizens of Joplin thought to establish a Children’s Home to accommodate the children abandoned by the less-responsible and less-fortunate among them.
Not surprisingly, the Joplin Children’s Home had trouble keeping up with the needs of the community. In an attempt to raise money for the Children’s Home, the Elks planned a charity fair in 1910 and M. B. Peltz, the new manager of the Electric Light Park, offered his services to promote the amusements, including a raffle.
Now, to Mr. Peltz’s thinking, raffling off a baby was a practical solution. Not only would the Children’s Home raise funds, but it would also be left with one less mouth to feed if the raffle was a success. And Mr. Peltz wasn’t alone in his thinking. This was a trend of the times.
In 1911, A Foundling Hospital in Paris had a baby raffle, and in 1909 a baby named Ernest was put up as a prize during the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Washington State. Who knows how many other orphaned children were placed in that way? To many early 20th Century humanitarians, it was a pragmatic solution.
But the fine citizens of Joplin wouldn’t hear of such a thing. While the Elks were divided on the idea, the mayor said he’d call out the militia to prevent a baby from being raffled. Despite the threat, Mr. Peltz continued to share the tragic (and often contradictory) history of the orphaned child, along with promoting the other amusements of the charitable fair.
When Peltz failed to disavow the plans, he was arrested, but the publicity only encouraged Peltz. Even after he posted bail and was released from jail, he couldn’t help but drop hints to the newspapers about the poor kid that would be rescued by someone willing to buy a ticket. After all, his goal was to get people talking about the carnival and to raise funds. People were talking all right. A promoter, through and through.
The day of the Joplin fair arrived with its parade, carnival, and games. There was no baby among the raffled items, but the controversy seemed to have achieved its purpose. One thousand and two hundred dollars were raised for the Children’s Home, and Mr. Peltz undoubtedly credited himself and the scandal for the success. How did he explain the absence of a kid to be given away? The newspapers don’t say specifically but stories passed down over the years say he produced a goat “kid” while others say there was a kitten.
While some places might have raffled off a baby, Joplin, for all its scandalous ways, avoided that trespass. But barely. And in my new release Courting Misfortune, a baby raffle does take place, with disastrous consequences.
What are some things you’ve seen raffled off? What would you like to win? What would you refuse?
To one person who leaves a comment I will give away a copy of Courting Misfortune.
Here’s a quick excerpt of the book.
“Courting Misfortune”– Calista York needs one more successful case as a Pinkerton operative to secure her job. When she’s assigned to find the kidnapped daughter of a mob boss, she’s sent to the rowdy mining town of Joplin, Missouri, despite having extended family in the area. Will their meddling expose her mission and keep Lila Seaton from being recovered?
When Matthew Cook decided to be a missionary, he never expected to be sent only a short train ride away. While fighting against corruption of all sorts, Matthew hears of a baby raffle being held to raise funds for a children’s home. He’ll do what he can to stop it, but he also wants to stop the reckless Miss York, whose bad judgment consistently seems to be putting her in harm’s way.
Calista doesn’t need the handsome pastor interfering with her investigation, and she can’t let her disguise slip. Her job and the life of a young lady depend on keeping Matthew in the dark.
Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a minor in history. She’s a Christy Award finalist, the winner of the National Reader’s Choice Award, a two-time Golden Quill finalist and a finalist for the Oklahoma Book of the Year Award. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and at the Oklahoma National Stockyards. She lives outside of Oklahoma City with her husband and four children and can be found online. Her link to purchase is:http://www.reginajennings.com/courting-misfortune/.
I love the South! Several years ago my hubby and I went to Baton Rogue, Louisiana, and visited the South’s oldest and most beautiful plantation estates the renowned “The Sugar Palace” Crown Jewel of Louisiana’s River Road the Houmas House Plantation and Gardens situated between Baton Rogue and New Orleans. Although I was familiar with the Southern Plantations of yesteryear, I was astonished at the beauty and mystic of this now thirty-two acre estate with it’s five hundred year old oaks, scenic bridges, and pathways that crisscross the former sugar plantation. Some of my blog today will be facts as I interpreted them during our tour.
Warning: This is a bit longer blog than I usual do, but there’s just too much to tell you all and I want you to enjoy my adventure.
French Explorer LaSalle first landed at this site in 1682 and described The Houmas Indians and the great herds of bison on the river banks surrounding the Houmas Village. By the 1720’s, French settlers acquired a Spanish Land Grant and were living there amongst the indigenous Indians, in the fertile plain between the Mississippi and Lake Maurepas to the north.
The Houmas sold the land to Alexander Latil in the mid 1700’s and he immediately began construction of the two story brick dwelling (now the rear wing of the mansion). Wade Hampton, the largest sugar producer in Louisiana and the largest slave holder in the South, built the present mansion in the late 1820’s, making Houmas House one of the first great columned mansions on the Mississippi River.
The original French Provincial house erected by Latil is situated directly behind the “Mansion”, adjoined by a carriageway to the grand home described during its antebellum heyday as “The SugarPalace.” The original home was later used as living quarters for the staff that served the great house. The day we were there, they were having a wedding, so we had lunch in the beautiful Café Burnside overlooking the beautiful fountain and gardens.
In 1810, Revolutionary War hero General Wade Hampton of Virginia purchased the property and shortly thereafter began construction on the Mansion. It wasn’t until 1825 when Hampton’s daughter, Caroline, and her husband, Col. John Preston, took over the property that the grand house truly began to take shape.
Irishman John Burnside, assumed ownership of the plantation in the mid-1850’s for a whopping $1 million. After purchasing the property, he began accumulating sugar cane plantations and became the largest sugar planter in America, boasting over 300,000 acres giving him the title “The Sugar Prince of Louisiana”. A businessman and a character, Burnside increased production of sugar until Houmas House was the largest producer in the country, actively working the crop on 98,000 acres. During the Civil War, Burnside saved the Mansion from destruction at the hands of advancing Union forces by declaring immunity as a subject of the British Crown. In addition to building a railway to carry his products to market —“The Sugar Cane Train (1862)” — Burnside, a bachelor, is also said to have offered payment to any parents in the parish who would name their sons “John.”
An avid sportsman who wagered heavily in horse races, Burnside once secretly purchased a champion thoroughbred back East with the intent of defeating the steeds of fellow local businessmen in a big race. He quietly slipped the racehorse into the billiard room of the Mansion where it was “stabled” until Burnside’s surprise was unveiled at the starting line and hailed in the winner’s circle.
Houmas House flourished under Burnside’s ownership, but it was under a successor, Col. Williams Porcher Miles that the plantation grew to its apex in the late 1800’s when it was producing a monumental 20 millions pounds of sugar each year.
In 1927, the Mississippi roared out of its banks in the epic “great flood.” While Houmas House was spared, the surrounding areas were inundated. I learned on the tour that there was originally a tunnel of ancient trees that rose from the banks of the Mississippi up to the Houmas House, thus creating a wind tunnel and kept the house cool. After the flood, many of these trees were destroyed and a levee was built to protect the property.
The plantation then withered away, fell into disrepair, and closed. It remained that way until 1940 when Dr. George B. Crozat purchased it to be a summer home away from his native New Orleans. He renovated the property with the intent to give it a more “Federal” look than the stately Greek Revival style in which it was conceived. The structure was painted white inside and out. Crown moldings and ceiling medallions were removed and both interior and exterior forms and finishes were simplified.
Eventually, the Crozat heirs opened the property to tourists. In 1963, the defining Bette Davis film Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte was shot on the property. The room in which Ms. Davis stayed while filming is preserved as part of today’s Houmas House tour.
When New Orleans businessman and preservationist Kevin Kelly fulfilled a lifelong dream by purchasing the home in early summer, 2003, he set about recreating the experience of encountering Houmas House circa 1840. He still resides on the property.
There were a few things I’ll never forget and one would have to see to visualize. The mansion’s faux marble exterior is painted in rich ochre which reflects the influence of Mediterranean villas owned by the wealthy Europeans that the southern planters emulated. The belvedere that crowns the house has been restored, and interior features and finishes have been reinstalled in their original form. The twin Garconierre that distinguish the property have been renovated, and the central hallway of the grand house bears a room-size mural with a sugar cane motif that characterizes the original entryway artwork common in many plantation homes along the Mississippi.
But, the most interesting of all to me from a writer’s view point is Col. John Preston’s 1847 Louisiana Census Map by LaTourette that was found in the attic in the 1980’s. Yes, 1980’s! It was preserved because it was stored in native cypress, which is totally unaffected by moisture, varmints, including termites, and other elements that would have destroyed it. According to our tour guide, if this map had gotten into the hands of the Union they would have known the location of every plantation in Louisiana, but without it all they could do was guess and roam around the bayous and swamps. It’s my opinion, with my writer’s imagination, that very likely this is the reason the Civil War didn’t reach Texas until a month after the war was over.
Oh by the way, I learned from our tour guide that the men were not being rude when they ascended the stairs ahead of the women, but were being gentlemen, as it would be inappropriate for them to view the ankles of the women as they had to lift their skirts to go up the stairs. Very inappropriate. Also, if a Southern Belle’s petticoats were showing, they were told “It’s snowing down South”. I don’t want to tell my age, but I can remember being told that when we wore can-can petticoats.
I wonder in this picture, if Miss Scarlett knew it was snowing down South?
I’d love to hear about the most interesting house you’ve ever visited.
To two lucky readers who leaves a comment, I will send you your choice of an iBook of
trade size copy of my latest Kasota Spring Romance “Out of a Texas Night”.
In my previous life, before writing, one of my side businesses was antiques. I had partners but my favorite and kinda specialty was glass of any type. I absolutely love glass antiques, so when I came across an article about Tiffany and Handel lamps, I knew it would be the subject of today’s blog.
The first Tiffany lamps with domed shaped stained-glass shades were made in 1895. They became very popular and very expenses. In December of 1980 Christie sold the “Pond Lily” created in 1903 for over Three Million Dollars.
Because of their popularity, other lamp and glass companies adapted the idea of how the Tiffany lamps were made and began producing less expensive reverse-painted glass shades colored glass and metal-trimmed shades and copies of the originals. None are as expensive as the original Tiffany lamps today, but some of the wider produced are considered important and sell for thousands of dollars.
One of the first to produce less expensive replicas was Phillip Julius Handel who made lamps in Meriden, Connecticut, from 1893 to 1933, and his reverse-pained shade lamps are now selling for upwards to $8,000.00. Almost all of his lamps are signed on the inside of the shade and on the metal lamp base. Its worth is determined by the design on the shade and the shape of the bronze base. Recently, a Pennsylvania auction house sold a signed Handel “Elephantine Island” table lamp with a bronze base held by three winged griffins (shown to the left). The shade is a painting of the ancient Egyptian ruins on Elephantine, a small island on the Nile. The lamp sold for over Five Thousand Dollars.
I don’t have any Tiffany lamps but love vases and other glassware and have lots of it. My business partners where great to me because I’d buy something and then my heart wouldn’t allow me to put it on display for sale, so it’d come home with me. Every time I go near a garage sale, I slow down but turn my head the other way as a reminder that I have way too much antique glass now. So far it’s working!
Now I ask you, do you have a favorite item you collect? Do you have anything special that has been handed down for generations that you want to share with us?
To two readers who leaves a comment, I will give them
Last week I wrote about Lonesome Dove. This week we’ll take a look at the inspiration for the book.
In June 1866, former Texas Ranger Charles Goodnight and cattle rancher Oliver Loving went into partnership to drive cattle to western markets. Settlers, soldiers stationed on forts and Navajos recently placed on reservations were all demanding food supplies, and the two men took a chance that their venture would be profitable.
They planned to drive 2000 Longhorn cattle from Texas to Wyoming on a trail that later became known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail. That meant passing through dangerous Indian territory. But given Loving’s knowledge of cattle and Goodnight’s background as a Texas Ranger and Indian fighter, the two men were confident they could succeed.
Not only was their venture a success, but it also led to an amazing act of friendship that inspired the Pulitzer prize-winning novel, Lonesome Dove.
Things went well for the two men until their third drive in 1867. Heavy rains slowed them down. To save time, Loving went ahead of the herd to secure contracts, taking a scout with him. Despite telling Goodnight that he would travel only at night through Indian country, he rode during the day.
That turned out to be a bad decision as he was trapped by Comanches along the Pecos River. Though he was shot in the arm and side, he managed to escape and reach Fort Sumner.
His injuries were not life-threatening, but he developed gangrene. The doctor at the fort was unwilling to do an amputation and Loving died. He was buried at the fort, but that was not his final resting place. Before Loving died, he turned to his good friend Goodnight and asked that his body be returned to Texas. He did not want to be buried in a “foreign land.”
Goodnight promised Loving that his wish would be carried out, and that was a promise he meant to keep. But honoring his friend’s request couldn’t have been easy.
Credited with inventing the chuckwagon, Goodnight arranged for a special wagon and metal casket to be built. With the help of Loving’s son, Joseph, he had his friend’s body exhumed and carried him 600 miles back to Texas—an act of friendship matched by few.
Loving is buried in Weatherford, Texas.
What is the truest form of friendship that you’ve experienced?
Our winter wood arrived late last spring. We get it every three years. The wood comes in on a logging truck, and generally consists of wood that is harvested as a sort of tidying up of the forests
to decrease the amount of tinder during fire season–deadfalls or smaller trees growing too closely together.
The wood is offloaded into a pile which delights the cats, because now they have an excellent hideaway. This year it also delighted a (photo shy) cottontail bunny who has taken up residence. He and the cats get along.
After the wood is unloaded, it has to be cut and split, then stacked. My husband used to use a chainsaw to make his living, so he’s pretty good at cutting the logs into rounds. The amount of work is measured by the number of times the chainsaw gas tank is filled. He’s taking it easy after back surgery, so he usually buzzes one or two tanks then stops. On a big wood cutting day, he’ll do up to six.
My job is to chuck the wood–toss it out of the way, thus giving room to roll another log off the pile and start cutting.
After the cutting we split, which is my favorite part now that we have a wood splitter. then stack. When we have enough wood for winter, we stop and the log pile remains a playhouse for the cats and a home for the bunny.
We are fortunate to have the technology–insulated walls, an airtight stove–that allow us to heat efficiently with wood. This was not always the case and American houses in the 1800s were cold, drafty places before the adoption of the enclosed stove, which I will talk about in my October blog.
I do love the log pile and miss it when it’s gone.