Cowboy Slang Fun and Giveaway


It’s been a while since I’ve played a game here and had a giveaway, so I thought I’d do both today. And what better topic than one of my favorites:  cowboy lingo. But this time, there’s a twist. All the lingo refers to food.

So, the rules are pretty simple. This is a matching game. Match the numbered word in the left column with the letter definition in the right column. Put your answers in the comments, and I’ll randomly draw a winner from all those who answered correctly.



An example answer might be:  1b, 2d, 3a, etc. (note, these are NOT correct guesses).

So, come on. Let’s have some fun. The winner will receive my Cowboys and Coffee giveaway which includes a cowboy coffee mug, $5 Starbucks gift card, author bling, and two of my backlist books featuring a guaranteed to swoon over cowboy hero ? (U.S. shipping only, please)

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for something to eat!

Bandanas – Simple Clothing Decoration or Multi-Functional Accessory?

As a Harlequin author, I have to suggest cover ideas for the art department. If people are included in my ideas, I asked to describe what they’re wearing. If winter, they might have on heavy coats. If summer, they could be in shorts. Since my heroes are always cowboys, my list of clothing looks something like this: a Stetson, boots, belt, jeans, and a western cut shirt.

One article of clothing I always leave off my list but that my hero almost always carries or wears is a bandana. That recently got me to thinking about all the many uses for bandana, both in yesteryears and today. Me being me, I did a little research.



Early Indian Block Painted Fabric                  George Washington on horseback 1780

It seems the bandana originated in late 1600s in Southern Aisa and the Middle East. They were made by pressing pre-carved blocks into pieces of woven fabric, infusing the fabric with dyes made from plants. These pieces of printed fabric began to reach Europe in the early 1700s, likely brought back by traders. Among Europeans, a repeating pattern of teardrop shapes gained popularity and came to be called “Paisley”.

From there, the bandana traveled with ship passengers to the colonies. Because of its natural versatility, no wonder it continued to gain even more popularity, head west with pioneers, and become standard issue for the American cowboy.


Here are just a few uses for the versatile bandana:

Warmth in cold weather

Protection from sun exposure

Filter dust to make breathing easier during dust storms

Collect perspiration around neck

A handy wipe/rag for drying or cleaning

A napkin to wipe your face

Blowing your nose

A hairband

A scarf to warm ears

A mask for bank robbers

A gag for silencing hostages

Decorative accent when dressing up

Tourniquet to stop a wound from bleeding

A sling to support a broken arm

Wrap up a bundle of goods









What about you? Do you have any uses for a bandana that I haven’t included here? Let me know in the comments below. We can have fun sharing ?


Pecans – Fun Facts & Trivia

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. November is pecan season here in NW Louisiana. There are quite a few pecan trees in hubby’s pastures and even one in my own backyard and they’ve all been carpeting the ground with their fruit the past few weeks. And since I’ve got pecans on my mind lately I thought I’d share some facts and trivia I discovered


  • Pecans are the only nut tree species that originated in America.
  • Native American tribes have relied on pecans as a valuable food source for thousands of years. They harvested pecans from the wild and incorporated them into their diets, using the nuts fresh from the tree and also storing them for later use. Pecans served as a crucial source of nutrition, especially during the lean winter months. The name “pecan” is actually a Native American word that comes from the Algonquin word “paccan” that was used to describe “all nuts requiring a stone to crack.”
  • The introduction of pecans to European settlers was a significant milestone in pecan history. Early European explorers and colonists encountered pecans in the New World, and they were quick to recognize their value. Pecans were collected, cultivated, and integrated into European cuisine. This marked the beginning of the pecan’s journey from a regional Native American staple to a broader American and international audience.
  • During the American Civil War, pecans played a vital role in providing sustenance to both soldiers and civilians on both sides. Pecans were a readily available food source in the South, and their nutritional value made them a valuable addition to rations. Pecan trees dotted the landscape, providing a reliable and accessible food source when other supplies were scarce.


  • Pecan trees come in a wide range of varieties, In fact there are over 1,000 varieties but just a few of them make up the majority of the production in the US and each has its own unique characteristics. Here are three of the more popular varieties
      • The Stuart pecan is one of the most common varieties. It’s known for its robust flavor and large-sized nuts. These pecans are popular for their rich, buttery taste and versatility in various recipes. They also do well farther north than most other pecan varieties.
      • The Desirable pecan lives up to its name, offering a desirable taste. Another thing that sets it apart is its relatively easy-to-crack shells, which can be a time-saver for home bakers and commercial producers alike.
      • The Elliot pecan is appreciated for its consistent quality and reliable production, making it a favorite choice among pecan growers. Its moderate size and thin shell also make it a popular pick.
  • Pecans thrive in primarily the Southeast and South Central states. Georgia is often called the “Pecan State” and leads the nation in pecan production, contributing approximately 100 million pounds to the annual harvest. Texas is another major pecan producer as are New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arizona (I was surprised that I didn’t see Louisiana and Mississippi in that list).
  • In Native American culture, pecan trees are seen as symbols of strength, endurance, and wisdom, representing the connection between humans and nature.
  • The pecan pie is a quintessential American dessert and is believed to have originated in the southern United States. One theory is that it was created by the French people who had settled in New Orleans. The classic pecan pie consists of a sweet, gooey filling made from pecans, sugar, butter, and often corn syrup, all nestled in a flaky pie crust.
  • Pecan pralines are another true Southern delight. Pecan pralines are a confectionery masterpiece that combine the richness of pecans with a sweet, buttery, and creamy caramelized sugar mixture. The result is a texture that’s simultaneously smooth and crunchy, with the unmistakable taste of pecans running through every bite.
  • Thomas Jefferson had pecan trees imported from Louisiana for his Monticello orchards.
  • During World War II, pecans played a surprising role in the war effort. Pecan oil, extracted from pecans, was used in the production of explosives and lubricants. The nut’s high oil content made it a valuable resource for the military.
  • Pecan shells have also been utilized in unusual ways. During WW II roasted pecan shells were often used as a substitute for coffee. And they have more recently been utilized as a base material for mulch and even as a natural abrasive in industrial cleaning products.
  • Georgia pecan wood was selected by the Atlanta Committee to make the handles of the torches for the 1996 Olympic Games. The torches were carried in the 15,000-mile U.S.A. relay and in the lighting of the Olympic flame in Atlanta on July 19, 1996.


  • In 2022 there were approximately 407,000 acres of bearing pecan trees.
  • The U.S. produces about 80 percent of the world’s pecan crop.
  • It takes around 12 years for pecan trees to mature enough to begin producing pecans.
  • Pecan trees can live for several centuries, and some of the oldest known pecan trees in the U.S. are estimated to be well over 200 years old.
  • Pecans are one of the largest fruit-bearing trees. The largest pecan tree on record had a canopy that spanned over 200 feet.
  • Pecans are not only tasty but also incredibly nutritious. A one-ounce serving provides around 196 calories, 2.6 grams of protein, 20.3 grams of healthy fats, and a good dose of dietary fiber. They are also an excellent source of vitamin E, manganese, and other essential nutrients. These nutrients make pecans a nutritious snack or ingredient for various dishes.
  • And average Pecan pie uses about 78 pecans.
  • The “Oldest Continuous Pecan Festival” in the U.S. is the Sorghum Festival and Pecan Festival in the small town of Blairsville, Georgia, which has been celebrating pecans for over 50 years.


So there you have it, my curated list of everything you always wanted to know about pecans. Did any of this surprise you? Do you have a favorite recipe that includes pecans? Do you even like pecans?  Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for one of my books.

Riders of the Purple Sage – 5 Movie Versions

We went out to dinner with friends a couple weekends ago and had a lovely time. One topic of discussion that came up was the famous western author Zane Grey and how many times his book, Riders of the Purple Sage was made into a movie. I insisted it was five, while one of our companions was certain it was four. Well, I was correct. But the real takeaway from this story is that a classic western book has been into a movie five times. That’s pretty impressive.

The first was in 1918 and starred William Farnum and Mary Mersch. Yes, it was a silent movie.


The second was in 1925 and starred Tom Mix (a very popular cowboy actor who appeared in 291 films) and Mabel Ballin. This was also a silent movie.

The third, the first movie with sound, was in 1931 and starred George O’Brien and Marguerite Churchill.

The fourth was in 1941 and starred George Montgomery (married to Dinah Shore and once engaged to Hedy Lamar) and Mary Howard (a founding member of Recording for the Blind.

The fifth and last was in 1996 and starred Ed Harris and Amy Madigan. This was a TV movie and not a theatrical release.

Other interesting tidbits about this book. In 1952, Dell released a comic book version. It was also adapted into an opera by compose Craig Bohmler — our dinner companion knew and offered up this fact. Three separate western bands have gone by the name Riders of the Purple Sage. Lastly, the author breaks a huge rule by telling the story from an anonymous third-person, omniscient point-of-view.

I’ve watched the 1931, 1941 and 1996 movies, though years ago. I’m thinking now I need to search online and find out if there’s a way I can watch the first two. Would be interesting comparing them to the others.

A Few Random Cow Facts

I love random facts (science teacher) and today I’m sharing some cow facts with you.

First the nomenclature–A cow is a female bovine. A bull is an intact male bovine. A steer is a neutered male. A heifer is a young cow that has not yet had a calf.  Cattle is the term for a group of various bovines. I’m calling them all cows today. 🙂

Now the factoids–

Cows can run up to 25 miles per hour, however, they only run in short bursts.

Cows can jump a 5-foot fence, often from a standing position.

Cows have eyes set to the side and have trouble seeing directly in front of them. They see very well to the side and behind, so it’s difficult to sneak up on them. Their panoramic vision is close to 360 degrees.

Cows are super social. They depend on the herd for protection, so they don’t like to be alone. Cows will sometimes make best friends.

Cows can smell up to six miles away.

Cows are good swimmers. A cow in the Netherlands swam 62 miles during a flood.

Cows live 15-20 years.

Cows can weigh up to 3,000 pounds. Most weight between 900 and 2,000 pounds.

Cows have no upper teeth in the front of their mouth. They grind their food between the teeth in their bottom jaw and a hard dental pad on the roof of their mouth. They have molars in both upper and lower jaws, however, and when they burp their food back into their mouths to chew for a second digestion (the cud) they chew with the molars to further break it down.

Cows do not really have four stomachs–they have a compartmentalized stomach with each of the four compartments having a different job in digestion.

Oxen are cows or bulls that have been bred to work. They are larger and stronger than the average bull or cow, thus the term “as strong as an ox.” If male, they are generally neutered.

Cows produce 20-40 quarts of saliva a day. They need this much saliva to get dry hay processed in their digestive system. The saliva also aids in cud chewing.

And finally…cow tipping is probably NOT a thing, because cows sleep laying down.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the random cow facts. If it weren’t for cows, we’d have no cowboys, so I’m grateful for this amazing animal!





Rocking Chair Trivia Quiz!

I’ve been having a lot of fun researching my new series, The Rocking Chair Ranch. For no reason in particular, this got me to thinking about the history of rocking chairs. I mean, did they start with mothers wanting a way to soothe their fussy babies to sleep or elderly people who sought to relieve their weary bones? Whichever, rocking chairs have long provided natural relief for life’s little discomforts.

So, just for fun, I put together a short trivia quiz about rocking chairs. Let’s see how many of them you get right. Answers are at the bottom.

  1. When was the first rocking chair invented and where?
  2. Which came first, rocking chairs, rocking horses, or cradles?
  3. Which president had an affinity for rocking chairs (due to a back problem) and owned 14.
  4. Rocking chairs were originally designed as outdoor furniture – true or false?
  5. According to Irish legend, what does an empty rocking chair mean?
  6. Where is the world’s largest rocking chair?
  7. What does the saying ‘off your rocker’ mean?

  1. In 1725, some ingenious person decided to fasten skates to the bottom of an English Yorkshire Windsor chair. It might have looked a little like this chair. Maybe. That person was from North American, so the rocking chair is truly an American invention.


  1. Rocking horses (early 1600s) and cradles (late 1400s) were around long before the rocking chair.

  1. John F. Kennedy. His doctor recommended rocking chairs for is back woes.

  1. True – rocking chairs were invented for the outdoors first.

  1. It’s an invitation for evil spirits — which explains why my mom always put decorative pillows on the seat of our rocking chair.

  1. Casey, Illinois. The chair weighs 46,000 pounds and is made of recycled wood and pipe. That is one big chair.

  1. A little crazy, possible because old people who can suffer from senility often rock in their chairs.

I hope you had a good time today. I learned a lot more about rocking chairs that I put in this post. Hopefully, I’ll find a place for some of it in one of my stories. Thanks for joining me and, in closing, here’s a rocking chair quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

“There are rainy days in autumn and stormy days in winter when the rocking chair in front of the fire simply demands an accompanying book.”

Pam’s 1955 Trivia Challenge Winners!

Wow, ladies!  I’m impressed that so many of you aced the 1955 Trivia Challenge questions!  In fact, because you did so well, I’m increasing the number of winners to THREE.  I love that you love the 50s as much as I do!

But before I announce my winners, here are the answers:


My winners are:

Cherie J

Janice Cole Hopkins

David Bibb


Watch for an email from me so that I can mail your prize to you!

(Winners chosen by  US entries only.)

Play the 1955 Trivia Challenge! ~ Pam Crooks


If you joined me on October 13th for my “1955 was a Very Good Year” blog (you can view it HERE), then you’ll know 1955 was not only the year I was born, but it’s also the year in which my newest western sweet romance will be set.  (I’m excited to share more later!)  We had so much fun reminiscing about that era and all the wonderful things we grew up with.  It was a blast!

Here’s the trivia game I promised that day.  Please number your answers.



To be eligible for the prize, all five answers must be correct.  If there are multiple winners, final winner will be chosen via

Winner will receive these festive Christmas bookmarks and a pair of horse notepads.  Have Fun!

Fall Fun Facts and a Recipe

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. Today is the official first day of Autumn. That means the weather gets crisper, the days get shorter, the foliage gets more colorful and pumpkin spice can be found creatively added to any number of beverages and dishes.

Shanna’s post yesterday gave you lots of fabulous information on how to entertain and decorate with Autumn in mind (and if you missed it you really ought to go back and read it!) So today I thought I’d share some fun facts about Autumn and also provide a coy of one of my favorite recipes.

Autumn Fun Facts 

There have been some interesting statistics gathered about kids born in Autumn

  • They might live longer. This comes from a study conducted by the University of Essex in Great Britain. In fact they are statistically more likely to live to be 100 than those born in any other season
  • They are more likely to do better in school according to a Department for Education report that looked at the 2012-2013 school year.
  • They are also more likely to be taller and to excel at athletics. One explanation for this is that their mothers probably had much more exposure to sun when pregnant, which helped them produce more vitamin D, which in turn helped give their kids stronger bones.
  • But the news isn’t all good.
    One study conducted by National Jewish Health found that those born in Autumn have a higher risk of developing eczema, food allergies, hay fever and asthma in later years that those born during other seasons of the year.

One of the things people often mention  when speaking of why they like Autumn is the spectacular foliage. Here are some things related to that you may not know

  • Leaves don’t really ‘change colors’. The fall colors are actually always there, but their appearance is based on the amount of sunshine they get (or don’t get). Sunshine enhances the chlorophyll inherent in leaves, which is a natural chemical that makes them green. But with shorter days and less sunshine, chlorophyll isn’t produced as much, making the green fade and allowing the other colors to push through.
  • The depth of color you see in the Autumn is based on how much sugar and sap is trapped in the leaves – that’s why maple leaves are such a vibrant red.
  • Evergreen trees remain green throughout the winter because their leaves and needles are coated with a thick waxy substance and they contain materials that prevent them from freezing
  • Leaves fall from trees in the Autumn because of a hormone. As they are exposed to less and less sunlight they begin to produce a hormone that encourages the growth of a cell between the leaf and the stem. This basically forces the leaf to push away from the stem and fall off. And whatever doesn’t fall before winter arrives freezes and dies.

Okay, enough trivia. On to the recipe I promised you. Confession time – I LOVE soups. I can (and often do!) eat them several times a week year round. But soups are especially yummy and comforting as the weather turns crisper.  Below is a very hearty cold weather soup that I just love.

Taco Soup   


  • 2 lbs ground beef or turkey
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cans whole kernel corn
  • 2 cans Rotel w/chilies
  • 2 cans pinto or kidney beans
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning
  • 1 pkg dry hidden valley ranch salad dressing


  • Brown meat with onion. Drain and return to pot
  • Add everything else to meat without draining vegetables
  • Simmer for at least one hour. Add water as needed


  • If salt is a concern you can find NO or LOW Sodium options for most of these ingredients
  • When serving you can  top with cheese, tortilla chips and/or avocado if desired
  • Leftovers can be frozen.

So did any of my Autumn fun facts surprise you? Do you have a favorite fall recipe you’d like to share? Leave a comment to be interested in a drawing for your choice of any book from my backlist as well as a fun surprise.


And you’re also invited to join me and the rest of the Love Train authors for a “welcome autumn” celebration today at The fun begins at 8 a.m. Pacific Time (9 Mountain, 10 Central, 11 Eastern). It will be a day full of fun, games, giveaways, and more!

A Little Bit About Some Big Horses


I recently finished writing a book that will be out April of 2023. In it, there are a pair of elderly Haflinger draft horse brothers who are mostly pets but used occasionally for pulling a carriage. One of my critique partners, when she first read about the horses in my book, named Elvis and Otis, told me she had no idea what a “draft” horse was and had to look it up. Actually, I was kind of surprised as the Budweiser Clydesdales are probably some pretty recognizable draft horses.

While draft horses can be ridden, large breeds like the Clydesdales are better suited, and specifically bred, for pulling heavy loads. Some of the lighter and smaller breeds, like the Haflingers in my book or the Norwegian Fjord, can be ridden, but they aren’t typically fast or agile. They are, however, like most draft horses, very gentle natured — which is why, in my book, my hero often leads his three-year-old twins around on the old horses’ backs.

Another common draft horse is the Shire, which is among the tallest at around 17.2 hands. Like the Clydesdales, they have these great shaggy feet that look fantastic when they walk out.

I fell in love with the Friesian many, many years ago as a teenager when I first saw them perform in a circus. With their long flowing manes and tails and high-stepping legs, they’re a breathtaking sight. Which is why you’ll often see them used in other equine performance events, as well as parades and even trick riding.

The Percheron is a draft horse I’m more familiar with as we once owned one. Originally from France, they started out as a war horse and then, after the war, were used as a work horse. They are usually grey or black, though I personally have only ever seen grey Percherons. They have incredible docile personalities and, this is pretty cool, can be used as jumpers. Maybe that comes from them being first bred as war horses.

The Belgian is one of the four main breeds of draft horse used in Europe, the others being the Shire, the Clydesdale, and the Percheron. These are the draft horses I’ve seen the most. Especially at pulling competitions. They are big, sturdy, and reliable. Like all drafties, they have that great docile temperament (comes from being a cold-blooded horse rather than a hot-blooded horse like an Arabian or a Thoroughbred).

Which makes them an excellent choice to use in cross breeds. Those of you who’ve read my posts here know that I’ve owned a lot of mules in my life. Some of those mules were Belgian draft mules. They inherit the best qualities from both parents. From the donkey (or Jack) father, they get surefootedness, cleverness, and incredible endurance, not to mention those great ears! From their Belgian mother they get their size, coloring, strength, and easy temperament.

There are many more less common breeds of draft horses. But I can’t end this post without talking about miniature draft horses. Basically, a draft pony is a smaller version of one of the established draft horse breeds and must show the same conformation character of a draft horse. They also can’t be taller than 58 inches. Full disclosure, I’ve never seen a draft pony in person, but they look pretty adorable, and I think I want one.