28 July 2012

National Day of the Cowboy - Blogathon Day 5

The blogathon draws to a close with a piece from JR Sanders who believes in supporting children - their imaginations, their dreams, and their reading habits, through the National Day of the Cowboy.

Richie White, aka Shotgun Bo Rivers, wraps it up for the NDoC organisation and the western writers who participated.

I was privileged to be one. What more can I say?

26 July 2012

National Day of the Cowboy - Blogathon Day 4

The herd is running fast, now, on the blog of Shotgun Bo Rivers. Today nod your hat to...

Larry Payne, author of Ride the Savage Lands, who gives a rundown of The Code of the West
DB Jackson, rancher turned author, who talks about what it is to be a man with a "particular set of skills".

Remember, leave a comment and you'll be added to the draw for a coveted book.

25 July 2012

National Day of the Cowboy - Blogathon Day 3

Treats today on the Shotgun Bo Rivers blog:

First up is bestselling author Steven Law, speaking eloquently of his upbringing on his family's Iowa farm among working cowhands, and how those men differed from those depicted by Hollywood.

Joining him is Ken Farmer, taking us on the trail from watching Saturday matinee Westerns to researching and writing the West as it actually was, and reminding us that the best Deputy US Marshal of all time was Bass Reeves, a former slave.

Saddle up and get over there!

24 July 2012

National Day of the Cowboy - Blogathon Day 2

Shotgun Bo Rivers has two more western authors telling it how it is for them:

JJ Devine talks about Romancing The West
Phil Dunlap talks about childhood heroes making a lifetime's impression

Leave a comment on either, or any of the other posts this week, and you'll be entered into a draw for books.

23 July 2012

Run up to National Day of the Cowboy

Saturday sees the 8th National Day of the Cowboy which aims to honour and preserve the Pioneer spirit and Cowboy culture. On the run-up to the big day my friend and ex rodeo rider Shotgun Bo Rivers is hosting a series of articles written by Western writers who specialise in both fiction and non-fiction.

It kicks off today with an overview by Matthew Pizolato Please go and show your support.

Later today your very own Tyler Brentmore springs into the saddle... It's now Live. Come visit and discuss Celebrating the Skills & Protecting the Dream.

See you across there to throw a few Tweets (it's less noisy than horseshoes).

8 July 2012

Packing for a trip - Vittles

"Vittles", victuals, food… The notion that a pioneer family could pack what we would now term a survival ration and live off the land day-to-day was quickly dispelled, if it was ever embraced by anyone other than romanticizing early writers. The noise of even a small train of wagons with its accompanying stock would send any wild grazers to flight long before they could be sighted. If the émigrés wanted to eat, they carried it with them. What they packed depended largely on their source of advice.

A family of four might pack:
800 pounds of flour
200 pounds of lard
200 pounds of dried beans
700 pounds of bacon or salt pork
100 pounds of dried fruit (mostly apples)
75 pounds of coffee
25 pounds of salt & pepper
2 pounds of salteratus (sodium bicarbonate)

Sugar/molasses, tea, cornmeal/oatmeal, rice, dried peaches, hard biscuits of various kinds, and potatoes were also know to be packed, but too much weight was an ever-present worry. Re-acquaint yourself with the previous post as to what the wagon was already carrying. Although a 2,400 pound maximum for food was recommended, especially if three yoke of oxen were available to be rotated, many travelers tried to keep the load to just over 2,000 pounds (1 ton), and this included the barrels the food was packed in. Heavy jars carrying preserving liquids, either brine or sweet, didn’t last long.

Glancing over the list, it was easy to see why émigrés tied cages of laying hens to the wagons and dragged along the occasional sheep as well as milk-cows. There was hardly a cry of “What’s for dinner?” It would be a variation on the same, day in, day out, with the fervent prayer that it would last the trip.

Now, which one of you has that bag of Snickers?