Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- December 31, 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, I'd like to share one more tree from the Historic Governors' Mansion with you.  This one isn't as elaborate as some of the others.  What makes it unique is its location.  It's inside the basement fallout shelter.  If you look carefully, you'll see that the tree stand is a barrel of drinking water.

If you're like me, today isn't only a day to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another.  It's also a time to give thanks for all the blessings we've received.  Among many other things, I'm thankful that we've had no need to use a fallout shelter.

And so I end the year by wishing you a new year filled with peace and prosperity. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- December 24, 2014

Can you guess the era when trees like this were popular?  I wouldn't have known without the explanatory signage.  It turns out that this tree is from the nineteen forties.  Because America was at war then, many trees were patriotic, with red, white and blue as their predominant colors.  And stars were popular shapes for ornaments, reminding those at home of the men and women who were serving in the armed forces.

What I found particularly interesting were the lights.  I've never seen metal skirts (for want of a better term) for them.  Have you?

However your tree is decorated, I hope that your Christmas is a joyous one and one filled with the celebration of the true reason for the season.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- December 17, 2014

Did you notice anything unusual about this tree?  How about the bandanna at the top?  You've probably guessed that this is a western tree, designed for the room in the Historic Governors' Mansion with western decor.
As you can see, some of the ornaments were boots.  But the most unusual part is the tree topper.

I have to admit that this is the first time I've seen a  cowboy angel.  Dare I say that this is an "only in Wyoming" tree?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- December 10, 2014

You may notice that this tree is much simpler in appearance than the one I featured last week.  It's smaller and lacks the brightly colored ornaments of earlier times.  As a reaction to what some considered the excesses of the Victorian era, trees in the early twentieth century were often decorated with nothing but white ornaments.  That doesn't mean that the ornaments were any less elaborate.  As you'll see below, they were not.  But they were white.  Mostly ...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- December 3, 2014

Welcome to Wyoming's Historic Governors' Mansion, located in downtown Cheyenne.  For the rest of the month, I want to share some special Christmas trees with you.  These were all part of the Mansion's 2013 "Tinsel Through Time" exhibit.

The first tree I'm going to share with you is one you might have seen in any well-to-do house in the early twentieth century.  Notice the candles (a fire hazard by modern standards).  If you look closely, you'll also see the Barnum's Animal Cracker boxes used as ornaments.  Although animal crackers had been produced before then, it was 1902 when the National Biscuit Company, later known as Nabisco, introduced the boxes with string handles that could turn them into ornaments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- November 26, 2014

Please meet Wounded Ear.  If you look at the cottontail's left ear, you'll see why I gave it that nickname.  Any guesses about what caused the notch in that ea?  A fox?  A dog?  A feral cat?  Something else?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- November 19, 2014

When I think of painted ladies, I envision the beautiful Victorian houses in San Francisco.  That's why I was surprised to learn that this butterfly, supposedly the most widespread butterfly worldwide, is called a Painted Lady.  Have you seen them near you?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- November 12, 2014

Wyoming is noted for its cattle production, but would you expect to see a longhorn just outside the city limits of Cheyenne?  A small herd spends part of each summer and fall grazing there.  Another herd (minus the long horns) grazes across the road right behind Walmart.  Only in Wyoming?  Probably not, but the cattle definitely caught my eye.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- November 5, 2014

One of the pleasures of living in Wyoming is the presence of hummingbirds.  This one, which my Audubon Rocky Mountain Field Guide tells me is a rufous hummingbird, is particularly attracted to red flowers ... and red brick houses.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- October 29, 2014

It's autumn in Wyoming, and what better way to celebrate than to share this picture with you?  I found this mural next to the Wyoming Penitentiary in Rawlins and only recently discovered that it's part of a series of murals that the city commissioned.  They even have a booklet outlining a tour.  Next time I'm in Rawlins, I plan to take the tour, so beware -- there will be more mural pictures coming in the future.  In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying all the beauty that fall brings.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- October 22, 2014

Remember the unfinished walls and ceiling that greeted the internees at Heart Mountain?  Here's a representation of what the rooms looked like after they'd been there for a few years.  Most of the furniture was handmade, and as you can see, there are amenities like curtains as well as magazines to read and games to play.  A definite improvement, and yet the residents were still imprisoned behind barbed wire. 

What do you think about the whole internment process?  Should it have happened?  Can you imagine it happening again?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Free Today

Autumn has definitely returned to Cheyenne and probably to the rest of the country.  To celebrate my publisher and I are offering With Autumn's Return as a free download today.  Here are links to the most popular online sites:

 And, if you haven't read the earlier two, here are links to them.



Happy reading!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- October 15, 2014

Although the government had good intentions, the buildings the internees faced when they arrived at Heart Mountain were a far cry from the homes they'd had on the West Coast, in part because they weren't finished.  As you can see, there's no insulation, not even in the ceiling, and the cracks between the boards allowed snow to blow inside. A single pot-bellied stove provided the only heat for the family that shared one small room. 

Have you lived in conditions like this?  I haven't.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- October 8, 2014

These buildings, styled to resemble the collection of barracks that were part of the original internment camp, are now the home of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center.  In addition to exhibits, some of which you'll see over the next couple weeks, the center features an award-winning film with internees talking about the time they spent in Wyoming.

How would you feel about living here?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- October 1, 2014

It looks beautiful, doesn't it?  But how would this appear to you if you were used to living in a temperate climate like Seattle or Southern California?  Would you appreciate the extremely low humidity, the constant wind, the hot summers (over 100 on some days) and cold winters (minus 40)?  This is Heart Mountain, the site of a Japanese internment camp during World War II, and those are the conditions the thousands of internees faced.

While I understand the reasons the government felt compelled to create these camps, my heart goes out to those who spent years living in one.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- September 24, 2014

Have you ever seen hollyhocks this tall?  I hadn't.  They're growing outside the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center between Powell and Cody, Wyoming.  In case you're not familiar with Heart Mountain, I'll be blogging about it in the next few weeks.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- September 17, 2014

What is it?  A permanent wave machine.  Yes, this is the way women used to have their hair curled.  I found this at the Homesteaders Museum in Powell, Wyoming. 

To show you the machine in its full glory, I've included a picture of a similar machine in the Old Town museum in Burlington, Colorado.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- September 10, 2014

Here's another one of what I call the quintessential Wyoming roads -- gorgeous scenery and very little traffic.  This is highway 14 heading west into the Big Horn mountains.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- September 3, 2014

It's trivia time!

Even before I moved here, I knew that Wyoming was the first territory to grant women suffrage, but until I saw this plaque on the sidewalk in a small park in Laramie, I hadn't realized the the first woman to vote was a senior citizen.  Congratulations to Louisa Swain for her role in history!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 27, 2014

Do you know what is this?  You're right.  It's part of a phonograph, specifically one that Thomas Edison designed.  Now that we've established that, you're probably wondering why I've included something from the inventor who's more closely associated with New Jersey than Wyoming in a Wednesday in Wyoming post. 

A little known fact is that Edison visited Wyoming in 1878 to view a total solar eclipse and to test one of his new inventions, a tasimeter.  That was a new word to me, too, and my dictionary doesn't even include it.  According to the article I've linked below, the tasimeter was designed to measure small changes in temperature.  Unfortunately for Edison, the temperature changes were too great for his instrument to work properly, but he had an unforgettable visit to the Equality State.

You can find the whole story here:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 20, 2014

You probably won't be surprised to learn that this is considered a mansion, the Ferris Mansion, to be specific.  You probably also won't be surprised that although it was once a private residence, it's now a B&B.  What might surprise you is that the house came from a kit.  Yes, in the early twentieth century it was possible to order a house exactly like this and have it delivered to your site.  How did I learn that?  From a lecture at the Wyoming State Museum earlier this year.

In case you're interested in staying there, the Ferris Mansion is located in Rawlins. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 13, 2014

Happy Anniversary, Flaming Gorge!  This coming Sunday marks fifty years since then First Lady Lady Bird Johnson dedicated the Flaming Gorge dam and officially opened what is now known as the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.  I'm cheating a little by including this picture, since the dam itself is in Utah, but I couldn't resist celebrating the anniversary, especially since the majority of Flaming Gorge is in Wyoming.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- August 6, 2014

Do you know what these are?  When my dentist and dental hygienist started using similar items, I assumed they were a recent development.  To my surprise, when I visited the Carbon County Museum in Rawlins, I  learned that physicians and dentists used magnifying surgical glasses like these in the nineteenth century.  If only I'd known that when I wrote With Autumn's Return, I could have had Elizabeth own a pair.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Free Today!

My publisher and I are celebrating summer by making Summer of Promise, the first of the Westward Winds books, free today.  Here are some buying links:

If you've already read Summer of Promise, perhaps you'd enjoy the other books in the trilogy.  Waiting for Spring (with its gorgeous custom-made gown) is the second.

Of course I don't want you to have to search for buying links.

And then there's the third:
With its links:

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- July 30, 2014

I have to admit that I'm still puzzled by this sign from Cheyenne Frontier Days.  What did the rodeo organizers expect?  Or, probably more to the point, what kind of attire did they see before they posted the sign?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- July 23, 2014

Whether it's Cheyenne Frontier Days or any other rodeo, one of the things you probably don't think about is accidents.  Unfortunately, despite all the safety precautions, sometimes they occur.  Cowboys can be injured, and so can animals.

This steer was injured during the steer roping event.  So, what happens?  There are onsite medical crews for both humans and animals, just waiting to help.

A special sled designed to carry an injured animal is brought into the arena, assembled and then, with the restrained animal safely loaded on it, carried out.

I don't know what happened to that animal, but I want to believe that he was part of another steer roping event later in the year.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- July 16, 2014

Today's our second time to talk about "behind the scenes" events at Cheyenne Frontier Days.  This isn't exactly behind the scenes, but it's something you might not have considered if you haven't attended a rodeo.

One of the inevitable results of a rodeo is that the dirt is trampled by all those hooves.  That's why the arena needs periodic grooming.  It starts with raking the surface.

And is followed by what I refer to as the watering step.  I found the process interesting, but most of the others considered it a good time to take a break.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- July 9, 2014

This month is Cheyenne Frontier Days, better known locally as CFD.  It's the world's largest outdoor rodeo and one that has won numerous awards.  It's also THE big event of the year in Cheyenne, when the city puts on what feels like a party for residents, contestants and visitors.

This year I thought I'd show you some "behind the scenes" pictures of things you might not have thought about.

Let's start with how all those cattle that are involved in the rodeo get into the arena.  They're kept in pens near the arena, and then there's a cattle drive.  That's what you see in both pictures.

I've decided I want the job of the cowboy in the foreground.  Supervising looks like a lot easier job than actually herding cattle, but is it more fun?  What do you think?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- July 2, 2014

This is something you don't see very often.  And, yes, it was spotted in Wyoming -- in an interstate rest area, to be specific.  As you can imagine, I was happy to learn that someone outside the state shares my love for it and is willing to tell the world about it.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- June 25, 2014

Although the Castle may be the most unusual of the CCC structures in Guernsey State Park, the Museum has its share of history.

Like the Castle, it's constructed of native limestone and features arches.  Unlike the Castle, it boasts electricity and running water. 

And it commemorates the workers who were responsible for its construction with a statue.
A friend from Georgia told me she's seen the same statue in one of the parks near her.  Have you seen a CCC worker statute in your travels?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- June 18, 2014

If you want to have a picnic at Guernsey State Park, there are many choices, including this table at the Castle.

But for a more adventuresome site, you might want to try this one.
Yes, there had been enough rain that some of the picnic and camping sites were wade-in.  Other tables were completely submerged.  I prefer to eat on dry land.  How about you?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wednesday in Wyoming -- June 11, 2014

One of the attractions of Guernsey State Park, in addition to its opportunities for outdoor sports, is its collection of buildings constructed by the CCC, the Civilian Conservation Corps.  As part of the New Deal plan to rebuild the economy during the Great Depression, the CCC built hundreds of structures across the country including this one, commonly referred to as The Castle.
The Castle was constructed of native limestone and timbers and features several arches.  This one was situated to frame Laramie Peak.

As you can see, the interior has other arches and provides both picnic tables, a fireplace and built-in benches for visitors.

The most fanciful feature of the Castle is this spiral staircase which leads to a roof top viewing platform.  After seeing these pictures, a friend suggested that the Castle would be an ideal spot for a small wedding.  What do you think?