Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - December 30, 2020


French Christmas and New Year's postcards
It's hard to believe that another year is ending and that this will be my final Wednesday in Wyoming post. What a year it's been!

To end this extraordinary year, I decided to include a series of French postcards with wishes for both a merry Christmas and a happy new year. The postcards were a gift from a friend who knows I'm a Francophile.

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones! May 2021 be a healthier, happier year for all of us.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - December 23, 2020


Christmas angel
How often do you see angels made of burlap? This one caught my eye more years ago than I'm going to admit when my husband and I were shopping at the Nuremberg Christmas market during his deployment in Germany. It's still one of my favorite Christmas decorations.

Merry Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - December 16, 2020


Everyone needs at least one teddy bear. Right? And every good teddy bear needs a Santa suit. Right?

I'm proud to say that I made both the bear and his suit and that he sits in the kitchen to make me smile every December.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - December 9, 2020


Santa carousel
Santa on a carousel? Why not!

A friend who knows how much I love carousels and that I contracted an incurable case of carousel fever during the International Year of the Carousel (2000) found this holiday-themed merry-go-round for me.

It's so cute that I keep it on display all year long. Ho, ho, ho!

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - December 2, 2020


welcome pillow
This month's Wednesday in Wyoming posts are staying close to home -- my home, that is -- as I share some of my favorite holiday decorations.

We all want to feel welcome, don't we? That's why when my sister-in-law showed me this design, I knew it was one I had to turn into a needlepoint pillow.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - November 25, 2020


The last stop on the mini-tour of eastern Laramie County was Burns, another of the small towns that make this part of Wyoming so interesting. 

While there I saw someone doing a job I wouldn't want - climbing to the top of a water tower. Those men (there were two of them) are far braver than I.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - November 18, 2020


Remember all the gas pumps in last week's post? There's more to Pine Bluffs than them, including this 30 feet high Our Lady of Peace statue. 

Located right next to the highway, the statue is one of the first things westbound travelers on Interstate 80 see when they cross into Wyoming. 

If you'd like more information, here's the link.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - November 11, 2020


Here's something you don't see everywhere. Not only is the flying horse a reminder of a time long past, but where else could you find so many old gas pumps?

I chuckled when I reached the intersection and saw this scene in front of me. Where did I find it? Pine Bluffs, on the state line between Wyoming and Nebraska.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - November 4, 2020


Welcome to Albin, one of the quintessential small towns in Wyoming. From the grain silos and bales of hay to the old-fashioned water tower this town of less than 200 is a picture of small-town life. There's even a port-a-potty behind the church.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - October 28, 2020


Burt House parlor, Fort Laramie
Remember last week's post with the photo of Officers' Row in the 1880s? That hinted at the elegance of the officers' homes. If you have a chance to visit Fort Laramie, you'll see that the interiors live up to that promise.

I was impressed with the stained woodwork and the curved doorway between the office and parlor of the Burt House. In case you were curious, the name comes from Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Burt, who was stationed at the fort twice.

I hope you enjoyed this month's peek into one of Wyoming's most important historic sites. It's well worth the trip.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - October 21, 2020


Fort Laramie Officers Row 1880s
When you picture a western fort, do you imagine boardwalks, picket fences, and buildings with mansard roofs? I certainly didn't ... until I visited Fort Laramie and saw this photo.

Although I was fascinated by the whole fort, this photo intrigued me so much that I knew I had to write a story set here. Summer of Promise was the result.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Fort Laramie: Oasis on the Oregon Trail - Part Two

parade ground

As the years passed, Fort Laramie's function changed, and so did its buildings. When the threat of war with the Native Americans diminished after the Treaty of 1868, more officers brought their wives to the fort, and that brought more changes. While bachelor officers might share rooms in Old Bedlam, married officers needed houses, and so a number of buildings were constructed along what became known as Officers’ Row. The captain’s house, which has been reconstructed, is a two-family dwelling representative of the era. 

captain's house

So too is what has been called the Burt House, named after Lt. Col. Andrew Burt, who served two tours of duty at the fort.

Burt House and Sutler's Store

During the fort’s final decade, boardwalks lined Officers’ Row. Houses were surrounded by picket fences, many yards had flower gardens, and women strolled along the boardwalks carrying parasols. There were even birdbaths. But, since this was Wyoming with its infamous winds, the birdbaths weren’t the typical basin-on-a-pedestal style one might find in an eastern garden. Instead, they were circular depressions in the ground, ringed by bricks or stones. 



That era ended when the Army no longer needed a large military presence in the area. In 1890 Fort Laramie was decommissioned and its buildings sold at public auction. The fort might have become nothing more than a memory, but a group of Wyoming residents was determined that this part of American history not be lost. Thanks to their efforts, the State of Wyoming acquired the fort in 1937, and in 1938 it became part of the National Park System.

 Fort Laramie is now a National Historic Site and a must-see spot for anyone interested in the pioneers’ travels as well as life on the early frontier. Portions of the old fort have been reconstructed, providing an opportunity to see both the interior and the exterior of representative buildings. And while only foundations of other buildings remain, those foundations give visitors an idea of how extensive the fort was.

Many things have changed over the almost two centuries that a fort has existed on this site in eastern Wyoming, but what hasn’t changed is the beauty of the surrounding area and the feeling of history that surrounds visitors to the fort that welcomed so many emigrants.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Fort Laramie: Oasis on the Oregon Trail - Part One


covered wagon
In the mid nineteenth century while the British ton were traveling along well-marked roads in comfortable coaches pulled by fine horseflesh they might have purchased at Tattersall’s, hundreds of thousands of Americans walked – yes, walked – thousands of miles in search of a better future.

pioneers walking

There were no well-sprung vehicles with velvet cushions to help absorb the roads’ bumps and few inns to offer them beds and hot meals. Instead, these pioneers loaded their belongings into Conestoga wagons, yoked sturdy oxen together to pull their canvas-covered temporary homes, and headed west. So many of them traveled the same route that the wagon wheels carved ruts as deep as five feet into the limestone hills.

wagon ruts

Some went to California, hoping to find a fortune in gold. Others were attracted by the promise of fertile land in Oregon. Still others fled religious persecution as they pulled handcarts toward the Great Salt Lake. Though their routes diverged soon after they reached what is now Wyoming, virtually every wagon train stopped at Fort Laramie. It was here that the pioneers rested their oxen, made necessary repairs to their wagons, and replenished their supplies at the post trader’s store. For, while crossing the plains had been arduous, the worst was yet to come. Mountainous terrain, the fear of Indian attacks, the threat of early snow, and the knowledge that there were few other places to purchase supplies made Fort Laramie seem like an oasis on the journey west.

surrounding area

The fort that greeted travelers in the mid nineteenth century bore little resemblance to Hollywood’s idea of a western Army post. It lacked the wooden stockade and dilapidated wooden buildings that film makers have immortalized. In their place was a collection of buildings that might have reminded the pioneers of a New England town, but it wasn’t always so.

The first fort on the location, a trading post named Fort William, was relatively small and had a wooden palisade. While Hollywood might have liked it, it was destined for a very short life. When another fort was built nearby and threatened its status as a major fur trading post, Fort William was replaced by a new fort constructed on the same location. Fort John, as the new post was named, was made of adobe, was considerably larger than Fort William, and was able to compete with the nearby fort.

When the fur trade declined, Fort William’s existence might have been in jeopardy, but it gained a new lease on life as the first of the emigrant trains came through. Now, instead of serving as a center for trading buffalo hides, it became a major supply point for the wagon trains.

 Then, as the number of emigrants swelled, so did fears for their safety. Responding to that need, the Army purchased Fort John in 1849 and renamed it Fort Laramie. Since the newly named fort would become a major military installation with both cavalry and infantry troops, it was time to expand the post and construct more buildings to house the men.

cavalry barracks

cavalry barracks interior

One of the most prominent landmarks was Old Bedlam, the two-story frame building that’s still in existence and that has the distinction of being the oldest military structure in Wyoming. Though its use changed several times, including serving as the post headquarters for a few years, it retained the nickname it gained during the early years of its existence when it served as bachelor officers’ housing. One can only guess what those officers did to warrant that name.

Old Bedlam

Close by Old Bedlam was the post trader’s store, more commonly referred to as the sutler’s store. It was here that travelers could find everything from teakettles to blankets to foodstuffs to basic medical supplies. The sutler’s store also housed the post office, an important stop for travelers starved for news from home.

sutler's store interior

 It’s no wonder that those hardy pioneers looked forward to reaching Fort Laramie.

To be continued ...

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - October 14, 2020


officers row Fort Laramie
Rank has its privilege, and nowhere is that more apparent than on Officers' Row at Fort Laramie. Instead of living in barracks and subsisting on bread (no butter!) and coffee for supper, officers had relatively spacious quarters and better if not great food. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - October 7, 2020


This month I'm celebrating one of my favorite spots in Wyoming: Fort Laramie National Historic Site.

My first visit there was an eye-opener. Instead of the quintessential western fort with a stockade and log cabin-style buildings, I found what could have been a well-established eastern town with stylish homes surrounding the parade ground. 

It was so different and so intriguing that I knew one visit wouldn't be enough. And it wasn't!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - September 30, 2020


Remember the beautifully appointed and comfortable Pullman car in last week's post? I doubt anyone would call traveling that way an ordeal, but that's exactly how travel by Immigrant Car is described.

I continue to be in awe of all that immigrants endured in their quest for a new and better life. They had strength, determination, and courage. 

I hope you've enjoyed this month's insights into 19th century train travel. Next month we'll explore something different. What it will be is still to be determined.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - September 23, 2020


For pure luxury, it's hard to beat this 1885 Pullman car. I envision beautifully dressed women and wealthy men enjoying their ride in one of these undeniably opulent cars.

But not everyone traveled this well. Next week we'll explore the other end of the spectrum.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - September 16, 2020


Imagine the pride of having your photo taken with one of the locomotives you serviced. This photo was taken in Cheyenne in 1886, and like the others I've featured this month, is one of the exhibits in the Depot Museum.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - September 9, 2020


Oil lamps, better heating, more luxurious interiors - these were the signs of progress train travelers experienced in 1876.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - September 2, 2020


Imagine yourself a traveler arriving by train in Cheyenne in 1884. Would you have been impressed with this depot? I don't think so, and neither did the powers that be in Cheyenne. That's why they lobbied for a new depot.

The Union Pacific agreed to construct a new, decidedly more impressive one. 

Even though there's no longer passenger rail service to Cheyenne, the depot continues to welcome visitors. It's now a visitor center and the home of the Depot Museum, which is where I found the first photo ... and the others I'm planning to feature in this month's Wednesday in Wyoming posts.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Wednesday Near Wyoming - August 26, 2020

Instead of telling you something about this picture, I have a question. I've told you before that I'm not a farmer, so while I know these are silos, I don't know much else.

What is the infrastructure above the silos, and why is it so high?

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - August 19, 2020

Sagebrush prairies, limestone outcroppings, a few stray clouds -- this is another quintessential Wyoming scene.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - August 12, 2020

What is this?

You can tell I'm not a farmer, because when I saw it, I thought of R2-D2 from Star Wars. A much more savvy woman told me it's a pump for irrigating crops.

Whichever explanation you prefer, I hope the picture made you smile. The R2-D2 wannabee certainly caught my attention and made me smile.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - August 5, 2020

Goshen Cattlewomen sign
Quintessential Wyoming!

You probably know that cattle raising is a major industry in Wyoming, but did you expect to see "cattlewomen" on a sign? Why not, when Wyoming's nickname is the Equality State? After all, this was the first state to give women the right to vote, to serve on juries, and to be judges.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - July 29, 2020

river in Yellowstone
Have you noticed that there's been a secondary theme to this month's posts? Not only are they all about Yellowstone, but each one features water in some form.

Since Yellowstone's waterfalls are one of its major attractions, I knew I'd include a photo of one this month, but I have to admit that I smiled when I realized I could show a different kind of water -- snow! -- in the same picture as the falls.

Yes, it snowed only two days after the elk were taking their cooling stroll through a stream. That's Yellowstone for you -- beautiful and oh, so varied.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - July 22, 2020

hot pool Yellowstone
One of the things I love most about Yellowstone is the variety of thermal features, including hot pools.

Unlike the hot spring I showed you at the beginning of the month, this pool doesn't bubble. Instead, its heat is most visible on a cool day, when the water vapor looks like a cloud emerging from the depths of the pool.

How deep do you think the pool is? I have no idea, but I suspect it's quite deep.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - July 15, 2020

elk in Yellowstone stream
Whether hot or cold, water is one of the dominant features of Yellowstone.

As you can see, these elk are taking advantage of a cool stream on a hot late-summer day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - July 8, 2020

river in Yellowstone

When many people think of Yellowstone, they envision Old Faithful and the other thermal features, but there's more to the park than hot water.

Yellowstone is home to countless streams and rivers that can make back country hiking a challenge. Still, who can deny the beauty of a rapidly flowing river winding its way through an evergreen forest?

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - July 1, 2020

Where was this picture taken? I imagine you've already guessed that it's Yellowstone, since the brilliant colors and the bubbling spring are giveaways.

Since many of us are not traveling as much this year as we have in the past, I thought I'd devote my July Wednesday in Wyoming posts to a virtual tour (translation: five pictures) of my favorite place on Earth. (Yellowstone is also one of the reasons my husband and I moved to Wyoming, but that's another story.)

Back to this picture. Does the bubbling water make you think you should dip your hand into it? You shouldn't, of course, since it's scalding hot and smells of sulfur, but that's the beauty of a photograph - none of that is obvious.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - June 24, 2020

South Pass City miner's lunch bucket
You've probably guessed that this is a lunch bucket miners at South Pass City used. It's fairly large, but that's because mining was hard work, and they'd bring a lot of high-calorie food.

What you might not know is that sometimes they took more than chicken bones back with them at the end of their shift.

South Pass City lunch time sign
Yes, there were thieves in the mine shafts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - June 17, 2020

South Pass City miner's shoe protection
Can you guess what this is?

Since this month's posts are about South Pass City, if you guessed it has something to do with gold mining, you're right.

This is a metal sole that miners wore to protect their feet. You'll see that there are small tacks around the top, presumably to attach the sole to their shoes.

Ingenious, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - June 10, 2020

South Pass City mine model
What did the inside of the gold mine at South Pass City look like? This model shows the details.

To give you an idea of the sheer size of the mine, look at the man pushing a cart at the top left.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Cover Reveal

One of my favorite parts of the whole process of turning a manuscript into a finished book is being able to share the cover art and the title with you. And now, at last, I can do that.

Dreams Rekindled Cover
What do you think? I was thrilled when I saw the cover. As I told Revell's Art Director, I think it's even more beautiful than the one for Out of the Embers, and that's saying a lot, since Embers has a fabulous cover. This one is even more fabulous. At least that's my opinion.

The model is exactly the way I envisioned Dorothy, and I love how the colors of her dress coordinate with the autumn scene. Then there's the title, which continues the fire theme from Out of the Embers at the same time that it gives you a hint about the story. I like it as much as I do the cover.

To give you a sneak peek into Dreams Rekindled, here's the blurb that'll be part of the sales catalog.
Though she hopes for a quiet, uncomplicated life for herself, Dorothy Clark wants nothing more than to stir others up. Specifically, she dreams of writing something that will challenge people as much as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin seems to have. But in 1850s Mesquite Springs, there are few opportunities for writers—until newspaperman Brandon Holloway arrives, that is.
Brandon Holloway has seen the disastrous effects of challenging others and has no intention of repeating that mistake. Instead of following his dreams, he’s committed to making a new—and completely uncontroversial—start in the Hill Country.
As Dorothy’s involvement in the fledgling newspaper grows from convenient to essential, the same change seems to be happening in Brandon’s heart. But before romance can bloom, Dorothy and Brandon must work together to discover who’s determined to divide the town and destroy Brandon’s livelihood.
With this second novel in the Mesquite Springs series, bestselling author Amanda Cabot invites you to discover the healing power of truth.
If you've read my bio, you know that at one point I aspired to be a newspaper reporter, so you can imagine how much fun I had telling Dorothy and Brandon's story and including details of 19th century papers and printing presses. 

And, since I suspect you're curious, let me tell you that Dreams Rekindled is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021. 

Now come the important questions. Would the cover make you want to read the book? What about the blurb? Does that intrigue you? I'd love to hear your reaction to both.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - June 3, 2020

South Pass City
Welcome to South Pass City, one of Wyoming's historic mining towns.

It was here that miners spent their days bringing precious ore from the hillside, that others made their fortunes providing services to the miners, and that Esther Morris became the nation's first female judge.

For more information, visit South Pass City's website.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Wednesday Near Wyoming - May 27, 2020

carhenge -- ford seasons
When you look at this picture, do you think of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons"? I didn't, but that famous piece of music is what inspired the artist.

Still confused? The name of this automotive sculpture is The FORD Seasons. And, yes, those are Fords.

What may still not be clear is that the cars represent the seasons of wheat growing.

  • Green - Spring: the wheat is planted.
  • Gold - Summer: the wheat is growing. (Notice that this part requires two cars to show how much the wheat has grown.)
  • Pink - Autumn: the wheat is harvested. 
  • White - Winter: the field is empty, waiting for spring and planting season to return.

I'll admit that none of that was particularly apparent to me at first glance, but even without the explanation, I smiled when I saw this part of Carhenge.

I hope you've enjoyed this month's trips to Alliance, Nebraska, and that you'll come back next week for a new post.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Wednesday Near Wyoming - May 20, 2020

We've all heard of a fish out of water, but have you ever seen a fish that was made from an abandoned car rising out of the Nebraska prairie?

As you've undoubtedly guessed, you can find this unusual fish and the dinosaur skeleton at Carhenge.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Wednesday Near Wyoming - May 13, 2020

Carhenge - covered wagon
When I think of covered wagons, I picture Conestogas. Don't you?

The artist who designed this one, however, took a more humorous approach and put the hoops that would traditionally be covered with canvas on top of an abandoned station wagon.

Where do you find this oddity? At Carhenge.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Wednesday Near Wyoming - May 6, 2020

Carhenge - cars

Since many of us are unable to travel and might need reminders to smile, I'm featuring an unusual and out-of-the-way destination in this month's posts.

You may have noted that the title says Wednesday NEAR Wyoming rather than Wednesday IN Wyoming. That's because we're heading to Alliance, Nebraska and Carhenge.

As you can tell from both the name and the picture, it's an attempt to recreate  Stonehenge using cars rather than stones.

Did it make you smile? I certainly smiled when I first saw it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - April 29, 2020

sheep grooming
Ending our month of smile-inducing pictures from the Laramie County Fair is this one of a teenager getting her sheep ready for the competition. I'm amazed at how much work she put into grooming the sheep and even more amazed at how well behaved it was.

Did you smile at this month's pictures? I hope so!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - April 22, 2020

Remember the sheep from mutton busting? Most of them looked like ordinary sheep. This one, however, had a lion cut that made both the announcers and me smile.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - April 15, 2020

Mutton busting isn't the only event for children at the county fair. Younger kids enjoy their own version of barrel racing, only instead of real horses, they ride stick horses, and traffic cones replace barrels. What doesn't change is the fun and excitement they have.

Look at this young cowboy. Not only is he wearing a cowboy hat and boots, but he also has chaps. A future rodeo champ in the making.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - April 8, 2020

Here's another picture, also from the county fair, that made me smile. Are these alpacas siblings or simply friends? I don't know. All I know is that they're adorable.