Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Plant That Ate The South

I know I promised more from Lakota Woman this week, but I've been sick for three weeks and haven't progressed in my reading, so that will have to wait until I can concentrate.

Although this post isn't purely western-based, I did have to wonder if those who lived in the late 1800s noticed what they had started.

I was stirred to this topic by sharing a video with my husband about a dangerous plant that is overtaking Michigan.  Even touching it can cause blindness or  irritating and scarring skin lesions.  How scary is that? We have another problem in the South so we don't need a dangerous hogweed attacking us as well.

 I recall when we first visited Tennessee, I was so impressed with the different colors of green, specifically the huge vines adhering everywhere.  I later learned that "vine" is called Kudzu.  I've done a little much as a drug-riddled mind can do in my state, and I want to share this interesting information with you.  I'm copying and pasting from Wikipedia, so I credit them with the content of this blog.

Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) is a serious invasive plant in the United States. It has been spreading in the southern U.S. at the rate of 150,000 acres (61,000 ha) annually, "easily outpacing the use of herbicide spraying and mowing, as well increasing the costs of these controls by $6 million annually."Its introduction has produced devastating environmental consequences. This has earned it the nickname, "The vine that ate the South."

The kudzu plant was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Kudzu was introduced to the Southeast in 1883 at the New Orleans Exposition. The vine was widely marketed in the Southeast as an ornamental plant to be used to shade porches and in the first half of the 20th century, kudzu was distributed as a high-protein content cattle fodder and as a cover plant to prevent soil erosion. The Soil Erosion Service recommended the use of kudzu to help control erosion of slopes which led to the government-aided distribution of 85 million seedlings and government-funded plantings of kudzu which paid $19.75 per hectare. By 1946, it was estimated that 1,200,000 hectares (3,000,000 acres) of kudzu had been planted. When boll weevil infestations and the failure of cotton crops drove farmers to move from rural to urban districts, kudzu plantings were left unattended.
 The climate and environment of the Southeastern United States allowed the kudzu to grow virtually unchecked. In 1953 the United States Department of Agriculture removed kudzu from a list of suggested cover plants and listed it as a weed in 1970. By 1997, the vine was placed on the “Federal Noxious Weed List”. Today, kudzu is estimated to cover 3,000,000 hectares (7,400,000 acres) of land in the southeastern United States, mostly in AlabamaGeorgiaFlorida, and Mississippi. It has been recorded in Nova ScotiaCanada, in Columbus, Ohio, and in all five boroughs of New York City.  NOTE From Ginger...let me tell you, it's everywhere in TN, too.
Kudzu is a perennial vine native to Southeast Asia, primarily subtropical and temperate regions of ChinaJapan, and Korea, with trifoliate leaves composed of three leaflets. Five species in the genus Pueraria (P. montanaP. lobataP. edulisP. phaseoloides and P. thomsoni) are closely related and kudzu populations in the United States seem to have ancestry from more than one of the species.] Each leaflet is large and ovate with two to three lobes each and hair on the underside. The leaves have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, which can supply up to 95% of leaf nitrogen to the plant in poor soils] Along the vines are nodes, points at which stems or tendrils can propagate to increase support and attach to structures. As a twining vine, kudzu uses stems or tendrils that can extend from any node on the vine to attach to and climb most surfaces. In addition, the nodes of the kudzu vine have the ability to root when exposed to soil, further anchoring the vine to the ground. The roots are tuberous and are high in starch and water content, and the twining of the plant allows for less carbon concentration in the construction of woody stems and greater concentration in roots, which aids root growth. The roots can account for up to 40% of total plant biomass.
Kudzu’s primary method of reproduction is asexual vegetative spread (cloning) which is aided by the ability to root wherever a stem is exposed to soil] For sexual reproduction, kudzu is entirely dependent on pollinators.
Although kudzu prefers forest regrowth and edge habitats with high sun exposure, the plant can survive in full sun or partial shade. These attributes of kudzu made it attractive as an ornamental plant for shading porches in the southeastern US, but they facilitated the growth of kudzu as it became a “structural parasite” of the South, enveloping entire structures when untreated and often referred to as “the vine that ate the south”.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Kansas--The Breadbasket of the Nation

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! We had a full house, and lots of fun. And food. I think we ate all day, which is where my idea for today’s blog came from. That and the fact I lived in Kansas for ten years…

Across the state of Kansas you’ll see signs proudly proclaiming Kansas as the number one wheat producer—which is accurate. Since the 1870’s stats have been kept on the wheat production, and the only state closely rivaling Kansas over all the years has been North Dakota.

Wheat is one of the oldest known foods, and is believed to have been derived from wild grasses thousands of years ago. It wasn’t brought to the U.S. until the seventeenth century and not to Kansas until the mid 1800’s. Some early settlers grew wheat, but most grew corn. It wasn’t until a class known as winter wheat proved to thrive in the dry land that the crop really took off. Russian-German immigrants, used to dry land cultivation, started dedicating large portions of their recently acquired Kansas acreage to the plants.

Machinery to harvest the wheat quickly transformed from the hand scythe to horse drawn and steam powered thrashing machines. The railroads criss-crossing the state from the cattle days provided the farmers access to markets and mills. Grain storage also grew rapidly and most every town boasted a grain elevator and mill.

A longtime Kansas farmer was quoted as saying, “Wheat is the crop of first importance. It’s the backbone of our economy, and made Kansas famous around the world.”

Bread was a mainstay, and baked regularly. In some households daily. From a very old family cookbook, here is a basic bread recipe. (My mother used this recipe for years. I cheat and buy the frozen loaves when I have a craving for fresh baked bread.)
  • 1 tea cup milk
  • 2 scoops butter
  • 1/2 teacup warm water
  • 2 spoons active dry yeast
  • 2 big spoons sugar
  • 1 palm of salt (teaspoon)
  • 1 teacup of warm water
  • 6-7 teacups flour
Heat milk and butter until butter melts. Set aside. Mix yeast with the ½ teacup of warm water and stir until well dissolved. Set aside. Put sugar, salt, and 1 teacup of warm water in a large bowl. Mix. Add milk and butter. Add yeast. Add flour one cup at a time until it’s too difficult to mix with spoon. Turn onto floured board and knead in the remaining flour until the dough is smooth, not sticky. (Add flour if needed.) Grease a large bowl with butter. Put the bread dough into the bowl and roll until well coated. Cover the bowl. Let rise. Punch down and knead into loafs. Place in buttered loaf pans. Butter the tops and let rise again. Bake for 45 min at 350.

I have no idea why they signify ‘teacup’, but there truly is nothing like the smell of homemade bread baking! This stove is one my husband bought for me over twenty years ago and sits in my dining room.

One final next book, Never Tempt a Lawman, is set in Kansas and will be released May 1st. 

Western Kansas, 1866

Steady, wealthy and oh-so-safe—that's the kind of husband Bess Trundale wants. Someone like the local banker's son. Someone unlike Sheriff Kirk Landers. The lawman's confident swagger gets right under her skin…and into her fantasies. And though she's tried to ignore the chemistry surging between them, one night is about to change everything.

Kirk isn't planning on being anyone's husband ever again. But months of living under the same boardinghouse roof as quick-witted, feisty Bess have stirred desires he can't ignore. Together they could put their pasts to rest and claim a bold, passionate future—if he can tempt her to break all the rules with him….

Friday, April 18, 2014

Natural Remedies in the 1800's

Happy Friday to you all and so sorry I'm late in posting today. 
I've not been sick like my poor friends, but my children have been battling the flu and you know how that goes. One get's it and then the next and so on. Everyone cannot get sick at the same time that would be too easy.

I've also been busy working on my forth book, a historical and so I've got a bit of brain fog. I love writing historical's for many reasons and one is having the ability to take my reader back to a time and place he or she never knew, the other reason is I get to go there too. 

There is always a lot of research involved and if I can be honest, I only use a quarter of what I've learned in my books. With my last novel, LAKOTA HONOR I needed to know about the Lakota Sioux and I delved into their culture more than I needed to. Ah, yes the plight of a historical writer.  
I learned to love these fascinating people and how they lived. 

With so many of our friends battling sickness I thought I'd share with you what the Lakota Sioux used to ward off most of their ailments. Below are some of the herbs and roots to help cure stomach aches, sore muscles and the common head cold.

PejiHota ape Blaskaska—Flat leaked sage—Wild Sage

Leaves are boiled and drank for upset stomach, and colds.
This plant was also used for religious ceremonies.

Pejuta NatiyaziLya—Incense for head—Purple Mallow|

This was an important plant for the Lakota. When the root was burned the smoke was inhaled for head colds, or used to bathe aching muscles. The patient stands with a blanket over their heads in front of hot coals in which the plant is laid on top. The patient then inhales the smoke into their lungs for relief of their symptoms.
This plant is known to smell like coconut.

Sinkpe tawote—Muskrats food—Sweet Flag or Bitterroot

This is the Lakota’s most traditional medicine. Found in the shallow parts of lakes and rivers. The plant has been used to cure almost every known illness, but its dominant uses are for cold congestion, sore throat, and upset stomach. The root can be chewed or drank.

Pe’ tuntunpa—Slippery Elm

Found in elm trees, the bark is used for numerous illnesses. The bark is ground into a powder and added to water makes a paste to spread onto burns, skin wounds, cold sores, boils, abscesses and toothaches. Placed in a cup of boiling water the Lakota people would drink it to help with ulcers, sore throats and stomach ailments.

Witch Hazel

This was used for inflammation and swelling. Some tribes boiled the leaves and rubbed them onto the legs of tribesmen who were participating in sporting games. The boiled twigs could be used to cure aching muscles as well.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sick of Being Sick
Found this little gem on Pinterest and thought it was most appropriate.  Seems many of us are suffering from the virus making the rounds.  I've had it for two weeks, and Krista Ames is under the weather today, so check back for the next person in line and we'll hope we all get well.

Ginger and the Kissin' Cowgirls.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Healing Power of Peyote - Blogjacked by Ginger

Note:  If you're confused, then you can thank me.  I retired Lyn Horner from the blog in error, and added Krista Ames in her place.  When the mistake was brought to my attention by Lyn, she wasn't up to blogging because of the same symptoms I'm feeling.  Krista now is going to be blogging on the third Wednesdays of each month, I have taken Sharla Rae's spot until she returns, and Lyn Horner will be back in her regular second Monday slot starting next month.  Sorry, for the confusion, but so glad that McKenna Gebhard allowed me to be a thief of her interesting post.  So, without further ado, I'll stop babbling and post the blog I had scheduled  Please help me promote it.  

Because I'm sick with bronchial asthma and my brain is fried from all the meds I'm taking, I asked permission from McKenna Gebhard to use a post she wrote for Stilettoes at High Noon.  She graciously agreed to let me use it. 

 I had hoped to broach the same topic since I had planned to post more from Lakota Woman, and her experiences with her husband, Leonard Crow Dog, who happened to be the peyote priest who introduced Mary to the "medicine". 

 I noticed Mckenna's warning at the beginning of her post, and I might be one of those who isn't in total agreement with the use of Peyote as I'm seeing in Lakota Woman, the ingestion of the plant provides a mental escape from reality by inducing hallucinations, very much UNLIKE Christian Communion where we delight in partaking simply because it's a celebration of our belief. The taste of what we are offered does not cause visions nor does it taste bitter or invoke vomiting. Of course, McKenna has offered a very viable comparison, but even other Indians criticize those who participated in Crow Dog's peyote ceremonies. In the peyote priest's words..."Grandfather Peyote,he has no mouth, but he speaks; no eyes, but he sees; no ears but he hears and he makes you listen."

Next month, I'm hoping to continue on the topic from her point of view. In the meantime, thank you Mckenna for allowing me to share your blog to introduce our readers to the healing power of Peyote.

Warning, the below presented views may be offensive to some and are not necessarily the shared views of the readers and or authors of this website.

So, picture this, you are in a church and it is time to take communion. You wait patiently in line, hands folded, praying you will be worth of such a heavenly gift. It’s your turn, you step up to the priest, he is flanked by two altar boys. You look up into his eyes, he says “This is the body of Christ” and you reply ‘Amen.” He places a thin wafer upon your tongue, you close your mouth step to the side, make the sign of the cross and go back to your seat.  Once you arrive back in the wooden pew you take the serene moment to kneel before God, thanking him for his blessing and asking for his grace. 

Now take this entire scenario, but replace the wafer with a button of cactus or a sip of tea.  I can hear all of the gasps of horror and the shock of what I propose, however the two instances are remarkably similar despite their cultural gaps. To the Christian, the wafer is a gift from God, the body of Christ. According to the Christian Sacrament, ‘When Our Lord said, "This is My body," the entire substance of the bread was changed into His body; and when He said, "This is My blood," the entire substance of the wine was changed into His blood.

Peyote is also regarded as a gift from God. “To us it is a portion of the body of Christ, even as the communion bread is believed to be a portion of Christ's body by other Christian denominations. Christ spoke of a Comforter who was to come. It never came to Indians until it was sent by God in the form of this Holy Medicine." - Albert Hensley, a Winnebago.

Peyote is not eaten to induce visions, it heals and teaches righteousness. It is eaten, or consumed as a tea, according to a formal ritual and offers the opportunity for self-understanding through self-examination. This experience can lead an individual to new understandings about their situation in life and the repercussions of their actions. Road men (Road Man, or Road Chief, is a title given to the leader of the peyote ceremony in the Native American Church) encourage participants to ‘ask the medicine’ or ‘listen to what the medicine tells you’ about a certain problem. They point out how the ‘power of the peyote healing experience can set a person on another course – a life of dedication in a deeper sense’.

Does anyone else see the similarities? Both rituals are meant for self enlightenment and healing. Of course the wafer doesn’t really have the same side-effects. I am sorry as I do not want to offend anyone but can you imagine a congregation of people experiencing the effects of peyote on a Sunday morning? According to the research, the participants could be starting out their week right, as it has been noted that an ‘afterglow’ effect can many times be experienced for 7 to 10 days after ingestion, humming the song ‘Because I’m Happy'...

The peyote cactus contains buttons that can be cut from the root and dried. The buttons can be chewed or soaked in water to produce an digestible liquid. They can also be ground into a powder and smoked in conjunction with the leaves of cannabis or tobacco.

The effects of ingestion of peyote varies from user to user but among the most common are; vivid   heightened sensory experiences (i.e. brighter colors, sharper visual definition, increased hearing acuity, more distinguished taste), difficult focusing, maintaining attention, concentrating, and thinking, loss of sense of reality; melding past experiences with present, preoccupation with trivial thoughts, experiences, or objects,  highly adverse reactions ("bad trip"), including frightening hallucinations, confusion, disorientation, paranoia, agitation, depression, panic, and/or terror. – This last one would totally be my
personal reaction to it!  Surprisingly, no physical dependence or psychological dependence has been reported, although it may be possible.

mental images and distorted vision, perception of seeing music or hearing colors, altered space and time perception, joy, exhilaration, panic, extreme anxiety, or terror, a distorted sense of body (users can feel either weighed down or weightless),

Because of the intense psychological effects of the consumption, the use of peyote in spiritual ceremonies has been present in many cultures for over 10,000 years. From the very beginning, ‘modern” society has misunderstood the Native American adoration of peyote. Fear and lack of knowledge has led to denouncing the spiritual journey as diabolic and satanic.

Serious study of its use, however, began 1890 when James Mooney, an anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution, researched Peyote meetings among the Kiowa in Oklahoma. He extended his studies of Peyote rituals to other American reservations as well as its use by the Tarahumara in Mexico. In 1918, Mooney testified in favor of Native American at Congressional hearings in an effort to obtain a legal charter to protect their religious freedom and the use of peyote within those rights. The Native American Church or NAC was officially incorporated in 1918. Currently supporting eighty chapters and members belonging to some seventy Native American Nations. 

In the present day, peyote is very effective is in the treatment of alcoholism. Acceptance into the NAC requires abstinence from alcohol and drugs. The community is also seemingly close knit offering the consistent support a recovering addict will need in recovery. The peyote itself is empowering in its own right. The ceremonies help  the addict mentally have power over the alcohol. During ceremonies, the road man will ask the creator to help the person by speaking to them through the peyote, as it acts as a messenger between the individual and the creator. By absorbing the healing power behind the ritual, and the experience, hope in a transformation and new ways of living becomes much more attainable and sustainable.

Whether you are receiving holy communion or looking for spiritual enlightenment through a ritual of faith, in the end, we are all looking for answers to the greater questions. Thus we are all the same. Methodology of enlightenment should not matter, as the intent of enlightenment is the growth of one’s own soul.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

New Girl!

Hi!  I'm the newbie on the blog.  Just thought I give you more info about me than what's on the author page.

As you can tell by my picture, our son plays baseball.  Hubs is the head coach so we are in the beginning of the season.  Undefeated at 3-0 but the season is young.  Our son is 8 yrs old going on 25 and thinks he knows everything.  LOL!  Being a 3rd grader sure makes them smarter now a days.  I know I wasn't that smart when I was a 3rd grader.  *snort*

One thing about baseball season, it means flip flops, shorts and allergies. As I write this, my head has been pounding for the last two days.  Stupid trees!  Yes, I have tree allergies and I live in East Texas.  Doomed, doomed I say. is serious stuff in the small town I live in.  Its almost like Friday Night Lights during the fall.  I have to remind my husband that the players are only 7 and 8.  Cut them some slack.  And remember, Jeter was this age once.  Not everyone is going to hit, catch the ball but at least they don't play in the dirt anymore.  I miss t-ball but not that much.

I'm not one of those moms that eats, sleeps and breathes baseball.  I don't go to practice, tell my husband how to manage the team and the parents.  I let him do it all but I'm here if he needs my help. Believe it or not, my husband is an introvert.  He needs this to come out of his shell.  I do keep the book on game days and I'm the official scorekeeper most games and this makes me happy.  I consider all the other times Brian and daddy time.  My husband works weird and sometimes long hours, so they need that time together without mom hanging around.  Plus, Brian is coming to that age where I'm embarrassing.  What's wrong with dancing in the aisles at the grocery store?  I can't help it if I like the song.  He he!

I'm pretty much an open book.  You can ask me anything and I'll be honest with you.  I have an author page on Facebook but its easier to just friend me.  I'm always around and love to talk.  Just ask Krista Ames.

On the writing front...I'm currently working on a YA (set in Texas/Oklahoma), a small town contemporary in Oklahoma and a romantic suspense with paranormal elements in Chicago.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Springtime In The Old West by @JacquieRogers

Springtime in the Wild West

Spring is here and we're tossing off our coats for sleeveless shirts.  It's a time for change, and all things look brighter.  So what were the folks doing in the Old West?  The farmers were planting, the ranchers were herding cattle to higher country, and these things:

April 1, 1877
In Arizona Territory, Edward Lawrence Schieffelin discovered a rich silver vein and named it Tombstone, which would eventually become the name of the lode, the hills, and the yet to be established town.

April 2, 1885
Spurred by hunger and mistreatment, the Cree, led by Wandering Spirit, killed nine M├ętis and white settlers at Frog Lake, Saskatchewan, in what is known as the Frog Lake Massacre.

April 3, 1860
The first Pony Express rider left St. Joseph, Missouri, headed to California.

April 4, 1858
Gold fever is discovered in the area between Hope and Lillooet on the banks of the Fraser River near current day Langley, British Columbia, marking the beginning of the Fraser River Gold Rush, which would attract 30,000 souls and change the culture of the area forever.

April 6, 1880
Charles Russell, takes a job as a cowhand at a ranch near Utica in Montana Territory.  Read a fictional account of this famous artist's cowboying days in Jackson Lowry's West of the Big River: The Artist.

April 7, 1898
Heck Thomas and Bill Tilghman shot and killed Richard "Little Dick" West while resisting arrest on this date at the Arnett Ranch in Oklahoma Territory.

April 9, 1867
The US Congress ratified the Alaska Purchase from Russia (called Russian America). It passed by one vote, and naysayers dubbed it "Seward's Folly" after its chief proponent, US Secretary of State William H. Seweard.

April 10, 1875
The North-West Mounted Police began construction on Fort Brisebois to protect the fur trade and defend against US whiskey traders.  It was later renamed Fort Calgary, and the city of Calgary, Saskatchewan, sprouted from it.

April 11, 1895
Anaheim, California became the latest city to receive electrical service.

April 13, 1860
Remember that rider who left St. Joseph, Missouri, on April 3rd?  The mail arrived in Sacramento, California--Tom Hamilton carried the packet.  The various riders traveled 1,966 miles in 10 days.

April 15, 1862
The Civil War made its way West to New Mexico Territory at the Battle of Peralta.  One Union soldier and four Confederate soldiers were killed.  A dust  storm ended the battle.

April 16, 1882
Cockeyed Frank Loving was killed in a shootout with John Allen in front of Hammond's Hardware Store in Trinidad, Colorado.  Allen was arrested but acquitted and became a street preacher.

April 18, 1878
In New Mexico Territory, a Lincoln County grand jury indicts William Bonney (Billy the Kid, born Henry McCarty) and others for the deaths of Sheriff Brady and George Hindman.

April 19, 1875
Helena becomes the new capital of Montana Territory, taking the honor from Virginia City.

April 21, 1836
An army of Texans led by General Sam Houston defeated General Santa Anna's troops at the Battle of San Jacinto, and won Texas's independence from Mexico.

April 22, 1889
10,000 people raced to claim 160-acre parcels in the first Oklahoma Land Run.  Boomers followed the rules.  Those that didn't were called Sooners.

April 26, 1860
Abe Lee discovered a rich lode of gold in the California Gulch, which led to the creation of a boom town named Leadville.

April 27, 1865
The four boilers on the steamship Sultana exploded, killing over 1,500 people (many of whom were Union soldiers who'd been prisoners of war) and wounding many more.  The worst steamship disaster before or since had little coverage because the newsmen were preoccupied by another major news story--the assassination of President Lincoln.

April 28, 1880
Chiricahua Apache chief Victorio led a raid on Cooney, New Mexico Territory.

April 29, 1878- Texas- Sam Bass and his gang are found hiding at the home of Jim Murphy near Cove Hollow and a four-day running gunfight ensures.

Contact Jacquie: