Friday, October 9, 2015

Photo Fridays: Behind the Scenes Part 1

I turned the Blogger Page of unorganized photos into a number of posts. I also went deep into Blogger and found the old "Photo Gallery" posts that lay buried, some since 2010 or earlier. There may be pictures in these posts that you forgot about or have never seen. Scroll through the posts below and enjoy the new look of Photo Fridays. Now that it is organized, I should be able to keep up with it much better. Here is an old, old post to begin with.

Here are some pictures we took of "cover kids." Enjoy!

This was one of the first pictures we took.

Same day, a "far away" look. Mrs. M broke the fence trying to take a picture. Everybody laughed.

This is another Hannah.

Too bad the sun was so bright. This is a nice picture.

Another picture. We had to cut off those tennis shoes. Note the corn field. 

This one almost ending up as the cover for Family Secret

One of my favorites.  I wish this was the Long Ride  Home cover.

Rosa ("Joy"), Taffy, and I taking a break. It was a cold October day.

Rosa and I posing just for fun.

Another favorite picture. Maybe a future book cover?

I don't like this pic at all, even though it is good of Taffy. I don't like my hair like that.

It was October and nobody was enjoying the cold, brisk weather. Rosa (Joy) was freezing in that outfit.

Levi (Jarrett), Andi (Jessica), Hannah (Esther), and Betsy (Michaela Joy). This Levi did not end up on the cover.

A bit too much, I think. Star's ears are not quite right.

Mrs. M was the warmest of them all in her sweatshirt!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Circle C Adventures Fan Fiction

Just for you! A new blog. There are so many fan stories floating around on Andi's blog that they are almost impossible to find and read. That is the nature of Blogger posts. So, I created a new blog using pages only, and I found most of the stories (it was tough), put them together, created separate links for each story, and put them into categories like "Carter Brothers," "Other Kinfolk," "New Friends," etc. so you can find the stories easier.

Click on the "Fan Fiction" tab above or on this link right here: FAN FICTION to go to the new site. Have fun! From now on, if you send in stories, I will post them there, but I will announce a new story here on Andi's blog and provide a direct link.

BONUS: I found a couple of stories from last year's CCAdventures writing contest to post so you will have something new to read. Here are the links:

Andi's New Life . . . by Megan S.
What Tomorrow Holds . . . by Kristina V.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Photo Fridays

Each Friday I will try to add a photo or two to the Foto Fridays tab (formerly known as Photo Gallery). I can't promise to be perfect, but I'll try to find some fun ones. Go ahead and click the tab and see this Friday's photos!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Tenth Anniversary Winners!

The contest for the expanded edition for Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home close yesterday, September 30. There were 255 entries. Giveaway Tools chose the three (3) winners:

1. Audrey [I need your last name to mail your book and journal]. audrey and wiggles [at] gmail
    Audrey's favorite character: Mitch
    What Audrey would like to see in future books: More about Mitch. Oh, and I would like to see Andi get married.

2. Charity Martinez: camartinez [at] yahoo
    Charity's favorite character: I can't decide. I love them all!
    Charity only entered once so there is no answer for future books.

3. Hannah [I need your last name]: cinniepooh [at] hotmail.
    Hannah's favorite character: Andi
   What Hannah would like to see in future books: Andi to be lost and caught in a forest fire and escape.

To see what this contest was all about, go HERE.


Friday, September 25, 2015

Camels in the Old West

Yes, this is true. It really is! I thought Bryce was pulling my leg when he told this story. But Cook confirmed it. Camels really, really, really were shipped to the West in the 1800s!

Camels of the Old West

Bryce was not telling a tall tale about his story of camels packing supplies to Fort Tejon in 1858. It was true. No American ever took a camel seriously. They found it to be an ugly, bumpy creature with a face that shouted “stupid!” and eyes that popped out of its head. The camel was good only as a curiosity in a sideshow or a zoo. But all of that changed in 1848.

The United States had just won the Mexican War and taken over thousands of square miles in the Southwest (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California). How would eager settlers move supplies across this untracked desert wilderness? Congress thought the camel would be perfect. After all, didn’t camels do the majority of packing in North Africa? “Let’s ship some camels to America and see how they work,” the men decided. In 1855, Congress set aside money to do just that. They purchased thirty-three camels from Egypt and unloaded them at the port in Galveston, Texas.

The U.S. Army Camel Corp 1850s
The army officers who worked with the camels made some amazing discoveries about this unusual animal. It could travel as fast as a horse but could carry much more weight than either a horse or a mule—about 1,000 pounds! The camel felt right at home in the American desert, even eating the bitter-tasting bushes that dotted the land. Better yet, when the camels were tried out in the Colorado and California high country, it was discovered they took to the cold and high altitude just fine, and they were surefooted over steep slopes. They could even successfully swim the mountain streams. This seemed too good to be true!

By 1859, the government officials were “sold” on the camel. They wanted to bring 1,000 more to the Southwest. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the American Civil War of 1861-65 interrupted their ambitious plans. The camel might have overcome deserts, mountains, rivers, and heavy burdens, but it could not shake the worst obstacle of all: the animal itself.
Americans were used to their beautiful horses, not this ungainly, goose-necked beast with bumpy knees, a split upper lip, and a loose, sagging jaw. One settler insisted that the first time his horse saw a camel, the horse became so frightened “it climbed a tree” to get away.

Worse than its homely appearance, the camel’s temperament exasperated the settlers. If a camel felt mistreated, it would spit a foul stream of saliva—and it was accurate up to ten feet away. Other times the camel sneezed a “mass of filth.” When really angry, the beast kicked or bit the nearest person, horse, mule, or cow within range. The camel stank both in body and breath and could emit a long, piercing cry that rattled the ear drums from afar.

When the Civil War ended in 1865, American settlers were much more interested in using the new transcontinental railroad to transport their goods rather than either the horse or the camel. Some of the camels from this experiment were given to zoos; others were set loose in the desert, where they were hunted by Indians or simply died off. The camel never found a permanent home in America.


Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

Here's some writing for you. Create a front-page news story about the arrival of camels at Fort Tejon. Create a headline and then give the reader the exciting news about this experiment. Be as creative and interesting as you can. Make up examples from the soldiers’ “eye-witness” accounts.

Use the five “W’s” and “H” for article writing: who, what, where, when, why, and how.

You can print out the newspaper and do it on your own. Or you can share your newspaper article in the comments below for everybody to enjoy. 


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Kaweah Oak Preserve

When we took the cattle through the swampy area (Heartbreak Trail) where three or four creeks and rivers flowed, I thought I would be eaten alive by mosquitoes. Did you know that most of the Central Valley of California in the 1700s and 1800s was a lush, swampy area, rich in plants and wildlife. The Indians lived in peace as there was never any reason to fight for food. Now, in the 21st century, the Central Valley is fighting for its life and dying under the worst drought ever recorded. The Indians and early settlers would never recognize it as the same place.

The Kaweah Oaks Preserve

the stream ("pond") where Mitch told me to go cool off one morning

The Kaweah Oaks Preserve is the remains of the last riparian forest (woodlands along rivers) in California. It has been preserved so visitors can imagine what the now-dry valley looked like 200 years ago, before the settlers came.  Today, the oak forest covers only 322 acres, but in Andi’s day valley oak, sycamore, cottonwood, willows, blackberries, and wild grape covered hundreds of square miles, from the base of the Sierra Nevada range to the banks of Tulare Lake. 

a Yokut dwelling
Early settlers called this land “The Swamp” because of frequent flooding and the high water table. The original people, the Yokut Indians, never made their homes in these wetlands but instead hunted, fished, and foraged for the wildlife and plant life they found here. The valley oaks in this area were also a source of the Yokuts’ most important food—acorns.
Abundant wildlife once thrived in these woodlands: birds—herons, hawks, owls, ducks, song birds, woodpeckers, crows, vultures, and quails; mammals—gray fox, bobcat, coyotes, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons,  opossums, and skunks; as well as insects, amphibians, and reptiles

By the mid-19th century, settlers were using this land mostly for cattle grazing, hunting, and wood-cutting. One family wanted to plant walnut trees in the area of the current preserve. Eventually, a dam was built in 1962, which put an end to the flooding, but the water table was too high to grow walnut trees successfully. Finally, the land was sold to a conservation group and has been kept just the way it was in the past.

If you have ever driven through the San Joaquin Valley around Visalia, you may find it hard to believe that this area was once teeming with water and wildlife. With a nickname like “The Swamp,” it is easy to see why I was plagued by countless mosquitoes when she traveled through this wet, woodlands region.


 If you would like a fun maze, help Andi get out of the Kaweah swamps in one piece. Download and print out the picture by clicking on it. Have fun!

a valley oak leaf

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Real Taffy

Ellie, Kevan, and their new Taffy
My granddaughter's horse, Suzy Q, was more Arabian than my family wanted to mess with. She started showing her "stuff" (and not in a good way!), and she was too green for a first-time horse owner.

A trainer loved the horse, however, and offered to trade a quarter horse (six years old) for the 13hh Arabian. They snatched up the deal and got a bargain in the process.

This is a 14hh palomino quarter horse (even has papers), and guess what Ellie named her? Yep. TAFFY! Hurrah! She's dirty and likes to roll in the dust, but they're going to clean her up and now I have a palomino to take pictures of. My day just got really good!

This Taffy has 4 pretty white socks and white blaze on her nose . . . just like the real Taffy! 
Next spring she will hopefully get a little more golden. My DD plans to supplement her feed with something that will help her coloring. Go figure. Summer sun bleaches a palomino out.


Monday, September 14, 2015

New Pictures for the Photo Gallery

Lexi asked if I would add some new pictures to the Photo Gallery. I looked and . . . oops . . . it's been quite a while since any were added. So, I added 18 pictures to make up for my forgetfulness.

Check out the NEW PICTURES. Or simply click the "Photo Gallery" tab to see them. Some are from other posts that get "lost" on the blog. I'll try to remember to keep this page up to date.

Feel free to comment on the PHOTO GALLERY page for ideas of what you'd like to see in the way of photos. I'll try my best. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Travis's Secret Part 2 . . . by Kaitlyn and Lydia

And now . . . the exciting conclusion to Travis's Secret!

Chapter 3
           Andi climbed down the ladder and ran outside. Seeing Mitch, she called him over. “What do you know about Mr. Green?”
            Mitch thought for a moment. “Well, I know that Justin defended him in a case in San Francisco. It seems that Mr. Green is an orphanage keeper, and someone filed a law suit against him for abusing his boys. Of course, with Justin defending Green, the prosecutor didn’t stand a chance, and the charges were dropped. That’s all I know. Now, come on, it’s time to eat.”
            As they walked to the house, Andi suddenly remembered that she had left Travis in the loft. She ran back to the barn climbed back up the ladder, and stopped short.
Travis was gone!
            Andi quickly climbed back down to the ground and ran outside. "Travis?" she called, glancing around. He was nowhere to be seen! Then Andi noticed that Travis's pony, who had been tied up in front of the house, was gone. 
            Andi raced to the stable and took out Taffy. She tacked her up as fast she could and then mounted. Following the horse tracks down the dusty road, Andi finally had time to think. 
            "Oh, no! My family doesn't know where I am or where I went." She glanced behind her shoulder. The ranch was out of sight, but she had already come too far to turn back. She turned her head back to the road and kept following the tracks, until suddenly she heard hoof beats pounding behind her. 
            Mr. Green was following her! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Travis's Secret Part 1 . . . by Kaitlyn and Lydia

Childhood sweethearts now married and in the Air Force
I'll be in Texas all week, so you can imagine my joy when Kaitlyn sent this co-authored, two-part fan story for Tuesday and Thursday. In case you're interested, Mr. M and I are flying down to Laughlin AFB for Melinda Jane Marlow's graduation from pilot training. Andrew will join us in Denver on the way down, so we can visit with him (he's been stationed in Colorado while she's been in pilot training for 18 months). She graduated top of her class and will fly heavy cargo planes. They will both be stationed at the AFB in Germany (together at last!).
To read about how they played as children, lost contact for 10 years, and then ended up married, go HERE.

Travis’s Secret
Chapter 1
            Andi Carter sighed and looked up at the sky. "It's really hot out today. I hope the creek hasn't dried up," she said to her horse, Taffy. "I was looking forward to just cooling off and relaxing." 
            Andi was riding to her "special spot" up near the creek. It had been her getaway for as long as she could remember, and she loved just hanging out there when she wanted to be alone and think.            
            They reached the spot, and Andi dismounted. She led Taffy over to a nearby tree and tied her up, and then looked out over the creek. Andi sighed. It's so nice here, she thought. 
            Andi kicked off her shoes and socks, and then glanced around to make sure nobody was watching. She picked up her skirts and waded into the water. "Wow, that feels good," she said to nobody in particular. 
            Suddenly, Andi heard a voice behind her. "What do you think you're doing?"
            Andi spun around to see a boy with long, disheveled black hair and hazel eyes, and in her surprise she dropped her skirts. “Oh, look what you made me do!” 
            The boy smirked. “Well pardon me, Miss,” he said in a mocking tone, “But what business do you have out here, all alone?”

Monday, September 7, 2015

Daring Women of the West Part 2

These daring women of the Old West did some amazing things with their lives. I especially like reading about little Lucille, a girl after my own heart.
Go to Part 1 for more.

Lucille Mulhall: Lucille was America’s first true cowgirl (The term “cowgirl” was invented because of her.) At eight years old, she was already a skilled roper. By age ten Lucille could lasso a running jackrabbit and rope a full-grown steer. Her father said she could keep any calf she could rope and brand, and she soon had a small herd that she marked with her belt buckle. 

Lucille was never interested in dolls or tea parties (Ha! Just like me!), much preferring to train her ponies, lasso, and trick ride. When her mother sent Lucille to finishing school a few years later, she returned before the year was up. She was born to be a “cowboy” and did not belong to that other world of fancy doings and fine accomplishments. 

Lucille wore a split skirt and refused to ride sidesaddle. By the time she was sixteen, she could rope five horses all at once. In 1900 while still a teen, Lucille only weighed only ninety pounds, but she could break a bronc, lasso a wolf, and shoot a coyote at 500 yards. She performed at Wild West shows, where the crowds adored her antics. Lucille once put on a roping exhibition for the future president of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt. He said if she could rope a wolf, she could go to the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C. Lucille brought Mr. Roosevelt his dead wolf at the end of a rope, and she went to the parade. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Updated Prize List for the 2016 Story-writing Contest

Before I send out my CCAdventures newsletter to over 3,000 subscribers to officially launch the story-writing contest, I had to make sure the Prize List was exactly right. Hearing how much some of you wanted to win a T-shirt in the recent 100 words or less Circle C Milestones writing contest, I updated and changed around the prizes to include T-shirts for first and second place.

Honestly, I was glad to do it, as this contest has ended up in the past costing me quite a bit of money  (I don't mind because it's so much fun, and I write it off on my income tax). I have sold a good number of the 2013 and 2014-15 contest books on Amazon this year, which has really helped. And . . . the more contest books I sell on Amazon, the bigger and better the prizes I can start adding each year. For now, however, sales are only covering the costs of printing the books, shipping the prizes, and adding a couple new prizes (the T-shirts, journals and Long Ride Home book) this year.

I decided that offering cash prizes for this contest is a bit of an overkill and put me in the hole both years. And a third of the winners didn't even cash their checks for weeks. So, I am limiting the cash prize to First Place this year. Next year, I might do away with it and substitute another prize instead.

I hope you find this new Prize List exciting!

First-place winners receive:
     1. $10.00 cash (U.S. winners only, unless PayPal is available outside the U.S.)
     2. a copy of the paperback book, Along the Western Trail, containing the 12 winning stories.
     3. a copy of the Tenth Anniversary Expanded Edition of Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home.
     4. a horse T-shirt: choice of three styles and a variety of colors
     5. a Circle C Milestones (or Circle C Adventures) journal--winner's choice
     6. a Circle C Adventures pen

Second-place winners receive:
     1. a copy of the paperback book, Along the Western Trail, containing the 12 winning stories.
     2. a copy of the Tenth Anniversary Expanded Edition of Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home.
     3. a horse T-shirt: choice of three styles and a variety of colors 
     4. a Circle C Adventures pen 

Third-place winners receive:
     1. a copy of the print book, Along the Western Trail, containing the 12 winning stories.
     2. a copy of the Tenth Anniversary Expanded Edition of Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home.
     3. a Circle C Adventures pen 

Honorable Mentions receive:
     1. a copy of the paperback book, Along the Western Trail, containing the 12 winning stories.
     2. a Circle C Adventures pen


New Blog for CCAdventures Giveaways and Contests

Take a look! I created a new blog specifically to organize and put on giveaways and contests for the Circle C Adventures. I have linked the 2016 writing contest over to that page. Watch for a September Giveaway in honor of the Tenth Anniversary of the release of Long Ride Home coming soon!

Here is the new contest blog: