Goose Tale

In the dark of a summer night the deed is done.

A theft? Vandalism?

No to both. Actually, it’s an addition — a gift of sorts. The decorative goose is placed with care beside the gazebo.

The next morning, walkers, and some of their dogs, blink and look again. “I don’t remember that from yesterday.”

A week or two later, the goose moves. She doesn’t go far. I think she’s testing out spaces to find the perfect spot.

What’s the phrase? “Go with the flow?” When a naked, decorative goose appears — dress her for the season.

Animals are included among the characters in the historical, sweet romance New Dreams. Horses are vital to both the story and the era. A farmer has milk cows — and a dog. Young pigs put in an appearance on wash day. But no geese are mentioned. If you had the space — would you raise geese?


Guide for the Schoolmarm

My age is showing again. My mother attended a one room rural school for eight years. A few of my classmates attended the same for varying lengths of time.

From all accounts, the key to success was organization. The teacher had a lot of responsibility. In addition to teaching the children, she often had to arrive early and stay late to tend the stove. Few of the rural buildings had electricity or indoor plumbing until years after the small towns acquired these modern conveniences.

This schedule covers all the basics — plus music, art, and agriculture. Students were ready for high school, or quite often, farm work and housekeeping. After all, they could read newspapers, keep household books, and understand the world enough to be a good citizen.

In the fictional town of Elm Ridge, Illinois, the citizens supported education. However, the immigrants the reader meets in New Dreams, a sweet romance set in 1851, were out of the schoolroom. For more on this story of new beginnings click here:


Feeling Elderly

In preparation to write today’s blog, I reviewed some photos from September vacations. (That has been the general theme for this month.)

I had to pause on this one taken in a Wisconsin museum:

Hours and hours of my life, prior to college graduation, were spent filling, using, and draining a twin of this laundry aid. For those of you who grew up NOT using a wringer washing machine, this is a fine pair of rinse tubs. You arranged your equipment for the wringer to squeeze out the soapy water back into the washer and the clothes into the first tub. Then you rinsed, and rinsed, by hand, before you positioned the wringer to return the water to the first tub and the clothes into the second. Repeat your rinsing and then use the wringer between second tub and basket.

Presto! You’re ready to take the basket of clothes out to hang on the line.

Several hours later, you brought the dry clothes inside. (Quicker if a sudden shower arrived on the scene.) They were now ready to be ironed. A few could be folded directly from the line after ‘wash & wear’ fabrics were available. But in our household — we ironed almost everything.

The above description is a great improvement over doing the laundry in 1851. A scene in New Dreams, a sweet romance set in a fictional Illinois village, describes portions of the process. Find information about the book here:


Military Outpost

Imagine for a moment you live in 1835. It’s graduation from West Point, and you are nervous as you open the envelope with your first assignment.

Fort Howard, Territory of Wisconsin.

Do you need to consult a map? Or are you familiar with your geography enough to know you’ll be at the junction of the Fox River and Green Bay?

You’ll find a thriving fort, a small town, and much forest. Will the Native Americans remain friendly? Will one of the many fevers put you in the hospital? Can keep your shooting skills sharp leading hunting parties? Or will your work be mundane — watching supplies, grooming horses, or supervising the guards?

No matter what the Army has in store for you — you can be certain that the winters will be long and the summer mosquitos plentiful.

Sounds like a good place to have a supply of books. Your choices would have been more limited than today. Religion, army manuals, naturalist’s journals, and a few novels.

I’m glad I live now and can read a sweet romance set in 1851 and consider it historical. New Dreams will be just right. But I wouldn’t mind reading while sitting on one of the many porches facing the parade ground.


Drive Careful!

Are you taking a road trip this September? I find this month an excellent time to travel — often the weather is fine and the tourist venues are less crowded than in summer. In the northern portions of the United States, the trees are might preview their fall colors.

Keeping watch at the weigh station

One day on the bus, this was our “welcome to New Hampshire.” The driver was careful, obeyed the rules, and left the police to watch, and correct, other drivers.

Never underestimate the value of a rest area when traveling on the highway. Most these days offer restrooms, water, picnic tables, and vending machines. They are excellent places to stretch your legs. Walk the dog when traveling with pets. Read a little local history on a placard or watch the kids enjoy a little playground time.

Travelers in 1851 would marvel at the facilities today. No matter the reputation of the steamboat, conditions were not like any modern mode of travel.

Check out a sweet romance set in a Mississippi River town in that era with New Dreams.


Keeping Employees Honest

From soon after the first cash transaction, employers have been keeping an eye on employees to make sure they stay honest.

Along the way — they’ve gotten some help from technology.

Carillon Historical Park – Dayton

Nope. Not a camera and recording system from the 21st century. This fine device has it’s roots firmly in the 19th century. With invention and patent issued in 1879 the idea of a cash register (they were expensive), did not gain popularity until several years after the Patterson brothers purchased the original company in 1884. They gave it a new name — perhaps you’ve heard of National Cash Register.

Accurate records tend to keep sticky fingers out of the till.

New Dreams, a sweet romance set prior to the cash register’s invention, includes characters with varying degrees of stickiness and their fingers — and varying attitudes toward thievery.


The Sixth?

The Upper Midwest. The Great Lakes Region.

The area of the United States where I grew up goes by more than one name. And yes, the regional geography is dominated by five, large, freshwater lakes.

Burlington – Lake Champlain from shore

This is not a photo of any of the five Great Lakes. Rather it is Lake Champlain, sometimes referred to as the Sixth Great Lake.

Large enough to form a good share of the border between New York and Vermont, this is a contender. Actually, I prefer to think of it as separate and standing on its own for beauty and history. Besides, it’s rumored to have a monster — none of the five make the claim.

No sea monsters on the immigrant’s voyage. But they certainly saw their share of both salt and fresh water before they reached the interior of the United States. For a sweet romance featuring this journey, check out New Dreams.

Sailing ship. Riverboat. Smaller riverboat. The journey from the German States to fictional Elm Ridge, Illinois, demanded courage — and time.


Swedish Contribution

In my elementary school social studies book, I believe the Swedes rated two sentences. Somthing to the effect that they established a settlement in Delaware and contributed the log cabin to the American colonies.

Arriving in 1638, the Swedish established first a fort, and then a settlement – Fort Christina and Christinaham near the mouth of the Brandywine River.

Fort Christina

This 1930’s interpretation of the 17th century structure leaves much to be desired. We should have gotten the hint when we asked a group of relaxing firefighters for directions and their first response was an eye roll. But we found out way — through a rough, industrial section of the modern city to a small park. Hmm. Let’s give them a couple of points for effort.

Log cabins, frame buildings, and a few structures of brick and stone comprise fictional Elm Ridge, Illinois in 1851. Readers of sweet romance should enjoy this story of immigrants searching and working toward New Dreams.

Link for more book information:


Rock your cares away.

From birth, or perhaps before, a person is comforted by rocking. Think of the stories this chair could tell.

Comfort the fussy infant. Cuddle the injured child.

Did the man of the house sit here and read the Bible, or folk tales, aloud to the family?

Did the woman of the house knit or crochet by candlelight?

Located in the re-creation of a 1830’s frontier home, I’m not sure when this rocker and matching footstool was crafted. Can you imagine a guest, perhaps elderly, resting their weary feet as they pass on the news of the day?

Homes in 1851, the time of New Dreams, likely contained similar furniture. Why not sit in your own chair, get your feet comfy and off the floor, and settle in with a sweet romance? The immigrants would like to tell you a story.


Long Name–Short Bridge

Sandy Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site.

Quick — say it three times without drawing a breath.

Located a short drive south of St. Louis, this one quarter of the remaining covered bridges in Missouri is only 76 feet long. Length, however, does not diminish importance. the bridge was an important link between Hillsboro and St. Louis.

Built in 1872 and restored in 1984, the final year it carried traffic, Sandy Creek Covered Bridge and the surrounding acerage makes an ideal spot for picnics and short hikes.

The sweet romance, Morning Tryst, follows Serena Carter as she photographs State Parks and Historic Sites in all portions of Missouri. Check the details here: