Tuesday, September 27, 2022



Post by Doris McCraw aka Angela Raines

Pikes Peak
Photo Property of the Author

Most have heard of Pikes Peak, but do you know the other names that this mountain has had? Read On.

1. Tava - this is the name that the Ute called the mountain. The word means "Sun Mountain"

2. Montana del Sol - this is the name the first Spanish explorers used for the mountain. Translated it is "Mountain of the Sun"

3. El Capitan - this is the name the Spanish explorers used later. The definition is "the Captain" or "the Leader". This may have come into use as the peak is the easternmost of the 14ers on the Front Range of Colorado.

4. Heey-otoyoo- this is the name the Arapahoes gave the mountain. Translated it means "the Long Mountain"

5. Grand Peak - this is one of the names Zebulon Pike called the mountain in his journals.

6. Highest Peak - this is another name that Zebulon Pike for the mountain in his journals.

7. James Peak - This was in honor of Edwin James the botanist with the Long Expedition who actually climbed to the top in 1820.

8. Pike's Highest Peak - a number of the early explorers, trappers and settlers called the mountain by this name.

9. Long Mountain - The use of this name may have been for Stephen Long, the leader of the expedition of which Edwin James was a member.

10. Pikes Peak - the name we all know the mountain by today. Named for Zebulon Pike, who tried, but never climbed the mountain that bears his name. 

The mountain has also had many elevations over the years.

14,109', 14, 147', 14, 500', 14, 110', and finally 14, 115' which is the official altitude today. (And no, it is not the tallest peak in Colorado. The tallest is Mt. Elbert, near Leadville, at 14,433')

For fun, here is a link to the cameras at the top of the mountain: Cameras at the top of Pikes Peak

For a full article on the Peak: History Colorado article

For those who are wondering, I've found bits and pieces about Dr. Hewitt, soon his story will hopefully be told. In the meantime, it's back to writing and research.

I've just published a book about the early women doctors who are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, in Colorado Springs, CO. the town that sits on the base of Pikes Peak.

Amazon or Books2Read

Until next time, Happy Reading. Doris McCraw

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


With all the busy-ness of our lives and the search for something different for meal time, ground beef is often a “go-to” food because it can be used for so many things. But do you ever wonder how long we’ve been eating GROUND beef? I was watching Rawhide the other day as they were serving up yet another helping of Wishbone’s stew, and it made me wonder exactly when ground beef came into existence.

No one knows for sure, because it’s a “bone of contention”—but some say it was invented in Europe in 1885. One thing for sure, though, it’s generally accepted that our version of the hamburger patty/hamburger was not popular here in the USA until it was served up at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904!

I’m sure Gil Favor, Rowdy Yates, Mushy, Quince, and Scarlet, as well as the rest of the crew, were heartily sick of stew! Yet, what could they do? The hamburger had not been invented, nor had ground beef.

If only they had known…Wishbone could have whipped up this tasty variation of stew right quick for the crew and it would sure have helped their dispositions in a lot of cases!

I found this recipe in my memories on Facebook, and had never made it. So…. Since I’d put off going to the grocery store “one more day” I thought I’d give it a try—I just happened to have the ingredients in my cupboard, so I felt like that was a ‘sign’ since I was out of so many other things. I even had cornbread mix!

Here’s the original recipe and my modified notes. The great thing about this recipe is that it is VERSATILE and you can change it to just the way your family likes it.

Hubby and I do not like celery, so I never cook with it. Instead, I just added more carrots and a can of whole kernel corn.

See? It’s just whatever you like or have handy! And believe me, it is DELICIOUS! (And easy!)

Note: Serve with buttered cornbread, biscuits, or crackers.

2 pounds ground beef
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) stewed tomatoes
(Here, I put in only 2 cans of stewed tomatoes, 1 can of tomato sauce, and one can of beef broth.)
8 medium carrots, thinly sliced
4 celery ribs, thinly sliced
(I left this out entirely.)
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 cups water
1/2 cup uncooked long grain rice
(I used ¾ cup Minute Rice)
1 can of whole kernel corn, drained—my addition to the recipe
1 to 2 tablespoons salt (this will depend on how much tomato ‘stuff’ you use, and beef broth)
1 to 2 teaspoons pepper
(I used parsley, a little garlic salt, LOTS of pepper—I love it!—and even a tiny bit of that ‘Hot Shot’ pepper from McCormick)

Cook beef and onions over medium heat; drain. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce (if used), beef broth (if used), carrots, celery, potatoes, water, rice, drained corn (if used) salt and pepper and other spices; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes until vegetables and rice are tender. STIR FROM TIME TO TIME TO PREVENT STICKING. Uncover; simmer 20-30 minutes longer or until thickened!

The original version of this recipe came from an old Facebook group that has changed, so I don’t know who to properly credit, but they sure did a great job!

You can make this whatever consistency your family likes, and if it thickens overnight, just add a little water before reheating the next day.

It is wonderful, and makes quite a lot! Perfect for these fall and winter days that are coming soon!

I hope you enjoy!

Have any of you ever made HAMBURGER STEW? Do you have a different recipe? This one is really good, but I always love to see what variations people use in their own recipes!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

The 13th Annual Peacemaker Awards Now Open for Submissions


Submissions for the 13th Annual WF Peacemaker Awards are now being accepted for works originally published in the year 2022. 


First publication (print or ebook) must be between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, no reprints or revisions.  Limit of 2 entries per category.

Books and short stories may be published in any country in the world (submissions must be in English) in print or electronic format. Electronic submissions must be made with epub, PDF, or Word/text files. WF reserves the right to decline any submission for consideration of an Award.

Authors, agents, or publishers may submit a work for consideration of an Award.

At least three entrants in a category must be received during the submission period for an Award to be presented.

Novels and short stories must be set in the time period between 1830-1920 to be considered Westerns under WF guidelines. Time periods beyond the 1830-1920 traditional western focus may be included in submissions as long as the periods outside of the 1830-1920 span constitute no more than 50% of the story. At least 50% of the story MUST TAKE PLACE in the 1830-1920 period. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Nominees for the WF Peacemaker Award will be announced on 05/15/2023 and the winners will be announced on 06/15/2023.

The WF Peacemaker Award will be awarded in three categories:

Best Western Novel – Any novel published during the award year set in the appropriate time period (1830-1920), 30,000 words and higher. There are no format requirements. The novel may be a hardcover, trade paperback, mass market paperback, or eBook.

Best Western Short Fiction – Any short story, novelette, or novella published during the award year set in the appropriate time period (1830-1920), 500 words to 29,999 words. There are no format requirements. The short story may be published in any publication, print or electronic.

Best Western First Novel – Must meet the same requirements as Best Novel, and must be the author’s first published Western novel. If the author has published novels in any other genre they will not disqualify the author from the Best Western First Novel Award competition. Submissions for Best Western First Novel may also be submitted in the Best Novel category in the same year. 


If sending paperbacks or hardbacks, one copy of the work must be sent to each judge (3 per category), and the Awards Chair for a total of four, accompanied with the appropriate form. 

Electronic versions should be emailed to the Awards Chair, James Reasoner with the appropriate submission form. The electronic submissions will be distributed to the judges by the Awards Chair. Judges should not be contacted by any entrant concerning their entry during the consideration period. Doing so may result in disqualification of eligibility for the WF Peacemaker Award. Works submitted will not be returned after the awards have been announced. There is no fee to enter. There will be no exceptions made to the submission procedures, for any reason. 

All entries must be postmarked or received via email by midnight, CST, January 16, 2023. 

The appropriate submission forms and a list of the judges can be found on the Western Fictioneers website. 


Thursday, September 8, 2022

On This Day in the Old West: September 9

 1839 was a big year for photographers. Louis Daguerre invented the Daguerreotype that year. But on September 9, Sir John Herschel created plate glass photography, and this is what we are interested in.

Cameras have actually been around for a long time. The Chinese were playing around with pinhole cameras, boxes with a small hole for light to enter, in the 5th Century BC, for example, and they were aware that certain chemicals changed when exposed to light. They had all the right ingredients, but there is so far no proof that anyone put the two together back then. After the Chinese, the ancient Greeks toyed with the technology, followed by the Arabs, then the Europeans. But it wasn’t until the early 1800s that photography as we know it, was born.


Sir John Herschel, who is actually the one who introduced the word “photography” into the English language, created a photographic negative on a glass plate, using a light-sensitive emulsion of silver salts. A “negative” refers to the image created when light is focused through the camera lens and lands on light sensitive materials. The created image is the opposite, in terms of light and dark, than what is seen by the eye.


For the photographic process, ordinary glass plates were “wet-coated” at the time of use, with many “recipes” used by various photographers. The photographer had to hurry and develop these plates while still wet, in a darkroom of some sort, either in the studio or in the field. By the late 19th Century, pre-coated gelatin dry plates were largely in use. These were the first photographic negative materials that were manufactured and mass produced. Dry plate emulsions didn’t have the same time limitations as wet plates, which allowed for greater mobility and convenience. Photographers could store their exposed plates in the box until they could be developed. Of course, they are fragile (and surprisingly heavy), so carrying them around can be tricky.


Once satisfied that the subject was sufficiently lit and positioned in a visually pleasing way, a photographer would select a dry glass plate and take the following steps. (The dry plate or gelatin silver glass plate negative was made using a sheet of glass coated with silver-based light-sensitive materials suspended in a gelatin solution bonded to the glass using heat)

1.     Place a dry plate contained in a plate holder into a slot in the camera.

2.     Slide the cover from the plate holder to uncover the dry plate.

3.     Uncover and then recover the lens. (By 1880, photographic plates were so sensitive that an exposure of less than a second was often enough to achieve the desired result).

4.     Slide the cover on the plate holder back over the dry plate.

5.     Remove the plate holder containing the exposed plate, now ready for processing in a darkroom.


Once the negatives were developed, you could use a variety of printing processes, depending on the type of result desired. Printing Out Paper was a fairly thin paper treated with photosensitive silver chloride crystals in a gelatin glaze. This was used for printing photographs which were to be mounted on strong cards such as cabinet prints. These prints would then be toned and fixed. With this type of paper, the image was developed solely through the effect of light, without requiring further chemical development. You simply placed the paper under the negative in a special frame and exposed it to daylight or strong artificial light until the image developed. Toning was done using gold and platinum toners to convert the silver into more stable compounds, then the photograph would be washed and fixed using standard fixing solution.


The platinum print (also called a platinotype) was often used for landscape or architectural photographs. In this method, the metal deposited on the paper through a series of chemical reactions is not silver, but platinum. Paper treated with a mixture of iron salts and a platinum compound would be exposed to light and the image developed out using a solution of potassium oxylate. The platinum print had a great range of subtle tonal variations, usually silvery gray, and was valued for its permanence. Unfortunately, the price of platinum soared in the early 20th Century. By 1907, it was over 50 times more expensive than silver.


In the carbon printing process, the paper used is made with carbon pigment treated with light-sensitive chemicals suspended in a gelatin emulsion. This paper is exposed to light through the negative, which causes the gelatin to harden more in the darkened areas than in the lighter ones. The print is developed by washing it in warm water so that the softer gelatin comes away and the darker areas remain. It has a matte finish and can be produced in a variety of colors, ranging from sepia tones to cooler shades of blue or gray. Carbon prints are resistant to fading, so they were often used for commercial editions of photographs. The technique was difficult and time-consuming, but highly regarded among photographers.


Sir John Herschel also created the “Cyanotype” method of photography, which uses iron compounds to create a cyan-blue colored image.


Herschel was one of the great Victorian masters-of-all-trades. Not only was he a pioneer in the field of photography, he also excelled in botany, math, chemistry, and astronomy. His father was astronomer Sir, William Herschel, after whom the space observatory is named. And the son’s plate glass photography is ideal for photographing the skies. So ideal, in fact, that astronomers continued to use it well into the 1990s.


Your characters could easily have come in contact with a photographer who used the glass plate method—or they could have been a photographer themselves!


J.E.S. Hays



Sunday, September 4, 2022

Here’s the list of some NATIVE AMERICAN HERBAL REMEDIES (some surprisingly NOT from Americas)

                               by Jesse J Elliot aka Julie Hanks, Ph.D


       When I need specific material for an article or story, I always look to the books, lists, and sites of the professionals. Researching is exciting but time consuming. Also, if you’re unfamiliar with a topic such as specific guns or a more reliable horse, turn to someone who knows.   I’m no specialist when it comes to herbal remedies, but I use them often enough in my writing to compile a list to which I can refer regularly.

            One thing I always wondered about with these herbs, besides their use, was their origin. I was surprised to find many of the common herbs cited in novels and even Native American herbal remedies books are not native to the Americas. So while violence marked the meeting of the European settlers and original peoples of the Americas, the healers obviously met and exchanged herbs, medicines, and seeds.

         Here is a list of the most commonly used medicinal herbs.      

1.              Alfalfa – this amazing plant relieves digestion and is used to aid blood clotting. You can use this powerful herb to treat other health problems as well, such as: arthritis, bladder and kidney conditions and bone strength. You can also use it to boost your immune system. Alfalfa is NOT indigenous to North America.


2.              Aloe – you’ve probably heard about aloe. The aloe leaves contain high amounts of aloe gel that can be used to treat burns, insect bites and wounds. Aloe is NOT indigenous to North America.

3.     Arnica - Arnica is used topically for a wide range of conditions, including bruises, sprains, muscle aches, wound healing, superficial phlebitis, joint pain, inflammation from insect bites, and swelling from broken bones. Found in the Mountains of North America.


4.              Aspen – the inner bark or xylem is used in a tea to treat fever, coughs and pain. The bark contains salicin, which also is found in willow trees and is the foundation ingredient for aspirin.


5.              Bee pollen – you can mix it with food and use it as energy booster. Bee pollen also aids digestion and boosts the immune system. Note: you should be very careful, because if you’re allergic to bee stings you will most likely be allergic to bee pollen. Bees are NOT indigenous to North America.


6.              Beeswax – you can use it to soothe burns and insect bites, including bee stings. Note: it can only be used externally. Bees are NOT indigenous to North America.


7.              Blackberry – you can use the root, bark and leaves. You need to crush them and make a tea. You can use this powerful tea to treat diarrhea, reduce inflammation and stimulate the metabolism. As a gargle it treats sore throats, mouth ulcers and inflammation of the gums.


8.              Black Raspberry – you can use the roots of this plant. Just crush the roots and make a tea or you can just boil them and chew to relieve coughs, diarrhea and general intestinal distress.


9.              California Buckwheat & Buckwheat– buckwheat seeds are used in soups and as porridge. People use these seeds to lower the high blood pressure. These seeds are also very helpful and useful with blood clotting and relieve diarrhea. Though California buckwheat is indigenous to western US, buckwheat is not—it apparently originated in Finland!


10.          Cayenne – you should know that the pods are used as a pain reliever when taken with food or drunk in a tea. You can also use them to treat arthritis and digestive distress. Or, you can apply it to wounds as a powder to increase blood flow and act as an antiseptic and anesthetic to numb the pain. Though chilis were popular in the South and Central America, Cayenne is specifically from Cayenne, French Guiana.


11.          Chamomile – you can use both chamomile leaves and flowers and make a tea, and use this tea to treat intestinal problems and nausea. Though it grows freely throughout North America, it is native to western Europe, India, and western Asia.


12.           Chokecherry – the Native American tribes considered this herbal remedy as an all-purpose medicinal treatment, the berries were pitted, dried and crushed into a tea or a poultice to treat many different health problems, such as: coughs, colds, flu, nausea, inflammation and diarrhea. You can also use it to treat burns and wounds. Note: but, you should be very careful, because the pit of the chokecherry – much like apple seeds – are poisonous in high concentrations. So, make sure to pit the cherries if you’re considering this for any use.


13.          Echinacea – this herb is also known by the name purple coneflower, and it’s a classic Native American medicine that is used to strengthen the immune system, fight infections and fever. Echinacea has powerful antiseptic properties and it’s often used for many minor ailments, such as: for colds, coughs and flu. Native to North America, though the prevalent species indigenous to the prairies and plains is endangered.


14.          Eucalyptus – the eucalyptus oil from the leaves and roots is a common treatment when infused in a tea to treat coughs, sore-throat, flu and fever. The eucalyptus oil is a common ingredient in cough drops. Eucalyptus globulus, blue gum eucalyptus, is a tree that is not native to California. It is an invasive plant that was introduced from Australia and naturalized in the wild.


15.          Fennel – this amazing plant, which has a licorice flavor, is often used in a tea or chewed to relieve coughs, sore-throat, aid digestion, offer relief to diarrhea and was a general treatment for colds. You can also use fennel as a poultice for eye relief and headaches. Fennel is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region where it has been cultivated for centuries for culinary and medicinal properties. In California, it presumably escaped cultivation in the mid-1800s. Fennel grows wild in the slough near my house.


16.       Feverfew – people still use this herbal remedy as a natural relief for fever and headaches – including severe headaches like migraines. You can also use it to treat digestive problems, asthma and muscle and joint pains. The plant is native to North America.


17.      Feverwort (or boneset) – you can use this herbal remedy for many ailments, such as: soothe general pain, itching and joint stiffness. It can be ingested as a tea or chewed, or crushed to a paste as a salve or poultice. It is native to North America.  Doctors once believed if wrapped around a broken bone, that it would help the boneset—it didn’t.


18.      Ginger root – is one of the healthiest roots on the plant and a super plant in Native American medicine. There are many different ways to incorporate ginger into your healthy diet: crushed and consumed with food, as a tea or a salve or poultice. Ginger root will improve your digestive health, and it also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, aids circulation and can relieve colds, coughs and flu, in addition to bronchitis and joint pain. It is NOT RELATED to true ginger.


19.      Ginseng – this amazing herb has a long history that goes back across cultures for millennia. Ginseng roots were used by Native Americans as a food additive, a tea and a poultice to treat fatigue, boost energy levels, boost the immune system and help with overall liver and lung function. Note: the ginseng leaves and stems also were used, but the root has the most concentration of active ingredients. Ginseng is native to North America, and it is shipped everywhere, especially to the Asian countries.


19.      Goldenrod – people nowadays think that this herbal remedy is just a source of allergies and sneezing, but it was actually considered another all-in-one medicine by Native Americans. As a tea, an addition to food and a topical salve, it is used to treat conditions from bronchitis and chest congestion to colds, flu, inflammation, sore throats and as an antiseptic for cuts and abrasions.


20.      Honeysuckle – you can use all parts: berries, stems, flowers and leaves – and you can use them to topically treat bee stings and skin infections. As a tea, it is used to treat colds, headaches and sore throat. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. This plant is native to North America and Eurasia.  There are over a hundred types of honeysuckle.


21.      Hops – you can make a hops tea and use it to treat digestive problems. Or, you can mix it with other herbs or plants, such as aloe, to soothe muscles.  Hops is  also used to soothe toothaches and sore throat and as a sedative. Native to new and old  world.


22.      Licorice – you can use the licorice roots and leaves to soothe chronic coughs, colds, sore throats. Note: the root also can be chewed to relieve toothaches.


23.      Mullein – the Native Americans used this herb to make a tea or they add it to a salad or other food, and they used it to treat inflammation, coughs and congestion and general lung afflictions. It is quite common and you probably have it growing in your backyard or somewhere close.


24.      Passion flower – you can use the passion flower leaves and roots to make a tea to treat anxiety and muscle pain. A poultice for injuries to the skin such as burns, insect bites and boils also can be made from passion flower.


25.       Red clover – this amazing plant grows everywhere and the flowers, leaves and roots are usually infused in a tea or are used to top food. This amazing herb is often used to manage inflammation, improve circulation and treat respiratory conditions. This is NOT indigenous to North America.


26.      Rose hip – have you ever heard of the rose hip? Well, this is the red to orange berry that is the fruit of wild roses and it’s already known to be a massive source of vitamin C and when eaten whole, crushed into a tea or added to food it is used to treat colds and coughs, intestinal distress, as an antiseptic and to treat inflammation.


27.      Rosemary – is a member of the pine family and used in food and as a tea to treat muscle pain, improve circulation and as a general cleanser for the metabolism.


28.      Sage – is the most powerful and most effective natural insect repellent and it can be used for the standard list of digestive disorders, colds and sore throat.


18.          Spearmint – this amazing herbal remedy was used by Native American tribes for treatment of coughs, colds, respiratory distress, diarrhea, and a stimulant for blood circulation. It is native to North America and parts of Eurasia.


19.          Valerian – valerian root was used as an infusion in a tea that relieves muscle aches, pain and is said to have a calming effect. Good for sleeping and is relatively safe. Found in North America and parts of Eurasia.


20.          White Pine – You should know that the ubiquitous and the needles and the inner bark can be infused in a tea. Used as a standard treatment for respiratory distress and chest congestion.




1.     Europe’s Medicinal and aromatic: Their use, trade, and Conservation by Dagmar Lange

2.     23 Medicinal Plants the Native Americans Used on a Daily Basis

3    .Gobotany.nativeplanttrust.org National Botany Foundation

4.   Google

5.   healthylifetricks.com