Buffalo Camp 2018

We left the girlies Friday morning and headed West towards Gunnedah, NSW. We wound our way through some small and historic towns.

Singleton – established 1820's by John Howe. The Main Northern Railway line reached Singleton in 1863 and remained the end of the line until 1869. It still has a number of historic buildings including the court house (1841), churches and pubs with some rural mansions dated between 1828-1877.

Muswellbrook – est. 1833 or gazetted. It was explored by John Howe also in 1819 with the first white settlement in 1820's. It too, had a number of heritage listed buildings.

Aberdeen – just north of Muswellbrook, it lies between there and Murrurundi. Aberdeen is named after the Scotland Aberdeen. It's first post office opened on 1st August, 1856. First police station 1862. First school 1864 and by 1866 it also had two churches, 3 inns, a few shops and a steam driven mill.

Scone – 'Horse Capital of Australia', Scone was named in1831 after Scone, Perth and Kinross, Scotland by Jason Kent Toth. It was gazetted in 1837. The Scone Cup is one of the richest country racing days in New South Wales and Australia.

Blandford – a small village outside of Scone had an 1872 railway station (no trace remains) and horse farms such as Aquis Farm and Emirates Park reside here.

Murrurundi – est 1840 after European settlement began in 1820's. Thomas Haydon, a local landowner established his own township called Haydonton adjacent to this and in 1913 the two merged to be Murrurundi that it is today. It is said to be an aboriginal word meaning “nestling in the valley”. According to Wikipaedia it it in fact means “five fingers” a representation of the rock formation visible at the northern end of the town.

Ben Hall – The infamous bushranger's father Benjamin Hall had a small farm near Murrurundi in 1839. Ben Hall lived in Murrurundi until he was 13.

Quirindi – early spellings 'Cuerindi' and 'Kuwherindi' was gazetted in 1884 with its Post Office opening January 1st 1858.

Breeza – Ben Hall Senior worked on a station here at one time. Another bushranger Frederick Ward, known as Thunderbolt, robbed a man here in 1865.

And finally we reach Gunnedah – Koala Capital of the World – a farming region for cotton, beef, lamb, pork, coal, cereal and oilseed grains. It is home to Australia's largest annual agricultural field day which coincidently just finished this last week on Thursday. Gunnedah was settled by European sheep farmers in 1833-34. Coal was discovered on Black Jack Hill in 1877 and by 1891, 6000 tons of coal had been raised.

So after our brief township history lesson we are ready for this weekends match!

Namoi Pistol Club hosted this year's Buff Camp. Buffalo Camp is a Pat Garrett match that utilises all cowboy guns as well as a large lever action or single shot calibre in the mix.

Each stage had 6 rounds of large cal ammo, 10 rounds rifle, 10 rounds pistol and 2+ shotgun. Ten stages of fun with side matches held on the Friday.

We arrived Friday to warm weather and played with other cowboys and cowgirls doing some side matches before going to check into the motel. The precision pistol and both rifles was a bit of fun with an extremely small buffalo target wayyyyy out there!

 

It is so so dry out here due to the drought and of course the match is on and the area is expecting rain. However, the rain stayed away with just a cool start to Saturday morning. Six stages were completed by mid afternoon and some have faired a little better than others in the fun that was.

 

Saturday night we had some very good showers in town and guessed they had same at the range. They had some steady showers which had definitely settled the dust!

Sunday morning it was cool but few clouds around made it warm quickly. With 4 stages left to do the clouds moved in near lunch time and a few drops started just as the other 2 posse's were finishing their final stage.

 

Fortunately with everyone squared away the rain hit hard with thunder and some hail! It soon cleared again and with everyone under cover (just in case another round comes) the awards got underway.

Jack won the Speed Rifle and I was 2nd, although Jack thought it was the other way around. Congrats man! He placed 2nd in Silver Senior and I was 1st in Lady Wrangler.

 

Congratulations to all 62 competitors – there were no 'clean' matches!

Congratulations to Drop Bear in 1st place overall and I came in 5th overall and 1st lady.

 

Thank you again to all the members of Namoi Pistol Club, the ladies who worked the lunches, morning teas, scoring and to the Match Directors.

We had a blast!

Kat xo

 

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Stampede At South River

This year The South River Shootists hosted the 2018 SASS Georgia State Championship – Rooster Cogburn and the Lady.

The South River Gun Club in Covington, Georgia is a fabulous facility for multiple shooting sports, a club house and great amenities. It was nice to meet Len (president of the club) and Dun Gamblin' as they roamed the range during the weekend.

The cowboy range is spectacular. Tree lined berms, shade structures, umbrellas on unloading tables, shade over loading tables. The facades were all done with Rooster and Eula, throw in the odd horse, nitro box, wagon etc. Every range has fine gravel base and the paths down to the ranges are all asphalt making for a pleasant guncart expedition.

The weather cooperated (who'd have thought!?!?) and other than a fine misty shower or two it held out for the whole match!!

Thursday we shot 4 stages of Wild Bunch Posse'd with Cardboard Cowboy, Foxy Filly, Bo Dacious, Doc Kemm, Doc Who, Knot Hardly Dunn, Shamrock Sadie, Three Gun Lady, Silver Pistols, Slippery Stew, Doc Southerly, Kontankerous Tee, Rolan Kraps, and Schofield Twin. We then went our separate ways with Jack doing 6 stages of Black Powder while I spent the afternoon doing warm up stages. A big thank you to Reno Mustang and Dodge City Dixie for letting me rest my guns in your guncart!

 

That night Georgia Gypsy and Pale Ale Rider invited us into their home. Along with some other cowboy's and cowgirl's we enjoyed some great German food by Chef Gypsy. (she is an actual chef!) We thank you both for your fabulous hospitality.

Friday and we are into the main match with 6 stages today followed up with ice cream social, couples and team shoot. A great day, a few fumbles, a miss for each of us but tomorrow's another day as we say. Great Posse, everyone worked, some newer shooters as well – Jack and I, Shamrock Sadie, Knot Hardly Dunn, Double Tap, No Limit, Mt Zion Gypsie, Mt Zion Yellowboy, Maverick Fitzpatrick, Tucker T Fudpucker, Fancy Fillie, Buckshot Collins, Hambone Hannah, Doc Kemm, Doc Who, Dollar Down, Gatlin Glennie and Ranger Law.

 

Saturday comes around and we have the final 4 to do. With that out of the way we had lunch and headed down for the shoot off. An 'anyone can enter' shoot off, Shamrock Sadie and I decided to join the Open category ie: we shot wih the men and if we both hadn't fumbled with shotgun reloads we would have made it past our first rounds!

 

Good fun and it freed up the other ladies to enjoy a shootout. Congratulations to Sue Render and Red River Ray for winning the shootout!!

Back to the motel and it's time to get ready for the banquet and awards. The banquet was held at the Georgia International Horsepark in the Carriage Room. What a beautiful facility with a gorgeous rose garden, bridge, pond and a summer house/pergola – perfect for the LOCAS picture.

 

Had the opportunity to enter the costume contest this time wearing my silver and purple saloon outfit I won first place. Congratulations to all the other winners and spectacular costumes!

 

The banquet had a full service bar and staff attending to a beautiful buffet dinner. The food was amazing.

Into the awards and the match hosts certainly go all out with their awards, prize draws etc. Jack and I won the couples shoot. A buckle with a timber insert laser engraved with the logo etc.

Wild Bunch – I managed a clean match and was the only one who did. haa haa haa cracked me up! So a neat clean match pin, I won Ladies Traditional and Ladies Overall. Jack won Senior Modern, well done man!

 

Black Powder – Jack's rifle played up on the final stage of Wild Bunch which turned out to being a lost firing pin. He went to use the rifle on his first stage of the Black Powder match (thankfully rifle was first) and it wouldn't do anything. Believe it or not he found the pin up on the stage where he last shot for Wild Bunch too. As is the cowboy way, another shooter then says 'here, use mine, here is some ammo' and Jack is able to continue to shoot. Thank you Palmetto Traveller for loaning Jack your rifle. Jack placed 3rd in Senior.

Main Match – Jack finished a credible 2nd place in Senior category! Congratulations to Double Nickle 1st place, Mustang Dave 3rd place, Rooster Ray 4th place and Georgia State Champion and 5th place, Dungannon Gunner! Congrats gents.

 

I won Lady Wrangler with congratulations going to Georgia State Champion and 2nd Place Dixie Pistols, 3rd place Alchemist Belle, 4th place Cotton Tail, 5th place Pinky Pistols! Congrats ladies.

 

Congratulations to Georgia State overall men's Christian Mortician and Maggie Darlin' over all ladies. Christian Mortician and myself men's and ladies overall match champions!

 

The Top 20 also received a pin – for me, 14th overall.

Thank you again to all involved with the match, volunteers, sponsors to the match, etc. Stampede at South River was a great match and I would recommend it to anyone! It's a must do match!

Kat xo

 

Georgia On My Mind

Tuesday we hit the road travelling through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and into Mississippi. We made an overnight stop at Olive Branch and today are hitting the road for Georgia.

As Elvis crooned across our airwaves yesterday Jack said we would make a stop at Tupelo to Elvis' birthplace and Museum. Yippee!

This morning we made the stop in Tupelo, Mississippi to visit the Museum. No photos are allowed in the Museum which features times during the Depression when times were tough for Vernon and Gladys Presley. There are many photos, memorabilia, clothing worn by Elvis and more.

Elvis Aaron Presley was born January 8, 1935 (his twin brother was stillborn) in the tiny little two room 'shotgun' style house at this very site.

The small church Elvis and his family attended was a block over on Adams Street. When the church needed to build a larger facility it was used as a house and later purchased by the Museum in 2008 and relocated here to its current site on the house and Museum grounds.

 

He grew up with the church services and the gospel sounds that would set Elvis on a path of music, beyond the weekly gatherings around the radio listening to the Grand Old Opry.

It was Reverend Frank Smith who taught a young and shy Elvis a few guitar chords. He was encouraged to perform during services, often with his parents. The Reverend would walk and play which statements attribute this to Elvis performance style.

Also noted in the Museum was that Elvis used to entertain himself with simple toys and Captain Marvel, Jr comics. Speculation maybe? They also suggest his signature hairstyle and perhaps the TCB (taking care of business) lightning bolt could have been attributed to these comics.

 

In 1938, the family lost their house when Vernon was sent to prison for forging a check (cheque) where he served 8 months of a 3 year sentence. Gladys would work to keep food on the table.

As Elvis continued school, taking his guitar with him at times performed for friends. His teacher entered him in a state contest where he placed 5th.

In 1948 the Presley's moved to Memphis. This became a turning point in Elvis' career where he began performing with other boys who played music. He still had the intention of being part of a Gospel quartet.

In 1953, he paid $3.95 to make his first recording 'My Happiness' and 'That's When The Heartache Begins'. Then if you have ever done a Sun Studio's tour in Tennessee, we all now what happened after that and how Marion Kesker had saved the recording and later Sam Phillips produced many of Elvis' recordings.

The grounds to the Museum are spectacular with plaques of information during the years of pivotal moments, a bronze statue depicting a young Elvis in oversized overalls and a meandering walk both wheelchair accessible by way of ramps and paths or stairs to the top of the property to another statue called 'Becoming'.

 

This stunning statue shows a small Elvis and as a mature, larger than life flamboyant style as he had become.

 

Onwards and we cross into another state we have not visited – Alabama. We will pass the Talladega Super Speedway. Now comes to mind, besides NASCAR races of course, is Talladega Nights – Ricky Bobby, shake and bake – a very funny movie. We will make a stop here on the return trip to the Motorsports Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame!

 

From Alabama winding through the Talladega National Forest, we continued East heading across the border into Georgia.

 

We found the range, then the hotel and we are ready for an early start tomorrow. We missed the registration as we forgot we would lose an hour!

Kat xo

 

Louisiana to Texas

With some time to kill, Jack and I headed South today through forest areas of Lousiana heading down to Alexandria and on to Lake Charles.

Alexandria is almost the centre of the state and the ninth largest city. Sitting on the edge of the Red River, it once supported French trade activities at Post de Rapides. Alexandria, in the parish of Rapides, was first settled around the 1790's.

During the Civil War gunboats arrived in Alexandria around Spring of 1863. Occupied by Union forces during this period they then departed to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Alexandria suffered much through the Civil War with cotton wars, and the ultimate burning of Alexandria as the Union troops departed its shores.

The city was rebuilt and has two remaining properties that survived the fires – one being The Kent Plantation House (circa 1795) which although moved from its original site, still remains on one of the first Spanish land grant allotments.

 

We weren't intending to stop before Lake Charles but when I looked up Kent House and found it was open today and held tours it was a must see!

 

Our first part of the tour started with docent, Miss Carolyn, who gave us a tour of the outbuildings, starting with the Milk House.

A small building, the milk house has an outside cistern that's purpose was to keep the milk cold for butter making.

 

Inside the milk house were variations of butter churner's and mold's for pressing butter blocks.

 

Next, the Kitchen House. This was separated from the main house mostly in part to the fires that often happened in a kitchen. This is the third of such buildings for the Kent House – #1 burnt down, #2 destroyed by a tornado.

 

Notice the brick hearth out front of the fire place? They used to use it for cooking also. Placing hot coals on the hearth, it gave the ability to cook another dish over the coals whilst others were being cooked in the fireplace. Baking in the oven, was only done a couple times a week.

Herb racks were also used for drying homegrown herbs for both cooking and medicinal purposes.

 

As with most large affluential homes, the lady of the house was in charge of the keys, especially for expensive items. Salt and pepper were even kept under lock and key, only being doled out to the cooks each day as an allowance.

Bottle trees, a tradition of the African Americans, were believed to attract bad spirits with the colours of the bottles and keep them away from the houses. The wind creates sounds in the bottles sounding like moans. When they heard the sounds they believed the spirits had been trapped. The bottle would be removed, stuffed full of sticks and leaves and then thrown into the river, thus getting rid of the evil spirits.

 

Next a two room slave cabin of a higher class, as it bears wooden floors. It is brick to board, with saddlebag construction i.e. the fireplace is in two sides or two rooms, one side for the women and the other side for the men or husband/wife and kids the other side. They are very small rooms, sleeping on the floor amongst the kitchen and living areas.

Next we stepped in to the laundry room where all manner of agitators, washboards, irons and other interesting artefacts reside. The Lye soap mold, used ash from the fireplace and pig fat for the moisturiser.

What about rolling your own tobacco? Well the cigar mold would be perfect for pressing and drying. By the fireplace is the cutter for cutting your ends before smoking the cigar.

 

She showed us a candle maker mold as well. Hair tongs, thrown in the fire and used to crimp hair. Hmm I smell burnt hair!

Outside are two old sugar kettles. These were used for laundry – 1 for washing and 1 for rinsing.

 

The gardens were also a staple requirement with a house and sometimes the slaves were given a plot of their own to grow. If they were able to grow something the house garden didn't have or might require for a dish they would actually pay to use some of that produce.

Over to the barn which is made up of hand hewn Lincoln logs it's a dog trot design with two separate barn rooms with a 'breezeway' like central area to keep air flow during the hot summer months.

 

The cotton picking bag would hold 100lbs and would go over your shoulders and be dragged behind as cotton was picked. Some would hold up to 300lbs! Very much back breaking work picking cotton.

 

The other barn building has lots of cool old skill carpentry tools including a foot driven jigsaw.

The blacksmith shop always had a dirt floor because of fire hazards, Windows were for getting air in for the heat.

 

Mr Hinson trusted William the blacksmith slave so much that he allowed him to often take the wagon into town on his own which would almost be unheard of for fear of flight of their slaves.

Eden House, the newest acquisition to the outbuildings has a 300 hundred year old loom and eventually this little house will have samples of cotton to finished fabric product on display.

 

This property was originally on 500 acres, Pierre Baillio II ended up with around 1700 acres.

The property used to also produce sugar cane and indigo. Molasses and sugar were made from the cane and indigo obviously was cooked to produce the blue indigo dye.

This cane press once driven by mules was fed cane stalks, producing the juice that would then be taken for refining.

 

Now Miss Carolyn is quite small and you can see just how short these doors are which were part of the original mill. Mostly slave boys would be the ones to feed the fire for the mill process.

Le Grande the biggest one of the kettles was used for the first round of juice, the paddles were used once brought to the boil to get rid of the 'trash' off the top; Le flambeau the second process during the firing off; Le sirop, now like cane syrup molasses at this point they would take half of it and bottle it for cooking use; final kettle then crystallised and this became their raw granulated sugar.

The hearth is sloping back so if it boiled over it would flow back to the previous kettle and be saved for reprocessing.

 

This beautiful live oak tree is spectacular! So called because their leaves always stay green. (I thought that's what an evergreen was???) it's long low and bendy limbs left unsupported can grow back to the ground. You can see how it has started enveloping the limb support.

The monument beneath is there as a nod to the plantations cemetery as all plantations had their own. Gustavus Baillio, one of the 14 children joined the confederate army and died the day after his 16th birthday.

The second docent, Miss Sandy, took us on the house tour. It is 218 years old, took 5 years to build and was built by Pierre Baillio.

All the brick under the house was handmade by slaves. Some bricks still have fingerprints and even a toes can be seen in them. All the timbers used were from trees on the plantation. Gardens were meant to be looked upon and therefore viewed from the balcony (besides the flooding issues of the bayous beyond). All plants in the garden are period correct as would have been at the time, the grass and brick work period for the garden also.

 

The handwritten recipes of the daughter in the right hand painting are now written into a cook book. The children were well to do with the third also having been to Harvard, coming back home to become judge.

 

The boys bedroom has the only original floors left in the house. The bed in this room is a rope bed to which would have been rest reached and tightened each day – hence the phrase “sleep tight”. The mattress would have straw and often tree moss which might have bugs and chiggers still in it – hence the phrase “don't let the bed bugs bite”.

Into the dining room and above the table is a large wooden paddle known as a 'punkah' – an Indian fan. A boy too small to work in the fields would stand in the corner and pull the cord to work the punkah during the hot months. (Further research shows that the operator was also known as a punkahwallah)

 

Houses were taxed per room so no closets or hallways as they were considered rooms and would be taxed accordingly.

A fireplace on the internal walls of a room was influence of the French. The English had fireplaces on the outside walls at the ends of the house.

Next we visit the parlour room for the ladies. They could sit and chat/gossip, do their needlework and take tea beside the fire. The picture above the fireplace of one of the Baillio women shows a hairstyle covering her ears. In those days you were not to show your ears so if a lady had not the hair to cover she would have to use horsehair, curled and styled into additional ringlets etc to be worn.

In the corner of the room is a sewing table, a fabulous looking little piece with a 'work bag drawer' of beautiful upholstery fabric. This would hold your needlework projects. The drawer above would house threads, needles etc. I want one! How neat is that?!

 

Last, the girls room with its ornate bed was much better than the boys, this feather bed was built in 1810. On the ceiling you can still see holes as this room would be partitioned for the older girls on one side and the younger girls on the other but if the county clerk was coming around to check rooms for taxes the partition could be quickly taken down!

The beautiful armoir, hand made in 1840 has a hidden drawer, the centre leaf piece where the doors close to could be removed be secret latch and the drawer was in behind it where jewellery could to be stashed.

The second owner of the house was a Mr Robert Hinson. The original style of the house was French creole and by the time he bought it creole was out and Greek revival was in. With the addition of the two side rooms at the end of the verandah he had changed the style.

These rooms have higher ceilings, additions of wallpapers and no exposed beams. By now, it was deemed you didn't have enough money to finish the house properly if your beams were exposed.

The gothic revival furniture and empire pieces also show changes in the time periods. This was mostly used as Mr Hinson's office, a more formal area for meetings and receiving businessmen.

 

The beautiful piano was played by his daughters for the entertainment of guests. It has not been restored as piano tuners are afraid to touch it's gorgeous piano wires of sterling silver as it is too precious.

It has beautifully ornate candle holders for light to the music sheets and keyboard and the handles on the sides of the piano lend its use to be dragged onto the porch for entertainment, for it to be heard during parties in the garden below.

 

Shutters were very important in the time and not just for aesthetics. If your shutters were painted green it meant you made your money off the land. If they were blue you were from the water, an importer or exporter. If they were black you had read your letters, so being educated, perhaps a lawyer etc.

If all the paint and all the siding was taken off the Creole section it would be a mud like house. Clay, horse, bear, deer hair and Spanish moss similar to Adobe. If you had the money you would white wash or paint it as Kent House was.

Turning our attention back to where we had made our entry, the narrow staircases were made for original empire dress styles in the early days. As the years and fashion changed (as we know it was pretty dramatic between 1800-1865) Mr Hinson had taken out the middle banister section and put steps in to the front of the porch down to the garden for the ladies in their hoop petticoat gowns. This may not be the only reason but with the restoration of the property they have taken in back to the original.

 

The second room at the end of the porch is the master bedroom, children stayed in here until they were two before they moved to the other children rooms. The day bed was used for exactly that – day naps – as the main bed was not to be messed up after being made. Called the rolling pin bed, the rolling pin was used off the bed head and rolled across the feather bed to get it neat and then placed back into position on the bed head.

The Hinson family with its 11 children, all used the same water starting with father, then mother, then the eldest children down to the baby. By this stage the water wouldn't be so clean and much less than had started, perhaps hence the term 'don't throw the baby out with the bath water'.

Look at the gorgeous red ware set as well, a wedding gift to their granddaughter and one of few sets left. This room in its darkness appears just as it would in that time period although on the top jutting ledges of the armoir would have been lamps, the white ceiling reflecting light across the room so they could at least see a little!

 

As we finish up the tour, the final room on the back porch was 'the strangers room' or as we call it today, a guest room. If someone stopped and asked for a room for the night this is where they stayed. There was a separate staircase and the door to the room did not open into the main house so you could keep your family safe. You enjoyed having people stay as they were useful for gathering information, finding out if war was close, were the levee banks holding during storms etc.

 

What a fabulous hour and maybe a half pit stop. So glad I looked up a little bit about Alexandria and found this fabulous place. Wasn't out of the way either, was only quarter of a mile off the main road!

Now we are in Beaumont, Texas for a couple of nights before heading on to Fredericksburg and the Texas Hill country.

Au revoir Louisiene!

Kat xo