Book Review With Kat: The Son

New York Times Bestseller, The Son by author Philipp Meyer.

Based on the McCullough family and it’s heirs in the mid 1800’s to the mid 20th century, The Son ended up being a book I was very taken with.

Recommended and loaned to me by Wild Horse John, I began the intriguing journey Philipp Meyer took me on as I poured through the pages.

It is a story of Indians, frontier survival, early Texas under Spanish rule, Civil Wars, oil magnates, cattle and disjointed families.

The chapters change with family member and time, so during the first quarter of the book I had to keep going back to the family tree to see where I was.

The more I got into it the more I knew and could easily flip between centuries, characters and visual scenery in my head.

I loved the tangled tale of intrigue, misfortune and fortune that went with Eli McCullough and the generations after him.

Thanks John for the recommendation and I would certainly recommend it to any other avid reader or like me, who hasn’t picked up an ‘actual’ book in a long time.

A television series has been made of it starring Pierce Brosnan and although I did catch one episode have not seen others as yet.

Give it a go if you come across it!

Yours in paperback

Kat xo

P.S. just might have to find another good read now. Got any western history, fictional or otherwise, recommendations??

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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

 

Coastal Creep

We headed out early this morning and wound our way down the coast where roadwork still remains after who knows how many years now.

It seems these roadworks have been going on since I was a kid making our annual pilgrimage to the Gold Coast for holidays.

It’s hazy as well from nearby bushfires in the Clarence Valley. The bushfire season up and down the eastern coast is the worst it’s been in about 20 years.

Fires have been happening already in the past few weeks as far south as Ulladulla region again and we haven’t even hit Spring yet.

We pass many Rural Fire Service trucks heading North to assist.

Next stop, Cundletown to visit Dad and Mum and a few family.

Then it will be further south to Newcastle and the grandgirlies for the night!

Tomorrow we will head west for Gunnedah and get set for Buffalo Camp this weekend.

See you on the highway.

Kat xo

Another Roll Of The Dice

The Gamblers put on another spectacular match for the Heartland Territorial Championships – Another Roll of The Dice last weekend.

A turn out of 118 shooters, spectacular weather made for an awesome weekend.

Wednesday with final setup, meet and greet with many, it was ready for action and looking great! Ex Sighted and I went out for a quick look at the range and added a few paint touches to the targets – not that they would last long tomorrow but looked good for the initial run!

 

The theme this year was Kings and Queens. The targets featured it, the score cards, the poems Deslaredo wrote for each stage and the book featured stories of: Buck Taylor – King of the Cowboys, Rosa Maria Hinojosa de Balti – the first Cattle Queen of Texas, Roy Rogers – King of the (Singing) Cowboys, Davy Crockett – King of the Wild Frontier, Lizzie Johnson Williams – the Cattle Queen of Texas, Poker Alice – the Faro Queen of Deadwood, Pearl Hart – Bandit Queen.

Thursday was Pat Garrett, a 4 stage match. After lunch was speed events and that evening bring on the knife and hawk throwing. So much fun and laughter, hope we didn't keep the neighbor hood awake! Lol!

 

Into Friday and the first 5 stages of main match. I had a great visit with a high school friend, Kim, it was so great to catch up with her and show her what we do and the enjoyment we get from it.

We had a sensational Posse! Jack and I aka Ricochet, Amazing Grace together with Chuck, Pearl Starr, Katie Younger, Robb n Co, Mrs Mac, Hipshot, Blackjack Al (and his wife Erica), H, Mrs H, Dam Sam, Lucky Strike Lass, Marlboro Man, Coyote Baz, Meggs, Deputy Sheriff Charlie Brown, Miss Lucy, Molly Blade, Amazed, Lone Star, Doc Cummins, Etta Place, Fox and Urban Cowboy.

 

Friday night and feeling alright, It's beer's, calf roping (with saw cow) and horseshoes!

Saturday morning rolls around for the final 5. With Ex Sighted, Clancy and Powder Burn, scores were checked and double checked, printed and ready for the following day's awards. The shindig was great, Pat Garrett and side match awards given out and before you know it another late night with another early morning to come.

Sunday morning the Top 8 Ladies and Men and an invitational 8 Ladies and Men for the shootout got ready for some final action. The invitational was won by Trixie and Renegade Ty, the top 8 myself and R C Shot.

Much hard work was put in to the trophies by Ex Sighted and Bordello Baz. Donations of other prizes, vouchers etc were greatly appreciated by the recipients.

 

In the wash up, Jack won Silver Senior category! Congratulations to Deslaredo in 2nd place and Johnny Behan in 3rd place.

 

Jack also won Speed pistol, Calf Roping and Men's Traditional Lever Action in Pat Garrett.

 

I rounded out a great weekend, Ladies Traditional Lever Action in Pat Garrett, Speed Rifle, Speed PG Rifle, Calf Roping and Hawk. With 1 miss for the main match I was first in Lady Wrangler alongside Ex Sighted in 2nd Place and Lucky Strike Lass in 3rd place. Congratulations ladies!

 

First overall out of territory The Terror and Amazing Grace.

 

Heartland Territorial winners Chuck and Pearl Starr.

 

Congratulations to everyone who came to play! Hope you had as much fun as we did!

Cheers

Kat xo

 

Setting The Scene

Saturday was a successful club match day with The Gamblers. With 20 or more shooters in attendance we got through 6 stages as the afternoon cooled off as the sunlight began to fade.

Sunday with a team of around 13 we set to getting stages ready, props in place, targets out, shooters bags packed, tables organized and the club house decorated with flags, Gamblers paraphernalia and more.

The trophies are mostly set up and as we wait for Wednesday to roll around, then the final bits and pieces can be setup ready for ‘Another Roll Of The Dice’.

For then some 130 shooters will descend on the Gold Coast ready for the annual match.

See you soon!

Kat xo

Bluebonnets and Candy Corn

A strange combination but really, they aren’t together, just together for the same wearer!

Petticoat Parker’s new Texas blue bonnet and flags corset, reticule and matching arm garters for Red River Raider.

Getting set for Halloween later in the year, she also has her candy corn ensemble as well.

Fun stuff!

Kat xo

West to East

Well that does sound like we are travelling a lot further across the country but no, just a few states.

Wyoming, on through Nebraska, dropping down into Kansas and further down into Oklahoma.

As we came into Kansas yesterday we found the historical marker indicating the geographical centre of the country.

 

We stopped in Belleville, KS for the night and walked from the motel to the BelVilla family dining. A little home style restaurant, licensed, nothing flash about the decor but great food and awesome service. I asked the girl if I could keep the menu, a newspaper style print with a beautiful old courthouse and water tower on the front.

 

If you know me then of course I wanted to find this building. Jack and I headed into the downtown district after breakfast. Belleville was established in 1869, some old buildings came into view but alas no old courthouse just the white Art Deco version in the town square. We drove in and around a few streets, asked two old guys (one at a workshop and one driving the USPS truck) and both have only been in the area for a couple of years and couldn't help.

As Jack filled the car with gas, I did a search on the phone and when he returned all I could work out was that it had been burned down and replaced with the current one and also that Belleville was known for the 'world's fastest half mile high bank dirt track!'

A race track for midgets and sprint cars. As we got back on the road there on the left was the Highbanks Hall of Fame and Museum so we stopped in for a quick look.

 

The gentleman was just opening up the doors as we were looking at the display out front. We went in for a short visit.

 

This picture shows a photo of the track at the top and below it a painting of the track. The Belleville High Banks dirt track is 23 ft high on the bank and 80ft wide, you can't walk up it but can certainly run at 140mph in these little cars!

 

There are some great displays, cars and memorabilia for the car enthusiast to stop and have a look. Donation for entry.

Back on the road and we are heading for Marysville and the Pony Express station. This is, as a sign said in a paddock, Pony Express country. From Washington this section of the highway is known as the Pony Express Highway.

 

A quick stop in Hanover, the visitor centre is closed but we saw the Pony Express Station on the Hollenberg Ranch just east of town. It is said to be the only one still on its original site. (Seems contradictory now when you get to the next stop! lol)

 

Next stop Marysville. The Marysville Pony Express Station is the only original station still on its original site. Home Station No.1 has been many other businesses over the course of history but has been lovingly restored and stripped of modern fabrications back to its original limestone walls.

 

The 18″ thick limestone walls, original openings for light and ventilation with a replacement roof – 12 years after the pony express ran through – the original roof had been burnt in a fire.

This station allowed riders to stay in bunks within the barn, often up to 10 days until the next mail came in, or they could stay at the nearby Barrett Hotel.

 

During the 19 months the Pony Express ran for, over 35,000 pieces of mail were delivered via 200 relay stations. The number of rides/mileage made is enough to circumnavigate the world 3 times over.

 

Mary set us up for a short video when we entered and Shirley gave us the rest of the tour through many wonderous antiques, machinery, vehicles, reproduction stagecoach, popcorn machine, dioramas and much more!

 

What a sensational stop, she suggested the Wagon Wheel for lunch near the statue and glass panels. We headed there next and had a great lunch with a quick visit to the statue in the 99F heat. The glass picture panels are great, the picture changes with your movement.

 

We continued our journey south through the great Kansas plains and farming land. Corn……..corn………..and more corn. I'm sure there is more to the crops than that, just seems like that is all you see. 🙂

We made it! We are back in Oklahoma.

Kat xo