Happy Mother’s Day


Margaret and Cheryl would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers, grandmothers, and those undertaking a mothering role.

As mothers and grandmothers ourselves, we know it’s a 24/7 job and appreciate all the effort and time put into raising our future generations.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our site, and we sincerely hope you have a wonderful, love-filled day.

 

*Card and photograph copyright Cheryl Wright

 

 

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN FRONTIER AMERICA AND FRONTIER AUSTRALIA – MARGARET TANNER

 

FRONTIER LIFE – AUSTRALIA AND AMERICA

Life on the American and Australian frontiers have a strikingly similar history. For example, take the The American Homestead Act, and the Australian Act of Selection, which is the basis for my novel, Frontier Belle.

 

America: The original Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20th, 1862. It gave applicants freehold title to up to 160 acres of undeveloped federal land west of the Mississippi River. The law required only three steps from the applicant – file an application, improve the land, then file for a deed of title. Anyone who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government, including freed slaves, could file a claim on the provisions that they were over the age of twenty one and had lived on the land for five years.

 

The Homestead Act’s lenient terms proved to be ill-fated for many settlers. Claimants didn’t have to own farming implements or even to have had any farming experience. The allocated tracts of land may have been adequate in humid regions, but were not large enough to support plains settlers where lack of water reduced yields.

Speculators often got control of homestead land by hiring phony claimants or buying up abandoned farms.

 

Most of us visualise the frontier home as a rustic log cabin nestled in a peaceful mountain valley or on a sweeping green plain. But in reality, the “little house on the prairie” was often not much more than a shack or a hastily scratched out hole in the ground. In the treeless lands of the plains and prairies, log cabins were out of the question so   homesteaders turned to the ground beneath their feet for shelter. The sod house, or “soddy,” was one of the most common dwellings in the frontier west. The long, tough grasses of the plains had tight, intricate root systems, and the earth in which they were contained could be cut into flexible, yet strong, bricks.

 

Ground soaked by rains or melting snow was ideal for starting sod house construction. When the earth was soft and moist, homesteaders would break the soil with an ox- or horse-drawn sod cutter, which was an instrument similar to a farming plough. Sod cutters produced long, narrow strips of sod, which could then be chopped into bricks with an axe. These two- to three-foot square, four-inch thick sod bricks were then stacked to form the walls of the sod house. A soddy roof was constructed by creating a thin layer of interlacing twigs, thin branches, and hay, which were then covered over with another layer of sod. To save time many sod houses were built into the sides of hills or banks. Some settlers gouged a hole in a hill side, so they only had to build a front wall and roof.
As a result of their extremely thick walls, soddies were cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Soddies were also extremely cheap to build. Of course, there were drawbacks to sod-house living. As the house was built of dirt and grass, it was constantly infested with bugs, mice and snakes. The sod roofs often leaked, which turned the dirt floor into a quagmire. Wet roofs took days to dry out and the enormous weight of the wet earth often caused roof cave-ins. Even in the very best weather, sod houses were plagued with problems. When the sod roof became extremely dry, dirt and grass continually rained down on the occupants of the house.

A typical American log cabin measured about ten by twenty feet, regardless of the number of inhabitants. Settlers often built lofts across the cabin roof or lean-tos across the rear of the cabin to give the family more space. Typically, frontier cabins featured only one room, which served as kitchen, dining room, living room, workroom, and bedroom.

Homesteaders could often build a log cabin in a matter of days, using only an axe and auger. No nails were required for the task. The first step in construction was to build a stone or rock foundation, to keep the logs off the ground and prevent rot. Once the foundation was laid, settlers would cut down trees and square off the logs. These logs were then “notched” in the top and bottom of each end then stacked to form walls. The notched logs fitted snugly together at the corners of the cabin, and held the walls in place. After the logs were stacked, gaps remained in the walls. Settlers had to jam sticks and wood chips into the gaps, then they filled in the remaining gaps with cement made out of earth, sand, and water. Fireplaces were built of stone, and often had stick-and-mud chimneys. Most cabins had dirt or gravel floors, which had to be raked daily to preserve their evenness.
Australia: In the colony of Victoria the 1860 Land Act allowed free selection of crown land.  This included land already occupied by the squatters, (wealthy land owners) who had managed to circumvent the law for years and keep land that they did not legally own.

The Act allowed selectors access to the squatters’ land, and they could purchase between 40 and 320 acres of crown land, but after that, the authorities left them to fend for themselves. Not an easy task against the wealthy, often ruthless squatters who were incensed at what they thought was theft of their land.

In 1861 the Act of Selection was intended to encourage closer settlement, based on intensive agriculture. Selectors often came into conflict with squatters, who already occupied land and were prepared to fight to keep it. The bitterness ran deep for many years, often erupting into violence.

The first permanent homesteads on the Australian frontier were constructed using posts and split timber slabs. The posts were set into the ground, about three feet apart, according to the desired layout. Slabs of timber were then dropped into the slots. A sapling or similar, straight piece of timber ran across the top of the posts, which allowed them to be tied together so they could support the roof. Clay was often plugged in between the joins and splits of the cladding to stop draughts. The internal walls were sometimes plastered with clay and straw, lined with hessian/calico, white washed or simply left as split timber. Roofs were pitched using saplings straight from the bush and often clad with bark. Early settlers learnt from the aborigines that large sheets of bark could be cut and peeled off a variety of trees and used as sheets to clad the roof.

So, as you can see, there is not much difference between our two countries in this respect. My novel Fiery Possession is an example of this.

FIERY POSSESSION

American Wild West versus Australian Frontier.

Only a fine line divides love and hate, and when the hero and heroine step over it they create a firestorm of passion and betrayal. .

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XWYF3ZW

Margaret Tanner writes Australian frontier romance, and American westerns romance. offer)

Margaret’s website:

http://www.margarettanner.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Release from Author Isabella Thorne

13 delightful Regency springtime stories from bestselling authors.

Springtime is about renewal, second chances and getting a new lease on life – which is what these stories are all about! Be swept away by love!

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Falling for the Earl – by Arietta Richmond. A grieving Earl with a lost heir, a lonely woman, unsure of her place in life, an accidental meeting amongst the spring flowers, a secret in the woods, a love that transforms everything.

Shopping for a Gentleman – by Isabella Thorne. An accidental meeting while shopping brings widow, Mrs Mildred Stelter and Mr Leighton together. They discover that they have very different views on life. Can disagreement lead to love, and a new view of the world?

A Duke for the Dowager – by Catherine Windsor. Widow Lady Elizabeth has finished mourning. Still young, she hopes to love again. Her friend’s suggestion seems good until she sees the obnoxious Duke mentioned. Can she find another love? And what of the handsome Earl she met on the road?

The New Governess of Chiswick – By Grace Austen. Letitia takes a role as a governess, when her family is impoverished. The Earl is cold at first, but Letitia comes to love his daughter, and him. Dark secrets from the past threaten them. Can love win out?

The Earl’s True Love – by Katherine Keats. Lord Worthington faces the scandal of divorce, blames himself, remembers the girl he once loved. Joanna, a village girl is scorned as a spinster, because only one man ever held her heart, and he left. Can they find love?

The Unforgettable Duchess by Charlotte Darcy. Lady Daphne Kenswick gave her heart to Lord Stephen Graves but they are torn apart by an obsessed Duke, a manipulative family, and duty to country. Will fate give them a second chance to find true love?

The Earl’s Healing Heart – by Eleanor St Clair. Sarah Lyons is a widow. Many men only want her for her money. But Lord Davenport seems different. Can she bring herself to love again, or will her suspicious mind ruin any chance of finding a lasting love?

The Duke’s Obsession – by Regina Darcy. Lady Desdemona’s husband died leaving her penniless. She flees to her brother-in-law, the Duke of Danberry who once courted her and still cares for her. When a debt goes unpaid the Marquis de Chambray threatens her son – can the Duke prevent the disaster? And what of love?

The Reclusive Duke’s Second Chance – by Lydia Pembroke. A Duke deeply hurt in the past, and suspicious of all women, a woman who needs to marry money, to save her family, a house party, a spiteful meddler. Is love possible, or will they be forced apart?

A Daughter for the Duke – by Kelly Anne Bruce. Widow Hannah Winters has only her daughter, Miriam. Things improve when they meet Lord Dearly but he has a title and nothing else to offer them. When duty takes him away, their friendship seems over. Will the unexpected allow love to flourish?

Claiming the Duke’s Heart – by Sophia Wilson. A bereaved Duke, a motherless baby, a grieving young woman. A position caring for the child exposes Emily to the Duke, and attraction stirs – but will the secrets of the past force them apart? Or can love win?

The Earl’s Treachery – by Sophia Ansley. A charming Lord, a merchant’s daughter who struggles to be ladylike, an unpleasant Earl, a conspiracy to defraud. Can a false love become true? And will honesty prevail in time to save them all?

A Song for the Viscount – by Lenora Levon. Viscount Kendall is a music connoisseur. Widowed Lady Clayton would prefer to spend time at home with her daughter, for whom singing is everything. When they meet, everything changes. Can a songbird bring two such different people together?

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