Things on Cowboy’s Head No: 189

cowboy_sleep_eyes

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 190: Apparently the bedroom was a little too bright for the princess during her daytime nap. 🙂

Background Note: Cowboy is one of our cats who showed up out of the blue one snowy January day seven years ago. Since then, she has made us her Forever Home (which works with us). She is big and friendly and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She naps a lot (Olympic-level) and she eats a lot.

All of these points are helpful with this project that I have going on…

It’s called “Things on Cowboy’s Head” and I am just seeing what I can balance on the top of her head when she’s amenable to that. It’s been fun so far, and she seems quite happy to play along. (She just moves when she doesn’t want to participate.)

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 188

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Things on Cowboy’s Head No: 188: Cowboy spaceship.

Superhero happens to be a big on-line computer gamer, and as part of that, named one of his spaceships “SSN Cowboy”. Snort.

Background Note: Cowboy is one of our cats who showed up out of the blue one snowy January day seven years ago. Since then, she has made us her Forever Home (which works with us). She is big and friendly and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She naps a lot (Olympic-level) and she eats a lot.

All of these points are helpful with this project that I have going on…

It’s called “Things on Cowboy’s Head” and I am just seeing what I can balance on the top of her head when she’s amenable to that. It’s been fun so far, and she seems quite happy to play along. (She just moves when she doesn’t want to participate.)

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 139

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Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 139: Easter bunny ears.

Background Note: Cowboy is one of our cats who showed up out of the blue one snowy January day seven years ago. Since then, she has made us her Forever Home (which works with us). She is big and friendly and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She naps a lot (Olympic-level) and she eats a lot.

All of these points are helpful with this project that I have going on…

It’s called “Things on Cowboy’s Head” and I am just seeing what I can balance on the top of her head when she’s amenable to that. It’s been fun so far, and she seems quite happy to play along. (She just moves when she doesn’t want to participate.)

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 138

cowboy_cotton_balls

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 138: Cotton balls.

Background Note: Cowboy is one of our cats who showed up out of the blue one snowy January day six years ago. Since then, she has made us her Forever Home (which works with us). She is big and friendly and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She naps a lot (Olympic-level) and she eats a lot.

All of these points are helpful with this project that I have going on…

It’s called “Things on Cowboy’s Head” and I am just seeing what I can balance on the top of her head when she’s amenable to that. It’s been fun so far, and she seems quite happy to play along. (She just moves when she doesn’t want to participate.)

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 137

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(Above) – This is a quiet sleepy moment between Naughty Fergus (left) and sweet Cowboy Cat. The bed is on her head. 🙂

Background Note: Cowboy is one of our cats who showed up out of the blue one snowy January day six years ago. Since then, she has made us her Forever Home (which works with us). She is big and friendly and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She naps a lot (Olympic-level) and she eats a lot.

All of these points are helpful with this project that I have going on…

It’s called “Things on Cowboy’s Head” and I am just seeing what I can balance on the top of her head when she’s amenable to that. It’s been fun so far, and she seems quite happy to play along. (She just moves when she doesn’t want to participate.)

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 136

cowboy_jaffacakes_ed

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 136: Jaffa Cakes.

 

Background Note: Cowboy is one of our cats who showed up out of the blue one snowy January day six years ago. Since then, she has made us her Forever Home (which works with us). She is big and friendly and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She naps a lot (Olympic-level) and she eats a lot.

All of these points are helpful with this project that I have going on…

It’s called “Things on Cowboy’s Head” and I am just seeing what I can balance on the top of her head when she’s amenable to that. It’s been fun so far, and she seems quite happy to play along. (She just moves when she doesn’t want to participate.)

Black Women of the Old West – William Loren Katz (1995)

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A literary friend of mine lent me this rather fascinating coffee table book featuring the role of black (African American) pioneers in the old cowboy Wild West. As I’m really interested in learning more about the African American experience, this book ticked most of the boxes that I look for in a good read.

As it’s more of a coffee table book, it’s concentrated mostly on photographs of the sometimes anonymous women who were living the pioneer life at the time. Generally speaking, I don’t see much focus from many people on the life of African Americans during the late nineteenth century as America traveled west across its new territories, but they were there just as much as The Little House on the Prairie family were.

Afam_pioneer_familyA number of the women who were featured in this collection went west as domestic help to pioneering families, but quite a few of these folk were also determined to be successful independent farmers, ranchers and other professional workers (e.g. teachers, accountants etc.). (Check out my review of another fascinating read of the Exodusters who flowed into Kansas for the ranching opportunities.)

A number of young AfAm women came west as mail order brides for men who were in mining camps and doing other types of work. The men who signed up for the service bought a one-way ticket for the young woman in question, and then, sight-unseen, the two would contractually get married to live in the west. (How very brave were these mail order brides! For some, this invitation to the west was just what they needed to escape terrible home situations so it seems that it benefited both parties for the most part.)

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(Above) – Stagecoach Mary (Mary Fields) was the first AfAm postal carrier in the county.

Many freed slaves had little experience apart from working on the land or helping in a domestic role, and it was really interesting to me to learn that once freed, African-Americans (as a group) were intent on getting an education, both for themselves and especially for their children. Literacy was the key to freedom and success, and these families were typically much more educated than the other groups out on the frontier (whites, Hispanics etc.) and their school attendance was at a notably higher level. Former slaves knew and understood the important of knowledge, and so were determined that their families were going to be schooled.

I went ahead and made a few random notes from this read:

  • An African American woman used to own all the real estate in the area now called Beverly Hills in LA
  • In OK and other states, the newly freed slaves joined up with local Native American tribes (although initially the Native Americans embraced slavery as much as the white people had), and in the late 1800’s, 18% of Cherokees were AfAm, and 14% of Choctaws were AfAm.
  • The Native Americans had been introduced to the slavery concept by white people who wanted to make sure that the tribes would not harbor runaway slaves. Most tribes ended up embracing slavery, except for the Seminoles who had a fascinating overlap with the Buffalo Soldiers.
  • One of the earliest settlements of AfAms was in Mercer County, OH, in 1832.
  • Stagecoach Mary (Mary Fields) (photo above right) was the first AfAm mail carrier in the US, and drove a horse and wagon (not a stagecoach) on her route in the wilds of Montana. She wasn’t an employee of the US Postal Service, but had bid and won a contract to deliver mail as she was the fastest person who would drive a team of six horses. She never missed a day of work, and if there was deep snow, she would put on snowshoes and deliver the mail sacks on her back.

What I found to be most interesting to read was the common thread of how AfAms thrived in spite of the awful conditions and in spite of how challenging life was. Families had few resources, but they still came west. I wonder just how much more successful AfAms would have been if there’d be a stronger support system for them. There was the Freedman’s Bureau, but it was decades before the idea of ending slavery became common place and widely accepted. The sheer doggedness and determination of these AfAm pioneers is astonishing to me, and I wish their stories were told more often.

(If you haven’t already read this article on reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic, it’s a powerful and provocative piece.)

So, really enjoyed looking at the photos in this book. (The writing itself was pretty dreadful, so the pics made the book really.)

Other reads on similar topics and reviewed by JOMP are:

Cowboy – David Murdock (ed.) (1993)

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I happened to pick this title up from a display at the library, and found out that this was a fascinating way to spend last Sunday afternoon. The book is part of an ongoing DK series called “Eyewitness Books” and each title takes a particular subject (e.g. cowboys, Vikings, books, weather etc.) and leads the reader through an overview of that subject using lots of high quality and well curated photographs and explanatory text. It’s mostly photographs though, and by doing this (and as the aim of the whole series), it feels rather as though you’re walking through a museum looking at all the different pieces that make up the exhibit.

It’s not text-heavy, but by looking closely at the photographs (as you would the displays at a museum), by the time you’ve read the book, you feel as though you have a much better understanding of whatever the topic was (in this case, cowboys). It’s really great.

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An example of a Stetson cowboy hat.

Here’s some of what I learned about the world of the cowboy from the last reading:

There are variations of cowboys all over the world who have been doing this type of job for decades (and longer):

  • France has gardian in the southern provinces
  • Hungary has the csikosok
  • North African countries have had similar cowboys with different names
  • The Romans had buteri
  • 1500’s Spain had vaqueros (cowboys) and churros (the people who actually owned the land)
  • Argentina has the gaucho
  • Venezuela has the llanero
  • Chile has the huaso

Which of course makes perfect sense, but this was new information to me. It’s obvious now, of course.

Other pearls of knowledge:

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Desperate Dan (English version of cowboy character and the one I grew up with…)

  • Stetson hats (which a lot of cowboys are famous for wearing) was started by John B. Stetson who was an Englishman who came to Colorado as a gold prospector and noticed the need for appropriate hatwear.
  • The name Mustang (wrt horse) comes from the Spanish mestena which refers to “horse herd”. Originally, the herds of horses were wild on the Southern Plains and the Conquistadores harnessed them to help them as they came into new territory.
  • The quarter horse is so named for its really fast speed at the quarter-mile. Huh. I had no idea about this as I had been thinking that the quarter horse name referred to its breeding stock (i.e. that the horse was 25% of this breed, 25% of another breed etc.)
  • And then, I got reminded of the comic character Desperate Dan who was also eating his way through Cactusville… (He was a character in the British children’s comic magazine called The Dandy and was the world’s strongest man who shaved with a blowtorch as his facial hair was so tough. He could also lift a cow with one hand…)

So I found this really interesting on so many levels that now I am searching for more of these Eyewitness Books as they are a great introduction to big subjects… Loved it.

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 135

cowboy_papercup_ed

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 135: festive paper cup.

Background Note: Cowboy is one of our cats who showed up out of the blue one snowy January day six years ago. Since then, she has made us her Forever Home (which works with us). She is big and friendly and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She naps a lot (Olympic-level) and she eats a lot.

All of these points are helpful with this project that I have going on…

It’s called “Things on Cowboy’s Head” and I am just seeing what I can balance on the top of her head when she’s amenable to that. It’s been fun so far, and she seems quite happy to play along. (She just moves when she doesn’t want to participate.)

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 133

cowboy_hawaian_lei

Things on Cowboy’s Head No. 133: Fabric Hawaiian lie. 

Background Note: Cowboy is one of our cats who showed up out of the blue one snowy January day six years ago. Since then, she has made us her Forever Home (which works with us). She is big and friendly and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. She naps a lot (Olympic-level) and she eats a lot.

All of these points are helpful with this project that I have going on…

It’s called “Things on Cowboy’s Head” and I am just seeing what I can balance on the top of her head when she’s amenable to that. It’s been fun so far, and she seems quite happy to play along. (She just moves when she doesn’t want to participate.)