Christmas at Valentine’s by Paty Jager

Blaze

Two weeks before Christmas my hubby told me my Christmas present would be a new horse. I’d sold Bud, the gelding I’d had since he was born because he wasn’t fun to ride. I know most of the problem was me, but I wanted a horse I could get on and ride, not spend the little time I had to ride, making him pay attention and do what I asked.

A wise long time cowgirl told me to get rid of Bud and find one I could go out and ride without a hassle. I took her advice and sold Bud. And the funny thing, you’d think having a horse for 18 years I would have been sad, but I was so frustrated about not being able to ride when I wanted to that it was almost a relief.

After hubby told me to start looking for a horse, I began searching the paper and Craigslist in our area and a little beyond. Of course, the horses I would have liked were out of the price range hubby was willing to go. I love paints and appaloosas.

I did go ride two paints that were at the top of his price range. The first one I’m pretty sure the people had either drugged it or had worked the tar out of it before I got on. There were four horses, two that the man and his son had rode and the two they’d brought down for me to try. (They had ridden down a hill to meet me saying my car wouldn’t make it up to where they lived)

Me and Blaze

The paint I was interested in was soaking wet with sweat. The other one they had for sale was half wet and the ones they were riding were barely sweating. The paint’s head was down, his eyes half closed and his ears weren’t perked up. They put my saddle on him and I rode for about twenty minutes up in the hill with the son. The horse stumbled a little and tried walking under trees.

The other horse I wasn’t even interested in when I saw the high withers. We already have Jammer who has high withers and is hard to blanket up to keep the saddle from rubbing her withers.

I told the man I’d talk it over with hubby, but I’d made up my mind I wasn’t interested by the time I arrived at my destination.

Then Hubby and I went to Walla Walla to try out another paint. He was cute and the right height. But he had really round withers and the saddle wouldn’t stay tight. He also liked to whirl around backwards when he was scared. Not good for this person who has inner ear crystal problems.

Then my daughter sent me a link on Craigslist to a gelding only 2 hours from where we live. He’s not a paint but he looked sweet and my size.

Blaze

Hubby and I went there last Friday and I am now the proud owner of Blaze. He is an 11 year-old gelding that is the perfect height, he is friendly, and when we get some decent weather, I’ll see how well he does riding out on his own. I’ve been going down every day, brushing and messing with him with the saddle, bridle and leading him around. The weather is a mess to try and ride with snow and ice everywhere.

I’ll keep you updated on how Blaze and I get along. I’m looking forward to going on trail rides with my daughter and grandchildren.

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Pass It Along Giveaway

To help boost the number of sales for the first book of my new series, I’ve made a contest. All you have to do is share my book through the links below at your favorite social media and you’re name will go into rafflecopter for a chance to win autographed print copies of the first three books in the series and a $50 gift card.

the ancient indian art of tracking is his greatest strength... and also his biggest weakness.

Here are the rules:

Share Murder of Ravens with links below on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Bookbub, and Pinterest. Each time you share your name will go in the Rafflecopter. Giveaway ends on Jan. 31st. The winner will be announced here and contacted on February 5th.

At Goodreads add to TBR list

At Bookbub click and share

At twitter go to my page and share the tweet about the book Murder of Ravens

Go to my pinterest page and pin the book to your pinterest page

Visit my author FaceBook page and share the comment about the new release.

Click below to go to Rafflecopter and the links to get your points!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Meet Gabriel Hawke

Gabriel Hawke LogoFish and Wildlife State Trooper Gabriel Hawke works in Wallowa County. It is in the NE Corner of Oregon and has a population of just over 7,000 people and covers 3,152 square miles

In my books, I use the same geographical area, but I’ve made some of the towns a bit larger than they really are and gave them names from old towns that had once been in the county. I’ve also populated the county with fictional people and businesses. Having grown up in the area, I didn’t want people to think I was writing about them. all of my characters and situations are figments of my imagination.

Hawke, who prefers to be called that rather than Gabriel, was born on the Lapwai Reservation in Idaho. After his parents divorced his mother moved to the Umatilla Reservation in Oregon where her family lived. Hawke is Nez Perce. His father’s people were of the treaty Nez Perce and his mother a descendant of the non-treaty Nez Perce.  Reading this series will teach you the difference and how it has affected Hawke’s way of thinking and life.

When I saw a photo of Adam Beach from the movie  “The Watchman’s Canoe”, I knew this was my prototype for Hawke.  He’s 52 years-old, divorced.  His wife left him when Hawke arrested her brother on drug charges. That’s when he decided living on his own and having no one to be responsible for, was the best option.

After a short stint in the military, Hawke returned and applied for the Oregon State Police Academy. He was accepted and after five years as a patrol trooper, he was able to get on with the Fish and Wildlife State Troopers as a Game Warden in Wallowa County.  Land that has remained dear to the Nez Perce. What propelled him into the Fish and Wildlife division was his master tracking skills that he’d learned from his grandfather.

It is his love of the Wallowa country, his tracking skills, and a keen sense of justice that propels him in the books in the series.

Hawke is introduced to my readers in book 12 of my Shandra Higheagle series, Homicide Hideaway releasing Jan. 4th.

MURDER OF RAVENS

1 GH Murder of Ravens 5x8The ancient Indian art of tracking is his greatest strength…

And also his biggest weakness.

Fish and Wildlife State Trooper Gabriel Hawke believes he’s chasing poachers.

However, he comes upon a wildlife biologist standing over a body that is wearing a wolf tracking collar.

He uses master tracker skills taught to him by his Nez Perce grandfather to follow clues on the mountain. Paper trails and the whisper of rumors in the rural community where he works, draws Hawke to a conclusion that he finds bitter.

Arresting his brother-in-law ended his marriage, could solving this murder ruin a friendship?

Universal Buy Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/bxZwMP

Book 2, Mouse Trail Ends will be on pre-order in January and releases February 20th.

MOUSE TRAIL ENDS

Parents are killed while on a camping trip.

Daughter is missing.

Fish and Wildlife State Trooper Gabriel Hawke remembers coming across the missing family in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. When he finds their camp, the parents have been shot. All the clues show the girl is on the run. Using his tracking skills, Hawke gets closer to the girl and discovers someone is also trailing him. Believing it is whoever killed the parents and wants to silence the child, he moves faster to catch up to the wily nine- year-old.

Can he reach the girl without compromising her or will his need to save her put others he knows and cares for in danger?

Book 3 in the Gabriel Hawke series, Rattlesnake Brothers, will release March 20th.

RATTLESNAKE BROTHERS

Corrupt officials.

Death to those who dare complain.

Fish and Wildlife State Trooper Gabriel Hawke encounters a hunter with an illegal tag. The name on the tag belongs to the Wallowa County District Attorney and the man holding the tag isn’t the public official.  As Hawke digs to find out if the DA is corrupt the hunter’s body is found.  Zeroing in on the DA, Hawke finds his hands tied by both the county and the State Police.

Being suspended doesn’t stop Hawke from digging deep into the lives of the county officials and dodging a murderer out to stop his investigation.

Murder of Ravens blog tour

tour banner

The next ten days the first book in the Gabriel Hawke Novel series, Murder of Ravens, will be highlighted either in a review or a blog post at the following blogs. At each one you can enter for a chance to win a signed print copy of Murder of Ravens.

MURDER OF RAVENS TOUR PARTICIPANTS

January 15 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

January 15 – The Book Decoder – REVIEW

January 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 16 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

January 17 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST

January 17 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW

January 18 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 18 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

January 19 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

January 19 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

January 20 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

January 20 – Mythical Books – SPOTLIGHT

January 21 – Laura`s Interests – REVIEW

January 22 – A Blue Million Books – CHARACTER GUEST POST

January 23 – FUONLYKNEW – REVIEW

January 24 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – GUEST POST

January 24 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT

January 25 – Here’s How It Happened – REVIEW

January 25 – My Reading Journeys – CHARACTER GUEST POST

Waiting for Winter & a Horse

20190109_091030
our hill 

We had about 6 inches of snow in December that stayed around until a week before Christmas. Leaving us with a brown holiday. No sledding, no building snowmen. It has been brown ever since.

 

Hubby was getting excited when we had several weather reports for snow. However, they didn’t happen. He is now skeptical about any talk of snow in the forecast.

We need the snow. Or warm up and rain like the dickens. In SE Oregon we are very dry.  It will be a hot, fire wary summer if we don’t get more moisture soon.

My Christmas gift from hubby is a horse. The only problem is I am having trouble finding one. I need a horse that is around 15 years old or a bit older, 14-15 hands, been ridden so much that no matter if I ride once a week, once a month or every day, it will behave. I also need one that will be able to go on an all day trail ride.

The daughter who moved down the road this past summer plans to take me on trail rides once a week or at least twice a month. I love trail riding. So the horse has to be able to physically go up and down hills and spend the day walking with me on its back.

appaloosa stallion
Appaloosa

I would like a gelding. I’ve had too many issues with mares. But I’m willing to look at a mare if it has a mellow attitude. I’ve been combing the sale ads. I found a great mare, but the people never responded when I contacted them to look at her. I wish people would take down ads if the horse has sold or at least text you back with sold.  Common courtesy is so hard to find these days.

Horse
Paint

My ideal horse would be Appaloosa, paint, or dun/buckskin. I like horses that have interesting color. But if it’s the right size, attitude, and health, oh, and also price, I won’t worry about the color.

Buckskin horse
Buckskin

Growing up I had a sorrel buckskin mare that I loved! She never had an attitude, went wherever I wanted to go, and came when I called her. She was a good 15-16 hands and beautiful.  I rode her a lot bareback and I was barefoot. LOL We’d cross the Lostine River and head up on the side of the mountain. I’d lay on her back looking up at the sun shining through the cottonwood and aspen trees as she walked along.  I’d spend hours out riding her in the summer.  Sometimes my younger brother rode with me and we’d go all over the hills and mountain side.

I’ve never been one to like riding around in arenas. I only ran my horse when we would race in the lane. A trot was to catch up if I’d been gawking and fell behind.

If you have a horse, what color and breed is it? If you don’t what color or breed do you think is pretty?

Yule Log/ New Year Treat/ Birthday Roll by Paty Jager

For Christmas for my family, I made a Yule Log we had after Christmas Eve dinner. Th first version didn’t turn out very pleasant to look at but it tasted okay. I wasn’t happy and made a second one, tweaking the original recipe. This ended up being made from three different recipes combined to make my newest creation and one my granddaughter asked me to make for her birthday in July.

Cake:

¾ cup cake flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

5 eggs, separated

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat over to 375° F. Grease 15 ½ X 10 ½ inch jelly roll pan; line with waxed or parchment paper.  Grease the paper, set pan aside. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl; stir to combine. Beat egg yolks and 2/3 cup of sugar in separate small bowl with electric mixer at high speed about 5 minutes or until think and lemon colored, scraping down side of bowl once. Beat in vanilla; set aside.

Beat egg whites at high speed in clean large bowl using clean beaters, until foamy. Gradually beat in the remaining ½ cup of sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.

Fold flour mixture into egg yolk mixture. Fold flour/egg yolk mixture into egg white mixture until evenly incorporated. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. Meanwhile, lightly sift powered sugar over clean dish towel.

Loosen warm cake from edges of pan with spatula; invert onto prepared towel. Remove pan; peel off the paper. Gently roll up cake in towel from short end, jelly-roll style. Let tolled cake cool completely on wire rack.

cake rolled in towel

Filling:

Makes 2 cups

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/3 cup sugar

¾ cup milk

1 egg yolk beaten with ¼ cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Blend cornstarch, sugar, and milk in a small saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, over moderate heat until mixture boils and is thick; boil and stir ½ minute longer. Off heat, beat a little hot mixture into egg yolk, return all to pan gradually, beating constantly. Mix in vanilla and cool to room temperature, beating now and then.

cooking filling

After filling has cooled; whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the filling. Unroll the cooled cake, spread the whipped filling across the cake and roll up without the towel. Place on plate or platter.  Cut one inch off one end and place against the side of the longer piece. (This will resemble stump or a branch).

I made my “stump” branch a little longer to make the cake fit the platter.

Frosting:

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

2-3 tablespoons milk

Stir together sugar and cocoa. Beat butter until fluffy. Alternately add sugar mixture and milk, beating until frosting is smooth and fluffy.  Frost the entire cake. Swirl ends of log and flat side of stump to resemble cut section of log. Run tines of fork along the length of the log or spread frosting to resemble bark.

Can be sprinkled with nuts or other adornment. I fashioned white poinsettias from mints I made earlier.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Makes 8-10 servings.

Christmas Cheer by Paty Jager

The stockings were hung…

I love Christmas. If I didn’t have so much fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving decorations I would decorate in November for Christmas so I could have the fun lights and decorations up longer. 

Are you an all-out Christmas decorator or do you just put up enough that you know it’s Christmas and no one can accuse you of being a Grinch?

Here are a few scenes of what I have going on.

MY mom crocheted this scene years ago.

I like to put lights in every room. Bathrooms, bedrooms, the office. There is nothing cheerier than twinkling lights. But then I love glitter!😉

We have a (it looks like a moose but I think it’s supposed to be a reindeer) sitting in a rocking chair and it plays the song, “Grandma got run over by a Reindeer”. Our four-year-old grandson and the 2 year-old play that over and over again and dance to the song. It gets annoying when you are trying to have a conversation and then the reindeer goes away. LOL

The tree is up. I decorate it in stages until it is as I wanted it. I still have to make the gingerbread people that depict each family member and hang those from the tree, but the rest is done.

The presents are all bought and wrapped and under the tree.The ones that had to be shipped are off. The Christmas cards are all in the mail.

I do have cookies and candy to make for the neighbors, but I do that in the evenings while watching TV.

Now I can sit back and wait for company to arrive the weekend before Christmas.

Let the writing commence!