This Week in 1856 – Fort Laramie – Mary Taylor

8 October 1856: (near Salt Lake City)

Rescuers moved out from their meeting spot at Big Mountain.

8 October 1856:

Mary Taylor’s father, Joseph Taylor (age 44) died, probably from the combination of not enough food and dehydration or heat prostration. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the campground.

From John Jacques:

The company arrived at Fort Laramie October 8th, and camped east of Laramie For, about a mile from the fort. Before reaching Laramie, the company met a fine looking and finely dressed friendly Indian chief on a fine American horse, and soon after, two dragoons on horseback, gave some sweetmeats to the children of the company and appeared immensely pleased to see the people.

On the 9th many of the company went to the fort to sell watches or other things they could spare and buy provisions. The commandant kindly allowed them to buy from the military stores at reasonable prices, biscuits at 15 1/2 cents; bacon at 15 cents, rice at 17 cents per pound, and so on. Some bought a few things at the sutler’s, but much higher prices rule at his store.

I believe the company left Fort Laramie the next day. Thenceforth, until the close of the journey, although noteworthy events were on the increase and some of them were indelibly impressed on the minds of the emigrants, yet they were so fully occupied in taking care of themselves that they had little time to spare to note details with exactness, and many notes that we made at the time, were lost and cannot now be found.

Up to this time, the daily pound of flour ration had been regularly served, but it was never enough to stay the stomachs of the emigrants and the longer they were on the plains, and in the mountains, the hungrier they grew. Most persons who traveled the plains with ox teams or handcarts, know well enough the enormous appetite which that kind of life gives. It is an appetite that cannot be satisfied. At least, such was the experience of the handcart people. You feel as if you could almost eat a rusty nail or gnaw a file. You are ten times as hungry as a hunter, yea, as ten hunters, all the day long and every time you wake in the night. And so you continue to your journey’s end, and for some time after. Eating is the grand passion of a pedestrian on the plains, an insatiable passion, for her never get enough to eat. . .

Well, at the time when this great appetite was fully roused up and had put on its strength, it was further sharpened by the increasing coldness of the weather.

Soon after Fort Laramie was passed, it was deemed advisable to curtail the rations in order to make the hold out as long as possible. The pound of flour fell to 3/4 a pound, then to half a pound, and subsequently yet lower. Still the company toiled on through the Black Hills, where the feed grew scarcer for the cattle. As the necessities of man and beast increased, their daily flour diminished. In the Black Hills, the roads were harder, more rocky and more hilly, and this told upon the handcars, causing them to become rickety and need more frequent repairing.

Frosty Progress Report

Frosty in process

Somehow I haven’t gotten the time in on Frosty over the last couple of weeks that I wanted and needed to. This last week was a bit better but I’m behind. I focused this week on getting the front of his body covered with candy so at least it looks like I’ve made some good progress. My schedule this coming week doesn’t look too bad so I will focus hard on Frosty and get lots of work done. In a perfect world, I would be finishing Frosty up this coming week so I could start on the background the following week.

I have decided to wait on his hat the broom. They are good projects to work on inside as the weather get colder and the garage gets uncomfortable. I prefer working on Frosty in the garage because I’m using silicon caulk and it has a strong odor and needs good ventilation.

I may have to ditch my plans for putting a small village on the left side with small figures of children building Frosty and on the right side Frosty and some kids marching off into the hills. I hope that I can get them done. But if I have to leave them out no one will know that they are missing. I just like it when there are extra details to see when you get up close to the window.

50 for 50 #39 – USNS Gaffey

USNS Gaffey

This week to celebrate my 50th year I decided to do some research on the ship we sailed on when I was almost three years old.  My dad was in the navy so we took the U. Sl Naval Ship General Hugh J Gaffey from Hawaii to the main land. All our household goods were packed up, including our car. I was young enough that I’m not sure I remember anything but I have an image of a slide that I think was on the ship. But one of my sister’s remembers my mom buying us a sack of play dough that we played with on the ship instead of taking a nap. It took five days for us to reach Oakland, California. My other sister remembers a little lizard that hitched a ride in our car and we found it when we picked up our car in California.

I don’t have much information on the Gaffey but I know that there is lots of information on the internet about ships from researching for the Europe 1952 book. Typing “USNS Gaffey” brought up over 13,000 hits.  It seems that this ship was originally named for Admiral W. L. Capps and then was renamed for General Hugh J. Gaffey.

A collection of photos taken on or of the Gaffey.

A bit of the history of this ship.

Here is a blog post on NASA’s sight about another military family sailing to Japan on the Gaffey.

This trip has been my only ocean voyage to date. Though I’m looking forward to a cruise to Alaska next year. I have an extravagant dream of sailing around the world in a leisurely fashion and spending time at lots of ports along the way. Has anyone else taken a ship like the Gaffey?

Corn Maze


Salt Lake and Park City puppy clubs

For puppy class this week we had our annual trip to the Crazy Corn Maze. I didn’t know until we got there that it was probably Yakira’s last puppy class. It is interesting because last year the corn maze was Casey’s Last Class  too. Casey got to go to the corn maze twice because the year before when she was still and young puppy 2010.  Banta missed her chance to go to the corn maze because she was in season.I dressed up Yakira and Zodiac in the Halloween ruffles that I made for Banta and Casey so they could be festive with the season.

The Park City puppy club joined us again this year so there were lots and lots of puppies. When we came to a cross-road in the maze we traded puppies around. I got to have Zodiac only once and Yakira not at all. Some of the pups were a real pain to handling. They were pulling way too much of the time and a few of them seemed to thick-headed to get what I wanted them to do. One pup, Prego was very nice to walk though. The corn maze is a very different environment and with so many dogs. I also think that it is hard on some of the dogs to change handlers so much. Both Zodiac and Yakira came home exhausted.




Yakira and Waffle News


Yakira – photo by Karen Fuller

I got the official news today. Yakira will be returning to Guide Dogs for the Blind in just 12 days for breeder evaluations. It has been a bit of a roller coaster. First she is going in October, then no I think we will wait until November. But now it is real. I thought that the date was the 14th but we have an extra day. This is good because we like to do a farewell party for our puppies and Sunday is the easiest day to do that. She has to be to the truck very early in the morning so if her recall was the 14th we would have to do her farewell party this Sunday. I’m glad to have an extra week to get ready and to spread the word about her party.

Waffle – May 2012

Now for the really good news! Waffle was placed on August 31st with a middle-aged woman with special needs. She shares her home with two other mature women. Waffle goes nearly everywhere with her new partner, including on plane flights. The two of them are continuing their training with private session with a GDB employee. The adopter is VERY happy with Waffle. It is standard procedure to wait about a month to make sure that everyone is happy with the placement before the let the raiser know. I’m so happy that our little girl has her forever home and that she gets to be a service dog! Way to go Waffle!


Europe 1952: Maps

Among the many items that my mom saved from her trip to Europe in 1952 was a large map. I decided I wanted to use it at the beginning of each chapter. The map was challenging to scan because it was so big. So I scanned sections of it and then used Adobe Photoshop‘s photomerge to stitch together the section of the map for each country. If you’ve never used photomerge it is a very handy tool for doing things like panorama shots.

photomerged map

After I had a map section for each country I added a brown route line to mark the roads they traveled in that country. I did this also in Photoshop using the brush tool. To bring more focus to the country I added a grey mask that partially block out the neighboring countries, by adjusting the transparency of this layer.

map with route

map with surrounding countries grayed out

Once I brought the map image into Adobe InDesign, I added text boxes to label the cities they stayed in along with other relevant information and arrows to make it easier to tell the location of the city on the map. Arrows are easy to make in InDesign, just go to the stroke palette and select the style of arrow point you would like for the beginning or end of the line you made with the pen tool.

map with labels

I think the maps were effective in communicating a lot of the information at the beginning of each chapter in a visual way. How have you used maps in your projects?

This Week in 1856 – Chimney Rock – Mary Taylor

From Jessie Haven (with the Hodgetts Wagon Company):

2 October 1856:

Weather warm. Very warm for the season, and dry.

3 October 1856:

Hot today. Thermometer stood at noon in the sun at 119 degrees. United States troops passed us on their way to Laramie, Passed Chimney Rock today.

From John Jacques:

On the 3rd of October, near Chimney Rock, a company of United States Dragoons, under Major Hunter, with ten or twelve mule teams from Fort Kearny for Fort Laramie, passed the company and a boy named Aaron Giles, left the handcart company and went with the soldiers.

[There are some indications that Mary’s husband William Upton began to drive a wagon for the Hodgetts company at this time because some of their drivers left the company and went with the U.S. troops.]

On the 4th of October, the company passed Scott’s Bluffs. Parley P. Pratt‘s company of missionaries, going east from Salt Lake, passed the Bluffs about the same time, but the two companies did not see each other.

From Samuel Openshaw:

4 October 1845:

Passed Chimney Rock, which rises in the form of a monument or chimney, and can be seen at a distance.


4 October 1856: (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Franklin D. Richards arrived and notified Brigham Young of the plight of the handcart companies on the plains.

5 October 1856: (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Brigham Young announced at General Conference the need for wagons, supplies and men to go rescue the handcart companies.