Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Seeing a Pronghorn fawn

We saw our first Pronghorn fawn last week. He and his mamma were running down our dirt road as we drove by them, right next to our car. Believe it or not, he and his mamma were running far too fast for me to pull over and take some photos of them. Even though they were so close to us, they were over the hill and hidden in some sagebrush before we could get stopped. It’s amazing that the fawns can run so quickly after only a few hours of being born.

Making a trip across the state we had the opportunity to see some more baby Pronghorn mingled with other members of their herd, eating alongside their mothers under blue skies out on the open spaces of prairie grass and sage.

My kids loved seeing the fawn and look for more of them every time we drive into town. Even they know that seeing the babies is a very special part of our day. Although we are surrounded by thousands of Pronghorn in Wyoming, and they become a very common site, taking the time to enjoy their presence makes the place I live in all the more lovely to me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Map of the Silk Road

On occasion I have some extra time to snoop around on the internet and see where the links lead. Recently I was rummaging around and came across this map, created by amproehl, on Flickr. The map is an interpretation of the ancient trade routes along the Silk Road.

In case you didn’t know, Marco Polo was a famous traveler on this route, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to China. Polo was one of the first westerners to make it all the way to China and live to tell about his experiences.

Since the Silk Road covers many miles and many countries, making borders a hindrance and a cumbersome part of viewing the ancient road, the artist of the map has decided to focus on the geology the route encompasses and has used text to define location.

Although some of the towns can still be visited and some of the routes are still in use, the majority of the Silk Road no longer exists; which is what makes this map and the history so fascinating to me.

Click here to see the map.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Interview with author Susan L. Krueger

Addie Slaughter
The Girl Who Met Geronimo

By Susan L. Krueger

Interview with the author

1. What made you decide to do a chapter book on Addie Slaughter?

It was a trip to the Slaughter Ranch in Cochise County. Reba Wells Grandrud made arrangements for our writers group to stay at the ranch and while we were there, Reba presented her talk on the Slaughter family. I realized others would relate to the children who lived on the ranch, especially Addie.

2. I understand John Slaughter is a rather well-known figure in the Old West. Tell us a little bit about what kind of man Addie's father, John Slaughter, was and how he related to his children.

John Horton Slaughter was a small man with big ideas. He wasn’t afraid to track down the meanest outlaw or to try to make a success of the biggest ranch in Southern Arizona. He doted on his own children and probably never forgot that he almost lost them to smallpox. The foster children that came to live at the ranch were also a joy to him. The family photo album is full of pictures of a smiling John holding one child or another.

3. Why did you decide to do the book about Addie, rather than John Slaughter?

I thought it would give children a unique perspective of what life was like in the Wild West to hear it in the words of a child who lived it.

4. Tell us about Addie's mother and her stepmother.

Eliza Adeline was a mature woman with two young children who left her home and family in Texas and followed her husband to start a new life in Arizona. She was well prepared for the task of setting up a new home. Viola, on the other hand, was a southern belle teenager with no idea of how to be a housewife and mother. It took time but she rose to the challenge magnificently.

5. What are some of the hardships Addie and her family endured while living in the Wild West?

There was the real and present danger of outlaws, Indian attacks, and wild animals. But, when I think of the smallpox that killed her mother, the tuberculosis that plagued her father, and the many injuries that happened around the ranch, I would have to say their greatest hardship was the distance to medical care.

6. How did you research the lives of the Slaughters?

Reba Wells Grandrud was the historian during the restoration of the Slaughter Ranch. Our collaboration made all her painstaking research available to me, including the stories that Addie had told her own daughter about growing up in Tombstone and on the ranch. Between the two, there is no better source.

7. The contents of your book are based on historical facts with some dialogue and background fictionalized. What percentage of the tale would you say is pure fact, and why did you include fictitious information?

Every bit of the book is as historically accurate as I could make it. While it is based on Reba’s research, she did additional research after the book was written to make certain all of our facts were correct. However, I did want Addie to tell her own story so the dialogue is, of course, mine. I wanted children to hear Addie’s voice so she could come alive to them.

8. There is a poignant scene in the book where Geronimo takes off one of his beaded necklaces and gently holds it out to Addie. And then, he bows to her. Was that a factual scene? Why do you suppose he did that?

Yes, this really happened. It was certainly the most memorable thing that ever happened to Addie when she was a child. Geronimo was on the Slaughter Ranch many times and had given Grandma Howell a hand-carved wooden spoon. It is believed that Geronimo’s generosity to the Slaughter family had to do with his respect for the determined, fearless John Slaughter.

9. The Slaughter Ranch has been restored and is open to visitors. Can you tell us where it is, and what guests can expect when they visit the ranch?

The ranch is 15 miles outside of Douglas in South-eastern Arizona. The ranch buildings have been restored and the area is beautiful. It is well worth a visit and will bring the time period alive for visitors. The website is:

10. Is there anything else about the ranch or the book that you would like to share with us?

Only that I love family history and it has been a delight to preserve Addie’s stories.

11. If somebody wanted to contact you to speak at their school or historical group, how can they get in touch with you?

My publisher at (480) 940 -8182 would be happy to hear from them.

Photo used with permission by Tim Trumble.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Book Review: 'Addie Slaughter': For young readers and adults

‘Addie Slaughter’: For young readers and adults

Title: Addie Slaughter: The Girl Who Met Geronimo
Author: Susan L. Krueger, ED.D.
Publisher: Five Star Publications, Inc.
P.O. Box 6698
Chandler, AZ 85246-6698
ISBN 978-1-58985-197-9
Price: $15.95

On a ranch located in the remote area of the Arizona- Mexico border in the San Bernardino Valley, there lived a brave little girl and her family in the late 1800s. Susan L. Krueger, experienced teacher in reading, brings the story of the Slaughter family to readers as she describes their life from the perspective of a young girl, Addie Slaughter, the daughter of Arizona’s famous John Horton Slaughter.

Susan writes in first person, using the voice of Addie Slaughter to tell the story of her family and their life on the ranch. Life was not easy in the 1800s, and readers learn about the hardships of ranch life and traveling across the west, but also get to celebrate and see the joys the Slaughter family shared, especially learning about Addie’s exciting experience of meeting the Apache warrior and medicine man, Geronimo.

Historical photos help to bring the reality of life in the Wild West to the reader, and it is fun and interesting to see what clothes Addie wore, where she lived and what the actual necklace Geronimo gave her looked like.

Susan joined historian Dr. Reba Wells Grandrud, PhD., the John H. Slaughter Ranch historian, in telling the story of Addie Slaughter; which is evident as the stories of the Slaughter family are told in the book. Only someone who knew the background of the family so well could contribute such close understanding of their family life and life on the ranch.

Addie Slaughter: The Girl Who Met Geronimo is an impressive read, and you don’t have to be from Arizona to enjoy the story and appreciate the historical reference of the Slaughter family. Although it is a chapter book written for young readers, adults can learn much from the life of a young child living in the late 1800s and will also find this book as a very interesting read.
Visit the book website for more information:!
Please check back tomorrow for a Q&A with the author!