Saturday, March 28, 2015


In 1670, Dorothy Jones and Jane Barnard each successfully petitioned the city of Boston “to keepe a house of publique Entertainment for the sellinge of Coffee and Chucalettoe [sic].” ((Ward, Gerald W. R. “Silver Chocolate Pots of Colonial Boston.” In Grivetti, Louis E., and Howard-Yana Shapiro, eds. Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009, 143)) The record of their petitions is one of the earliest documentations of the presence of chocolate in the British American colonies. Like in Europe, chocolate at first met with mixed reactions; it was found to be so enjoyable that some of the more conservative members of society considered it sinful. This did not stop it from gaining popularity among the elite who could afford it, however, and consumption and gifting of chocolate was gradually accepted.

Records show that wealthier families often enjoyed a cup of chocolate with or as their breakfast in late seventeenth and early eighteenth century New England. The hot chocolate drink of this time was prepared in the European fashion, using a special chocolate pot made of tin, copper, stone, or silver if one was wealthy enough to be so fashionable. A chocolate pot was often taller and larger than a teapot, with a hole in the lid through which a mill or stirring rod could be moved. The pot was placed over a heat source, and a rough cake of chocolate was boiled in water, stirred continuously to fully incorporate it and create a frothy mixture. Sugar was also added, as it would have been with tea or coffee, and sometimes milk or wine. ((ibid, 145))

Chocolate’s popularity quickly spread throughout the American colonies, and increasing quantities were imported from abroad every year. Newspaper advertisements for chocolate sales in the colonies have been traced back to the early eighteenth century, as have customs logs and diary entries mentioning chocolate. During the mid-1700s, Benjamin Franklin advertised chocolate for sale in his Philadelphia print shop. ((Gay, James F. “Chocolate Production and Uses in 17th and 18th Century North America.” In Grivetti, Louis E., and Howard-Yana Shapiro, eds. Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009, 289)) So enamored with what he believed to be chocolate’s abilities to improve health and spirit was Franklin that he even recommended chocolate for smallpox treatment and included “6 lbs. of chocolate” (along with sugar, tea, coffee, vinegar, cheese, Madeira, Jamaican spirits, and mustard) in the provisions shipments for each of the subaltern officers fighting in the French and Indian War. ((Westbrook, Nicholas, Christopher D. Fox, and Anne McCarty. “Breakfasting on Chocolate: Chocolate in Military Life on the Northern Frontier, 1750-1780, In Grivetti, Louis E., and Howard-Yana Shapiro, eds. Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009, 399))

As demand for chocolate grew and relationships with the British colonial government strained, entrepreneurial New Englanders began manufacturing chocolate locally. In 1765, the first chocolate mill in what would become the United States was established along the Neponset River in the Lower Mills region of Dorchester and Milton, Massachusetts. The chocolate mill, which processed imported cacao into chocolate, went on to become the Walter Baker & Company chocolate manufacturer (still active as the now Kraft-owned Baker’s Chocolate brand). ((Sammarco, Anthony. The Baker Chocolate Company: A Sweet History. Charleston,  SC: History Press, 2009))
Baker Chocolate Company bird’s eye view along Neponset River
Baker’s and other manufacturers based on the east coast increased quantities of chocolate available to the American market, drawing new converts. Thomas Jefferson famously wrote to John Adams in 1785, remarking on chocolate’s growing popularity: “The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the preference over tea and coffee in America, which it has in Spain.” ((Letter: Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, dated November 27, 1785. In Boyd, J.P., editor. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1954; Volume 9,

During the nineteenth century, chocolate’s appeal spread further. To meet demand, larger quantities of cacao were grown in Latin America, the Caribbean, and eventually Africa. Cacao plantations relied heavily on the slave labor prevalent throughout the European colonies, which kept prices down. Advances in technology also allowed manufacturers to produce more chocolate at lesser cost, reducing the price and making it more widely accessible to American consumers. American chocolate makers took pride in their work, entering their products in competitive exhibitions around the world and occasionally winning prizes from elite committees of experts and connoisseurs.

Monday, March 23, 2015


The quaking aspen, also called simply quakie or aspen, sometimes quaking asp, is the state tree of Utah. The silvery green leaves quiver continually, creating their own special sound, which explains the tree's name. The white bark is especially popular with people who love to leave their mark by carving their initials or names. The scientific name is populus tremulolides michx. In the high Wasatch and Uinta mountain ranges, one can't go far without running into a large stand of quakies in sunny areas. In the fall, they turn the mountainsides gold and orange. Aspens grow in a wide variety of terrain: most uplands, dry mountainsides, high plateaus, mesas, avalanche chutes, parklands, gentle slopes near valley bottoms, alluvial terraces and along watercourses. They do not tolerate being wet for long periods. Most commonly found between 6,000 and 10,000 feet above sea level. Reproduction occurs mostly by root-sprouting, many trees in a grove being connected by a common root system in "clones." Because of this, entire clones may be lost at the same time due to encroachment by spruce and fir trees, or by insects. 


Aspen's main uses in Utah have been for fence poles and buildings, and as firewood. Some trees have been sawed into lumber or pulp. Recently, it has been used for paneling.
Aspen is good to excellent forage for sheep, and fair for cattle. The twigs, bark, and buds are browsed by wildlife and birds eat the seeds. Grazing of aspen sprouts, especially by cattle and elk, is a growing concern in the maintenance of aspen stands.

Wild and domestic ungulates use quaking aspen for summer shade. Seral quaking aspen communities provide excellent hiding cover for moose, elk, and deer. Deer use quaking aspen stands for fawning grounds.

Well-stocked quaking aspen stands provide excellent watershed protection. The trees, the shrub and herbaceous understories, and the litter of quaking aspen stands provide nearly 100 percent soil cover. Soil cover and the intermixture of herbaceous and woody roots protect soil except during very intense rains. Quaking aspen intercepts less snow and transpires less water than conifers, so snowpack and runoff is greater under quaking aspen.

Quaking aspen is valued for its aesthetic qualities at all times of the year. The yellow, orange, and red foliage of autumn particularly enhances recreational value of quaking aspen sites.

The bark of quaking aspen was used by pioneers and American Indians as a fever remedy, as well as for scurvy. It contains salicin (similar to the active ingredient in aspirin). A substance similar to turpentine was extracted and used internally as an expectorant and externally as a counterirritant.

Life Span: Perennial Origin: Native
Season: Cool
Growth Characteristics: Aspen is an attractive deciduous tree, growing up to 40 feet tall. The trunk is generally long and slender, but can be up to nearly 3 feet in diameter. It flowers April to June, and fruits ripen May to July. The tree grows rapidly from basal sprouts and root sprouts. It seldom reproduces from seeds.
Flowers/Inflorescence: Inflorescence is a catkin.
Fruits/Seeds: Fruit is tufted capsules borne in catkins. Range in color from light green to brown. The seeds have very specific conditions needed to germinate, and therefore, under current climatic conditions, seldom produce aspen seedlings that survive.
Leaves: Aspen has alternate leaves, the blades being highly variable, from oval to broadly oval, the top of the leaf coming to a point or being rounded, and the base being round to square. The margins are serrated, with the teeth being mostly rounded. The upper surface of the leaf is dark green with a prominent white midvein. The underside of the leaf is pale green. The petiole is flattened and as long as the leaf. This petiole allows the leaves to "quake" in the wind, hence the name "quakie." The leaves change from green to bright yellow or yellowish-orange in the fall.
Stems: Twigs are slender, reddish-brown to gray. The trunk bark is thin, smooth, and chalky white. The bark becomes darker and breaks into blocks or plates with age or damage (i.e. fire, carving).

Associated Species: Mountian brome, snowberry, blue wildrye, larkspur, waterleaf, Rocky Mountain maple, and chokecherry.

Friday, March 20, 2015


Family: Pinaceae or Pine. Also called Tamarack Pine

Leaves: Needles in groups of 2; 1" to 3" long; yellow-green; stout; evergreen, remain on tree 4-6 years.

Twigs/buds: Twigs stout; orange-brown to black when older. Buds about 1/4" long; covered with resin; dark brown.

Flowers/fruit: Fruit a woody cone; very short to no stalk; 3/4" to 2" long; oval; brown turning gray; each scale tipped with a prickle; cones often stay on trees and remain tightly closed for many years (such cones are called serotinous).

Bark: Orange-brown to gray; thin, even on older trees; scaly.

Wood: Moderately important; sapwood thick; heartwood light brown; used for lumber, posts, poles, and railroad ties.

Size at 100 years: 70-110 feet tall, 1-2 feet in diameter
Life Span: 150 years
Cones: 3/4 to 2" long, eggshaped with small prickle on each scale

Grows from SE Alaska and central Yukon south through Sierra Nevada to S. California, and south in Rocky Mountains to S. Colorado. Also in Black Hills of South Dakota and N. B

aja California. Native to higher elevations in northern Utah and throughout the West and western Canada. Lodgepole pine in Utah sometimes is called Pinus contorta var. latifolia. Normal growth rate is relatively slow. Grows in dense, single-species stands formed when it seeds-in heavily after fires. Fairly drought resistant. Shade intolerant.

The lodgepole pine occurs in areas where forest fires are common. The cones will stay on the trees tightly closed until the heat of a fire causes the cones to open and drop seed to begin a new forest. Native Americans prized the lodgepole for making teepee supports and travois poles. Many First Nations peoples used the wood from lodgepole pine for a variety of purposes, including poles for lodges, homes or buildings. In the spring, they stripped off long ribbons or "noodles" of the sweet succulent inner bark (cambium layer). It was eaten fresh in the spring, sometimes with sugar, or stored.

The pitch was used as a base for many medicines. It was boiled, mixed with animal fat, and used as a poultice for rheumatic pain and all kinds of aches and soreness in muscles and joints. Pitch was also chewed to relieve sore throats.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Also called narrowleaf or mountain cottonwood. At
120 years, this tree grows 60-120 feet tall, 1-3 feet in diameter. Life Span: 120 years. Grows in moist soils along streams in mountains, with willows and alders in coniferous forests. From S. Alberta and extreme SW.W. Saskatchewan south to Trans-Pecos Texas, California and New Mexico at 3000-8000'.

Leaves: 3-6" long, egg-shaped, tapering to a point, edges notched, dark green. Dull yellow in autumn. 

Fruit: 1/3-1/2" long, 3 valved, pubescent
Bark: Tawny yellow to gray and smooth on young trees, turning dark gray and deeply furrowed in older trees. 

The tallest native western hardwood. The wood is used for boxes and crates. The hard, unripe seeds have been adapted for pea-shooter ammunition. The released seeds form the familiar "summer snow," carried on the wind by their cottony filaments.

Discovered in 1805 by Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the Northwest, this is the common cottonwood of the northern Rocky Mountains. Its root system makes it suitable for erosion control.

Native American people on the coast made dugout canoes from black cottonwood. Also, the Okanagan people made cottonwood into sideboards for riding and cradles to flatten their children's heads. 

Cottonwood burns well and was used to make friction fire sets. Ashes were used to make a cleanser for hair and buckskin clothing. The Thompson people produced soap from the inner bark. The Hudson's Bay Company reportedly continued using their method, combining the inner bark with tallow. 

First Nations people used the resin from buds to treat sore throats, coughs, lung pain and rheumatism. An ointment, called balm of Gilead, was made from the winter buds of balsam poplar to relieve congestion 

The balsam scented buds contain a waxy resin with anti-infectant properties still used in many modern natural health ointments. Bees collect it and use it to seal off intruders, such as mice, which might decay and infect the hive.

Sunday, February 15, 2015


For almost ten years from 25 March 1869, the town of Corinne reigned as "The Gentile Capital of Utah." As the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads approached their historic meeting place at Promontory Summit early in 1869, a group of former Union army officers and some determined non-Mormon merchants from Salt Lake City decided to located a Gentile town on the Union Pacific line, believing that the town could compete economically and politically with the Saints of Utah. They chose a location about six miles west of Brigham City on the west bank of the Bear River where the railroad crossed that stream. Named by one of the founders (General J.A. Williamson) for his fourteen-year-old daughter, Corinne was designed to be the freight-transfer point for the shipment of goods and supplies to the mining towns of western Montana along the Montana Trail.

In its heyday, Corinne had about 1,000 permanent residents, not one of whom was a Mormon, according to the boast of the local newspaper. As an end-of-the-trail town, Corinne reflected a very different atmosphere and culture from the staid and quiet Mormon settlements of Utah, nurturing not only a number of commission and supply houses but also fifteen saloons and sixteen liquor stores, with a gun-fighting town marshal to keep order in this "Dodge City" of Utah. The permanent residents of Corinne did their best to promote a sense of community pride and peaceful, cultural pursuits but had a raucous and independent clientele of freighters and stagecoachers to control.

With some support from political leaders in the nation's capital and from eastern newspapers, the town fathers attempted to use their position as a Gentile city to break the political and economic monopoly held by the Mormons in Utah Territory. They sought to have J. A. Williamson named territorial governor, tried to have the northern one degree of latitude of Utah added to Idaho so as to dismember the territory, and attempted to have Corinne named as the capital of Utah. The citizens of Corinne failed in each case to achieve their wishes, although their leaders and newspapers bombarded Washington, D.C. for help in their fight with Brigham Young and the Mormon hierarchy. The Saints had no difficulty in this unequal fight, even awarding the ballot to Utah women to ensure maintenance of political control of the territory.

First meeting in Corinne in 1872, Corinne Lodge No.5 was chartered as the first Utah Masonic Lodge north of Salt Lake City on November 11, 1873, by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Utah. Edmond P. Johnson, the first Master of the Lodge and a past jurisdictional judge in Box Elder County, along with many other prominent Masons of the day, are buried in the Corinne City Cemetery.[4]

Brigham Young assured the demise of Corinne when he and the Mormon people built the narrow-gauge Utah Northern Railroad from Ogden to Franklin, Idaho. Although construction of the line beyond that point ceased for four years as a result of the Panic of 1873, in the autumn of 1877 the Union Pacific bought the spur line and began pushing it northward through Idaho. The tracks reached Marsh Valley and cut the Montana Trail at that place, thereby supplanting wagon traffic from Corinne with rail transport from Ogden. The Gentile merchants soon abandoned Corinne in favor of Ogden or the terminus of the rail line, while Mormon farmers moved in to buy the land around Corinne and make it into another Mormon settlement.

In 1877 an LDS ward was organized, but was dissolved when the town suffered a decline in population. As farmers again settled the region, a Corinne Ward was again organized; during the interim it was part of the Bear River Ward. A meetinghouse was built in 1914, and the Corinne Ward was reorganized that year with Alma Jenson as Bishop.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The History of the Transcontinental Railroad

Written By Becky Harris on Tuesday, August 28 2012

Moving West: The History of the Transcontinental Railroad

After the American Revolution, a new, independent country was formed. With the colonists gaining independence from Britain, the population started to look at the country and to expand beyond the original thirteen colonies. Through a series of moves and purchases, within several decades the amount of land in the United States stretched from the Atlantic to Pacific Oceans.
With the additional land brought additional opportunities for people. With the California Gold Rush and the chance to get a new life along with land to call their own, many people packed up and traveled west to settle. However, in the early 1800's travel from east to west was very hazardous. The only choices settlers had were either by wagon train with groups, via stagecoach or by way of riding west by horseback. None of these methods were very efficient.
In the 1800's trains began to emerge as an option for travel for people. Train routes started to show up in the east as well as west, however, the two parts of the country were still separate. But, with the signing of the Pacific Railway Act of 1862, it was ordered to have two major railway companies, the Central Pacific Railway and the Union Pacific Railway, work on a railroad that would connect the country. The two companies started the project in 1863 and were completed in 1869 with the final stake placed in the ground in Utah.
The project was difficult with many obstacles faced along the way. However, with the completion of the First Transcontinental Railway, it connected east and west so that travel would be easier and safer. This opened the door to further expansion of the rail system to include all parts of the country, making travel and commerce more efficient. To learn more about the First Transcontinental Railway, please feel free to review the following information:
Eastern Railway History
  • America's First Trains - Historical article giving readers a look at some of the first trains that were in the United States.
  • Railroads and Maps - Informative web site providing a look at early railroads and early maps of the tracks used.
  • History of Early Railroads - Helpful descriptive article giving a review of the early United States transportation from the early 1800's.
Western Railway History
  • Railroads and the West - Useful article explaining how the railways in the west led to a rise in immigration.
  • Early American Railroads - Information on early railways in the United States and how it led to growth of the west.
  • Railway Museum - Educational site with images and information on railways in the western United States.
Pacific Railway Act of 1862
Railroad Companies
  • Central Pacific Railroad History - Historical website which provides a look at the history of one of the companies involved in building the First Transcontinental Railway.
  • Central Pacific Railroad - Information on the rail company that worked on the western portion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
  • Union Pacific History and Photos - Informative website dedicated to the history through words and pictures of the other company that built the First Transcontinental Railway.
  • Historical Society - Organization that was formed to document and recognize the achievements of the company that worked on the eastern portion of the Transcontinental Railroad.
Dangers of the Railroad
  • Transcontinental Timeline - Basic information on major events in the construction of the railway.
  • Transcontinental Railway Overview - Information and overview on the construction of the railroad.
  • Hell on Wheels - Web site for AMC-TV program based loosely on events surrounding the construction of the railway.
  • Railroad Information - Useful site with information on the work that went into constructing the First Transcontinental Railway.
  • Constructing the Railroad - Helpful site giving an overview of construction along the path of the railroad.
  • Railroad Problems - Informative site providing information on the railroad and some of the problems associated with building them.
Connecting the Rails
  • Eastward to Promontory - Helpful site with information on the building of the railway.
  • Uniting the Nation - Historical look at the completion of the railroad and what it means.
  • Railway Completed - Information and images from an exhibit on the railway.
  • Promontory Point - Informative article on the conclusion of the railway at Promontory Point, Utah.
  • Golden Spike National Site - Official site of the National Park which is the location of where the final golden spike was used to connect the rails.
Historic Significance
  • Impact of the Railroad - Informative page with information on the effect that the railroad had on the United States.
  • Historical Significance - Article providing a brief historical overview of the completion of the railroad.
  • Railroad Facts - Basic information about the facts surrounding the Transcontinental Railway.
  • Mining and Railroads - Helpful page showing how the First Transcontinental Railroad was important to the mining industry, and others.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Take one hot, sexy cop, add a beautiful Forensic Pathologist, and you have one heck of a steamy love affair.  

BUT, who is threatening their lives? 
Whose life is really at risk?
AND why has a young man been murdered and what the hell do snakes have to do with it all?

Flynn pushed through the glass doors into the Forensics Centre. A young woman at the front desk glanced up. He grinned as she licked her lips and gave him the once over. He was used to this from women but still hadn't figured out why they responded this way. Without vanity he knew his looks were better than average, but nothing special. Women obviously thought different.
"Can I help you?" she purred.
"I'm looking for where Doc Reid is performing an autopsy." He flashed his credentials.
"Room two, sir."
He nodded, thanked her and strode down the corridor. He stopped at a door where a plaque proclaimed it led to 'Examination Room 2'.
Flynn entered the airlock space and donned a pair of white coveralls, mask and white paper cap. He then stepped into the examination room. It smelled of antiseptic, unidentifiable chemicals and death. Not his favourite place to be.
Lily was bent over the corpse. She appeared deep in thought and he cleared his throat to make his presence known. She straightened and glanced up. "Detective, come in."
He moved closer. "Anything yet?"
"I'm really baffled and wondering whether your crack about vampires is very far from the mark."
Flynn raised his eyebrows.
"The two puncture marks in the neck had some sort of fluid in them that prevented the blood from clotting. Poison of some sort but my initial tests don't recognize it. I've sent it to the lab for urgent analysis."
"That would explain the huge amount of blood loss."
"Yes it would, especially as no major veins or arteries were severed in the area. The other puzzle is the puncture marks on his scrotum. The surrounding tissue is blistered, badly bruised and necrotic."
Lily lifted the sac and pointed out two large puncture marks under the balls. They were identical to the holes in his neck. The skin was swollen, wrinkled and black.
"Christ, what did that?" Flynn's balls reacted to the gruesome sight by trying to climb up inside him.
"I don't know for sure but my guess is a snake."
Flynn's puzzled look questioned her sanity.
"A snake?  We don't have snakes that leave bloody great holes like those."
"I know, which is why I'm baffled. It doesn't add up. The aligned puncture holes, the poison which prevented the blood from clotting, and the tattoo on his chest."
"Yes. Look closely. It's a cobra tattooed on his chest."
Flynn dropped his head to study the ink on the victim's chest. "I'll be, it is a cobra. I assumed it was some sort of tribal thing when I first noticed it."
"You need to get close to see the snake head, but once you do it is very clear."
"Snake worship, doc?"
Lily held her hands up, palms out. "We don't have things like that here. Snake worship only happens in Africa as far as I know, and we certainly don't have cobras."
"Give me some answers. All you've done so far is tell me what it isn't. Tell me what it is."
"I don't know. I've never seen it before. I'm going to need more time to figure this out. I'm sorry but I have told you all I know at this point."
"Excuse me?"
"I asked if you would have dinner with me."
Lily glanced around the room as if expecting something.
"If you're too busy I understand."
"No, no. It's just I have a policy of not getting involved with colleagues."
"Jeez doc, I'm not asking you to marry me. I only want to have dinner with you."
Lily reconsidered. "Of course. Give me twenty minutes and I'll join you."
"Meet you out front?"
"Yes please."
"I have a

Buy Here:!deadly-secrets/cbzx

Lacey Roberts is the pen name I chose when I began writing Erotic Romance.
I grew up in Sydney but now live in sunny Queensland where I spend my days walking my dogs, reading and writing. Married for almost 41 years, my husband and I also enjoy a great deal of travel.
My plans for the immediate future include travel to the US to meet some of my author friends.
I hope you enjoy my latest release which is set in Canberra, Australia – the Nation's Capital. This story is purely fictional but there are numerous real places and facts covered. I could not have made it as realistic without the advice of the A.C.T. Police Media Centre and the Forensic Medical Centre at Sydney University. I am grateful to both.
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