Monthly Archives: July 2009

Buffalo Gals


My quest for Western history and adventure took me down a new path. Joined by my Yellowstone pal, Carol, our journey took us out on the eastern plains of Colorado to visit the remains of the African-American ghost town of Dearfield. A photo shoot on a hot July day yielded plenty of material for a future article.

That evening, we met up with another friend, Helen, in Severance, Colorado, for a dinner of Rocky Mountain oysters at Bruce’s Bar and Grill. These oysters, which have nothing to do with the ones you find at the seashore, are prepared from [um, how can I put this …] the delicate parts of bulls which are removed when they are neutered during branding. They are either considered a delicacy in cowboy culture, or are portrayed as such to segregate those with true Western grit from tinhorns and flatlanders. My curiosity evolved when the subject came up on the Women Writing the West e-bulletin board. The time had come for me to experience them for myself, in the interest of journalistic and historic research, of course.

Bruce’s is definitely the place to go for “oysters” in Northern Colorado. It is their specialty and they serve up plenty of them. They know how to cook them properly, a prerequisite for the discerning diner, or anybody with a healthy survival instinct.  Bruce’s Bar, a roomy, friendly, lively roadhouse, puts the little town of Severance on the map. It is the chosen destination for hungry families, bikers, and ranchers for miles around, and those of us looking for a little adventure and a new experience. Our outing had been on the calendar for some time, and as the date loomed, I was a little wary. However, our appetites were healthy after our outdoor research jaunt in the hot sun, and we were ready to eat just about anything. Almost.

We all decided to order bison, um, fries rather than the beef variety when the waitress assured us bison was more tender. It was a good choice. Our bison fries were served much like fried chicken strips with French fries in a heaping full basket lined with paper, with a ketchup-based dipping sauce on the side. They tasted fine. The sauce lacked pizazz, so we switched to either mustard or ranch dressing (blue cheese dressing would have been ideal). A good wheat beer with lemon, kept close at hand much like a fire extinguisher, was a good beverage choice. (No wine pairing suggested here!) The “oysters” were tender and mild with a faint liver taste and a consistency which was not the least bit chewy. The whole experience was fairly anti-climactic as we chatted and munched on our fries. All in all, the outing was fun and memorable.

I doubt I will go out of my way to order Rocky Mountain Oysters again, but I was happy with the experience. I will gladly go back to Bruce’s in Severance whenever friends nudge me in that direction. Just twist my arm.

Joyce Lohse, 7/26/09


Posted by on July 26, 2009 in Western history


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Summertime Book Events

Our Palmer Tribute at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs was a grand success. Folks came out to learn more about General Palmer and to visit with Dianne Hartshorn and myself, to discuss books and history. Once again, I found myself in a cemetery, surrounded by history and stories of pioneers. I had not previously been inside the little chapel, built in 1909, which turned out to be the perfect venue for the gathering.

I especially enjoyed visiting with my pals from Women Writing the West: Filter Press publisher Doris Baker, Doris McCraw, Gayle Gresham, and Dianne Hartshorn. It is always a pleasure to encounter and share time with friends who are members of this outstanding group of talented writers. For information about membership, go to: .

The busy summer continues with upcoming book events in Leadville, Parker, and Longmont in August. Leadville Boom Days is a special way to get in touch with the Old West. The parade down Harrison Street at 10 a.m. on August 8 will be full of horses and horse thieves, miners, dance hall girls, school marms, gamblers, you name it. If you go, stop by the Book Mine and say Howdy! I will be signing books there most of the afternoon.

Joyce Lohse, 7/21/09


Posted by on July 21, 2009 in Western history


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A Palmer Tribute

A Palmer Tribute —

What is it?

A free open house event to celebrate Colorado Springs founder, General William Palmer, will take place at the Evergreen Cemetery Chapel in Colorado Springs on Friday, July 17, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Author Joyce B. Lohse will discuss General Palmer with visitors, with a computer slide show on display. She will be available to sign books, including General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer, which will be available for purchase. Books by Joyce appeal to history buffs of all ages, and are appropriate for young readers. Dianne Hartshorn of A Perfect Era and Blanche’s Place will appear in character as Palmer’s wife, Queen.

General William Palmer: Railroad Pioneer, ISBN 978-0-86541-092-3,
list price $8.95, is available through booksellers, or from the publisher, . Check author web site for appearances and information at . To learn more about the Victorian Era and historic costumes, go to: and

Please join us for conversation about
history and books at A Palmer Tribute.
— Joyce & Dianne

General audience – public welcome!

Joyce B. Lohse, 7/7/09

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Posted by on July 7, 2009 in Western history


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Family Photos

As a genealogist, I place a high value on family photos. They are important threads in the fabric of any family, which allow us to reach back in history, and touch the lives of our ancestors. This past week, my sister and I were fortunate to visit our Mom back in Illinois where we grew up. I admit it, I grumbled some at the suggestion of dragging out slides with screen and projector. After all, Kodak announced the demise of Kodachrome film just last week.

It turned out to be a great experience. With the passage of time, the images have taken on new and different meaning. As we viewed them, we laughed til we cried. So many shared memories were contained in those images.

The danger is that the identity of our ancestors in those images can be lost. In addition, as technology changes, the format becomes obsolete. We are looking into scanning our slides and storing the images, possibly in DVD format, for maximum storage and durability, until the next technology change.

It is so easy to throw photos in a shoe box and forget about them. Time spent organizing, labeling, watching, sharing, and preserving precious photos is time well spent, which will, no doubt, be appreciated by our descendants.

Joyce B. Lohse
2 July 2009


Posted by on July 2, 2009 in Family history


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