Winter On The Oregon Trail

Well, you learn something new everyday I guess. Today I learned all about mountain men and the fur trade back in the 1800s! This is Teresa’s latest writing prompt:

Your challenge today, should you accept it, is to explore your rugged side. Write your take on the Western subgenre of Mountain Man and see where it leads…or whatever/wherever the picture takes you.

Well, as I did not know anything about Mountain Men to be honest, so I had to read a bit about who they were and what they did. I have tried to put a little something together, with a few familiar characters.

Robin Granger was a company man. He had just started working for a large Fur Company. The Raw Trading Fur Company had paid for the cost of his gear. While he paid back his debt to the Fur Company he could only trade with them. The first chills had arrived in the mountains and Robin had been warned that winter could be brutal.

One night the temperature dropped so low he had to wrap himself up in the furs he had collected to try to keep the freezing draft out. Despite the extra layers, he lay awake shivering for hours as he looked up at the stars and thought of his pretty wife back in Oregon. Gradually sleep took over him and he drifted away.

bevThe next thing Robin knew, somebody was shaking him forcefully. “Come on! Wake up, wake up!” an urgent voice was calling out.

Robin found it exhausting just to lift his eyelids. It took a few minutes for him to come round. A grizzly faced man looked down at him, shaking his shoulder. On seeing that he was finally awake, the stranger said to Robin, “I thought you were a goner. You new out here Friend?”

Robin nodded, “Seven months.”

“Started trapping in the spring hey? Fair weather trapper. Winter’s not a game Friend. We need to get you into a proper shelter.”

The stranger helped Robin onto his feet. The two men gathered up the furs. Robin’s limbs ached and his chest was tight. The stranger supported him as he stumbled. The stranger led the way through the Pass and towards a cave in the rock face. The embers of a fire were still glowing. It didn’t take long for the stranger to stir up the flames and soon Robin was able to thaw out in front of the warm glow.

The stranger introduced himself as Chris Ward, a free trapper who had made a tidy profit for himself through his exploits up in The Rocky mountains over the past few years. When he took the pelts he had acquired down to Missouri, he would sell them for the highest price he could, rather than having to trade with one company.

pend.png“There’s a lot of profit in fur. You need to pay off your debt as soon as possibly so you can be a free agent Friend. Where is home to you?”

“Home is just outside Pendleton, Oregon. I married just less than a year ago and set up a house not far from the Umatilla River.”

“I’m heading back up to Oregon myself. There’s a dame down there I was a-courting all summer, three years back. I’ve been saving up to go and ask her hand in marriage. Her father made it clear he would only consider a man with a steady income for his daughter. Well I’ve made a small fortune from free trading. So I am heading back there.”

“Well, you should come and stay with me and my wife. She’ll be so grateful to you for helping me out.”

“We can travel along the trail together if it suits you. I think I could do with the company and you need to be better prepared for winter up here in the Rockies. You could have frozen to death in your sleep out there.”

Robin thanked Chris. “Annabelle would have been devastated.”

ann.pngChris’s stirred the fire, “Annabelle? Who is Annabelle?”

“She’s my wife. Prettiest gal in all of Oregon. She is back waiting for me to return to Pendleton with my earnings from trapping this year. We needed money if we want to start a family, so I got myself into the fur trade.”

Chris stared at Robin, “Pendleton, you say. Your wife wouldn’t have been formerly a Miss Annabelle Riley, would she? Daughter of Captain George Riley?”

The question surprised Robin, “She certainly was. You must have met my wife!”

Chris stared down at the ground, “It’s been a while since I was up in Pendleton. Around three years. I remember Miss Annabelle Riley was the prettiest girl I’d ever laid eyes on.”

It was a whole month later when the two men finally arrived in the city of Pendleton. It had been a bitter winter and the two men were truly exhausted. Robin was excited to be reunited with his young wife. Whereas Chris was bracing himself for disappointment. But the feelings of both men intensified as Mrs Annabelle Grainger, greeted her astonished husband. “Annabelle! My golly!”

homes“I’m so glad you are home. Baby has been kicking so hard. Must be due any day now,” smiled Annabelle sweetly, “Who is the gentleman with you sugarplum?”

“This is Mr Christopher Ward, who saved my life when I was up in the mountains. I said he would be welcome in our home.”

As Annabelle’s approached Chris Ward to thank him, she began to recognise him. “Why! It’s been a while since you passed through Pendleton. I thought you were never coming back this way.”






You can’t find work in your local area that pays enough to support your family in your current lifestyle. But you have been offered a well paid job hundreds of miles away from home. It will mean being away from your family for extended periods but it will help you to pay for their education and health expenses.



What is THE CARAMEL CRUNCH? Well, it’s all about decisions. When it comes to THE CRUNCH what would you do?

One of the definitions of the word CRUNCH is:

a crucial point or situation

 – generally involving a decision with weighty consequences

  • Your response can be a quickie. Please feel free to send a comment to say what you would do, and if you have time or are inclined, please feel free to explain your decision.
  • If you would like to create a post with a longer explanation of your decision, please pingback to THE CARAMEL CRUNCH post. (Or copy and paste a link to your post in the comments section – please feel free.)

If you know anything about CRUSHED CARAMEL, you will probably realize I am a gentle soul, so my questions are not supposed to be terrifying! What I am hoping for really is to see a variety of responses. Afterall, it’s pretty obvious that WordPress bloggers are from a huge variety of backgrounds and cultures. It would be fascinating to learn more about how we as individuals make decisions.

Some of the questions I am going to ask are questions I have discussed with friends when we have been having coffee or dinner. I often find there is no clear right or wrong. It can be so much a matter of our individual experiences and outlook. I find it fascinating how very different some of us are when it comes to decision making.

We all have different outlooks, and may make different decisions. I am really looking forward to learning WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

One Way Street, Decisions, Opportunity




Who On Earth Is Murphy?

Center, Convergence, ConstructionThe week is nearly over, and I need to finish my post for this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORD. I have had a lot of interesting conversations with colleagues and friends this week. There seems to be a lot to talk about in the world at the start of 2020. What amazes me is how varied the opinions I hear are. Varied and often completely divergent.

I guess that is one of aspects of SHARE-YOUR-WORLD that fascinates me. We all have a slightly different viewpoint. It is very interesting to read the variety of answers to situations we all might ponder at some point. Even if our viewpoints diverge, we all converge for SHARE-YOUR-WORLD!

You can find the original post and questions from Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, at the post below:


Is ‘hello” enough for you these days? 

Window, Water, Glass, Drops, Text, RainI have never been a plain “hello” person. I am more of a “Good Morning, good morning…it’s great to stay up late, good morning, good morning to you!” kind of a person.

I also like to make sure that the people I see and might be working with or socialising with are alright. I don’t like to take it for granted that the people in my life are not under stress. If they need some comfort, or extra consideration, I like to be alert to that. I am very people focused – caring for and entertaining others is my mentality.

I will admit, I find it very hard not to make a spectacular entrance pretty much everywhere I go. It is the extravert entertainer in my character. And life is a musical in the world of Melody Finch, so don’t be surprised if I sing “Hello” in some format, rather than say it.

Do you believe in Murphy?   For those who aren’t familiar with Murphy, here’s a wee explanation:  Murphy’s law is an adage or epigram that is typically stated as: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”.

Slip Up, Danger, Careless, SlipperyThings do go wrong. At times. But mostly things go right. The definition of Murphy’s law sounds like somebody has a pessimistic streak. Murphy may have been a bit gloomy in his outlook. Well…I don’t think that way.

Who on earth is Murphy…or was Murphy…anyway? If he spent a day with me, I can’t see how he could possibly be pessimistic afterwards!

Murphy needs to understand that it never rains on my parade. When it does rain…well, you’ll find me singing in the rain.

Does evil come from within?  If so, why?

This is an important question.

Clasped Hands, Comfort, Hands, PeopleFirstly I would like to point out that the very fact that we acknowledge “evil” and that the vast majority of us are appalled and disturbed by “evil” shows that we were created with the tendency towards loving qualities. A human being thrives when they are able to love and feel loved.

Yet we also have free choice. So did the first two humans. They started life at a time when there was no evil around them. Everything was good. They used their free will to make a terrible decision. They have passed on to all of us a tendency to err in our thinking and decisions.

We may have wrong thoughts. What do we do with them? Do we resist them? Do we recognise they are wrong and shun them? Do we exert ourselves to push out those wrong thoughts? Or do we let those wrong thoughts breed? Do we feed them? Cultivate them? Imagine those wrong thoughts becoming wrong actions?

Choice, Select, Decide, Decision, Vote

The choice is ours. We have the potential for wonderful! We can choose to cultivate loving qualities that will benefit both ourselves and all around us. Or we can choose to allow evil thoughts to flourish. I especially feel parents have an important responsibility in helping their children to identify and shun wrong thoughts. If parents leave their children alone with their thoughts, or allow school or television to shape their view of right and wrong – well, I dread to think what the results will be.

Do not be fooled. Thoughts lead to actions. We will all be judged.

warzoneWhen the first two humans were created, there had not yet been any evil acts committed throughout the universe. Yet an individual spirit creature (angel) had already started to dwell on his wrong thoughts. He committed the first evil. We humans have seen an abundance of evil.

Countless heinous acts have been committed, to the extent that we now live in a world where evil has become almost normal. But evil is only being allowed on a temporary basis, while human rulership is on trial.

In the near future, evil will be eradicated. We have free will. There will always be the potential for us to choose to do what is right, good and loving…or for us to pursue evil. But evil will not be allowed to exist. If we want to live forever, it is our choice. Choose good, choose life. Those who choose evil will not be allowed to enjoy the privilege of life if they refuse to change.

Are intelligent people more or less happy than others?   What defines intelligence?

Another interesting question. I think perhaps I should start with the second half of the question, because that is probably the only way that I can answer the first question.

Laptop, Woman, Education, Study, YoungGenerally, I associate intelligence as the accumulation of information or knowledge. Computers and machines are said to possess a form of “intelligence”. However, since there is an abundance of false information, false knowledge riddle with inaccuracies – the collection of information and knowledge is not necessarily a positive thing.

A person can have little knowledge of the trillions of subjects out there, but they may have a little true and accurate knowledge that is far more empowering and enriching than the abundance of nonsense that has been published.

Book, Live, Knowledge, Secret, WisdomThe acquisition of knowledge is the start of learning, I suppose. Yet the ability to discern between true and false is of vital import. Understanding the information one has acquired and how it relates to the foundation of true and eternal principles is the next key step to learning. This ability helps one to reject information that clearly does not fit the pattern of truth. But beyond that is what could be termed the end of learning: wisdom. Correctly applying the knowledge and understanding one now possesses. It is wisdom that shows true evidence of superior learning, not the possession of a vast amount of information.

Student, Professor, Uni, Books, StudyI was talking to a colleague recently. I think my colleague is curious about some of my decisions in life. I explained that I had choices. I was achieving A grades throughout school. I come from an academic family. My older siblings and cousins had been to renowned universities and were immersed in lucrative careers. I was the rebel perhaps, although I did not have a rebellious spirit.

I chose to prioritise unpaid volunteer work over the opportunities within the commercial world. I have rejected all sorts of notions this “world” promotes. I have no wish to get on to the property ladder. The concept of a mortgage is baffling to me. Why would I enslave myself like that? I have no wish to become a slave to a business intent on making profit.

Adventure, Blonde Hair, Exploring, GirlI have lived a rich and rewarding life on a shoestring budget. Working as a volunteer has opened up opportunities to me that I would not have had if I had pursued my own material comforts.

Some people make a snap judgement when they learn that I rejected higher education. But this is a decision I have never regretted. I have never stopped learning. I am a long term student who is fascinated by many subjects. I read a huge amount of material and I exercise discernment as I read. There are so many opposing theories and philosophies, many of them a mix of half-truths and conjecture.

bitBut having a clear grasp of basic truths is a huge aid to sorting through the never ending “information” overload that we are bombarded with.

Who is happiest? Those who are focused on the acquisition of more and more conflicting, confusing, and capricious information? Or those who have a tight hold of basic truths and who show they have developed discernment, understanding and wisdom?

I guess a good test is to ask a person – what brings true happiness? If you ask ten people you know how they would answer that question, I wonder what they would say? Ask a hundred people if you can. Would you be able to discern what has shaped their thinking? Is it the media and the entertainment world? I have asked over a hundred people that question. It is a question I have been asking people since I was a teenager and I have been amazed at the variety of answers.

Girls, Woman, Blowing, Stars, GlitterMany people are pursuing things that do not bring true happiness. In fact, this world is designed to encourage people to pursue vain, empty goals. Is it wise to conform to a system that pats you on the back if you pass it’s tests? Follow it’s goals? Define success by it’s standards? It is alarming how many people are seeking things that will soon be gone forever!

All that glitters is not gold. So much of what this world promotes as “success” is vain and empty. Many find that out too late.

I could go on discussing this subject for hours, but I don’t really want to make this a never-ending post!


Please feel free to share a quote, photo or thought about gratitude.

annie teen3I am very grateful to Kim, the creator of Writer Side of Life!  It was Kim who supplied the writing prompt that lit a spark in me to tell an epic tale of love, life and mental health.

Thank you in fact to all of the bloggers who inspire us with writing prompts. I have neglected a lot of other prompts in order to concentrate on completing Annabelle’s story, but now I have more time so I hope to attempt more flash fiction.

I am very glad I saw Kim’s prompts. There was one that really did inspire me. It’s been a huge help to me to have this long project to work on. There has been a lot happening in my life that could have overwhelmed me, but I had a wonderful mission to complete. Writing the epic journey of Annabelle Riley – Leaner At Love!

I have gone to sleep at night dreaming about what might happen next to Annabelle. It’s been a lovely project to work on, and I am thrilled at how rewarding it has been!

Thank You Kim!

tableYesterday, I published the last part of my Annabelle Riley – Learner At Love series.

I wanted to say a very special thank you to Kim, the creator of Writer Side of Life!  It was Kim who supplied the writing prompt that lit a spark in me to tell an epic tale of love, life and mental health.

I had just come back from spending summer with Goldfinch in Australia (their winter). I was so happy when I was with him, and so sad to be leaving him to return to England. My heart was breaking! I was also still grieving the loss of the tiny life that was growing within me before I lost her. I told Goldfinch, that if she was a girl, I would have loved to have called her Annabelle!

There has been a lot happening in my life these past few months. I have a very close family member battling cancer. Then there is Jack! What a development! It has been helpful to me with so much going on to have a little hideaway mentally. When I don’t be overwhelmed with the emotions of that is going on in my life, I can hide myself away in Annabelle’s story.

together1Well, I have finished her story. We finished on a positive note, with Annabelle feeling stronger and excited about her future. Although Annabelle and the other characters are fictional, there is enormous amount from my own personal life that influenced her story. Some of the lead male characters are inspired by men I know. It’s completely up to you to decide who Goldfinch and Jack inspired!

Next time you see a blogger hosting a writing prompt, remember, it might end up being more than a short story or poem. It might well become an epic writing journey and a published book! Keep writing!

I am so grateful to Kim for inspiring me! Kim suggested a long list of writing prompts and several of them appealed to me, but I this chose one to work on:

Free Creative Writing Prompts

I chose a prompt under the ROMANCE section: 3. Who is she waiting for?

kim's prompt
Photo by Thiago Matos from Pexels