Tag Archives: survival

Download “A Life” For Yourself


LOHO_fullcover_R5 front onlyA Life of Her Own – Five Tales of Homestead Women is a collection of stories about women homesteaders carving out their futures on the high plains of Montana.

pointing+hand+vintage+image+graphicsfairy2It is a free ebook for download Friday, May 27th and Saturday,May 28th. 
Click here to download.

Here is a Question: Did Women Homesteaders at the turn of the 20th century have more freedom than today’s working women?

The longing for a free life brought courageous women homesteaders to the Western lands. For single women in the United States, the Homestead Act signed by Abe Lincoln offered fantastic opportunities. Not so for the women in Canada who wanted to be independent. However, even some Canadian women took advantage of America’s land offer.

 Today obtaining a land grant would be impossible. Many a single working mother has to struggle just to meet the monthly rent let alone imagine owning a home. The hard-fought struggles of the early settler women may seem ancient, an archaic history that we have successfully moved beyond. But is that true? Yes, in some ways. At least for the moment, women have access to contraceptive methods and prescriptions. They don’t go to jail for sending birth control materials through the US Mail. At least for now.

I wonder if homestead women were paid equal value for the crops they produced. Today, a woman’s work is often paid less than their male counterparts. Yet, a woman pays more for shoes and clothing than a man. Hmm. Maybe women would benefit from dressing as men!!

In today’s society, women’s fight for fair treatment continues. Unlike some of our European counterparts who are working women that can have up to a year off with pay after the birth of each child. Fathers are released from work to have time with their newborns. How many weeks do American women get after a child is born? None!

Has there been progress for the women of today? History tells us the Homestead Act was a watershed for women who had the right to claim land in their own name.

A Life of Her Own – Five Tales of Homestead Women is my collection of stories of women homesteaders carving out their futures on the high plains of Montana. 
pointing+hand+vintage+image+graphicsfairy2 It is a free ebook for download Friday, May 27th and Saturday,            May 28th. Click here to download.

1-MZ Book signing-002Enjoy!    Mae Schick


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Contraception Since 1873 – You’ve Come a Long Way Baby?

“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby,”… or Have You? “Male sheaths (condoms) and “rubber cap over the uterus (diaphragm) were the contraceptives of choice for Victorian women in 1892. Dr. Clelia Duel Mosher, a John Hopkins graduate who later became an assistant professor at Stanford, conducted the extant survey that included over 2000 participants.

Twenty years earlier, with the enactment of the Comstock Act of 1873, it became a federal offense to send such articles through the mail. It was illegal to mail “any article or thing designed or intended for the prevention of conception or procuring an abortion.” In addition, many states passed the Comstock Laws outlawing the use of contraceptives, or distributing contraceptive information.

Contraception didn’t disappear despite the Social Purity Movement and its leader, Anthony Comstock, a postal inspector, who believed contraception was an immoral practice that promoted prostitution. It went underground. Drug stores euphemistically sold condoms as “rubber goods” and cervical caps as “womb supporters.”

Dr. Molly Atwater, a Montana physician in the early 1900’s, carefully selected a reliable person at the Dillon pharmacy who would agree to sell “rubber goods.” As a doctor, she tended to women at risk for another pregnancy, and other women who tried to, or did commit suicide rather than face one more childbirth.

The Birth Control Movement, initiated in 1914, fought to increase access and legality to contraception in the United States. By the 1930’s their persistence resulted in legal victories that weakened the anti-contraception movement. Several years later, in 1942, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America was formed to provide nationwide clinics to promote women’s health and contraception.

But, today, our current US Congress continues to debate the viability of Planned Parenthood with the intent to defund it. Have we, as the Virginia Slims, slogan launched on July 22, 1968 by Phillip Morris says, “Come (such) a Long Way, Baby?” What do you think?

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Where are the Native American tribes now?

The distribution of Western land mandated by the Homestead Acts resulted in a breakup of the cultural nucleus of Native Americans, and the accustomed lifestyle of many European immigrant homesteaders.The US Government’s theory was that if the land could be broken into small parcels every separate family would be more productive, and enjoy the benefits of ownership.

Montana homesteaders

Montana homesteaders

In fact for the immigrant homesteaders this produced a breakup of the type of community centered way of living they had followed for generations in Europe, which was to live in small towns and work the surrounding fields of the towns together.

Salish People

Salish Native Americans



Native Americans, the People, were wide-ranging hunters who also lived in large communities, but were forced to accept 640 acre plots for farming, to which they were unaccustomed.

The Salish were “reserved” a large part of the Bitterroot Valley, only to be later moved out of this land and replaced by homesteaders. They were then were moved to the Flathead Valley north of Missoula, where tribal members received 80 acre allotments, and forfeited the huge “reserved” federal lands in the Bitterroot Valley, which had been their ancestral home for centuries. The new “reserved” Flathead Valley land also was eventually privatized by homesteaders, some of whom coveted  even the small plots of  land the tribal members had individually acquired. Towns and merchant stores were built, and some of the Salish were encouraged to buy on credit. If they could not pay up they had to trade.They signed over their land allotments.

Where are the Native American tribes now? Today the Salish & Kootenai tribe’s reservation covers a large part of the lower Flathead Valley, but much of this land has become private agricultural property and homes. Only 23% of the population of Lake County, Montana is Native American.

The history of the West is tumultuous. It is difficult to comprehend the changes that took place in those years from 1862 to 1930. I was raised at the head of the Bitterroot Valley, part of that ancestral home of the Flathead Nation. Nearby my house, on the outskirts of Missoula, is a place where The People pitched their tepees. I was told that they had came down to the Valley from the surrounding mountains to spend the winter, and to dig for bitterroot. Those days are gone forever.

Have outside events radically changed your life? How does that compare to the radical changes in the West? I would love to hear your comments.

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Nora Takes a Chance – Survival

 FREE eBook from  January 23rd  to Saturday,  January 24th! Author Page

Some men hold the debatable position that they are more decisive than women. Whether that is true is an open question. I think women tend to see more  variables- not just the physical and intellectual, but the emotional and spiritual as well. Processing all of that feeling and extra information takes time, as the latter have to work their way through the heart, and the heart cannot be rushed. Introspection and feelings come first, and then correct action follows, as when Nora takes a chance.

It could be what scientists tell us- that the connections between two halves of a woman’s brain are stronger than in a man’s. Or it could be from years of practice being the primary caregiver for children up to early adulthood, perhaps the greatest challenge a person can face. So when a woman ruminates you can bet that all the threads of her decision come into play. It can be automatic once her mind is made up, but that faculty is famous for changing. Like in Billy Joel’s song “She’s Only a Woman to Me” 

AppaloosaSuppose you put yourself in a new place, where the scenery is very different from where you lived. Early frosts, suspicious strangers and skittish horses. People are different. They are laconic and tend to stay within themselves for a long time until you get to know them, and you them. The homestead work is very hard and the rewards tenuous at best. And just getting up on a freezing winter morning or after a sleepless sweltering summer night strains the body. Then there are so many rattlesnakes outside that you have to step lively to avoid them if you can’t see them.

On the other hand there is the morning sunrise, the stars and moon which are not often visible in cities. They light up the sky and bring such wonder and peacefulness that the air seems sweeter, the wildflowers fresher, the grain fields more graceful and the people more kindly. There is time for reflection that is so necessary for the soul.

It also seems that it is in a time of great difficulty when we are most alive to all our thoughts and senses. Nora in Nora Takes A Chance falls into that state of mind. How she unravels her predicament focuses her, and she takes decisive action to save herself.

Read about Nora. Here’s a link to Nora’s webpage and an excerpt so you can listen to her thoughts- judge for yourself whether she will make the right choices. I hope this New Year you make the right choices for you as well.

Nora Takes A Chance is available as an eBook for Kindles, PCs and smart phones. It is FREE on Friday Saturday January 23-24.

Sophie Writes from Montana and Mirna: A Life of Her Own and my full-length novel Lila are all available in Kindle editionLila can also be ordered in PRINT edition for those who much prefer turning a book’s pages.


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