September, 2016:

Photos of Ontario Towns

September 24, 2016 – I think of you every time I drive through a town with older buildings. This week I was in Dunnville and admired the buildings. Your books have given me greater insight and the correct architectural terminology to describe what building features I am admiring.  Barbara Fanson

I am continually learning more terms as I travel.  Ottawa has opened up a whole list of new terms and styles, including Chateau style, and Neo-Gothic with many new architectural features.  Barbara

Life on the Montana Frontier

Life on the Montana Frontier – Montana Series Book 2

Joe and Kate Goodman with their young son Andrew moved from their home in Detroit in 1931 after Joe lost his job at the Ford Motor Company during the depression.  They were partners with Charlie Davis on a ranch in the rolling hills of Montana.  When they travelled west by train, Jeannie Henderson came along with them as she was to marry Charlie in a week’s time.

In the three years since they first met, Charlie had worked hard on the ranch making it into a very successful place.  He was building a second house for himself and his new wife to live in.

Joe and Kate’s parents kept up a regular correspondence with their children and shared about the clouds of dust hovering over their city and their concern for those in Montana.  Joe and Charlie were always thinking ahead and trying to learning from mistakes of others and had followed closely the causes of the dust bowl.  They made some changes to their own farming methods to alleviate something similar happening to them.

Joe and Charlie often saw people in need when they went into town, people who had lost their farms and had travelled west.  They often discussed what they might be able to do to help.  When Jim Robertson arrived with his wife, Sarah, and four children and knocked at the door, Kate welcomed them in and sat them right down for a hearty vegetable stew.  Joe and Charlie agreed to hire him.

Joe came to the house to see Jim who was already out working at weeding the vegetable garden.  Jim saw something that needed to be done and he eagerly went for it in thanks for the meal they had enjoyed.  Joe offered them the use of the large tent for them to sleep in, and they could have their meals with his family.  They couldn’t afford to pay him a wage, but shelter and food and clothes would be provided.  There were always extra jobs to be done around the farm.  The Robertsons, Goodmans, and Davis’ all got along well.  When cooler weather was coming, Charlie and Joe decided it was time to build another house as Jim planned to stay around as long as he could.

During the winter months when his duties were less, Joe looked after their two children so that Kate could continue with her writing.  She was able to have drafts completed of three books by the time her parents arrived for their first Montana visit.  Another big excitement of the visit was Kate and Jeannie both about to give birth to babies.  The grandparents were so happy to be a part of that wonderful time.


Visit Barbara’s website to view all of her books


Montana Dream

Montana Dream – Montana Series Book 1

Joe Goodman always had a dream of having a homestead in the west.  Working indoors in the city was not his idea of the way to live for the rest of his life.  He and his wife, Kate Torrenson, were frugal and saved as much as they could.  They were young and had been married for two years.  No babies had come yet so they could come and go as they wished.  Joe’s Dad often talked about his dream of a visit to the western frontier but even after all these years it was still just talk.  Perhaps the talk influenced Joe’s dream but he was actively working towards it.  Joe shared his dream with Kate and it became their dream together.

On their first visit to Montana, Kate and Joe stayed with John and Martha Stevenson, former neighbours of Joe and his parents.  The rapport was strong and they enjoyed their two-week vacation.  They looked at two ranches while they were visiting and at one of them they met Charlie.  Upon a second visit to Charlie’s farm, he shared about his family history.  He loaned Kate a trunk of all the Davis family papers and she agreed to make an inventory of it, try to find some more family members, and perhaps write a book.  This was Kate’s first attempt at a book but she methodically worked through the trunk and began learning about the family.  The world around her was blocked out as she was totally immersed in the project.

Kate discovered from journals in the trunk that the Davis family home was in Detroit so Joe and Kate decided to try and find it.  What a wonderful surprise to find the house and Kate quickly sketched it.  Joe suggested they knock on the door to see if the current owners knew anything about the Davis family.  Sandra and Paul MacDonald purchased the home from Elizabeth Davis and still had some items that Elizabeth was going to come back at a later time to retrieve but never came back.  The missing journal was there along with many other items.

Kate wrote letters to Davis family members which blossomed into a family reunion with the MacDonalds suggesting that the location be at the family home.  Kate was able to collect information as well as pictures.  Kate had the information she needed to complete the book.  Her Mom, Elizabeth Torrenson, offered to type the book, Jolene, the spokeswoman for the Davis family, Joe’s Mom, Paula Goodman, and Sandra MacDonald all helped with the editing.  Jeannie came from the museum to assist with historical data and sections on the clothing to ensure accuracy.  What a wonderful bonding time it was for these women.  The lives of all of them except Jolene intertwine over the years as friendships grow.

Neustadt Photo Book

September 5, 2016 – Kids tickled with their Neustadt books.  Janice Polfuss

New Hamburg Photo Books

August 26, 2016 – Barbara has done some nice books in lots of communities, focusing on architecture. She’s really knowledgeable and through a series of events we met and had a little book party here last fall.  Jennifer Neeb

Montana Dream

September 5, 2016 – Just finished book 1 and I am hooked into the characters already. Going to start 2 now as I am having my lunch. Great job.  Linda Stephens