Keli Gwyn
Friday Fun California Style

While most of the 49ers came to California in search of gold, others soon learned what a fertile land it is and began farming. Many crops thrive in the rich soil of the Central Valley.

Orchards are successful here, too. Early settlers planted numerous kinds of fruit trees, including apples, oranges, and pears. After just one generation, the trees were producing well and providing fruit for the state’s growing population as well as for export.

The 1869 report of the U.S. Secretary of the Interior (page 76) listed crop statistics by state. Included for California were the actual numbers of apple, orange, and pear trees.

Which of these three types of trees do you think were most plentiful in California in 1869? You can leave your guess in a comment.

I’ll update the post over the weekend to include the answer, so you could check back Monday. I’ll also provide a link to this post at the end of next Friday’s quiz. If you view that post, you’ll be able to click the link and see the answer.

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Update and Answer

Of the three types of trees listed in the post, apple trees were the most abundant in 1869. There were 1,694,986 apple trees, 482,477 pear trees, but only 11,284 orange trees. While California is known for our orange trees these days, orchardists hadn’t yet begun to plant large numbers of orange trees in the early days. Things began to change after the tasty, seedless navel orange was introduced in 1873.

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I’ve updated the Friday Fun post from last week. Click this link to see the answer.

Image from iStockPhoto.
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Keli Gwyn
Romance Suits Me to a Tea

Fresh flowers. Fine China. Creative Flair.

All were in evidence when I behind the beautiful settings prepared by the hostesses of the tables at my church’s Women’s Ministry Tea this past week. The talented ladies of Discovery Hills outdid themselves. Here’s proof.

The Tea proved immensely enjoyable. A barbershop chorus, an array of tasty treats, and a funny fashion show I was asked to MC made for a delightful event–and a romantic one.

As I drove home, my mind whirred. I’d had a good time and wondered if I could create such an experience for Gwynly, albeit on a smaller scale–and on a budget. Since he’s a frugal fellow, I knew he’d appreciate my efforts more if I used what I had on hand.

Oftentimes I spring surprises on my guy, but this time I chose to include him in the preparation, which served to heighten his anticipation. We did the shopping together, set the table together, and prepared our repast together. And then we feasted on our meal and reveled in a delightful sense of togetherness.

Our Tea brought back memories of breakfasts during the years we lived in Germany, as I felt certain it would. Gwynly and I munched and talked and had a lovely time together. In fact, he rated the experience a 10!

What made this work so well? I know not every guy would enjoy attending a Tea for Two, but I have a history with Gwynly. I honored his desire not to break the bank and tapped into treasured memories from our early days as a couple. And it worked.

We recaptured the romantic atmosphere of mornings lingering at the breakfast buffet in German Gasthauses or at the dining table in our tiny apartment in Flexdorf where we spent four wonderful years. And we made yet another memory, which suited me to a tea.

Afterward Gwynly grinned at me and said, “This will make a nice blog post, won’t it?” How well my fellow knows me. I think he likes the fact that while I fill my stories with romance, I make sure to infuse our marriage with it, too. I wasn’t always good about doing so when I was younger, but I’m learning. 🙂

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How could you serve up romance in a way that would honor your special someone?

Would your special someone go for a Tea for Two? If not, what about donuts and coffee on the deck, hot chocolate and s’mores around a campfire, or . . .?

If you have young children and find arranging time for some togetherness tough, do you have a friend who would swap childcare, so you could both romance your sweethearts?

Do you find a Tea with lovely tables and yummy treats as enjoyable as I do?

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Keli Gwyn
Welcome Author Katie Ganshert

Fun. Friendly. Often found wearing a mega-watt smile. That’s Katie Ganshert for you.

A former elementary school teacher, Katie is now a stay-at-home mom attempting to keep up with her three-year-old “wild-child” of a son. Katie, her handsome husband, their active young fellow, and a black lab named Bubba live in the Midwest. The Ganshert family is slated to grow soon, though. Katie and her husband are in the process of adopting a child from the Congo. You can read more about that in this post on Katie’s awesome blog.

Katie is a talented author who wrote a moving story, one I raced through. Her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, is due to be released in May. But one lucky visitor doesn’t have to wait that long to get a copy. I’m giving away an ARC I won from Katie’s publisher, so be sure to leave a comment if you’d like a chance to get the book early. I loved this book. You can read my rave review of Wildflowers from Winter on Goodreads.

Let’s Learn a Little More about Katie

You’re a beautiful young woman, both inside and out. No. Don’t deny it. It’s true. You had professional author photos taken last year, which are stunning. When you look at pictures of yourself, what feature do you consider to be your best? Since you have so many, I know this will be a tough question. Humor me, though, and limit it to one feature, but tell us why you chose it.

Oh, Keli, if I could reach through the computer and hug you. You are so sweet. As women, I think we have a hard time seeing ourselves clearly. When I was younger, I struggled with this. I’d often look at another woman and think, I wish I could look like her. It’s taken awhile to break out of this habit.

When I find myself wishing for thicker hair or a smaller nose, I have to stop and remind myself that God fashioned me. I am His masterpiece. We all are. It’s a truth that inspired me to write this short story several months ago.

Anyway, do you like how I’m avoiding your question? Okay, fine. My favorite physical feature would probably be my eyelashes. I have very long, thick eyelashes and I love giving my son butterfly kisses with them.

You share some of your son’s antics on Twitter and Facebook, which often make me laugh. If social media had been around when you were young, what is one of the funniest stories your mom or dad could have shared about you?

Oh goodness. Where do I start? Perhaps they would Tweet about the time I ate an entire jar of olives on Christmas Eve and proceeded to throw them up. Or maybe they would Tweet about the time I thought it would be a great idea to throw crab apples over our fence as hard as I could until the neighbor came over and asked my dad why his daughter was pelting his house with fruit. (Whoops!) Or when I kept referring to Hostess Ding Dongs as donkeys. “Dad, can I eat a donkey now?”

I guess when I was really little, I used to sit in the corner and talk to myself. I like to think I was creating characters and just didn’t have the ability to write them down yet.

When I interviewed you on my former blog back in 2009, just two days before our awesome agent, Rachelle Gardner, offered you representation, you mentioned that you’re a sugar addict. What delectable treats do the best job of satisfying your cravings for something sweet?

Mint Oreos dipped in milk. Frozen chocolate chips—handfuls and handfuls. And my all time favorite: a brownie with two scoops of Whitey’s mint chocolate chip ice cream and lots and lots of Hershey’s Syrup. It’s like heaven in a bowl.

Suppose your hubby came home one day and announced that he’d gotten a nice bonus at work, had arranged to leave your son with trusted relatives, and was whisking you away for a week at a destination of your choice. (Being a wise husband, he knew not to spring such a surprise on you when deadlines loomed.) Where would you choose to have your guy take you?

A week. Hmmm….I’d love to go to Ireland. There’s a lot of Irish blood running through these veins. It would be cool to see where my ancestors lived. I’ve heard it’s a gorgeous country and I could probably sit in a pub all day and listen to people’s accents.

However, if I’m being honest, the first place that popped into mind was Colorado. I’ve been. Hubby has not. Colorado is a great state. I love hiking. I love mountains. I love snowboarding. And I’d love to meet everyone at my publishing house! Waterbrook Multnomah is located in Colorado Springs.

If we took a peek inside your clothes closet, what would we learn about you?

That I hate shopping and I wear shirts I wore ten years ago. Seriously. Shopping is the bane of my existence. The only time I ever go is before the ACFW conference. I’m being totally serious. I have a pair of boots that I have worn since my junior year in high school. And as an odd side note, they are ridiculously heavy. Sometimes I wear them around the house as a form of exercise.

To learn more about Katie, visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

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Katie’s Question for You

What is your favorite feature about yourself and why?

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A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. Determined to pay her respects while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.

Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.

For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn’t seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace she’s not even sure exists?

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Drawing for a Copy of Wildflowers from Winter

To enter the drawing, leave a comment by Tuesday, March 27. (Be sure to provide your email address in the appropriate field so I can contact you if you win.)

I’ll select the winner on Wednesday, March 28 and post the name here and in a comment.

Congratulations to the winner: ramblingsfromtheleft!

No purchase necessary.
Offer void where prohibited.
Odds of winning vary due to number of entrants.
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Keli Gwyn
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