Peach Blossom Rancher, an historical romance
Sequel to The Lady Fugitive, second in Peaches and Dreams series
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By Ada Brownell
A handsome young man with a ranch in ruin and a brilliant doctor confined to an insane asylum because of one seizure. Yet their lives intersect.
John Lincoln Parks yearns for a wife to help rebuild the ranch and eyes Valerie MacDougal, a young widow who homesteaded, but also is an attorney.
Will the doctor ever be released from the asylum? Will John marry Valerie or Edwina Jorgenson, the feisty rancher-neighbor he constantantly fusses with? This neighbor has a Peeping Tom whose bootprints are like the person’s who dumped a body in John’s barn. Will John even marry, or be hanged for the murder?
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A PEACH OF A FRUIT
If you’ve never tasted a tree-ripened peach, you don’t know what you’re missing.
I grew up on the Western Slope of Colorado in Fruita, a little town near Palisade, a lovely rural area filled with orchards, mostly peach, but also pears, cherries, apricots, plums and I don’t know what else.
A tree-ripened peach is too soft to pack into a box or bushel basket and ship to stores and buyers. So today, they’re picked green. For that reason most people have never tasted the wonder of a ripe peach just pulled from the tree.
You can stand out in the orchard and pick the sun-blushed peel off the yellow fruit off without a knife and before you can get your teeth into it, sweet juice probably will run down your fingers.
Few folks bite into a peach without peeling it first. It’s not like an apple. For some reason God made peach skins fuzzy. That fuzz gives major grief to peach pickers and other workers. When you’ve picked a few bushels of peaches on a hot Colorado day, the fuzz flies around and sticks to your sweaty skin and makes you feel like you’ve been insulating houses with rock wool or spun fiberglass.
Since I was short, when I worked on a peach ranch I landed a sorting job. One of the best things about it was a peach defuzzer was connected to the conveyor belt.
The peaches whirled over little wheels on the contraption and I watched for worm holes, split seeds (which left a hole in the end of the peach), bruises, and other blemishes. I picked them out, put them in a box by themselves and later some ambitious lady would buy them and make jam.
The amazing thing about a tree-ripened peach is you can even freeze them and they almost taste as if they just came from the orchard. For years I made my peach cobbler from frozen peaches we purchased on the Western Slope of Colorado.
When you see a peach orchard you might be amazed to notice the trees appear to have flat tops. Anyway in Palisade that’s the way they always looked. I read the trees are pruned so they dip slightly in the middle, sort of like a bowl. Pruned in that manner the branches let the sunshine into the middle of the tree as well as the sides, and the peaches inside ripen as well as those hanging on the outer branches.
When I read that I thought it’s like a group of people reaching out toward heaven allowing the Lord and the Word to shine into the depths of their being so they’ll bear great fruits of the Holy Spirit.
We’re told in scripture the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, self control.
If I have all those fruits, I imagine my character will be sweet as a peach. Lord, help me produce fruit in my life so that I can even be an instrument to winning someone else to Christ.
About the Author
When Ada Brownell sat down to write Peach Blossom Rancher, she drew from her experiences growing up in Colorado’s Peach Country, picking peaches and working in a packing shed.In addition, she uses some of what she learned about mental illness covering the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo on her beat as a journalist for The Pueblo Chieftain. In her work, she received a list from the Board of Lunacy Commissioners showing supposed cause of insanity of patients admitted in 1899-1900 and 1909-1910. She uses part of that list in this book and used that information in developing some of the characters. However, in this book the mental hospital is in Boston, and everything about the asylum is fiction. The Boston asylum began innovative things with patients there to help in their recovery, treatment and well-being by adding gardening as an activity for some housed there in the early years.
The Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo eventually became one of the best treatment centers in the nation for the mentally ill.
Ada writes with Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement. She is the author of six other books, about 350 stories and articles in Christian publications, and she spent a large chunk of her life as a reporter, mostly for The Pueblo Chieftain.
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