WAGONS HO - The Journey IIII [AKA IV]- The Big Valley
Posted 05 January 2010 - 10:55 AM
OK so I am trying to make the best of it seeing we are still not able to go out and see our Homestead land.
I guess I better go and get the cow milked and see what everyone else is up to today. Man I wish those dogs would quick barking over by that small rise, just what did they find over there anyway?
Here comes one of the men that had the last watch up the hill with the animals maybe he knows what’s up?
Oh great one of the “B’s” groups oxen has gotten lose and is now stuck in the mud down by the river. Yes I will help get her out, go and see who else is up and able to lend a hand and see who else has ropes we can use I’ll get mine out of the buggy and met you over there. And find out whose dogs are barking as we don’t need them over there when we try and pull that beast out of the mud.
Well she got herself stuck good, right up to her belly and here comes another one to see what is going on. Can one of you stop that Ox, we don’t need two of them stuck in the mud. Turns out it was the other Ox in the team, seems they like to be together if pulling a wagon or just grazing? But they are NOT going to be together now, it will take all we can do just to pull this one out and get her to dry land.
Back to the wagon for some coffee and let everyone know what all the noise was that they heard going on over the knoll. Boy, those Oxen can pull wagons up and down hills and pull all the heavy weight but when you try and pull them it is a whole different story!
So now what are we doing for fun the rest of this morning?
= = = in touch with the past = = =
Posted 05 January 2010 - 04:58 PM
Edited by Mother, 05 January 2010 - 06:16 PM.
Posted 05 January 2010 - 09:33 PM
As we made our way down the trail, the anticipation mounted with every glimpse of the lake, fields and Lodge. There were times as we switched back, that it seemed we were moving away from our destination, but with the size of some of the hills and the thickness of the forest, it was apparent that the trail was taking the path of least resistance.
During our lunch stop, GS helped fill several of the bottles we had dumped up on the mountain. I filled and capped them, and marked them "Mtn Stream", he carried them and put them away separate from the unopened ones. As we finished up, GS had gotten into the last of our jerky and was ready to move out.
Stopping had rejuvenated me, walking around talking with everyone, watching the kids run about playing, animals grazing, and people socializing sharing their hopes of the 'perfect' place. Once we were back on the trail, it occurred to me that I really hadn't given it much thought lately. Anyplace that had water to drink, grass for the cow and a small plot for a garden would be fine for me, just as long as I didn't have to live in this wagon forever, I would be a happy camper.
I moved up and sat next to GS to get a good look at the terrain of "Our Valley". Huge trees made up most of the forest, peppered with vegetation. I wanted to jump off and explore to see what some of them were, but decided there would be plenty of time to explore once we were settled in. I sure hope no one gets rattled when I go for a walk about and end up crossing their property.
When our train began circling early, we figured our group either needed a break or there was another obstacle that needed to be resolved. Hearing the rushing water of the river suggested that it might have something to do with why we stopped. I hopped down and was met by Mother who explained the situation, she was heading towards Mt_Riders wagon as I turned to inform my dearest. He gave a sigh and began unhitching the ox.
We listened as the conversations centered on crossing the river, what to do and how to do it. Building a replacement bridge would entail cutting trees, latching them together, making it large enough for our wagons and animals to cross yet light enough to be moved into place. If everyone worked together, it might take less than a week. Other suggestions of waiting for it to subside could also take more than a week. Concerns began circulating about the clouds that were building, if more rain came, waiting for it to go down could even take longer. The map didn't show a river near the entrance of the valley which means that we still weren't that close to the Lodge.
After some time, GS suggested we go for a walk and take a look at this river. The bridge point seemed the most logical point to cross. Someone had built rock slabs on both banks to support the logs which were no where to be seen. The river seemed to be flowing consistently, clarity had much to be desired with all the mud and debris it was collecting. We walked quite some time down stream surveying the banks for a possible secure path, discussing whether we wanted to dive in and check for an area that could be used to cross safely. We decided it was already too late in the day to be soaking ourselves, walked back planning to go upstream in the morning. We both agreed that the debris from the bridge would be another obstacle we didn't want to encounter.
The next morning we were wakened by the thunder and the smell of rain in the air and when it began to fall in sheets, we found shelter in the wagon. GS picked up his book and I immersed myself in finishing a doily I was tatting. I grabbed a bucket and collected some rain water for my tomato plants that had survived and the pomegranate tree, occasionally looking out to see if the clouds were subsiding.
Lunch and dinner were simple, smoked venison wrapped in a corn tortilla warmed on our BBQ using a small amount of wood we have left.
Edited by Annarchy, 05 January 2010 - 09:38 PM.
God's, are Life.
Posted 05 January 2010 - 11:23 PM
So with radios in hand and the digital camera the four of us started out. Looking back I saw the concern in Mother's and Mt. Rider's eyes but I promised them we would be extra cautious. We all had side arms and rifles. The signal of 3 rapid guns shots would be our distress call plus we had the radios. I had to pull out my stash that I had bought when we were back at the ranch when P was in the hospital but that is ok this is what I bought them for.
As we rode along the land was nothing like we expected to find. Looking past the standing water we noticed the land was rather level much like you expect to find a the floor of a valley. From what we could tell the soil was rich and fertile. Once the ground dries not only will there be plentiful grazing but lots of land for gardens. The river was swollen all the way down to the old homestead and the water was up to the porch so we did not go in. But from what we could tell it would not take much work to make it livable again. There was already fencing up and it look good for the most part. There were a couple of areas that would need work. The barn would need to be replaced. The roof looks like a tree fell though it. SF said he would probably take the barn down and rebuild it. There loft was rotted and the stalls were past repair. As we turned towards the east it was starting to get dark and we pushed to get to the trapper's cabin before night fall. We didn't want to be astride the horses in unfamiliar territory in the dark.
As we arrived at the trappers cabin we found it in good condition. Well it was dry at least and there was not standing water around the door. We did find some dry wood to start a fire. We were all wet and hungry. Since the to dark to explore we opted to start the fire and have the biscuits and venison that we brought with us. We will look around more tomorrow but for now we are rolling out our sleeping bags and sleeping somewhere that doesn't have wheels for the first time in many many weeks.
wife to a darling man since 1981 and mother to 3 wonderful young men.
Don't tick off a redhead it very well could be the last thing you ever do.
Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:22 AM
We stayed within sight of the swollen river as far as we could. Still raining down this way too but seemed lighter than farther north of us. Looking up, you could tell that the sky here was a little lighter. We saw horse tracks in the wet ground around us and knew we were going the right direction. Well that and hubby's trusty pocket compass! Some of the trees were starting to bud out and I watched them carefully while sneezing into my hankie. Great, pollen already. So if I am sneezing, there has to be some red oaks around here. Nice wood to build with! The grass was starting to come up too and it just looked to be the run of the mill prairie grasses so far. But, if we had to build a house, it would make a nice sod roof. We were happy so far with what we were seeing. And as we rode along looking at everything, I pulled out a bit of dried fruit and some of our deer jerky to munch on for lunch. I figured with all the looking around we wanted to do, no sense filling up and getting sleepy lol. You can't look around if you got your eyes shut and snoring! So munch we did and kept riding. I thought we should have been there by now, so we got out the map after stopping the wagon to take a look at it.
Okay, we were at the big bend in the river to the south, so we started out due east for a few miles. Getting away from the river, the trees thickened up some here. The grasses stayed about the same but it was a darker green. Humm..I had hubby stop the wagon and jumped down off. Grabbing a hand full of new grass I yanked it up out of the earth. Turning it over I found just what I thought I would...dark black earth! You could spit in that kind of land and it would grow! Oh wow, this was what I was wanting for soil too. Now if it just held to the grove we would be in business. So I got back on the wagon when hubby reminded me that daylight was a wasting and we took off again, still heading straight due east. We hit an area where the trees thinned back out again so we headed just to the South this time. We must be going back up in elevation just a bit here because the land was starting a gentle rolling of hillside. We came over the first rise and off in the distance you could see a very thick stand of trees, almost like a mini forest in the middle of all the grass. Hubby said "There it is darlin', that's the place we want to look at. See the little river over to the east going into the trees?" Yep I told him. I do see it! We took off as fast as oxen can go, which isn't that fast lol. Not unless THEY want to. As we got closer we could tell that it wasn't just a little stand of trees, it was a pretty good sized bunch. Well that wasn't going to work for a large garden since you can't garden under a tree canopy lol. But we rode on, keeping it in mind that this was just an idea, nothing was set in stone.
It was pretty hard to see into the trees at all since they looked like they were pretty tightly packed together. They had a symmetry about them like they looked like they were in rows. But that wasn't possible out here since this valley was all but abandoned and no one lived here. There wouldn't have been anyone around to plant trees. Ha! We could hear the little river flowing, it didn't sound anything like the main river, which sounded almost angry at us for coming near her. This one was just peacefully bubbling along on it's merry way without a care in the world who or what was in her. Hubby pulled up through the trees. At one point we almost had to back up and try another way in since the trees were so tightly packed. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea I told him. How would we ever have enough time to clear us a spot for a house, barn, chicken coop, etc...??? And clear the spot for a garden and pull stumps and get it going? Well he decided we would just follow along the little river and see where it ended up since on the map it just looked like it hit a dead end into the tree stand? We came over a little rise next to the river, almost at the center of the grove. Hubby stopped the wagon and let out a whistle. I jumped up on the wagon seat and yelled! Yipee! Honey, I think this is it!! He grabbed ahold of me and kissed me so hard it would have made the fish blush if they could.
We got out of the wagon and he tied it off on a small tree there. Then we walked up over that ridge, hand-in-hand. What we saw when we got to the top all laid out in front of us was our idea of a little slice of heaven on earth. So right then and there, with hands held, we said a prayer of thanksgiving to God for bringing us safely to this spot that we knew He meant for us. We thanked Him for all the friends we had made on the trail, for the good food, fellowship, leaning times and even the bad times for they made us all the stronger. And with that strength that He gave us we would now do our level best to bring Glory to His name. We asked a blessing on this land and it's people. For our future and theirs.
With that most important part of our new life done, we set about looking around. Here is what we found on that little slice of heaven... The small river ended right there in the middle of the grove. In a pool or pond depending on where you are from lol. But before the water came into the pool, it dropped down in about what I could best describe as a stepping stone type waterfall? It had four ledges all about 5 or 6 feet long with rock underneath, well more like it was made of rock and water flowing over them dropping down onto the next ledge and onto the next and then the next one before finally emptying into the pool. Sure was pretty, but I was thinking it would be a nice place to set up some kind of water system going into the little shack that was there. Yep, a shack lol. It was small, dirty and dusty. The door hinges looked like they were rusted about through and squeaked to beat the band. But it had a roof and four walls. We could worry about the rest later lol. From the looks of it, the thing may have been another trappers cabin? All it had in it was a fireplace made of stone. Oh, and one window looking out toward the front beside the front door. We had no idea if it was even livable, but if not, we could sure use the lumber to make another little house!
And there was a clearing here. Enough to plant a garden! The grass was coming up thick in that spot and it was going to take a giant effort on our part to keep the weeds down and keep them pulled so they didn't swallow the garden back up. Hubby reached down and pulled up a handful of grass. It had the dark soil too, not black like back north west of us near the big river, but still dark enough that it wasn't going to take much to get things growing good there. So now we found our spot we wanted. We walked around the pond to the other side just to look at it. The water was kind of off colored it looked like to me, but then I was used to the TN river and the Cumberland river, both of which are just about as muddy at times as the Mississippi river. This one was clearer by a long shot. It almost could be called a stream I would imagine by the time it emptied into the pond. I just wondered if it flowed all year long though. That could be a problem. Depend on it to be there and in the middle of summer, it dries up! We would end up digging a well after all. We looked around the property but didn't see one, so who ever was here before must have just gotten water out of the pond. I didn't feel that brave just yet. Maybe someday if this was where we were to end up (oh pretty please lol).
Hubby and I both felt so tired. Almost like someone took the weight of the world off of our shoulders. We went back to the wagon to have a sit down talk. We were hungry too so he lit the Coleman stove and I heated up a pint of tomato soup and made a few quick biscuits and put them into the small dutch oven we had just for that. I took some dried tomato slices put one on top of each bowl of soup and a dash of salt and pepper and a tad bit of chopped dried onion too. Simple but still tasted like it was fit for a king. We must have talked the entire time we were cooking, eating and cleaning up lol. Both of us just jabbering away at each other. Sure felt good too, but now it's time to turn in for the night. We will camp out here in the wagon tonight and then head back to the group at first light. It wont take near as long to get back as it did to get here now that we know the way. Hubby says he is going to put a sign up on the door of the cabin before we leave... "MR AND MRS Q LIVE HERE" lol. He sure is sweet. Nite all and God bless you and yours who ever you are in the future readin this...
Edited by quiltys41, 06 January 2010 - 02:24 AM.
Posted 06 January 2010 - 07:15 AM
So I got thinking……………………
Morning, Sorry but I couldn’t help overhearing you two talking about you horses and oxen. I think I may be the answer you are looking for. I am looking to trade my oxen if your horses are what I am looking for. So we went over to where the animals where (after I got Lori from our wagon to come with me) and checked things out. It looked like a good trade (and a little money too), seeing he did a good job of taking care of his draft horses on the trail and they could both see I had done the same with my oxen team. Seeing we are only going to be using 60 areas on our homestead and most of that will be wild we don’t need oxen to plow so when feed them all year?
Well while talking it over with Lori as we headed back to the wagon we decided to follow the others that had headed out and do the same. No sense sitting here waiting when we could be checking out where we plan to Homestead. The plan is to head south until we get to the Dam, The water should be lower there and if we can cross (safely) we will camp on the other side by the river for the night and then the next day we will head back up north and look over the site we plan to live at.
So off we go in our own little wagon train, The ‘new’ draft horses pulling our wagon, then Morgan is pulling the buggy (for now hitched to the wagon and Lori will drive it some later on), The cow is hitched to the back of the buggy. The chickens (4 now) and the goats (2) will ride in the wagon for now seeing we moved a few things around there is room . When (if) we can get to the Homestead site then we will head back across the north river to met back up with everyone at the Lodge in a few days.
Good Bye everyone see you soon!
= = = in touch with the past = = =
Posted 06 January 2010 - 08:34 AM
By mid afternoon the rain had dwindled to a drizzle and the river waters had receded. Those remaining at the river took a sigh of relief. Mr. Hughes and Mr. Smith knew the river well at this crossing, having been involved with the building of the bridge to begin with, and they were confident that we could make it across now that the rain had quit and the volume of water had lessened. Mr. Jones had been involved with the purchase of the wagons and he explained to us that they had been built specifically for these types of situations. The Conestoga’s design, being boat shaped, made it possible, even in pioneer times, to float through deep water. Their weight distribution made it possible for them to stay upright in adverse situations like this one. He then pointed out that these were all built of modern materials and were even more reliable. He assured us they would make the crossing just fine and we all went to finish what we'd started, building the raft to take the carts and animals and maybe Big D's buggy if she didn't think it would float well enough.
By late afternoon we found ourselves standing on the bank, watching a much lower river flowing at our feet. It was still high but it didn’t look as threatening as it had and the thought of waiting another day to cross was worse than facing the water.
The teams were all hitched and the wagons had been inspected for possible leaks. Logs had been cut and tied together to make a large raft for use with whatever carts or buggies that would not float and to bring the sheep and other animals that would not swim the river.
I stood for a time at the waters edge, watching the water. It was probably only sixty or so feet across but I could see what looked like bridge piers standing in the water some distance from the shore, indicating that the river was only thirty or forty feet wide normally. It really brought home how fast things could change, reminding me that we will need to be ever vigilant in this new life. The unknown is always just around the corner when you are dealing with nature.
We all watched as the men tied one end of a heavy coil of rope securely to a tree and then Mr. Hughes mounted his big bay horse and placed the heavy coil onto his shoulder. He walked his horse to the waters edge and then urged him into the muddy looking foam. Mr. H was playing out the rope little by little as he went across and as he got to the first bridge pier we could see him making a loop in the rope. He tossed the loop over the pier and continued into the river. We watched as the horse seemed to lose it’s footing and then started to swim. IOnce they reached the middle of the river the current grabbed the trailing rope and almost managed to unseat the man. The drag pulled the horse under once and there was a faint gasp of indrawn breath from someone in the back of the group. Suddenly a young man was riding his horse into the river, urging it to swim once it hit the deeper part. Another man followed and then the two were there, grabbing hold of the rope at different spots, holding it the best they could while Mr. Hughes struggled to get the coil of rope around the far pier before they all gave their horses their heads and headed for the edge of the river, the end of the rope held securely around a saddle horn.
We all breathed a sigh of relief once they were safely across and then watched as they pulled and tugged to get the end of the wet rope tied to a sturdy tree on the bank. When Mr. Hughes made his way back across the river, testing the rope as he went, he was playing out another, smaller, rope that had been tied to the saddle of the last man who had gone to help. It too was tied off to a tree across from us. The bigger rope wouldn’t hold a wagon from going down stream, it wasn’t meant to. It was only meant to offer a safety line to anyone going into the river and it might afford a few extra minutes for help to get to those in need. The smaller rope was for pulling the raft.
Once Mr. H was back the first wagon was started across. I was just grateful it wasn’t mine. We knew it had been well caulked before we left home and we’d reinforced that early this morning even though it meant moving almost everything in the wagon. Unlike the pass, this time we’d be riding across with the wagon and I sure hoped we’d done a good job. I felt some moments of anxiety though when Dh closed the bottom part of the double back door behind us and started to caulk it shut. What I had regarded as a necessary luxury for Mom and I to get in and out of the wagon had become a definite liability crossing the river.
Mom and I watched from the front seat of the wagon for a while. The wagons were all double-teamed and every available draft animal was put into play along with some of the riding horses. The more strength pulling, the better we’d be. The first wagon didn’t float right away but the water rose higher on the sides then we’d expected. It was almost half way across when it gave us a scare as it first tipped and then righted itself. It was almost against the rope by the time it hit the other shore though and the bank there was almost too steep for the oxen to get the wagon out of the water. We watched as they slipped in the mud, pulling more and more of the bank with them as they tried again and again to mount the edge until finally the two men on the other shore rode into the water to tie ropes on either side of the wagon and then back onto the bank where the horses added their strength to pull the wagon to safety.
Mr. Hughes started the second wagon further up river and though it too drifted downriver it went across without a problem, landing where the bank was shallow enough to go up easily. Again and again a wagon was started and made it to the other side safely. When about half the wagons were across Mr. Hughes had the raft pulled into the water, tied in the front with the smaller rope from across the river, and in back by another tied to the horses much like the cable had been in the pass. I didn’t see what happened after that because our wagon had been moved and Mom and I had to be content with each other’s company until it was our turn but we could hear sheep bleating and the squealing of pigs.
DH finally came to take the reins of our horses. He had to crawl up on the wheel and into the front through the window but I was relieved that I didn’t have to handle the team. Our wagon went across but not without water seeping under the door and onto the floor and I was glad that we’d bothered to set anything not waterproof up high and to move the food and other perishables to the other wagons. Even the puppies were on the bed in their cage with Sasha lying beside them. I think Mom and I were both frightened but all I could do was laugh as Mom, with a decided twinkle in her eye, said she hoped the water wouldn’t get past her belly button as she couldn’t breath if it did. Then as the water raised a bit higher she jokingly yelled…”where’s the tin can so I can start bailing.” I’m sure everyone thought we must be crazy to be laughing as the wagons pulled up onto the shore but I really believe Mom enjoyed that little venture. She has been such a comfort and a joy on this trip. I doubt I would have done as well without her.
The crossing was not without mishaps. I’m not sure what all happened but I know some, us included, lost items off the outside of the wagons and it was hoped that they would be found further down along the river or at the lake’s edge. One of the young men drivers was thrown over board and ended up against the rope but someone on a horse was there in record time to protect him from the strong current and help as he pull himself along it to get to the bank. Someone in the back of that wagon was screaming but the team just kept going across, obviously because they had had weeks of following after a wagon and conditioned to do so even without a driver.
By early evening the wagons were headed for the lodge, still dripping water as they went. We were all damp or downright soaked and looking forward to dry clothes and a warm fire and solid ground under our feet but once again we’d persisted and we’d won. We all felt like nothing could stop us now. We were HOME!
Edited by Mother, 06 January 2010 - 08:37 AM.
Posted 06 January 2010 - 02:47 PM
(This next is taken directly from Mt_Riders initial description [with a bit of sprucing up on my part] and I believe it works well)
Initially the Lodge will be the central meeting place for whatever. It has a library room so we can get our precious books into shelter immediately. [did anyone bring battery operated smoke detectors? ] I has a huge communal kitchen both indoor and an outdoor one too. Eating/meeting area.
There is already a small medical clinic cabin separate from the Lodge. Just two exam areas, office and two rooms with two beds each. There is a sleeping alcove up in the loft for any medical person who ends up being there overnight with a patient.
We take a few minutes to discuss how we will arrange wagons and then finally decide on a half circle near the kitchen area of the lodge to take advantage of only one or two cooking fires depending on how the kitchen is set up. We can already smell cooking odors coming from the area and I realized that Chef must have come directly to the lodge after crossing the river to start a meal.
Once we get the wagons set and the teams unhitched we are able to turn them lose in a corral near what looks like several outhouses. The livestock has been herded into a small fenced pasture just to the side of that and we are told that the stack of slough grass hay standing in front of the pasture can be used for whatever we need to feed. It looks like a huge stack but I know by now how much those animals can eat and that pasture won't last long without that hay or grazing the animals daily outside the fenced area. I didn't think we'd be there long though as we are all anxious to look over the land.
We all had a chance to get cleaned up and our clothes changed in a large utility room at the lodge. We didn't bother heating it but carried water from an outside pump and made do with a quick wash. It was such fun to be invited into the Great Room of the Lodge to eat our supper. Long tables had been set up and the fireplace was lit to dispel the cool night air. With lanterns lit here and there it was almost like a scene from the past. All we were missing was our prairie dress and our loved ones that had gone south. We didn't inspect the rest of the lodge though some of the B's people were going to be sleeping there. Tomorrow would be soon enough. The meal was a simple stew but the biscuits were hot and slathered with jelly and we had plenty of the nourishing food.
We didn't stay long to enjoy the atmosphere though. We were tired and there were still chores to be done before we retired for the night. Some of us stayed to help Chef with the clean up and with setting huge bowls of sponge for bread for tomorrow, while others went to tend animals and settle them in for the night. Then one by one we headed for our beds.
Posted 06 January 2010 - 03:28 PM
Lots of trees and hills on this side of the lake but we are making good time so we may just make it to our Homestead site before dark.
Coming down from one of the hills as we are getting close to the north ridge we see a few places where there are less trees and more clearings. But we head on as I think I want to be more north for our 'new' home. Lori is driving the buggy now and I have the wagon with our new team of draft horses, both bring along all we have to start our Homestead with. As Lori pulls up beside the wagon she asks "how much longer before we get 'home'?" Well Dear I am not sure but we will know it when we see it. As we are going along we find another trail so we are taking it to see where it leads? It turns from going north to going north-west which is good as we need to be more in that direction anyway. As we come to another hill and get to the top I stop the wagon. Lori gets morgon to pull the buggy around and asks "Now what?". I think you better get back in the wagon while I hitch morgan back up and put the cow behind the buggy. "Why" she says? Well I think we should be together as we drive onto our Homestead don't ya think! "Are we really here!" she squeals!. Well if all goes well when we get back to the Lodge - YES you are HOME!
We decided to park the wagon in a clearing and take the buggy for a short ride around the site to make sure it has all we will need to Homestead this site. After riding around we come back to the wagon so we can set things up for the night and eat supper. It has been a very long day and we are both tired and at the same time a bit restless but glad about finding this site. So for the first time we are sleeping on 'our land' (we hope?) -Good night.
Edited by Amishway Homesteaders, 06 January 2010 - 03:37 PM.
= = = in touch with the past = = =
Posted 06 January 2010 - 09:11 PM
Big D was given the luxury of riding the raft and was toasty warm as she laughed at us for being soaked. They had taken the precaution of sealing everything and their wagon had floated like a boat. As they headed into the Lodge, we tended our animals, and tried to dry things out. I replaced Frank's bedding then sat cuddling him for quite some time to get him to quit shivering, before GS came and told me dinner was provided for us.
After dinner, we set up the tent next to our wagon, laid out our sleeping bags and passed out. Tomorrow is another day, I was thanking God we made it through today.
God's, are Life.
Posted 07 January 2010 - 02:41 PM
As we got closer we saw Mr. & Mrs. Q. They were so excited they had found their new homestead and were headed back to the group to get it deeded. We were so excited for them. Mr. Q told us we were actually standing in his turnip patch. We all laughed and said we would do I best not to trample them. SF told them we were headed across the stream to check out a place we saw from the trapper’s cabin. Mr. Q told us we didn’t have to go all the way around the lake that the stream was shallow and clear that we should be able to cross with no problem which we were thankful.
SF asked Mr. Q what he thought his property lines would be since this was the area that we liked also. Mr. Q and SF and the boys walked off checking out the land. Mrs. Q and I chatted I could tell she was so excited about her new home. It seems there is another small cabin of shorts just through the patch of woods. They are going to use that for now until they can get a barn up and the garden in. She was thrilled to learn that we may be neighbors. Like me she was wondering what was going on up river. I told her about the old homestead and how I thought it would be perfect for W&A.
The men folk came back and we all said our good-byes. Mrs. Q and I hugged goodbye with the promise of seeing each other at the Lodge later today or tomorrow. I asked her to please let W & A know we were ok and that we should be back by night fall. As we mounted up to ride off to check out the area we saw SF told me that we would not be encroaching in the Q’s if we set up our homestead the other side of the stream that the Q’s were taking the land around the lake. I felt better knowing that we would have close neighbors.
As we crossed the stream and turned southeast it was like a valley unto its own. There were many different kinds of trees from pines to oaks. I noticed wild flowers were starting to bloom. We got to the knoll we saw from the trapper’s cabin and decided that we really didn’t like it so we road back towards the stream. We were surprised to find fish in the stream. P & N said they didn’t think that this was the same stream. So we followed it on and discovered that it actually ran into the river. This stream actually comes down out of the mountains and it is crystal clear. It reminds me of the bubbling brook that we stopped at back up in the mountains. We pull out the camera and start taking pictures. As we ride into the standing trees we discover another cabin but this one has what looks like a smoke house with it. It is a one room cabin with a fire place. It is a little larger than the trapper’s cabin it does not have a loft. There is a small lean-to that looks like it was used as a stable for a horse. We would definitely need a bigger barn. This cabin would work but I would want to add to it. I looked around and realized that everyone has left me. I walk out of the back of the lean-to thinking SF had gone to the back to check things out but he is not there. So I head back to the front. I see P & N headed back down towards the stream. SF is sitting on the steps with his pipe and tears streaming down his face, he looks at me and smiles and says welcome home Momma welcome home. I smile and join him on the steps. We are at the farthest south end valley. I didn’t realize just how far up the face of the mountain we had ridden.
As we as we sat there looking out over what would be our new home P & N rode back up. It seems they have found a hot spring about 250 yards west / northwest of us. P said it felt wonderful. I asked if he got in it he said no he just stuck he arm in it. SF said we needed to be heading back. I told him I would like to stop by the homestead one last time before going back to camp that I wanted to get pictures for W&A.
Since the ground was drier and it wasn’t raining we rode a harder getting back to the homestead. It wasn’t as far as I thought it was. My heart sank as we rode up into the yard, someone was there. Maybe ever who it is won’t like it. We were quite taken back when W stepped out on the porch. We were all taking at the same time and really didn’t hear each other. SF whistled to get us to all settle down. W told us that they headed out to find us because we were out of radio range and that the others had crossed the river yesterday. Mr. H and some of the men had stayed back for a couple of days to make sure everyone was directed to the Lodge. Mr. H was kind enough to watch the other two wagons and our animals until we got back. Yes they had passed Mr. & Mrs. Q and knew we were across the stream but they had wanted to see the homestead. A was thrilled with it. She said even with the damaged barn they loved it. W said it would work perfect for what he had planned.
The water had receded and we noticed that the homestead was built right on the river’s edge and the porch was actually a pier. The pier was gone but the pylons were still there. W said it would not take much to replace the pier. By what we could figure this was once a loading dock for barges taking supplies going up and down the river. The barn was large and looked like it was actually a livery stable. There were multiply stalls and a large storage area for hay.
P told them about the hot spring he found that he was going to ask for his 40 acres around the spring. N was kind of down in the mouth so to speak. He wasn’t sure where he wanted his acreage. He thought he would just stay and help us then head up to the Lodge and see about getting land near town. He said it is not like all the good places will be gone once everyone is settled. So for now he will play it by ear and be a hired hand. He said there were enough people that would need a strong back and he could hire out to help build and plow. Since he is single he would not have to provide for a family. P agreed and said he would probably do the same thing this summer and just wait until fall after the harvest to start work on his place maybe even next spring after the plowing was done. Until then they decided that if they needed a place they could always stay at the Lodge or crash in W& A barn or our barn.
As we stood there I could not have more proud of my boys. I wasn’t too sure about how they would handle the trip but they have been real troopers. And now the two single guys to put their lives on hold and pitch in and work for those that don’t have family to help or need an extra set of hands and a strong back. They have had their share of problems and yes we have a black sheep among us but (even in RL) they have turned out to be fine young men.
As we loaded up N said he would head back to stay with Mr. H and our other two wagons and animals and the rest of us could head on to the lodge. We were set food wise since W& A brought our wagon which is the one I had been using to cook from. We loaded N down with cold biscuits, jerky, and some canned goods. It would be enough to tie him over until we get back.
Hopefully it will not take long to get our land deeded and head back across. I can’t wait to get started on the garden and SF is already designing the barn. W& A are talking about where to put their garden in and what changes they would like to make to the house and barn.
P even said that he would plow his fields for hay and food for him. Then N got the bright idea that he would go ahead and get land south of the river and plant it all in hay and wheat. He said he was sure that someone would be willing to trade for hay and wheat. He may even plant corn. He said he could do a lot on 40 acres. P & N rode ahead of us discussing how they would use their land to plant stuff that could be used to trade. P is getting his 40 acres from the hot spring back down in the valley so he would have a lot of level ground for farming. There is only a small grove of trees on his property and N decided to take 40 acres on the west side him.
W talked A into riding the horse. Told her she was going to have to get use to riding that she would not always be able to take the wagon when she wanted to go somewhere. So SF and I switched and gave them our horses and took the wagon. I happen to glance over my shoulder and see “stuff”…hey W where did all of this stuff come from. He told me that it was floating in the river. Some of the Wagoneers had lost it yesterday when they crossed and he and A saw it this morning on their way down so they stopped and picked it up. Ok so I guess we take it to the Lodge and start a lost and found.
AS we road along I couldn’t help but smile at how animated the 4 of them were. SF laughed and said if you had asked him a year ago did he think we would ever be where we are right now he would have laughed and said NOPE NO WAY AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN! He said we had come a long way haven’t we baby. I laid my head on his shoulder and with a content smug smile said we sure have.
SF woke me as we got near the river. Mr. H was there and going to help us cross. He said the river was no where near as rough as it was yesterday when everyone crossed; one of the other men suggested going up the river a little further and crossing. It seemed to a little swallower there. So SF and Mr. H rode up stream and found where he was talking about. I went to check on the animals and gather eggs. Babydoll is getting so big, she must be carrying twins. I must remember to get with that benefactor family that wanted to trade a couple of their sheep for a couple of pigs. I will look for them when we get to the lodge. I also need to check with Mother about using her buck to breed my other female. If she agrees I will leave her behind because she is about to come into season again in a couple of days.
As I got back to the river SF and Mr. H were back and it was decided that we would cross the river upstream. I wasn’t too sure about this so Mr. H had P lead his horse across and he got in the wagon to take me and A across. She refused to ride the horse across. So she and I crawled in the back just in case and Mr. H took the reigns. We made it across with no problem. Where we went across the water barely touched the bottom of the wagon. It helped also that W& A had emptied the wagon for the most part so it was really light.
Mr. H assured us he would watch our animals until we returned. He said we were not the only ones that had left our animals behind because they didn’t want to take the chance with the rough waters and loosing their animals.
From what I could see in the waning light this side of the river was just as beautiful but it just does not compare to what we found south of here. As we rode in to the yard late in the evening we saw Mr. & Mrs. Q and Mother. Mother had me wrapped in an embrace before my feet barely hit the ground. She was so excited that we had found a place and not only that but that us and the Q’s were going to be neighbors.
As we went into the lodge I remembered the stuff from the river and asked the boys to bring it in. Mother was thrilled that some of the stuff that was lost had been found and said that it could be set on the front porch since it was wet and everyone could come claim their stuff.
AS we walked into the lodge it was beautiful and rustic. Just like I wanted my house (I just don’t want it this big) Chef was there and looked to be in heaven. He had an actual stove to cook on now. He waved us over and told us to fix us a plate. Mother assured us that they could find room for us tonight. Two of the guys were headed to barn to sleep in the hay loaf and W& A said they would take the wagon so that just left me and SF needing a place to unroll our sleeping bags. Hopefully there would not be many more nights before I was back in my bed.
Dinner was over and Mother was directing me to a room where SF and I could sleep tonight. She said that there was no bedding there but at least we would have a place to lay our heads. I assured her was fine at this point I was past exhausted and really didn't care as long as it was dry. As SF and I headed to our room for the night he told me that there shouldn't be a problem with us getting our deeds tomorrow. I think if I had not been so tired my mind would have gone into over drive thinking about what all needed to be done before we headed south again. Tomorrow is another day....
Edited by mommato3boys, 07 January 2010 - 02:47 PM.
wife to a darling man since 1981 and mother to 3 wonderful young men.
Don't tick off a redhead it very well could be the last thing you ever do.
Posted 07 January 2010 - 03:43 PM
Lori wakes to the sound of someone chopping wood and thinks that some of the men must be up early getting fire wood? But then she remembers that we are not with the wagon train any more but out here in the middle of nowhere. So after getting up and out of the wagon Lori goes and looks for Me and calls out my name. I think something is wrong so I hurry back to see what is up ? I am met with "and just WHAT are you doing so early in the morning?" SO I explain how I couldn't sleep so I got up and was just chopping down a few trees so I could make a small correl so the animals would be OK when we went back to the Lodge for the day. After a good breakfest we both headed over to where I was working and got enough trees down and trimed and after digging a few holes for fence posts we have what is the first thing done on our Homestead. We have to move some of the heavier things out of the buggy and so for now put them in or under the wagon. Man it is so quite this morning -already missing the sounds of all the wagoneers as we would be getting everything hitched up or gathered for the ride today. But here we are with only one cow to milk and two goats. The horses are loving being able to just roam around a bit but we will have to unrope them and put into the correl before we leave to go away for the day. Todays plan is to be gone for the day but get back before darkness get here.
= = = in touch with the past = = =
Posted 07 January 2010 - 04:32 PM
He asked if I planned to get this all done by the weekend and I just laughed and said , No that's just what we hope to have done within a year. For now we plan to put up a lean-to for the animals and get most of the cabin done. We will be going back tonight if the land is ours and then tomorrow stake out the property lines ,with red flannel flags, and come back to the Lodge and put in a formal claim on the land. Its YOURS, he said, but stay for Supper and then you can stay here for the night. But we told him that we had left everything, including the animals, back at the site so we had to go back tonight. We finally found Mother and after a few hugs told her what we had planned and said we would be back in a day or two with more paperwork. We were a bit sad to leave everyone again but knew that we had to get back to feed and milk before dark. So with lots of waving and 'see ya real soons' we headed back to the site.- Our Homestead -Our HOME!
Edited by Amishway Homesteaders, 07 January 2010 - 04:43 PM.
= = = in touch with the past = = =
Posted 07 January 2010 - 08:34 PM
Hubby started stirring beside me. I poked him in the sleeping bag and told him "Good morning honey! It's time to rise and shine and start our first day at our new home!" He just looked over at me grinning like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. I knew that twinkle in his eyes lol and I had a good idea that coffee was going to be late this morning. After initiating our new home <ahem> I got up and slipped on my robe, wandered over to the Coleman stove and lit it for coffee. I took the old grounds out that we had already used three times and started a compost pile over by where we were going to put the garden. Hey, it's a start! With coffee brewing we got dressed and ready for the day. Each of us got a cuppa and went to sit over by the waterfall to figure out what the day would hold for us. We knew that we were expected back at the camp by the river by nightfall. We wondered if they had to move back or if they went ahead and crossed the river and was everyone okay? I got a little twinge of something talking about the rest of the group...not really loneliness, but I was missing them this morning. We had all been together so long and here we were all alone without everyone now. It was a big change in routine. Yeah, routine. That was another thing we were going to have to figure out all over again.
So we talked and decided to look around here a little bit in the good light of day minus clouds and rain lol and see what else we could find, if anything. We were planning on leaving the little wood stove in the cabin and some of our other things too just to lighten the load on the oxen. Hey, they had worked hard too getting us here and since we were planning on coming right back the next day or so, hubby didn't see any need for us to tote all of our stuff all over the valley again. So that is where we started, unloading the wagon. And wouldn't ya' know it just about the time we had gotten what we wanted into the cabin...we got our first visitors!!! Thank you Lord! It was mt3b's and her family. Seems we were going to be neighbors!! I was just so thrilled when I first saw them coming through the trees that I let out a little war hoop! LOL I just couldn't help it, our first visitors! That thought in itself made me start welling up to cry. I just hope mt3b's doesn't think I am nuts or something lol.
Well she and I got to talking and visiting just like we were long lost sisters or something. I think we could have talked the day away too. The guys had wandered off down by the stream. What is it with men and water? We got a message to give to her family up at the lodge too and we will deliver it later today when we get there. I was just so tickled to find out they will be our neighbors and they will be close enough to lend a hand if needed. And of course, we offered the same to them. So far, this was turning out to be hard work but very rewarding and satisfying. And now with the promise of good people for neighbors, well I just wanted to thank God for it all and shed a few tears too, of course.
Mt3b's and her family took off to look over their own place and the trappers cabin. They had a full day planned for themselves also, just like we did. It got pretty quiet again after they left. Hubby was out back looking over the spot we wanted to put a garden in at and I walked out to join him. We stood there, hand in hand, not saying a word. Just looking at the garden spot with the mountains to the south in the background. This surely was a beautiful placed, one blessed by God's own hand. Nothing of this magnitude could have just "happened". I felt the need to say a prayer of thanks and did so. Hubby turned to me and asked if I was ready to head on into town now and that we could do our talking while we rode along. I told him I sure was and that it would be nice to head on in and make sure all of them were safe and dry. I hoped they had gotten to the lodge by now and that the river would be safe to cross somewhere along the way. Hubby got the oxen hitched back up from grazing over by the stream and we got in and headed out. You could tell the difference in the wagon by the way it was riding. It handled a bit better too with all that heavy stuff out of the back and the middle of the wagon. I knew it would all be safe at our cabin while we were gone.
We headed west to the river by the old homestead and planned on following the river all the way up to the lodge. Since we were lighter and the oxen well refreshed, we made good time getting there too. Along the way we saw lots of small game like rabbits and squirrels. We saw a few doe still out grazing near the tree lines too. It was kind of late in the day for them but with all the rain that fell they may have been a little behind on eating lol. Hubby thought it looked like the river had gone down some from yesterday. I didn't see that, but it did look less "angry" at us and not flowing as fast nor as rough as it was yesterday. That made me feel a LOT better about maybe having to go across it later today.
As we rode, we got to talking about our place. First thing was going to have to be the garden. I had already gotten all the paper pots made for the peppers, tomatoes, etc... and planned on digging up some soil from our place to put in them and get those started as soon as we got back from this little trip up the valley. Hubby and I figured we could get it all turned okay by shovel and such that we had brought with us. I guess the wagon was going to be our tool shed until we could build the barn. Getting fire wood cut and stacked was going to be another chore that needed done quickly also. I was going to need it in the wood stove for canning season. Hopefully we could find some dead fall not too far away and tote it back with the wagon. We had a chain saw and a little gas that we had brought with us, but not much and I think he was planning on using that to fell logs for the barn, not just for plain ole firewood. That was going to be the axe and the maul and such. Hard work for two handicapped people, let me tell ya'! Right about then, I saw something shining in the sun on the river bank. I had hubby stop the wagon and I got down and being the brave soul that I am, went close up to the river to see what is was. Hum, a wash tub? I wonder how this got here? It looks almost new too and it was a #10, so I grabbed it up and was going to take it back to the wagon. I saw some clothes along the river bank a little farther up so I hollered at hubby just to ride along with me as I walked the river bank gathering stuff up in the tub lol. I found about half a tub of clothes that way and didn't see anything else on up ahead, so I had hubby stop the wagon and I put the tub in the back end and jumped on in myself, walking up to the front seat through the wagon bed.
We started back on talking where we left off on what needed done besides the garden and fire wood. Then there was getting the cabin livable, re-chinking the logs, etc...then we needed a barn before winter. I looked at the hubby and asked him what he thought the chances of for us to get all this done before winter set in. He said pretty slim, but we could do it. I asked him if he had given any thought to maybe seeing if we could find someone wanting to hire out to help us? Nope, he hadn't. He just figured everyone would be too busy building their own places to do anything like that. I told him that I would write up an "ad" and see if maybe they didn't have a bulletin board up to the lodge to put things like that on yet? Hey, it was worth a try. Anything to help him not have to do so much heavy lifting and that all by himself would make me happy. I didn't want him pushing too hard and then getting hurt or laid up for a few days. But we would see how things went first with just the two of us he said. So I didn't write up the note after all. I did keep it in the back of my mind however...
We got to the lake and kept going until we met up to the next river and started up that one. I didn't see a soul in sight! This was where they should have been, but no one was around! I guess they went across after all? I didn't see any notes hanging off of any trees lol, so I figured they went on across to the lodge. That must be where the tub had came from and the clothes. Hubby spotted a good place to cross the river on up past the lodge a little bit. It must have only been 10-15 feet across, so away we went. I don't think it ever got up to the bottom of the wagon. One of the oxen slipped once, but quickly regained his footing and we were off again. Having gotten over to the other side, we headed back down toward the lodge. I could see it and saw some people outside moving around. As we got closer I gave a shout out and jumped out of the wagon. Hubby went ahead and took it around back and unhitched the oxen putting them in the corral for the time being. Now there was another thing we're going to need, a corral or some such for our animals!
I was watching hubby put the animals up when Mother came up behind me shouting "Q!! You all made it here! We missed you!" and gave me a hug big enough to squeeze the breathe out of all outdoors! We got to chatting about what happened, what we had seen and hubby saw W&A and gave them their message. About that time here came mt3b's bunch! Mother grabbed her and squeezed the stuffings out of her too, just laughing and having a large time. We told her that we were going to be neighbors too and that just tickled Mother to no end. I think it kind of relieved her too that we would both have someone close by just in case it was needed. Hubby ran back out to the wagon and grabbed the tub with the clothes in it and brought it up to Mother asking her what he should do with it? She just laughed and said that it was hers and they lost it going across the river. She told him to leave the clothes in it and she would wash them up and put those in the lost and found they were starting at the lodge. We all got to go in the lodge finally! I was awestruck at the beauty of it on the inside. Just wow! And you could see Chef back in the kitchen just happy as could be to have a non-rolling stove lol. He was whistling and cooking up a storm.
Well we all got a fine dinner later, one that meant a lot to us. Here we had come, after months on the trail to what was a symbol to us of freedom. We were finally here and that was the biggest hurdle to jump, next would be setting up our home. But for now, we enjoyed a good night of food and fellowship, swapped stories about what we saw to the south, what our place looked like and we found out how to file our claim or deed while we were there.
After all that and with the long day we had had, we begged off any further activities and asked for a bed for the night. Mother was kind enough to have one of Mr. H's people show us to a room upstairs. And here I am about to fall asleep in that same room, sitting at a desk writing this wonderful entry into my journal. So I am off to say my evening prayers now before hitting the hay. I pray for you dear reader of this journal, many blessings and much safety. Tomorrow we file our claim and see if our packages have arrived yet....
Posted 07 January 2010 - 09:34 PM
One of the reasons it was so hard was because I desperately wanted to go too. It wasn't practical of course. I knew I could not ride a horse and we aren't sure just what the trail conditions are in that area. As it's hillier it's possible that we won't be able to get the wagon into some of the areas. We might have to clear trails first. Besides that, I wanted to take a day or so to do laundry and clean the wagons well. Once we get to our homestead we may not have the access to water we don't have to carry from a stream or river and the means to heat it easily as we do here with the big wood stove in the kitchen.
Then of course there were the returning members Quilty's and Mr. Q, Mt3B and SF and family, and Michael and Lori. It was wonderful to hear that they had found their land and I enjoyed hearing all about them. I only hope our own search goes as easily.
I've told MT3B that I would be glad to have her use our buck for her doe and we've arranged to leave them together in a small temporary pen here at the lodge along with one of ours that will be in soon too. That way we won't have to move them before they are ready. Her and I talked about the puppies and how they will be old enough in a couple of weeks to wean. She said she'd work on SF in the mean time and we chuckled. He had already been over to see them a couple of times today. They should be able to pick up both doe and puppy at the same time. I just hope that we can find homes for at least a couple more of the puppies. Sasha has proved herself an excellent hunter for a Saint but it's going to take a fairly large amount of feed to keep all of them fed.
Then tonight was really heartwarming to have so many of us setting around visiting and having a good time but it was also bittersweet because we knew that many would be leaving again in the morning and it might be a couple of weeks before we see each other again.
One of the things we talked about was our supplies. Because we didn't get what we'd all ordered before we left the ranch some were getting low on the things we couldn't furnish for ourselves. No one knows when or if that mule train will get here. Mr. S said we shouldn't look for it anytime soon though. It looks like we're going to have to find substitutes for what we are low on for a while. It was suggested that we all make a list of the things we are really low on and will miss and maybe we can work together to find an alternative. Coffee was mentioned first thing. We can substitute a roasted grain product for that easy enough but it doesn't contain the caffeine and it isn't a perfect taste substitute. It's more like a Postum taste. It's the substitute the pioneers used though so we probably can as well.
Well, I guess I better get myself out of this wonderful cushioned bent willow rocker and go out to check on young DGS. He's used to being with his brother but he wasn't too happy about his Mom and Dad leaving without him, especially after all he's been through the last couple of months and in a strange place. I think Grandma and Grandpa might challenge the younger 'kids' to a board game or two. I bet they beat us...
Posted 08 January 2010 - 05:16 PM
Big D was walking over and we went back to her buggy. She wanted to talk about where we were going to settle. She made me laugh when she stated she wanted the Lodge. I told her we had hoped to check the northern area later in the day. “Take James with you.” She replied.
My first priority of the morning was to check the wagon and take care of the animals. The oxen and the Little Lady were in the pasture grazing contently and the birds were quiet.
The wagon looked like it had dried out quite a bit during the night and my hopes soared. I climbed up the front and began checking the tins. One small tin of pinto beans and a small container of seeds had gotten wet, but the plastic liners and bags had protected everything else. I wondered if we would be able to get the seeds planted by the time the moisture they received caused them to begin to sprout.
As I stepped off the wagon, there was Big D again. “Come on, get yourself some breakfast. Chef’s got some scrambled eggs and biscuits.” She insisted.
The Lodge seemed so peaceful. People were milling around and others were engrossed in conversations when I made my way to the kitchen and got me a plate, a cup of coffee and a promise of more if I wanted. Big D had a place by the fireplace saved for me and we chatted as the fire warmed us.
Revived and relieved, I made a cup of coffee for my dearest and went to see if he was up yet, leaving her in the Lodge. He was up and eagerly accepted the cup. We discussed heading out later and checking the northern area, but we wanted to make sure that area had not already been spoken for, as I rolled up the sleeping bags and disassembled the tent, then headed back to the Lodge.
Edited by Annarchy, 08 January 2010 - 05:21 PM.
God's, are Life.
Posted 08 January 2010 - 08:27 PM
As stepped out side I noticed P W & N were saddled up and headed out to get the rest of the animals. SF and the guys decided that we would stay here for the weekend and take care of the paper work. SF said he would feel better if there were some nurses close since it seemed I was coming down with the flu. He got no argument from me. P W & N blew me kisses said they didn't want to get close. I stuck my tongue out at them, they laughed as they headed towards the river.
We will be leaving our female goats here with Mother's buck and come back in a couple of weeks to get them. I noticed that Sf had been playing with Sasha and her puppies. There is one that is following him around, me thinks we have a new member of the family especially since SF is calling the puppy Buster..."all right Buster if you don't move I am going to step on you; Busterboy you had better get back over here with your mother or you are going to get run over" LOL. W&A have talked to mother and they are taking one of the puppies also.
SF worked out a deal with one of the benefactor families and we are trading 3 of the little pigs for a male and 2 female sheep. We have also had an offer for two of our oxen. One of the other families only brought horses and they feel that oxen would do better plowing. SF said since we have 8 oxen and that since we were doing community gardening with the boys for a few years then 4 oxen would be more than enough. Especially since we have the draft horses. So SF is working out trading 4 of the oxen for a starter herd of beef.
I told him he could not get rid of the horses and we must keep enough animals to be able to produce meet and eggs for us. And when he traded try to get cattle that were not related. I wanted strong blood lines out here he agreed. SF sent A to find Mother to get me some herbal tea and pointed me towards the lodge and the bed again with the promise to wake me when it was time to sign the paper work. I asked him when the wagons arrived to please send proper bedding up stairs that I really didn't not like the sleeping bag. Not only that but I wanted my pillow.
With that I headed to bed. I have got to kick this cold or I will be of no use come next week when we break ground for the garden.
wife to a darling man since 1981 and mother to 3 wonderful young men.
Don't tick off a redhead it very well could be the last thing you ever do.
Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:08 PM
We wandered down stairs after dressing, seeing people eating breakfast, we checked out the kitchen to find Chef hard at it again. We thanked him for all of the fine food he had fixed for us since the first day of the wagon train and up until this day. He blushed, the big old softy at heart and said a quiet thank you as I grabbed him up for a big hug. Hubby shook his hand and thanked him also. Chef promised that this wasn't the end of his cooking now that he had such a great big and well stocked kitchen to use. We promised him that we would be coming to the gatherings here at the Lodge and would look forward to more of his wonderful cooking. We each grabbed a plate of breakfast and a cuppa coffee and headed out to the main room of the Lodge to find a place to sit and eat.
We saw Annarchy sitting and talking, and Mother of course was there. We didn't want to bother anyone so we took a seat at one of the big long tables so we could discuss what needed done and soon. I looked around for Mt. R.'s but didn't see them anywhere. I sure hoped that they were getting their much needed rest now before traveling on to their place in the valley that they wanted to check out. I knew it had hot springs near it and was hoping that both of them would enjoy having that so near. They needed to be putting it to use quickly. I said a quick prayer for our breakfast, adding them in to it. Diving into another one of Chef's wonderful meals, we discussed getting our claim filed. Then we wondered if the supplies were in yet and decided we would go check with Mr. H. on that after breakfast. If those were in, or the packages we had ordered, we would pick those up, go file the claim with Mr. H and then say our good-byes to everyone and get back to our little homestead. That's if we had enough daylight left to get back there. Otherwise we would stay yet another night at the Lodge. Since the dogs and the chickens were out in the wagon yet, hubby ate and went out to check on them and get them fed and exercised while I cleaned up our mess from breakfast and went back to the room to tidy up a bit and pack us up just in case we had time to head back today.
Once hubby returned from outside, we went in search of Mr. H. I just kind of stayed in the background as the men hashed things out. Some of our packages had arrived and were in a storage room here at the Lodge waiting to be picked up. Mr. H. would show us where on the shelves in that room they were so we wouldn't have to play guess and search all morning lol. Hubby also asked him about having a bulletin board here to post "Want ads" and notes on. He said it was on the way to the office and would show it to us right after we grabbed our packages. He said he would wait while we ran those back to our room. We ran them back with arms loaded and got back to Mr. H. asap. He showed us the bulletin board, a large wall with a piece of cork covering it and push pins all over off to the side for use to stick the messages up on it with. Then I left Mr. H. and hubby to go off to the office and get the claim on our land filed while I put up the notes on the board. The first one was for a horse. I put the note up that said..."Needed: One good horse for riding circuit around the valley for medical check ups on others. Will trade for it or buy outright. See Mr.Q or Q for details."
The next one read this: "Needed, one or two goats, preferably milkers for milk and cheese and meat on down the road a bit. Will consider all offers. Trade, barter or outright buying. See Mr. Q or Q for details."
I had one other one I wanted to put up but figured I would wait a little bit on it first so not to make hubby upset. And I thought I would check with mt3b first and see if they had any of the boys that might want this one. It read: "Wanted, one good strong back to help on occasion around our place. Need help with heavy lifting and moving. Will trade, barter or pay $$ for the help. See Mr. Q for details." I held on to that one. Figured I would give it to the hubby after we talked to mt3b's first, then he could post it if they didn't have anyone who could lend us a hand now and again. I knew we wouldn't need someone all the time, it would just be a once in awhile thing. We surely couldn't afford someone all the time.
Mr. H. and the hubby came out of the office smiling and shaking hands as I was standing there reading the board. I broke into the testosterone party lol. I asked Mr. H. if he knew anything about people riding circuit in the valley for medical care or spiritual needs yet? Nothing he knew of yet. I told him that once we got our place going, probably not even this year but the next one, that I was considering doing just that in the valley as a nurse, doing wellness checks for blood pressure, childbirth and the likes. He seemed to really like that idea. I told him it was all dependent on us getting a horse somewhere first since I didn't think it was going to go real fast driving the wagon or trying to ride one of those beasts all over the valley LOL!! He told me that if I was going to be checking up on everyone that he would make a list of names, what was wrong or what they were needing medical wise, make sure that the clinic in town knew what I was doing out there and get me together with them on this adventure lol. He also said that if I was going to be checking on everyone, that he would gladly supply the horse! I asked him for how much and he clouded up real quick. "For nothing at all but a check up now and then!" he said to me rather loudly. Ops, I didn't mean to offend him and told him just that. He smiled at me and told me no offense was taken then. We shook on the deal and he told me to see one of the boys out at the corral before we left to go back to our homestead today or tomorrow. They would help us pick out a good rider and get us all set up with the needed tack too. I asked if that came with lessons since I had ridden many times, but never had to put on my own saddle! Surely, he said. Whew. With that problem out of the way, I swiped the notice off of the bulletin board and followed the men folk back downstairs.
So far, it has been a pretty good day! We have our claim filed now, picked up some of our packages, and got a horse! Now to go talk to a few of the folks here and we might even be able to get home today. Home. Our home. Finally ours. Wow, was I ever going to sleep good tonight!
Hubby asked Mr. H. before he took off to help some other folks just when he thought the other supplies might come in on that mule train his kids were going to have. He told us how bad things were getting out there in the world. He was very worried about his own kids and even Mr J, back at the Rockin' J ranch. Seems they had been having their share of trouble too with people trying to wrestle some cattle to feed themselves with. Problem was most would kill the cattle, cut out a little meat and leave most of it lay for the preditors. What a waste and one that couldn't go on obviously. They were worried about safety there also as the gangs became bigger and more bold about attacking places like the Rockin J. I asked Mr. H. if it was possible that they may need to move out of there and into the valley at some point? He told us that provisions for that possibility had been made a long time ago, that they would move here lock, stock, and barrel if things got to bad out in the real world. They wanted most of the grazing range in the center of the valley and with most of us going south or north so far, that didn't seem like it was ever going to be a problem. I was happier knowing that they might be moving in here at the valley, but that would also mean that we had one less contact with the outside world. Lets hope they could hold out for a good long time yet. But as for the mule train, he said that his sons were trying to gather the stuff asap. But there were so many shortages now that it didn't look like we would ever get all that we had ordered. But his boys would get what ever they could and get it to the valley asap.
I could tell by the look on Mr. H.'s face that he would be more than happy to have his sons here with him rather than out in the world at the Rocking J. Poor guy. I could sympathize with him having my own kids out there instead of here in the valley with us. Maybe at one point they could come. I doubted it though. They seemed to think they could all ride it out at our old place in TN. We had showed them our escape plan there over to LBL park and the cave we had found and stocked up there. It was only less than 10 minutes away from our house by car, shorter by the car/boat route. And they knew that if for some reason, the nukes started flying, that they all needed to beat feet and meet up at that cave. It would provide them all the protection and supplies they would need to ride that out. I knew they would be safe, but they were just too far away for my liking. Best not think about that now...we needed to get a move on and get ourselves settled in at our new place!
We got back to the room to check out what the packages were when a knock came at the door. It was SF coming to see if I would go check on mt3b. Seems she was coming down with something and he said she went back to their room mumbling something about wanting her pillow and that she didn't feel too good. He said she had a cup of tea that Mother had given her to drink. LOL, I told him that she would probably be asleep when we got there, but I could still check her over even so. Off we went to their room. He opened the door for me to go in, but stayed outside in the hall saying he didn't like medical stuff lol. Why is it that men are so chicken when it comes to all things medical? It's not that bad really! I peeked in on mt3b. She was sound asleep cradling her pillow. I didn't have the heart to wake her, but I had to touch her to check for fever. Her face was definitely flushed. I laid my hand gently on her forehead so as not to wake her. It was hot! I sent SF downstairs to ask Mother to get him a cup of willow bark tea and tell her that I needed it for mt3b for a fever. I knew Mother would know just how strong to make it then. She was resting well, breathing was even and easy. She did sound a little rattly though like she needed to cough something up. I started writing out on a piece of paper for SF just what he needed to do...
-Willow bark tea. One cup every 6 hours for fever.
-Keep the covers on her no matter how much she fights you about it! Uncovering someone with a fever could turn into pneumonia. So keep her covered well.
-Come get me if she gets worse. You know which room we are in. Will stay the week-end to watch her if it's needed.
-If she starts coughing...make sure she sits up and coughs it all the way up. If she can't, cup your hand and gently hit her on the back on both sides where the lungs are. About 20 times on each side will help. While you are doing that, make her lay across the bed with her head down and hanging over the edge. That helps the mucus come up and out of the lungs.
-Keep the room warm and no drafts on her.
-Get some food into her. The body needs the nutrients in the food to fight off the fever and help cure itself of what's wrong. She doesn't have to eat a big meal. Some soup, chicken is best, and crackers will do to start. Then move her up to scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.
-I will be back in the morning to check on her.
I handed the note to SF as he got her to drinking the willow bark tea. I smiled at him and told him not to worry, that it wasn't too bad and she would be okay. Let her stay in bed the week-end to get her strength back and that I will come back in the morning to check on her. He seemed okay with that and she just smiled at me while drinking the tea. I left them to it and went back to our room to let hubby know the change in plans. I told him that he might as well go on down to the corral, get the oxen fed and put up, take the dogs potty, feed the chicks, and then pick out a horse for us and learn how to saddle it up. I told him I would be staying here in the room while he was gone just in case I was needed so I could be found. I knew this was the start of it, that there would be more calls for help. I didn't want to tell him that. I knew this was going to put more work onto him to get things done around the homestead. Maybe I should put that note up on the board after all? I thought about it while sitting on the bed. It just felt so soft after sleeping in the wagon. I am sure it wouldn't hurt anything if I just laid down on it for a minute or two................
Posted 08 January 2010 - 09:59 PM
Big D, Naomi & James were sitting near the fireplace taking when we came in. We joined them and began discussing what we need to do. Gunslinger went over to Mr. H to discuss our options and came back smiling. "Well, are you ready to head out?" he asked. "Mr. H said the area we were looking at on the map hasn't been explored." He paused a moment, gazing at the flames flickering on the logs, "We could check it out and be back well before dark, if you want." James stood up promptly, nodded at Big D "Let me get my jacket, I'll meet you at the buggy." I turned to Big D and gave her a hug. She whispered "Good Luck, I'll see you when you get back."
The buggy was hitched and its contents had been transferred to their wagon. James was standing next to the horse stroking her mane when we got there. I climbed in while the men sat out front. Remarkably, I could see that my dearest MIL had been extremely spoiled our whole trip. Soft leather divided bench seat, like a Lazy Boy recliner, including the head, arm and foot rests. In front of me was a pull out table with cup holders, a small refrigerator nestled under the cab surrounded by wooden cabinets. The windows were lightly tinted and manually rolled up and down. Even a sky light! There was an incredible amount of space behind the seat for storage. No wonder she never complained. I shook my head, thinking how we had taken the bare minimum to save on weight, then fixed my gaze out the windows to see what I could see, marveling at the smoothness of the ride.
We followed an old trail leading to the hot springs, then began weaving up and down the hills, bypassing swamps and trees, boulders and small streams. The scenery was breathtaking. We had climbed in altitude by the time we reached the area we had been looking at on the map. James brought the horse to a halt and tethered her to a medium sized popular tree.
The area was a large open field on top of a medium grade hill, lined with trees to the north and east, while the river flowed on the west side at the bottom of the hill about 100 yards away. To the south, you could see the lake and almost all of the valley. I stood there speechless for some time gazing at the splendor, until my dearest came up behind me and whispered, "You've gotta see this." He walked me to the north side of the clearing and pointed up to the top of the mountain. You could see the waterfall cascading down the cliffs. Even in my wildest dreams, it would have been hard to find such a perfect place for us.
James had walked east towards the trees, then called out to us. We came over and he pointed to an area just on the other side of the grove of trees that lined the field we were in. You could see another field, lined with trees and a few valleys in between. We chattered excitedly about the area, this can go here, and that there and on and on and on, before deciding that this area would do just fine and we should get back to the Lodge.
The ride back seemed much shorter and we arrived at the Lodge well before dark. GS808 went to talk with Mr. H, James hurried to talk with Big D and Naomi and I went to check on the animals, then, met up with them in the Lodge. GS said he'd got the paperwork done and handed me a cup of coffee suggesting we get a good nights sleep, and that we had been invited to sleep in the Lodge instead of having to set up the tent.
I woke early, snuck out of the bags and went out on the porch to do my reading. By the time I had finished several people were up. I could hear Chef clanking pans in the kitchen and went in to help. He readily put me to work making biscuits while he busied himself preparing eggs, pancakes, bacon, toast, and gravy.
After breakfast, we sat around, enjoying the time to socialize without having to worry about anything.
I made my way around visiting, sharing what we had found so far and listening to the stories of what everyone else had found, where they were going to be and what their hopes were. Everyone was concerned for Mt_R, Mt3b and Q including me. Mother quickly assured me they were in good hands, but, it didn't seem to ease my concern, quietly we said a prayer together.
Edited by Annarchy, 08 January 2010 - 10:08 PM.
God's, are Life.
Posted 09 January 2010 - 10:23 AM
Oh what a beautiful day.
I've got a feeling that everythings
Going our way!"
Okay, well maybe not everything, but things were looking up. We have our claim filed, some packages came in, we made it to the Valley, God granted us good friends both new and old and we were starting a new life. Be assured we knew it wasn't going to be easy, far from that. But it would be rewarding, building with our own hands what would become our life. Our faith has gotten us this far and would continue to sustain us in days to come. God never gives us more than we can bear, so He must have some real big faith in what we can accomplish here in the valley lol! He sure has a good sense of humor too, ever take a good look at some of the animals he created?!
Well hubby was already up and out of the room, so I got out of the bed and got ready for the day. There was a stand with a basin in it and a pitcher of water too. I took a spit shine bath in a hurry. The water was kind of cool, but it woke me up all the way and felt good too, so who's to complain? I got dressed and cleaned up the room a little. I stared at the pile of unopened packages. What a mess, they were piled this way and that about to fall over on the floor. I took to just straightening them up when an envelop fell out of the stack onto the floor at my feet. It had come from the Rockin J by way of that last little burg we had went through. They must have picked up mail too along with the last of the packages. I hurried to pick it up. Grabbing it like it was made of glass, I turned it over to see who it was from since very few of our family knew where to send a letter to us. It was from our kids. So, did I want to open it now and blubber like a baby, getting my face and eyes all red and swollen, or did I want to wait until we got to our home and not have to worry about stuff like that? I opted to wait, it would about kill me to do it. But wait it will. It's not like I could answer it anyways. At least I didn't think so. I knew we could get mail, but not send it out. It was a hard choice, one of many we made to come here, but in the end of all things, it would be okay. I stuck the letter in my togo bag to open when we got home and then went over to mt3b's room to check up on her.
I knocked at the door and SF answered. She had slept okay last night and was still asleep now. I told him that I had to check on a few others and would come back by in awhile to check on her good. Leaving there I went to search for Mt. R. I looked all over the Lodge. I couldn't find either one of them! I knew they didn't have their place up and going yet, so they couldn't be there?? I went on downstairs and even though I could smell another one of Chef's wonderful breakfasts cooking, I just grabbed a cuppa and headed out of the kitchen in search of Mt.R, either one of them at this point. I asked some of B's people sitting at the long tables in the great room. No one here had seen either one of them since crossing the river! Okay, now I am getting worried and I am not one that worries too easily. But I know how hard this trip was on Mr. and myself. I could only imagine how hard it was on her. It must have taken a toll on her and I wondered if it had taken too much out of her with all the hypothermia, the riding, the ups and downs of being on the trail even. All of those things can cause any chronic illness to escalate. I said a quick prayer for them both. I went back to the room and grabbed my coat, left a note for the hubby since he wasn't back yet and headed back to the kitchen for a refill on my cuppa before heading out of the Lodge.
I had in mind going straight to the clinic to see if the Mt. R.'s were there instead of riding all the way to their place in our wagon first. I went out back of the Lodge first instead to see if hubby was out there. Yep, there he was playing with the dogs and getting them some much needed exercise. He had already fed the chickens and given the oxen a little extra feed. I don't know who was having more fun though, the dogs or him lol! He said he was going to hang out here for awhile. He isn't one for crowds much and was getting antsy to get back to our place. I told him he could go up to the room and get our stuff and put it into the wagon if he wanted. I thought we might be able to get home today depending on what happened last night and this morning with my "patients" lol. He just grinned at me knowing that nothing nor no one would move me from here if I thought I was still needed as a nurse. Smart man.
I wandered over to the clinic. Nice little building, made of logs, chinked well from what I could tell at least I felt no drafts of any kind. And amazingly clean for a log house! Someone had taken great pains to make this place one that would last a good long time. I waited at the front desk till someone showed up. It was one of B's folks that I hadn't seen on the trail. Must have been with the front part of the train lol. I asked if they had a patient here, Mt.R. She looked at me funny...I said "sorry, I meant Mt. Rider's, either one of them? They have come up missing and she has a chronic disease that may have flared up. I thought I would look here before heading up to their place." "And you would be who?", she asked me. I told her that I was a friend and a nurse that had taken care of her on the trail when she had hypothermia, along with others on the wagon train. That we were just wondering how she was doing? She said that we weren't going to worry about HIPPA laws here in the valley lol. Thank goodness for that, I might have had to go over the counter at her otherwise! She said that yes, Mt.R. was here at the clinic as a patient. She said that her husband has been here with her the entire time, refusing to leave her side. Evidently she has hit another flair up and this one was a doosy. All of the hard riding, the worry, the hypothermia and even the emotions along the way had all worked together to cause this flair up in her. The nurse said that she thought maybe Mt. R. shouldn't have even attempted this journey. I told her that Mt.R. is one woman who almost single handedly got most of this wagon train together and if it wasn't for her, most of us wouldn't be here now. We would have either not come to begin with or would have turned back at the first hint of any trouble. We owed that woman big time. And she has faith that will move a mountain. One thing that everyone knew was Mt.R. was one truly God fearing woman. I told the nurse that someone would be around to check on her later and to give the Mt.R.'s a message that I had been here to check on her please. She told me that she would do that as soon as one of them had woken up. She also told me just how bad this all was in medical terms. That knowledge I held close to the vest, not wanting to spread it all over the Valley and asked her to not let that out to too many people please, unless she (Mt. R.) said it was okay. I promised to be back and told the nurse thank you as I turned to head out the door. I needed to go back to the Lodge. First I had some praying to do for our dear friend. Second I needed to talk to Mother and let her know what was going on with Mt.R. and I needed to talk to the hubby and see what he thought, should we stay or go?
It was fixing to be a longer day than I thought it was going to be an hour ago.....
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