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WAGONS HO - The Journey III - Wilderness


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If you're just joining us, you may want to start at the beginning with Wagons Ho! - Preparation.





Wow, I can't believe how nervous I am this fine Tuesday morning. It was so thrilling to enter the Rockin' J ranch a couple days ago. But now leaving to enter the final stage of our jouney...the WILDERNESS...... Hey...I LIVED in the boonies of the Rockies, for pete's sake. In a log cabin, even! And yet....this is so different! We're leaving this unstable 'civilization' behind. Self-sufficiency....personal and as-a-group....will have to be enough. :pray:


We've all said our fond goodbyes to Jacob Rock and the two of his sons that came along to see us to the edge of their ranch lands. Clarence Smith, Edward Jones, and Mr Hughes are still talking with them...arranging about the pack mule train. Steven & Jerry (the sons) will be bringing them up loaded with our fresh supplies that have not been delivered yet. Well, IF the supplies ever do make it. It's getting really rough back there too.


Roan feels my mood and is prancing and wheeling. She doesn't like holding still while we {Hawaii phrase} "talk story". I'm about to run her into a tree if she doesn't knock it off. :wacko:



Looking ahead I see the hills beginning to rise...slow and gradual. More trees but still a lot of grass lands. The hills and trees will increase as we travel the next days. Eventually, there will be mountains. Not so high as the Colorado "Fourteeners" [that's: 14,000' and over] that DH and I are used to. Thank goodness!!!! And we'll be taking a carefully researched route and thru passes rather than up and over. But...I've heard actual entry into the Big Valley is......... a DOOZEY. :blink:



Ah, Clarence and Jacob giving one last bear hug and now.....it's Clarence who's hollering:



WAGONS HOOOOoooooooooo!






MtRider [.......this is IT then..... ]

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Good Morning all..............................

Funny, I thought it would be most of the members that would be a bit worried about moving out today but most of the animals must be feeling something as they too are a little jumpy this morning as we gathered them up. some don't even want to be hitched up, Do they know something we don't?


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Dear Diary,


I am still in shock this morning. I can’t believe SF went through with the trade of the momma ox and Jack & Jill for a bull and pigs. It was strange seeing the cattle trailer and truck parked off to the far left of us this morning. Raja is the new bull and the rancher said he had been part of a team before and has pull wagons. But he is head strong and must be the leader of the team (just like a typical guy). SF and W/N have rearranged the oxen. They have put the bull on the lead wagon SF felt he needed to be the one to handle him for the first leg of the trip. Raja didn’t flinch when he was hitched up this morning but he enjoying all the attention this morning. The draft horses have had their hooves check one last time and are also hitched up. The other set of oxen are hitched ready to go. However, all the animals from the teams pulling the wagons to the smallest animals in cages are all restless. P has moved up front to the bench seat next to N to lend a hand if needed. W has a tight reign on his team of oxen but they are getting antsier by the minute. I see that Mt. Rider is having a time Roan.


The sows are all tucked in in the cattle cart. Sow #1 is Rosy since she is a red and she has 6 piglets that are 10days old (4 males 2 females). Sow #2 is Pepper because she is black her piglets were older so they will stay behind. Then there is Oscar (SF has a warped sense of humor- he named the male Oscar as in Oscar Mayer bologna) Oscar is 6 months old. SF wanted a male that he could breed to the sows. This was the first litter for both of the girls. I guess SF got a good deal 9 pigs and a bull for a momma and 2 calves. Its funny the goats have climbed up on top of the hay and are looking down on the pigs like what are you doing in my space. Thank goodness the cattle wagon has a divider in it.


Not only do we have the addition of the pigs but Wilma has 4 little biddies now. Maybe I will put Roo in with Lucy next and see if I can’t get another round of biddies before we arrive. I really don’t want more than one hen sitting at a time because we really need those fresh eggs. Betty seems to have recovered from the accident and is now giving us eggs again. How did the pioneers travel with new babies, both animal and human? I mean they were on the trail a very long time it really makes you wonder.


SF is talking smoke houses this morning. Well it will be nice to have fresh bacon again. My mind has drifted off to the garden. I think tonight I will see about getting some starter boxes going. I am curious as to how these are going to work hanging on the side of the wagons. The lettuce worked out well and is still producing. With supplies being thin I want a garden producing as quickly as possible. I am thinking tomatoes, squash, and egg plant. At lunch when we stop I will pull out some news paper to make start pots with…


Well I just heard those famous words…WAGONS HOOOO!!!!


So this is it then...just over those mountains is home.....



Move Boss you are not sitting in my lap...silly dog get down, that's a good boy lay under the seat.

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Well it's time for a lunch break and we're announcing that for the next several days, we'll try to present something as an informational demo during this time. Particularly for those folks in our wagon train for which camping or rural/primitive lifestyle is so new. But as last night's fire-making contest demonstrates, some of us have a ways to go on certain skills. :blush:



So unless someone is ready with a topic today, a few of us will invite anyone interested tonite to observe and ask questions as we milk goats and cows. Many of us are up to speed on this but there are still a few who actually *just* picked up milking animals back at the Rockin' J.


Ok....REALLY, wagon members. If you have a specialty and you'd have time this week to write about it, let me know which day you'd like to post your demo. Any way you'd like to teach a basic how-to. Like Annarchy did with the tanning. Anything from First Aid, sewing on a button securely, duck lore, herbal I.D. walks are always good and we need to continue those as the season and region changes. How to make Indian Fry Bread. Whatever. :cheer:



....I wonder if the increase in altitude is going to affect us? Shortness of breath when we are getting higher. But I don't know if we'll go much higher than about 5,000. Still....I could share quickly the couple things you'd be watching for.


First: Dehydration cuz we're not in a very humid climate now. And dehydration makes the altitude thing worse. If you are thirsty, you are WAY behind in hydration already. Dryer climate makes the heat more tolerable and since you don't feel sweaty [it's drying quickly] you don't realize how much you've lost.


Second is slow down. Going the speed we are with the wagons, our climb into elevation will be slow. Hopefully it will give us the chance to acclimate. But if you're finding yourself more breathless, dizzy, lightheaded than normal, slow down. Take short rest breaks more frequently.


Thirdly...in higher altitude, watch out for sunburn. A thinner atmosphere will burn you like a day at the beach.



:curtsey: [very impromptu..lol]



And anyone wanting to add to our fire-making data...speak up. That is so important.






MtRider [this afternoon I'm going to be trying our new black gelding we added at the Rockin' J. Made arrangements for the Rock's to find a gelding to my needs and also a jack donkey trained for harness/pack. Decided some weeks back that this was how we'd spend the last of our savings. So...here we go. Oh, he's got such a smooth gait. He's lovely!]

Edited by Mt_Rider
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Humm high altitude cooking requires more water. I wonder if we have enough water oh shoot longer cooking time...where is that cooking book (mt3b hands SF the reigns and climbs over the seat)...ouch stupid crate. Ok so here it is High Altitude cooking. For 3000 feet (I think that is what Mt. Rider said it would be) poultry needs to cook to 165 degrees, eggs take longer to cook, things dry out quicker when cooked uncovered. Reduce each teaspoon of baking powder by 1/8 teaspoon; reduce each cup of sugar by 1 tablespoon; increase liquids by 1-2 tablespoons. Cooking bread is going to be trial and error, more liquid, less yeast and less rising time. OH MY my head is spinning already. :twister3: Maybe I need to stick to gardening and hire a cook. :0327:


Gardening oh shoot did my PH meter come? What did I do with those unopened packages. What did you say SF? No I am not talking to you I am thinking out loud. Do you remember where I put those unopened packages...what? Yes now I am talking you you silly man OH :girlneener: on you. You know how I get I am trying not to think about what we may face out here I am jumping ahead and planning for when we arrive. I am looking for the PH meter to test soil with. It came? Wonderful what did you did with it? In the garden seeds?!?! No no that is fine I just never would have thought to look there. Yeah I know garden seeds, PH meter garden soil...yeah yeah I get. Oh move Boss, that is my seat, no I already told you you are not sitting in my lap, get down. Good boy.


So honey what do you think? (mt3b smiling sweety :nail: at SF as she climbs back over the wagon seat and shooing the big lap dog out of her seat again) What seeds do you think we should start. Of course tomatoes is at the top of the list. I have those strawberry plants that we brought with us. I think I even packed the grow bags we could go ahead and plant one side and hang it on the side of the wagon. I am thinking we will only have about a 75-90 day growing season, maybe even less depending on how long it takes us to get there and how long it takes to get the garden plots plowed and planted. I am thinking we will have to plant short season items. We might can get some longer season items in like eggplants, winter squash, and melons. Maybe if I got them growing now in newspaper pots then I could plant the whole thing when we got there that way roots would not be disturbed. I know cucumbers do not like to be transplanted but if I plant the whole thing maybe they will produce enough for me to do pickles.


What? Why are you looking at me like that? Wrong? I didn't say anything was wrong. Ok so I am on pins and needles. I am just a little gun shy so to speak after the accident and being back out here. You know I don't do well with the unknown and I don't like surprises. I know we will get through this and we will be better off I am just...well I am just nervous that is all. Give me a couple of days to shake of civilzation again and I should be fine. :kissy:

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.....................and the next thing I knew it was almost dawn. I laid there listening to a rooster stretch his vocal cords, then got up and went for a stroll. I could hear a few ranch hands tending to their chores. When I returned I found my magnesium lighting tool and checked my belt. Flashlight, weapon, magazines, multi-tool. Hmmmm, severely deficient, considering what other people had. Bandana in my pocket for emergency bandage, sling &/or hanky, but it wouldn't be sufficient as a blanket, let alone rain tarp. LOL


My Dearest had already gotten our wagon ready to go and was chomping at the bit for me to get a move on. I jumped in we were off. The sandwiches were such a treat at lunch. Ummmmm..... :yum3: Grateful that God has supplied again unexpectedly. At the end of the day, I was ready for the rest. Yet, I knew I still had to start a fire without matches or my bic lighter. I grabbed a piece of dead fall wood with bark on it and pulled my knife and began scraping the under bark to make a fine powder over the grass and small twigs I was working with. After several strikes a small weft of smoke started to lightly rise. Gently I struck again several times, this time the smoke became continuos enough that I knew it was beginning to make some embers. Lightly and very cautiously, I began to blow on the embers while continuing to strike the stick, amazingly it began to brighten and after a few more minutes a flame burst forth. :woohoo: I'd done it!!!! Looking up I saw that there were other fires already going and was quickly humbled that it had taken me so long, and that I'd lost track of time because I was so intent on what I was doing. [iRL: 20 minutes] :Blushing: With a sigh of relief that it had worked, I built the fire up to handle our dinner tonight. Dearest is getting a can of green beans, boiled noodles mixed with a can of mushroom soup and a teaspoon of chicken bullion.


Quietly after dinner, I wished GS808 a happy B-day and we crawled into our sleeping bag and passed out.



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Ok, Mt3b needs some help reinforcing the sow with young in the cattle wagon. Lets get some more boards pounded in here. Reinforce it with those metal T-posts too. Yes, she can basically EAT wooden boards. So keep an eye on it.


We need to set out the warning: A sow with young is one of the most dangerous barnyard animals. One female can kill a full grown man. Can also near rip off an arm. So we have to be sure no children can stick their fingers into this area of the cart. Yes, put a lid on it too. Now, the other pigs are in this portion and the goats are very sure they want NOTHING to do with that momma. Wish that man would have givin you more instruction on care of SOW. :0327:



Well, the wagon's a bit heavier now but I think it will be safer. Not sure that pig is going to be getting out until we arrive tho. If babies get too big, the goats might have to give over their space. Can't have the sow running around. Good thing the cattle wagon was strong to begin with. Watch now....don't let her bite your finger clean off when you feed her.



Now be VERY careful of the bull too. I wonder if he was bottle fed? That would make him a little more tamed down. BUT the hormones still reign strong so....keep a strong hand on him. That's why they control them thru the nose in the old days. Gets thru to even their dim brains. Ow...it hurts when I do that!



OK...that's a bit better now. Be sure the children are not around that wagon!



MtRider [......ham/bacon :yum3: but wow those sows are unbelievable! ]


PS: IRL...Annarchy, you really did the spark fire? :cheer: I did too with the dryer lint...see the Journey II.

Edited by Mt_Rider
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AS I crawl out from under the blanets and quilts we had to cover up with last night I can see my breath! That is not a good start to the day. Lori rolls over and says to wake her in time for Dinner there is no way she is getting up in this cold. But seeing I have chores to do I get dressed and head out of the wagon. Do you know how hard it is to get a fire going with gloves on? But on the bright side I can pick up the cofffee pot with potholders. LOL


Most of the animals are stamping thrie feet to warm up this morning as well and it would be a pretty sight with them all breathing with smoke come out of noses and mouthes if this was Janurary, but it is not and it is really cold out today.


Well better get things going and see who's up and who will need a bit of extra help moving out today. Better start with Lori's cup of cocoa to get her going as she doen't like the cold like I do.


UP AND AT 'EM PEOPLE. We got pleases to be and things to do today.



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SF woke me several times last night because I was screaming NO!!!!!! GET AWAY FROM THE PIGS!!!!!!!! I don’t know who was more scared last night me or the little boy. I know he just wanted to see the baby pigs. I totally forgot how over protective a sow could be. My heart is still racing even this morning. I finally gave up on sleep around 2 or 3 this morning. I knew SF needed a good nights sleep more than I did since he has the first leg of the journey this morning. I think I was up before Michael this morning. After the excitement of starting a fire with dryer lint yesterday I tried it again this morning. All I can say YIPEE it worked again. Coffee and cream of wheat was ready before sun up. The animals were fed and watered before anyone in my wagons was stirring. I think I will lie back down until lunch and try to grab a nap. I was getting some strange looks from guards this morning they couldn’t understand why I was up so early.


Last night after the sows calmed down we remodeled the cattle cart again. We have separated the sows and put Rosy on one side and closed her in with 2x4s half way up the sides, she has calmed down but I am the only one that is dealing with the pigs, I won’t let anyone else deal with them. Pepper and Oscar are content to share the other side of the cattle cart. When we stop for longer periods the pigs will be put in a temporary fence all to themselves. Rosy and Pepper were 4-H projects and are used to being handled but not when they have their babies around. I wonder if we have enough wood to build another section the cart. We have the fencing. Will need to check on that, that way we can separate Rosy and the piglets and move the goats to a larger section and put the chickens back with them. The chickens are not too happy with the pigs, they liked being with the goats but we have moved them to separate cages and they are not liking it.


You are right Mt. Rider sows are not pets and should not be treated as such. They are mean and will not hesitate to draw blood. Once they draw blood there is no stopping them. (IRL we had pigs growing up and even if they were bottle fed they still were mean as a snake when they had their litters) but they will provide lots of bacon/ham and pork chops.


Raja did really well yesterday. Being team lead is second nature for him. He is such a big baby. SF told me that the rancher’s youngest daughter raised him as a 4-H project. So even though he is an intact bull he is tame and loves to be petted and loved on. Raja is partial to females. It seems the rancher’s daughter led her around by his bull ring and hand fed him carrots and radishes. It is hard to believe that he is only 2, it seems like he has been doing this for a lot longer.


I am sore today and I guess that is what I get for being off the trail for a while. I have just got to get back in to routine. Today’s lunch will be easy on me…bean burritos, I had plenty of flour tortilla shells left over last night and the pintos are already cooked. Dinner is another issue. I am sick of food, nothing sounds good. I need to look at my menus and see if I can’t shuffle some meals around to get rid of this food fatigue.


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It was a bit misty today. Not so much in the form of rain but chilly and damp all the same. Can you hear the dull sounds...like a blanket of quiet is down and around us. The animals are huddling together and tho it's quite beautiful, a sunny day seems easier on my spirit.


We've definitely been climbing. We did take on two more oxen each at Rockin' J by design. We have the capacity now for a hitch of six but most of us could not really handle that many. Might be necessary in some steep places....and we might have some drivers taking up two wagons each so that we know drivers in on that stretch have experience and strength. That takes time but will be conservative in safety. We'll use either two oxen as we've mostly been doing, or four through most of this trail. Most of the time, a pair of two then will be 'off-duty' and with the herds. [i told Jacob to get me reallly strong oxen cuz my wagon is heavy! :rolleyes: ]


Our lunch time seminar was given by Mr. Huges on wildlife tracks. How to identify them. And of course, which ones live out in these parts. And how to properly interact with them. Bear, Mt. lion, coyote, fox, deer, elk, rabbit, squirrel, etc. We were given printouts with the tracks and other data noted.



Since folks are still talking about the success and failures of the fire-making contest, some of us tried our hand at it again for our evening fire. :huh: Oh boy! Practice seems to be the key. I'm appalled that my former skill seems to have deserted me in the past decade or more of non-use. I had no real success today. I was determined to copy Annarchy's inner bark powder method. Hmph! Well and truly powdered but.... no spark turning to coal and certainly not flame. Rats. Mebbe I grabbed the wrong bark? Mine was aspen...old dead tree aspen. I couldn't even get the precious dryer lint from burning flame to accepting the "christmas trees" and such. Now with the moisture content in the air might be affecting the results. However...this is the kind of day you neeeeeed :campfire::pout:


IRL yesssss I DID....I went out into light snow and EIGHT DEGREES to chuck off some old aspen bark, grind to powder between stones, [gonna be low tech in this!!! ] and set up a good windbreak and had my usual good tinder and....nothin'. Bummer! EVEN when I ducked into the basement for lint. It wasn't snowing directly ON my fire-making. This thread has pointed out some uncomfortably glaring holes in my "survival" stuff. A good educational experience but dang! I don't have to like it. <_< KWIM?



On a brighter [but unfortunately UNreality] note, I am really pleased with our new animals. The jack donkey is sizing us up and needs to know he's in good hands. Lots of treats is a way to start forming his good opinion of us. LOL Like MM, he is quite good about keeping his teeth out of the way when he lips up our offerings. I guess we need confidence in his integrity on this issue too cuz I still am quite wary. As browsers [brush and rough grasses like a goat] rather than grazers [more tender grasses, etc like a horse]....they have tough teeth! One inadvertent goat bite early on taught me to keep my fingers outta their mouth! Ow! [no, don't *ask* why I ever had my finger IN my goat's mouth... :rolleyes: ]


Of course MM is showing Jack just WHO is the boss 'round our wagon. So far he's ignoring her facial grimace, flattened back long ears, and turning her hieny to him and lifting a leg as tho to kick. It will be a lot easier if we don't have any blood during this transition period. When MM joined us, Roan gave her a nasty cut on the rear that took a couple weeks of doctoring. C'mon guys and ladies....play nice!


Midnight the new horse is a sweetie. It will take time working together for us to know each other too. But so far I am in love with his gaits and that is what is important for my continued walking and coordination. DH likes the 'sass' of mares but I've always found it tedious. :rolleyes: Roan tho....she is IN LOVE. Showing off for the [uN]gent. LOL Doesn't care that he hasn't quite got all "his" parts.



MtRider [...gonna dig out the cold weather gear again. We're better acclimated but...it's damp! ]

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I have been cold all day. The damp cold just seemed to soak in even with the plastic curtains down in the front. I finally convinced Mom to go into the back and set bundled in her rocking chair with Sasha and puppies cuddled at her feet. Laughingly she says that dog gives off a lot of heat and maybe we should consider making a bed for her under the front seat where mom sleeps.


She's joking of course but If it stays cold like this I might just do that. I'm glad that we put insulated curtains up inside the front and back curtain. I wish I could have closed them today to keep out some of that wind that played around with us this afternoon. I've been eyeing the trees around us today as we've been driving. I've seen no animals but the birds seem exceptionally active. I watched them feeding heavily all day. That usually means a weather system coming in and that makes me suspect it could get really cold tonight.


At least the horses have been very sedate all day. I think the uphill climb is giving them a good workout and it's taken some of the zip out of them. I'm worried that we'll have to hitch the team we got at the ranch with them. I know there's no way I can handle four of them and that would mean someone else would have to be taken away from herd duty and leave them short as I can't handle the riding. Well, okay, if I have to I CAN but I'm not going to be very graceful either getting on or off a horse and I'm not saying I'd be able to stand up afterwards. :(


I really enjoyed Mr. Hughes info on tracks. I used to know a lot of them but I was glad to have a refresher course and Bear and Mt. Lion were both new to me. I would have recognized the Mt. Lion track as a cat but that's about it. I really am surprised we haven't seen more animals if only at a distance. I suppose the noise of our animals and wagons are spooking them.


I was really glad when we got stopped for the night. Those of the family walking or riding were picking up wood most of the day and sticking it inside the supply wagon and under some of the others but it wasn't all that dry with the mist on it. We had a hard time getting the fire going even WITH matches. A couple of the grand kids finally found some dry pine needles deep under the drooping canopy of a big tree. They joked about it being warmer under there than in our wagons. I wouldn't doubt it. Most of those big trees will hold a lot of heat in their trunks and those big pines and especially firs will droop their branches clear to the ground, forming a sort of cave. I'm surprised they didn't find some animal in there getting warm.


This morning we had put beans to soak and at noon we brought them to a boil and put them in the insulated cookers with dried meat and dried carrots. We are getting tired of the same old thing and had hoped the guys would have been able to bring in a couple of rabbits or even squirrel though some of the family isn't crazy about squirrel. It would have perked up the meal some.


Late this afternoon DD found a big patch of lambs quarter and rode up to get our big dishpan to harvest some. I was surprised, as spring seems to be a lot further behind here than lower down. These were pretty small leaved but there was enough there to share with whoever wanted it. I noticed that only a few did. Some are just not used to eating wild yet but LQ is one of the mildest of greens and can be used just like spinach. Mom cleaned it while we were doing chores. She used some of the bacon fat we'd been saving and made wilted salad out of the LQ with a bit of vinegar and honey mixed into the fat as a dressing. It was a welcome change.


It's nice to set here around the big community fire in the center of the circle but I believe I'll go in and check to make sure that the plastic curtains are all snapped down securely and that the inner curtains are tight. I wish we'd taken time to make snaps for them too so they would be held secure against the wagon box. We have Velcro there but with this wind I'm not sure it will be enough.


Night all.



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Well if I think about that hot shower back at the Rockin' J, maybe that will help warm me up because it is getting cold out there. We hung up some extra quilts at the back and the front entrances to the wagon to help hold the heat in and the cold out. Hubby lit the Coleman stove so I could cook dinner inside. I have him leaving a crack in the top of one of the quilts so the fumes can get out. I don't want to run us out of the wagon lol. Since the hens are still laying, I am making an omelet with some of the dehydrated veggies I had soaking today. And with a tad bit of real whole milk that I got from Mother this evening, it makes such a nice fluffy omelet! I didn't put any meat in it thinking that the eggs would contain enough protein to make up for the lack of meat. I really am trying to watch what we are eating and making sure we get enough vitamins and minerals and proteins. And to keep from getting food fatigue. That one is hard to do with such limited supplies right now, but lucky for us, we eat a lot of beans and love them! Good thing too because it looks like we are going to have to eat a lot of them before we get our garden produce coming in.


Well I am still dreaming of the night at the Rockin' J. Sure was a good time being there with all of us around the fire and being treated to some of the best BBQ I have tasted since we left TN. :D And I have been thinking about the 80 acres and what kind of business we might set up on it. I'm sure I could do something with my nursing in that area, but I was thinking more of something like home-making skills or quilting lessons? Maybe a quilt shop? I don't know, we will have to see what hubby is dreaming up too since he is such a wilderness man lol. He is good at identifying plants, hunting and all that. I am learning it, or trying to! He's a good teacher an has a lot of patience with this ole' gal who has a hard time learning anything new. I hope he will consider doing something with his plumbing and electrical skills too. He does know some solar electrical and is really good with wells too though. I don't think we will have a problem having a business, just deciding which one will do the whole community the best good.

Our dogs are all cuddled up here in the wagon with us. It's just too raw outside for them. They are hunting dogs and have been trained for rabbit, squirrel and other small animals. They do their jobs well and we take good care of them, kind of baby them really in payment for their work. But they are acting a mite strange tonight. All huddled together like that. I have seen them act that way before and nothing good came of it. :huh: Last one was an earthquake lol. I don't think we will have that problem out here will we???


And they did it too right before that big ice storm hit us in KY and TN in the winter of 09/08. That was a mess. And some people just don't think animals can really predict anything. But I don't think that way. I believe they can and have been paying attention to that kind of thing for years. It's kind of like going by the "signs". Nature has her own way of letting us know before something happens. But you have to watch the signs to be able to tell it. Like clouds for instance...if you see rooster combs and mares tails in the sky at evening, then it will be raining the next evening! Works most of the time too. There are a lot of signs like that the hubby knows and I try to learn them. I watch the woolly worms for signs on winter too. Stuff like that fascinates me. Guess they would call me a naturalist back in the world? I know they do the hubby. :hug3:


He was just so happy to see the tracking class that was presented. Hubby is good at tracking different animals. And he does know some of the ones out west here from having lived in Denver a couple of years and hunting out and around there too. He didn't care for the fishing though. He hates trout LOL... And I have picked up a few of the tracking signs too like the cats, deer, coon, etc... I don't know some of the ones out here though like the mountain lions. I would probably just see it as a bigger cat sign or track than what I am used to (bob cats, etc...) and steer clear!


Well guess I had better sign off. I want to do a little reading out of the Good Book before turning out the lights for the night. Got a long day ahead of us and it's getting harder to get along. I think we are climbing in elevation now as the breathing gets a little rough at times. But I'm sure we will just be fine once we get used to the thinner air around these parts.


Night all and God Bless...


Q and Mr. Q

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Good Morning all.......

Glad to see a few early risers this morning around the camp fire. Yes I will take you up on the cup of coffee I even brought my cup hoping I didn't have to wait to make it myself.


Looks like that cold spell we had yesterday has moved off - we sure don't need that with all the other things we are dealing with. OOPS! I hear Lori calling me I be right back................


Well that was easy, all she wanted was to make sure I had some hot water for her sponge bath this morning. She said she was getting up early today so she could lend a hand with the animals seeing we have a few more with us now.


Anybody see Mother or Mt_Rider around this morning? last night we were talking about who was leading today and if we still had a trail to follow or was it starting to get deeper into the hills and valleys and rougher terrian.


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Good morning everyone! Oh doesn't it look to be a pretty day out today?! Yep, I am one of THOSE people lol. Cheery and chatty in the morning. Hey don't growl at me lol, I can't help it! I never used to be this way until I retired and had the time to slow down and enjoy the mornings. This one is a good one. No pink skies, no strange looking clouds, the aminals have settled down...alls right in our little world so far. But then we have a long day on the trail ahead of us and anything could happen. I just pray we have an easy routine (Is there such a thing in a wagon train? LOL) day of it going over some rougher terrain than we are used to. Seems like the oxen are holding up to it though. And I am so glad we all got an extra team to help out. I know there is going to come a point before we get to the valley where we may have to start switching them out during the day so that one team doesn't get so tuckered out! Maybe stopping about noonish to change them over? Ah, we shall see...


And since we are getting into the rougher terrain now, hubby will be doing most all of the driving of our wagon. He has the brute strength to do it, where as I don't. I would love to be able to, but to me, that is the "manly" type stuff that they need to do, not us. Not unless we are needed to help out. I know that is going to get some into a tizzy, my thinking that way lol. And it would be very different if I were alone, say widowed. But since I do have a husband, I will let him handle this. It's his place, not mine. But you can bet I will be right beside him in case I am needed to help out with them. And learning all that I can about handling them and the wagon. Just in case something would ever happen to him then I would be able to do it. But while he is able, he's got the job! Besides that, I can do some mending or some other chore that needs done while I am sitting there too. But really, being disabled and week on my right side, I just don't have the ability to handle them when things get tough. And I don't want pride to get in the way of safety for us. Enough said...


I guess I will get another pot of beans soaking for dinner again before we start out today. I think I will mash them up tonight and make refries. I have a jar or two left of that taco meat I had canned up using some chopped venison. Mighty tasty! And I will see if I can't find some greens when we stop tonight too. I am going to soak some dehydrated tomato and onions in water today to use with this tonight too. I will make a bowl of it with the beans in the bottom, a little meat on top of that, some greens, tomato and onion on the top and a little of that powdered sour cream stuff made up and a drop or two of that on the top of the bowls. Just sounds good and different using up the stuff we have on hand in the wagon. I am kicking myself now for not printing off that stuff on how to make your own tortillas. :rolleyes: Sure would have made this a little more realistic lol than just eating it out of the bowl. Oh well, live and learn.


Well best get the coffee on and wake the hubby so he can get the oxen hitched up and ready to go. I need to feed the dogs and the chickens yet to. This day is starting to get ahead of me already!



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Good morning Michael. Yes, I'm up and around though a LOT slow this morning. I haven't seen Mt.R this morning yet but I seem to remember her saying that it was business as usual today. Except that she was hoping during our noon stop you'd give us that mini-seminar you were talking about last night. We all learn so much from these info sessions. I hope we can have them all the way to the valley. It's certain we're all going to be too busy to do much socializing after we get there though I sure hope we'll all be able to help each other as much as possible.


Well, good morning Q. It's so nice to see you feeling a bit better. Yes, I know just what you mean by the guys doing the heavy work. I wouldn't mind doing that once in a while too. The problem is that the women in our family have always been so darn independent. :D


I am having trouble moving around today so DD is going to be driving for me this morning for a change. She's been either driving their own oxen or riding herd. With the extra teams they've been taking turns with the herding. It's harder in some ways but easier too as a lot of the B's people are helping out back there as they now have more teams and animals too. I sometimes feel like we are leading a whole cattle drive the way they trail behind us like that. It really is strange to look forward and backwards along the train. Wagon after wagon trailing about 100 feet behind each other, riders roaming alongside back and forth. Then for hundreds of yards behind there is almost every type of livestock. Sheep, goats, cows, oxen, horses, even some poultry occassionally when it's safe to let them graze are being constantly herded back together as they stop to grab a nibble of grass or in the case of the goats, wandering over to a tree line to stand up on their back legs to pull down a leaf or twig. I always smile a little when I see a horseman pit wits with a wiley goat around a big tree but I know that it's hard on rider and horse alike. Unfortunately the same ones get the tough jobs like that back there. I'm glad we've got some fairly good herd stock but I know I couldn't take that zigging and zagging on a horse bent on corraling a recalcitrant animal.


Well I better get in and help Mom get things stowed away for the day and get some already cooked beans ground up. Mom's got an idea for a bean loaf she wants to try. She's going to use the beans just like she would ground meat with seasonings and eggs and dry bread crumbs. I said I'd work on the beans for her. She's a game one but we all try our best to do what we can to lesson her need to do so much. I'm not much better off than she is though. I only hope when I get to her age I'll be able to do the things she does! Half the time now I feel like she's taking care of me instead of the other way around.


You all take it easy today.

(((( ))))))

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Mt_Rider stopped by to ask me what we were talking about during the noon meal break as she saw a few of us huddled together over by the fire. So I told her about the bed sheet that Lori had gotten from the BBQ, when she was helping to get things cleaned up afterwards. They had used a few white sheets to cover some tables (doors set up on sawhorses) for the BBQ and somehow one of the Ranch hands put a big rip in one while taking it off of the table. They had said to just throw it out with everything else but Lori asked if she could have it and they said sure go ahead. Well last night Lori and I got to talking about what she wanted me to make out of it seeing we both love recycling things and other then the big rip down the middle of it, it still had some good material left to work with. So anyway someone saw me putting a hem in one piece of it and asked what I was making so I told them the story of how we got it and said that right now I am just hemming this piece so we have a tablecloth for the fold-up card table we have along in case we want to cover it for a meal or something. Seeing she didn’t sew, or even know how to try a knot in the thread I gave a quick lesson in how to do that. Then while I was doing that someone else stopped by to see what was going on and after hear what I was doing asked what else I had planned for the rest of it. Well, Lori started list off a few things she wanted like Tubes for bologna making (6 inch strips you make into tubes, stuff with meat and then cook in water).


A new cheese bag ( take a half circle and sew up the side to make a cone – put your vinegar cheese or whatever kind you have in, close the top with string and then just let it hang someplace to drip out the liquid.). Well before long we had a few others join in on what we were doing and some even had a few ideas for ways to use it up. Like Napkins and Handkerchiefs. Lori said she also wanted me to make her a new Milk strainer out of a piece of it seeing the one we are using now is getting harder and harder to keep clean, and all that was is a piece of material with raw edges that we hold over the milk jar when we pour in the days milking, so I made sure she had 2 pieces for that. Seeing we were getting down to just a few strips left we ripped down a few skinny (3 inches wide) ones and rolled them up to add to our first aid kit as bandages. The rest we just put away for use as cleaning rags or pieces to go into our quilt scraps bag. So all in all I think we did pretty good with that one white sheet. One of the ladies said she was going back to the other group to tell them about this and to let them know that sometimes you can make thing out of what some people think is just trash.




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The day started out warmer than last night and yet it is just getting damper feeling by the minute. The wind is picking up and it's suddenly bitter cold. The sky is a deep lead color too and the surrounding light looks more like late afternoon though we've only been underway, after our noon rest, for an hour or so. I really enjoyed Michael's impromptu sheet seminar. Nice info there.


Strange, there isn't a bird in sight. Something is going to happen. I hope it's not rain. With this cold it might give us some slippery footing and I'm not looking forward to that. It's a good thing I had the family get out their rain gear as well as the heavy winter clothes we are all wearing. Most of them are either walking beside their oxen or riding herd on animals. The oxen, in fact all the animals, seem to be acting strangely and will only keep moving while we are walking with them and the cows and goats keep bunching together. The horses are antsy too. It's all I can do to keep them going. They keep holding back. Usually they are so eager.


Oh, great, SNOW FLAKES! Just what we need but they do look kind of neat coming down with that wind sort of blowing them here and there. They are huge and when I look closely at the ones landing on the front plastic they each have a unique pattern to them. It would be fun to photograph them. I always have liked the snow. This is getting thicker though and now the wind is really picking up.


GOOD GRIEF, What is THAT? It looks like a wall of white up ahead. Is it FOG? I can see the wagons each disappearing as they go into it. Their animals are shying away from it though and some of the drivers are having trouble getting them to go through. Just what I need....What IS that stuff? Kind of looks like something out of a science fiction movie. Maybe they are just going around a bend in the trail.


OH MY LORD, it's SNOW, a perfect wall of snow coming down so thick I can't see through it !!!!


Hang on, Mom! I don't know how these horses will handle this! GET UP THERE BESS! YO BOB!


I can't see a thing. The snow is blowing so hard against the front of the wagon it's packing there. I've got to get this plastic curtain out of the way!




Never saw anything like this before. HO BOB! GET UP THERE! One minute little flakes and now this swirling mass of solid snow that is already piling up around me inside the wagon and on the backs of the horses. I can barely SEE their backs let alone anything in front of them. Where IS that next wagon? I can't even tell if I'm on the trail yet. Even their tracks have disappeared in this blowing snow!






This is rediculous. We've been moving almost an hour, or so it seems, and still no sign of the wagons ahead. MT3B's last wagon should be right in front of us but I just don't see it or even any tracks.




That wind has a real raw bite to it. My skin feels like it's being sandpapered with that blowing snow.




Dh and the others can see each other only if they travel real cose so we'll have to be cautious. Don't need anyone running into anyone. I'm glad they tied the cows to the wagons and managed to get the Nigerian goats into the supply wagon along with some of the smaller goats. I can imagine the mess that's going to be in there but at least they are secure. Good thing the poultry was all riding inside today. I wonder how the rest of the animals are faring. I know we have a lot more animals back there than just ours. I hope the riders are able to keep them all together.


Okay, guess I'm ready to try this again. The others must be ready back there by now.


GET UP THERE BESS, GO ON BOB! Come on! You can do it! That's it, there you go.

Just that short stop has us setting in drifts. I'd feel better if I could at least see some tracks but if anything this blizzard is only getting worse. We won't dare give it more than another half hour or forty-five minutes before we are going to have to make a decision. It's getting darker and we'll need some light if we are going to circle. FIRST we have to find a place wide enough to do that and I can't even see what's on either side of me.



Whoa there! Whoa! Boy, they don't have any trouble stopping but the wagon does. I think some of our riders are checking out the areas to the side of us. I can just barely see them moving through the snow. It seems a bit more open feeling here.



YAH THERE, BOB, COME ON BESS, CIRCLE UP! THAT'S GOOD BABIES. CIRCLE UP! YAH THAT'S THE WAY! At least I can finally see the rest of the wagons. OH NO! Big D is having some trouble with her horse. Oh good, DGS is over there taking the horse into the circle for her.



Finally! Wagons was sliding all over the place. Great, DH has hold of the horses. I'm not sure I can even let go of the reins.


I'm not much help but I guess I better get out there and try. IF I can get out with all this snow around me. It's even on the seat; Mom's bed. OH NO! That's going to take some clean up. I'll just scoop out as much as I can now and then I better get these curtains down again so no more snow comes inside. Then I'll go see what I can do to help the rest get settled in. This is going to be one terrible night and the sooner we get the animals tucked inside the circle and chores done, the sooner we can all get out of this nasty weather and figure out a few things.


Like how we're keeing warm for the night, where we're sleeping the herders who's wagons are ahead of us, and what we're feeding everyone !!!!!!

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Well THAT’S not good, says Michael, as he looks ahead and all he can see is nothing but white! White EVERYWHERE!


Even though Lori is sitting right next to him on the wagon seat he has to holler to her. Can you see anything ahead of us? NOTHING she hollers back. This doesn’t look good, I better go in and get the gloves and hats back out she says.



In a minute Lori is back but it has gotten worse out for now they even have trouble seeing the oxen. Michael is having his hands full just trying to keep the team moving let alone see if there is anything on the trail up ahead, IF they are still on the trail that is.



Soon Lori points out to the side and yells into Michaels ear RIDER COMING! One of the members has just come from Mothers wagon and she said that they would try and circle the wagons the best they can up ahead if you can make it that far. I’ll try, Michael says, and the wagon hit a bump that nearly pitches Lori off the seat and out into the snow. HANG ON LORI I sure don’t want to lose you in this!



Suddenly two shots, close together, are heard off in the distance, was that gunfire Lori asks? Yes and I think it means there is trouble up ahead with the other wagons. Well says Lori I ‘THINK’ we are having our own bit of trouble right here.



Finally they met up with Mothers wagon as she tries to get it turned and they pull in behind her to start the circle. It takes all Michaels strength just to get the oxen to turn into the wind, but they need to do that so the other wagons can pull in behind to complete it before this storm gets any worse.



You stay in the wagon for now Lori and start rolling some blankets the long way so we can pack them up against the walls where the canvas meets the wood that may help to keep the wind and snow out. I’ll go out and unhitch the team but for now I am leaving them tied to the wagon inside what we hope will be a full circle?



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OH HOLY MOLY!!!!!! This is not good. OMG!!!!! SF where are you? P do you see your dad back there any where? Well motion him up here. Get those two ropes back there yeah those. Put a cowbell on it and tie one end to my seat. As soon as your dad gets up here hop on the back Tinker Bell and take the rope to the next wagon and tie it to the seat then tie the second rope to the seat and take it back to the third wagon. Be sure and put a bell on the second rope. Why? well as long as the rope is swaying from the moving it wll gently ring but if a wagon start to go over the side it will ring wildly. Put the bell in the middle of the rope. We are entering white out. Hey before you go throw me my coat and lap quilt. Get your dad his heavy coat also. Be careful.


Raja come on boy don't stop we will get stuck...ON RAJA ON....Hey honey no I can't see anything. I know there are wagons ahead of me but I lost them I can't even see the wagon tracks. No I will be fine until y'all get the wagons tethered. I don't know how go of an idea it is but at least it will keep us all going in the same direction. HEY make sure they all have knives on them so they can cut the rope if a wagon goes over. I don't care if we loose a wagon I just don't want to loose lives.


Come on Raja keep going...On Raja...good boy...Yeah I don't like this either but we can stop.


Oh hey P did you get the wagons tethered together. Where's your dad? No I didn't see him ride by. Where did he go? Oh OK so he has riding back to see if he can find Mt. Rider. Oh geezzzz you scared me honey. Did you find her. What about the wagons up front what did they say? KEEP GOING??????? I can't see. OK I will stick to the left side. Will you go back and see if you can find Mother's group they are behind us. On the way drop these quilts off with N and W.


P do you remember those hot hands and warm toe things we packed? Good now a million dollar question do you remember where they are? Well you are no help LOL go so go back there and get the clip board and look on it there is a content list for each box/crate and they are divided by wagon. Dang it SF you scared me again. NEVER mind P your dad just handed me hot hands and toe warmers. They are in W&A wagon A dug them out.


Honey why don't you tie Tinker Bell on the back and climb in. Oh OK well please be careful. Oh did you see mother? NO?!?!?! What do you mean NO? She was back there? Well be careful. Wait...P look in there and get the walkie talkies and hand them to your dad. I don't' know if they will work in this storm, are the batteries still good? YAY at least something is working...ON RAJA ON. I feel like Santa...ON Dasher ON Dancer On Comet On Cupid...I just wish we were in a sleigh right now instead of a wagon. HEY SF do you have a gun on you...I know dumb question. Well if the walkie talkies dont' work fire off shots. Got your compass? Oh hush and humor me.


P how was N handling the horses? Really? That good. I am so glad. What about W&A with the oxen. Yeah I figured the horses would do better than the oxen. No I don't think we will rearrange the order Raja is doing good as lead. I am afraid if we do the horses first then the oxen will drop back if we keep the horses in the middle they will keep the 3 wagon going. Are you warm of enough want to share my lap quilt. Do you think you can handle the reigns long enough for me to get these toe warmers in my shoes? How long to these things last?


Hey your back did you find Mother?Oh good glad to know she is still back there. Mt. Rider was by her a few mintues ago wait do you hear something? I can tell if that is a whistle or the wind blowing? Mt Rider's donkey is not liken this weather she is acting up back there. I dont' blame her I don't like it either. Will you ride on up front and see if you can find out where we are going to stop. I don't how much longer Raja can keep pulling through this. I am afraid we are going to get stuck. You can take over when you get back I will be ok till then.



(how the heck did I end up in front of Mother, Mt. Rider and Michael...next time warn me I am lead wagon :0327: )

Edited by mommato3boys
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Quilty I posted this over in the recipe thread but I thought I would share it here also. This is my RL & UNRL recipe for flour tortillas. I got this off of Hillbillyhousewife when Ms. Maggie had it. Since she is not longer the owner of the site I don't know if it is there or not. I mix up the dry ingredents and store in a zip lock back and pack it way with the camping food and away we go. It is just as easy to make them camping as it is at home.


4 cups white or whole wheat flour or half each (I use white only)

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder (optional)

1/3 cup shortening

1 to 1-1/4 cups water


In a large bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder (the baking powder is not an authentic addition though it does make them lighter) Next cut in the shortening. When the flour is crumbly, add the water. Stir the dough with your fork until it makes a cohesive ball of dough. You may need to add an extra small spoonful of water if the dough is too dry. Be careful not to add too much though. When the dough forms a ball, knead it about 20 times. Then let it rest in the bowl for about 10 minutes. After it has rested, form it into 10 or 12 equal balls. Roll each ball in a little flour, to coat the outside of it evenly. Place a ball of dough on a sheet of waxed paper, or a clean, well floured surface. Roll the dough out into a a 6 or 7-inch circle. Try to get it as thin as you can. Loosen the tortilla from the rolling surface. This is why I use wax paper I can just flip it over and peel it off. Flop it onto a dry, hot skillet. Cook about 30 seconds, until the under side is dry, with a few brown spots. Flip it and cook the other side the same way. Transfer the cooked tortilla to a plate, and cook the next one. This goes pretty fast after you get the hang of it.

Edited by mommato3boys
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That was a good lunch seminar. I didn’t know you could make sausage casings from cloth. Never thot about it...have not made sausage....YET. LOL Going to be SO many new things to learn. But I did bring along old cloth from sheets, Tshirts, etc. I’m an avid recycle-er too.


I’m still cold even if it’s a bit warmer today. [ Must be cuz IRL Colorado is in the deep freeze last nite and today. Took all morning to reach UP TO ZERO...sheeeeesh! ] So I dug out the Thinsulate snowsuit I began this journey with. I’ve got my down coat handy next to Mr.MtR in the wagon. Its big enough to put on over my other layers. ...I think it’s a men’s XL, actually. :shrug: It works. When I get chilled..... brrrr.


So Roan and I are riding up and down the wagon train as usual. DH is driving our wagon, naturally. This is a narrow stretch and ....while I love the mountains, I like the places with vistas. I don’t like these canyons. Claustrophobia. It’s not any more narrow than our valley in CO but these walls are steeper . Not really so much higher. Just not something you could take a horse up. Walk it up if you’re careful. I’ll be glad when it widens out up ahead...or so MrH has said.


MM is pulling the poultry cart as usual. Her newly beloved Jack is beside her and we’ve had no bickering between them. My new black Midnight is on the far right. That arrangement works well but MM has accepted Midnight too. The ages-old feud between Roan and MM continues to cause problems here and there. But it’s mostly show now.


Poultry cart is a little heavier today. With the unsettled weather [and the fact that my hooligan goats were NOT behaving with the herds in the back of the train... :tapfoot: ] two stacked ‘dog crates’ with 2 dwarf goats each are riding on the cart today. We’ve done this from time to time and as long as we’ve stuffed it with lots of grasses and brush plants, all four goats are content to lay down and chew cud. They’ll be more than ready to get out when we camp tonite. Big dog is trotting on leash-line along side our wagon for now. She uses my steps to hop up and ride with DH if she wants. Or if she’s banished for unnecessary barking. Sheeesh. Misbehaving animals.


As I take another nervous look around, the walls that seem too close for me, I’m getting a weird feeling. Very uneasy.....and I’m only now realizing that it ISN’T the claustrophobia. The sky doesn’t look right. I holler to DH that I’m going up ahead. I’m only part way to the front when I meet MrH, also patrolling the sides on horseback and heading backwards.


“What’s up with this?” I point upwards.

“I think we’re about to get something....bad. Get everyone moving faster so we’re out of this narrow area and can circle up if we have to. It levels out just a ways up there.” says MrH still scanning. “I don’t like the look of this at all!”


“Me either...its got a baaad feeling,” I replied as I turned Roan back. I hollered the message to each wagon I passed to pick up the pace, bunch closer together and get the kids inside the wagons. Batten down, we think a storm is coming.


I was telling a benefactor wagon the news when suddenly the man’s eyes widened. I spun and looked at the mass of grey/black clouds dropping like foam on a curling ocean wave over the western side of our canyon walls up ahead.


Oh no..no..no..no..no..no..no!


I shrieked over the wind that hit us suddenly. “KEEP GOING! WE CANNOT STOP HERE! IT WILL WIDENED UP AHEAD A LITTLE WAYS! MOVE! MOVE!”


I dashed back to the next wagon and the next as the wind and snow increased within minutes. One wagon had pulled up to a stop in confusion but I yelled to keep going...need better shelter! They got moving again.


I reached MT3B’s clan and they had fortunately seen the pace pick up and were moving more rapidly themselves. I shouted to keep on till we could circle the wagons up ahead. “KEEP TOGETHER” I kept yelling. It was so hard to take a breath if you were turned into this wind. Fortunately I mostly had my back to the wind and snow. But the swirling effect made me dizzy.


There was a frightening gap between their wagons and ours, which was supposed to be next. I could not see anything for a few frightening seconds but kept Roan moving forward. We could no longer go faster than a walk tho. In the deep swirling grey, finally the shadows of our oxen came into view not three feet away. Roan and I jumped to the side and came along side Mr.MtR in the driver’s seat.

“Try to get them to go faster. You’re spaced behind by a bit. We’re trying to bunch up.” I yelled again. “Hand me that down coat too, will you? It’s nasty. We’ll be circling in a wider spot up ahead....if we can FIND IT IN THIS MESS! “


I pushed Roan on passed as I struggled to get the coat on without the wind ripping it from my grasp. My fingers were getting cold already. I need to take the time to switch to the heavier gloves in the pockets of the coat. I already pulled down the face mask of my fleece hat.


MM gave one of her sonic brays when I passed the back of our wagon. I could barely see her or the cart. I could only hope that all three equines were still tied to the back of the wagon. I called out to MM and pushed Roan on toward the next wagon in line. That would be Mother driving the “gypsy wagon”. Good thing those horses of hers have been pretty calm.


I pushed Roan on thru complete grey swirl, wiping my sunglasses. They are the lighter lens due to the cloudy day but...oh heck. I can’t see anything. I drop them down on their cord and tuck them into the top of my now-zipped up jacket. Don’t want to lose them. I cup my hand on the side of my face that is getting the windblown snow. Well, I can open my eyes but still cannot see...Roan dodges a tree. I’m ducking a low branch and we’re back on the trail again....I think. I’m leaning way down in the saddle to try to see tracks. The snow is essentially blowing sideways. In this narrow canyon, it intensifies like water forced thru a narrow pipe. Roan is fighting to keep from veering sideways in the confusing lack of any visibility. My leaning so hard over the side is not helping her but she’s an Appie with huge hindquarters. She’ll handle it.


I’m sure I’m still on the trail. I *think* we are. We’re moving so slow but we should have met Mother’s horses by now. If we could stay outta the danged trees, for petes sake. Ow, scratched by that one. Had to hang onto my hat or it would have been dragged off my head. CanNOT lose vital equipment like hat/gloves in this weather.


Oh my gosh....we are certainly NOT on the trail. Roan is beginning a steep climb which means we’ve been pushed around and turned too far to the right. This is the edge of the canyon wall. Oh God help me...help us all.


That was the moment that reality hit me. Not that this was one of the fierce mountain springtime blizzards. That was obvious. This could last an hour or 3 days. We were in BIG trouble. I’ve experienced this kind of storm several times. No, what hit me was that anyone or any animal that got separated from the wagons would likely die. And right now, *I* was separated. I really wasn’t thinking that the short gap between the wagons would be a danger. Where did we veer off? Can we find the train again?


“OK, settle down and *think* straight.” I told myself. “and for once in your life do NOT mix up “left” and “right”. I turned Roan around and tried to follow our back trail. It disappeared into wind driven drifts after only a couple yards. But we kept going. Not even able to keep an eye on a far tree, I had only to hope & pray we were not going in a circle. Or parallel to the wagons. :o I tried looking upwards, any break in the clouds? Nothing but that ominous dark swirling grey. My cheeks were feeling chapped raw with the sharper crystals of snow dashing across them. I pulled the face shield up higher. Roan stumbled but caught herself. She was getting freaked. I could feel her muscles bunching up under me. I patted her snow-covered neck. Don’t dump me off, dear Roan. With everything in my EDC packs...I would *still* have pretty much zeeeero chance of survival without her.


I had not encountered anything that looked like a trail nor had I run into a wagon or team. I should have crossed back over by now. I was beginning to shake but whether from cold or fear, I couldn't tell. I kept up a silent plea of “God, I need help/we need help”. There was really no choice but to keep moving. Even if we crisscrossed the canyon back and forth. At least it wasn’t like getting lost on the open prairie where there would be no steep wall to signal a boundary. How long had I been out of contact? It seemed like hours but I thot it might have been fifteen minutes? A half hour? Five minutes? I kept Roan’s heading so that the wind was pummeling us from the left ...if it was steady, we should be still retracing our steps in a somewhat straight line. Oh WHERE IS EVERYONE?


I’m not usually one to panic. But I can sure get a good attack of ANXIOUS going. And despite talking to myself and God and Roan [not necessarily in that order] I was really getting scared. I know mountains. I am in BIG trouble. Oh God, if anyone else is alone and scared out here right now......


And the words hit me. From our EDC class. Jacob had told the children so sternly that they were not to blow their emergency whistles unless they were ALONE AND SCARED. I dug down the front of my jacket and pulled the lanyard until the whistle and tiny emergency light popped out. The light would be of no use whatsoever in this situation. But I peeped the whistle a couple times to warn Roan. Then I blasted it longer. And longer.


Finally, I did three long blasts of the whistle. And waited. I was about to blast again three times when behind us and way up to the left...into the direction of the wind and snow I heard the unmistakably wonderful sound of .....






Before I’d finished mentally promising that hooligan donkey a whole row of carrots from our future garden, Roan had wheeled and made straight for the noise. I blew the whistle again and got another bearing on that HEEHAWW. I’d read that wild donkeys had lived in such rough terrain that they’d developed the extreme VOLUME to communicate over the ridges and valleys. For this, I thanked God. I might not have been the only reason HE had created them with such a supersonic voice, but I was certainly saved by it this day.


We nearly rammed into the back of the poultry cart. As if it were even possible, I think the visibility is worse yet. Roan let out a wheeeeheehee as she knew her equine friends were near. Which set off both donkeys this time. I thot I’d better get up and let DH know what the ruckus on his tail-end was about.


We edged along side the cart, the equines plodding heavily now that the snow was drifting deep in some places. Other places were swept clean to bare ground, causing some stumbling. Then finally we were up along side the wagon seat. MrMtR looked like a snowman. He’d been plastered with snow till you couldn’t see his clothes.


I hollered “Are we still all together? Are you behind Mt3B? “ Thot I’d tell him of my adventure later. :rolleyes:


“I think so. I get a glimpse of a dark shape just ahead now and then....and I haven't hit a tree. ” he called out.


“I’ll go just up there to see for sure,” I suggested, knowing now just how easy it would be to get off the trail. ‘Course, as he said, a wagon wouldn’t get thru the trees like Roan and I had. And likely the oxen would do as they were accustomed: follow the wagon in front of them. But I wasn’t ready to put faith in a cow! :huh:


I edged Roan up along the oxen [a four-hitch today] and was relieved to see the moving dark blotch just ahead. Carefully this time, I moved forward and it became the back end of a wagon.


I think I began to breath again in that moment.




And then stopped breathing .....y’know....I never did find Mother’s wagon. I must have veered off the trail before she came up behind us. Well *surely* they would have kept coming? She’s savvy enough to know we have to get outta this narrow spot for a blizzard!



MrH and horse loomed suddenly into view. “Everyone accounted for?” he barked.


“I’m not sure.” I said as I wheeled around to ride backward to our wagon again with him. “ There was a gap between us and Mother’s gypsy wagon right when that hit. I tried to go back to spread the word to hurry and bunch close but....Roan and I never found them. ....and we got lost for a while too.”


“WHAT?” he roared over the wind. “You mean we don’t know if they stopped?”


“Well Mother wouldn’t have stopped on purpose....she knows to get out of here before the snow piles us too deep to move the wheels.”


By now we’d gone past our wagon once again and Mr.H’s horse nearly jumped off the path when my faithful MM 'honked her horn' again.

“That’s how I found our way back here. “ I defended.


Mother’s wagon was NOT directly behind ours. As MrH and I dropped back further, he told me to stop and hold position. I was to blow the whistle at 10 second intervals so that he could get back if Mother’s wagon was too far. Every time I blew the whistle, the donkey added chorus from the wagon that was continuing up the trail. MM did not want Roan and I lost again!


After a very tense period of waiting, MrH and horse appeared out of the blur. He had not found the rest of the wagons.


“I was able to go quite a ways further because you really *can* hear that donkey better than the whistle. The whistle is blending in with the wind. “ he commented.


“What are we going to do? We can’t just leave them out here lost!”


“The front wagons are turning into the wide area up ahead right now. We’ve got to get these wagons situated. I’ve been trying to raise someone on a 2-way radio while I was back there but no answer so far.” he answered lifting the small radio he always carried.


With a guilty start, I realized I’d never turned mine on either. He saw me and said dryly, “that’s probably why I haven’t reached them. We’ll keep trying. But lets not get lost ourselves. “


We came abreast of our wagon and he ordered me NOT to go back looking. I readily agreed having the stark memory of how utterly helpless one can be in a hurry in these deadly conditions. But I was SO worried about the rest of our friends that I wasn’t even paying attention to the final minutes before we closed up the circle with our wagon. A circle that was smaller than it should have been. Oh great! They have all the livestock herds to tend to as well. {groan}



MtRider [...oh my oh my! ]

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The wagons are finally circled. From what I can see we are in some trees. A couple of big pines are actually inside the circle. Somehow I thought we were going into a narrow canyon but this just doesn't seem right. For now, at least we have the animals, those we can find at least, all inside the circle of the wagons. We've managed to tie some but the others we'll just have to trust not to stray. Several of us are trying to get the cows and goats milked now. At least it's a bit warmer under them but my hands are almost frozen despite doing this with gloves.


Mr Q and DH have gotten several people throwing a quick snow berm around the outside of the circle, up against the wagons to help shield the wind. I can just barely make them out by their greenish shake up lights that we handed out earlier. I had a whole box of them along for the GS as he's a bit afraid of the dark and I thought these would be helpful. I didn't realize how helpful they would be. We've reminded everyone of their whistles too. I can just make out the lantern they have lit to be able to see somewhat. I’m surprised it’s still it. Must be one of our storm lanterns. They’re pretty good. The wind is doing a pretty good job of throwing drifts up against the opposite side of the circle. I just hope the wind won't take it all off again. It's packing pretty well so maybe it will stay. This makes shelters under the wagon for some of the smaller animals and the covered cages of poultry. Their body heat might help heat the wagons a bit too. We made sure that anyone who stepped beyond the circle was tied to a wagon with a rope. It would only take a few steps in this storm to get lost.


Some people are trying to get a fire started in the middle of the circle but it's not working. Wind is too great. Maybe once the snow is banked around us it will be better. We need to see if we can melt some snow to water the animals. Dehydration is serious for man and animals alike. They're going to keep trying but we can't afford to be out in this much longer without some form of heat out here.


Mom and a couple of others are in our wagon getting a community soup and coffee heated on our small camper stove. Everyone brought what they could to put in it. We HAVE to get some warm food into these people or we're going to start having people go down.


DGD is trying to go from group to group taking a count to see if we can account for everyone. She's also going to be checking for sleeping places and extra dry clothes and blankets or quilts for the extra people.


I feel like there are a lot of people looking to me to come up with some plan. I know my family is but I'm so cold it's difficult to think. I have to get warm but I want to get these cows and goats milked first so they don't get sore. We can use the milk too but the wind is blowing it right out of the pail. We'll try to get as much into the wagons as possible though. Maybe we can get some of it heated up with some honey or sugar and cinnamon. That will help thaw us some.


I have no idea if the other wagons are okay. If I could just…… AH MAN!!!! I forgot,,,,,THE RADIO! It's in the wagon!


MOM? Turn on the radio and see if you can reach anyone. Nothing but static? Well it was worth a try. We'll try it again every few minutes to see if we can get out. How are you coming with food? Just about ready? Good. We've done almost all we can for tonight. I'll pass the word to come get food. Once we are all fed and warmed as much as possible with dry clothes we'll see if we can figure out sleeping arrangements.


Oh good, I see the guys coming in from shoveling. Looks like everyone has about the same idea. Now if we can just get organized some.


DH, do you and the boys want to get with DGD and gather clothes for the extra people? Take them into one of the wagons and see if you all can get changed. Then get everyone to come eat if they don't already have something in their own wagons. It's a bit warmer in there and if they eat in shifts it will give people a chance to warm up. Yes, I'm going in now. I'll see about getting changed too. I can change in Mom's bed area. I know a few of the others have already changed. We have to get people warm.


brrrrrr. I'm so cold I can't feel parts of me. I'm pretty sure if I could I would hurt. Great, I can't get up the steps into the wagon. Oh DGS thanks. Yeah, I need a hand. Could you just give me a shoulder to lean on as I go up? Wow, it's warm in here compared to outside. Where's Sasha? I figured she would be in the way. She's under the bed? Hi there girl. NO stay there. I just wanted to check on you and the gang. Mom you are a dear to have thought of dry clothes for me. I'll go behind the curtain and change now. A towel? Yeah! I guess I DO need one, don't I. Thanks. No you all go ahead and start feeding people. I should be able to manage. I hope I'll be able to manage to change my clothes that is. I'm really colder than I realized. I'm glad these are all pull on or over things. I'm not sure I could manage buttons. The zipper on my down jacket is bad enough. There, got it. BRRRR it's really not all that warm in here, or at least not in this section with that curtain drawn. I wonder if we can get Mom to sleep back with us. I think the mattress is big enough and it would be a lot warmer. Well, we'll talk about it when everyone else is settled for the night. There, I think I have everything but my socks changed. I think I need some help getting the wet ones off. Guess I'll open the curtain so it warms a bit here and someone can set here to eat if they want.


Hey, someone want to give these socks a pull for me? They are really only a bit damp as my boots are good ones but I want to put on these warmer ones and I don't seem to be able to bend over far enough to reach them. Thanks, yeah you can put these ones on too. That's a lot better. No, I don't think I want anything to eat yet. Let's get the others fed first. I will have some tea though if you have hot water. No, I'll just put some ginger and honey in it. That will warm me I believe.


I know I should be out helping but there is not a whole lot we can do but get inside out of the wind and snow. I'll just set here curled up in the corner of the bed while I drink my tea. Maybe as they come in we can figure out where to put everyone. We've moved the animals out of the supply wagon and there's room in there for several guys to sleep with our son in there. We can put all the grand kids, except for the little K, together for warmth. That will leave a wagon for some others. I'm almost sure we have eight or ten extras, mostly Benefactor's people. Not sure we have enough quilts though. Thankfully each of our wagons has a small safe tent type LP heater if needed but I'm not sure how far those small canisters will last. We have a lot of them along but from what I know about these storms, they can last for days. We might have to be very frugal with the heat just in case we need it later.


I best get moving again or I'm not going to make it the next hour or so until everyone is settled.



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Well that pretty morning didn't last long. Here it is about mid morning and the sky is darkening up and clouds are moving in fast. They look dark, low and heavy. The animals are acting up again too. They all keep trying to put their behinds to the wind lol. That's not working out too well either since we are headed right into it. The chickens are just huddled up together in the cages and strangely silent this morning. Most times Roo is just crowing away at anything. Strange chicken...anyways... I noticed the temperature is dropping too so I am heading back into the wagon here while hubby keeps a firm hand on the oxen team. I need to find those clips I had the other night so I can secure the plastic and the quilts onto the back opening of the wagon better...Ah Ha! Here they are, all tucked into the box with the kitchen stuff where they are supposed to be. Now who would have thought to look there? :rolleyes:


Oh now that made a difference! I don't feel that bad draft blowing through the wagon now honey. What? Oh yeah, I did get that pot of beans started before we left. I have it wrapped in some quilts back here. Oh duh..okay. Let me change them out with some other ones and I will bring you up the warm quilts for your lap. Good idea darlin'. At least it will keep your legs and feet warm wrapped up tight in them. Here, put on your gloves while I take the team for a minute. Yes, I can do it for a minute...geeze honey! Men!


Ooppps...sorry darlin'. Maybe you better take them back before I end us up in a ditch. No, I didn't mean to make us slide sideways like that. About skert me half to death! Um, don't look now darlin' but I can't help but notice that wall of clouds up there? Yeah, the one that looks like a white curtain. Wait, those aren't clouds! OMG...that's snow!!! Oh darn, best hold on. See if we can get a little closer to the back of that wagon ahead of us and try to keep it in sight. If that is snow, we are in deep doo doo!


Oh my look at the size of those flakes going past! Look like dinner plate flakes lol. The ones you used to try and catch on your tongue when you were a kid. Yeah and in just a minute we will have so many flakes around us you wouldn't be able to NOT catch one! I can't believe we are getting into snow this late in the season. Is this normal for up here??? I'm a Southern Belle, we don't do snow real well ya' know! Yeah, I know honey, we are used to snow for a day or two and then it melts off. But this stuff is piling up so fast I have to wonder if it will melt off that fast. Looks more like the kind that hangs around for a week or so. Oh man! What if we get stuck here? The trail is way to small for us to circle wagons here. We are going to have to hope that someone will come back and tell us what we need to do. Nope, don't stop now. Just keep us behind that last wagon and keep going until someone tells us to stop or that wagon ahead of us stops lol. Then I guess we are going to have to stop.


Well someone just rode past us. This snow is getting so heavy that I couldn't see who it was, could you? Nope, me either. Honey, should I make a spot to bring the chickens in? I don't know about leaving them out there on the wagon in all this mess. It's only two small cages. I'm sure I can find a place to set them or hang them up from one of the top metal straps holding the tarp on the wagon. Oh thank you darlin'! I know the chickens will be more than thankful! Okay, let me crawl back here and get started. Hummm...okay if I slide over the crates with the kitchen stuff in it...oh Hi puppies! Yes, momma knows there is a bad wind blowing. Yall just stay in here and lay down. Okay, I know I had some rawhide bones tucked away for an emergency to keep them in the wagon with. Oh yeah, here they are...here...ya'll take these to chew on and lay on your blankies. Let momma get her work done and I will pet yall later. Okay..have a spot made for the chickens. The beans are still pretty warm and getting mushie too. Should I get out some canned hamburger and tomatoes and some chili powder and just make a big pot of chili instead? I think I will and then we will have enough to share with the rest of the wagons around us if it's needed.


Oh my! Darlin...where did the other wagon go to? HUH? What do you mean it disappeared??? Oh chit! I don't know, just keep going I guess. We will either run into someone or have to stop pretty soon. This snow is getting really deep and the oxen are really having a time of it aren't they? Yeah, I have the pups tucked in good and dinner all ready to throw on the Coleman stove when we stop. Yep, I got that little propane heater out too and a couple of those cannisters if we need them. Okay. I will keep an eye out...hey? Did you hear that? Sounds like a whistle blowing? OMG lol. I can hear Mt.R's donkey...just barely but I can hear it. Hehehe...Whao...watch that! I'm not real fond of skating in a wagon honey. Yeah I know, but if I can't laugh I am gonna cry. Here we are out here in this mess freezing to death. Are we nuts?


Oh a rider! I think it's someone from Mothers wagon! Okay, we will keep going a bit further to the opening. Then circle with the rest of the group. Huh? What do you mean we lost the others in front of yall? Oh my! Okay, we will make do and work with what we have. You heard the boy darlin', lets keep these babies moving to the clearing! Yes, you are doing a wonderful job!


Okay, there's the clearing over there it looks like. Oh ouch, that wagon almost crunched that tree. I guess it's pretty slippery over in the pines there. Just saying a prayer here...

follow that wagon ahead of us over into them.


Alright, we got circled. Let me go get the Coleman out and get the chili working. I'll bring in the chickens while you secure the wagon and get the oxen unhitched. Here is some rope honey. Tie one to the wagon ahead of us, one to the wagon behind us and one loose on the back side of the wagon. Um...just in case. :wub: Okay, you go see if Mother needs us to do anything else. I'll be here when you get back. And I'll try to get that chili ready, this place warmed up some and see if I can dig out those extra quilts I have packed into stuff for padding. Someone might be mighty glad to have one of them even if they have a patch missing or a small tear in it. Heck, I might put them on my lap and fix them now while dinner is working. Yeah, if I can get it warm enough to hold the needle funny man. Now scoot with you and go check with Mother!


Ha, I see she put him to work shoveling. Hope he doesn't overdo it. {{Mother..IRL hubby has NEVER EVER had to shovel snow. He laughed when I told him what you was making him do. I told him it's just like shoveling anything else LOL}} Well the chili is ready and I got two of the quilts mended fast like. Not real good, but it will do for now. The dogs are fast asleep since they ate. Was glad they went out with the hubby before he went to Mothers. At least I don't have to get all duded up and take them out! The chickens are out for the night too. I have extra quilts piled up on our pallet on the floor for tonight. I just hope we can stay warm enough in here. And I know those little cannisters are going to last long. I just hope we don't have to break out our wood stove! It's a pain to put together, but if we have to, I'll help do it. It's meant for a canvas tent so it should work in the wagon okay if we put the vent pipe out the back flap. I don't think we will have enough wood for it for more than a day or two though. Then what? Lord, please don't let us be stuck here too long.


Oh good! I am so glad you are back honey! Oh my, here, put these warm clothes on and I will get you a big bowl of chili to warm up. What? Okay, here take these over to Mothers wagon first. She can give the quilts out to who ever needs them. Then get back here and get warmed up!


Hey, you back to stay now? Oh good. Here let me help you get that cold wet stuff off and get you into some warm dry clothes. Okay, now here is a bowl of chili and a couple of biscuits left over from the other day to crumble up into it. Darlin'? What are we going to do? Do you think this snow is going to last much longer? I mean it's already piling up out there really fast. And we are separated from the front of the wagon train. Oh I do hope they are safe too. I will add them to my prayers tonight before we turn in. Maybe I should add all of us in there. I know we are going to be in a world of hurt if we get stuck here too long. Yeah, it was good chili, and thank you hon. Ready for bed? Okay, yep I do imagine you're tired after all that fighting the oxen and then shoveling the break. Lets turn in for the night. I love you too my wonderful husband. :kissy: I just pray we all get out of here alright.




Edited by quiltys41
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well this will be a night that everyone will remember! Hope everyone can get some sleep with the wind blowing so load abd the wagon covers making all kinds of noise.


We have asked Bill if he can move in with us for the night so the Library wagon can be used by Big D and her crew? There is no way they will make it if they have stay in that buggy! We have moved things around a bit in the wagon so Bill have a place to put his sleping bag and Lor said she wanted a place she could stand up inside the wagon so the back of the wagon now has an aisle and soome things have been piled way up on the sides. Good thing most of it has been packed in totes as the stack very well.



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Good morning.............................

well from what I can see, and that is NOT very far, for ther most part we are doing OK this morning. Good thing we are not be graded today on our 'circle of wagons' because it is NOT a very good circle more of a oval with a bump on one side? Looks like a bunch of blind cowboys did it? Buy Hey that is just about what we had to do in that snowstorm last night.


It seems that the wind has slowed a bit for now but the snow just keeps on coming. I had to use a tote lid to push the snow off the wagon seat so I could get out of the wagon to check on things. Somehow I need to get to the cow so she can be milked this morning if I can get my hands warmed enough to do it?


As I jump down from the wagon I see a tree just off to the left on the outside of the circle. Like a dog on a mission I head straight for it! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I turn around and 'try' and follow my tracks back inside the circle of wagons back 'on the safe side' of things. Lets make sure if anybody goes outside the circle thay are not alone and have some way of signaling for help if they need it.


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