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WAGONS HO - The Journey III - Wilderness


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Oh good morning one and all! Isn't it a glorious day? We are all back together, well sort of, and it stopped snowing for now. :woohoo: The dogs are perked up too and ready to go out and do their business and mark some territory lol. I'll have hubby take them outside while I wrangle up something for breakfast. I suppose I could use the left over chili, a couple of eggs, a bit of milk, some of the dwindling supply of cheese and make some omelets! Oh that sounds good. So that's what we will have. There is just enough chili left to make into two omelets. Waste not, want not! Maybe I can talk the hubby into making a couple of biscuits out in the fire in his cool cast iron baker! I think we still have an open jar of blackberry jelly too somewhere. I don't know how well that goes with chili cheese omelets but it sounds good! :feedme:


Well I was sure disappointed that the collards and the other "good" greens went to the other camp! I was so looking forward to some beans and greens. Oh well, maybe I can pick out just enough for a small pot while I am over there today. And yes, I'm going even if I have to hoof it lol. I'd much rather ride but we only have the oxen for now. Maybe some kind soul will lend me a horse or a donkey for the ride there and back. Something that wont mind a little load. Never know what kind of goodies we may find hidden away there. I don't remember if anyone went upstairs and checked the bedrooms and closets either. I know some people like to tuck away things upstairs in their bedrooms so they can keep a close eye on them. Not that I want valuables as the world sees them. I was thinking more along the lines of extra sheets, towels, soaps. Maybe some extra guns and ammo hanging around up there too? Never know what you will find. But I wont be taking the last of anything though. That is just wrong unless it's something that will get ruined if not used and left sitting. Like the stuff in the root cellar.


I am kind of hoping to find some sewing stuff there. I am looking specifically for needles. That is something that you really can't replace is sewing machine needles! Hand sewing needles can be made out of bone from what I hear, but I'm not so sure it would be that easy to replace the machine needles. So I will keep an eye out for them. And they are small and easy to carry too. Another thing I will look for is jeans. Any size will do since I can alter them without much problem. I will even take ones with broken zippers, need patched, etc...that's where it comes in handy to find a sewing room. Most ladies pile that stuff away in there to be fixed another day. So it makes a good place to look for clothes!


Something else I want to look for along the clothes idea is clothesline and pins! Would be nice to have clothesline and not just a rope strung up. The coated line would be best, but beggars can't be choosy. ;)


And I am wondering about that corn. I know we are getting a little low on ours since we use the cracked corn for the chickens and also grind some into cornmeal for us. I really didn't think we would go through this much! So now we find ourselves with the real possibility of running short before we get any harvested out of the garden. And what if we don't get any out of the garden for one reason or another, like hail or wind damage? Oh yep, we will be in a world of hurt then.


Well I got to get moving here and fix breakfast (IRL too lol) and feed chickens. Then I am going to get ready for the day. Maybe go over and talk to Mother and see what ideas she has come up with or if there is something she saw yesterday at that homestead that she wants brought back that I can get for her. Well....up and at 'em!



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Everyone was up and tending to their chores by the time GS got up yesterday. I brought him a cup of coffee and we talked a while about our remaining supplies. I left him to drink his coffee and wake up and headed for Big D's wagon.


When I arrived I found her bundled in several sweaters, her long wool coat, shearing gloves, and scarves, with blankets heaped up on her lap and a hot cup of tea in her hands. She looked like the little boy from the Christmas Story. LOL Naomi seemed concerned about keeping her warm and explained the tent inside the wagon had been able to stop the frigid wind from freezing them to death. James had helped the men shovel snow for hours and I could see that he was wearied. I admired his dedication and determination to keep her and everyone else safe.


Their buggy was buried next to their wagon but it had made an impromptu wind barrier for their animals. Before leaving we dug it out and got it ready to be used. I was surprised how well it held up through that storm.


By the time I returned to our wagon, GS was at the fire talking about their plans for the day. We would stay providing security and start preparing a path for the wagons to move out as soon as the weather would let us.


As the search party left, I stirred the fire, placing another log as a wind break, so it could thaw and begin coaling, then went back to digging snow away from wagon wheels, methodically going down the line. Listening to the sounds of the radio chatter seemed to bring back a sense of normalcy and provided hope that we'd find everyone OK.


When the news came we'd made contact with the other group, the camp burst forth in praises, whoops and laughter. I breathed a sigh of relief and praises to God, then, continued clearing snow with renewed strength. After the scouting party returned, things became joyous, everyone chattering about what they had found and the possibilities of renewing some of our stores. Hay for the animals was my first concern, yet thoughts of what I might find began crowding in.


I ran over to Big D and shared the good news, she and James offered the buggy as a means of transporting some of the supplies back to camp. By the end of the day I was exhausted yet excited about our great fortune, I crawled in to bed and passed out.

Edited by Annarchy
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After everything that happened yesterday, I wasn't sure if I'd go to bed last nite and just sleep this day thru. Auugh...tired. :cele: But very happy. A thrill goes thru me everytime I remember Mother's voice finally able to come thru on the radio and everyone including Jeremy are fine. :cheer:


But the blessings of the day were not finished and that fresh food in the farmstead ....well, that's just like Christmas. We've decided to harvest the greenhouse carefully so that it will continue to produce. Picking leaves but not all of the whole plants. We'll take some small plants too tho. And hope they fare better than MT3B's poor lettuce, etc. Perhaps that storm was the last great hooorah of winter even up here? At least our valley is of a more temperate climate than up here. But there is more UP to go before we descend into our new home.


I'm so glad to have gotten a good look at that self-sustaining design of the greenhouse. ANY design for something we will eventually build that will reduce the manual labor of this new life is WORTHY of learning about. DH & I surely do know what a very manual-labor intensive layout we formerly had for our livestock. Had to shovel paths all over to get to everyone in winter. And carrying water in summer. In this homestead we will build, we will be looking for a layout that SAVES energy. Or we will not be able to handle the increased labor load.


Well, those draft horses worked well yesterday. SF and son were able to hitch them to a 10' log [pine with branches/needles still intact] and drag out that lane that Mother, Q and the rest are holed up in. Plodding thru to break trail as we entered first and then repeatedly dragging the pine log has cleared that route for them to be able to move wagons tomorrow. Some of the other folks hitched a team of 6 oxen and began to drag the lane further up to the farmstead too. We need to be able to get a wagon up there to haul back root cellar contents, etc. At least the horses and oxen now have the hay they need to catch up on their feeding. Such a relief! Especially if we have them working hard again.


When our search party finally loaded up to return to our wagon group yesterday, we each dragged a large plastic woven tarp full of hay for the livestock back there. The loads skittered easily over the snow. We also carried a few of the root veggies and some harvested collards and kale. Chef's particular request.


And of course we had young Jeremy. He was happy to ride on the big huge horse that MT3B's son rode. That formerly-city child is fascinated with the animals....which is what got him into this trouble in the first place. Ohhhh, we will have to watch our children. They have not been brought up with the precautions and skills and the great responsibility of rural life. The primitive lifestyle is not as "forgiving" of mistakes and errors. Not that city traffic is "forgiving" either but ...there are different and new precautions here.


And not just the children either. This applies equally to adults and even those of us who DO know this lifestyle somewhat. Just look at my error and the consequences that nearly came of that. This wagon train could easily be mourning both me and young Jeremy. Yet God was merciful and teaching us to be careful. I suppose I should share my experience so that others can learn just how easy mistakes become deadly. ....I just haven't gotten over the shivers from it yet. :huh:


When we turned up the path to our own wagons, we were delighted to see that our group had taken the radio messages and cleared the drifts with oxen and logs from our own route too. Such a wonderful welcome for us too. It seemed that we'd been gone days instead of hours. Willing hands began to distribute the hay to all the animals. Especially those animals that helped to clear the wagon's path. Now we can go visiting today and anyone who wishes can ride over [wagon or horse] to get a look at the greenhouse, etc. Kind of like an educational field trip. :) Chef served breakfast of a rather nice mixed-grain porrige then left in his cook wagon to pick up Mother. If she's able today, after that toboggan ride yesterday ;) . He's fired up to learn how to harvest AND set up his own greenhouse. He was most interested and kept pumping me for details. Since he'd made cinnamon rolls and kept stuffing me with such bribes, :P I was glad to sit around last night's campfire and tell him what I could.


Several folks [especially the contracted carpenters] want to take a good look at the house, barn and the construction of the root cellars too. Even fencing and milking stanchions inside the barn. This knowledge will help them to keep in mind how so much food harvesting and storage will alter designs in this new life. Or we'll be using our pumpkins for footstools. :lol:


As for distribution, everyone can request a portion of particular food(s). Chef is put in charge of fairly handing it out. We'll leave a little in the root cellar too. Not much will last longer in the root cellar. as the season is warming. Even here, last year's produce should be eaten or put into the ground. for that purpose, we will leave some of the potatoes for sure. In case anyone else happens upon this place and needs them for seeding a crop this year. We'll also be saving back some of this variety of potato for seeding a patch too, tho we don't know it's name. Genetic variety is important. Someone suggested we just call them 'Blizzard Provision'.


.....yet another stone in the foundation of our new culture. Names which have meaning only to us....shared memories of coming thru hard times. MT3b's clan and dh& I have grown closer to the Benefactor families. There are some real 'pills' among them. Those that are clinging desperately to what is familiar to them. Out of fear. Out of being unwilling to relinquish control. And yet, facing this monsterous storm has quelled that to some extent. All of us have been humbled by this experience. We KNOW with a feeling driven deep within us that the wilderness life is so much larger than ourselves. Wild animals, storms, floods, starvation....all have the power to kill us. But working together, our ancestors survived to build up a safer and easier society. We have hope to do the same.


Today we dig out wagons and repack [aren't we always repacking? ] to move out tomorrow morning. Be careful not to load wagons with so much bounty that this steeper land will overly burden the oxen/horse teams.


Have fun at the homestead. :wave: With better light than we had yesterday, who knows what might be found stored in some corner of the root cellar?


MtRider [....holding down the fort in camp today]

Edited by Mt_Rider
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YEAH HOOO! I've got a ride to the homestead and so do several others. Big D has offered her buggy for some and the Chef from the B's group stopped specially to see if I would ride over with him. As soon as I get dressed in some layers so I can peel some in the greenhouse I'll be ready to go.


Looks like we've got quite a few out there to head that direction. Mr. Hughes had a long talk with us just a little while ago though. He tells us that other than hay and some grain, we are only to take food that needs to be used now or that will not keep and nothing else. He knows this family and feels that they will be back and he wants to make sure they have what they need when they return. All the while I was listening to him I kept thinking of our son and his extended family, or others like him, and how they might need to shelter at this homestead. That's okay though. Most of us have learned to make-do with what we have.


Okay, It looks like everyone is waiting for me.

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The rest of afternoon was like a dream. We would hear the radio crackle and news come back of what they found...the homestead and the root cellar, the green house-Chef's face lit up like a Christmas tree. He kept trying to get the radio to ask about greens. He was so funny. Jeremy's family slept most afternoon. I think the grandfather gave everyone in their group a cup of MtRiders herbal tea. Although he stayed around the fire and near the radio. His eyes were red rimmed, bless his heart he look like he had aged 10 years over night. I think he is blaming himself because he had told Jeremy he could walk with the other family's kids. Over all it was a lazy afternoon. W & A slept. P hung out around the fire and cleaned guns. Some of the guys from the benefactor brought the guns over for him to look at, he laughed and said he felt like he was back in the army. He was an Armor (the guy in charge of all the fire rifles and ammo for his company) in the Army. So he was in his element.


Boss and I curled up on the bed. He snored while I worked on some mending and braiding a rug. My thoughts drifted off to the green house that was found. I am curious about that being from the south we never really had a green house. Mother always sent her plants to the workshop to be hung in front of the windows and she had planters on the inside of the windows for spices. At times like this I really do miss the internet I could researching greenhouses right about now.


It was getting on in the late afternoon when I heard one of the young boys run by yelling “THEIR COMING !!” So we all bundled up and crawled outside to join the others around the fire. The Glennis and Campbell's were already there. My heart went out to all of them. I remember what it was like when we lived next door to my mother and P went to visit grandmother and his dad thought he was with me and I thought he was with his dad. We were surrounded by woods. I in a full blown panic after 30 minutes when I went flying into my mother's house to get her to call the neighbors only to find him sitting in her feet in the kitchen floor playing with her tupperware. I didn't know whether to hug him or beat him...hugging won out.


Some of the older boys had gone to the edge of camp to watch for the search party. We heard them hollering about the same time we heard the horses. N was the first one into camp and there in front of him was little Jeremy. Mr & Mrs Glennis could not get to him fast enough. As they walked back to the wagon there was back slapping and tears all around. But I only had eyes for the guy behind Jeremy. My men were home and they were smiling ear to ear.


After hugs where shared we quickly tended to the animals giving them fresh hay. The animals were munching away as we headed back to the fire. Chef was happy about something. I couldn't see what MtRider had given him but it was something about we would eat good tonight. Come to find out MtRider had brought greens back with her. It doesn't take much to make Chef happy. Some one had set a chair up on a crate for Mt. Rider so that she could sit and tell us about the farmhouse and all that they found. Mr. H started sharing what all we were going to have to do in order to dig out. It seemed that the horses and oxen were going to have some work ahead of them before we could leave.


Mr. H took men to the side and started explaining what had to be done while Mt. Rider went on to tell us women about what all was found. She gave us all a stern warning not to clean pick the greenhouse that we were to leave some. But the root cellar was different the fruit would need to be used or it would ruin in a few weeks. We were leaving some of the potatoes, onions and garlic for seed oh and some of the corn also. I couldn't wait to check this place out. I am sure our homestead will have to be set up different here since we get snow than it was back home. We see now that whiteout is something to be concerned with.


As I looked around camp that night it was amazing to see how close this group had gotten over the past few days. Before it was “us” mean those of us that had signed on (the survivalist)and then the benefactor group (the sheeple). This has been hard for them, they had lived the sheeple life style and then woke up. I would consider them baby survivalist. You know the ones that by the cases of Mt. House food and think they are all set. Talk about school of hard knocks. Many of the women are hanging on Mt. Rider's every word. The men are huddled around Mr. H but I feel eyes on me and I look over my shoulder I see SF smiling he too has noticed the change. Mt. Rider draws my attention back when she mentions the greenhouse again. As I share the same smile with Mt. Rider I can tell she sees the change also. Yes this little adventure has knitted this group together. I don't for the groups to separate much again. I hope Mt. Rider and Mother are ready to start teaching. Hummm by the looks of those men I hope Mt. Rider and Michael are ready to teach also. If the site around the campfire earlier today with P and the rifles is any indication then well let's just say school is in session....

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The day began early men had oxen and horse alike hooked up and were clearing a trail out of here. I noticed P is out there around the fire keeping the coffee going. More snow had been melted for the animals and more of the fresh hay was handed out. Mt. Rider said we were going to have to get out of here this afternoon or at first light tomorrow because the hay is just about gone. Hopefully by lunch time we will know when we will be pulling out. I noticed the older boys and women were digging out the wagons. I didn't realize just how high the snow had gotten. Chef had left a note for me and asked me to handle lunch. Wish I had some cheese because grilled cheese and tomato soup sounds wonderful. Oh well lets see what today holds...I am still dreaming of that greenhouse and fresh fruit. The apple that SF brought back last night was delicious.


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I woke up several times during the night looking to see if it was dawn yet. I felt like a little kid waiting to open Christmas presents. Finally, I gave up trying to go back to sleep and got up. I slipped out to the fire and softly talked with the guard shift until dawn broke. We cracked up when we saw Michael putting the Do Not Disturb note on the outside of their wagon.


After the morning routine, if you want to call it that, coffee, breakfasts and animal care was completed, I asked Q and Mother and if they wanted to ride with James & I. We were hoping to make a quick trip before lunch and maybe a couple later in the day. James had already hitched the horse and was ready to leave by the time we got there.


James dropped us off at the front door and headed towards the barn. From what we had heard about the homestead and all it contained, the view from outside was amazingly deceptive. To me it looked like a old weathered shack, sticks from overgrown plants peaking through the snow. Until you got up closer and see it had several add on rooms around back. I noticed a medium sized shed like structure off by itself near the tree line. My first thought was "Why would you put an outhouse so far away from the house?". Curiosity got the best of me and I told them I wanted to check it out. There were loft shutters on one side and one door on the other side. Cautiously I opened the door and was immediately overwhelmed by the smell of smoke, ummmmmmm, a smoke house! I propped the door open to give me enough light to see and walked in almost banging my head on the burlap covered meat that hanging from the rafters. There were a few ham hocks and beef from what I could tell, further back and higher up appeared to be some type of sausages. Oh, my.....I was speachless. I immediately wondered how old it was and if we could take the chance of using some.


I hurried back to the house and went in. My eyes screaming at me for going from dark to light to dark. It took a minute to get my bearings. I told Q about the smoke house and headed towards the back of the house, I wanted to see that greenhouse Mother had been raving about. I figured since we will be in an area that receives snow when we settle, I would need to learn as much about how this greenhouse was constructed if I was going to make one for us. I am too much of a veggie hound to have to survive winter without any greens. As I entered the room, the warmer moist air gently wafted past through the open door. Wow! Look at that! Beginning on the right side carefully walking toward the back, it was unbelievable all the plants they had managed to have flourishing in there.


Black Horehound, a bee attractant, used medicinally for treating eye and ear disorders, internally in infusion or powder as a general sedative and externally as a compress to alleviate rheumatic pain. Motherwort, a popular herbal remedy for nervous tension and menstrual problems. An infusion is used for migraine, hysteria, anxiety and nervous heart disorders. Further down was Lovage, Anise, and knotgrass (dang, I couldn't kill that stuff in my lawn, let alone let it grow in my garden.) Yet, a Knotgrass infusion acts as a tonic mixed with tea for kidney disorders and kidney stones. I made it to the mint grove, from what I could tell there were several varieties, pepper mint, spearmint, chocolate mint, ginger mint and a couple I didn't recognize. Back by the mint was an Elder bush. (Mom used to make lemonade from the berries when we were little IRL). The flowers and fruit are used medicinally to treat colds and other respiratory infections and mild nervous disorders. Wine is made from the flowers and also used cosmetically. The fruit contains large amounts of vitamin C. They are mildly laxative also diuretic and sedative beneficial for insomnia and migraines. There were even some Liquorice plants, fennel, cumin, tarragon, and mugwort. This place was simply amazing. An ideal dream garden in my books.


Carefully, I snipped and clipped leaves and any seeds I could find, filling the handful of baggies I had brought. Then, headed back into the house to see if anyone could use some help taking what they needed.


By that time James had returned from the barn. He'd strapped several bales of hay to the back and mentioned how ideal this place was and how he was looking forward to setting up something like it for Big D. We took a little time choosing a little of this and that and headed back to camp.

Edited by Annarchy
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About mid-morning the men were coming back in to get hot coffee and warm up. They told us it would be tomorrow before we could move out. I was so heart broke. I had been looking forward all morning to seeing the homestead, with the green house. I was in the mist of a pity party when Mt. Rider said then some one was going to have to go back and get hay. She suggest that SF, N and I go back since the draft horses could pull more. Bless her pea picking heart I think she knew just how bad I wanted to go because she could hide that smile when you looked at me ;) . So we bundled up and saddled up the horses. P even managed to mount up with his dad's help so the 4 of us headed out. W&A asked for fruit. We had tarps with us and Mt. Riders sled to bring stuff back with. As we rode out I couldn't help but notice just how eerie quiet it was. We passed the guards that had been stationed earlier today when the first group left out. They were glad we were going for more hay. They had been watching the men trying to clear a path and knew it would be tomorrow before we would get out. They still had a huge drift to get around.


I was glad it had stopped snowing we were able to follow the previous tracks with no problems. As we headed up the lane to the homestead I had thoughts about our new home and how we would arrange and build stuff. We dismounted and helped P down and the guys headed to the barn for hay. I started looking around and was amazed at the buildings. The barn was fairly close to the house but the way it was laid out the animals were on the field side of the barn. There was a smoke house. This I had to see I had never seen a smoke house and I wanted one real bad. I quickly took out my little notebook and pen and started sketching the lay of the smoke house there was meat still hanging but I wasn't sure if it was still any good. I needed to speak to Mother about this. SF startled me, he asked what I was doing out here since this was NOT the greenhouse. I told him I was sketching one of his projects. I wonder who in our group has used smokehouses. SF took my notebook and made some notes as I headed to the house. Boy was the sun blinding coming off the snow.


When I entered the house I was amazed at the functionality of it. It was warm and welcoming and I really liked the lay out. Darn SF had my notebook. I walked around the family room then the bedrooms. I wandered up stairs and was amazed again out how simple but functional the place was. This new life style was going to be challenging to say the least. No power, no running water, no refrigeration. I thought of the wind system we wanted to construct to run our house off of, would we be able to do that?


As I wandered back downstairs I heard voices I didn't realize Mother was here so I went in search of her and found her in the greenhouse. After hugs were shared with Mother, Annarchy, and Q I got a tour of the greenhouse. There were green onions, a variety of spices like sage, parsley, oregano, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, basil and many many more. I could spend all day here but I just picked a few collards . As I reached down to pick the collards I saw brussel sprouts. Since the collards had been picked already I went for the brussel sprouts my family loves them. Oh and asparagus also yummy. Lettuce, all kinds of lettuce I was so thrilled to see this especially since the goats got the last of my lettuce this morning. They didn't seem to mind that it was mush from the freeze. I had my spices and veggies so I went in search of the root cellar. That is where I found Chef. He was surprised to see me but when I told him that it would be tomorrow before we could pull out he grabbed a few more apples and headed back to the other side of the door to get more grain for breakfast in the morning. As I went through all the storage I found apples, plums, nuts, dried blackberries, dried figs, dried grapes they really weren't raisins as we would have bought in the store they had the grape flavor. There were carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, oh pumpkins...hum pumpkin muffins. I found squash. I found canned goods but wasn't sure about them, I will have to ask about taking the home canned stuff. If I take canned goods I will leave her my empty jars. I know out here getting jars will be difficult and I don't want to leave her short. There was another door under the stairs I opened it to find mushrooms. I was surprised at this but there were Shiite mushrooms, portabella mushrooms and button mushrooms. I picked a some of each. I would make marinated portabella mushroom burgers for dinner tonight they would go well with the tomato soup I had wanted earlier.


I headed back to the greenhouse to find Mother and her group. Since no one had mentioned the mushrooms I wanted to tell Mother about them. I also wanted them to explain about some of the other herbs. Since this is my weakness I need all the help I can get. I heard Annarchy talking about medicinal herbs and sighed again because SF had my note book.


I heard my name being called. It was SF and the boys they were loaded and ready to head back. I couldn't believe they were ready to go but as we walked out side I realized we had been there longer than I thought. The sun was well on over near the horizon. I knew we had to leave if we intended to get back before dark. Chef had already left. As we mounted up the radio crackled and it was one of the men standing guard wanting to know if we were headed back that the men were stopping for the day. Sf told him yeah that we were leaving the homestead headed that way.


We all hugged and said our goodbyes with hopes that tomorrow would see us united once again. N had already helped P mount and they were holding the reigns of our horses. Behind each horse was hay and there was a bag of grain for the animals also. SF said after a hard day of labor the animals need more than just hay tonight.


As we started down the lane back to our group once again I slipped off into my daydream of how our new homestead would look only to get a limb in the face. Guess I had better pay attention now that we were back out in the drifts. We had just picked up the first guard on our way back when Mister started acting up. We noticed tracks in the snow that looked to belong to a large animal. But because the horses had already gone over them we couldn't tell if it was cat or bear. The guard radioed back with a warning that we had found tracks and to be on guard. Mother radioed saying they were safe back at their camp and that they would be on the look out. Mr. H radioed and said he would post extra guards tonight that we needed to be careful coming back in. We picked up the pace and picked up guards as we rode back towards camps.


As we arrived those that were around the fire pitched in to get the animals fed and watered. Though the animals couldn't speak you could tell they like the fresh hay and grain. I notice Jeremy was out an about a little more subdued than before. But still the happy little boy that he was. He doesn't look like he suffered too much from his ordeal; however I did notice that where ever he was there was an adult family member within arms reach. I don't expect we will be having a repeat of this incident from him anytime soon.


A and I quickly set to work cooking tomato soup and mushroom burgers. I even gave in and went and dug out my can of mozzarella cheese. I said I was not going to crack in to the cheese until we got to the new home but tonight I felt like something special I wanted cheese with my mushroom burger. After dinner I need to take some of my veggies and spices over to Mt. Rider and check on her. I hope she had a quiet day. She needed a day of rest.



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It is still deep in the dark night but MtRider wakes suddenly. Dh is snoring in my ear and Dog is pushing and stretching. I'm squished up against the side of the wagon...again. :tapfoot: Will I ever be glad to be able to put up our BIG tent and have some room to sleep decently again.


Then I noticed why I had been shaken awake. The wind has picked up again..... A LOT! The wagon is shaking and shuddering. :o Oh noooooooo, don't tell me the storm is back.....or another one on the tail of the first. I know *that* happens a lot in our CO mountains. But the barometer was rising! :huh:


I scramble out of the nice warm sleeping bag, and ease out of the dome tent [within the wagon] until I can wiggle upright. We're still leaving the Jupiter lantern on to keep warmer....placed well out of the way of sleepers. So blinking with the light in my sleepy eyes, I crawl over various totes and things to the back end of the wagon and move the coverings to peer outside. The goats are hollering and the poultry is making a racket too. WHAT? Predator?



"DH!" I try not to holler but know he is very hard to wake calmly. I scoot quickly over to the tent and say his name again. He gives that startled, non-seeing wake-up as usual. "C'mon. We've got to get the tarp between us and the donkey cart taken down. The wind is up and it's rocking the cart badly."


"Huh?" ....one of those less than brilliant responses again. [glad I'm not the only one who does that]


"Get up! Emergency again! " I am searching for my snowsuit and slithering into it. I shove my feet into boots and make myself slow down and tie the laces or I will most surely live to regret leaving them dangling.


Dh was able to comprehend the short GET UP and stalks out of the tent. Yes, one really can "stalk" from a crawling position. He's a cheery fellow when awake but he is NOT awake yet and there is no coffee to help that. I'd have done it without him if I could.


I try to explain the wind and the tarp. It's about to take off with the donkey cart full of our livestock. The look I got told me that at that moment, dh would consider sleep more important. But he slid into enough clothes and his boots. Once outside, we were blasted with a very strong wind but no return of the snow. In fact........ we looked at each other and said in unison:


"It's blowing chinook!" :cheer::cele::woohoo: {shhhhh, don't wake the others!}


Yipes, grab that tarp corner. We got to work and quickly [tho not without effort fighting this strong WARM wind] unfastened the tarp that stretched between the top of our wagon to the animal cages on the donkey cart. We managed to get it sort-of rolled up and secured just to cover the donkey cart. To give the small animals protection. The severe shaking ceased and the animals were calmed. Now that they weren't in danger of being toppled over. We righted a rabbit cage. I also shoved a treat into MM's mouth before she could greet me loudly. And Roan..and Jack ...and Midnight.... :lol:


We headed over to the all-night campfire. A couple of young men on security watch were happy to see us. "Is the storm coming again?" was their anxious question.


"No, the opposite. This is chinook winds. It means 'snow-eater' in whatever original language. It's warm and will devour all this snow in near miraculous time. Often a very welcome weather phenomena in the mountains where we lived. This will be very good....tho it's gonna melt things quickly. We'll want to be ready to get outta this narrow spot and up in broad, open, and higher land before the snowmelt lets loose in a torrent of flood water. I'm very glad we're out of this canyon but I think we'd better get further out of it before noon today."


They both stared. "That fast?"


"Yeah, pretty fast"


I decided that tho it was only 3 AM, I'd go to wake MrHughes. I approached his wagon just as he popped out the back.


"CHINOOK!" we said at the same time, nodding.


"Well, how long should everyone sleep? We had to take down that big tarp from our wagon. 'Bout upset the donkey cart."


"Glad you woke in time. Anyone else have something blowing? Otherwise I think we can let folks sleep for another couple hours. The melt will take some time.....although we'd better notify the other camp to get moving now. They still have to get down that lane and back up the logging road to reach this point. I don't want them in the mouth of that canyon later this morning. " said MrH


"Well, how do we reach them. The radios just don't work around that outcropping of granite hillside between us and them."



By then we'd arrived back at the campfire and one of the young men, Theodore Smith, handed MrH a cup. Another Smith grandson. I noticed DH already had some coffee. Zachery Taylor was mixing the powder for cocoa for me. THANKS! Warm wind or not, it was blowing cold across the snow at us. The stars were magnificent. I nearly lost my balance, as I usually did, while staring up at them. Not a cloud marred the view.


"OK, here's the plan. Teddy, Zach....go get ready to ride with me over to the other camp. We've got to roust them early and get them further outta the canyon. The farmstead is higher ground but then they'd be stuck back inside that lane until the snowmelt flood was past...and we can't wait that long." MrH ordered.


The boys...er, young men, left immediately to gather gear and horses. Chef crawled out of his wagon and looked around....then made a bee line for our group at the fire.


"Pray tell....what NOW?" he groaned.


"Three of us are riding out to get the other camp up and moving right now. Can we get food to eat while we ride?" asked MrH.


"Yep" said Chef and turned without even asking for details.


"We're the guard team then," I said. I poked MtMtR. "We need our weapons and radios." It would be a while before the coffee made a dent in his thinking. "Never mind. You can't have a gun until you're awake. I'll go get them."


I also grabbed our own mugs and enameled pie plates/spoons too. Chef would have something ready soon. It would help to stay awake. And some sox. I wasn't wearing sox yet. I brought big Dog since she was awake now and she'd make sure predators did not get past her ears. "Just TRY to keep from any false alarms, OK?" I pleaded with her. Everyone needed as much sleep as possible. We took a route passed many of the animals tethered for the night. They were not exactly restless but did sense the shift in weather.



Yeah....we're about to have the second verse to "Springtime in the Mountains". :rolleyes:






MtRider [...standing.... er, well mostly sitting....watch this nite. ;) ]

Edited by Mt_Rider
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It is still dark outside.......

it is dark inside the wagon as well..............

The wind is blowing again....................

I must be catching one of those colds everyone has had as I am very warm and starting to sweat under all these covers. Lori awakes and asks what is going on as she can hear the wind blowing and it is getting louder and louder. Man its warm in here what did you do she asks? Oh good, I thought it was just me, I reply. I crawl over the the back flap and open it a bit to see if it started snowing again as well. But we are in luck no snow just the wind but it is warm? A I turn to tell her about what is going on outside I think I see lights off in the distance? Hey Lori come look! Am I seeing things or are those lights out there. Looks like it to me too, she says I hope nothing is wrong with the other wagons?


As we get up and dressed to go out and see what is up Mr Hughes and a few young men ride up to our wagons. Good Morning I call out everything OK back at your wagons? Yes he says but I have a message from Mt_Rider for your wagons. By now a few others are waking up so we all met by the fire to hear what is going on.


He tells us that there is a "CHINOOK!" coming our way and we need to get ready to move out. Lori looks my way and asks what a chinook is? Got me I say sounds like a big fish? but how can a big fish come here - in the sno? Hate to stop you in middle of what you are saying Mr. Hughes but what is a chinook anyway? Oh sorry he says I forgot most of you don't know about that. Well he went on to tell us all about it and then stated that we would need to get going sooner then planed so we are not caught in the lower areas when the snow melted.


So the good news is we are MOVING OUT!

The bad news is we are doing it at starting 4 am so we can be moving by 5 am!

We all tell him we will be ready and as they head back to their camp to get things going there he turn and saysfor us to met them where we were going to met later on today.

So here we go again - Monday Morning and we are packing as fast as we can to get on the road. As we go from wagon to wagon with the news we find that most are up already trying to find out what is going on this early in the morning.


Now to find out if all that work we did yesterday gettting the wagons uncovered from the snow and set to pull out will work. We may need to double team a few to get going but we can work together and get started back up the road to met the other camp.




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So while they were packing up the Library wagon Lori reaches in and grabs one of the books on weather to see what she can find out about Chinook Winds. Here is what she found.......




The reference to a wind or weather system, simply "a Chinook", originally meaning a warming wind from the ocean into the interior regions of the Pacific Northwest (the Chinook people lived near the ocean, along the lower Columbia River). A strong Chinook can make snow one foot deep almost vanish in one day. The snow partly melts and partly evaporates in the dry wind. Chinook winds have been observed to raise winter temperature, often from below −20°C (−4°F) to as high as 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F) for a few hours or days, then temperatures plummet to their base levels. The greatest recorded temperature change in 24 hours was caused by Chinook winds on January 15, 1972, in Loma, Montana; the temperature rose from -48°C (-56°F) to 9°C (49°F).


East of the Rockies, Great Plains states such as South Dakota also see Chinook-style winds, particularly east of smaller mountain ranges, such as the Black Hills.


Chinooks also occur in Colorado, especially near Denver, where winds blowing over the Front Range have raised winter temperatures from below freezing to around 50 °F (10 °C) in just a few hours. There are also Chinook winds in and around other cities in the Rocky Mountain states, including Billings, Sal


East of the Rockies, Great Plains states such as South Dakota also see Chinook-style winds, particularly east of smaller mountain ranges, such as the Black Hills.


Chinooks also occur in Colorado, especially near Denver, where winds blowing over the Front Range have raised winter temperatures from below freezing to around 50 °F (10 °C) in just a few hours.


WOW! now that is some wind, Bill says ,as he looks over Lori's shoulder as she reads about them. Maybe we sould take that book back with us to show the others.

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Ah what a day this has been. :) We hitched a ride with Annarchy and crew over to the homestead to check it out. They are such sweet people and it was nice to spend a little time talking with them and getting to know them a little better while we rode over. And everyone was right, it sure didn't look like much riding up to it. I tucked that thought into my head to use on our place too. And you couldn't see the greenhouse either as you rode up to the place. I liked that also...nice cammo job!


Well I got to wandering around the barn, looking for a bag or two of corn that hadn't been claimed yet. We wanted one for seed and one for the chickens for feed. We could have gotten one for us too I suppose, but I didn't want to be greedy about this stuff. There might be someone else who needed one...oh hey, lets take an extra one anyway. Because there might be someone back at one of the camps that has a need for it but couldn't get over here to get it themselves I told the hubby. I hate it when men grumble at you and question your every move lol.


I was going to go inside the house and see the greenhouse and check out how they laid out their kitchen and such but Annarchy came walking up to me and put a stop to that. Seems she had found a smoke house that was full! But no one could figure out how long the stuff had been hanging in there. I asked about a date on the note that was originally found in the house? No date? Humm...okay. I was concerned more with if it had been in there long enough! Most times you can leave meat in a smokehouse until you need it. The meat is cured and not cooked and when it's done, it should have a nice light brown color to it. And this meat definitely qualified for that! Okay, there is no "off" smell to any of it, just heavenly smoke cured smells. So, here's the deal. This meat is really salty which means it was cured a long time. It should still be good since many smoked meats were meant to last a long time. I would grab a ham or two and one of the pepperoni sticks in the back (maybe a communal pizza party?) The jerky should still be good. I would leave the chicken though. It looks like it might be starting to turn. Maybe take that out and bury it so that it wont draw large predators around the homestead? Most of this meat should be good for another few years yet. So I would leave most and just take a little in case the family comes back or others happen upon this place in need like we did. I'm glad mt3b's sketched this place out and

SF made some notes about it. I will have Mr. Q get with him on making us one of these smoke houses also.


And it was so good to see mt3b's again! I think we about squeezed the stuffings out of each other hugging so hard! They are such sweet people and so willing to pitch in and help others. It was great to have people that are like them on our wagon train. Well really, I couldn't think of one bad person at all, even those in the other group had their place. They kept the rest of us on our toes with all their questions and wanting to learn new things. And I imagine that kind of request from them will only increase after this little ordeal.


I left the smokehouse and wandered back on up to the main house in search of Mother and the green house. I found her and Annarchy talking about all the different plants in here. And there were a lot! I was amazed at how many plants you could cram into this size space. But then they have been left to their own accords and have re seeded and such on their own instead of being messed with by people., So stands to reason that the fittest have survived thus far. So any plants we would take would probably stand the trip and prosper once planted at our homesteads. I found the corner I was most interested in. The greens! Yes, there was about enough for a bowl full or two so I carefully snipped off the largest leaves on the outside of the plants, leaving the inner leaves to grow out unhindered. And I did the same with the collards, just taking a few of those to flavor the turnip greens. They are pretty strong all by themselves, so I usually mixed collards with another green type.


And I found two turnips in the back that had went to seed, so I snipped the seeds off into a baggy that Annarchy had supplied for us. I would plant those in our garden this year with our other seeds. Most times when you have greens like this and there isn't a turnip underneath, they are meant for greens only. I was hoping though that we would find some with a tuber attached.


I looked around a bit, keeping an ear out to what Mother and Annarchy were talking about while trying to find anything else that I would need at our homestead that I had forgotten to pack away. I had basil and oregano seed but no sage. And here was some in the greenhouse! So I carefully dug away just a little part of the plant, looked around under the benches for a bit and came up with a large bag of small pots! Okay, now for the potting soil. I kept mine off to the side of my re-potting bench so it wasn't right underfoot. Looking off to the right, nope. But there underneath some plants on the left were bags of potting soil. Bingo! So I took a little soil and put into the small planter. Then I went to the sage and lifted what I had pulled away, up and out of the dirt there and put it into the small pot. Then I put some more dirt around the plant, leaving enough room inside the small pot for watering. I didn't see any straws lying around or I would have put one of those in with the plant right down beside the roots for watering. ;)


So now I had my sage plant! I was listening to Annarchy talking about the Elder bush. I had to ask her about it because it sounded just exactly like a smooth bark or staghorn sumac! I remembered my mom using the seeds from them when we were kids to make us pink lemonade! And it does taste just like that too! You take 2 or 3 cups of berries off the heads and put those into a quart jar. Pour into the jar COLD water only. Warm water releases the tannins in the seeds and makes it very bitter! Now shake the jar around until you have a good color. Shake it hard too, don't be afraid of it lol. Next take the contents of the jar and run them through a cloth. An old t shirt will work just fine or any cloth with a tight enough weave to catch the seeds and such. Okay now add some sweetener like honey or maple syrup to taste and stir it up. Get it iced cold and drink away! Some people may want to thin it out a little with some more water first if it's too strong for you.


And those seed heads are easy to keep too. You just cut them off of the plant every fall and leave them somewhere warm and dry, like an attic. They will usually keep pretty good until the next years batch is ready to cut again!


Well, we heard the guys yelling at us to come on, it was time to go. I grabbed my bag, my plant and ran out to the smoke house and grabbed a couple of ham hocks too from the pile inside the smokehouse door. Okay I was ready and off we went! We made it back to the camp here just fine and I am just so tickled with my greens and stuff that we brought back! I got so caught up in the smokehouse/barn/greenhouse that I never did have a chance to take a good look at the way they had the place laid out inside! :mellow: Oh well, maybe someone else did and I will pick their brain about it later on.


But now it's time for bed. See everyone tomorrow...



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4 a.m.??? Are you nuts?



Okay Michael, thanks for waking us up. A chinook huh? All I know about them is that they used to fly over our house in TN a lot out of Ft. Campbell. Not that kind of chinook? LOL okay. I thought we were going to try and outrun helicopters in the early morning darkness hehehe.


Well looks like I had best get busy packing here. All the animals are all ready to go, just need to potty the dogs first. I am going to get dressed and run over to the fire and put on that 30 cup pot of ours with coffee. I'll get that to brewing while I start in packing up the quilts and such and getting the wagon straightened back out. It will have to be with a lick and a promise though since we don't have much time here....oh me!



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Boss get off the bed, it’s hot. What is wrong with you boy get down.


Huh? No I don’t know what is wrong with him. Wait is that Mister I hear…OH CRAP! Something is after the animals. Quick throw on your coveralls and help me. Boss, get under the bed out of the way. That is Raja I hear now. Here have a headlight.


SF and I climb out of the wagon and are hit full in the face by the wind. Whoooaaa that is one hot wind. The snow is melting. Wait hot wind what is that called. P-N WAKE UP! WAKE UP!!! Look at me are you awake good now what is that helicopter called no not the Hughie the other one. Yeah that is Chinook. Well we have Chinook winds and they are going to cause this place to flood by night fall. Come we have got to warn the others. We get the animals tethered and out of the direct wind and they seem to have settled down. We covered the goats and pigs with a tarp to keep the wind off of them. The chickens were still in the corner of the wagon so they were out of the direct wind.


SF and I approached the fire I notice the Mt.Riders there…what are they doing standing guard. The Mt.Riders notices us about the same time and we all say Chinook at the same time. Then they fill SF and me in on the details. Mr. H and some of the men are riding over to the other camp to get them moving. They are on lower ground than us so they are going to have to move faster. We are going to be pulling out today. Good thing we got extra hay and grain last night over at the homestead. Doesn’t look like we will be heading back there and I so wanted to sketch everything out. Well at least we have the details on the smoke house. Guess I will have to pick everyone else’s brain about the green house.


Mt. Rider decided we needed to go ahead and get everyone up and moving. It is going to be a long morning. As we go from wagon to wagon waking people we find that some are already up because of the winds and the animals. Even though it is still dark everyone but the little ones are up and moving.


The boys give the animals an extra measure of grain this morning. We gather more snow to melt for them. Mr. MtRider walked over and asked that we wait on hitching our wagons to the last since we may need to use the horses and oxen to pull the other wagons out. He wasn’t sure if the snow was going to be melted enough for their teams to be able to pull them out. Most are just using 2 member teams.


After the animals are fed I go about setting the wagon in order. I fed the guys some peaches and cream oatmeal and bacon from the smoke house. I was thrilled to see that P had grabbed some bacon and hams yesterday. He also got a couple sacks of corn also. He found some leather britches too. I missed those they must have been hanging in the barn with the corn. It was late yesterday when we got back so I still have all of the fruits, veggies and meats to put away. It looks like I will need to shuffle some of the food from the boy’s wagons over to our wagon so that I can cook. That needs to be done this morning before we pull out.


As I step out of the wagon I notice that the snow is melting rather rapidly now and we are starting to get mud puddles. Humm we have been up now 3-4 hours and this much snow has melted?!?! I hope Mother and her group and on their way. I don’t think we have as long as I thought we did. Must find Mt. Rider and get her opinion on this.

Edited by mommato3boys
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What a day it’s been. I woke very early this morning to find it a bit warmer in the wagon but the wind blowing like crazy. Something was spooking the animals and I could feel the horses pulling against their ties on the wagon. I was out of bed in seconds and grabbing for clothes with DH right behind me. The wind was warm and it was fierce but when I got out the door I could see the fire in the circle was spewing sparks all over the place making the animals more spooked than the wind.




I yelled for the watch to get some snow on that fire and went to horses to see if I could calm them while DH and the guys on watch got the fire tamed enough it wasn’t threatening to burn us all down and then I went to get hay and started putting it in front of as many animals as I could. Already there were others out with the animals and asking what was happening.




It wasn’t long before we got the news from Mr. H that we had to get moving fast so as not to get caught in this low land when the snow started melting. After Mr. H left Michael and Lori gave us some info about the Chinook winds and what we learned struck terror. I don’t think I ever saw us ready to go so fast. I know that getting on the road has become routine for most of us but there’s something about fear that puts a fire under one’s tail. I was grateful that I had stayed up a bit late last night getting all but last minute things put away. None of us stopped for breakfast




Being ready and being able to get out was two different things though. We had such big drifts around us that we couldn’t get half the wagons out with single hitches and ended up doubling up to break some lose. Then when we finally did get everyone turned around and into the lane we found it not so much mud as slush, slippery, gooey mush. Because I was the first to pull in when we circled I ended up being the last out. I was doing a last minute walk around the camp to make sure we were not leaving anything behind when I remembered that I had a big Dutch Oven buried near the fire with oatmeal in it. I went back to the wagon, grabbed a shovel and managed to get it uncovered and out of it’s pit but it was so heavy I couldn’t lift it and had to have DH put it in the wagon for me.




One wagon after another got stuck trying to get out. What a mess, sometimes slogging knee-deep in heavy wet snow, sometimes getting splattered with water because of pushing a wagon. It was after six o’clock by the time they got to our camper wagon. I thought we were going to be okay despite being the last wagon and having to deal with the ruts of all the others but we had barely gotten headed in the right direction before the horses spooked by a falling limb and turned into the trees instead of down the road, sliding the wagon sideways. I got the horses stopped in time, thankfully, to do no damage but I was at a loss as to how to get us out of the mess.




I had lots of advice but none of it managed to get us turned until Mr. Hughes showed up to see how we were doing. He took one look and asked if he could take the reins and I gratefully nodded my head at him. I had to chuckle as he came through the back of the wagon, the only way you can get to the front driving seat, and found Mom calmly sewing in her rocking chair. He actually stopped and tipped his hat to her but he was chuckling as he stepped over Sasha and puppies and finally made it to the front. I scooted over and watched carefully as he took the reins. He slowly backed the team, step by step, something that I had difficulties doing with them. He had the guys on the front corners pushing until he got the wagon backed a short way off the other side of the lane and then told them to get out of the way. When they were safe he yelled back to Mom to brace herself somewhere. He handed me the left rein and told me once he started the horses moving I was to just keep slapping the reins against their backs. When I nodded that I understood he gave a loud whistle to the team and hauled with both hands on the right reins as I added my calls and kept snapping the rein I was holding. The first thing I knew the wagon was going kitty corner across the road, down off the edge and I found myself falling against the side of the wagon, grateful that I couldn’t fall out. Then suddenly we were up out of the low ditch and headed down the lane in the right direction.




I could hear cheers going up behind us but as the other wagons had reached the turnoff and were disappearing around the bend, Mr. Hughes grabbed the rein back from me and never let the horses even pause. He urged them almost at breakneck speed down the lane, only slowing when he reached the end. Even then he kept them going around the bend and into the logging road before he pulled the horses to a stop behind a wagon. I believe I turned to him wide eyed but then started to smile as I saw the pure joy lighting his face. He had loved the challenge and so did I; a shared moment of triumph. He stood, handed the reins back to me, tipped his hat, and then made his way back through the wagon, stopping long enough to make sure Mom was okay and to pet Sasha, before he went down the back steps. I swear he was whistling.




It was only afterwards, when we had finally met up with the rest of the train waiting on the road ahead, that I realized how close we’d come to tipping the wagon over on it’s side as the horses pulled us up out of that small ditch. I shook for almost an hour after.




The rest of the day was strange too. The wind blew so strongly at times the wagons were almost going sideways to the direction the teams were going. It was a fight to hold the teams. People walked beside their oxen most of the day and the herders had a terrible time riding drag with the animals. Their mounts really got a work out. Mr. Hughes didn’t want us stopping for the night until we reached higher ground so it was late afternoon before we pulled off the road just below the crest of a hill to avoid the full brunt of the wind. By that time the area he chose was almost bare of snow and I was grateful to see some graze for the stock. They deserved it after all they’d been through.


I'm just glad that Chef is preparing a community meal for us all tonight. He figured that we'd all be tired and he's right. I can barely wait for chores to be done so I can set and rest my aching arms. I'm just hoping that I can make it through the milking. Then before we eat I want to check Mom. Her hand looks swollen and I believe she may have hit it on something during our wild ride. I am wondering how many bruises she has. One of the puppies went sailing too and I need to recheck him. Lots to do before bedtime.

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Another interesting day on the trail...well we woke up early thanks to Michael or we would have been way behind on our day. Seems those Chinook winds were just starting up when Mt.R and Mr. H came back to warn us all to get ready to pack up and head out by 4 am. I don't think we all made that, but we did try. And it was a challenge too. Since our wagon was ready for the most part with the animals we have all inside except for the oxen, all we had to do was feed them and then we went about the camp helping others get animals fed or what ever was needed.


The snow was melting at a rate that I had never seen happen before. I mean I was raised in Northern Indiana in the "Lake Effect Snow" area. I had seen it come down that fast before, piling up half a foot within an hour, but I had NEVER seen it melt as fast as it could come down! And that wind was warm too. I should have known something was up when we woke up because I had kicked off all the covers some time in the night and there were NO hot flashes involved lol. I had worn my heavy Carhart barn jacket out to help with the animals but quickly ditched that and went with just a regular jean jacket so I didn't over heat out there. Hubby spent his morning helping the other men get the wagons out of what was left of the snow drifts. Mothers was the worst one to get out, hers was covered over before the Chinook started. But they did manage to get all the wagons out of the snow and onto the trail. We ended up somewhere in the middle this time so we could see wagons ahead and behind us. And it was muddy!


Oh the mud! As fast as the snow was melting, the ground wasn't able to absorb it quick enough plus it was still frozen in spots too making it all the harder to get rid of that water. So the puddles started. And with all the oxen tromping through them and the wagon wheel ruts, it fast became another hazard to deal with. Some of the people had to get out and pull the oxen along or else they just didn't want to go any further in the mud. Can't blame them, I didn't want to either, but it was important to get out of this valley and onto higher ground before these puddles turn into streams and then small ponds too at this rate lol. But that mud...it was still cold. It wasn't warm like the wind. And the water was cold too. And here we all were, sloshing through it and trudging along warm on top and cold feet and ankles. Some of the folks like me had mud past their knees. Okay, some of us are not too graceful lol. I know while I was out pulling our oxen along I was slipping and sliding all over the place in that mud. One time I tripped over something on the ground, a tree root maybe?, and fell. But I caught myself and landed on my knees and hands...in the cold mud. UGH. I had to retreat to the back of the wagon and try to grab an old torn quilt from the stack I had hurried to fold up before we moved out. I wanted to put that down to stand up on and change my clothes without getting any more of that darn mud all over the place. I didn't want to have to scrub the entire wagon down later!


So I get my clothes changed and sat up front of the wagon with the hubby for awhile. It was nice to be out of that darn mud! But I knew the first sign of the oxen wanting to stop again, I was going to have to go back down in it and lead them again. We had to move fast and get to higher ground, so stopping the train for stubborn oxen was not an option we had. We really pushed them too. They had to get a move on and keep going at a fast pace for the entire day. We couldn't stop in the valley or else we ran the risk of being caught up in a torrent of water! And being drown is my worst fear, so you can bet I was hollering at those animals to get us going just as much as everyone else up and down the wagon train was doing. You could hear different people yelling in the wind.


Oh and that wind. Let me tell ya'. I think it almost tipped us over a few times. Felt like the wagon was going to come right up and over when it caught is just right. I hated turning a bend that would put the wind sideways to us. It was easier on the oxen than heading into it, but it scared the snockers out of me with the wagon rocking back and forth! And it had the chickens and the dogs back inside the wagon in an uproar. Chickens squawking, dogs whining, hubby yelling...oh Calgon, take me away!!! LOL. Come on, you have to laugh before you cry...but just sitting up there in the wagon seat, listening and taking in all the sounds around us of the wind, the people and the animals on this wagon train was something else. I filed it away in my brain as one of the highlights of this trip to remember and think about and tell tales about as I get older. ;)


I was so ready to stop by noon lol, but today there was no stopping for lunch and we had had NO breakfast either. I went to the back of the wagon and scrounged around for some jerky and such just to take the edge off of our hunger. Word was out that Chef was making a meal for all of us tonight. I was hoping that I would be awake for it and not end up nodding off before I got a chance to eat. Man was I ever tired. That's what I get for staying up late writing! :wub:


But long about six p.m., just when I thought we would never stop nor this day ever come to an end, we rounded one last bend and came onto an opening up on a hill top. It was wide enough to get everyones wagons in it and the animals would have grass to graze tonight! Yipee! The more grass they could get the better it was. That would help them out a lot and it would cut down on the amount of hay we would have to dole out to them. And that was a good thing! I was so happy we had stopped. I crawled into the back of the wagon to lay out the quilts for sleeping tonight. There was still too much mud and the ground still too cold to be setting up a tent out there. Plus the wind wasn't quite done yet. But it still felt warm. And since it wasn't blowing near as hard, it was kind of nice! I saw the men out in the circle trying to get a fire going for Chef. I knew what ever it was he was cooking up was going to be yummy! And I thought about that while I fed our chickens and our dogs. Hubby had unhitched the oxen and gotten them settled in for the night, giving them a little extra grain for all the hard wonderful work they had done for us today in getting us to higher ground and to safety. Well as safe as you can be out here in the middle of nowhere in a wagon train lol. I just am so hungry but I am so tired too that I thought I would spend some of the time waiting for dinner writing what had happe








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Someone wake me for dinner. I am just going to sit right here in my favorite rocking chair and let Boss warm my feet. I think every part of me hurts and if it doesn't hurt I don't think I have it. LOL


That was one wild ride today. The poor animals gave it all they had. I think the faster we went the faster the snow melted. I was so glad to see Mother and her group come around the corner but we could not move fast enough to out run the mud. I think I have frost bite on the toes. Mud is not supposed to be ice cold and this was. My poor body didn't know whether to sweat or shiver. From the knees down I was numb and from the knees up I was sweating.


Hopeful we are on high enough ground tonight. At least the wind has settled down and the animals are calm or plum tuckered out I don't know which. I noticed I am not the only one. I see a lot of people dragging out there.

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James had taken another group to the homestead that afternoon, by the time they returned it was almost dark. Big D & I spent some time together chatting about our hopes and plans for our new home. She was holding up remarkably well for an 80 year old Lady. It has to be the fresh air and unprocessed food. I was expecting her to be spitting fireballs at me for dragging her into this, however she is more spirited than I've seen her be in years. She said she has even been cooking a couple of times while her crew was doing chores. :0327:


I spent some of the afternoon with the animals. (1 ferret, 2 chickens, 5 turkeys, 1 heifer.) Frank seems more than curious about the birds. I let him out a while to wonder around the wagon. It took him less than a minute to get to the chicken cage. His tail poofed up as he circled their cage and they wouldn't take their eyes off of him, cackling a warning or two when he ventured too close. I checked his food and water and put him back into his hammock. As far as I could tell, the turkeys could care less about anything except their own needs. Eagerly rushing towards me every time I go to feed them and clean their cage. The heifer I've nick named 'little Lady'. She seems timid and doesn't seem like she's fully grown up. Not like the seasons veterans we have with some of the other wagons. She has finally quit shying away from me when I try to pet her.


By evening, I was bushed. We'd had a wonderful adventure at the homestead, learned a tremendous amount and actually had some time to socialize. By the time I crawled into bed, I realized my feet were freezing. I hadn't given it much thought during the day, but now as they were warming up they began to burn. It took a couple of hours for the stinging and tingling to subside.


I woke with a jolt to the ruckus and wind outside, frantic voices carried on the wind got me moving immediately. Today, tho, I was making sure my feet stayed warm. I quickly dug out my wool winter socks and headed out to see what was up. The weather was forcing us to move out ASAP. I rushed to feed the animals and then went to tell Big D. They were already up and ready to go. She looked at me and said, "What took you so long?" then gave me a sheepish smile and climbed into her buggy. Boy, she had it made, they had her a little covey of blankets & pillows. She was cushioned like a bug in a rug. Shaking my head, I went back and we got under way.


By the time we had stopped for the day, I was jolted, jarred and frazzled, covered with mud and muck, and my toes were cold again. I had walked with the oxen most of the way. Looking back at our wagon, GS looked so funny sitting with the reigns in his lap splattered from head to toe with mud. LOL He didn't think it was too funny. :008Laughing:


We got the animals situated and I kneeled over the edge of his seat and cleared an area where we could change without making a mess on everything. He told me Chef was cooking for us tonight. That was a blessing to hear. I leaned back against some towels and the next thing I remember, GS was telling me to get up and eat. I can't remember if I did or not. It's dawn now, so I must have or I'd be ravenous.

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After sneaking out of the covers trying not to wake DH, I went out to the central camp fire and stirred the coals. Everyone was sleeping in after all we had experienced yesterday. Up early, rushing to escape the impending flood and mud, getting Mother's wagon unstuck. Now that was an incredible sight. Gunslinger kept telling me that jumping around wasn't going to help. LOL . Then dealing with the melting snow, the steep trail and keeping the animals moving took everything we could do.


After we arrived, everyone busied themselves with tending to their animals, getting something to eat and settled in. Of course, I missed the evening. I still can't remember much.


This morning, I went for a walk-a-bout and found enough dead wood to rekindle the camp fire. Slowly, people started waking and coming out, stretching, limping and groaning. Each concerned about the chores they faced and the clean up from the last couple of days. Being stuck in the snow and wind in our wagons had taken it's toll. I started a large bucket of water boiling and began offering warm water for laundry and helped string up several cloths lines between wagons. By mid morning most everyone was up and well into trying to bring things back to 'normal'.


The animals seemed relieved, grazing and glancing around occasionally, like they also were waiting to see what would happen next. Frank didn't even want to come out, he looked at me like "well, where's my treat?"


Mid afternoon, I decided to make some sugar cookies. I dug an area near the fire, lined the outside with rocks, stacked some larger pieces of wood over the rocks about 10 inches above the coals to hold in the heat, then placed a rack about 6 inches above the coals propped up with rocks. Then, slid in my baking tin, checking regularly to make sure the coals were hot enough and the cookies weren't burning and turning the pan to cook evenly. I actually noticed smiles as people realized what I was doing. I did have to trade Mother for the butter and one egg, by offering her 2 tatted lace doilies. Well worth the smiles I saw spread through the camp.

Edited by Annarchy
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As I rolled over I heard SF suck in his breath. I knew then my feet were as cold as they felt. After yesterday I am surprised they are still attached. I have bruises I can't explain and every bone in my body aches. Boss is whining to go out so SF slips on his coveralls and boots and takes him out. On his way out he tosses me another hand warmer to toss down around my feet. I hear camp slowly coming alive and it sounds like everyone feels about the way I do. SF sticks his head back in and hands me a cup of hot chocolate and says he thinks we are staying put today. Mr. H thinks it will be safe enough here and after the rough ride yesterday animals and man alike need to rest. I turn over and go back to sleep dreaming of venison stew, sourdough bread and blackberry cobbler.


I hear laughter...children's laugher but my children are all grown...Sf is helping me up into a sitting position but I don't want to sit up. I want sleep my feet are cold. Sf is forcing something warm down me it is not hot chocolate but it still taste good. Taste like lemon zinger tea...he got the right amount of honey in it. I realize that I am in my fleece sleeping bag inside the cold weather sleeping bag instead of just being covered with it. I try scooting down in the sleeping bag further and go back to sleep but SF is talking to me. He is telling me that the animals had been fed and watered and people were cleaning up their wagons after yesterday. SF said they had knocked most of the mud off the wheels and brushed the animals down, and cleaned hooves. They all seemed to fair well. One of the oxen had a small gash but he had already talked to Mother and gotten some ointment to put on it.


I must have dozed off again because SF was waking me to drink more tea. I had rather have the hot chocolate but the lemon zinger tea is good too. Boss is between me and the wall of the wagon keeping me away from the cold wagon. I noticed SF had moved some stuff around to create so of a wind break around me. He said something about he would put up the tent inside but then he couldn't get to me very easily. Have not clue what he is talking about I just know the tea is warm and there is something warm around my feet. Trying to go back to sleep but SF won't let me...why want he go away. I don't want to talk about the smoke house now. I want to sleep.

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Another day on the trail............

what day is this anyway? seems like the last week things have changed so often it is had to keep track of the days, who's lead wagon and who's cooking what for Supper?


One thing hasn't changed - I still have to get up to help with the milking, then get some hot water going, then check on the animals and then get Lori her cocoa so she can get going too.


Today will be a good day to test out how eveyone is doing driving their teams as from the look of things ahead we have some hills to climb today and from what Mr.H said yesterday some places will be a bit narrow and we will have to work together to get the bigger wagons through.




Edited by Amishway Homesteaders
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I think I nodded off on that last journal entry. I was just so tired after pushing along all day and having gotten up so early. It was an exhausting day for most all of us. I know that I spent most of the day doing lite things and napping. I just didn't have the strength left to do much more than that. I got the animals taken care of while the hubby checked over the wagon and the tack. Chef had made something for dinner that night, but I don't think I ever made it there. When I woke up the next morning, I was about starved! I was so tired that I can't even remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. Or dinner either for that matter. Or much of what happened yesterday lol. I do remember hubby and I having a prayer together for help for making the rest of the trip. If it's this hard here on out, I can't see everyone going one day and stopping the next like we had to do yesterday. I have a whole new respect for our forefathers (and mothers too) and what they must have went through to get to the west! This is NOT for sissies, no way no how.


So, I wonder if we are moving out today? I am just sitting here in the wagon right now, sipping on my morning coffee and about to do my morning Bible study. I have missed that the past few mornings. And I don't feel right for the whole day if I don't get that in. Makes me feel like I am missing the best part of my day that way. Well best get to it before someone comes hollaring we're moving out again lol. Yep, it's only 6am...



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I am awake early again today. Even yesterday when I could have slept in I couldn't. We are moving out today and though I know we are all ready there are a few things I want to do before we start.


For one, I need to check on MT3B before we leave. SF came to me yesterday saying he thought she was sick and would I come check on her. When I did I found her feverish. My first thought was that she'd gotten hypothermia but then I realized that if she had we'd have known right away. I suspect a couple of different things though. One, and the most likely, is that she plain and simple has been overdoing for days and is worn out. Our bodies react to those stresses. The other is that it's been not quite two weeks since we left the ranch and I'm hoping that she didn't come in contact with a virus while there and it's jut presenting itself. In either case we're going to have to isolate her as much as possible. We can't afford to have our wagons separated with sick people again as we are all just too tired to handle that. Still, I was extra careful to wash well and use hand sanitizer after I was there. I sent some of my special tea to her and perhaps that will help. It contains, among other things, Elder Flowers for the fever, Mullein for it's mild anti-viral properties and it's ability to soothe the lungs, St. John's Wort for not only it's sedative properties but also for it's antimicrobial and antiviral ones, and Ginger to warm her and as a carrier for the other herbs. I'm sure that it will help her no matter what is going on but we'll have to keep an eye on here. I told SF that he should ask CGA or Quilty's to check on her as well as they might have a better idea of what it might be.


I also need to check Mom's hand again before we leave and make some compresses for it. I've still got a lot of comfrey left and that heals faster than anything I've seen. I gave her some willow bark tea last night and then in the night some of our precious supply of anti-inflamatories even. She didn't want to take them but she couldn't sleep for the pain and I insisted.


I guess I better get moving instead of just setting here looking out the back curtain with a cup of tea in hand. I hear Mr. Hughes talking to Chef, probably getting coffee. I suspect that we will be pulling out soon.




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Whoooaaa did y’all see the Mac truck that came through and did someone get the tag number as it sped off? It ran me over and then backed and ran me over again. (ok so in real life I fell apart after we got the lab work back on SF and the weather had been really weird here seriously I was freezing last night and could not get warm I think I drank like 3 cups of warm tea now back to URL)


I feel much better today but SF still won’t let me drive he wants me to rest some more. I did get up and move around and do chores this morning. I fed the chickens and have moved them back out side on the side of the wagon since the wind has died down. The pigs and goats weathered the storm well. I also looked at the oxen’s leg this morning and it seems to be healing well no fever in it. SF and the boys are rearranging the oxen today and she will be one of the ones that is moved to the back and be used later if need be.


Mr. H was telling everyone around the camp fire this morning that we will be going through some really tight spots and narrow passage ways today. Great not my favorite I wonder if there are guard rails LOL. I am not looking forward to today’s travel.


Mr. H wasn’t too sure about stopping for lunch either. He didn’t remember there being a place wide enough for all of us much less a place to build a fire. So it will be biscuits and jerky and fruit for lunch. Dinner tonight is one of my camping trail meals. I am using my big dutch oven – lining it with foil and laying 4-5 hot coals in the bottom then I am taking a potato, carrot, onion and a link of smoked sausage and wrapping it in foil, placing each in the dutch oven with 3-4 hot coals between each pack of foil. Then I will set the dutch oven box of straw and cover it with a quilt. Tonight when we stop our dinners will be ready. Since I am making extra biscuits for lunch I guess I can make another pan for dinner it won’t take long. Humm it looks like we will have another hour yet before we are ready to pull out. I have time to make a dump cake and even if it is not completely done I will not open it until tonight so it will have all day to cook in the hot box.


SF is fussing at me for overdoing it. But once we get on the trail again I will rest until we hit the narrow passages then I am hiding under the bed with Boss LOL.


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LOL MT3B! { I wanna hide under the bed IRL...WIND and frigid temperatures... :o }



Well the MtRiders are up and moving this early morning. I've got bacon spluttering [iRL too] and wishing for the ducks to lay more eggs. Just all this jostling around each day and then the shift from spring to winter-blizzard has thrown them off again. Poultry will be as glad as any of us to finally arrive and STAY PUT! :)


Trying to figure out what to wear. Got a chance to wash out some things yesterday with our unscheduled layover. Just no one seemed to be able to move much. All these days of battling the rough trail life kinda caved in on us. Well, we're better for the rest yesterday and if it's narrow trails today, we'd better be alert and ready. So it's still chilly. The higher we go, the more so. Also, as our bodies are more fatigued and worn, we will be more suseptible to chills and opportunistic "bugs". As Mt3b has found out. (((MT3B))))) glad you are feeling better today! [iRL too!]


So much better that we have been provided with some fresh fruits and vegetables at this time. :cheer::amen:



Well, we're moving out soon and I'm packing up some biscuit and bacon and peanutbutter for lunch.


MtRider [...still wearing a down vest but the coat is nearby tied to the back of the saddle. ]

Edited by Mt_Rider
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