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WAGONS HO - The Journey IIII [AKA IV]- The Big Valley


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While I was off milking the cow this morning I heard two of the “B” group's men talking about getting to they homestead and how they were going to get it ready. One said that he was going to try and hire someone to plow his land as he needed to plant the corn ASAP because he had hopes of selling it come the fall to some others in the group that didn’t plant enough for the winter. The other one said that he was thinking maybe he should have had oxen pull his wagon here so that they could clear all the fields that he wanted to plow. He had heard that oxen are better at the big fields then the draft horses he had. Well why don’t you find someone that will make a trade was the advice the first guy offered. Now who on this train will trade two oxen for my two draft horses, was his reply.........



So I got thinking……………………



Morning, Sorry but I couldn’t help overhearing you two talking about you horses and oxen. I think I may be the answer you are looking for. I am looking to trade my oxen if your horses are what I am looking for. So we went over to where the animals where (after I got Lori from our wagon to come with me) and checked things out. It looked like a good trade (and a little money too), seeing he did a good job of taking care of his draft horses on the trail and they could both see I had done the same with my oxen team. Seeing we are only going to be using 60 areas on our homestead and most of that will be wild we don’t need oxen to plow so when feed them all year?



Well while talking it over with Lori as we headed back to the wagon we decided to follow the others that had headed out and do the same. No sense sitting here waiting when we could be checking out where we plan to Homestead. The plan is to head south until we get to the Dam, The water should be lower there and if we can cross (safely) we will camp on the other side by the river for the night and then the next day we will head back up north and look over the site we plan to live at.



So off we go in our own little wagon train, The ‘new’ draft horses pulling our wagon, then Morgan is pulling the buggy (for now hitched to the wagon and Lori will drive it some later on), The cow is hitched to the back of the buggy. The chickens (4 now) and the goats (2) will ride in the wagon for now seeing we moved a few things around there is room . When (if) we can get to the Homestead site then we will head back across the north river to met back up with everyone at the Lodge in a few days.


Good Bye everyone see you soon!





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It was difficult to see them go but we all stood and watched as first MT3B and some of her family left us to explore further south, only W and A staying with the wagons until they returned. Michael and Lori were next to leave and when Q and Mr.Q pulled out I held in a sob as I watched their wagon slowly make its way south. The rest of us had no choice. We posted guards to keep watch that there was no repeat of the oxen incidence of the morning and some of the wagons were moved closer to the hill in fear the water would rise. Our family, having lived through and even IN more than our share of floods, had decided to stay where we were for the time but to have everything in readiness to hitch the teams and move if needed.


By mid afternoon the rain had dwindled to a drizzle and the river waters had receded. Those remaining at the river took a sigh of relief. Mr. Hughes and Mr. Smith knew the river well at this crossing, having been involved with the building of the bridge to begin with, and they were confident that we could make it across now that the rain had quit and the volume of water had lessened. Mr. Jones had been involved with the purchase of the wagons and he explained to us that they had been built specifically for these types of situations. The Conestoga’s design, being boat shaped, made it possible, even in pioneer times, to float through deep water. Their weight distribution made it possible for them to stay upright in adverse situations like this one. He then pointed out that these were all built of modern materials and were even more reliable. He assured us they would make the crossing just fine and we all went to finish what we'd started, building the raft to take the carts and animals and maybe Big D's buggy if she didn't think it would float well enough.


By late afternoon we found ourselves standing on the bank, watching a much lower river flowing at our feet. It was still high but it didn’t look as threatening as it had and the thought of waiting another day to cross was worse than facing the water.


The teams were all hitched and the wagons had been inspected for possible leaks. Logs had been cut and tied together to make a large raft for use with whatever carts or buggies that would not float and to bring the sheep and other animals that would not swim the river.


I stood for a time at the waters edge, watching the water. It was probably only sixty or so feet across but I could see what looked like bridge piers standing in the water some distance from the shore, indicating that the river was only thirty or forty feet wide normally. It really brought home how fast things could change, reminding me that we will need to be ever vigilant in this new life. The unknown is always just around the corner when you are dealing with nature.


We all watched as the men tied one end of a heavy coil of rope securely to a tree and then Mr. Hughes mounted his big bay horse and placed the heavy coil onto his shoulder. He walked his horse to the waters edge and then urged him into the muddy looking foam. Mr. H was playing out the rope little by little as he went across and as he got to the first bridge pier we could see him making a loop in the rope. He tossed the loop over the pier and continued into the river. We watched as the horse seemed to lose it’s footing and then started to swim. IOnce they reached the middle of the river the current grabbed the trailing rope and almost managed to unseat the man. The drag pulled the horse under once and there was a faint gasp of indrawn breath from someone in the back of the group. Suddenly a young man was riding his horse into the river, urging it to swim once it hit the deeper part. Another man followed and then the two were there, grabbing hold of the rope at different spots, holding it the best they could while Mr. Hughes struggled to get the coil of rope around the far pier before they all gave their horses their heads and headed for the edge of the river, the end of the rope held securely around a saddle horn.


We all breathed a sigh of relief once they were safely across and then watched as they pulled and tugged to get the end of the wet rope tied to a sturdy tree on the bank. When Mr. Hughes made his way back across the river, testing the rope as he went, he was playing out another, smaller, rope that had been tied to the saddle of the last man who had gone to help. It too was tied off to a tree across from us. The bigger rope wouldn’t hold a wagon from going down stream, it wasn’t meant to. It was only meant to offer a safety line to anyone going into the river and it might afford a few extra minutes for help to get to those in need. The smaller rope was for pulling the raft.


Once Mr. H was back the first wagon was started across. I was just grateful it wasn’t mine. We knew it had been well caulked before we left home and we’d reinforced that early this morning even though it meant moving almost everything in the wagon. Unlike the pass, this time we’d be riding across with the wagon and I sure hoped we’d done a good job. I felt some moments of anxiety though when Dh closed the bottom part of the double back door behind us and started to caulk it shut. What I had regarded as a necessary luxury for Mom and I to get in and out of the wagon had become a definite liability crossing the river.


Mom and I watched from the front seat of the wagon for a while. The wagons were all double-teamed and every available draft animal was put into play along with some of the riding horses. The more strength pulling, the better we’d be. The first wagon didn’t float right away but the water rose higher on the sides then we’d expected. It was almost half way across when it gave us a scare as it first tipped and then righted itself. It was almost against the rope by the time it hit the other shore though and the bank there was almost too steep for the oxen to get the wagon out of the water. We watched as they slipped in the mud, pulling more and more of the bank with them as they tried again and again to mount the edge until finally the two men on the other shore rode into the water to tie ropes on either side of the wagon and then back onto the bank where the horses added their strength to pull the wagon to safety.


Mr. Hughes started the second wagon further up river and though it too drifted downriver it went across without a problem, landing where the bank was shallow enough to go up easily. Again and again a wagon was started and made it to the other side safely. When about half the wagons were across Mr. Hughes had the raft pulled into the water, tied in the front with the smaller rope from across the river, and in back by another tied to the horses much like the cable had been in the pass. I didn’t see what happened after that because our wagon had been moved and Mom and I had to be content with each other’s company until it was our turn but we could hear sheep bleating and the squealing of pigs.


DH finally came to take the reins of our horses. He had to crawl up on the wheel and into the front through the window but I was relieved that I didn’t have to handle the team. Our wagon went across but not without water seeping under the door and onto the floor and I was glad that we’d bothered to set anything not waterproof up high and to move the food and other perishables to the other wagons. Even the puppies were on the bed in their cage with Sasha lying beside them. I think Mom and I were both frightened but all I could do was laugh as Mom, with a decided twinkle in her eye, said she hoped the water wouldn’t get past her belly button as she couldn’t breath if it did. Then as the water raised a bit higher she jokingly yelled…”where’s the tin can so I can start bailing.” I’m sure everyone thought we must be crazy to be laughing as the wagons pulled up onto the shore but I really believe Mom enjoyed that little venture. She has been such a comfort and a joy on this trip. I doubt I would have done as well without her.


The crossing was not without mishaps. I’m not sure what all happened but I know some, us included, lost items off the outside of the wagons and it was hoped that they would be found further down along the river or at the lake’s edge. One of the young men drivers was thrown over board and ended up against the rope but someone on a horse was there in record time to protect him from the strong current and help as he pull himself along it to get to the bank. Someone in the back of that wagon was screaming but the team just kept going across, obviously because they had had weeks of following after a wagon and conditioned to do so even without a driver.


By early evening the wagons were headed for the lodge, still dripping water as they went. We were all damp or downright soaked and looking forward to dry clothes and a warm fire and solid ground under our feet but once again we’d persisted and we’d won. We all felt like nothing could stop us now. We were HOME!

Edited by Mother
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We had only traveled a few minutes when the Lodge came into sight through the trees and only a few minutes more before we were pulling up in front of it. It was wonderful and unremarkable all at the same time. Much bigger than I had expected, almost like a small inn. It is built almost entirely of logs but someone has taken the time and care to bring in windows give it the look of a home.


(This next is taken directly from Mt_Riders initial description [with a bit of sprucing up on my part] and I believe it works well)




Initially the Lodge will be the central meeting place for whatever. It has a library room so we can get our precious books into shelter immediately. [did anyone bring battery operated smoke detectors? ] I has a huge communal kitchen both indoor and an outdoor one too. Eating/meeting area.

There is already a small medical clinic cabin separate from the Lodge. Just two exam areas, office and two rooms with two beds each. There is a sleeping alcove up in the loft for any medical person who ends up being there overnight with a patient.


We take a few minutes to discuss how we will arrange wagons and then finally decide on a half circle near the kitchen area of the lodge to take advantage of only one or two cooking fires depending on how the kitchen is set up. We can already smell cooking odors coming from the area and I realized that Chef must have come directly to the lodge after crossing the river to start a meal.


Once we get the wagons set and the teams unhitched we are able to turn them lose in a corral near what looks like several outhouses. The livestock has been herded into a small fenced pasture just to the side of that and we are told that the stack of slough grass hay standing in front of the pasture can be used for whatever we need to feed. It looks like a huge stack but I know by now how much those animals can eat and that pasture won't last long without that hay or grazing the animals daily outside the fenced area. I didn't think we'd be there long though as we are all anxious to look over the land.


We all had a chance to get cleaned up and our clothes changed in a large utility room at the lodge. We didn't bother heating it but carried water from an outside pump and made do with a quick wash. It was such fun to be invited into the Great Room of the Lodge to eat our supper. Long tables had been set up and the fireplace was lit to dispel the cool night air. With lanterns lit here and there it was almost like a scene from the past. All we were missing was our prairie dress and our loved ones that had gone south. We didn't inspect the rest of the lodge though some of the B's people were going to be sleeping there. Tomorrow would be soon enough. The meal was a simple stew but the biscuits were hot and slathered with jelly and we had plenty of the nourishing food.


We didn't stay long to enjoy the atmosphere though. We were tired and there were still chores to be done before we retired for the night. Some of us stayed to help Chef with the clean up and with setting huge bowls of sponge for bread for tomorrow, while others went to tend animals and settle them in for the night. Then one by one we headed for our beds.



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Well we made better time then we first thought, Got to the dam before we knew it. It is still working to hold back the water. We were able to cross at one place where there was a washout of the South River so all we had to do was drive through the water that was only about 2 feet deep and about 20 feet wide. So we decided to take a break to eat and rest the animals and then move on north. We found an old trail that followed the Lake north. Must have been made by some animals going back and forth or maybe it was made by some trappers?

Lots of trees and hills on this side of the lake but we are making good time so we may just make it to our Homestead site before dark.


Coming down from one of the hills as we are getting close to the north ridge we see a few places where there are less trees and more clearings. But we head on as I think I want to be more north for our 'new' home. Lori is driving the buggy now and I have the wagon with our new team of draft horses, both bring along all we have to start our Homestead with. As Lori pulls up beside the wagon she asks "how much longer before we get 'home'?" Well Dear I am not sure but we will know it when we see it. As we are going along we find another trail so we are taking it to see where it leads? It turns from going north to going north-west which is good as we need to be more in that direction anyway. As we come to another hill and get to the top I stop the wagon. Lori gets morgon to pull the buggy around and asks "Now what?". I think you better get back in the wagon while I hitch morgan back up and put the cow behind the buggy. "Why" she says? Well I think we should be together as we drive onto our Homestead don't ya think! "Are we really here!" she squeals!. Well if all goes well when we get back to the Lodge - YES you are HOME!


We decided to park the wagon in a clearing and take the buggy for a short ride around the site to make sure it has all we will need to Homestead this site. After riding around we come back to the wagon so we can set things up for the night and eat supper. It has been a very long day and we are both tired and at the same time a bit restless but glad about finding this site. So for the first time we are sleeping on 'our land' (we hope?) -Good night.


Edited by Amishway Homesteaders
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We followed the wagon train in to the lodge. The river had taken it's toll, seeping in from every direction. Water was even coming over the edges of the wagon, slopping across everything. We managed to keep the sleeping bags, tent and clothing dry, but everything else seemed soaked. We were tired and cold by the time we stopped.


Big D was given the luxury of riding the raft and was toasty warm as she laughed at us for being soaked. They had taken the precaution of sealing everything and their wagon had floated like a boat. As they headed into the Lodge, we tended our animals, and tried to dry things out. I replaced Frank's bedding then sat cuddling him for quite some time to get him to quit shivering, before GS came and told me dinner was provided for us.


After dinner, we set up the tent next to our wagon, laid out our sleeping bags and passed out. Tomorrow is another day, I was thanking God we made it through today.

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Well we were up early and it was decided that we would start out and head south. As we saddled up we were greeted with clear blue skies. Most of the water had seeped into the ground over night but there were still puddles here and there. I couldn’t help but wonder how things were at the river if it was still out of banks or if it had gone down any. Had those that stayed behind got to go on to the lodge, did they find another way across? We will find out tonight. As we got closer to the little creek that ran though the land we saw signs of wagon a passing through…fresh signs of a wagon passing through. Now who is here? As we topped a little knoll we hear hooping and hollering and someone was calling us.


As we got closer we saw Mr. & Mrs. Q. They were so excited they had found their new homestead and were headed back to the group to get it deeded. We were so excited for them. Mr. Q told us we were actually standing in his turnip patch. We all laughed and said we would do I best not to trample them. SF told them we were headed across the stream to check out a place we saw from the trapper’s cabin. Mr. Q told us we didn’t have to go all the way around the lake that the stream was shallow and clear that we should be able to cross with no problem which we were thankful.


SF asked Mr. Q what he thought his property lines would be since this was the area that we liked also. Mr. Q and SF and the boys walked off checking out the land. Mrs. Q and I chatted I could tell she was so excited about her new home. It seems there is another small cabin of shorts just through the patch of woods. They are going to use that for now until they can get a barn up and the garden in. She was thrilled to learn that we may be neighbors. Like me she was wondering what was going on up river. I told her about the old homestead and how I thought it would be perfect for W&A.


The men folk came back and we all said our good-byes. Mrs. Q and I hugged goodbye with the promise of seeing each other at the Lodge later today or tomorrow. I asked her to please let W & A know we were ok and that we should be back by night fall. As we mounted up to ride off to check out the area we saw SF told me that we would not be encroaching in the Q’s if we set up our homestead the other side of the stream that the Q’s were taking the land around the lake. I felt better knowing that we would have close neighbors.


As we crossed the stream and turned southeast it was like a valley unto its own. There were many different kinds of trees from pines to oaks. I noticed wild flowers were starting to bloom. We got to the knoll we saw from the trapper’s cabin and decided that we really didn’t like it so we road back towards the stream. We were surprised to find fish in the stream. P & N said they didn’t think that this was the same stream. So we followed it on and discovered that it actually ran into the river. This stream actually comes down out of the mountains and it is crystal clear. It reminds me of the bubbling brook that we stopped at back up in the mountains. We pull out the camera and start taking pictures. As we ride into the standing trees we discover another cabin but this one has what looks like a smoke house with it. It is a one room cabin with a fire place. It is a little larger than the trapper’s cabin it does not have a loft. There is a small lean-to that looks like it was used as a stable for a horse. We would definitely need a bigger barn. This cabin would work but I would want to add to it. I looked around and realized that everyone has left me. I walk out of the back of the lean-to thinking SF had gone to the back to check things out but he is not there. So I head back to the front. I see P & N headed back down towards the stream. SF is sitting on the steps with his pipe and tears streaming down his face, he looks at me and smiles and says welcome home Momma welcome home. I smile and join him on the steps. We are at the farthest south end valley. I didn’t realize just how far up the face of the mountain we had ridden.


As we as we sat there looking out over what would be our new home P & N rode back up. It seems they have found a hot spring about 250 yards west / northwest of us. P said it felt wonderful. I asked if he got in it he said no he just stuck he arm in it. SF said we needed to be heading back. I told him I would like to stop by the homestead one last time before going back to camp that I wanted to get pictures for W&A.


Since the ground was drier and it wasn’t raining we rode a harder getting back to the homestead. It wasn’t as far as I thought it was. My heart sank as we rode up into the yard, someone was there. Maybe ever who it is won’t like it. We were quite taken back when W stepped out on the porch. We were all taking at the same time and really didn’t hear each other. SF whistled to get us to all settle down. W told us that they headed out to find us because we were out of radio range and that the others had crossed the river yesterday. Mr. H and some of the men had stayed back for a couple of days to make sure everyone was directed to the Lodge. Mr. H was kind enough to watch the other two wagons and our animals until we got back. Yes they had passed Mr. & Mrs. Q and knew we were across the stream but they had wanted to see the homestead. A was thrilled with it. She said even with the damaged barn they loved it. W said it would work perfect for what he had planned.


The water had receded and we noticed that the homestead was built right on the river’s edge and the porch was actually a pier. The pier was gone but the pylons were still there. W said it would not take much to replace the pier. By what we could figure this was once a loading dock for barges taking supplies going up and down the river. The barn was large and looked like it was actually a livery stable. There were multiply stalls and a large storage area for hay.


P told them about the hot spring he found that he was going to ask for his 40 acres around the spring. N was kind of down in the mouth so to speak. He wasn’t sure where he wanted his acreage. He thought he would just stay and help us then head up to the Lodge and see about getting land near town. He said it is not like all the good places will be gone once everyone is settled. So for now he will play it by ear and be a hired hand. He said there were enough people that would need a strong back and he could hire out to help build and plow. Since he is single he would not have to provide for a family. P agreed and said he would probably do the same thing this summer and just wait until fall after the harvest to start work on his place maybe even next spring after the plowing was done. Until then they decided that if they needed a place they could always stay at the Lodge or crash in W& A barn or our barn.


As we stood there I could not have more proud of my boys. I wasn’t too sure about how they would handle the trip but they have been real troopers. And now the two single guys to put their lives on hold and pitch in and work for those that don’t have family to help or need an extra set of hands and a strong back. They have had their share of problems and yes we have a black sheep among us but (even in RL) they have turned out to be fine young men.


As we loaded up N said he would head back to stay with Mr. H and our other two wagons and animals and the rest of us could head on to the lodge. We were set food wise since W& A brought our wagon which is the one I had been using to cook from. We loaded N down with cold biscuits, jerky, and some canned goods. It would be enough to tie him over until we get back.


Hopefully it will not take long to get our land deeded and head back across. I can’t wait to get started on the garden and SF is already designing the barn. W& A are talking about where to put their garden in and what changes they would like to make to the house and barn.


P even said that he would plow his fields for hay and food for him. Then N got the bright idea that he would go ahead and get land south of the river and plant it all in hay and wheat. He said he was sure that someone would be willing to trade for hay and wheat. He may even plant corn. He said he could do a lot on 40 acres. P & N rode ahead of us discussing how they would use their land to plant stuff that could be used to trade. P is getting his 40 acres from the hot spring back down in the valley so he would have a lot of level ground for farming. There is only a small grove of trees on his property and N decided to take 40 acres on the west side him.


W talked A into riding the horse. Told her she was going to have to get use to riding that she would not always be able to take the wagon when she wanted to go somewhere. So SF and I switched and gave them our horses and took the wagon. I happen to glance over my shoulder and see “stuff”…hey W where did all of this stuff come from. He told me that it was floating in the river. Some of the Wagoneers had lost it yesterday when they crossed and he and A saw it this morning on their way down so they stopped and picked it up. Ok so I guess we take it to the Lodge and start a lost and found.


AS we road along I couldn’t help but smile at how animated the 4 of them were. SF laughed and said if you had asked him a year ago did he think we would ever be where we are right now he would have laughed and said NOPE NO WAY AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN! He said we had come a long way haven’t we baby. I laid my head on his shoulder and with a content smug smile said we sure have.


SF woke me as we got near the river. Mr. H was there and going to help us cross. He said the river was no where near as rough as it was yesterday when everyone crossed; one of the other men suggested going up the river a little further and crossing. It seemed to a little swallower there. So SF and Mr. H rode up stream and found where he was talking about. I went to check on the animals and gather eggs. Babydoll is getting so big, she must be carrying twins. I must remember to get with that benefactor family that wanted to trade a couple of their sheep for a couple of pigs. I will look for them when we get to the lodge. I also need to check with Mother about using her buck to breed my other female. If she agrees I will leave her behind because she is about to come into season again in a couple of days.


As I got back to the river SF and Mr. H were back and it was decided that we would cross the river upstream. I wasn’t too sure about this so Mr. H had P lead his horse across and he got in the wagon to take me and A across. She refused to ride the horse across. So she and I crawled in the back just in case and Mr. H took the reigns. We made it across with no problem. Where we went across the water barely touched the bottom of the wagon. It helped also that W& A had emptied the wagon for the most part so it was really light.


Mr. H assured us he would watch our animals until we returned. He said we were not the only ones that had left our animals behind because they didn’t want to take the chance with the rough waters and loosing their animals.


From what I could see in the waning light this side of the river was just as beautiful but it just does not compare to what we found south of here. As we rode in to the yard late in the evening we saw Mr. & Mrs. Q and Mother. Mother had me wrapped in an embrace before my feet barely hit the ground. She was so excited that we had found a place and not only that but that us and the Q’s were going to be neighbors.


As we went into the lodge I remembered the stuff from the river and asked the boys to bring it in. Mother was thrilled that some of the stuff that was lost had been found and said that it could be set on the front porch since it was wet and everyone could come claim their stuff.


AS we walked into the lodge it was beautiful and rustic. Just like I wanted my house (I just don’t want it this big) Chef was there and looked to be in heaven. He had an actual stove to cook on now. He waved us over and told us to fix us a plate. Mother assured us that they could find room for us tonight. Two of the guys were headed to barn to sleep in the hay loaf and W& A said they would take the wagon so that just left me and SF needing a place to unroll our sleeping bags. Hopefully there would not be many more nights before I was back in my bed.


Dinner was over and Mother was directing me to a room where SF and I could sleep tonight. She said that there was no bedding there but at least we would have a place to lay our heads. I assured her was fine at this point I was past exhausted and really didn't care as long as it was dry. As SF and I headed to our room for the night he told me that there shouldn't be a problem with us getting our deeds tomorrow. I think if I had not been so tired my mind would have gone into over drive thinking about what all needed to be done before we headed south again. Tomorrow is another day....

Edited by mommato3boys
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Day 1

Lori wakes to the sound of someone chopping wood and thinks that some of the men must be up early getting fire wood? But then she remembers that we are not with the wagon train any more but out here in the middle of nowhere. So after getting up and out of the wagon Lori goes and looks for Me and calls out my name. I think something is wrong so I hurry back to see what is up ? I am met with "and just WHAT are you doing so early in the morning?" SO I explain how I couldn't sleep so I got up and was just chopping down a few trees so I could make a small correl so the animals would be OK when we went back to the Lodge for the day. After a good breakfest we both headed over to where I was working and got enough trees down and trimed and after digging a few holes for fence posts we have what is the first thing done on our Homestead. We have to move some of the heavier things out of the buggy and so for now put them in or under the wagon. Man it is so quite this morning -already missing the sounds of all the wagoneers as we would be getting everything hitched up or gathered for the ride today. But here we are with only one cow to milk and two goats. The horses are loving being able to just roam around a bit but we will have to unrope them and put into the correl before we leave to go away for the day. Todays plan is to be gone for the day but get back before darkness get here.

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We headed east for a while and then started going South-East so we could find the river we had to cross to get back to the Lodge. After a beautiful ride in the buggy we found a place where we could cross safely and were able to make good time. As we came over a small hill there within a mile of us was the Lodge. It looks like something on a toy train layout with the Hills, Lake,buildings and lots of little wagons here and there. Only here the people are moving and it is a different kind of train. LOL. As we pull up in front of the Lodge a few people greet us asking all kinds of questions about what we found as we went around the lake and did we find a place to live. We also had questions for them about the river crossing and how everyone was doing. But first we wanted to find Mr.H and see if he was taking any paperwork yet? Well we found out he was busy getting things settled but Mr.S was in the Lodge and said we could give anything we had to him and he would mark us off. So I told him that while we were spending the night on our future homestead I had made a rough draft of what we planned to do on the homestead. He took it........... opened it...........and found this




He asked if I planned to get this all done by the weekend and I just laughed and said , No that's just what we hope to have done within a year. For now we plan to put up a lean-to for the animals and get most of the cabin done. We will be going back tonight if the land is ours and then tomorrow stake out the property lines ,with red flannel flags, and come back to the Lodge and put in a formal claim on the land. Its YOURS, he said, but stay for Supper and then you can stay here for the night. But we told him that we had left everything, including the animals, back at the site so we had to go back tonight. We finally found Mother and after a few hugs told her what we had planned and said we would be back in a day or two with more paperwork. We were a bit sad to leave everyone again but knew that we had to get back to feed and milk before dark. So with lots of waving and 'see ya real soons' we headed back to the site.- Our Homestead -Our HOME!

Edited by Amishway Homesteaders
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It has been a very full day today. And right now I am so tired that I hope the hubby doesn't find me face down in the journal in the morning lol! Where to start?? How about sun up at our new homestead! We woke to the sound of the bubbling stream as it ran down the small waterfall beside us. I could hear the birds just chirping away overhead. I peaked out of my sleeping bag to the most beautiful sunrise I had seen in years. The sky was hues of purple, pink, and blue as the sun started to rise over the mountains, shining on the clouds that were left over from yesterdays rain. You could see the clouds heading out of the valley and going to the south of us. Looking up to the north of us there was nothing but clear skies and trees that were doing their level best to burst out new buds. Birds of all kinds were flitting about diving after each other and having a grand time it seemed. I turned on my side to watch the water flow down the big flat rocks, making a small waterfall at the end of each one. It looked like four large slabs of rock making a giant sized set of stairs. The water was as clear as clear can be. And there were fish! Small ones that I could see, but where there are small fish there has to be bigger ones making the small ones lol. I couldn't wait to drop a line in the pool to see what we had in there.


Hubby started stirring beside me. I poked him in the sleeping bag and told him "Good morning honey! It's time to rise and shine and start our first day at our new home!" He just looked over at me grinning like the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland. I knew that twinkle in his eyes lol and I had a good idea that coffee was going to be late this morning. :wub: After initiating our new home <ahem> I got up and slipped on my robe, wandered over to the Coleman stove and lit it for coffee. I took the old grounds out that we had already used three times and started a compost pile over by where we were going to put the garden. Hey, it's a start! With coffee brewing we got dressed and ready for the day. Each of us got a cuppa and went to sit over by the waterfall to figure out what the day would hold for us. We knew that we were expected back at the camp by the river by nightfall. We wondered if they had to move back or if they went ahead and crossed the river and was everyone okay? I got a little twinge of something talking about the rest of the group...not really loneliness, but I was missing them this morning. We had all been together so long and here we were all alone without everyone now. It was a big change in routine. Yeah, routine. That was another thing we were going to have to figure out all over again.


So we talked and decided to look around here a little bit in the good light of day minus clouds and rain lol and see what else we could find, if anything. We were planning on leaving the little wood stove in the cabin and some of our other things too just to lighten the load on the oxen. Hey, they had worked hard too getting us here and since we were planning on coming right back the next day or so, hubby didn't see any need for us to tote all of our stuff all over the valley again. So that is where we started, unloading the wagon. And wouldn't ya' know it just about the time we had gotten what we wanted into the cabin...we got our first visitors!!! Thank you Lord! It was mt3b's and her family. Seems we were going to be neighbors!! I was just so thrilled when I first saw them coming through the trees that I let out a little war hoop! LOL I just couldn't help it, our first visitors! That thought in itself made me start welling up to cry. I just hope mt3b's doesn't think I am nuts or something lol.


Well she and I got to talking and visiting just like we were long lost sisters or something. I think we could have talked the day away too. The guys had wandered off down by the stream. What is it with men and water? :rolleyes::D We got a message to give to her family up at the lodge too and we will deliver it later today when we get there. I was just so tickled to find out they will be our neighbors and they will be close enough to lend a hand if needed. And of course, we offered the same to them. So far, this was turning out to be hard work but very rewarding and satisfying. And now with the promise of good people for neighbors, well I just wanted to thank God for it all and shed a few tears too, of course.


Mt3b's and her family took off to look over their own place and the trappers cabin. They had a full day planned for themselves also, just like we did. It got pretty quiet again after they left. Hubby was out back looking over the spot we wanted to put a garden in at and I walked out to join him. We stood there, hand in hand, not saying a word. Just looking at the garden spot with the mountains to the south in the background. This surely was a beautiful placed, one blessed by God's own hand. Nothing of this magnitude could have just "happened". I felt the need to say a prayer of thanks and did so. Hubby turned to me and asked if I was ready to head on into town now and that we could do our talking while we rode along. I told him I sure was and that it would be nice to head on in and make sure all of them were safe and dry. I hoped they had gotten to the lodge by now and that the river would be safe to cross somewhere along the way. Hubby got the oxen hitched back up from grazing over by the stream and we got in and headed out. You could tell the difference in the wagon by the way it was riding. It handled a bit better too with all that heavy stuff out of the back and the middle of the wagon. I knew it would all be safe at our cabin while we were gone.


We headed west to the river by the old homestead and planned on following the river all the way up to the lodge. Since we were lighter and the oxen well refreshed, we made good time getting there too. Along the way we saw lots of small game like rabbits and squirrels. We saw a few doe still out grazing near the tree lines too. It was kind of late in the day for them but with all the rain that fell they may have been a little behind on eating lol. Hubby thought it looked like the river had gone down some from yesterday. I didn't see that, but it did look less "angry" at us and not flowing as fast nor as rough as it was yesterday. That made me feel a LOT better about maybe having to go across it later today.


As we rode, we got to talking about our place. First thing was going to have to be the garden. I had already gotten all the paper pots made for the peppers, tomatoes, etc... and planned on digging up some soil from our place to put in them and get those started as soon as we got back from this little trip up the valley. Hubby and I figured we could get it all turned okay by shovel and such that we had brought with us. I guess the wagon was going to be our tool shed until we could build the barn. Getting fire wood cut and stacked was going to be another chore that needed done quickly also. I was going to need it in the wood stove for canning season. Hopefully we could find some dead fall not too far away and tote it back with the wagon. We had a chain saw and a little gas that we had brought with us, but not much and I think he was planning on using that to fell logs for the barn, not just for plain ole firewood. That was going to be the axe and the maul and such. Hard work for two handicapped people, let me tell ya'! Right about then, I saw something shining in the sun on the river bank. I had hubby stop the wagon and I got down and being the brave soul that I am, went close up to the river to see what is was. Hum, a wash tub? I wonder how this got here? It looks almost new too and it was a #10, so I grabbed it up and was going to take it back to the wagon. I saw some clothes along the river bank a little farther up so I hollered at hubby just to ride along with me as I walked the river bank gathering stuff up in the tub lol. I found about half a tub of clothes that way and didn't see anything else on up ahead, so I had hubby stop the wagon and I put the tub in the back end and jumped on in myself, walking up to the front seat through the wagon bed.


We started back on talking where we left off on what needed done besides the garden and fire wood. Then there was getting the cabin livable, re-chinking the logs, etc...then we needed a barn before winter. I looked at the hubby and asked him what he thought the chances of for us to get all this done before winter set in. He said pretty slim, but we could do it. I asked him if he had given any thought to maybe seeing if we could find someone wanting to hire out to help us? Nope, he hadn't. He just figured everyone would be too busy building their own places to do anything like that. I told him that I would write up an "ad" and see if maybe they didn't have a bulletin board up to the lodge to put things like that on yet? Hey, it was worth a try. Anything to help him not have to do so much heavy lifting and that all by himself would make me happy. I didn't want him pushing too hard and then getting hurt or laid up for a few days. But we would see how things went first with just the two of us he said. So I didn't write up the note after all. I did keep it in the back of my mind however...


We got to the lake and kept going until we met up to the next river and started up that one. I didn't see a soul in sight! This was where they should have been, but no one was around! I guess they went across after all? I didn't see any notes hanging off of any trees lol, so I figured they went on across to the lodge. That must be where the tub had came from and the clothes. Hubby spotted a good place to cross the river on up past the lodge a little bit. It must have only been 10-15 feet across, so away we went. I don't think it ever got up to the bottom of the wagon. One of the oxen slipped once, but quickly regained his footing and we were off again. Having gotten over to the other side, we headed back down toward the lodge. I could see it and saw some people outside moving around. As we got closer I gave a shout out and jumped out of the wagon. Hubby went ahead and took it around back and unhitched the oxen putting them in the corral for the time being. Now there was another thing we're going to need, a corral or some such for our animals!


I was watching hubby put the animals up when Mother came up behind me shouting "Q!! You all made it here! We missed you!" and gave me a hug big enough to squeeze the breathe out of all outdoors! We got to chatting about what happened, what we had seen and hubby saw W&A and gave them their message. About that time here came mt3b's bunch! Mother grabbed her and squeezed the stuffings out of her too, just laughing and having a large time. We told her that we were going to be neighbors too and that just tickled Mother to no end. I think it kind of relieved her too that we would both have someone close by just in case it was needed. Hubby ran back out to the wagon and grabbed the tub with the clothes in it and brought it up to Mother asking her what he should do with it? She just laughed and said that it was hers and they lost it going across the river. She told him to leave the clothes in it and she would wash them up and put those in the lost and found they were starting at the lodge. We all got to go in the lodge finally! I was awestruck at the beauty of it on the inside. Just wow! And you could see Chef back in the kitchen just happy as could be to have a non-rolling stove lol. He was whistling and cooking up a storm.


Well we all got a fine dinner later, one that meant a lot to us. Here we had come, after months on the trail to what was a symbol to us of freedom. We were finally here and that was the biggest hurdle to jump, next would be setting up our home. But for now, we enjoyed a good night of food and fellowship, swapped stories about what we saw to the south, what our place looked like and we found out how to file our claim or deed while we were there.


After all that and with the long day we had had, we begged off any further activities and asked for a bed for the night. Mother was kind enough to have one of Mr. H's people show us to a room upstairs. And here I am about to fall asleep in that same room, sitting at a desk writing this wonderful entry into my journal. So I am off to say my evening prayers now before hitting the hay. I pray for you dear reader of this journal, many blessings and much safety. Tomorrow we file our claim and see if our packages have arrived yet....



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It's nice, just setting here in the great room at the lodge, soaking up the heat from the big fireplace. It has been an emotion filled day. First was part of my family leaving on horseback early this morning to explore the area we hope to have our homestead. DD, DSIL, and her daughter and SIL packed enough food for several days, tents and sleeping bags just in case. Her oldest and his SO and little brother stayed behind with DH, Mom, and I to tend the livestock and try to make some order out of our wagons. We are also repacking the Camper wagon as that is what we will take when the rest of us go to look at places they have found. They were only going to be five to seven miles away at any given time but it still was hard to see them ride out.


One of the reasons it was so hard was because I desperately wanted to go too. It wasn't practical of course. I knew I could not ride a horse and we aren't sure just what the trail conditions are in that area. As it's hillier it's possible that we won't be able to get the wagon into some of the areas. We might have to clear trails first. Besides that, I wanted to take a day or so to do laundry and clean the wagons well. Once we get to our homestead we may not have the access to water we don't have to carry from a stream or river and the means to heat it easily as we do here with the big wood stove in the kitchen.


Then of course there were the returning members Quilty's and Mr. Q, Mt3B and SF and family, and Michael and Lori. It was wonderful to hear that they had found their land and I enjoyed hearing all about them. I only hope our own search goes as easily.


I've told MT3B that I would be glad to have her use our buck for her doe and we've arranged to leave them together in a small temporary pen here at the lodge along with one of ours that will be in soon too. That way we won't have to move them before they are ready. Her and I talked about the puppies and how they will be old enough in a couple of weeks to wean. She said she'd work on SF in the mean time and we chuckled. He had already been over to see them a couple of times today. They should be able to pick up both doe and puppy at the same time. I just hope that we can find homes for at least a couple more of the puppies. Sasha has proved herself an excellent hunter for a Saint but it's going to take a fairly large amount of feed to keep all of them fed.


Then tonight was really heartwarming to have so many of us setting around visiting and having a good time but it was also bittersweet because we knew that many would be leaving again in the morning and it might be a couple of weeks before we see each other again.


One of the things we talked about was our supplies. Because we didn't get what we'd all ordered before we left the ranch some were getting low on the things we couldn't furnish for ourselves. No one knows when or if that mule train will get here. Mr. S said we shouldn't look for it anytime soon though. It looks like we're going to have to find substitutes for what we are low on for a while. It was suggested that we all make a list of the things we are really low on and will miss and maybe we can work together to find an alternative. Coffee was mentioned first thing. We can substitute a roasted grain product for that easy enough but it doesn't contain the caffeine and it isn't a perfect taste substitute. It's more like a Postum taste. It's the substitute the pioneers used though so we probably can as well.


Well, I guess I better get myself out of this wonderful cushioned bent willow rocker and go out to check on young DGS. He's used to being with his brother but he wasn't too happy about his Mom and Dad leaving without him, especially after all he's been through the last couple of months and in a strange place. I think Grandma and Grandpa might challenge the younger 'kids' to a board game or two. I bet they beat us... :D



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Yesterday morning started abruptly for me when I woke realizing the sun was already up in the sky. I had slept in and needed to take care of things. Even though I had fallen asleep concerned for our things, it had been a restful night, now that we had finally arrived in our valley of safe haven. I could hear the clunk of buckets and grunts of the animals. Quietly I slipped out of the sleeping bag and unzipped the door enough to slide out, trying not to disturb DH or Frank. Their snoring remained consistent as I zipped the tent door back up.


Big D was walking over and we went back to her buggy. She wanted to talk about where we were going to settle. She made me laugh when she stated she wanted the Lodge. I told her we had hoped to check the northern area later in the day. “Take James with you.” She replied.


My first priority of the morning was to check the wagon and take care of the animals. The oxen and the Little Lady were in the pasture grazing contently and the birds were quiet.


The wagon looked like it had dried out quite a bit during the night and my hopes soared. I climbed up the front and began checking the tins. One small tin of pinto beans and a small container of seeds had gotten wet, but the plastic liners and bags had protected everything else. I wondered if we would be able to get the seeds planted by the time the moisture they received caused them to begin to sprout.


As I stepped off the wagon, there was Big D again. “Come on, get yourself some breakfast. Chef’s got some scrambled eggs and biscuits.” She insisted.


The Lodge seemed so peaceful. People were milling around and others were engrossed in conversations when I made my way to the kitchen and got me a plate, a cup of coffee and a promise of more if I wanted. Big D had a place by the fireplace saved for me and we chatted as the fire warmed us.



Revived and relieved, I made a cup of coffee for my dearest and went to see if he was up yet, leaving her in the Lodge. He was up and eagerly accepted the cup. We discussed heading out later and checking the northern area, but we wanted to make sure that area had not already been spoken for, as I rolled up the sleeping bags and disassembled the tent, then headed back to the Lodge.

Edited by Annarchy
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I slept like a log last night. It was wonderful. SF was already up and gone when I woke. As I got dressed and headed down stairs I smell food. But it really turned my stomach. I think all of this rain and cool weather had finally gotten to me (IRL the freezing weather has kicked my butt fighting of a cold) I grab a cup of hot chocolate and told Chef I would be back for food as soon as I found my family.


As stepped out side I noticed P W & N were saddled up and headed out to get the rest of the animals. SF and the guys decided that we would stay here for the weekend and take care of the paper work. SF said he would feel better if there were some nurses close since it seemed I was coming down with the flu. He got no argument from me. P W & N blew me kisses said they didn't want to get close. I stuck my tongue out at them, they laughed as they headed towards the river.


We will be leaving our female goats here with Mother's buck and come back in a couple of weeks to get them. I noticed that Sf had been playing with Sasha and her puppies. There is one that is following him around, me thinks we have a new member of the family especially since SF is calling the puppy Buster..."all right Buster if you don't move I am going to step on you; Busterboy you had better get back over here with your mother or you are going to get run over" LOL. W&A have talked to mother and they are taking one of the puppies also.


SF worked out a deal with one of the benefactor families and we are trading 3 of the little pigs for a male and 2 female sheep. We have also had an offer for two of our oxen. One of the other families only brought horses and they feel that oxen would do better plowing. SF said since we have 8 oxen and that since we were doing community gardening with the boys for a few years then 4 oxen would be more than enough. Especially since we have the draft horses. So SF is working out trading 4 of the oxen for a starter herd of beef.


I told him he could not get rid of the horses and we must keep enough animals to be able to produce meet and eggs for us. And when he traded try to get cattle that were not related. I wanted strong blood lines out here he agreed. SF sent A to find Mother to get me some herbal tea and pointed me towards the lodge and the bed again with the promise to wake me when it was time to sign the paper work. I asked him when the wagons arrived to please send proper bedding up stairs that I really didn't not like the sleeping bag. Not only that but I wanted my pillow.


With that I headed to bed. I have got to kick this cold or I will be of no use come next week when we break ground for the garden.



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We woke to the sounds of people milling about down stairs at breakfast. Hubby and I awoke about the same time. We got up to get dressed and go see about filling our claim to the land we had already claimed in our hearts as our own. Now, if no one had already gotten it before we did, then it would be ours. Having improvements made on it and some kind of business there would not be a problem. I was going to be working out of the house as a nurse for hire sort of deal, so that covered the business. Next would be the garden, upgrading the cabin, building a barn for the animals and getting running water inside, etc.. would be our improvements to the land. We also wanted a few acres for grazing and planting corn on for feed and "other" uses lol. Since hubby had brought the still, we would be needing a lot of corn. But that alcohol would be put to good use for medical tinctures and maybe even to power a tractor or some such mechanical thing. It wasn't just meant for drinking, that much was for sure and certain.


We wandered down stairs after dressing, seeing people eating breakfast, we checked out the kitchen to find Chef hard at it again. We thanked him for all of the fine food he had fixed for us since the first day of the wagon train and up until this day. He blushed, the big old softy at heart and said a quiet thank you as I grabbed him up for a big hug. Hubby shook his hand and thanked him also. Chef promised that this wasn't the end of his cooking now that he had such a great big and well stocked kitchen to use. We promised him that we would be coming to the gatherings here at the Lodge and would look forward to more of his wonderful cooking. We each grabbed a plate of breakfast and a cuppa coffee and headed out to the main room of the Lodge to find a place to sit and eat.


We saw Annarchy sitting and talking, and Mother of course was there. We didn't want to bother anyone so we took a seat at one of the big long tables so we could discuss what needed done and soon. I looked around for Mt. R.'s but didn't see them anywhere. I sure hoped that they were getting their much needed rest now before traveling on to their place in the valley that they wanted to check out. I knew it had hot springs near it and was hoping that both of them would enjoy having that so near. They needed to be putting it to use quickly. I said a quick prayer for our breakfast, adding them in to it. Diving into another one of Chef's wonderful meals, we discussed getting our claim filed. Then we wondered if the supplies were in yet and decided we would go check with Mr. H. on that after breakfast. If those were in, or the packages we had ordered, we would pick those up, go file the claim with Mr. H and then say our good-byes to everyone and get back to our little homestead. That's if we had enough daylight left to get back there. Otherwise we would stay yet another night at the Lodge. Since the dogs and the chickens were out in the wagon yet, hubby ate and went out to check on them and get them fed and exercised while I cleaned up our mess from breakfast and went back to the room to tidy up a bit and pack us up just in case we had time to head back today.


Once hubby returned from outside, we went in search of Mr. H. I just kind of stayed in the background as the men hashed things out. Some of our packages had arrived and were in a storage room here at the Lodge waiting to be picked up. Mr. H. would show us where on the shelves in that room they were so we wouldn't have to play guess and search all morning lol. Hubby also asked him about having a bulletin board here to post "Want ads" and notes on. He said it was on the way to the office and would show it to us right after we grabbed our packages. He said he would wait while we ran those back to our room. We ran them back with arms loaded and got back to Mr. H. asap. He showed us the bulletin board, a large wall with a piece of cork covering it and push pins all over off to the side for use to stick the messages up on it with. Then I left Mr. H. and hubby to go off to the office and get the claim on our land filed while I put up the notes on the board. The first one was for a horse. I put the note up that said..."Needed: One good horse for riding circuit around the valley for medical check ups on others. Will trade for it or buy outright. See Mr.Q or Q for details."


The next one read this: "Needed, one or two goats, preferably milkers for milk and cheese and meat on down the road a bit. Will consider all offers. Trade, barter or outright buying. See Mr. Q or Q for details."


I had one other one I wanted to put up but figured I would wait a little bit on it first so not to make hubby upset. And I thought I would check with mt3b first and see if they had any of the boys that might want this one. It read: "Wanted, one good strong back to help on occasion around our place. Need help with heavy lifting and moving. Will trade, barter or pay $$ for the help. See Mr. Q for details." I held on to that one. Figured I would give it to the hubby after we talked to mt3b's first, then he could post it if they didn't have anyone who could lend us a hand now and again. I knew we wouldn't need someone all the time, it would just be a once in awhile thing. We surely couldn't afford someone all the time.


Mr. H. and the hubby came out of the office smiling and shaking hands as I was standing there reading the board. I broke into the testosterone party lol. I asked Mr. H. if he knew anything about people riding circuit in the valley for medical care or spiritual needs yet? Nothing he knew of yet. I told him that once we got our place going, probably not even this year but the next one, that I was considering doing just that in the valley as a nurse, doing wellness checks for blood pressure, childbirth and the likes. He seemed to really like that idea. I told him it was all dependent on us getting a horse somewhere first since I didn't think it was going to go real fast driving the wagon or trying to ride one of those beasts all over the valley LOL!! He told me that if I was going to be checking up on everyone that he would make a list of names, what was wrong or what they were needing medical wise, make sure that the clinic in town knew what I was doing out there and get me together with them on this adventure lol. He also said that if I was going to be checking on everyone, that he would gladly supply the horse! I asked him for how much and he clouded up real quick. "For nothing at all but a check up now and then!" he said to me rather loudly. Ops, I didn't mean to offend him and told him just that. He smiled at me and told me no offense was taken then. We shook on the deal and he told me to see one of the boys out at the corral before we left to go back to our homestead today or tomorrow. They would help us pick out a good rider and get us all set up with the needed tack too. I asked if that came with lessons since I had ridden many times, but never had to put on my own saddle! Surely, he said. Whew. With that problem out of the way, I swiped the notice off of the bulletin board and followed the men folk back downstairs.


So far, it has been a pretty good day! We have our claim filed now, picked up some of our packages, and got a horse! Now to go talk to a few of the folks here and we might even be able to get home today. Home. Our home. Finally ours. Wow, was I ever going to sleep good tonight!


Hubby asked Mr. H. before he took off to help some other folks just when he thought the other supplies might come in on that mule train his kids were going to have. He told us how bad things were getting out there in the world. He was very worried about his own kids and even Mr J, back at the Rockin' J ranch. Seems they had been having their share of trouble too with people trying to wrestle some cattle to feed themselves with. Problem was most would kill the cattle, cut out a little meat and leave most of it lay for the preditors. What a waste and one that couldn't go on obviously. They were worried about safety there also as the gangs became bigger and more bold about attacking places like the Rockin J. I asked Mr. H. if it was possible that they may need to move out of there and into the valley at some point? He told us that provisions for that possibility had been made a long time ago, that they would move here lock, stock, and barrel if things got to bad out in the real world. They wanted most of the grazing range in the center of the valley and with most of us going south or north so far, that didn't seem like it was ever going to be a problem. I was happier knowing that they might be moving in here at the valley, but that would also mean that we had one less contact with the outside world. Lets hope they could hold out for a good long time yet. But as for the mule train, he said that his sons were trying to gather the stuff asap. But there were so many shortages now that it didn't look like we would ever get all that we had ordered. But his boys would get what ever they could and get it to the valley asap.


I could tell by the look on Mr. H.'s face that he would be more than happy to have his sons here with him rather than out in the world at the Rocking J. Poor guy. I could sympathize with him having my own kids out there instead of here in the valley with us. Maybe at one point they could come. I doubted it though. They seemed to think they could all ride it out at our old place in TN. We had showed them our escape plan there over to LBL park and the cave we had found and stocked up there. It was only less than 10 minutes away from our house by car, shorter by the car/boat route. And they knew that if for some reason, the nukes started flying, that they all needed to beat feet and meet up at that cave. It would provide them all the protection and supplies they would need to ride that out. I knew they would be safe, but they were just too far away for my liking. Best not think about that now...we needed to get a move on and get ourselves settled in at our new place!


We got back to the room to check out what the packages were when a knock came at the door. It was SF coming to see if I would go check on mt3b. Seems she was coming down with something and he said she went back to their room mumbling something about wanting her pillow and that she didn't feel too good. He said she had a cup of tea that Mother had given her to drink. LOL, I told him that she would probably be asleep when we got there, but I could still check her over even so. Off we went to their room. He opened the door for me to go in, but stayed outside in the hall saying he didn't like medical stuff lol. Why is it that men are so chicken when it comes to all things medical? It's not that bad really! I peeked in on mt3b. She was sound asleep cradling her pillow. I didn't have the heart to wake her, but I had to touch her to check for fever. Her face was definitely flushed. I laid my hand gently on her forehead so as not to wake her. It was hot! I sent SF downstairs to ask Mother to get him a cup of willow bark tea and tell her that I needed it for mt3b for a fever. I knew Mother would know just how strong to make it then. She was resting well, breathing was even and easy. She did sound a little rattly though like she needed to cough something up. I started writing out on a piece of paper for SF just what he needed to do...


-Willow bark tea. One cup every 6 hours for fever.


-Keep the covers on her no matter how much she fights you about it! Uncovering someone with a fever could turn into pneumonia. So keep her covered well.


-Come get me if she gets worse. You know which room we are in. Will stay the week-end to watch her if it's needed.


-If she starts coughing...make sure she sits up and coughs it all the way up. If she can't, cup your hand and gently hit her on the back on both sides where the lungs are. About 20 times on each side will help. While you are doing that, make her lay across the bed with her head down and hanging over the edge. That helps the mucus come up and out of the lungs.


-Keep the room warm and no drafts on her.


-Get some food into her. The body needs the nutrients in the food to fight off the fever and help cure itself of what's wrong. She doesn't have to eat a big meal. Some soup, chicken is best, and crackers will do to start. Then move her up to scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.


-I will be back in the morning to check on her.


I handed the note to SF as he got her to drinking the willow bark tea. I smiled at him and told him not to worry, that it wasn't too bad and she would be okay. Let her stay in bed the week-end to get her strength back and that I will come back in the morning to check on her. He seemed okay with that and she just smiled at me while drinking the tea. I left them to it and went back to our room to let hubby know the change in plans. I told him that he might as well go on down to the corral, get the oxen fed and put up, take the dogs potty, feed the chicks, and then pick out a horse for us and learn how to saddle it up. I told him I would be staying here in the room while he was gone just in case I was needed so I could be found. I knew this was the start of it, that there would be more calls for help. I didn't want to tell him that. I knew this was going to put more work onto him to get things done around the homestead. Maybe I should put that note up on the board after all? I thought about it while sitting on the bed. It just felt so soft after sleeping in the wagon. I am sure it wouldn't hurt anything if I just laid down on it for a minute or two................








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We met AH on the way into the Lodge, excitedly he said they had found their spot, then he headed towards Mr. H.


Big D, Naomi & James were sitting near the fireplace taking when we came in. We joined them and began discussing what we need to do. Gunslinger went over to Mr. H to discuss our options and came back smiling. "Well, are you ready to head out?" he asked. "Mr. H said the area we were looking at on the map hasn't been explored." He paused a moment, gazing at the flames flickering on the logs, "We could check it out and be back well before dark, if you want." James stood up promptly, nodded at Big D "Let me get my jacket, I'll meet you at the buggy." I turned to Big D and gave her a hug. She whispered "Good Luck, I'll see you when you get back."


The buggy was hitched and its contents had been transferred to their wagon. James was standing next to the horse stroking her mane when we got there. I climbed in while the men sat out front. Remarkably, I could see that my dearest MIL had been extremely spoiled our whole trip. Soft leather divided bench seat, like a Lazy Boy recliner, including the head, arm and foot rests. In front of me was a pull out table with cup holders, a small refrigerator nestled under the cab surrounded by wooden cabinets. The windows were lightly tinted and manually rolled up and down. Even a sky light! There was an incredible amount of space behind the seat for storage. No wonder she never complained. I shook my head, thinking how we had taken the bare minimum to save on weight, then fixed my gaze out the windows to see what I could see, marveling at the smoothness of the ride.


We followed an old trail leading to the hot springs, then began weaving up and down the hills, bypassing swamps and trees, boulders and small streams. The scenery was breathtaking. We had climbed in altitude by the time we reached the area we had been looking at on the map. James brought the horse to a halt and tethered her to a medium sized popular tree.


The area was a large open field on top of a medium grade hill, lined with trees to the north and east, while the river flowed on the west side at the bottom of the hill about 100 yards away. To the south, you could see the lake and almost all of the valley. I stood there speechless for some time gazing at the splendor, until my dearest came up behind me and whispered, "You've gotta see this." He walked me to the north side of the clearing and pointed up to the top of the mountain. You could see the waterfall cascading down the cliffs. Even in my wildest dreams, it would have been hard to find such a perfect place for us.


James had walked east towards the trees, then called out to us. We came over and he pointed to an area just on the other side of the grove of trees that lined the field we were in. You could see another field, lined with trees and a few valleys in between. We chattered excitedly about the area, this can go here, and that there and on and on and on, before deciding that this area would do just fine and we should get back to the Lodge.


The ride back seemed much shorter and we arrived at the Lodge well before dark. GS808 went to talk with Mr. H, James hurried to talk with Big D and Naomi and I went to check on the animals, then, met up with them in the Lodge. GS said he'd got the paperwork done and handed me a cup of coffee suggesting we get a good nights sleep, and that we had been invited to sleep in the Lodge instead of having to set up the tent.


I woke early, snuck out of the bags and went out on the porch to do my reading. By the time I had finished several people were up. I could hear Chef clanking pans in the kitchen and went in to help. He readily put me to work making biscuits while he busied himself preparing eggs, pancakes, bacon, toast, and gravy.


After breakfast, we sat around, enjoying the time to socialize without having to worry about anything.


I made my way around visiting, sharing what we had found so far and listening to the stories of what everyone else had found, where they were going to be and what their hopes were. Everyone was concerned for Mt_R, Mt3b and Q including me. Mother quickly assured me they were in good hands, but, it didn't seem to ease my concern, quietly we said a prayer together.

Edited by Annarchy
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"Oh what a beautiful morning,


Oh what a beautiful day.


I've got a feeling that everythings


Going our way!"


Okay, well maybe not everything, but things were looking up. We have our claim filed, some packages came in, we made it to the Valley, God granted us good friends both new and old and we were starting a new life. Be assured we knew it wasn't going to be easy, far from that. But it would be rewarding, building with our own hands what would become our life. Our faith has gotten us this far and would continue to sustain us in days to come. God never gives us more than we can bear, so He must have some real big faith in what we can accomplish here in the valley lol! He sure has a good sense of humor too, ever take a good look at some of the animals he created?!


Well hubby was already up and out of the room, so I got out of the bed and got ready for the day. There was a stand with a basin in it and a pitcher of water too. I took a spit shine bath in a hurry. The water was kind of cool, but it woke me up all the way and felt good too, so who's to complain? I got dressed and cleaned up the room a little. I stared at the pile of unopened packages. What a mess, they were piled this way and that about to fall over on the floor. I took to just straightening them up when an envelop fell out of the stack onto the floor at my feet. It had come from the Rockin J by way of that last little burg we had went through. They must have picked up mail too along with the last of the packages. I hurried to pick it up. Grabbing it like it was made of glass, I turned it over to see who it was from since very few of our family knew where to send a letter to us. It was from our kids. So, did I want to open it now and blubber like a baby, getting my face and eyes all red and swollen, or did I want to wait until we got to our home and not have to worry about stuff like that? I opted to wait, it would about kill me to do it. But wait it will. It's not like I could answer it anyways. At least I didn't think so. I knew we could get mail, but not send it out. It was a hard choice, one of many we made to come here, but in the end of all things, it would be okay. I stuck the letter in my togo bag to open when we got home and then went over to mt3b's room to check up on her.


I knocked at the door and SF answered. She had slept okay last night and was still asleep now. I told him that I had to check on a few others and would come back by in awhile to check on her good. Leaving there I went to search for Mt. R. I looked all over the Lodge. I couldn't find either one of them! I knew they didn't have their place up and going yet, so they couldn't be there?? I went on downstairs and even though I could smell another one of Chef's wonderful breakfasts cooking, I just grabbed a cuppa and headed out of the kitchen in search of Mt.R, either one of them at this point. I asked some of B's people sitting at the long tables in the great room. No one here had seen either one of them since crossing the river! Okay, now I am getting worried and I am not one that worries too easily. But I know how hard this trip was on Mr. and myself. I could only imagine how hard it was on her. It must have taken a toll on her and I wondered if it had taken too much out of her with all the hypothermia, the riding, the ups and downs of being on the trail even. All of those things can cause any chronic illness to escalate. I said a quick prayer for them both. I went back to the room and grabbed my coat, left a note for the hubby since he wasn't back yet and headed back to the kitchen for a refill on my cuppa before heading out of the Lodge.


I had in mind going straight to the clinic to see if the Mt. R.'s were there instead of riding all the way to their place in our wagon first. I went out back of the Lodge first instead to see if hubby was out there. Yep, there he was playing with the dogs and getting them some much needed exercise. He had already fed the chickens and given the oxen a little extra feed. I don't know who was having more fun though, the dogs or him lol! He said he was going to hang out here for awhile. He isn't one for crowds much and was getting antsy to get back to our place. I told him he could go up to the room and get our stuff and put it into the wagon if he wanted. I thought we might be able to get home today depending on what happened last night and this morning with my "patients" lol. He just grinned at me knowing that nothing nor no one would move me from here if I thought I was still needed as a nurse. Smart man.


I wandered over to the clinic. Nice little building, made of logs, chinked well from what I could tell at least I felt no drafts of any kind. And amazingly clean for a log house! Someone had taken great pains to make this place one that would last a good long time. I waited at the front desk till someone showed up. It was one of B's folks that I hadn't seen on the trail. Must have been with the front part of the train lol. I asked if they had a patient here, Mt.R. She looked at me funny...I said "sorry, I meant Mt. Rider's, either one of them? They have come up missing and she has a chronic disease that may have flared up. I thought I would look here before heading up to their place." "And you would be who?", she asked me. I told her that I was a friend and a nurse that had taken care of her on the trail when she had hypothermia, along with others on the wagon train. That we were just wondering how she was doing? She said that we weren't going to worry about HIPPA laws here in the valley lol. Thank goodness for that, I might have had to go over the counter at her otherwise! She said that yes, Mt.R. was here at the clinic as a patient. She said that her husband has been here with her the entire time, refusing to leave her side. Evidently she has hit another flair up and this one was a doosy. All of the hard riding, the worry, the hypothermia and even the emotions along the way had all worked together to cause this flair up in her. The nurse said that she thought maybe Mt. R. shouldn't have even attempted this journey. I told her that Mt.R. is one woman who almost single handedly got most of this wagon train together and if it wasn't for her, most of us wouldn't be here now. We would have either not come to begin with or would have turned back at the first hint of any trouble. We owed that woman big time. And she has faith that will move a mountain. One thing that everyone knew was Mt.R. was one truly God fearing woman. I told the nurse that someone would be around to check on her later and to give the Mt.R.'s a message that I had been here to check on her please. She told me that she would do that as soon as one of them had woken up. She also told me just how bad this all was in medical terms. That knowledge I held close to the vest, not wanting to spread it all over the Valley and asked her to not let that out to too many people please, unless she (Mt. R.) said it was okay. I promised to be back and told the nurse thank you as I turned to head out the door. I needed to go back to the Lodge. First I had some praying to do for our dear friend. Second I needed to talk to Mother and let her know what was going on with Mt.R. and I needed to talk to the hubby and see what he thought, should we stay or go?


It was fixing to be a longer day than I thought it was going to be an hour ago.....






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SF woke me around noon yesterday, and made me drink something that tasted horrible. Then again around 3:00 to sign the paper work for the land. Then again around 6:00 to drink that horrible stuff again. He tried to make me eat but it tasted like styrofoam and I just could not swallow it. He kept telling me it was chicken noodle soup that Chef made just for me...styrofoam. He did find a stash of gatorade that I had totally forgotten about and made some up and was forcing it down me every hour.


This morning I am still have stuffed up head and can't breathe through my noose. But feel I can ride in a wagon back to our new place. SF said we could stay one more night if I wanted to. I said after my nap we would see. He just chuckled and knew that meant don't wake me anytime soon.


The boys stuck their heads in about then to see how I was doing. P& N asked if we needed them right now and SF told them no. They said they were going to ride out with the Q's and help them get their garden broke up and clean their place up. They asked if they could take one of the wagons to sleep in. SF told them yeah that we would get the stuff when we came along. W&A said they were going to ride out also and start work on their place. A pulled SF aside and said she would go to the cabin and give it a good scrubbing and get everything set up so I could come in and rest. As I dozed off they were still working out the details.


It worked out that SF and I stayed behind with two horses and the wagon. The guys and A went on they took the animals with them and are going to keep them at W&A until we can get a barn built. They basically emptied our wagon except for the bed. They were not sure if I would need it on the return trip or not. But all that is in there is clothes and the bed everything else went into the other two wagons.


:fever: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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What a busy 48 hours we have had, it feels so good to be working on our New Home while at the same time I am so tried from working on our New Home. I have spent whatever time I can in cutting down trees and getting them ready to haul back to the cabin site. So far it is very easy to pick out trees that will give us the most wood for use be it for logs for our Cabin or Lean-to log shed for the animals. The pile of smaller logs I plan to make the split rail fences out of is growing as well as all the firewood we will need this coming winter. This morning on our ride up here to gather wood (dead fall) for camp fires and to tag the next group of trees I want to take down Lori had me stop so she could pick up another rock that she saw. This will be great for the fireplace she says each time she finds 'just the right one'. This afternoon we decided to stay at 'home' and work on the garden area and clearing out the site for the cabin. It is working out well having Morgan pulling the buggy while the two draft horses (Gert and Mabel) take turns pulling the wagon full of logs or plowing the garden. The plan is to head to bed early tonight as we plan to go back to the Lodge with the buggy early in the morning hoping that they are having Church this first Sunday in the Big Valley as well as spend the day visiting those that are still there. It will feel good to have a day of rest both for me and my blisters. Michael






This place we picked out for our Homestead is so pretty that I find myself just standing and looking all over instead of getting work done. This morning before heading to the woods to help cut up the tree branches and stacking firewood we did a short inventory of what food we had left. Made a list of what canned goods and how many of each so we could have a meal plan for the next couple of months before the garden starts to produce food for us. Packed the leftover soup we had for Supper last night so we could have a hot meal when we took a noon break from gathering logs. I sure hope we can go to the Lodge tomorrow for Church it will be so nice to see everyone again. Lori


Edited by Amishway Homesteaders
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Dear Diary : I thought I would put down what Michael told me about how he planed to use the trees on our property when building the cabin, lean-to bard, fences, etc.

This is how Michael cuts down a tree and how we get as much use out of each one as we can. First off we need some logs that are straight and 20 feet long and 11 inches thick for cabin walls. So off we go looking for a tree that will be good for that, he Finds one and starts to chop it down (this works better then the saws on this kind of tree). TIMBER!

OK so now that it is on the ground, I help hold the tape measure so we can cut (with the saws) a 20 foot log that will be for the cabin walls. Next he moves up and measures out a piece that is 8 inches thick, that is for the lean-to barn, and cut that. By now we are up to where branches are so it is hit and miss if there is any good wood for building with. But any thick branches (say 6 -- 8 inches) get cut and used for fence posts or as ridge posts or rafters for the lean-to. Next we look to see if there are any good branches that are 3 inches or under and 4 feet long to go into the pile that we will use to make a garden fence. We plan to make sections of upright small branches lashed to cross members and then nailed to fence posts as well as a gate or two. Some of the bigger, straighter ones can be split into rails, 4 from each log, for the main fences around the animal pens

What is left can be cut into fire wood or kindling and piled near by for when we have time to put in into the wagon and get it back to the cabin site. The small branches (boughs) will be used on top of the roof of the lean-to for now so the animals have some shade. The roof will come later on in the season but for now it will be just a log, 3 sided affair, and shelter for them.


So there you go when done there will be nothing but sawdust and chips left behind and I know Michael has plans for them too.


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What a day it's been. The kids are not back yet and the rest of us are becoming worried. They took a radio with them but we haven't been able to reach them with it. Considering they hadn't planned to be back until tomorrow I should not be worried, but you know how moms are?


I got a chance to ask SF how MT3B was doing and was relieved to hear she was better. I also talked with Quiltys about Mt_Rider and we decided to go see if she was awake. When we reached the small log building the same lady was setting in the front area. I recognized her right away as one of the women who had been helping Chef around the fire. We chatted for a few moments and I found out she was only at the medical building to help out in case Mr.Mt_R needed anything and to sort of run interference so MtR could get her rest. When I explained to her that Quilty's was one of the nurses that would be using the building to work out of she was apologetic that she'd turned her away earlier. Quiltys reassured her that she shouldn't concern herself about it and then talked to her about being a contact person for Dr. Mt_R and Quiltys when they weren't there. She readily agreed and then we went into the back area where we found Mt_R propped up in bed with their cat laying beside her. She said she was feeling better but Q and I both knew that with MS it was anyone's guess when it would allow her to be up and around. I only stayed a few minutes before giving her a gently hug and and left Quiltys alone with her to check her out.


Later in the day I found myself in a meeting with Mr. Smith, Mr. Jones and Mr. Hughes. Yesterday a couple of riders had come from the ranch carrying some packages and a few letters but the news from the Ranch wasn't good. None of the supplies and equipment the Benefactors had ordered for the valley had come in and neither had the bulk of the orders everyone had been expecting. There was so much chaos in the cities and towns that they had posted guards at the ranch even though so far they'd had no trouble. The news is that we can't expect the mule train to come and we are on our own with what we already have and what we can hunt, find, or grow.


They wanted to know what I felt our chances were for making it through the months until we could start harvesting produce. I thought about it for a long time before I replied. I told him honestly that most of the people along, theirs and ours both, had no concept of what living a primative life would be like but that we had come this far and I doubted that anyone wanted to turn back, especially if it was getting worse out there. We knew when we came on this journey that we were going to be living a very simple, and even primative life and we were prepared to do it if needed.


I was told that the Lodge has a large supply of long term storage foods and we'd be able to use them if it was needed, that no one would starve but it might not be what people were used to. I told them I'd encourage the others to take stock and report in and once we knew we'd be more able to decide something.


I left the Lodge a bit unsettled but not really concerned. If what I have seen so far is any indication, the valley would soon be teeming with wild foods but like the long term storage foods, it might not be what they were used to.


I went next to talk to Chef about the foods he'd been using to feed us all and what that supply was like and he told me that it was doing okay so far but that he'd be a lot happier if they had the gardens started and the Plexiglas up on the greenhouse so they could get that going. We took stock of what dried beans, peas, and other seeds he had and then talked for a while about doing some sprouting and he was interested. He'd used sprouts before but had never grown them. I told him I'd be in tomorrow to get him started with it.


I was thoughtful as I went to the wagon to prepare to do the chores. By the time darkness came I was more than ready for bed. My last thought was a prayer for the safe return of my family tomorrow.

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Well I sure got put to work yesterday. I fell into bed last night so tired that I didn't even have the energy to write one word in my Journal, so thought I would catch it up this morning over coffee before I make my rounds. Yes, rounds. Seems I have ended up with a couple of patients. I had wondered if this wasn't going to happen after we got to the Valley here and all the stress and emotions and energy expended during the wagon train finally was over. That happens often after a big doings. I remember seeing and going through that same thing myself after helping during hurricane Andrew's aftermath with the Red Cross. We were all riding high on adrenalin for so many days, sleeping only when we could catch an hour or two. It takes a toll on a body and then when it's finally over and you have a chance to sit down and take it easy, well it just does something to a body and usually ya come down sick with one thing or another. Seems like this was no exception to the rule.


I was going to go see mt3b yesterday afternoon. She seemed somewhat better. Her fever down a little from the night before, but she still had that flush to her face and arms that I didn't like. I didn't think she was over this but kept that little tidbit to myself. I told SF to go ahead and get some food into her even if she did think it tasted like cardboard! And to keep her warm and covered. Also keep on with the willow bark tea until this evening when I came back again to see her. Mt3b didn't stay awake too long, she fell back to sleep before I even left the room. Nope, if she is sleeping that much, the body is trying to heal itself. Best to let her sleep and just touch her once in awhile to make sure the fever didn't shoot up I told SF. He mentioned to me that P&N wanted to come back to the homestead with us tonight and help us break ground on the garden in the morning as a thank you for helping mt3b. I thought that was a nice thing to do and told them that I needed to go see Mt. R. and then this evening when I came back to see mt3b again, we would talk about it further. If she was doing better then we would all go back tonight. If not, I would have to stay in town. But we would work out the fine details later. I said my good byes and headed down stairs fixing to go back to the medical cabin to see if Mt. R. was awake and would see me.


Well I got as far as the great room and about to go outside when I ran smack into Mother. She wanted to know how Mt. R. was too so we both headed over to the medical cabin. Well it isn't too far from the lodge to the medical cabin so we didn't get too much time to talk, but she did ask about mt3b and I told her that mt3b was a little better this morning but still flushed and sleeping a lot. I didn't tell Mother that I was thinking this wasn't done with mt3b yet and that she was going to get worse before she got better.


Oh that woman was there again! Wonder if she would give me such a hard time with Mother along LOLOL!! I kind of wanted to see that lady get sassy with Mother hehehe. I would just hang back and watch what happened. Just cause I am like that some days...sassy! Well I should have known nothing was going to happen. Mother is so sweet, she wouldn't hurt a fly, I swear. She told the lady who I was and why I had came there yesterday, not just as a friend but also someone who would be giving care to those in need of it in the Valley from now on, along with Mr. Mt. R. and any other medical people who came to the valley. She told the lady that I was the RN she was supposed to be keeping an eye out for. The lady kind of blushed and apologized all over herself for that boo boo. She kind of reminded me of a pit bull. Not Mother, the other lady lol. Best get that clear real quick huh? But that was the kind of person I wanted at the front desk running interference for us! Someone who had brass ones and knew how to stand up to people but be nice about it at first. I knew we needed someone we could depend on and she seemed to fit the bill for that. Mother talked to her about taking the position there at the desk to help us out. I jumped into the conversation and told the lady that she shouldn't worry about what happened yesterday and that I was happy to know she was out here keeping most of the people out so Mt. R. could get her rest. That she was the kind of person I wanted out here and would she please take the job? She agreed and so now we have a receptionist lol. Well she is more a jack of all trades but she is sure going to be nice to have around. It was either that or hubby and I were going to have to completely change our plans and move into the little berg that was composed of the lodge and the medical building. Ugh. I hate a town of any size lol. I want out away from everything with enough room to sling a cat ifin I want to.


So with that little problem solved, we asked how Mt. R. was doing this afternoon. She was about the same, staying in bed and resting trying hard to get her strength back. Mr. R. was working with her on the physical therapy she badly needed. We went on in together to see her. LOL There she was just looking great all propped up with pillows. Cat on the bed too. Not surprised about that. But she had been having a hard time of it. We talked a little bit and then Mother left. I stayed for a little longer checking Mt. R. over, putting her through some stretching and such to see how bad the spasms were. I asked a lot of questions about her health that I was concerned with. I checked her blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, lungs, etc.. Most of that was all normal. It's a hard disease that MS and it takes a toll on a body. For now let's just say she needed a lot of rest, maybe a week or so's worth. Now whether she would stay in bed that long was anyones guess. It is hard to keep that woman down for long. I got out of the medical cabin, promising that I would be back today to check on her. Which is where I am heading in a few minutes. I bet she is a bit better and propped up in bed again lol. She isn't the one I am worried about....












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We had spent Friday night at the lodge in our tent by the wagon, planning to start working on our land in the morning. We would be back for Sunday services to pick up Naomi and Big D.


As usual, I was up before dawn, when one of the roosters decided to begin crowing, prompting another to join him in what sounded like a chorus of conversation. I slipped out of the tent, climbed into our wagon and lit a small candle to save the battery life of my flash light to do my reading. By the time dawn broke, I had finished and began to look at what we had, deciding to do a full inventory when we got back up to our area. The damp beans were double in size and I knew I would need to get them planted if I wanted to salvage them. I didn't want to mess with the other seeds that got wet, hoping that if they were beginning to do the same they would survive. About that time, GS808 & James stuck their head around the corner of the wagon startling me when they asked, "Are you ready to go?" I hadn't expected them up 'til after the sun came up.


They hitched the wagons while I herded the heifer over and tied her to the back. Memories of our trip rifled through my mind as I thought 'this would be the last time we had to head out', then hoisted up the birds and we were on our way.


It took close to two hours to get to the place we had first stopped. We would make this area our temporary 'home' and scout around. My dearest gave a kiss on the cheek, patted his weapon on his hip, while James held up his whistle and they took off towards the other field to the east.


I stood there watching them walk away then turned my attention back to the tasks at hand, then walked down to the river. The water seemed calm on the surface, currents creating an eddy behind a small bend to the south. To the north, various sized rocks peppered the shoreline fading into a sandy beach edged by a strand of cattails growing in what appeared to be silt.


I went back to the wagons, let out the tether on Little Lady to graze, and walked north across the field, down a small incline to the tree line. I could see another open area beyond towards the east and made my way through the trees. The grove looked like a mixture of species, pine, oak, popular, maple and a few I couldn't identify yet. Ferns were beginning to unravel mingled with a vast variety of other plants, shrubs and bushes. It opened into medium sized grassy meadow surrounded by trees on all sides. I stood there for a moment, then turned back, gathering dead wood as I returned to the wagons.


I wanted to set up camp first, there would be plenty of time to explore later. I dropped my armload of wood next to the wagons and prepared a small fire pit that would be our heat and my stove, then broke up the wood to fit it and stacked it off to the side. Next, was to set up the tent nearby checking the wind to make sure we wouldn't be smoked out by the fire pit, smoothed an area and set it up then unrolled the sleeping bags on top of the mats. With that done, I focused on inventory until the men returned figuring it wouldn't do me any good to start a garden here if they had found a better place.



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I wanted to make this extra entry into my Journal to cover what else happened yesterday.... After checking Mt. R. I left the medical cabin and went back to the Lodge. I talked to Mother for a little bit. She wanted to know how we were set for supplies. I told her we were running a little thin but we could make it until the garden started coming in. I had planned on looking for some greens tomorrow, but I figured I would still be here at the Lodge. I knew I wanted a mess of Polk weed for a spring tonic. Then I was going to look for dandelions and some fiddle head ferns if any were still left. I told her we had fish in that pond but we didn't know what kind yet since we hadn't been fishing in it. And there was always the river to fish in. Hubby was also going to do some hunting for small game or a deer if he could get one. He had hunted elk before too but wasn't sure if they were around yet. He would have to get up in the mountains for that and there just wasn't time to do that right now. We could make do with small game instead plus what I had brought that was canned up. Yep, thin but do-able.


Mother said her good byes and walked off looking a bit on the troubled side. And now she has me wondering what is going on with all that? Is someone about out of supplies and doesn't know how to get more for themselves? Well, I think we will be okay, so at least she wont have to worry about us.


I went back to check on mt3b. Her fever was up. Darn. I knew it was going to do that since she had been so flushed and sleepy earlier. Now she was just zonked. That was from the fever though. I don't even think she realized I was there to see her. I took her temp...102. Alright, that is about where they body gets itself up to so it can fight off what ever the invader is. We used to think 101 was it, but they found out researching it that 102 was the "golden" temp. I had SF making sure she drank every drop of the willow bark tea for the fever whether she liked it or not. It wasn't supposed to taste good lol. I also told him to come get me if it went up any further. I would be staying in the lodge again tonight it seemed.


So, here I still am, at the Lodge. I sent hubby back to the homestead with P&N to get the garden broke up. And what ever else it was they had planned on. This is the first time in 10 years that we have been married that we are spending the night away from each other. I can't say I much like it either. I can't sleep and I don't have any interest in eating. I just want my hubby and home....






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Well we made it back to the Lodge this moring and as we hitch up Morgan to the hitching post outside the lodge we start our 'Howdy-do's' all around. We find out we got her just in time for Church. Mother greets us with a big hug and asks if we plan on staying for Dinner? seems everyone that can is getting togeher to have a pot luck supper. I tell her we could stay but seeing we didn't know about the pot luck we didn't bring anything with us. Lori tugs my arm and tells me "Yes we do!" Remeber I put those 2 cans of Chile soup in the buggy in case we got stuck on the trail home so we could at least eat something. Mother just smiled and told Lori to drop them off in the Kitchen and she would see that someone heated them up with what others had brought in. With that done we head over to help set up Church.



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(It's nice setting here in the great room, the smell of delicious food wafting in from the kitchen. I'm glad to see so many people gathered today but I'm not looking forward to giving them bad news. I agreed to do it though so I guess I might as well go stand in front of the fireplace and do it.)


"I'm really glad to see so many here. We're missing a few who are fighting illness and some who are on their homesteads already but before we get to our services today I need to talk with you about an issue that will affect us all."


"Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones received a message from the Rockin' J and the news is not good. The chaos we left behind is getting worse. The stock market is plunging and this time it shows no signs of stopping though TPTB are desperately trying to pull it out one more time. People are losing money and jobs left and right. Banks are closing and with no loans farmers are forced to stop planting. Transport companies are forced to hire security people to ride with drivers or have just simply gone out of business. "


"I guess what I'm trying to say....is that the supplies we all ordered, besides the few packages that came with the messengers from the Ranch, are still not there. The expected mule train is not coming any time soon. Jacob and Joy are desperately trying to find other sources of supplies for us but even when they do they can't get them delivered or they are hijacked along the way. Like others, they have taken to ordering only COD so they don't have to pay for supplies someone else has. Unfortunately, the companies that are still in business will only work for cash. They are trying to get together a team to go pick up food but it's going to be dangerous to try to get it home."


"Some of you may be getting low on supplies and we need you to take inventory and let us know what you need. The Benefactors have a large supply of long term storage food here at the lodge and no one will be allowed to starve but those foods were intended for use in case our crops failed or we had a natural disaster. If we use them now there is no guarantee that we will be able to replace them. It would be better if we managed to come up with substitutes. The substitutes will, of course, depend on what you need but there will be plenty of wild foods soon to tide us over until our garden start producing. The game will most likely be plentiful for now but the animals will be winter thin and won't provide as much meat as we'd like."


"We will have to be extra careful with harvesting both plants and game. We don't want to over hunt any one species. With so many of us suddenly descending on the valley, and at least to begin with depending on the game, there is a concern we might draw the herds down too far to be safe. We don't how many of these animals winter over in the valley and if they have a natural migration to and from it. It would be a shame if we inadvertently changed the basic biodiversity of the area or to chase them out where they could be decimated by the hungry hoards looking for food. Mr. Hughes has been put in charge of trying to get a herd count on the bigger game animals and would like your help with that. He'd also like to get an idea of the small game population out there. Keep your eyes out for what you see and how many."


"I want to suggest that when you find wild edible plants that you never wipe out a whole planting of them. Always leave at least one third to one half in any given area whenever you harvest. That should assure the continuation of the species in it's own growing habitat. There are many plant ID books among those we brought along, which, by the way are already in the library room in the lodge but not shelved yet. We were hoping that Lori would take some time soon to help with that. Please though, do NOT eat anything you do not have a positive ID on. If in doubt, do without. Get someone who does know to help you with it."


"One last thing before we begin our hour of fellowship, don't be afraid to ask for help or instructions. We each have different skills and knowledge and we're all willing to share them with others. And please, don't hesitate to spread your own knowledge and skills around. We're going to find out real soon that no one here will have need for money. Our money may not be worth anything now as it is and if the market crashes, it will be worth even less. We will have to find another way of fair trade. If a person needs someone to help him in his fields and he doesn't have a neighbor to exchange work with then perhaps one of the younger people would be willing to do it in exchange for training, or perhaps some sewing done or for food they don't grow. Or better yet, just out of the goodness of their hearts. We're all going to have to work together, especially these first few years, to make it. While we are working together, we'll be building a community that cares. "

Edited by Mother
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Hubby showed up around 11 this morning wanting to take me back to the homestead with him. He said that it is too lonely there by himself and we need to be working on our place. So mother and Mr. Mt.R will be keeping an eye out on mt3b since she seems to be doing better today. I packed up my dirty clothes into the to go bag and said quick good byes to Mother and everyone who had gathered for the Sunday meeting. I wouldn't be staying since we wanted to get home before dark. Hubby was out by the corral waiting on me and talking to the guys out there about our horse. We would be taking the horse with us today, tack and all. I really hated to leave everyone but I was anxious to get back to our homestead and check out the cabin and where they were putting the garden. I had seeds to start also for the peppers and tomatoes and such to put in the garden. There was plenty of work for me to be doing there, Lord knows.


So off we went, headed back to the our homestead. We had time to talk on the long ride home. I kept an eye out on our new horse who was tied to the back of the wagon following along as we went. Seemed to be doing okay back there with the occasional tug at the rope probably because it wanted to stop and graze on some of that new green grass coming up lol. But we talked about the garden getting turned over. They had to cut down a couple of trees so that the garden wasn't some weird shape once it was done. The trunks were still there for the moment, but hubby was going to use the oxen to try and pull those up out of the way. He figured that he and I could get that part done ourselves.





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