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Wagons Ho COMMENTS (Part 2)


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I just wanted to give everyone a heads up. Real life has stepped in to interfere with some of the posting lately but bear with us and we'll try to get back up to speed. A few of the writers could use your prayers if you will be so kind.


At least we have the mule train in, thanks to Q in MT_Rider's absence, and now we all have to get our packages from the lodge. It will be fun to see what came in them. They will only be what a mule could carry in it's packs but it should be intersting to see what we 'needed'.


In the mean time, don't forget you can leave a comment or two. It's been kind of quiet in here.



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Thanks Mother.


Even though you don't know me, you each (in the Wagon Ho group as well as the Mrs. S family) have become like family to me. I so appreciate what you each are doing. It has been exciting, and I sometimes forget that this is an unreal story. You each have made it seem so real. I can not imagine the amount of time, research and studying you have to do to continue with this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


I know with spring being here today (yea!!!!!!!!!!!) everyone is busying getting ready for gardens, preparations, etc. So many people are having health, financial, family, job, and life problems in general that prayers are needed daily. Things are rapidly changing and we all need hugs and prayers especially as we go through the days ahead of us. It seems to be later than we think. I will continue to pray for each of you. May God bless, keep and guide all of you.

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:wave: Hi y'all! I'm at the library and have finally found a way to type out posts [mine are so long..can't help it] at home and successfully transfer data from my Mac to the library NOT-Mac thru the flash drive. First attempt last week didn't work. So now I copy/paste to the Word For Macs program we fortunately have at home. That worked.


Have I told ya all how techno savvy I am NOT!


NetZero is supposed to be sending us a new disc to download. They think our program is corrupted. Yeah, well....it certainly has jammed up my computer enough in the past couple months. I sincerely hope for better performance now. IF that is the problem. Pray it is not actual a problem in my laptop, but I doubt that.


If what I saved can be opened on my computer at home, I THINK I can read the whole Big Valley #2 thread and catch up with alllllll the posts you writers have been adding since "the lights went out" for me. I HOPE it works. It's not really easy for me to get ready and drive "to town" tho most days, it is within my safe driving zone....not using major [fast] highways. But I'm about dying while sitting on hard wooden chairs. Ow. At least I got caught up with Comments. Took notes on CeeGee's clan. Any livestock, CeeGee?


As for the UNreal folks...MrS, MrH, MrJ....and the B families and craftsfolks....hmmm, mebbe we could get a master list of some of them we've used. I've just created a family of craftsfolks in the post I put out. Mother has a barrel maker. And my Whitlock family comes in from time to time.....to my rescue! :lol:


Martha....I think the writers [i do] get to thinking these characters and this Valley are pretty real to us too. Glad you are enjoying it and I hope folks find things to learn from time to time.


THANKS for the info on parchment and vellum, Leah! I hadn't researched that and only had a vague idea of that process. Hmm, greasy windows = bear.... :o I know I've spent a lot of time considering window issues since doing this story. Really has me rearranging some priorities. I'd pack my wagon differently now, for sure. [so my relatives can pack some of that in for me.... ;) ]

OK...cannot sit in this chair any longer. That disc should be arriving soon and then to get DH to install, etc. [i'm so techno-deficit! ]


MtRider [stopping in to say HOwdy!.....cuz I finally got my password to work...thanks, Darlene :rolleyes: I can't even do THAT! My computer knows me! :lol: ]

Edited by Mt_Rider
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:wave: Welcome back MtR. We have missed you. Great posts too. It's nice to get caught up on your family. :kissy:



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I've been enjoying the Wagons Ho postings. Back in October when it first started, I thought I might join in but my Mom had colon cancer surgery in Oct and I forgot all about it. Later I started reading the Homecoming. Then I went back and read everything from the beginning.


It has been much food for thought. While reading the posts about packing the wagons, I got sort of stressed out because I knew I couldn't take everything I needed!! :P I had to stop thinking about it.


I've thought about fats and oils. My family are vegans plus 3 of us are lactose intolerant so that lets out lard and butter. There is no way to store enough olive or other oil to last a long time. I have heard that coconut oil stores well.


DS is allergic to eggs but the rest of us could eat them if necessary. He is also allergic to gluten, rye, barley, oats, wheat, soy, sunflower seeds, pecans, peanuts, chick peas, any white bean, and several vegetables. DD#2 and I are allergic to onions, garlic, and peanuts. This does complicate food storage :huh: . We store what we eat of course but we can't grow everything. We do plan to plant some quinoa this spring.


Anyway, I just wanted to express my appreciation for all the posters and let you know that your stories are causing me to think and think some more!! It's a good thing.




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I'm really sorry you couldn't join us earlier Daylily but there IS one more wagon train coming in soon. You COULD be on that one if you'd like. I noticed that you are new to Mrs. S so you might not know that I, too, have so many allergies that it makes my head spin,,,welll actually literally sometimes. I also have a lot of other health issues. I have chosen to down play them in this thread so that I could focus on more of the general lifestyle of living in the wilderness in order to help others. I did addressed some of my health issues in Illinois Story (Fireside Forum) though and I have been preparing for years with my allergies and health issues in mind.


Mt_Rider has MS; MT3B has a hearing loss; and Quilty has health problems as well. They have all chosen to share with us the issues they would have to face in the wilderness. It is one way we can 'write/think' through our situations. Why not join us and share your triumphs and troubles with your issues. What DID you bring along? How DO you handle life in this situation if you were suddenly,,,,,You choose the reason and the how,,,,thrown into our valley at the end of July with very little time to get prepared for a probable harsh winter, given your family's health problems. You can still get a fall garden in. What would you plant and would you be able to bring seedlings along to speed it along? Would you want to live in the 'country' or in the 'settlement' and if so, why and what will you be doing there, what would you be building to live in or would you find a place with a cave like some of us, perhaps be a family member of one of the 'B's' group?


You don't have to be a great writer. Just change your reality, put yourself into a wagon with all you choose to bring along and give us a first person view of what it's like for you from that point on. Don't worry, someone will help you bring your things down "Mother's Little Hill" at that pass and get you to where you want to be. :)


Now, if you feel that's asking too much, why not at least make a list of what you WOULD bring and post it here in the comments section. That might help me and many others in a similar situation to better cope with some of the same issues.


I'm glad you have enjoyed the thread. I keep hoping that none of the readers, or the writers for that matter, are becoming bored with the day to day grind we are starting to face. It WOULD be that way in real life and it's a way to work through thoughts and ideas as we go along. We are grateful to have CeeGee back with us and we would welcome another 'survivalist' in our mists.




Anyone else out there?


I understand this will be the last wagon train coming in. If you would like to join us,,, get your story straight,(or even slanted :D ),, and line your wagon (or one of the Rocks') with the one in front and head for the valley. You should be here in a couple of weeks....and if you want, you could start with life on the trail so that you'd be able to work through some of that like we did. Just remember, you will be coming with MtR's family and some orphans and other famlies and will be following the same trail we took. Mr. Hughes will be your wagon master. MT3B's sons, N and P, will be there to help get you through so if you DO decide to write about your life on the trail,,,, don't be surprised if MT3B "writes" you into their story just to give you something to react to. :lol:


Thanks for the continuing words of encouragement, everyone.


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Daylily, I hope you do come in on the next wagon train, too. :hug3:


My allergy is lifting. :008Laughing: Seriously, my back will not let me lift heavy things. I really am a "5 pound weakling" - broke it too many times and messed up the spinal column. The secret to moving things is fulcrums and pivots. Amazing what you can do when you need to.

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Mother, thanks for the reply! No, I was not aware that you have allergies too. I'm sorry to hear that, knowing what a pain it can be.


I think I would like to come in on the next wagon train :) I would like to explore and the preparation and packing part. I might just make the list of people, skills and what we are bringing to post in the comments thread, then just "appear" in the Valley with the train. I don't feel up to writing about trail life. Then maybe I could start in with the homesteading part. Would that be OK?


I'm glad to hear that someone will get us down the hill!!


When would we have had to leave SW VA to get to the Valley in late July? I'm wondering if fruit trees, etc would still be dormant enough to dig. I guess they would start to leaf out somewhere on the trail.


Annarchy, lol about the lifting allergy! I'm sorry to hear about your back. DH has nerve damage to his left side and left arm and wears a rigid back brace. Anothr difficulty to think about when homesteading.

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It would be great to have another writer!

Can't be us, the boys threatened me with kidnapping if we tried to go east instead of west. They would, too; the little ratbags. How could I resist? All of them are a good foot taller than me and most were in the military.

The best we can offer is a message now and then.

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:welcome: Aboard DayLily.... :hug3:


It will be just fine for you to join us in the valley when the wagon train comes in. It is my understanding that the wagon train will have already left the Ranch so you are ON YOU WAY. You don't have to write about the trip if you don't feel like it. We are waiting for Mt_Rider to post that the wagon train is at the valley and then we will make sure there are wagons there to help everyone in. After that you will be able to post YOUR version of how we got you in, where you went (to the lodge first, etc) and etc. Then you can just post as you can about what you are doing.


Post your list either here or perhaps even in the preparing thread if you like where the rest of the lists are posted. Either is fine. I suspect that you have a couple of weeks "In Real Life" before MtR will have the train reach the valley. That gives you a bit of time to figure out a few things...First of course your list. You get one wagon furnished for a family of four which will not be coming down into the valley. It is the same with the teams except that I'm not sure if the teams will be going back to the ranch again or staying in the valley. You may, however, if you can afford it and find them, buy your own wagon or even an extra wagon and teams and we WILL help you get them into the valley just like our wagons came in. Riding horses and livestock will be up to you to bring along.


Because this is a late train you are coming in with, you most likely got to the ranch by vehicle, probably in a caravan for safety, or even flying in but you would have had what you could bring along that way or had shipped to the ranch ahead of time and it would have been transferred to a wagon at the ranch for the wilderness journey. It's up to you to decided how you got there as that is your story. If you DID provide your own or an extra wagon and team, you would have to figure out how you got them to the ranch and from where. All part of the exercise and part of the fun too. LOL


You may have been able to bring in fruit trees and etc. but at this time of year they would not have been dormant and they wouldn't give you any fruit this year at any rate. You might have had other vegetable plants though, just remember, you only have at that the most three months to grow anything before winter hits us in the valley. Some plants like cole crops would be hardier for fall compared to tomatoes etc unless you have a greenhouse and a way to heat it. I guess what I'm saying is be aware of your limitations this late in the year and plan accordingly for it.


Mr. Smith has a small orchard behind the lodge and is willing to share it's fruit with those in the valley. Remember though, there are going to be a lot of us after this last train so we aren't sure how far it will stretch. There are, however, still blackberries and various and sundry other wild fruits available in the valley. Some wild apple trees, at least crab apples type anyway, and a host of other fruits and wild foods mentioned here and there througout the thread. (Mosstly using what would be indigenous to Glacier National Park area with a twist of Zone 5 added in which gives us a bit of leeway) If you are ambitious you will be able to gather and process a lot of that to help see you through.


I really am glad to have you join us Daylily. Hopefully it will encourage others to try their had at it too. If you need any help don't hesitate to pm me. :grouphug:


Hey, Leah, haven't you learned to handle those big kids yet??? :grinning-smiley-044:



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I just wanted to mention that some of us are still haveing to deal with various things.... Stay tuned though, I believe there's more coming soon. Just picture us doing all that sweaty haying, and weeding and canning and dehydrating and picking berries and etc etc..... :0327:



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:bounce: OOooooooo! Did I read we might have another writer? GREAT!


I just am going to take a couple minutes to make a comment. I have to hurry up and drive home cuz the danged snow has started again. We are so deep in snow in my driveway already. But spring will melt it all soooooooooon?????


I was able to take a copy of this thread home on Monday [transfer to my computer via flashdrive :cele: ]. I spent THREE DAYS reading everything you all have written since I started the new thread that Wednesday nite ....before my Internet went Bye-bye the next day. I had not read ANYTHING since the FIRST POST OF THIS THREAD! All the posts I've sent for Mother to post or posted from library have been working "blind". I hadn't seen yours.


WOW! I just cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed reading everything. What creative folks we have and dedicated to this project too. Despite REAL LIFE interrupting, y'all have been so faithful to keep posting and creating and following your characters thru challenges. We are all pretty aware of the issues involved in surviving the coming winter in our Big Valley. I had to laugh because my posts talked about so many of the SAME TOPICS that all of you were posting about. Great minds.... :lol: But we know we've got to address certain issues and everyone is really working your characters half to death to survive.


Anyway, a big thank you to all of you and esp. to Mother who has been trying to make sure to keep an eye on this until I can get back to Internet access....without driving into "town". Soon, I think DH will have time to install the NetZero disc. I'm praying that will fix the problem.



Then I have to pop in as see what RURR has been up to...... :0327:



Miss you all! :grouphug:


MtRider [rushing home before the snow covers the tracks up her driveway.....ack, it's snowing harder already....... :o ]

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Someone mentioned highlighters running out of ink.

You can recharge them by removing the filter inside and sitting the back end in a bottletop full of water (or alcohol.) The clean liquid will push any remaining color towards the tip.

There are threads about making ink, pens and pencils around here somewhere. Holding sleeping baby, so can't type too much.

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Thanks for the tip Leah. Good one to know.


For those who are interested in watching Oats be cut and shocked, here's a good video. I've heled do this several times in the past and the only thing I can see that I would do different is the guy cutting is doing more work than he needs to. He could be sweeping the scythe back and forth. I prefer a scythe with a cradle as it puts the grains down straight and makes it easier to bundle. They also don't show that the blade should be wetted (sharpened) often to keep it sharp or the job is really tough. Wheat and other grains are harvested mostly the same way. I've seen shocks like that only with another bundle laid across on top to help shed water as the grain matures.





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I received this in a pm this morning from a long standing Mrs. S member who knows the area where the valley might be located. I won't mention her name as I will leave that up to her if she wants to identify herself but she has given me permission to post it here so that we might all get a big dose of reality to make our learning experience more appropriate. She had missed that we had chosen to make our valley zone 5 to ease our ability to produce enough food before winter but we are even getting ahead of zone 5 and probably should reconsider what is probable not just what is possible so we can all help each other leran. What she says is a real eye opener to the fact that IF we really DID move to this area our survival would be much more harsh and unforgiving. (her words) She has a few comments in another pm that I will include also. They are NOT criticism as she is sincerely enjoying the threads. She is just hoping to help us to see what life MIGHT have really been like.


"Thought I'd best drop a hint about the gardens. You'all are used to warm with humidity boosting the garden growth day and night.

That plain doesn't happen in Montana.

It is not uncommon to have a passing snow storm on the 4th of July. The night wind, is cold, hindering plant growth as much as the plant was able to grow during the day. Very seldom will night temps be above 40 to 45 degrees

Only in the most sheltered of south facing exposures will any tomato ripen by the mid to end of August.

I would guess that the 'valley' gardens are ahead of reality by at least a month, or more.

Any plant needing heat and humidity, will only grow in a greenhouse. Actually, nowhere in Montana are gardens far enough from the snow covered mountains, for the snow freshened wind not to affect them.

The same with planting a second crop, say like beans. If lucky, the first crop will mature about the middle of Aug. and be viable for maybe 2-3-4 pickings.

Expect a killing frost anytime after the 15 of Sept.

I understand the valley would have a more protected micro climate, but frost settles in the valleys sooner than later.

Veggies like peppers, okra, corn only grow in small specialized pockets of calm. I sort of understood this valley was somewhere near Billings, and the wind around there will sometimes blow plants right out of the ground.

Zucchini will grow, but it is really a fight to get ANY past 80 day winter squash mature enough to use. Think cold weather crops. Carrots, beets, ruta., parsnips, potatoes, turnips, cabbage, think short season maturity.

A lot of the grain crops were cut, shocked and then they froze dry. Even oats have a difficult time ripening.

I only mention this, cause there are some veggies growing in the story that just arn't gonna happen in Montana.

It is not uncommon to loose entire fields to 'frost in the bloom' killing temps in June or July. Ya'all are thinking too warm. The majority of summers will have 2 weeks of above 80 degree temps. and then it is back down to the 50 & 60's. daytime, and at least 20 degrees colder at night.

........ The amounts of food that is maturing & being harvested in the story are way above what is possible. The soil is a thin, gravely ashy light colored soil with few nutrients. Most rivers in Mt. are a milky light turquoise color with all the dissolved mineral sedement, and glacial melt.

High water runoff will peak in the middle of June, and tighten up 30 days later as the peaks start getting snow again.

The biting insects hatch about the first of May and the deer flies, [so named because they will cause animals to run them selves to death, trying to escape the torment] and black flies are everywhere, ALL the time. And they bite....worse when rain is expected.

It is a wonder that this part was ever settled, it is harsh and unforgiving.

.........The map can say zone 5 all it wants too. The wind creates a wind chill that is not measured. Plants do not respond well, they are stunted, spindly and do produce, but not in good quanitity.


With the origional people, the valley most likely had all the people it can feed. The second train, would put it over the top. Hunting and trapping would be the most certain source of food, followed by gardens growing greens.


In the West, ANY disturbed ground grows thistles. The seed stays in the ground 30+ years. These are bull, Canadian, & Scotch thistles. There is also star thistle, the worst scourge to ever grow in soil. It sticks in the tongues of grazing animals, they swell, and choke to death. Montana also has Lupine, Poison Hemlock in large amounts. Most of the time stock would not eat these, however, in the spring when the poisons are the most concentrated, they are the only green showing. So, stock death happens often......... Mountain thunderstorms dump rain in 1 to2 inch amounts accompanied by high winds at least once a month. Beats gardens down to the ground.


Keep working to make it realistic. The story has been good. A good learning experience. Keep up the good work. I am enjoying the story very much."


Okay writers. We've been wanting this kind of comment so we could get some direction to help us write. While we won't go back to it being zone 4 or lower in our thread, we DO need to realize that the location does give us some limitations. I want to also mention that even in a Zone 5, the winters can be very severe and with the global warming, almost anything could happen. Think harsh and perhaps early winter and prepare accordingly in your 'scene'. If it turns out to be wonderful we won't be disappointed. :D


(Thanks for the input, dear friend.)


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Nice write up, 'pm person'. Thank you for it.

I'm very interested in the reality. In our case we should be much closer to sea level; but even in the foothills it will be different, as we're now about 55 feet above sea level.

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First, my appologies to all. I had to attend to family business for the past week +, so I had no time to post anything.


Second...thanks to the pm person! That sure helps a lot for us writers and it is much appreciated.


Third....gee I missed yall so bad!!!!!!!!!!





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First, I just want to tell everyone coming here about 6 times a day and seeing if anyone has written anything new is the highlight of my day! I just wish there were more writers!! I love this whole series of stories. All of you are doing a wonderful job and I have learned a lot and see there is so much more that I should be checking into while I still can.


I see Daylilly has a pilot coming in with them. Do you suppose there is somewhere in the valley a plane could land with everyone's last supplies??

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:D Thanks for the praise Okiecountrygirl.


Pilot,,,, Helicopter maybe.......hmmmmmm.......would that be too noticeable? Would "they" know where we were then? Don't they have to file flight plans? Why didn't Mr. Smith think of that to begin with and bring in tons of stuff for supplies? Or just drop us all off that way to begin with? (That would have been much easier on us but then we wouldn’t have learned what we did on the trail either!) Turbulence maybe? Remember Annarchy already found one plane in a small lake.


Hmmmmm I love these interesting ideas that add new dimensions to our thinking. THANKS! Anyone else have any ideas about this possibility and why it hasn't been used or couldn't be used? (besides the obvious that we didn't "let" you have it :D )



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I just wanted to comment on the pm person's gardening comments. Here in the SW VA mountains, we can't even grow some warm season crops like okra, eggplant, lima beans, etc. without planting them in black plastic. Our elevation is 3000 ft. (what is the elevation in the valley?) Our nights are too cool and they just don't mature. In fact, lima beans are really not worth planting here. Soybeans do really well. We put in plastic beds: soybeans, other drying beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, summer squashes, melons, cucumbers, green beans (these do fine without, we do it for weed control) and maybe some others I've forgotten. It can make a difference of 2-3 weeks in maturity. Short season beans like Taylor's Dwarf Horticultural will mature and dry without plastic if we get them started soon enough. We don't usually plant beans until late May. I'm bringing black plastic with me!! What about potatoes? There would be time for us to get there in late July and get a crop if they will mature.


Also we spent 9 summers (May-early Oct) in northern Maine. There we built grow beds and filled them with good soil (the soil where we were was barely fair ) and built frames over them that we covered with heavy greenhouse plastic. That helped things get an earlier start. We didn't get any experience with keeping things going over winter because we left in Oct.


BTW, the pilot isn't coming, but that's giving away the story isn't it?



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You have a GREAT start Daylily. SUPER. Set's the scene beautifully.


As for gardening, I can speak for zone 5 here but we need to remember that it really is going to be variable for the zone five on that valley. We are all having problems with the weather pattern changes and if you do a search, the zones have actually changed over the years already. That said, You might have 60- 75 days growing season left if you are lucky. Some cold hardy plants might give you more time as they would withstand the early frosts and etc.


I plan to try some experiments (in the story AND in real life) with preparing the ground before winter really hits and planting potatoes to come up very early in the spring. If you plant potatoes in July, chances are that you might get some small potatoes before frost if you use certain late season varieties. Might want to do some research on that just to check.


MtR has told us the elevation of the valley and the surrounding mountains but I've totally misplaced it in my mind. Perhaps she will be here soon to let us know again.


Black plastic DOES give one an edge, so does red plastic for some plants, notably tomatoes, as do the wall of water type planters. The questions might be, how heavy is it and how long wil it hold up? It would be a boost to get some crops producing this year at least. I thought of bringing it but because of it's weight I opted for more plexiglas for greenhouse and solar gain but of course, we got here earlier too. You might want to consider light weight row covers as they would extend/protec the growing season perhaps. It will be fun to see what you decide.


Pilot missing,,,well, there goes THAT idea :lol: Now you have me curious about THAT too. All part of what makes these posts so interesting.



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Mother, that could add an interesting side story...you know the son was military for a LONG time. He could have some friends that would be able to "drop off on the way" :whistling::happy0203: to somewhere else...some much needed supplies or what ever...we could use the cover of not having to file a flight plan that way or...they could come in with the last wagon train? via chopper *(I'm thinking a Chinook LOL)* following it along for cover in case of attack and also would be moving in, carrying tons of supplies inside and out...oh man...that really WOULD be interesting.







As things fall apart outside and get increasingly worse, three of Jerry's best friends contact him via secure military cell phone. These phones are made to reach long distances due to the types of missions the men often found themselves involved in. Jerry was surprised to hear it ring at all clear out here in the mountains, but then again, he had been places more secluded than this and had it wring before. It was his friends "the Three musketeers" so named for their love of swords they had collected from various missions around the globe. Anyway, things were getting very bad out in the "real world" as they called it lol. They and many others were leaving the military in droves because of the Executive Orders the new president Smith was enacting. Basically, he was negating half the Constitution, making it illegal for regular folks to own guns, gold or keep supplies of food on hand. They had had enough. But having been in the military for so long, they were single and had no family to come back to. They needed a safe place to stay and were willing to provide security, supplies and even a helicopter if needed! :faint3: :wink (2): They had plenty of money of course, but figured they had best find a place and invest those monies into supplies to make it through what was coming instead of holding onto useless dollars. They knew Jerry had bugged out long ago and figured he had found a place to settle by now. It was worth a try to get ahold of him and see if he had room for three of his best buddies. Hey, they had saved his backside on more than one occasion and he had theirs too. It was a tight bond they all had together and they knew with things getting rough, it would be better if they could all stick together somewhere and ride it out..............................................................








LOL, yep...this could be VERY interesting indeed!! So...what do you think???? I know the other pilot isn't coming, but this could add an interesting twist to things. It could also be a way to make an emergency flight out of the valley too should someone have a life threatening injury or illness too. One that would leave them hanging in the valley that could be easily delt with in the city. Or what ever else comes to mind....



Edited by quiltys41
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A chinook helicopter can haul up to 19,500 lbs. It has a maximum speed of 195 mph or 170 knots. It has a triple hook system to carry heavy loads externally. It can airlift a bulldozer or 16,000 lbs such as an armored humvee at speeds up to 155 mph. It can handle multiple extreme loads and can handle 2 or 3 seperate destinations in one flight. (it could deliver loads to 2 or 3 homesteads in one flight!!!) The cabin can hold 33 fully equipped troops or 24 stretchers. The cabin has 42 cubic meters of cargo space and 21 square meters of cargo floor area-enough to hold 2 humvees. The cockpit houses a crew of 3-pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer. It comes equipped with 3 mounted machine guns and can operate at night and fly in nearly all weather conditions. It has a range of 265 miles.

Edited by okiecountrygirl
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