Tumbleweeds

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chuck j
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Tumbleweeds

#1

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:54 am

I'd like to tell a story . I'm not an author or have any experience writing professionally . I only have a high school education due to the benevolence of my teachers there that either felt sorry for me because I'm just naturally not smart or they didn't want to put up with me anymore . If at anytime it needs be deleted then feel free to . It will not contain profanity or intentionally cause destination . It is only a story .

Bear with me as I have admitted my own failings and inadequacies . Thank you for your forbearance and forgiveness as to my lack of context , spelling , inconsistency of thought , syntax or all the other mistakes I make . Simply consider the source .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#2

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:56 am

She straighten up and stretched her back . It was late morning and already getting hot , the hoe in her hands felt heavy . She drug her forearm across her brow to wipe the sweat away . Her bonnet hung by it's strings on her back and she pulled them to reach it and settled it on her head without tying them . It was June and getting hot in North Texas .

Without thinking she constantly looked up at the big clump of sage a hundred steps off she had put the baby under to shade him with the mule tied at the other side . She was unconsciously checking the baby and the mules ears at the same time , nothing nor no one could come up on them but that the mule would know it . There were still Comanche and renegades from the war around . She wished she had a dog , Hosea had talked about getting one . She thought of Hosea every day , it was his idea to move to Texas .


Topic author
chuck j
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Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#3

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:58 am

It was getting hot and she had chopped a third of the two aches of corn by getting there at first light besides little Nate was overdue to be hungry . She gathered the loose ends of her old shawl he was laying on and tied them , then hung him on the saddle horn of the black mule . She leaned her hoe up against the chaparral and picked up the rifle that she had standing there with it's bag and horn . They started for the cabin , the Johnson grass growing in the rows would be there tomorrow as it was an endless battle to keep it down . The corn looked good and had eared out well , in another two weeks would be time to start pulling ears .

As she walked toward the cabin she looked at the rifle in her hand . She wished she were better with shooting it , Hosea had said it was a fine rifle though it was very old . He said it was a Beck and had been changed from a flint to cap and ball which was better . She knew how to load , cast balls and all but Hosea had done all the hunting and she didn't want to waste powder to practice as she didn't know when she could get more . There was plenty of lead though , she saved the powder in case of trouble .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#4

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:00 am

It was getting hot and she had chopped a third of the two aches of corn by getting there at first light besides little Nate was overdue to be hungry . She gathered the loose ends of her old shawl he was laying on and tied them , then hung him on the saddle horn of the black mule . She leaned her hoe up against the chaparral and picked up the rifle that she had standing there with it's bag and horn . They started for the cabin , the Johnson grass growing in the rows would be there tomorrow as it was an endless battle to keep it down . The corn looked good and had eared out well , in another two weeks would be time to start pulling ears .

As she walked toward the cabin she looked at the rifle in her hand . She wished she were better with shooting it , Hosea had said it was a fine rifle though it was very old . He said it was a Beck and had been changed from a flint to cap and ball which was better . She knew how to load , cast balls and all but Hosea had done all the hunting and she didn't want to waste powder to practice as she didn't know when she could get more . There was plenty of lead though , she saved the powder in case of trouble .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#5

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:01 am

She walked up the slight grade to the cabin it was not far . On reaching it she watered the mule with a wooden bucket refilled it and tied him under a big mesquite in the yard where she could see him . She swung little Nate down to the ground and loosed the girt on the saddle , the mule had an easy morning just carrying Nate and standing lookout .

She picked Nate up in his sling and put it over her head and left shoulder to leave her right arm free then walked across the yard into the cabin with the rifle . The rifle was placed by the door and Nate placed on his pallet on the floor then she stirred the ashes in the fireplace to drag out the coals she had banked from breakfast . She brought last of the soup made the night before to a boil then spooned out all the remaining meat and chopped it fine for Nate . She was glad he could eat food now and the cow was still giving some milk , it wouldn't be long before he would start walking .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#6

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:03 am

She held Nate and fed him sitting on the split rail bench Hosea had made out of cedar . She sang and talked to him , he was such a happy baby . They had decided to name him Nathanial which in Hebrew means “God has given' and because Christ himself had said of Nathanial ... "Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.". To her Nathanial had seemed like the kindest and most thoughtful of Jesus's apostle . Though it was a mystery to her why his name changed to Bartholomew in all reference to him after that one time .

She knew they would call him Nate . He was the only one she had to talk to and he seemed to listen well . She leaned close to him like she was telling him a secret and said ..You know what else our Lord told Nathaniel ? She paused and in a whisper said ...Very truly I tell you, you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man !
She rocked him to sleep and laid him gently on his pallet .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#7

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:05 am

The cabin was small but big enough , there was a long rifle port in the middle of all four walls and shuttered from the inside . She opened all of them , sun was high and it was getting hot . She walked out and looked around her . Hosea had made a miraculous decision on choosing this place . The cabin was on high ground and faced south , the Salt Fork of the Brazos flowed from west to east about five bow shots away . The river was pretty , tall pecan , willows and oak lined the banks and their corn field set halfway there .

To the sides and back of the cabin was prairie with tall prairie grass as far as you could see waving in the wind . Hosea had said this was the southern end of the staked plains and the soil would grow anything . They had come from Iowa , a long way to get here .

It was June and the wild plums were ripe in thickets by the river . She needed to gather all she could before they fell to dry , she wanted to make jam but there was not enough sugar . But she knew where there were tall possum plum trees down river that wouldn't bear till fall along with the persimmons . maybe by then she could get sugar for jam . There were mustang grapes growing up and down the river but the birds got them as soon as they ripened . She laughed at herself as she went to get the mule ...all she could think of was jam , it had been two years since she had made any .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#8

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:44 am

She stepped off the short rough hewn plank porch and walked to the mule . Tightened the girt and hauled up , had to water the cow . She had staked the cow a distance from the cabin to the west . She had left Nate sleeping and saddled up before daylight and lead the cow to a new spot that was high with good prairie grass . The cow was nice and fat she was glad she hadn't dried up but she was giving little milk . When Nate was born she herself had not made much milk and dried up in a couple of months , the cow was a blessing and there had been no problem but even though Nate was eating food he still needed milk for a good while . She found the cow laying down chewing her cud .

She pulled the stake after beating the sides with a hammer to loosen it . She mounted the mule and just dallied the rope on the horn with the stake hanging to the side . The cow was use to being lead and was never a problem . They had brought her all the way from Iowa , Hosea had made a single yoke with britchen and traces and broke her to pull in case they had lost one of the two mules that pulled the wagon . They used her to pull occasionally to keep her broke .

She dismounted at the stock pen and lead the cow and mule in then started hauling water with a bucket to fill the square trough in the pen . Took a lot of drawing and carrying to fill it , they drank it as fast as she could haul it for about four buckets full then slacked off and she got it filled to the top . Filling it saved her having to do it till tomorrow . She had to gather what she would need to gather plums .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#9

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:24 am

She gathered two baskets , a shovel a spool of homemade cattail cord and the cows lead rope with the hammer . She took them around the livestock shed to the sledge that Hosea had made . The runners were tall and made of oak , platform was hewn willow to make it light and he had made picket sideboards to haul hay . The sledge was light and easy to use , had a bridle of rope with a loop at the end to put on the saddle horn . It was handy for a lot of small hauling jobs .

Hosea is smart he can build anything and he was always thinking about improving everything . We had only been here a year and already have a cabin , a livestock shed with pen . He had built tables and benches , dug the well , plowed the corn field , and so many other things . He loved to work , when he came back from the war he seemed to be wanting to work extra hard all the time . She wondered why he wouldn't learn to read and write , she had offered to teach him many times but he was not interested . But he could figure numbers in his head faster than she could with pen and paper .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#10

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:21 pm

She fetched the mule and slipped the sledge bridle loop on the saddle horn , lead the mule to the door of the cabin and loaded the rifle . Nate was awake and crying , she shouldn't have stayed gone so long . He calmed right down when she picked him up and started talking to him . She put him on the sledge , he had ridden on it since he was born .

They started for the plum thickets , it wasn't all that far. When they got there she staked the mule in some good grass and put Nate under a big pecan tree . She got a basket and the shovel and started picking plums , the bushes were loaded with ripe plums . She was looking for rattlesnakes , she had a peck basket full in no time . She loaded it on the sledge and got the other basket , she was on the north side of the thicket and didn't have to move around it too far to fill the second basket . She carried it to the sledge and went to get Nate , he was awake and happy to see her . She put him on the sledge and got the mule . They headed for the cabin .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#11

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:25 pm

As she lead the mule back to the cabin she veered off to a big patch of prickly pear cactus . Getting there she pulled her belt knife and cut off several young small pads that had no thorns yet . She threw them on top of the baskets of plums and continued to the cabin . Getting there she stopped the mule at the door of the cabin , carried the baskets to the porch and carried Nate to his pallet . She laid the rope and stake on the sledge and took the mule to the pen where she carried two big arm loads of prairie hay out for the cow and mule .

She walked back to the cabin and started the fire with banked coals . She washed the cactus pads and trimmed the outside edge off them then cut them in strips . While the fire burned down to coals she carried a big crock to the porch poured about a cup amount of lye water in it that she had made several days ago using fireplace ashes and water filtered through sand in a bucket . She finished filling the crock about two thirds full with water . Then she started filling washed flour sacks half full of plums , she set them in the crock of weak lye water and soaked them a few min while bagging more plums . She held each bag over the crock till it was just barely dripping then hung them on nails on the side of the porch to finish draining . The weak lye water would help to keep rot and flies off them while they dried in the sun .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#12

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:13 pm

She went back in and leveled all the coals except the three big chunks to bank , she covered them with ash off to the side . She set the frying pan on the coals pouring a tiny bit of oil in to cover the bottom of the pan . Then quickly floured the strips and laid them in she sprinkled them with salt using her fingers . They had to be cooked slow so to not dry them out .

She ground a little corn in their small coffee grinder , it was a little coarse but worked . She added water to the cactus when it was done and added the cornmeal , stirred it till the cornmeal was cooked and thickened .
She put half in a plate and got the glass jar of milk sitting in a bucket of water to keep it cool and not spoil . She sat Nate in her lap and they had supper , she chopped up the cactus fine for him and gave him milk with a spoon . She told him GOD had provided for them and talked to him . After supper she bathed him and put him on his pallet , he was full and went right to sleep . She cleaned up the pan and plate and bathed herself , put on her gown and brushed her long hair as she did every night .

The sun was down with just a red glow on the western horizon , she took the oil lamp Hosea had made out of a metal bowl and homemade flax wick out of one of her petticoats . It was smoky and spluttered but worked well enough , she only had four real candles left in the bottom of the bucket the milk stayed in to keep them from melting in the heat . She put the lamp on her left side and reached across the table and picked up their bible she read every night. She started turning pages , she wanted some verse to jump out at her but it did not happen . She closed the bible and pushed it back across the table and started crying uncontrollably , she cried till she was worn out . And she said .

GOD I am scared . I don't know what to do . Hosea left to go to Ellisville five weeks ago and he said he would be back in four days . I'm scared Lord and I'm so tired and worried , I don't know what to do . I don't think I can do this much longer , I fear for him and if something happens to me Nate will die . I thought you might give me hope through your word but that's not happening . I have tried to keep up with what needs be done and I'm wore out .

She laid her face on her arms and cried till there were no more tears .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#13

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:14 pm

She woke up early as usual . It was an hour and a half till sunrise , she put on her dress and belt knife then picked up her bonnet and dropped it on her back pulling the strings over her head and under her chin . She pulled on her shoes and tied them , got up and quietly opened the cabin door walking out and closing it . She gathered the stake rope from the sledge . The moon was out and easy to see as she walked to the pen and saddled the mule .
Then she tied the cow and milked her , there was only about a quart of milk . Swung up on the mule and lead the cow north of the cabin not too far to new grass . She rode back to the cabin and got all the diapers and her one other dress that needed to be washed and layed them on the sledge . She went to the wagon behind the livestock shed and got the cover sheet for the wagon , carried it to the front of the cabin and spread it out on a bare spot then got all the plums that were ready to dry . She poured them out of the sacks and spread them out . They would have to be turned at least once a day to dry evenly .

The sun was coming up in the east as she carried the milk into the cabin and started warming the left over cactus and cornmeal . Nate needed some meat , she couldn't shoot the rifle well but she was good at fishing . She and Nate ate , she got her washboard and she carried him in her old shawl and put him on the sledge . She went to the livestock shed and got two long willow fishing poles which she also loaded on the sledge along with the two peck baskets . This was going to be a busy day .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#14

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:16 pm

They got to the river , she had been to this spot many times . She leaned the rifle up on a willow close to where she would wash the clothes . She got all the wash carried to the edge of the water then got the fishing poles . Grabbing the rifle she walked half a bow shot down river , she unspooled the line on the poles and baited them . When she warmed up the cornmeal and cactus she left a half handful in the pan to warm and thicken to use for bait . She pulled it out of her pocket pinched off a piece and worked it into a small ball which she put on the hook . She stuck the butt of the pole in a mass of willow roots and did the same to the second .They walked back down the bank to the laundry .

She got Nate and laid him close as she shaved lye soap and scrubbed the laundry on the board . She wet her fingers and flicked water on his face and he laughed waving his arms . She washed and talked to him till she was done . She washed a lot of flour sacks she used for diapers , seemed like she used the cloth sacks for bout everything . She needed to make a new dress , her two dress's had a lot of patches but she needed material .

She halfway folded all the wet laundry and put it on the sledge , loaded the washboard and soap . She picked Nate up and got the rifle to check their lines . The line on the first one she baited and put in was going around in circles in the water . She pulled bout a two pound blue cat out on the bank . She was unhooking it and telling Nate they would have a nice supper . She pulled a little stick out of her dress pocket wound with cord , took her knife and poked a small hole in the catfishes bottom lip and slid the cord through . Tied a loop in the other end and passed through and pulled it tight .She set the catfish back in the water...left him a little slack so he wouldn't fight the line .

She rebaited the line and threw it back . Checked the other pole and the bait was gone so rebaited and threw it out also . They headed for the plum thicket .


Topic author
chuck j
Senior Member
Posts in topic: 973
Posts: 1983
Joined: Fri May 17, 2013 12:44 pm

Re: Tumbleweeds

#15

Post by chuck j » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:20 pm

When they got to the thicket she spread her laundry over the plum bushes to dry after she had found a nice shady spot to put Nate . She got her baskets and started picking more plums . She had never seen so many plums , it was a good year for them . She worked around the east side of the thicket and gasped when she looked and saw a huge patch of lambs quarter ! She loved lambs quarter ! She finished the second basket and toted them to the sledge checking Nate on the way . Then she went back hiked up the front of her dress and tucked the sides up under her belt leaving a pouch in the front . She started pulling tops off the lambs quarters and filling her dress . It didn't take long to get a big mess , she just broke the tops off so the plant that it would put out branches and make even more . This patch would be here till the really hot weather came .

She got Nate and folded her laundry loading it on the sledge then went back to get their catfish . She took the rifle and Nate to fetch the fish and when they got there both poles had another fish on . She pulled them in , got one bout same size as the last one and one that would go five pounds or better . She put both on a string and left em for tomorrow just took the first one caught.

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