Tumbleweeds

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chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#466

Post by chuck j » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:08 pm

Wade went in and brought out a burlap bag of the old corn they were feeding the livestock and sat it on the ground with an empty bag . Zeke and Captain Jack came wheeling out a tall stand on wheels made of log rounds about eight feet tall ! It had a bottom box look to be about three feet square with an eight inch sliding gate on the front of the box . Four feet above it there was another box about two feet square directly over the center of the bottom box . The top box had about twenty small holes in the center . There was about four feet between the two boxes . The two uprights that held the top box was a ladder .


Zeke brought out the corn sheller and clamped it on the side of the bottom box while wade poured two buckets of corn out of the full bag . There were two hooks on the top of the bottom box on either side of the sliding gage in front and Captain Jack hooked a burlap bag on them .

Zeke said ...What do you think Ma'am ? She said slowly ...What does it do ? Captain Jack proudly said ...It's a corn box and winnower ! Plus you can use the bottom box with the gate to bag the corn ! We will show you !

Zeke started dropping cob corn in the sheller and curned the crank shelling it into the bottom box . After he shelled about ten ears he pulled the sliding gate in front and pushed it with his hand into the bag on the hooks just to show how it worked .
Wade climbed a few steps up the ladder on the back and Zeke handed him a bucket of the shelled corn and Wade dumped it in the top box . The corn came out the holes in the bottom of the box falling into the bottom box as the breeze carried away the dirt and cob bits downwind . They did another bucket then Zeke just raked it into the bag with his hand .


She said ...That is so fast and easy ! You could really bag a lot of corn quickly compared to hand winnowing ! How did you think of it ! Zeke said ...We had a big one on the farm when I was a slave . I just described it and we made a smaller one . We can keep it inside the shed to shell and bag corn and roll it out when we would winnow but that's only corn to grind for cornmeal . You can use it for any grain and we have our own mill so we need not have to buy flour if we grow our own wheat but then we would have to figure out a thrasher ! And he laughed .

They rolled it back in the shed and put everything up . Zeke swung up with her and everyone went to the cabin . Zeke sat a bucket of water on the coals to warm for her bath . Sam said ...I can move back to the shed to sleep if ya'll will carry my bedding out there . Wade picked it up went to the shed and laid it out for Sam . Wade and Captain Jack unharnessed the black mule and put the cart up . Zeke washed the dishes with Don .


Everything was done . They all sat on the porch and drank tea . There was much talk . The sun was just from touching the edge of the earth and she told them ...I don't know what to say to all of you . You have taken care of me . You all worried for me and given me things I never thought of having . My life is better because of you and your caring . You are my family that GOD has given . To say thank you does not seem enough . Wade said ...We understand , GOD is working in our lives . We all feel the same .

They went to bathe and get some rest . Zeke stayed behind , he helped her to the bed and got the bucket of water from the fireplace . She bathed Nate and Zeke put him on his pallet with the pup . She told Zeke ...You need not stay with me tonight , I will be fine ! You sleep with the others and get some rest . Zeke hesitated and said ...I am always here if you need me !

She hugged him and said ...I know ! Zeke walked out closing the door . She bathed and put on her gown . It was hard going to sleep thinking about all that had happened today for her .

Don had a hard time going to sleep also .


Topic author
chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#467

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:16 am

She awoke the next morning . She laid a bit thinking about yesterday . She sat up and it hurt her side , she wanted to make them a big breakfast but knew she couldn't . It would be foolish to open up her wound and they would all have a fit and if Zeke came in and saw her up and caught her working he would shut her down . Although unhappy about it she would make up for it later with pecan pies or some such thing . She did get up and kindle the fire making a pot of coffee moving slowly .

Zeke came in and saw her up sitting at the table drinking coffee and said ...OH yea ! Your up roamin around building fires , makin coffee and no tellin what else ! Bet you was goin ta start breakfast ! I don't stay with you one night and your up goin hog wild doin stuff ! I can't not watch you a second !

She looked at him and said ...Settle down . I just started the fire and made the coffee . She laughed and said … I'm not going to hurt myself but I can't stay in the bed , I promise I'll be careful . She laughed as he ranted making breakfast and treating her like a child .

In a bit he said ...I am actin crazy ...ain't I ! She said ...Yep . Then he started again saying ...WELL ! It's your fault ! Your drivin me crazy by not takin care of yourself ! Captain Jack walked in and said ...Whats all the noise about ? She laughed and told him . Captain Jack said ...She ought to be able to do a little but no lifting , bending , pulling , or the like . Zeke was quiet a min and said ...I'm just actin crazy I guess ! She said ...No your just over protecting me because you love me ! But I'm not going to hurt myself ...we have a lot of logging to do and I want to get better and help .Zeke settled down and got breakfast made .


Wade , Sam and Don came in got some coffee and set the table . Wade said ...What was all the loud talk ? Zeke said she's tryin to kill herself ! Sam said ...How is she tryin to kill herself ? Captain Jack quickly said ...By makin a pot of coffee ! They all laughed ...even Zeke .


Topic author
chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#468

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:17 am

Everyone got two eggs , there was fried potatoes with onions , ham and frybread . They all complimented Zeke on a fine breakfast ! Don said ...I'm sure getting spoiled here . Good food , good place to sleep and good company . I'm going to hate to leave and go to Waco .

Captain Jack said ...Sam and I must leave too . Headquarters is sending people out to find me and Sam . Investigating Hosea's death and with her and Sam getting wounded has kept us too long . We will ride with you as far as Graham to Ranger Headquarters there Don , I don't see the need of you riding alone . We need to prepare to leave day after tomorrow . I have already asked Sam and he says he can ride that far .


Wade said ...I have a favor to ask Captain . Could I travel with ya'll taking my cattle to Fort Graham ? I know it will slow you down but it would really help me out . If I don't get em off the river they are just going to stray off anyway . Captain Jack said Certainly ! There would be four of us in case there is trouble , it's a good thing . But he added ...I hate to see you travel back here alone ….or are you coming back ?

This was a question her and Zeke had wondered about , they didn't know if Wade would stay or move on . Wade quickly said ...Oh ! I am planning to come back here if Her and Zeke will have me ! I have no place else I want to go , I am at home here . Zeke and her smiled and assured him this was his home ! They wanted him to be with them .


Captain Jack said ...There is much to do , Zeke may we use your packsaddles and two horses to haul the guns and ammunition taken from the Comanche to Fort Graham ? Zeke said ...Sure ! And coming back Wade can bring us supplies from Eliasville ! It will work out fine ! She said ...We all have much to do .


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chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#469

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:18 am

Zeke and her offered to help them any way they could . Zeke told them to bring their dirty clothes and bedding and he would take it to the river and do all the laundry . She said ...We will make food for your journey and Sam I will sew up your shirt Wade had to cut to get off your arm . Tell us what we can do to help !


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chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#470

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:19 am

They started leaving out the door and she told Zeke ...Stay with me for a little while . I have something I want to talk to you about . Zeke got them another cup of coffee and they sat and talked . She started out ...I wanted to talk to you about Wade ……..


Topic author
chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#471

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:20 am

After her and Zeke talked she made cracker dough and made a lot of salt crackers . She made a lot of hard fudge that would hold up to the heat . She moved slow and washed several lard buckets with lids for them to take things . She packed dried meat in folded flour sacks . She was heart broke they had to leave but getting them ready was the priority now .


She , Zeke and Wade would talk this afternoon .


Topic author
chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#472

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:20 am

Zeke came in and made some quick bread in the Dutch oven , he cut the last of the meat off the huge ham brought back from Eliasville for sandwiches . He gave her the mustard seed , vinegar , salt , pepper and she made mustard for the sandwiches . Zeke broke the ham bone up and started boiling it to make beans for supper ...He would add a little bacon . They were about out of bacon also , they would just use it for seasoning in beans to make it go farther till Wade got back with supplies .


Zeke and her talked more ...this was serious business talk . They would talk to wade and Captain Jack would be there to help . The men came in to eat , they had been trimming horses feet for the trip and getting ready . When they came in Captain Jack had two of the Henrys taken from the Comanche and one 1873 Winchester with ammunition for them . He gave the 1873 to Zeke a Henry to Wade and the other he was going to leave for a spare rifle with a LOT of cartridges . He also gave them two extra Colt Army pistols with molds and odds and ends with two full powder horns and many caps ! They were well armed !


They ate and started back out to finish trimming hooves and Zeke asked Wade and Captain Jack to stay and talk .


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chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#473

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:22 am

Zeke got Captain Jack , her , Wade and himself a glass of tea and sat down . She said ...Wade Me and Zeke wanted to talk to you about a business deal . We would want to know if you would like to put your land in with ours and join together . I have Four hundred aches and you have eight hundred but mine is more valuable here on the river so I think it is fair . We want to work together with you to start a paying business . We fully trust you and love having you here and working with you .

I asked Captain Jack to be here to witness all we say and to help us ...he knows much about business and we all trust him . Is that something you would consider ? Wade thought a min and said ...I would love to but my property is worthless without water , I would be cheating you . Captain Jack said ...Wade in the panhandle big ranches are starting using windmills like we mentioned a while back , if there is water under your land ...it is valuable . Wade said ...I would love to work this and my place into a paying business but you already know I have no money . She said ...I have no money either ! Less than ten dollars ! But I know we are willing to work and I love and have faith in both of you ! I think we can do it and am willing to try !

Wade and her had not asked Zeke for anything in hand because he didn't have much , they just depended on him for being the good man he was to do his share of the work . Zeke said ...I got a little money I'll go get it and we will see how much ! Wade , Captain Jack and her said nothing knowing he didn't know how much it would really cost . They didn't want to embarrass or shame him and would play up big whatever he contributed .


He came back in with a leather bag they figured was full of nickels and dimes and laid in on the table . He said ...I haven't counted it in a year or so ...lets see how much we got ! Wade hesitated to pour it out because he knew Zeke had very little for something as big as they planned on doing . But he poured the small bag out and it was all gold coin ! Zeke said ...Lets count it ! and he pulled a small pile to him . They added it up and she said ...There is nearly seven thousand dollars here ! Zeke smiled and said ...The trading business can be good sometimes ! I been living in the saddle for eight years selling goods , trading horses and such . I never buy anything so I just saved it !


They were speechless .


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chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#474

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:23 am

She said ...This is a fortune Zeke ! Are you sure you want to bet it on a dream ? He said ...I have ya'll whatever happens so yes . They talked a long time . They agreed to start Zeke would be in charge of farming , Wade in charge of livestock (when they got some) and she would manage business and money . Things might change or shift around but push come ta shove they all worked together just like they had been . They all shook on it and Captain Jack drew up a contract .


She said ...We need to call it a ranch not just a farm . I would like to be given the privilege to name it . Zeke and Wade thought it was better to call it a ranch also . Zeke asked ...What will be the name of our ranch ?


She said it will be the...Black Mule Ranch !


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chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#475

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:01 pm

They discussed many things , letters were written and signed . They all gave Captain Jack written authority to act and sign in their behalf anything he needed to .


She said to Captain Jack ...We have placed a great burden on you to take care of our business far away . I truly hope we can repay you one day . Captain Jack said … Your friendship is enough , you would do the same for me ! We will correspond through the mail .

Zeke and Wade went behind the shed to help with the horses and she walked slowly to the pens opening the gate where the black mule and cow were . She went in and the black mule lowered his head with his ears down and walked to her .

She scratched the bottoms of his ears hard as he held his head down and she said ...You brought us from Iowa , you helped us build this home , you stayed with Hosea till you came back here to me and Nate . You warn us of danger , you are the one chosen for all jobs and when things get hard you lean into your collar and pull the load . You are always there and you are a good and loyal mule , you serve without question . You are a gift .


Topic author
chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#476

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:09 pm

Zeke washed all that was dirty . The Rangers and Wade had their saddlebags and Zeke's pack saddles ready . The horses feet were trimmed , food was being prepared . Her and Zeke dreaded to see them leave , it would just be her , Zeke and Nate again . Wade was coming back but they might never see Sam and Captain Jack again because of the distance between them .

They had a good supper of beans and cornbread , Zeke made frybread with sugar and cinnamon . They talked of preparation for the journey . After the supper they sat on the porch and drank tea till the sun went down . there was an unspoked sadness that they would soon be separated .

She awoke the next morning . She thought for a long time sitting on the side of her bed . It was their last day together and although she was heart sick about it she had to support them . She put on her new blue dress and good bonnet , she brushed her hair smooth and tied it with a red ribbon . She was determined to make their last day here a good day .


She heard them moving the stock to grass and drawing water from the well . She heard them talking and laughing together realizing she had taken that for granted till now . She made pancake dough and sliced bacon , she got dried meat soaking in a pot to make stew for lunch and supper . She wanted them to have a good memory of this last day to take with them .

Zeke came in to cook breakfast and jumped on her about preparing the makings for breakfast , She just said ...Zeke lets give them a good day to remember us . Lets make today a day to serve them . They have a long dangerous trip ahead of them .

Zeke said nothing but walked over to her sitting at the table bent over and held her . He stood up and pulled her ponytail through his hand and said … you have your nice dress on and your good bonnet and you put a ribbon in your hair . They are going to tell you your pretty ...but you know that ! You are always pretty to me !

The men came in and she told them to sit down , that her and Zeke would get everything . They all told her how pretty she looked this morning , especially Wade . She got them coffee as Zeke made pancakes and bacon . They all talked to each other about what still needed be done today .

Wade said to Don ...I want to gather my cows to the bend in the river so when we pass to the ford we can have them ready to go . Would you like to help me gather them up ? I'm sure some have wandered upriver or out on the prairie . Don said ...Sure ! I'd be glad to !

Toward the end of breakfast she made an announcement ! She said … When we are finished eating I'm going to give you all a haircut ! You all look like wild men that have been living it the woods ! You will leave looking civilized ! She said ...Look at Zeke ! He hasn't trimmed his beard since I have known him ! They all laughed .


She got her scissors , clippers , Hosea's straight razor , shaving soap and a comb . Zeke put a gun port seat on the porch and they sat on the bench outside on the porch waiting for their turn . They laughed a lot at each one getting a haircut . Sam told her ...I'll take a full shave ma'am , my wife will not even recognize me with a beard ! They had fun with it , all claiming their hats were too loose on their head after getting a haircut .

They all went to do what was needed .
Wade and Don saddled up and headed upriver to gather the cows into the bend . Sam and Captain Jack cleaned the pens and finished the big water trough . Captain Jack would not let Sam do any hard work with his bad arm , he did the heavy work . They wanted to leave her and Zeke in as good a shape as they possibly could .


Her and Zeke made a list of supplies needed from Eliasville for Wade to get on his way home . They counted out a hundred dollars in gold to give him to pay and leave money on their account at the store to give them credit in the future . They wanted to build a good reputation dealing fairly with people . Wade was to have a letter to change the account to the ..Black Mule Ranch .


She and Zeke worked at preparing food and things to take with them .


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chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#477

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:10 pm

Wade and Don were riding to the bend , it was a beautiful cool morning . They talked as they rode about getting haircuts laughing . Don told Wade he hated to leave , there was something here that seemed peaceful although there was still danger always with them . Wade said ...Do you think all people are basically good ?


Don thought on it and said ...I like to think people are basically good but there are many that are not .

Wade said ...Don people are not born being good . We are what we are taught and accept . Left to ourselves we are selfish and self serving . You would not even know when to say please or thank you if someone hadn't taught you .


When you look around right now does this place seem beautiful with the river , the trees , the endless prairie , blue sky and birds singing ? Don quickly said ...Yes , it's beautiful here !

Wade said ...We live in a fallen world Don , there is evil since Adam and Eve . Satan walks the earth to destroy people and everything good and beautiful that comes from GOD . But even here there is that evil that comes to destroy what is given by our creator . I am a Baptist , she is Methodist , Captain Jack is Catholic , I don't even know Sam's church and Zeke doesn't have a church but our faith in GOD is the same . We work together , we pray together , we take care of one another and we love each other . There is strength here , GOD is here helping us . She was lead here , Zeke was lead here , Captain Jack and Sam were lead here and I was lead here ….and now your here Don . GOD is working in our lives . We have choice Don .


Do you remember the twenty third psalm Don ? Don said ...I remember it but can't say it word for word . Wade smiled and said ...Maybe our long trip will be a blessing to both of us . And he said …
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Wade spotted a cow and calf out on the prairie and said ...Well time to go to work Don ! He laughed as they took off at a gallop to get behind the cow and calf to start driving them to the bend .


Topic author
chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#478

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:14 pm

She cut up potatoes and onions for the stew . She got some of the hominy Zeke had dried and started the huge pot of stew . She wished she had carrots , celery , and other vegetables to add but with the garden done they would have some soon plus enough to dry for winter . She dreaded winter , the wind here was terrible at times coming from the north across the prairie with nothing to break it . She decided to throw in a half cup of beans so measured and poured them out picking the rocks out and washing them .

Captain Jack and Zeke came in and Captain Jack said ...I will see your wound ma'am , I'll not leave here without it is still healing ! I will wait outside until you prepare for me to look at it . He stepped out on the porch and Zeke asked ...Can I help you change into your gown or would you do it yourself ? She said ...Zeke I can do it , I will take my time . He stepped out on the porch with Captain Jack .


She put on her gown and laid down with a blanket over her and called to them . Captain Jack examined it and said ...It is scabbed over nicely ma'am ! GOD is good ! You must promise me you will not break it open ! It is hot weather and you are not to sweat or flex your side ! I feel bad not staying till your completely healed but I know Zeke is here . Do as he tells you ! It will be just you , him and Nate ...DANG! I hate to leave ya'll here by yourself !

She assured him she would be careful and they would be fine but his face was drawn as he listened to her . He said ...You are to be vigilant ! So much can happen out here .I will get Wade back to you as soon as possible ma'am and I will worry till then . You must let me know when you heal by post , you all will be in my prayers everyday . I am so looking forward to taking to my family what I have learned here , I and Sam both have talked and our outlook has changed in many good ways .

She thought and said ...Be patient with them Captain , be understanding ..it could take time . I would love to meet your family one day ! That would be an amazing thing ! I will write your wife , I want to know her too . Maybe one day ...


Topic author
chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#479

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:16 pm

Captain Jack told her to get back to cooking whatever it was in her big pot ...it smelled really good ! Him and and Zeke left . She made cornbread ...four pans , two for today and two for their journey tomorrow to put in lard buckets . She started making oatmeal cookies and sugar cookies with dried plums in her Dutch oven . She cooked all day .

Wade and Don had searched and gathered cattle , they were three short . Wade said ...lets go upriver and really check the shinnery by the river , they probably stayed close to the river . They went almost to the ford and found them all driving them back to the bend . Don said ...We better get on back or they are gonna come looking for us ! Wade laughed and said ...They sure will and you are right ! She will be cooking a big meal because we are leaving in the morning . I am torn about leaving her and Zeke by themselves but things need be done . Wade told him they were starting a ranch . Don said ...Maybe Captain Jack would let me stay to help them ! Between the three of you most likely you will not need me and Captain Jack could report for me at Fort Graham ? Wade said ...That would be great but you need to talk to Captain Jack . They headed back to the cabin .


Topic author
chuck j
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Re: Tumbleweeds

#480

Post by chuck j » Thu Oct 11, 2018 4:17 pm

Her stew was ready with cornbread . She had a big plate of cookies and was also packing them in the small clean lard buckets for the trip . It was something they could eat on horseback that they would like . With the heat any cooked food would only be safe for a day . She packed jerky in a couple of flour sacks rolled up and tied . She sacked enough potatoes to fry for when they camped for two days worth . She felt insufficient , there was only so much would keep and not make them sick due to the heat .

Captain Jack and Zeke started back to the cabin , Zeke had gotten Captain Jack to look at Pie's leg . Pie had had a lot of rest and Captain Jack said ...He looks good to me Zeke , he seems good to ride , there is no limp or anything that seems wrong . Zeke thought so too and told the Captain he would start riding him again .

They were halfway to the cabin and the black mule brayed . Zeke looked and the mule was looking to the east . There was a lone rider in the far distance coming slow . Captain Jack went to the shed to get his rifle and Zeke went on to the cabin to warn her and get his rifle .

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