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    • It was long, tedious work, even though, for the most part, it was just plodding along with the cows, making sure they all stayed together and went the right way they were supposed to.  Even after the wind picked up, there were only a few mavericks who tried to wander off on their own, but the drag riders managed to coax them back to the herd.   As the day progressed, Annie became less jiggy, and Justus could tell she was getting tired.  "It's all right, Miz Annie."  He patted the horse's neck, then tightened the bandanna that was keeping his hat from blowing away.   "Ya think this is just a dry wind?" Justus called to Loredo, "or somethin' more movin' in?"  There wasn't the smell of rain in the air yet, nor clouds, but he knew that the weather could change quickly.  "Will they try ta settle in camp early?"  It seemed to him that if there was 'weather' moving in, it was better to have the cattle settled than moving, but what did he know? He just hoped it didn't impact supper!   @Flip
    • "Wonderful!"  Jonah almost clapped, for this had been going on for so long, that he really expected that this would be some sort of new setback, and Leah certainly didn't need any more complications.  "I'm sure it's going to be a huge relief when they finally break ground.  It's going to be rewarding to watch it take shape, and for you to know you are responsible for it."   He hoped, for her sake more than anything, that the weather cooperated, and that the progress was swift and without complications.    "You'll be overseeing the project?"  He couldn't imagine that she'd step back now, and not assure that every detail was right.   @Flip
    • "Boss, we found us a herd ripe for the pluckin'. Maybe we oughtta move on it afore they change where they're grazin' 'em, an make it more difficult." Toole suggested. "We can take close to a hunderd head easy enough, they move 'em, thet might not be the way of it."   "'Scuse me men, but Toole here is on to something, and cattle is our other business. We've customers waiting up north." Case said, not happy at being interrupted, yet realizing that what he said was true. It was why they were there, and it was what the did. "So go on and make yourselves to home while I get this job situated."   "Oh sure thing, Case, an thanks for the offer. We appreciate it, 'mon boys." Shannon said, and with that they walked outside to find the other building Case was talking about.   "Alright Toole what did you have in mind?" Case asked.   "The place is just at the foothills where they have their cattle. Now any buildin's 'er maybe a mile, mile'n a half away. What we saw was just maybe four riders wit the cattle, may not hav'ta kill any of 'em. We just filter down through the trees and then rush 'em. Maybe eight 'er ten of us, circle the heard an' push 'em back the way we come which was the long way around , and shore they'll be tracks alomst all the way to the dry river bed, maybe  whot, two mile from the tree line. Hard ground to river bed, but they won't catch us, not seein's they're out numbered."   Case gave it some thought, but Toole had been plotting how they would steal a herd for quite a while, and he knew what he was doing. Besides, no County Sheriff, no problem!   "Pick your men, Toole and get it done." Case said, knowing if they got a hundred head, that would be enough to drive north, once the brands were altered.
    • Having a second thought, to bolster the findings he sent for Fairchild before he could leave for New Orleans, and in the vicinity of Elinor Steelgrave, that could be done at another time after this meeting with Elias himself.   It was like hedging his bet on the situation. He wanted Elias to meet the man who could explain what was in the file in detail, much better than he himself.  might be able to. Nothing like being prepared. Elias could be unpredictable when upset, if a man like Fairchild explaining what he had found could manage to keep Steelgrave manage-ably clam then the expense was worth it to all concerned.   He had to congratulate himself on the idea. It just might work!
    • List in hand, they made their way back to town and to the Anderson's Mercantile where they laid out their list of needs. John and Mary Agnes looked over the list and began adding prices, plus shipping where it was warranted.   "So, you're in the mining business Marshal?" John asked.   "We are." Alice replied with a wide proud smile on her face. Speed just looked at her.   "Amos here found a property to good to pass up, so I bought it myself." Speed said, "Actually two properties, the other on is off to the west, but this one is just north of the Evergreen Ranch a couple of miles."   "Ah that would be the Henshaw mine. Sad about his wife passing on so suddenly. Life can be hard out here, it was just too hard for Martha Henshaw, though she tried as hard as anyone could." Mary Agnes said. "Most all of what you have here we have in stock. Most all of this was on Henshaw's list as well, he just quit before he paid for it. I believe we can give you a good price on the machinery out back. Right John?"   "Yes we can, The fact is Speed I'll let you have it at our cost, plus the shipping expenses, of course. Be good to free up that room back there. Let me see here at my cost, yes, well, it looks to be just under three thousand dollars, without the things we have in stock that wasn't Henshaw's."   Fair enough John, and we appreciate it. Now, if you'll let me get up to the bank, we want to use their money until we get started, and then we'll settle up."   "Makes sense to me, it's what we did. Hated those monthly payments, but it worked for us." John agreed.   "We'll be back." Speed promised.

Wyatt Has a Caller


Weedy
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Mature Content: No

With: W&W
Location: The Ranch and Environs
When: May/ 1875
Time of Day: Morning

 

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Finally! 

 

Even though it had only been a few weeks, to Weedy it seemed like it had been months since the dance, when the boys had first schemed get together out at Wyatt's dad's farm, a place far more interesting than anything in town, at least to Weedy's thinking.  He'd pestered Miss Addy for days, until the arrangements had finally been made and the date set.

 

And Addy had even offered to let him ride her mare, Arabesque, so he had a horse while he was out there.  Of course, she insisted on escorting him as far as the road to the farm, since she had a delivery to make 'out that way', and she'd meet him when it was time to come home.  Still, he had a horse, and a friend, and no school...how good could it get?!

 

The farm was only a few minutes from the crossroads, and when it came into sight, Weedy gigged Arabesque into a gallop -- may as well make a grand entrance -- then pulled the mare to a sliding stop in front of the house.

 

"Wyatt!  I'm here!"

 

@Wayfarer

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From inside Wyatt heard the horse's approach before Weedy even let a yell out. He had been sitting at the kitchen table working on his arithmetic problems. He hated numbers. Clara helped him with it sometimes but his big sister had this annoying habit of saying  "you need to do this yourself too, I am not about to do it all for you". And yet some folks thought she was such a good sister. She had her faults.

 

Dropping his pencil he scrambled to the door then opened it. Sure enough, it was Weedy and on a fine horse too! Wyatt stepped out, he was barefooted but didn't pay that no mind.

 

"Hey, so you made it!" he stated the obvious.

 

"How long can you stay for?" he absolutely needed to know this important detail.

 

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"Hey!"  Grinning, Weedy slid off the mare then loosened her cinch and tied her to the rail with the lead rope on her halter.  "Two days, Miz Addy says.  And she let me use her horse, and she rides double, if you don't have one to ride." 

 

He was really excited, it hadn't been often that he'd had a chance to just play with a kid his own age, and have the whole of the outdoors, a horse, a pond, a stream, plenty of trees...it was a boy's dream!

 

"I have my stuff, Miz Addy made me bring my toothbrush, and she sent some bread for your pa."  He grinned.  "Don't worry, she didn't make it, she got it from the Lickskillet!"

 

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"Two whole days!" Wyatt's eyes went wide, "That's great!"

 

As for the horse, Wyatt was a bit jealous as he admitted, "Pa won't let me ride ours yet. He said maybe with my next birthday."

 

"I have my stuff, Miz Addy made me bring my toothbrush, and she sent some bread for your pa."  He grinned.  "Don't worry, she didn't make it, she got it from the Lickskillet!"

 

Wyatt chuckled, "That bad huh? Then who knows, my sister probably baked it. She works there you know?"

 

"Anyhow, we are gonna have a great time. Why don't you get that bread and bring it inside. We can put it in the kitchen," he suggested.

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"Yeah, sure!"  Weedy dug in the saddle pack and pulled out two bundles wrapped in clean cloth.  "I know Clara, she's really nice...I help out there sometimes, and she and Miz Emeline will give me cookies and things."  Sometimes, the work was actually worth it, too!  

 

"I want to see the house, too!"  Now that he had something to actually compare it to, Weedy wanted to see what a real farm house was like.  "Do you have your own room?"  It would be pretty bad, he thought, to have to share a room with a girl!  But Wyatt didn't smell all rosy, so probably not!

 

"We should ask if we can sleep on the trail!"  They had the horse, after all, they could ride out a ways and make a camp, with a fire and everything, and sleep under the stars!  Of course, that would be after the swimming and climbing trees and exploring and maybe some hunting...

 

He wanted to make the most of the visit, even if his plans were pretty ambitious!

 

@Wayfarer

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Weedy produced the freshly baked bread, if Wyatt begged enough, they could probably eat it with some of the butter from their very own cow. Clara tended to ration the butter though not everyday use. This was definitely a special day though.

 

"I know Clara, she's really nice...I help out there sometimes, and she and Miz Emeline will give me cookies and things," Weedy declared.

 

"She ain't always so nice, she is kinda strict but maybe she'll be on her best behavior cuz you're company," Wyatt didn't want Weedy to go overboard on Clara.

 

"I want to see the house, too! Do you have your own room?"  the boy sure was curious.

 

"Come on then, we can go inside for awhile. And nope, when we were younger, me n' Clara shared a bed but then Pa decided she needed her own bed cuz she is a young lady now. You know what he means," Wyatt answered as he waved him to follow him on inside.

 

"I sleep up in the loft, you can't stand up in it but it's fine and dandy for sleeping," he added.

 

Wyatt deliberately did not answer Weedy's trail sleeping suggestion, he knew what Pa and Clara would think of that one. NO.

 

@Bongo

 

 

 

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"Wow, a loft!"  Well, Weedy knew about lofts in barns, but not in houses, and it sounded pretty exciting!  So much that he completely forgot about camping (squirrel!). 

 

"This is really nice," he declared, looking around as they entered the house.  The house that Miz Addy had bought for them was good, and he even had his own room, but they hadn't really been in it long enough for it to feel like home.  But Wyatt's house had all those personal things that made it lived in, what he imagined a real house should be like.

 

"Girls smell all flowery, I wouldn't want to share a room with one."  Well, except Miz Addy, who smelled like horses and fresh hay, except recently she'd been smelling a bit like flowers too, but he wasn't sure what that was about!

 

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Wyatt led him into his home, it wasn't big but it was clean and comfortable. Wyatt was quietly proud of it and pleased that Weedy was duly impressed.

 

"Girls smell all flowery, I wouldn't want to share a room with one," declared the boy.

 

Just then Clara emerged from her father's bedroom with some bedding in her arms.  She had heard the boys chattering outside and now even more clearly once they were inside.

 

"Hello Weedy, do not fret, you shall not be sharing a room with one."

 

"Hmm, do I smell bread?"

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"Yes, Miss Clara."  Grinning, Weedy handed her the bread.  She was at that awkward age for a boy, that she was too old to refer to by her given name, but really wasn't so old as to be a 'Ma'am'!

 

"Miz Addy sent some bread," he explained, holding out the package, then telling Clara what he'd told Wyatt.  "She got it from the Lickskillet, so she didn't cook it."  He grinned.  "She makes black bread!  And then the whole room smells burnt for a week!"  It was safe to say that, since she wasn't here!

 

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"Oh stop with the 'miss'," Clara tutted, "My Christian name will do just fine."

 

The young lady then accepted the bread, "Why that is certainly kind of Addy. You be sure to tell her thank you from the Redmonds now."

 

Wyatt laughed at the black bread story. Clara, as was her wont, just barely cracked a hint of a smile at best.

 

"There actually is a black bread. I had some once in Pennsylvania, a woman from Russia made it. But sounds like that is not what Addy made. Oh well, we all have our strongpoints and weaknesses no doubt, Addy more than makes up for her lack of culinary skills," Clara explained.

 

"Cul narry?" Wyatt raised one eyebrow, her sister always used fancy words he didn't understand.

 

"Cooking...baking skills," the girl clarified.

 

Wyatt nodded, "Yeah, right. Anyhow, Weedy, should we go do some stuff?"

 

The boys were certainly not about to spend a whole lot of time with his boring sister.

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"Why that is certainly kind of Addy. You be sure to tell her thank you from the Redmonds now."

 

"Yes, Miss...Clara."  Well, she wasn't a teacher or anything, and she'd given her permission to just call her 'Clara', so now he'd just have to get used to dropping the 'miss'.

 

"There actually is a black bread. I had some once in Pennsylvania, a woman from Russia made it. But sounds like that is not what Addy made. Oh well, we all have our strongpoints and weaknesses no doubt, Addy more than makes up for her lack of culinary skills," Clara explained.

 

"And cooking surely isn't for Miz Addy," Weedy chuckled.  And Clara was right, people were better at some things and not so better at others, and that was what made people work.

 

"Cul narry?" Wyatt raised one eyebrow, her sister always used fancy words he didn't understand.

 

"Cooking...baking skills," the girl clarified.

 

Glancing at Wyatt, Weedy shrugged.  Why not just say 'cooking' if that was what you meant?  But there were plenty of adults who used bigger words than they had to, but at least for Clara, he didn't think it was to show how smart she was.

 

Wyatt nodded, "Yeah, right. Anyhow, Weedy, should we go do some stuff?"

 

"Yes!  That's why I'm here.  I've never been on a farm, I want to see everything!"  And he reckoned there was a lot to see, even if Wyatt didn't think so.

 

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"Yes!  That's why I'm here.  I've never been on a farm, I want to see everything!"

 

"Well then, we'll be back later, Clara. In time for lunch," Wyatt then led his friend outside.

 

"I reckon we could start with the barn. It ain't a big one but we keep our plow horse in there and we also got a milk cow, Bessie, but she is eatin' grass right now in pasture," the boy started talking about the animals and did not stop until he had also covered the chickens in the coop too.

 

"We got another horse too for riding but Pa took it. He should be back for lunch too," he explained.

 

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Weedy was impressed with the cow, although there were chickens in town, and of course, he'd lived in the Millegan Stage barn with Miz Addy off and on for a while, and it was much bigger than the one here.  Still, it was fun to see what a regular farm barn was like, and to actually see hens sitting on their eggs.

 

"Can you milk the cow?" he asked, peering through the fence at the beast, "I've never seen that done, is it hard?"  It actually seemed a little yucky to touch cows' teats, and he wondered if they were slimy, which would make it all the better!

 

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Weedy was thrilled about Bessie the milk cow, which kind of amazed Wyatt being a farm boy. To him it was just a cow. But an important one to the family.

 

"Can you milk the cow?" he asked, peering through the fence at the beast, "I've never seen that done, is it hard?"

 

"Oh of course we can milk it...........oh you mean me myself? Sure I can, I have to do it sometimes but all of us can milk her," Wyatt answered.

 

"It's not really hard, nope. Once you get the hang of it. Besides cows like being milked. If you didn't milk'em, the cow gets really upset...well unless a calf drinks it. But we don't have any calves. "

 

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"They get mad?"  Weedy couldn't imagine a cow being mad about anything, much the less why they'd get upset because they didn't get milked, but what did he know?

 

"Yeah, show me what to do, then I can try."  Addy had always encouraged him to try new things and learn what he could, so he may as well give it a go.  "Does she have a name?  Can I pet her?"  After all, if he was going to be milking her, he probably should be able to pet her, right?

 

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"Well, not mad exactly. More like upset. They're holding in a lot of milk in those udders," Wyatt tried to explain.

 

"Yeah, show me what to do, then I can try," Weedy seemed eager, "Does she have a name?  Can I pet her?"

 

"Alright we can do that. There's a pail in the barn," Wyatt started that direction, "Her name is Bess or Bessie. Clara said it is short for Elizabeth. Who cares, right?"

 

They entered the barn, "You can pet her. She don't bite. Just never stand directly behind a cow. They can kick but also, they sometimes just lift their tails and out comes all that....well, you know...cow shit."

 

He could use that word now because neither Clara nor his father were in earshot.

 

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Weedy laughed and nodded.  "Same with horses, too, gotta watch their tails!"  Fortunately, Weedy had never been pooped on, but there had been some close calls!  "Miz Addy says with hoses, you either stay right up behind them or way back, so if they do kick, it's not so bad."

 

But, of course, it was best just to stay clear of the backside at all!  So, Weedy went up to the front, where he stroked the cow's nose.  "Hello, I'm Weedy, and we're going to milk you, so don't get mad, all right?"

 

Sure, she didn't understand what he was saying, but she'd understand the tone.  He glanced at Wyatt.  "How much milk does she have?  Does she have it every day?"  Like, how long did it take to fill up again?

 

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"She's right, I know about horses. Pa said he saw a man get kicked in the head once by one and he lost his eye, yuck!"  Wyatt declared, boys his age loved that gory stuff though least in their imaginations.

 

Wyatt was bemused to watch the other boy introduce himself to the cow, "Don't expect Bess to answer ya."

 

"How much milk does she have?  Does she have it every day?"  Like, how long did it take to fill up again?"

 

Gee, the boy sure had enough questions. Wyatt now pulled up a small stool and a bucket then made his way toward the back flank.

 

"A lot. And yep, every day. If they don't make milk they're pretty well useless and we'd probably just have to butcher her and eat her," he answered as best he could.

 

"Alright, I will do it first, you watch me, then you can try, it's not that hard," Wyatt explained as he plopped down on the stool.

Wyatt.jpg

 

 

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"I know she won't answer."  Weedy rolled his eyes, then grinned, moving up behind Wyatt to get a good view of what was being done.  And Wyatt was a good teacher, explaining what he was doing so that when it was Weedy's turn to try, he actually did a pretty decent job of it.

 

With the bucket reasonably filled and the cow reasonably emptied, Weedy looked at his friend.  "That's better than mucking stalls, that's certain!  I don't know what's worse, chores or homework.  But we're going to have fun, right?"  Of course, to the boy who lived in town, just about anything out in the country would be fun!

 

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Weedy turned out to be a good learner, Wyatt didn't even have to say much in the way of pointers as the other boy did a nice job of hitting and filling the bucket. He was also jubilant.

 

"That's better than mucking stalls, that's certain!  I don't know what's worse, chores or homework.  But we're going to have fun, right?" 

 

"Homework!" Wyatt had a ready answer to that one, "especially arithmetic."

 

Next he showed the boy the chicken coop, "We let run free for awhile when we first got here and bought 'em but then a fox or weasel or somethin' started stealing and killin' em. So we had to make a fence. We like fresh eggs, how do you n' Addy eat yours?

 

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Weedy had seen chicken coops in town, although not this big, and chickens were...well, they didn't hunt or attack anything, although that would be interesting...killer chickens!

 

He laughed to himself, then answered, "Miz Addy can cook eggs pretty well...boiled or scrambled or fried."  He laughed.  "She says that if you just have them with bacon, it doesn't matter how bad they're cooked, and I think she's right!"

 

Actually, until Miz Addy had taken him on as her charge, he'd tended to find breakfast elsewhere.  "Miss Clara makes good eggs, and flapjacks, too.  She and Miz Emeline give me breakfast sometimes if I sweep or pull weeds."  He laughed.  "It's worth it, they have real good food!"

 

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 "Miz Addy can cook eggs pretty well...boiled or scrambled or fried."  He laughed.  "She says that if you just have them with bacon, it doesn't matter how bad they're cooked, and I think she's right!"

 

"I love'em any of those ways. And bacon too, who could look at a pig and think they tasted so goshdarn good?" Wyatt nodded.

 

"Miss Clara makes good eggs, and flapjacks, too.  She and Miz Emeline give me breakfast sometimes if I sweep or pull weeds."  He laughed.  "It's worth it, they have real good food!"

 

"I will give my sister credit, she is a real fine cook. Which means Pa doesn't have to cook, probably a good thing," Wyatt smiled.

 

That also left Wyatt with a perfect opening for his question, "Hey, how did you get your name, Weedy? That can't be your real name? Aren't you supposed ta have a saints name?"

 

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"I guess because Miz Addy said I was as big as a dandelion weed."  Weedy shrugged.  "That was a few years ago, so I guess that was true, especially compared to the horses!"

 

He could remember those first days, when he'd wander into the barn and Miz Addy would give him a comb to work on the 'feathers' that decorated the massive hooves, or she'd even set him on the broad back of one of the horses and let him watch her work.

 

"Then she said I was growing as fast as a weed!"  He shrugged again.  "My name is really Porter James, but I don't think there's a Saint Porter."  Well, he wasn't Catholic, so what did he know about Saints?  "Is there a Saint Wyatt?"

 

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Wyatt grinned, "Well you grown some since then. Me, I'm hoping I get at least as tall as Pa. And taller than Clara but then she ain't short."

 

Weedy revealed, "My name is really Porter James, but I don't think there's a Saint Porter." 

 

"Porter, I can see why you prefer Weedy," obviously Wyatt wasn't thrilled with the other boy's name.

 

 "Is there a Saint Wyatt?" Weedy now asked.

 

"Course there is!  Yer lookin' at him!" Wyatt poked himself in the chest and gave a Cheshire Cat smile.

 

 

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Weedy rolled his eyes, giving Wyatt a playful shove.  "Don't you hafta be dead or something to be a saint?"  He wasn't sure, he wasn't Catholic, and they were the ones with the saints, at least he thought so.  "And you have to do something great," he continued the challenge.  "So, what was the miracle you did?  Milking cows don't count!"

 

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