A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 53: Road Work Ahead

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran


Miserable spring drizzle.

It doesn’t soak you but every thing is wet and slippery.

But you can work in it and we had some work to do. We needed to build and for that we’d need logs, we also need a road to the Nemaha and for that we had to clear trees. Priorities ordered themselves, we’d cut the road and haul the logs back to build with later.

After breakfast Michelle and rode out to make a final decision on which trail to follow, smoothest terrain won out over shortest route. The fellas were back at camp sharpening our axes and I headed back to get them, Michelle would prepare the mules and our pulling trace. Brin happily brought all of our tools out for us and we started in.

Holder and I swapped axes as we worked using the woodsman on the saplings and smaller trees while the logging axe went to work on anything larger. Any tree that was too large we simply detoured around. Amos and Michelle worked around us with hachet and machete clearing brush and trimming branches, once a tree was down and mostly trimmed they would pull it out with the mule team.

It was slow going the first few days as we got our routine down and our muscles started to really harden. Our poor hands were completely miserable and Matilda was treating blisters every night. We slept well and ate hearty, Matilda and the girls would bring out lunch and dinner during the day; the only meals we ate in camp were breakfast and supper. We worked in four hour intervals, work then eat lunch and rest, work then eat dinner and rest, work and head home for supper. Evenings were spent sharpening blades and repairing gear.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Saturday finally arrived and road cutting was done for the week, the weather had slowly improved and while we still had work to do we had a minor respite from swinging the axe. The ladies had been busy around the camp site while we worked.

They had torn out most of the tomato field and replanted a variety of vegetables and grains including my much desired hops. This was a calculated move on our part, average tomato yield for plants like we had was ten tons per acre, we decided we really had no use for fifty tons of tomato. Our corn yield was still expected to be rediculous with nearly five acres of corn at an expected minimum yield of nearly ten thousand ears per acre. Those were the numbers Oscar gave me when chatted about the farm and I had no reason to disbelieve him. Tomato soup with cornbread anyone?

So Saturday was a busy day with maintenance being the number one task, everything had to be checked and maintained. Sonya kept a running log and handed out tasks to insure that nothing was missed.

After all the weekly chores were done Michelle ran everyone through the showers, nobody got clean clothes until they had a clean body. The men were made to shave or at least trim their unruly facial hair and hair trimming was done all the way around. There was some grumbling from the guys but this also meant the end of the work week and it was time to relax.

We BBQ’d that evening, Esther making a sauce her momma had taught her and Amos running the grill like a champ. I made my famous potato salad again and Michelle whipped up an amazing coleslaw that was so good I made sure to question Matilda about how much cabbage we had managed to plant. Venison ribs are a bit lean but they are tasty and the brine they had soaked in made them incredibly tender. Roasted potatoes and roasted onions finished the main offerings. The food was incredibly good.

After supper cleanup we enjoyed the warm spring evening and discussed the successes and challenges of our week. Esther was proud of her work on the leather and told us all about it and even Sonya piped in that she had built a frame and started oiling canvas to make rain ponchos for the next big storm; Matilda had the look of a proud mother on her face.

We finished the day off with popcorn and a movie, we were still stuck with 19th century movies giving us a limited selection but we managed pretty well with Bambi as the selection for the night.

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