A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 111: Just Another Work Day

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

Everybody came back in for dinner. This was the big meal of the day and we’d rest or nap afterwards, during the worst of the heat. After that, it was back to work until we could see the approach of sunset and suppertime. This was also when the children would start helping with the work. Once dinner was eaten, the younger kids would mostly help in the fields, while the older ones would learn how to chop firewood.

Firewood wasn’t the split logs you’d see in the modern day. That split wood was only used for long overnight burns. We saved the split pieces for the overnight heating required mostly in the cold months, mid-October until mid-April. For cookfires and the like, we used short staves made from branches. These were all sorted out when the tree was dropped and cleaned. Wood chips and small branches were collected for kindling, along with pine cones and twigs. Those buckets of cones people paid too much money for in the modern world, weren’t just for decoration, in this time. So there was a lot of sorting and stacking and moving piles of things about. This was where the dog cart came in really handy, and the kids loved to drive it.

After dinner was also office time for me, the most dreaded part of the day. Honestly, there was always another plan do be discussed, another request to be considered, and another meeting to attend. I set up the table and hung our map on the kitchen cupboards, so it could be easily viewed during discussion.

The first supplicants were Isaiah and Sarah. They had come to give me the overall view from the Black Community. The overall view was good, so no problems there, thus far. Everyone was worried about when they’d get their own land and houses, which honestly didn’t surprise me. I wanted to get on with my own personal buildings, also. I let them know that I’d speak to the entire group, come Saturday. But, in general, I expected this first building phase to finish by July 1st and we’d start issuing claims at that point. I also asked them to send me any craftsmen who intended to set up a shop. This was truly a council matter, though, and it would be best if we waited to discuss it later today, at the council meeting. That satisfied them and it was time for the next group update.

Fabiola was next. She had spoken with the crew last night and they were most concerned about when the next trip would start. They were happiest on the river and wanted to get started. Overall, they were happy and the extra work didn’t bother them, as long as they were getting paid. I asked her to remind Timmons to give Sonya the weekly accounting of what they were owed. She also pointed out that they loved the rations. That was easy and it was time for the Pawnee next.

Pete and Mouse were next and it was fast. The only grumbling was over losing the slaves, but that had quieted down with news that the buffalo would be here soon. Soon being maybe one more moon. The herd was moving north at a slow pace because there were a lot of calves this year. That was good news and everyone was happy.

Finally, one of the white wives came in. She didn’t have a lot to say and she admitted that she’d rather talk to Michelle. I allowed that and Sonya merely shrugged and noted it. That one, thankfully, finished quickly.

Then Fritz, the butcher, showed up next.

“Fritz, thanks for coming, my friend.” I sounded like a politician already.

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