She was trying hard to plan for the future, but still wasn’t sure exactly what to do. Stay. Go. She just didn’t know, so she made sure she would be ok through the winter. And she hoped that she could remember everything she had been taught by her Grandparents. She had taken to writing down all she could remember in notebooks as she thought about the many things she had learned.
She could now smell crispness in the air which made her think that winter was coming early this year.
She was thankful that she had been able to save some things from her Grandparents home. Especially the books since there didn’t seem to be any good ones in town. Those books would also help her to remember what she had been taught. And it never hurt to have a good mushroom ID book around when one loved mushrooms! She hoped to find some, but highly doubted she would. She had some dried ones in the back that would just have to hold her over until it was time for the mushrooms to grow again!
She had also had a lot of seed from the trips to town that she would plant in the spring in various places but didn’t want to have a formal kind of garden since that would be more noticeable. They said heirloom on them but she had learned from experience, not everything was what it was labeled. She still had her grandparents stash of seeds which she knew would grow if she planted them in the right places.
Since she decided that she would put off leaving and stay in her cave until at least spring, she decided that she would gather more wood today after she went to the clearing to practice with her weapons.
She was still practicing almost every day with her bow and slingshot. Now that was a hard weapon to learn and get skilled at. She grinned at the memory of when she got her first slingshot.
“What is it, Poppy?” I asked excitedly as I spied the leathery thing in his hand.
“Well, I’m figuring that 7 years old is old enough to learn how to work a slingshot properly and so that’s what this is: a slingshot.” Poppy said as he tried to keep a straight face at the look on my face. I was astonished; this was not one of those ‘bought from the store’ slingshots. No, Poppy had MADE me one! Wow!
Poppy then spent all day trying to teach me how to swing the thing and then ducking as every one of my tries went wild.
And I loved how Poppy and I both ran for the woods when one of the shots broke out Granny’s kitchen window! Granny was a hollering something fierce because we could hear her all the way up the mountain! She must have forgiven us because she did give us peach cobbler for dessert that night at dinner. But we did get some serious looks from her and we had to take the window apart and put new glass in. I was a good helper.
After that, I had to practice with my sling way out in the cow pasture where I wouldn’t hit anything. The cows stayed on the other side of the field. It only took me a few weeks until I could actually hit something consistently. Poppy would set up cans on the fence and I got so I could hit them all, and that included reloading, pretty darn quick. By the time I was 8, Poppy had finally let me start hunting with it and showed me how clean the squirrels and rabbits I brought home and he even showed me how to make soft slippers and moccasins. I have to say, I was pretty grossed out using the brains to preserve the skins.
I loved how Poppy never treated me all girly…but always had interesting things to show and teach me. Granny would just shake her head at me and say “I know, sweetie; you’d rather learn what Poppy can teach you. But you are going to have to let ME teach you how to cook - cause we all know that your Poppy burns water!” She would then look at Poppy and wink then give a weird smile. Grownups! Who can understand them?