Ruth got a couple surprises the next morning. First she found two large baskets on the counter filled with plants and a note that said that the girls would clean them up as soon as they were done. Wondering what they were up to, she looked out the window towards the barn and could NOT believe her eyes. There was Katie, Rhea, and Kelley with Coon DRESSING OUT TWO DEER! She called for Glenda as she went to the back door and stepped out on the back porch.
Glenda came outside with Victoria on her hip and was just as shocked as Ruth was. They actually seemed to be speechless since neither of them could say a word.
The girls looked over and saw their mom’s and waved with big grins on their faces.
“Look what we got MOM!” yelled Katie.
“Fresh meat for supper!” hollered Kelley.
Coon looked very proud of them and didn’t say a word.
Dinner that night was excellent; tender deer steaks, wild greens in a salad, and the roots of some cattails that actually tasted pretty good.
After helping with the dinner dishes, Ruth and Glenda saw their girls in deep conversations with their dads. Many serious nods of the heads and a grin or two were seen.
It wasn’t until the next afternoon that Ruth and Glenda found out what all the discussions were about. It seems that the girls had challenged their dads and brothers to take them by surprise.
Well, it ended up that it was the boys and adults that were surprised. Rhea managed to hog tie Shane before he even was aware that she was aware of him. Katie had Thomas and Fred tied up in the barn for almost an hour before anyone found them. And Kelley surprised Don and Clark almost out of their skins with a shriek that momentarily froze them in their place, which gave her enough time to jump on them since they were standing too close to each other, and get them in head locks, cutting off the blood to their brains….it only took a couple moments before they passed out.
And Coon didn’t help with any of it.
Reluctantly, after dinner, it was agreed that the girls could go with Coon on a hike.
“I’d like to make a suggestion that might ease ya’alls minds somewhat, ma’ams” Coon began.
Ruth and Glenda looked at each other over the dinner table and Ruth said “You aren’t going to suggest that we try to beat the girls in some way are you?”
Coon giggled and said “No, ma’am. But I was thinkin’ that maybe we could go visit with Lady Lizzie and perhaps those service people that haven’t found a partner could go with us.”
Don spoke up “That is an excellent idea. I know I’d feel better knowing that you girls would be with trained military people and there would be enough people to send some trading items.”
“Let’s talk with the troops and get a plan together. If they are willing to go, I don’t see why you girls couldn’t go also.”
It was agreed that Don and Clark would speak with the service people and since they had already volunteered to help the farm help the valley clean up their town.
Coon and girls settled down and played with Victoria and discussed how long it would take the adults to “get ready” to go. They were already ready.
“Coon honey, you have to always be ready to go….in an instant. You just never know what is going on and you may be in danger if you don’t get away quick.” Poppy was showing me how to pack my B.O.B. and baby B.O.B. and how I needed to keep the supplies in them full and ready to go. He was also making sure I understood that no matter if I was going outside for two minutes, I was to have my baby bob on! No problem there, I thought! I knew that Poppy was serious about the many things that could happen and with all my runnin’ around the woods, he wanted me to be able to handle anything, even if I had to stay in the woods unexpectedly for more than one night.
Sometimes I wondered why The Booger didn’t like doing these things like I did.
Poppy was in a talkative mood tonight. One of my most favorite times! I could get him to talk about almost anything. So I thought I’d toss a question out there that I had been thinkin’ on for some time now.
“So Poppy, when are ya gonna teach me how to make your medicinal alcohol?”
I did it! I managed to take him by surprise! BOTH his eyebrows raised!!!
“Ya think yer old enough to be runnin’ a still, do ya….well now, let’s see here….I reckon you should know how to MAKE a still before you learn to RUN a still. Yep, I think this might be good for ya, since you can make clean water from a still also. Ok, let’s go and see what kind of pipes I’ve got in my treasures.”
My Poppy’s treasures were other people’s junk. He has been collectin’ all kinds of pipes, bricks, and STUFF forever! But he kept it all neat and organized. Sometimes if we were going to town, he would take a load in and sell it at the scrap yard.
I think he even has real gun powder buried in his “space”, which is off limits to us kids unless he invites us and is with us. That was Granny’s rule.
The still wasn’t too big, Poppy said it was just large enough to make either clean water or ‘medicine’ for one person. We had to hide it in the cave, which was fine with me. I put it in the first room in the corner that wasn’t being used. I didn’t want it in my “pack room”; that was the second room in the cave that I was making all mine! Poppy had said I could use the cave as my sanctuary and I could use the back room for stocking up extra things, like my own personal pantry. As long as I helped can or make everything that went in there.
Poppy said that my first batch of ‘medicine’ was horrible! All cloudy and not useful at all. He suggested that I try again. The second batch was much better. By the fifth batch, Poppy decided to taste it and declared that I had it right. I practiced so much with that still that summer that I had to put together a new one before fall. But I had every kind of tincture and medicine that called for alcohol stocked up for probably four or five years worth!