No Fun at All!

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January 10, 1888

Worse than the winter rain and mud and dampness and being cooped up in the house is Jared’s illness. He has his first cold. Of course, being a new mother, I panicked. He cries and cries. He rubs his ears and howls. He can’t breathe, and trying to feed him makes his nose clog up. He sputters and chokes then howls because he’s hungry. Miserable, the two of us.

The rain and cold does not help. I accidentally let the stove go out, and it took no time to start feeling chilled. Riley was gone–off doing something for Chad all day–so that left me stuck in the house with a wailing baby and a cold kitchen.

Worse, the storm soaked the stove wood that Riley has neatly stacked right by the back door. It’s on the porch under cover, so you would think the rain couldn’t touch it. But no! The wind came roaring with a vengeance this morning. I stepped outside and the porch acted like a wind tunnel. I dug through the wood stack to find some dry sticks, but the stove smoked anyway.

So now I’m coughing and my eyes sting. Nasty, nasty winter rains! I tried to remember a time when the rains and wind were this bad, and the only other January I can think of was the week Taffy foaled the twins. That was terribly cold, but after it was all over and done with, I woke up warm, cuddled in the straw. When I hurried inside the house, a warm meal was waiting. Best of all, I didn’t have to fix the meal. I didn’t have to keep the kitchen stove or the fireplaces going. Not on the Circle C. (It’s times like these when I remember how rich my family is.) No wonder winter storms didn’t seem nearly as bad.

It’s bad now. If it wasn’t raining so hard, I would bundle up Jared, hitch up the buggy, and run home to Mother. She would walk and rock Jared, and I could get warm. But I’m too old to be running home every time something inconveniences me. Dirty darn stove! I tried three times, and the stove finally caught. But by then it was mid-morning and Jared was still crying. He was hungry and miserable. I was miserable and hungry. Together, we made quite a pair.

I got the kitchen stove roaring hot and then went back to bed with Jared. Warm at last, we both fell asleep. When I woke up, the house was warm. Jared was still sleeping, so I crept out from under the covers and brewed myself a cup of hot tea. I sliced some bread and chewed on a handful of dried peaches. My breakfast and lunch combined.

By mid-afternoon, the house was cozy warm and I had a chicken (Riley had butchered yesterday) in the pot for hot chicken soup. A batch of yeasty bread was rising (I have finally figured out how to make bread), and for an extra treat, I baked up some of Mother’s famous sugar cookies. When Riley came home cold, wet, and hungry, I greeted him like a true wife, with a warm kiss, a hot cup of coffee, and supper ready. Yes, I’m learning!

January 11, 1888

After a good winter rainstorm, the sun usually comes out in the foothills. Not so much in the valley, where oftentimes the thick, soupy, tule fog sets in. I used to like riding Taffy up into the foothills and climb above the fog to sunshine.

But the worst happened today. That nasty ol’ valley fog crept up all of a sudden and blanketed Memory Creek ranch in cold, drizzly fog. It’s cold and clammy. When I peeked out the window, even the horses were running around trying to stay warm. Tule fog, go away! Go back to the Circle C ranch, down in the valley where you belong. Not up here in the foothills, where the sun is supposed to shine after a storm.

Published by Andi Carter

I'm the main character in the Circle C Adventures series. I live on a huge cattle ranch in 1880s California. These are my adventures.

5 thoughts on “No Fun at All!

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