I am a big sleepy head this morning. I wake to the sound of what seems like a million people in the kitchen. I don't want to go out there. Smitty stretches beside me. He's going to need out right away. Puppy bladder. I grab my housecoat and jump out of bed. When I open the door he's right beside me, growling. I look at the mob. Everyone is eating pancakes. I squeeze through a bunch of kids, wave at everyone, and make my way to the door. I go straight outside with Smitty.
Husband comes outside after a few minutes. "Are you okay? Everyone thinks you're mad at them now."
"You know I don't talk when I first wake up. There's too many people in there." It's a nice day, surprisingly warm.
Sil hears me as she comes outside. She laughs. I think she's the only other person here who understands my need to be alone in my own head in the morning. She hands me a cup of tea.
"Thanks", I say.
"No problem. No honey though. I didn't want to open it in front of all of them."
I drink half my cup of tea before the kids start coming outside to play. Once they're all outside I figure I can deal with the rest of the people in the house. We go in and sit down. Nira tries to hand me pancakes, but Husband takes them. Food when I first wake up makes me want to puke.
Brother and Sil are anxious to get started on the truck. I know they're anxious to head for Huntsville. We're all hoping the girls have an uneventful trip.
The Bigs are going to go to the back with Diego and Nira to work on their cabin. I tell them to get the bathtub out of the pasture and take it down with them, the one that the plug came out of and won't hold water now. We have three old tubs that we use for water troughs.
Nira is excited. "A bath! Oh, I can't wait to have a bath! I didn't think we'd be able to do that!" I was thinking of laundry, but ok, I guess bathing's a good idea too. She can do whatever she wants with it really.
The Bigs take my quad and trailer to load the tub. They toss in a couple of buckets, some pop bottles, baler twine, chainsaw, and come back to the house. They load the roll of plastic and a staple gun. Nira and I go out to the trailer and pull out an old pot, a frying pan, some glasses, silverware, knives and a spatula. We add it to the trailer. I tell her to pack up their clothes and put them in too.
"We can't move down there yet! There are no walls!", she looks like she's going to cry.
"You can do laundry down there though. In the bathtub." I don't have an extra plunger, so she'll have to find another way to agitate it. I go back in the house and look at the box of laundry detergent. There's not much left. I decide to give her a bucket of ashes instead. She might as well start out with lye water. I take an ice cream bucket and poke holes in the bottom with a knife. I fill it with ashes in the basement, then put it inside another ice cream bucket. I take it out and add it to the load. The trailer is full. They're all ready to go.
Down at the camp the Bigs and Diego get to work cutting trees for the walls while Nira and the kids unload the trailer. They can't lift the tub, so the Bigs do that for them.
Mom and Dad come over. Dad, Husband and Brother start working on the truck. Dad has to hot wire it, and fiddle with a few things, but he gets it running pretty quick. They take it to Dad's to load the fuel tank.
Mom, Sil and I walk down to Diego and Nira's camp, picking weeds along the way. They have a good pile of logs cut already. I open the roll of plastic and spread it out. It's 20' X 100', so it'll cover one side and the roof in one strip. We all work together to get it up and over the top. #1 staples it into place while Diego and #2 keep cutting trees.
We women walk down to the creek and scoop water. The buckets are heavy and I wish the boys had dropped the bathtub closer. I shove a plastic bag in the drain with a rock and hope that the tub will hold the water. I take the ashes and pour water over them. We pour the rest of the water in the tub and go back for more. The water is holding when we get back, and the water has dripped through the ashes into the second bucket. I explain to Nira that this is lye water. It's what soap used to be made with. It's stronger if it sits longer, but it should work for now. I pour it in the tub, then pour more water over the ashes.
"Throw your laundry in and slosh it around." Nira doesn't look impressed. "Or you can keep wearing them until they stink bad enough to run around naked." I take the baler twine and walk away.
I find a couple of trees that look like a good spot to hang laundry and tie the baler twine in place. I tell #1 I need a laundry pole. He finds me a small tree with a fork in it, cuts it down and trims the branches off. It's about 8' high. Perfect. I stick it under the baler twine and use it to lift it up higher in the middle.
#2 shows Diego how to notch the logs to fit together. They start on the back side of the cabin, with no windows. I watch them put the first three logs in place. Then I tell Diego to take the clay they've been digging up and smoosh it in between the logs. That's actually a good job for the kids, and it'll give Nira more laundry to practice on.
#1, Sil and I cover the ends and remaining side of the cabin with plastic, then cut out the door and windows.
Mom, Sil and I walk back to the house to make lunch. It's leftover beef soup today, with extra weeds and a few more potatoes. Sil takes the dried weeds off the plant stands and stuffs them into old jars. Then she spreads the fresh weeds out to dry. Mom washes a bunch of dishes for me. We leave the soup on the stove to simmer and walk over to Mom and Dad's.
The men have the fuel tank in the box of the truck and bolted into place. They're debating whether to put the box on or not. The box will hide it, and keep whoever's riding in the back warmer and dry, but it'll also block their view and might prevent them from being able to get a good shot if needed. In the end they decide to put it on, out of sight, out of mind.
The truck is ready to go. We walk back to our house for lunch. Everyone else is already there. They're waiting outside this time though. We eat lunch together. The Bigs are going back with Diego and Nira to finish the cabin after lunch. Mom, Dad, Brother and Sil all decide to go back to their places. I invite them all back for supper.
Husband and I decide to cut firewood for the afternoon. The woodshed is filling slowly. We cut from the lot across the road. It's not our land, but it's close and convenient. Afterwards we decide to walk to the back and see how things are progressing.
The cabin looks pretty cozy when we get there. The walls are all up and the kids look like they're having fun, running back and forth with their hands full of clay. They've got one side done. Diego has the windows installed. The Bigs have built a door. They're standing in the doorway wondering how to attach it without hinges. We tell them it looks good. The kids are excited. They want to sleep in it tonight. Of course for them, it's like camping in the woods.
We go inside and look it over. It's only 12'X16', so every inch will have to be planned carefully. We talk about a loft for the kids to sleep in, with a bed underneath for Diego and Nira. They can both be built from logs. The other end of the cabin will have to be the kitchen, and left empty for now, until we work out the stove situation. I wonder if the cow hide would be strong enough to hold the door up. Husband doesn't think so, but rubber would. We have some old tires that can be cut up and nailed into place.
We all walk back to the house together, and cook up a stir fry with yesterday's partridge, lots of weeds, and a pot of rice. Mom, Dad, Brother and Sil join us. Everyone is full and happy.
Brother and Sil will go to town in the morning to call Friend and see if they made it. I have a stack of books that I want to take into the library. We decide to give Tori another work out and take the horse cart. Nira wants to go too, so she can pick out some books and check the store for supplies. She and I will ride, with the others in the cart.
I finish another book before drifting off to sleep.