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Jake Patton Memoirs - JP11 - Jake Began Thinking About The Fall Harvest And Other Activities

Updated on March 12, 2019
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

Jake and Owen decided to combine the hogs they got at the distribution in the fall

The hogs were to be divided among the families
The hogs were to be divided among the families

Jake Worked Through Fall Harvest Planning

Following the wedding of Hugh and Victoria on September 1, we knew we had a few weeks until we would seriously begin harvesting our corn and beans because they were late getting planted this year. We hoped the weather would continue to cooperate as it appeared our crops were doing quite well, to date. We had each planted some oats, as well, and they were about ready to harvest, but that would not be difficult. What we did need to each do though was to prepare some storage capability for our harvest, to preserve it through the winter feeding season. I knew we would each approach this task somewhat differently, so that is what we did.


I needed a solid sided and covered crib for my beans and my oats. Since I would be storing my corn on the cob, I needed a corn crib with slatted sides where air could freely circulate. Neither really needed to be too big for this year’s crop, but needed to be able to expand, or be replaced, in future years. The McDonald’s however, had planted more crop acres, so their storage needs were greater than mine, for example. Likewise, the Olson’s had fewer crop acres, so this year’s crop, for them would be relatively small. In fact, for this first year, Owen agreed to help me build the cribs in exchange for using some of the space in them to store his limited crop. We agreed that would be a good arrangement for this year. Next year we would have more time to make a decision based on our individual needs at that time.


Similarly, Owen and I had agreed earlier that we would combine the hogs we had been allocated from the common flock earlier so building common cribs to feed them for the coming year made a lot of sense to us. That also helped determine the location, as well, of course. Among our other tasks, we set about doing that. We had also determined to help Robert set up the early mule-powered saw mill so that we could use some of the first lumber created to use to build our cribs. Since we asked first, we got first dibs on the outcome. This was dependent, of course, on helping make the saw mill work. It also depended on using Henry’s mules, so he got second dibs on the lumber for his cribs. Robert and Hugh had agreed to work cooperatively on their cribs, we found out, so they were next in line. Everyone was happy, especially when we actually began to create rough lumber from the crude mill.

Jake went south to buy a mare. He came home with two.

A Bay Mare similar to one Jake rode home
A Bay Mare similar to one Jake rode home

Jake Accomplished His Trip Back Down South and Returned Satisfied

I had promised myself two further goals to accomplish early in the fall season. One was to make another trip south and see if I could acquire one more bred mare from Don Perkins. The other was that I was determined to continue my weekly rides around the valley to continue to explore and learn every nook and cranny, if I possibly could. I was especially curious about the western end of the valley that I had yet barely visited. Of course, I was also continuing to work with Owen on his blacksmith apprenticeship. That was going well, and he had already advanced to a point where I was giving him practice tasks that he could follow on his own. He learned quickly and well, and I learned I didn’t need to stand over him and watch much anymore. He would take the task, learn it, and repeat it over and over. I just needed to monitor his output and and minor suggestions as needed. I could hardly ask for more.


By mid-September, I was ready to go south one more time before cold weather really set in - I hoped. I decided it would actually be quicker to walk, again, rather than be slowed down by taking care of an animal along the way down. Hopefully, I’d have one to ride back. I did stop by briefly to talk with Jim Haddock at the lead mining operation both on the way down and on the way back. It was good to talk to him, to catch up on their work. He seemed pleased that I had done so, as well. He knew some about county reorganization talks, so it was also good to keep up with that of course.


Don Perkins not only had one more bred five-year-old bay mare he was willing to sell, he had a two-year old that would be ready to breed the following year. I could not pass it up. I also bought two more saddles along with supplies for the return trip. I rode the five-year-old, her name was Clover, for some reason I didn’t ask. I loaded the supplies on Ginger, the two-year old, and led her back. Although she was broke to ride, I thought it the better idea for me to stick with Clover, for this trip, at least. With three breeding mares on hand for the following year, I had a good start on my breeding herd.

Jake found a pond on the ridge in the west valley

A pond like the one on the West Valley ridge
A pond like the one on the West Valley ridge

Jake Explored The Western Valley For The First Time

On my first ride into the western end of the valley, I crossed Center Creek to the southwest corner of my property as I had before, and followed one of the game trails west, and little north keeping Center Creek in site to my right. Beyond my property boundary, the creek was broad for a ways, with lots of reeds, almost swampy for a mile or so. Shortly on my left, the land rose fairing rapidly, wooded. I stayed mostly on the level, in my westerly direction, following the northward swing of the creek bed. This appeared to be good farm land, that someone would find very attractive one day. At about the point Center Creek turned directly north, I realized I had come to the east-west trail Henry and Harry McDonald used on their recent return trip. I decided to go straight west from there, following their trail.


About two and half miles west, the trail started to ascend toward the ridge. I had been passing higher ground to the south, all the way. Soon, I could see what I assumed was the West Creek, off to the southwest. I went in that direction until I came to that creek and followed it’s northern bank further west. Fine farm and pasture land appeared to line both sides of this part of the creek. A mile or so further, the creek turned northwest and I could see it was running faster, coming off the ridge. But there was not a falls, as Oak Creek had. Continuing on another mile and a half, or so, all uphill, I came to a large pond, almost a lake actually. Following it around to the northwest corner, I came upon the big spring that was the source of the lake and the creek.


Rather than attempting to cross the creek on this trip, I essentially followed the north bank of the creek back east, the way I had come. This time, however, when I got to Center Creek, which was easy to ford at that point, I continued east along the trail the wagon had made. Before long, I could see our cabin on the rise to the south, and completed my trip for the day. I was satisfied that I had learned a lot, but also realized there was much more valley yet to explore.

[See JP12, to follow]

From the Author

This series of stories, JPx, is part of a first draft of what I hope and assume becomes a published novel in support of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga, historical fiction stories. It features the self-told story of one of the original settlers of the Oak Creek Valley, Colonel Jake Patton. Some, including him, would say he was the leader of the group. He had a very big ego, that is for sure, but he always tried to make it look like what he was doing was for the benefit of the community. And, of course, it was. But, there was always something in it for him, as well. He managed to grow the inheritance he was fortunate to receive from his father into something that left a nice trust fund for his descendants. We’ve already seen some of these stories, earlier, in the Saga tales. Come along, and let’s see how Colonel Patton tells his own story.


Note: I will publish JPx hubs, from time to time. I will write occasional notes at Patreon about Jake Patton. I may write other things elsewhere. These are each a part of the creative process to create the true first draft of a novel. You, my readers, can take part in this effort at www dot patreon dot com slash HomeplaceSagas. Join us there Today.

For more details on The Founding stories... in print or kindle editions

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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 months ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you, Bill... It is a challenge, but I really like it. I wrote a mystery novella in first person, long ago. "Murder He Figured." See cover on front page of my blog, right column. Guitar, Knife, and Blood on front cover of book. ;-) Always enjoy getting your comment!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly I just now noticed that this was written in first person, a change for you. Nice transition, Bill! You do quite well in first.

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