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The Kings of Oak Springs, Episode 31 - Letters From Keith and Kate's Birthday

Updated on November 26, 2017
Homeplace Series profile image

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

They looked at the farmland in the winter

Farmland late in the winter
Farmland late in the winter | Source

Keith had sent regular letters from Jefferson City

Karl and Katherine were very pleased that Keith had been sending regular weekly letters to them while he was in Jefferson City, and especially pleased that he had continued sending the letters on his return since the first of the year. They were each mildly surprised, however, when a recent letter spent a lot of time asking about the animals and the upcoming crop season. He seemed more interested in the farm than he had before in earlier letters, or during his holiday visit, for that matter. Was it just a touch of homesickness, or was their more to it. They talked about it quite a bit, between themselves. In their reply letter, they simply answered his questions, and let it go at that, for now.

As he was writing his letter back to Keith, Karl realized that they had talked briefly, over the holiday, about the additional land that Karl had purchased and that Karl would be using neighbors Darrell and Thurkill to help him farm parts of it that were tillable. Karl wondered if that may have gotten Keith to thinking, perhaps, that he was missing out on some work opportunities at home now, with the extra land being available. Karl was careful, however, to simply stick to the facts as he shared some of his plans with Keith as to the farm land and the care of the animals on the farm. Karl wondered if this line of questioning and interest would continue in future letters from Keith.

With "working the land" on his mind, Karl also recalled a conversation with Abner Wingfield a week or so earlier, as they were finishing the flooring for the Silas Adams house. Abner mentioned that someone had been making queries about both of the farms north, and northwest, of the Adams place at the Land Office. Abner said he stopped in to see Gideon regularly to keep up to date on the possible new residents that had been mentioned at the February Fourth Sunday gathering. They had talked about that for a bit. Abner had seemed to Karl as though he was more interested in his construction business than he was about his farm. You never really know what is going on in another person's mind, he reminded himself.

The animals needed to be inside the fencing

A cow grazed inside the fencing
A cow grazed inside the fencing | Source

The first week of March was a little early to actually do any field work on the farm

There were many things to be doing on the farm early in March even if it was a little early to get into the fields to prepare for planting their crops. It was a time to be sure all of the pieces of equipment they would be using were in good order. It was a time to double-check the harness that would be used with each of the animals that would be used in the field, with the equipment. Care of the animals was a continuing challenge, of course. This was the time to be sure pens and fencing were in tip-top shape so that the animals did not get where they were not supposed to be during the spring planting season. It was a time to be sure the seeds that were to be planted or sown were sufficient and in proper condition to use. Seeds for the garden needed preparation work, as well, so the whole family could and would be involved.

Karl spend a day each with Darrell Yokum and Thurkill Dent to be sure they each had their work in mind that they had each agreed to perform at the King farm and that their animals and equipment they were going to be using were in good order, as well. Being the first time that Karl had done this kind of supervision of farm work, he was especially careful to be sure that he communicated properly with each of his cooperating neighbors in this process. He wanted them to each be satisfied with their contributions as well as getting the work done as he wanted it done.

One pleasant afternoon after the children were back home from school, Karl and Kent walked the orchard, as well, to take note of "tidying up" work that needed to be done there as they approached the growing season. They had done the appropriate trimming and pruning in the fall that needed to be done. Therefore, the spring work was not that extensive, but would still require some of Kent's attention over the coming weeks. They felt especially good about the orchard after they had made their latest inspection.

They made a special cake for the celebration

A two-layer white cake
A two-layer white cake | Source

Kate celebrated her 13th Birthday on Saturday the 10th of March

Katherine, with Kate's full knowledge and approval, planned a very special celebration for Kate's 13th Birthday. She invited the families of each of her three classmates to their home for an evening meal and an early evening of party activities. These would be the Cranes, the McDonalds and the Campbells. They hoped the weather would hold, of course. Each of the families accepted their invitation and it was an evening to be looked forward to and remembered for a long time. It turned out to be a cool, brisk evening, for a March Saturday afternoon and evening, but it did not snow or rain. The Crane and McDonald families had to come across the valley from the far east valley, but they each enjoyed the ride in their carriages. The Campbell family just lived up the road toward town, from the Kings, of course.

Karl and Katherine had saved a good sized ham, that they had raised themselves, for the occasion. They had sweet potatoes and corn from their garden, of course. Kate and Katherine made a two-layer white cake large enough for everyone in the whole assembled group to have a good-sized piece after the meal to get the party started. The other three mothers had volunteered to each lead a parlor game, appropriate to all of the family members. Cora, Kent, and Karla each enjoyed participating along with their older siblings and their parents. It was a very pleasant evening for all four families, drawing them all closer together.

Kate enjoyed being the center of attention, with her best friend, Charlotte, and their "favorite" classmates, William and Vic, throughout the evening festivities. Everyone pitched in to do what needed to be done so that everyone had a good time. Each of the parents were very proud of their children and were pleased to have an opportunity to share in their pleasure. They each hated to depart when the time came to call it a night. They all pitched in to help clean and put away as a "thank you" to the King family for hosting this fun evening. Everyone arrived home safely. And, it didn't snow or rain that evening.

Note from the author

This is the thirty-first episode of this short story series, and the eleventh of what is now Volume Two. The stories are set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga historical fiction. This Episode is in March of the calendar year 1877, following the time period (1833-1875) of the recently released “American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)” collection of short stories. Some of these earlier stories are published on The Homeplace Saga blog, found at the link, below. These episodes more the story forward for the entire "Saga" series.

The first 20 episodes of this series have now been compiled into an eBook, titled:

"The Kings of Oak Springs: The Arrival Months in 1876 Vol 1." See the link, below, to get yours.

“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”


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    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you. Have had family company... cuts into writing time, substantially! ;-)

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 

      3 years ago from Hawaii

      Another awesome installment, Homeplace! Can't wait for the next one!

    • Homeplace Series profile imageAUTHOR

      William Leverne Smith 

      3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thought the planning for the new planting season might ring a bell with you! Thanks for the visit!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The work on acreage never ends, so those moments of celebration are extra special. Family and good friends, and let the good times roll. :)


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