Slade had the table cleaned off and was sitting with paper and a pen from the little writing desk. “I know we have a great deal to accomplish today so I thought we should make a list and organize a schedule of some sort.”
“That is a good idea. I’m bound to leave something out if we don’t.” Ellen began ticking things off on her fingers.
“I have to visit Senor Gutierrez and find an address for Don Francisco’s brother in
. Then I need to find someone to send to the
ranch so we can begin having it cleaned up and repaired. I’ll have to sign the paper Senor Gutierrez
prepares to pay the person I designate and set up an account at the store for
the purchase of tools and materials for the repairs. We have to make a list of
the things we need at “our”--” Spain
Ellen stopped and looked intently at Slade’s face as he was writing frantically to keep up with her. She waited until the full meaning of the word registered with him. When he looked up at her she leaned over his shoulder to kiss the spot at the corner of his jaw she had fantasized over so many times. “We need a list of the things we have to buy for “our” house.” She emphasized.
“And last, but not least, we have to find time to get married!” And this time she turned his shoulders to face her, forcing him to lay aside the pen and put his arms around her waist. Then they put business aside for much more personal matters.
Finally Slade set her aside on her own chair. “What do we need to buy to take back with us? Remember we have Joseph’s family to provide for also.
“We should start with flour and corn meal. Dried beans and dried apples if they have any. We will need sugar and coffee—lots of coffee for One Who Laughs. I hope Sarah calves soon. She likes milk in her coffee too! Maybe we should get a lot of canned milk. Now what else…?” He stopped to think.
Ellen picked up where he had stopped, “We will need saleratus and soda or baking powder and I’d like to see if they possibly have any yeast cakes so I can make some more sour dough starter. Or maybe they just have a supply of starter, or know someone who can sell me a jar. It’s still too cold to make our own unless we have a very warm place to put it.
“And how about some rice! I can cook that! It is almost as good as potatoes when we don’t have them! And it will have a lot of energy in it. We need canned goods—tomatoes, peas, or green beans, peaches, maybe cherries, and milk until Sarah calves… Oh and some molasses and spices—salt, pepper, ginger, cinnamon or cloves. No, only salt and pepper, we have all of Madeline’s spices. And if we can find any, some of Tia Margarita’s chilies! They are so good with beef and tomatoes.”
“Wait a minute, wait!” Slade exclaimed. “I’m only to rice and potatoes! Wait…. Canned goods- tomatoes, peas, green beans, peaches, cherries, milk… Now. What else? Molasses and salt and pepper, spices…mmm. Chilies? We are filling our wagon!
“We are going to need some grain-- oats and corn are good to have on hand if the horses are working hard.” Slade continued.
“We will need seed corn and beans, maybe some onion sets and squash seeds. Should we try potatoes again? Seed potatoes, if they have them. Is that everything?” Slade thought they were finished.
“No! I know something.” Ellen said, “We need to buy material! Shirt material for you and Joseph and
Pretty shirt material for One Who Laughs and
skirt material for her too. I can wear
Madeline’s clothes still at home, especially since I have these new things for
good… but heavy trouser material for you and the men… And could we buy some real toweling? I don’t
mind flour sacks but real towels for baths would be nice. I’ll sew them we don’t need to buy them ready
made… Slim Man.
“Any tools you need? Anything?” Ellen stared into space…
“Some bacon and ham!´ She exclaimed. “I got really hungry for that after the last piece of bacon was used… Oh dear! We have a long list. And an expensive one.” She stopped in dismay. “Will that all fit in the wagon?”
“We will have to see,” Slade answered. “I’m not so concerned with the fit as I am with the horses pulling it. We’ll have to take a couple extra days getting home with such a heavy load.” He frowned at the sheet before him.
“Well, we can cut back on some things. Not buy as much and plan on having to come back again before time to buy stores in the fall.” Ellen said. “As long as we have Joseph and Slim Man, we can maybe do that?” Ellen turned her statement into a question and frowned at the paper with Slade.
“All right then,” Slade said laying the supply list aside. “Let’s decide what needs doing first. I think a visit to Senor Gutierrez. We can kill several birds with one stone there. Get the address, and figure out how to send the letter to Don Aguilar in
. Then we must find a man to put in charge of
repairs and clean up at the Aguilar place, set up a means for him to get his
own pay and that for anyone he may hire.
Then we can go to the store and set up an account for the ranch
“I really don’t see how we will accomplish everything today. We should probably put off our own shopping until tomorrow. Or maybe give the storekeeper a list and he can gather it today so we can load it tomorrow…
“Who do you plan to get to start the work on the ranch?” he asked. Do you know anyone? Or will you have to find someone? That is a big responsibility and you’ll need an honest man.”
“I think I know someone,” Ellen said. “Before all of this was happening one of the older retainers told us he needed to go and care for his father in
. The old man had fallen and broken his leg as
well as hurt his back. The only ones
left at home were youngsters and Mexico
“–OH! Put tea on our list! I forgot that. Not a lot. Just a little for when someone is not feeling well or something.--
asked if he could go and take care of
his father’s property until the man recovered.
He left just before my father was killed and he had not returned yet
when I left. Or at least I don’t believe
he had. Santos
“If he has returned to his home here in
since then I can maybe get him. His
wife’s family is from here so I think he will be living somewhere around the
area. Maybe Senor Gutierrez will know
where he is.” Santa Fe