So weary traveler, let me introduce myself. My name is Lemmalee and my husband is Drakeem. We were part of the first expedition to leave Smallville. Our group was chosen to be first at the town meeting because of where we wanted to go. One of the boatmen told us that a ways upriver, past the big fork, there was a small valley with plenty of room to grow food and raise livestock, what food we didn't need for ourselves could be sent downriver to Smallville. The boatmen could take other trade goods we had down the other fork of the river. Smallville needed food for the continued influx of nomads. We were preparing to leave but our departure was delayed when the town elders' daughter, Lian, went missing. When it was discovered that Jeral was also missing, we all knew they had run off together. They were sweet on each other since the first day of school. It came as a surprise to the wise elders, guess they weren't so wise. Nevertheless, we listened carefully to their instructions and words of wisdom about the old ways as we loaded the wagon with food and supplies, garden seeds and seedlings.
There were 12 of us, ages 15 through 17, plus 5 young siblings, 2 infants, and a small herd of sheep. We came to Smallville as nomads and were leaving as nomads. It was a long and difficult journey pulling the wagon over the hills and with young children and sheep and winter weather. It was cold and snowing when we finally arrived in the valley and established our settlement. There was a pumpkin patch next to the schoolhouse back in Smallville and I knew we had pumpkin seeds in our sack of garden seeds so we named our new town, Pumpkin Hollow.
We set to work building our new town, a large sheep pasture, a fishing pier, hunting post, gatherers hut, woodcutter stump, and a schoolhouse. Before he went fishing, Drakeem helped me plot out the garden bed behind our house. It was too late to plant a crop that year, so I carefully stored away the seeds. I build a small garden work station for sorting vegetables and was already looking forward to next spring.
It was a rough winter, we were short of food and firewood. We took turns working at whatever job needed doing most, so building was slow. A hardware store for tools was build by the stockpile, Melvine was blacksmith. As soon as the weather warmed enough, I planted my garden. I was rewarded with colorful baskets of vegetables I took to the garden work station to sort, some were taken to the shed or barn until I could sort them. Everyone in town was thrilled to have fresh-picked beans, cabbage, potatoes, peppers, squash, and pumpkins. The harvesting and sorting was completed in summer leaving plenty of time for other labors. This year's labor was childbirth, the first of our 4 children was born. I would have to hang the diapers on my new garden fence to dry since I had no wash poles built yet.
That 2nd winter our food reserve was again low but no one went hungry. We had no grain and there were no wild oats or fruit trees here in the Hollow like there were in Smallville. We had no spare laborers to plant and tend an orchard. A special trading dock was built for livestock and seeds but when the first boatman arrived with chickens in late spring we didn't have enough trade goods even though Melvine the blacksmith was stocking it with iron tools and firewood. We needed trade goods. By autumn of year 3 the greenhouse was built. I worked as botanist from the time I harvested and sorted the vegetables until the following spring. I tended the seedling we brought from Smallville and I sprouted some of our plum and cherry pits so, as the elders would say, we'd have them when we needed them. If we needed to plant any trees around town, we would keep their wise advice in mind; plant evergreen trees to the north and west of a building or road as a winter windbreak and snow fence, and plant trees that lose their leaves to the south and east for sun in winter but shade in summer. We would have to wait and see what next year's traders would bring.