Part Two, The Settlement Establishes Itself: Years 3-6
The Third Year of the Allberger Settlement
As we advanced into our third year in the valley children continued to be born. Linwoody, Tavar and our son Durwoodson began school. At almost the same time we became grandparents. Yes, Mackery, though still a student, is a father. He and Daliana welcomed daughter Lizebetha Anders-Eicher in Late Spring. In spite of all the turmoil surrounding their marriage, Hermainey and I have discovered that special feeling of being grandparents.
The tailor’s shop is finally finished! Gianning has become the tailor and Cornelle has taken over as teacher. Finally we can face the Winter with new coats. During the past two years Arie has been working as forester, planting trees around the village. As a result our gatherers are able to find more food and our food supply is better than it has been at any point since we arrived.
Year 4 of Our Pilgrimage in the Allberger Valley
What a surprise! Harmainey and I are parents again, even at the advanced ages of 38 and 34. Baby Brina has brought us much joy and little Lizabetha is proud to have an aunt younger than she is. Food supplies are good and the future is looking bright. Our community now numbers 24 souls in six families. The older students are approaching graduation and will soon join us as working adults. We will need new houses for them, but we will also be able to begin a new town site near the river. Perhaps we will even be able to add to our food production with a fishing dock.
Summer - Late Summer
The last seasons have been blessedly uneventful. None of our young people have challenged us adults or our authority, at least for the time being. We continue on hunting, gathering and building up our forest home. The planting goes well and it should not be long before foresters can begin harvesting trees. Students are studying in the school and we have tools and coats for all.
Autumn - Early Winter
The first students graduated from our school, Mackery and Londa Koch. Mackery’s mother has made her will come true, as we all knew she would. They are working as a labourers until we have added new facilities and increased the work force. We need more logs, stones and iron, so every labourer is needed each and every day.
With Londa graduated and working as an adult, we decided she needed a house of her own. Since we need housing near the school, smith and tailor’s shop we built a fine log house behind the school.
No sooner was the house complete than Londa and Linwoody Bucher announce that they are in love and want to be married. When we demurred, since Linwoody is still in school and Londa is the prime candidate to be teacher, they reminded us that we had allowed the marriage of Daliana and Mackery. One of the hard lessons of life is that all one’s decisions come back to haunt one later! What is once done will be done again; what is once permitted will be permitted again. And so we adults decided that the young couple could marry. I thank God in heaven that it was not one of my children this time.
The Fifth Year of the Allberger Valley Settlement
Over the Winter our supply of logs was greatly reduced. The forest around the village has matured and become lush, and so we decided that the time had come for the foresters to begin harvesting logs. We chose two additional foresters so that the work could be done more quickly and we could build up a sufficient supply of logs to keep us warm and to build houses as needed.
I could claim that I don’t know how it happened, but that would be a bald-faced lie. Harmainey and I are once again parents. Our second daughter Lara was born toward the end of Early Spring. When we told Durwoodson and Brina that their mother was pregnant, Durwoodson gave us the strangest look and turned as red as a beet. Brina, already beside herself with joy, laughed even harder at her big brother. Mother and daughter are doing fine, but at our age we should probably take care.
It is a fine Late Spring day and our family rejoices as 10-year-old Lizebetha walks down the path to her first day of school. Her mother cried quiet tears of joy at seeing her daughter off to school and no doubt also of sadness at her own missed education. Daliana’s coming into our family was hard and painful, but she has been a good partner to Mackery and a good mother to Lizabetha. Her own life was hard, losing her parents at a young age, and in the end she has kept Mackery more level-headed than he might have been on his own. Now she is pregnant with our second grandchild whose arrival we await with anticipation.
This is the Summer that I reach my 40th year. Baby Cliver Anders-Eicher came into our family with a loud cry and continues to make his presence felt. It seems like a lifetime ago that we came to this valley and some days I have a hard time visualizing my childhood and youthful home. Arie Bucher’s father is gravely ill, so he made the arduous journey South across the great lake to see him. People have moved on from the days of the war, but Arie could still feel some tensions with his family and former neighbours. Meanwhile we are carving a good life out of this wilderness and I for one have no regrets that we made this journey.
The weather has been very fine this Summer and we have collected an abundance of materials, so a group of us went out toward the river and began planning our new town. We found a central location for a market and a spot for a fishing dock. In siting the dock, barns and pens for our trading post we were not so lucky. Much of the river bank along this stretch is inhospitable for a dock the size we will need and it took several days of searching and testing before we found a suitable site. It is just North of the site for the fishing dock, far enough that it will not interfere with the fishers, and at the edge of the planned town. It is not ideal, but it will certainly work.
We have spent the Autumn gathering sufficient logs, stone and iron to build our market. This week we will begin preparing the foundations. Students continue to graduate from the school, so before we complete the market we will need to build houses for them.
Year 6 of the Settlement in the Allberger Valley
Early Spring - Summer
The first of the houses was complete and we celebrated the marriage of Tavar Koch and Emiley Dorf. When the second house was complete a few weeks later our family celebrated a doubly happy day as Durwoodson was married to Lelianna Bucher-Flugel by the circuit rider. With the houses finished we can now begin on the market in earnest.
Poor Ster Dorf! With Emiley out of the house he and Ayannemary have had their fourth child—another girl. By the time Jaide marries and leaves home Ster and Ayannemary may well be too old for more children.With four girls and no boys there will be no one to carry on the family name. Harmainey and I have been lucky to have two boys and two girls. Not that the cabin didn’t seem small at times, but both our sons and daughters have brought us joy.
Here it is only Early Autumn and our market is compete. Emiley has begun working as our sole vendor. We see her daily pushing her wheel barrow to the barn and storage yards to gather together the things we need for sustenance. Those of us who remain living in the forest village continue to find our supplies at the barn and the woodcutters storage yard, but the young people who live in the newer houses all shop at the market. I suppose that is a sign of progress and gives hope that a mature town lies in the near future.
Durwoodson and Lelianna have made Hermainey and me grandparents again! Prentin is a fine, healthy baby boy who looks remarkably like his father did as an infant. We can only hope that he grows up to have his father’s common sense and fine spirit of community. Durwoodson is beginning to exercise some leadership in the settlement and has taken an important part in planning and working toward our desire to begin trading. Under his leadership the young men built a new storage yard close to the planned location of our trading post. We have been gathering logs, stone and iron there in preparation for a big build next year.
Before building our trading post we decided that we should ensure a solid source of food by completing the fishing dock. We also determined to build a house next to the dock so that the fishers could be close to their work. When the house was complete once again one of our male students, Essica Koch, desired to marry an older young woman, Jaide Dorf who had already graduated. This is now the third time and we could hardly say no. Jaide will fish from the dock while Essica finishes school. Knowing that my own son and ward were the first, I can hardly object, but something inside me still is not right with this growing custom. We came to this land to express our loyalty to the Crown and to practice the traditions of our ancestors, which I am sure did not include marrying your teacher. Perhaps we have been too permissive with our young people because we work so hard and are so isolated from the rest of the world here in our peaceful valley.
Those of us who entered this valley as adults are all now in our middle 40s. Even Daliana, Cornelle and Gianning are in their mid 30s. The first babies who were born in this valley are now adults and parents themselves. We have far to go to see our dreams fulfilled, but we have come a long way. We are moving beyond our little forest village and preparing to reach out to the wider world. We can now stockpile firewood in anticipation of trading that for seeds and animals to begin farming.