"Name?" the clerk asked me.
"Jack Baxter," I responded.
Jon and Sara sat quietly and behaved themselves as I went through the motions. Much better behaved than kids of my own time. I was to be executor for the children's money.
We were at a lawyer's office making sure the kids were getting their fathers farm and everything coming to them. Things were definitely simpler in 1880. The farm had been bought outright, so that was no problem. The taxes were up to date, and while their father had not had a lot of money left, at least they would realize whatever we could get for the sale of the farm and whatever equipment we put up for auction.
We were going to keep a few things though. The wagon, horse, plow, all the feed for the animal and hay and straw. Other items the kids wanted, but they didn't want the farm itself. To many painful memories, with it representing their parents deaths.
So I was setting up a trust fund for them, and making sure the majority of the money of the sale of the farm and equipment went into an account for the two kids. It was peculiar as in this time and place, everyone thought it strange I was doing this for the children. I was going to keep out some to defray costs for the immediate future, but it was looking good so far.
After getting the paperwork done, we went to the general store, and bought a few items for the kids, and some food stuffs to replace the little we had eaten. One of the things I did was buy the children new shoes and coats to replace the worn ones they currently had. I also wanted to find out where and how to send them to school.
They told me that their mother and father had taught them reading, writing, history, arithmetic, and a few other things at home. They had basically been home schooled. They lived so far from the closest school that it was almost impossible to get them there on time, unless they boarded close to the school itself.
So I offered them an option. I would pay room and board here in town for them so they could attend a public school, or I could try to teach them, and we would see how well I was doing with that after a while. I explained that if I was not good at it, then I would probably have to find them a place to board in town during the week and they could come out during weekends and holidays. They elected to stay with me and try my style of home schooling first.
Winter was over and spring had arrived. I had done a fairly good job with the children's home schooling. The kids fell in love with the computer set up in the library and they also loved the DVD and video movies I had. They were in awe of so much of the technology I had always taken for granted.
The order for the lumber I had placed was ready for delivery, and I went into town with the kids and made arrangements for delivery. We really needed a barn for the horse, and I wanted to also build a chicken coop, and also get a milk cow. I had run out of eggs and milk long ago, and wanted to have my own supply handy. While I had a neighbor close enough I could buy these items from, it was very inconvenient.
While I was careful with supplies of meat, my freezer was over half empty of these items now. I had a couple gallons of ice cream left, and used it as treats for the kids. They loved ice cream. I had several gallon containers partially empty already from before the trip back in time and since.
The lumber was delivered on a Tuesday morning and consisted of several wagons to haul it all out to my place. I pointed out where I wanted the lumber dropped off, and it was unloaded quickly.
I also had straw delivered. Bales and bales of it. One thing I remembered and had seen were straw bales which were used as building materials. I would use the straw bales as walls for the barn, and possibly for the chicken coop too. They would provide insulation against the elements such as heat or cold nicely.
Jonathan and I had already dug out an outhouse and limed it already, and I had built the outhouse to go over it, so when the workers arrived, they would have toilette facilities. No one was going to get into my home, for any reason. I had already cautioned the children against speaking to outsiders about the wonders of our home. I think they understood.
Two days later several wagons full of men and woman arrived. The woman had already made food for the crew, and the men arrived with tools, extra nails, and a willingness to work. The barn should be up by the early evening or earlier. I had paid for more than enough men to show, thats for sure. The woman were from a church club, and I had donated to it, plus paid for the food, so thats why the woman were there, to feed everyone. I had finished my outhouse in time apparently.
All in all it went well. I moved my 55 gallon drum half BBQ down for the ladies use, and fired it up with charcoal. They were impressed. By the end of the day the barn was up, the people fed, and we had new friends and contacts. We also had a chicken coop built, and fenced in.
Old Blue seemed most impressed and relieved to get back into a barn proper and to stop sharing the garage with my Jeep. These barn raising's were a good way to socialize with your neighbors and to get to know everyone. The kids loved it. I enjoyed myself too.
Now, all that was needed was a milk cow, and chickens. Then fresh eggs, butter, and milk. Everything a growing family needed to survive the rural life. I had ordered lots of feed already, and all that had to happen was it had to be delivered and stored in the new storage area built in the barn.
.... There is more of this story ...