It's the third day of spring and we have sleet and snow on the ground. Not much, but enough to know it doesn't feel like spring outside. It snowed and sleeted quite a bit yesterday afternoon. We were just glad not much of it stuck. How about you? Did you get some late winter weather?
After writing for 10 evenings in a row, I got rather stuck. On everything. One evening I looked at each file on NEO and discovered a problem. I couldn't write on any of the seven stories I had started on it. One story I need to do some research since I've never lived on a ranch or watched a fall round-up. Story 2: I'll probably end up deleting this one since I've decided to change the situation. Story 3: I had a great starting description, but had no idea what what going to happen or why the person was doing what he was doing. Talked it over at the supper table and problem solved. Story 4: About half way through this story, but got stuck because I wasn't sure how to resolve the problem. A little more talking with the right people should fix it. Story 5: This is a Christmas story that I started late in December and just didn't get finished. It might stay on there until this December. :) Story 6: A story for "Project 12" that got stuck because I had other ideas thrown at me, but I realized they won't work, so it's back to the original story and it's now moving along. Story 7: Well, this one has been on for quite some time. I'm kind of stuck because I'm not sure where the story is going. I mean, I can make it just go, but there has to be some sort of plot line and I haven't come up with one yet.
So there you have my writing update.
As for what I've been doing, not much. The four kiddos are coming over this morning to stay until nap time. I've been checking papers from my writing students, drawing and other little things. Not much going on.
I decided to give you a Triple Creek Ranch today and thought you might like to know what is happening with the story. I've decided that if I were to continue to write this like I had first thought, the book would probably be as large as Home Fires. So, I thought I'd cut it and make two books. But the question arose, how do I cut this book and make each one a "stand alone" book? Each one needs a plot line to string the story on. I wasn't sure I could do it, but after thinking and trying out an idea or two, I've come up with a way. :) That means that I'm working very hard to try to get this first book written and to test readers soon. BUT . . . I won't publish it until I get the second book nearly finished. I don't want to make you readers have to wait a year or two because I got distracted with some other book. :) As far as posting TCR, I'll keep posting it every once in a while. I'd hate to post all the first book but the last two parts. :) If you are wanting to know how long the first TCR is going to be, lets just say that right now is is more than 1/2 of The Unexpected Request and with the unwritten parts still to be done, I'm guessing it might be just a little shorter than that book, but I can't say for sure since I haven't written them. :)
But now, here is Triple Creek Ranch Part 33. Enjoy!
“I suppose you’ll just have to work harder on sewing your new dresses. Jenelle’s dresses don’t seem to have suffered from the care of the chickens.” Norman glanced critically at his wife’s dark blue dress. “Perhaps if you asked politely, Mrs. O’Connor or Jenelle would help you with the sewing. But, the chickens are now your responsibility and,” he added firmly in low tones, “I don’t want to hear of Jenelle having to take care of them because you forgot. Is that understood?”
His sister’s only answer was a glare. She was learning that an argument with her brother didn’t usually get her what she wanted.
The next few days were trying ones. More than once Mrs. Mavrich thanked God for her new help and sighed over the problem of her young sister. Orlena, not used to working, not even on such simple things as making her bed and hanging up her clothes, seemed determined to make life as miserable as she could for herself and those around her. She hated the chickens and, on her second day of gathering the eggs, when a hen pecked her hand drawing blood, she shrieked and flung the entire basket of eggs she had already gathered, out the door of the hen house. Of course every egg was smashed and it took some time before the chickens were calm enough to return to eating. Jenelle would have gathered the rest of the eggs that morning had not a grim faced Mrs. O’Connor marched a furious Orlena back outside to finish the job.
“If she had been a brother instead of a sister—” Norman growled when he learned of it.
“I know,” Jenelle tried to smile. “You would have taken a trip to the woodshed a long time ago.”
Not only did Orlena object to the chickens but also to every other chore she was given. She did more complaining, pouting and criticizing then sewing and, had not Jenelle had wonderful patience, all progress on the new clothes would have halted.
Previously, Jenelle had regularly slipped into Orlena’s room to straighten it up and make her bed; however, after a talk with Mrs. O’Connor, Jenelle carefully avoided Orlena’s room. She knew that if she were to enter it, she wouldn’t be able to leave without tidying up. Only Mrs. O’Connor and Orlena knew what state that room was in, until one morning nearly two weeks after the housekeeper’s arrival.
Jenelle was in the dining room setting a pitcher of milk on the table when Orlena flung herself into the room.
“Jenelle Mavrich!” she shouted, “You lazy, irresponsible, good for nothing, sister-in-law! How dare you treat me this way!”
Opening her eyes in astonishment at the sudden outburst, Jenelle turned to the irate child. Her first thought was, “I hope Norman is still out in the barn,” then aloud she questioned, “What are you talking about, Orlena?”
“Don’t try to sound so innocent,” Orlena fumed. “You know very well what is wrong. Just look at this dress!”
Jenelle blinked and gazed with puzzled eyes at the lovely black dress. She didn’t see anything wrong with it except for some wrinkles, except for it being completely out of place on the ranch. With a shake of her head, Jenelle said patiently, “I still don’t know what is wrong. What is it about the dress that you want me to notice?”
Her quiet voice irritated Orlena still further. “The wrinkles, you dumb person! You—”
“Orlena Mavrich, what is it you are calling your sweet sister?” Mrs. O’Connor had entered the room and now stood with her hands on her hips and a frown on her face.
Whirling on this new person, Orlena gave her a scathing look before retorting with fury, “You are just as dumb as my ‘sweet sister’ as you call her. You are both dumb, selfish, ignorant beasts! It’s your fault that I haven’t a decent thing to wear.”
“What is wrong with the one you are wearing now,” ventured Jenelle.
“Wrong with it!” Orlena’s voice rose with a shriek. “Wrong with it? It’s wrinkled! I already told you!”
“If you would pick up your clothes and hang them up instead of leaving them lying around in heaps, they would not be wrinkled.” This calm fact from Mrs. O’Connor was spoken in a normal tone of voice.
“I leave them? That is not my job. I am a guest and I consider myself insulted!”
What was she to say to such a child, Jenelle wondered as Orlena’s voice continued. How do I stop her before Norman comes in? She sent up a swift, silent prayer for help and wisdom and then said softly, “Orlena, on this ranch, everyone picks up after themselves.”
“Well, I don’t! You are just a mean, selfish, horrid, ill-bred—”
“Orlena Mavrich! That is enough!”
Instant silence flooded the room. Jenelle quaked inwardly, for she had never heard her husband speak in such a stern, furiously cold voice. The silence went on. No one dared speak. Stealing a quick glance at her husband, she saw his eyes locked with Orlena’s and noticed his clenched jaw. Oh, was there nothing she could do? Suddenly she felt as though she couldn’t breathe and gripping the table she sank onto a chair gasping for air.
“Darling!” Norman was beside her in an instant. “I’ll carry you to your bed,” he offered, preparing to lift her.
But Jenelle shook her head and pushed his arm away. “I’m all right, really. I just . . . Oh Norman, what can I do?” And the mistress of Triple Creek Ranch buried her face in her hands and burst into tears.
For several long minutes Orlena just stood and stared. Never had she seen a grown person cry like that. And to think that Jenelle, of all people— She didn’t know what to think. Slowly, without a word, she turned around, moved past Mrs. O’Connor and made her way back to her own room. Was she the cause of Jenelle’s misery?
What did you think?
Any questions or comments?