The Supply Deck of a Ship

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 5: Cleaning the Southern Moor; Pgs. 124-126

.     “And what is below us,” asked Adrianna. Her eyes looked down the open-shuttered hatch.
.     “The supply deck,” said Adrian. “Here, let me show you.”
.     He led her through the hatch in the floor and down a short flight of stairs to the next deck below. The light grew far less bright and far more mysterious. Some dim light filtered through from hatches above and let in duller shafts of sunlight that flitted to the floor. The only other source of light came from a few lamps lit throughout by those cleaning this deck, casting a murky yellow haze that flickered.
.     Adrianna also noticed that the roof was lower, and if she jumped, she could touch the ceiling with her fingertips. Running from bow to stern was a sort of path that cut its way through the supplies, stacked in wooden crates and other bundles. “It’s stuffy in here,” she whispered as she looked about, and her voice cut the silence.
.     “Just think how much stuffier it was in the storm, with all the hatches closed and the ship rocking as if it was going to capsize. But,” Adrian continued, “none of us had it nearly as bad as poor Jemmy Ducks. He lives on the floor below us right by the stable.”
.     “Does anyone live on this floor?” Adrianna asked.
.     “There are three small cabins near the bows,” said Adrian, “where the cook, carpenter, and cooper sleep. Other than that, this entire floor is just for stores and supplies. The replacement stove is over there, in case the first one is ruined somehow.” He pointed. “Here is extra dirt for the herb garden; we passed it in the forecastle. Many of the plants have died in the storms, but some have survived. And over there are the barrels of tea leaves. And that’s where we put the apple barrels. The water supply is over there, though we will need to refill most of those barrels when we reach land. One of them sprang a leak in the beginning of the storm when the barrel rolled right into the point of an axe, and though Mr. Perkins did his best at fixing it, we had already lost all the water from the barrel. The axe will be used on the livestock when we are ready to butcher them.” He continued leading Adrianna forward as he spoke. “Here are the other food bins, and over here is where I found spare rope the day Dick fell overboard. You can see most of our rope is used up, though we can obtain more in Spain or Portugal.”
.     “Oh, do stop,” said Adrianna as she put her hands to her head. “There is so much to sailing, and you’re making my head feel all swimmy!”
.     “That’s just what I thought on the first day of the storm,” said Adrian. “And I haven’t shown you the knives and sharp implements of the cooks that I almost fell into, or the tar barrel, sailor tools, fishing gear, washing supplies, or anything and everything that might be needed at sea.”

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Picking Apples

The Williams House; Chapter 2: The Start of School; Pgs. 35-37

.     Meanwhile, Susan and Maria had been sent out to pick some honeysuckle apples from their orchards. They first had gone into a barn to pick up two metal pronged rakes. The barn was a huge structure with several floors and a couple rickety ladders that led up to them. But only Will, Ann, and Lilly were allowed to go up there, and that was only when a parent was with them.
.     Then Susan led Maria out of the barn and down the path that led around the side of the house to the orchard, which soon spread into full view. Sunlight was spilling down the branches and resting in several patches on the ground. The dew was thick, and both girls’ feet were already soaked.
.     “Are these the apples?” asked Maria.
.     “Yes,” said Susan, “but we have to be careful which ones you pick. Hold up the rake, like this.” She demonstrated how and showed Maria how to rake lightly enough to let the ripe apples fall while still leaving the immature apples on the trees.
.     Before long, apples were raining down all around the girls’ heads, and they were both laughing heartily as they ran through the trees and picked up their prizes.
.     “I have 16,” Susan announced.
.     “How many do I have?” asked Maria, who, being four years old, was still uncertain of her numbers. She trotted over to where Susan was, barely able to lug the bucket she was carrying along with her.
.     “You have nine,” said Susan, who had learned to count that very summer (Margaret had taught her). “That should be enough for today. Let’s carry these back inside.”
.     They both hauled their buckets down the path to the back door. The sun was climbing higher in the sky, and the night air was finally replaced by the morning warmth. The path they both walked on was paved with brick, and both their shoes trotted over it and left wet footprints behind.

Music Room – Writers Have Many Interests

So, many people believe that writers remain locked in their towers pouring over their pages and giving little attention to the outside world. If this were true, then books wouldn’t be able to reach anyone living in the outside world! You’ll find that writers are generally everyday common folk going about various businesses and places.

One of the interests I have long held is music. I hope you enjoy watching me play around on my Irish Low Whistle!

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The Gun Deck of a Ship

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 5: Cleaning the Southern Moor; Pgs. 120-124

.     “Come along,” said Adrian when they finished. “We’re done with the prow. Let me show you more of the inside. You still haven’t seen the majority of it, and I have only seen it briefly while I was being tossed about as though in one of the sailor’s hammocks.”
.     Once their eyes adjusted to the dimmer light, they walked down the short hall, past the two cabins. “These are the chaplain’s and doctor’s quarters,” said Adrian as he pointed to the cabins. Past the front doors of the cabins, they walked around the stretched-out hammocks, a little further aft but still under the forecastle. The pole of the foremast was near the center of this area. Shafts of sunlight came down through open shutters above, though dimmer below the forecastle than in it, and a dim yellow light spread out from two lit lamps. It gave a slight glisten to the floor that had just been cleaned. No one was currently in any of the hammocks, though several chests aligned the walls where the sailors kept their belongings.
.     “We’re under the forecastle here,” said Adrian, “near the bows and in the belly of the ship. Yet there are more levels below us. This is called the gun deck, and as we begin to move aft, you’ll see why.”
.     Adrianna looked up warily. “Is it safe?” she whispered.
.     “Oh, yes,” said Adrian, “just wait until we’re under the waterline.” He looked keen. “Then you’ll really feel the weight of the ship above you. We’re as good as in the open air here.”
.     An open doorway at the end of the rest of the hammocks led further aft, and through this threshold Adrianna found the room to open up and expand widely from port and starboard. Many a sailor and soldier were about. They ran into Dick just past the doorway. His rusty red hair was slightly askew, and he nodded a brief acknowledgment.
.     “Isn’t the quiet nice?” Dick asked. “I fancied I was pretty near deaf when I woke up this morning without the cracking and snapping of the ship. And you might want to stay around to watch this! They’re about to test the cannon.”
.     Down along the vast room that expanded below the main deck, on either side along the walls, could be seen the cannon that were spread out and pointed out of little square holes in the walls, widely and evenly spaced. Shafts of light could be seen beaming in from these holes and dancing on the ceiling. There were eight of these holes, four on each side of the ship, and eight cannon to go with them.
.     “What are those open windows?” asked Adrianna. “I don’t remember seeing them when we were in Plymouth.”
.     “Gun ports,” explained Adrian. “The ports were closed during most of the storm and when we were looking at the ship in Plymouth, but they’ve opened them again now.”
.     The roof was high enough that a grown man could stand on the gun deck, and several shafts of light were also beaming in from open shutters from the main deck above. Several sailors were walking about, some cleaning and others attending to orders given by Mr. Heath, the master gunner. Captain Underwood was down inspecting the deck, looking over the powder kegs (a couple were found to be moist – a great nuisance at sea) and muskets, and he was preparing to observe the cannon reports. The cannon were oiled and checked for operability, and the ramrods were cleaned. They had been hoisted by ropes to stick out of the sides of the gun ports, and the soldiers would fire from one side before loading and firing from the other, allowing two soldiers to each cannon.
.     “Are you ready to load the port side?” Mr. Heath asked the captain.
.     “Yes,” said the captain, and then he shouted, “Load on Port!”
.     “Load on Port!” Mr. Heath echoed the command, for in war, the captain would most likely be above on the quarterdeck, and the master gunner would have to translate the command to his men.
.     The soldiers were quickly loading the cannon with their thick ramrods, and Adrian and Adrianna plugged their ears as the first volley sounded. Loud explosions rumbled in their chests and filled some of the gun deck with smoke, but only for a moment before it flitted through the open shutters and ports and dissipated out at sea.
.     “That was quick,” said Adrian as he saw his father smile approvingly.
.     Mr. Heath had the soldiers run to the other side upon the command to load on starboard, and the cannon was quickly loaded and fired when the captain gave the command, “Fire!” The smell of sulfur filled the air.
.     “It smells awful,” said Adrianna.
.     “Perhaps it just takes getting used to,” said Adrian, “like fireworks. You love the smell of fireworks.”
.     “I don’t think I shall ever get used to it,” said Adrianna. “The cannon powder smells different from fireworks. Shall we go below?”
.     “In a minute,” said Adrian. The soldiers were pulling the muskets out of the magazine and showing them to Mr. Heath for inspection, the captain watching. Sunlight was coming down through the shutters to gleam upon the flintlock muzzles. The smell of the explosions drifted away and soon the swords were pulled out and the blades checked.
.     “Oh, come along,” said Adrianna.
.     “Very well,” said Adrian, “Let’s explore the rest of the ship.”
.     When he and Adrianna walked aft, they could see several powder kegs lashed to the floor against the walls in case of emergency. In the middle of the room was a separate small enclosed closet where the weapons were stored, known as the magazine. Toward the stern of the ship was another set of walled-off doors, each leading to a separate cabin.
.     “That’s where Mr. Allen, Mr. Heath, and Mr. Thrussell sleep,” said Adrian. “And of course, right above them is the bottom floor of the aftercastle, where Mr. Toller and Mr. Northrup sleep. They all have their separate rooms.”

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A Collection of Williams’ Breakfasts

The Williams House; Chapter 2: The Start of School; Pg. 35

.     “I wonder what’s for breakfast,” said Will, changing the subject before a row began.
.     But he did not wonder long, for just then, mother brought in several trays from the kitchen, announcing that breakfast was ready. The food must have been kept warm very well, for though Margaret, Susan, and Maria had already had breakfast, the sausages were still steaming. And the sausages were just one of the trays; there was nearly every good breakfast food present (that is, there is always more one could eat easily for breakfast, but it felt and tasted like a complete set, and the children could not have eaten more had they wanted to). There were sausages, sausage rolls, and sweet sausages that were glazed with maple syrup. There were hard-boiled eggs, fried eggs, toast, buttered rolls, and a complicated dish that had fried bacon, mushrooms, and cheese. For drink, there was orange juice, apple juice, milk, and a light tea that had been refrigerated the day before. Two dishes of fruit also sat in the center of the table, laden with pears, oranges, and apples, and the children were required to at least pick one fruit each.

The Williams House; Chapter 3: At the Library; Pgs. 70-71

.     “I’m afraid it’s cold muesli and canned fruit, today,” said their mother. “We have a busy morning and afternoon.”
.     Will and Johnathon poured their muesli and milk. (If you haven’t had muesli, you should try it. It’s a mixture of raw oats and other grains, fresh fruits, dried fruits, and can be sweetened by sugar, honey, cream, or anything else that you think might taste well.) Then the olders started eating and generally stared blankly around the room, yawning fiercely every few moments.

The Williams House; Chapter 4: The Bentley Family; Pgs. 100-101

.     It was on a Saturday morning, feeling briskly in the air, when some of the olders had gotten up before the youngers and were currently eating a quiet breakfast of pancakes and maple syrup. Morning sunlight was streaming through the large window by the small breakfast table they were currently using.
.     “Mum’s gone to the store,” said Lilly to Johnathon who had just gotten up and reached the table. He had a pile of pancakes on his plate, and the syrup was running all over it.
.     “I suppose Father won’t be up for a while,” he said as he sat down. “He had a late work night last night.”
.     “We’ve been ordered to clear the leaves,” said Will.
.     “All of them?!?” exclaimed Johnathon.
.     “Yes,” said Will, “but we will be gaining some help soon. The Bentley’s will be coming over in about an hour to help, and then afterwards we’ll be going over to their place to help with their yard.”
.     “That shouldn’t take long,” said Johnathon.
.     “Yes,” said Ann as she sighed, “but this will take a while.” She pointed outside.
.     “Well, we’ll just have to make the best of it,” said Will. “We can plow into it long before the Bentleys arrive. It shouldn’t take more than half the afternoon. Then we can go over there.”
.     Johnathon cut up his pancakes and started eating. “Will Father be helping?”
.     “No,” said Will. “He had more work to do. He’ll be helping with the Bentley’s place though. I think they’ve invited us over to dinner.”
.     Will got up and took his plate to the sink. “It’s a true clear day, at last,” he noted. “And with no rain yesterday, the leaves should be dry enough.”
.     Johnathon continued eating. The pancakes were hot and warming down to the toes, and the syrup was extra sweet. There were sausages on the side, still steaming from the dish. Nearly everyone else was done in five more minutes, and Johnathon had to hurry. He was still done before Timothy or any of the youngers were up, and quickly he slunk into his room and changed his clothes, putting on a plaid checkered pattern shirt for the workday.

Children’s Hour

‘Tis been a while since Conservative Cornerstones has posted a selection of its favorite children’s rhymes. I hope you enjoy!

Travel

The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea’s face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go donw to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and th esea gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.
~John Masefield

A Windy Day

Have you been at sea on a windy day
When the water’s blue
And the sky is too,
And showers of spray
Come sweeping the decks
And the sea is dotted
With little flecks
Of foam, like daisies gay;

When there’s salt on your lips,
In your eyes and hair,
And you watch other ships
Go riding there?
Sailors are happy,
And birds fly low
To see how close they can safely go
To the waves as they heave and roll.

Then, wheeling, they soar
Mounting up to the sky,
Where billowy clouds
Go floating by!
Oh, there’s fun for you
And there’s fun for me
At sea
On a windy day!
~Winifred Howard

They That Go Down to the Sea

They that go down to the sea in ships,
That do business in great waters;
These see the works of the Lord,
And his wonders in the deep.
~The Bible: from Psalm 107

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A Sneak-Peek from my Email List

There is always more room in my email list! Right now, I am sending out an email series that gives sneak-peeks at my up and coming third novel. If you want free resources at many of my writings, then please subscribe at the bottom of this post!

Here are some screenshots from my latest email campaign:

2018-02-03 14_47_50-A Character Softens - reynolds.wes@gmail.com - Gmail

. . .

2018-02-03 14_48_08-A Character Softens - reynolds.wes@gmail.com - Gmail

‘Tis true: You receive writing updates, news bulletins, and progress that is being made with Conservative Cornerstones. If you sign up, you also receive a free eBook titled Rhymes for a Child’s Picnic Lunch? You’ll find a few screenshots of it on this page!

And yes, I let everyone watch my YouTube videos, whether you are subscribed to my email list or not. Interested in the above screenshot of my reading a chapter of my book? Watch below!

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A Chat at the Inn – Part 2

Treasure on the Southern Moor; Chapter 1: The Voyage; Pgs. 22-26

.     “So,” said Mr. Underwood at last, “I could look around here . . . try to find a captain willing to-”
.     “That would not do, I fear,” interrupted Captain Horne. He hesitated, something on the tip of his tongue. But for some time, he did not speak it. Finally he added quickly, “I would not trust this journey with anyone except my most trusted friend.” He went on even quicker, “And there is little time, for the longer we wait, the longer the chance that the gold will be found by someone else. Alas, that my men and I could not bury the treasure to be dug up at the best convenience! We had no time, for we were already behind our schedule, and as it is, this was the last day we could have arrived here before my entire crew and I would have been dismissed. Even so, we almost did bury it, and the vote to go back was only the majority by one. As already noted, I leave harbor tomorrow, headed for the Americas. I’ll be shipping tea, along with other goods. In any case, there is nothing for it now but that you find it and bring it back.” He gave the last sentence as an afterthought, and his speech slowly died away.
.     “Captain again,” whispered Mr . Underwood, “It has been many a year . . . But no,” he added. “What about Adrian and Adrianna?”
.     “Take them with you,” Captain Horne suggested. “They should be a help on deck.”
.     Mr. Underwood hesitated. For many moments the two became silent, Horne expectant and Underwood reluctant. The rainfall continued to beat upon the windowpane. Booms of thunder were growing sparser, but they still would rattle the walls every now and then. Murky lamplight glinted off the golden coins. Underwood could hear someone snoring in the room right above him. He finally spoke, “I do know of a ship, brand new, that does not have a crew yet. I personally invested in its make and was planning to sell it. It could do the job, I suppose.”
.     “Does it have a name?”
.     “No,” said Underwood, “it was just recently completed, but what about crew?”
.     “Aye,” said Captain Horne, “Crew is another problem. We would have to find them all tonight. But first I need your answer. I will need help finding the others, but I know I have found the captain.”
.     “I suppose you have then. Very well,” said Captain Underwood, “I’ll go. And now,” he continued as though he had not just made a great decision, “how do I know where it is? I presume you have a map.”
.     “Right here,” said Captain Horne. He scooted the gold coins and other treasure to the side of the table and grasped back into another fold of his clothing. This time, when he pulled it back out, he held a folded piece of parchment. Slowly, he unfolded it on the table. “Don’t worry,” he added when he saw his friend’s eyes looking warily at the water stains, “I have two more copies in locked chests, one on the ship and one in my room here (though I don’t expect to get any sleep tonight).”
.     They both looked at the map for some time, “It was in this harbor, here, that we sunk them,” said Captain Horne as he pointed. “We met the pirates here, and when they found that they were outgunned, they retreated around point into harbor, like so.”
.     “So here is where the pirates fell?”
.     “No, here,” corrected Horne, “in this narrow inlet that connects to this larger inlet, in an inlet of an inlet, if you get my meaning. We dismantled sail, mast, and rigging, so that the surrounding hills and ridges hide the spot quite nicely, not mentioning the forests. It is a mountainous area of jungle. As noted, the exposed chests are under about two fathoms of water, some half buried in the sand. The hull of the vessel split open from running aground and our repeated assaults. Their cargo hold must have been on their bottom deck. Many of the chests spilled out, though we saw more in two sunken chambers of the ship. It will be tricky diving, but ropes and hooks should do most of the work.
.     “And of course,” he added hastily, “the money is to be split fifty-fifty between us, giving very handsome sums among the crews as well.”
.     “Yes, yes,” said Captain Underwood, “no question about that. But what if the treasure is gone?”
.     “Then each of us pays half the cost for the trip,” said Horne. “The money I have brought back can help with advance payments.”
.     “Agreed,” said Underwood, “and now for crew. Where do we start? There is much preparation to do, and it will take dogged work if we are to have the sails ready by two in the afternoon. That gives us about twelve hours.”
.     “I was hoping you would have some leads regarding crew,” said Captain Horne.
.     “I might,” said Captain Underwood. “I could start with a couple places here in town, though I expect people to be rather grumpy at this hour of the night.”
.     “No time for that,” said Horne as he swiftly scooped up money and map and put them back away. “They’ll perk up when you show them the gold. The handfuls I have brought back will help motivate them. They only need to be trustworthy, as every member of my crew is.”
.     “Then let us be going,” said Captain Underwood as he blew out the lamp with one whiff of air. “Every moment is of the essence.”
.     Captain Horne followed him. “My own crew is making the rest of the preparations for my coming voyage,” he said, “so I can be of some aid. Two in the afternoon would be the latest I can start, and I will have an hour of inspection before, but that still leaves time. I can sleep when the voyage is underway.”

You may purchase this book directly here at Xulon or here at Amazon

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Playing in the Snow

The Williams House; Chapter 6: Winter Wonder; Pgs. 136-138

.     The day went splendidly. There is nothing like several rounds of snow fights in the morning to stir ones blood and bring health and liveliness to one’s face. Several families soon arrived after the Bentleys, and the children greeted them all in turn with a snowball barrage. Boys were laughing heartily and girls were cheering merrily, the sound of dozens of voices in perfect harmony rising around the little hillside.
.     At about 11:00, some of the girls went in to rest, with some of the younger boys. (Timothy stayed out.) Hot cocoa was served to those who entered, and those who stayed outside called themselves the “hardy stock,” refusing to acquire their warm drinks until lunch time. It had been ages since the Williamses had used their muscles so hard, and it was badly needed, for Johnathon could not remember using his energy so much since they had cleared the leaves away, which had been close to a month ago.
.     When lunch was served, everyone else traipsed indoors, and the Williams’s house became filled with snow suits, waterproof coveralls, hats, mittens, and gloves, ski masks, large boots still dripping with slush, and many, many hot faces that were red from the hard play outdoors. The meal, in keeping with the winter season, was the best chili that you could possibly imagine, with steaming hot meat pies, and warm chocolate fudge and sugar bread cookies for dessert. The “hardy stock” now enjoyed their hot mugs of cocoa, and the conversation buzzed for an hour or so as everyone filled themselves after their morning excursions.
.     The outdoors was now covered with footprints and many boot tracks. Many chains of snow angels lay along the ground, with some of them marred by thrown snowballs and tracks. Several snowmen were scattered throughout, and a couple rather large snow walls now formed a sort of embankment.
.     Several of the boys and girls then decided to stay indoors, the grand meal having something to do with it. The little old cottage (which we all know by now was not quite so little) was just as interesting to most as the outside, and it is harder to put on snow gear after it has already been used a lot in a day and is still dripping from its prior use. In fact, that was how the fight began.
.     It all started in one of the guest rooms on the second floor, when some had just decided to stay indoors the remainder of the day. Others were more restless, and someone (I shall not put the name down here) decided to throw a pillow at someone else. A small kerfuffle immediately started, which soon grew. Timothy joined within the first sixty seconds and was at the heart and center of it all. It was a marvelous way to exercise the remainder of one’s energy without having to face the cold wind in one’s face. Will and Johnathon made the game organized, with everyone holding their own pillow and having their own corner in which they could retreat to at any time.
.     “My face must be beet red,” said Johnathon after a while. “Why not go outdoors for a little bit to cool off?”
.     With that, Will and Johnathon decided to go outdoors once more for the day. “It will probably be a while before we get this chance again,” said Will as he put on his snow boots.
.     Both of them took two machetes (which had been dulled so as not to be too dangerous) and walked back outdoors. A cloud cover had taken over the sky, and the sun was now well hidden among them, making the snow look more like well-packed sand among the trees. Margaret, Susan, and Maria followed the boys out among the snowmen. Then Will and Johnathon began making large balls, as though to make another snowman. When the balls became large enough, they started carving them, until they had two magnificent looking chairs, with armrests each.
.     “You see,” said Will. “Now we can sit in the snow and enjoy the outdoors in peaceful observance.”
.     Susan and Maria had the privilege of sitting in the first chairs until the boys had more made. And soon, there were a great many chairs with many people sitting among them, looking up at the snow-covered trees and gazing at the work they had so heartily engaged in throughout the day.