Circle C Early Beginnings Parts 1-2
by Samantha Snow
It was early morning at Circle C Ranch, the sun was rising, it was a very pretty sunrise. Snow covered the tops of the mountains, it was a beautiful morning, the Carter family was just waking up to begin their day. Justin rolled out of bed and looked out the window above the ranch and the cows were already starting to graze the fields. The cows needed milked, the horses needed watered and the other animals needed fed. They also had to clean out the barn. It was going to be a busy day at the ranch! Justin rolled over and tapped Chad, who was sleeping beside him. “Chad, wake up.” He said
Chad woke up and yawned, “What?”
“Let’s see if there are any chicks hatched yet, they should start hatching anytime!”
“Yeah, let’s go check!” Chad was fully awake now; he was really excited for chicks!
Justin and Chad tiptoed downstairs. They hurried outside to the chicken coop. Henry the Eighth, who was the rooster, was there watching them, they opened the door so the chickens could go outside. Chad and Justin went in and made sure they had enough food and water then checked the nests! They heard a peeping noise before they even saw any chicks, there were five peepers! They were really cute and fluffy.
“Awesome! Chicks!” exclaimed Chad.
“Yeah, I can’t believe we finally have some!” Justin said, “Let’s go tell everyone.” He added.
They hurried inside, Mother was fixing breakfast and James, their father was talking with her. “Well, son’s any chicks?” He asked
“Yes! There is!” Chad said.
“There are five baby chicks, they are super cute.” Justin added.
“Great! What hen hatched them?”
“Umm…. I did not think to look, I was too excited.” said Justin bashfully.
“That’s okay son, I will go out soon and check.”
So they went out shortly after and saw the chicks and fed the horses. “Let’s milk the cows,” said James “Chad, would you mind getting the milk buckets?”
“I will!” said Chad, running off to get the buckets. He hurried back and handed them to his father and they got started with the milking. “Justin? Could you open another bag of cattle feed please?” asked Father.
“Okay, I will, it’s in the hayloft right?”
“Yep, it is.”
Justin went and got a bag and scooped some in each cow's trough. It would keep them busy so it would be easier to milk. Aftering milking they were going to check the rest of the cattle.
“Ready to check the cattle, boys?” asked James as he tacked up the horses.
Justin and Chad nodded, “We’re ready!” and they were off to check them. A fence had snapped so Justin went back to get more wire to fix it, as he rode back to the ranch house, he saw the mother hen leading her chicks outside! He halted his horse and watched them for a few minutes, I better go, Chad and Father are waiting for me Justin thought. He fetched some wire and took it back to Father and Chad.
“Did you find it okay?” Father asked.
Justin nodded and handed it over. They unwrapped some wire and fixed the fence, it was a small brake so it was easy. “This is done, boys. Shall we keep going?” asked Father.
“Yeah, I'm ready to go. The fence looks pretty good. Nice and tight.” said Chad.
“That’s right son! Let’s go.”
They were off to finish checking the fences. All the rest of the fence looked good so they went back to the ranch, one the way back they saw a mother cow feeding her calf, “That calf is new, let’s check it out.” said James, Justin and Chad eyes widened with interest, another calf! The calf was brown with white spots, so the boys decided to name the calf Sue.
“Sue is a pretty calf, isn’t she Father?” asked Chad
“She sure is! Her mother is taking good care of her.”
Chad nodded in agreement, they made sure the rest of the cattle were good and headed back to Circle C. As they kept going along they saw a horse with a foal! James whistled and the horse came running, her foal followed cautiously, he took a bit to warm up to them but finally did.
The foal was a beautiful little horse, he had black, brown and white markings. James decided to take them back to the ranch so they could keep an eye on the newborn foal. “Justin, can you get the halter and lead rope out of my saddlebags?”
“Sure, Father.” He handed them to his Father and he strapped them on the mare, “Chad, Justin, I am going to need your help. This little colt won’t be able to walk to the ranch, since it's so far. We are going to have to carry him on one of the horses.” He glanced over at them, “I think we should take Skylight.” Skylight was Chad’s horse and was very tame and an awesome horse.
“Okay Father, what do you want us to do?” asked Chad,
“Bring Skylight here,” Chad led him over. “Think you can ride behind the saddle when the foal is in front of you?” James asked.
Chad furrowed his brow, thinking, “I think so. Is there a way we could tie him so he won’t slip off?”
“Good idea Chad! Yeah, we can do that.” James turned and rummaged around in the saddlebags for the extra rope he always carried. Sure enough, there was the extra rope.
James picked up the foal carefully and set him on Skylight’s back, he tied the rope so it would not hurt the foal but still hold him. “Chad, come mount up.” Chad mounted and held the reins. James turned to Justin who had been listening and watching and said “Justin, ride close to Chad, if the colt starts to slip yell to let me know. I will be leading the foal’s momma.”
Justin nodded and mounted his horse, Sunrise. James mounted his horse while holding onto the mare’s rope, and they were off to the ranch!
When they arrived Elizabeth was waiting for them “What took so long?” She called out curiously.
“Come and see!” James, her husband, called back.
Elizabeth smiled and came to look, “Oh! A new foal!”
“Yeah, he was born either yesterday of last night. We brought him and his mother back to the ranch, it’s not the safest for a newborn foal out on the range.” said James.
“Okay, that’s good you brought them in. I believe there is an extra stall in the barn. Justin? Would you mind checking?” Elizabeth asked her oldest son.
He nodded and ran to check, he came back a little while later and said “There is an extra stall, it had some stuff in it so I had to move it out, that’s why it took so long.”
“Oh, that’s okay, you weren’t that long. Thank you.” Elizabeth smiled.
“Let’s get these horses in the barn!” James said and they led the horse in, her foal following. They put them both into the stall and got the mare, feed, hay and water. “She looks all set. Let’s go in for lunch.” said James.
They went in and they ate their lunch, which was ham sandwiches. They talked about what to do that afternoon and what to name the new foal.
“What shall we name the foal?” James asked,
“Good question! What do you think?” Elizabeth asked, addressing Justin and Chad.
Chad thought for a few minutes and said “What about Blake?”
“That’s a good name!” Father said
“Yeah, I think so too! Is that a good name, Justin?” asked Elizabeth
“I think it suits the foal well.”
Just then Kate, leading Mitch and Melinda, came downstairs, “What's this I hear about a new foal?” She had heard snatches of their conversion.
Chad and Justin told her the whole story, interrupting the other when he thought he had missed something. “Oh, wow! A new foal! Cool! I would love to see him this afternoon.” said Kate excitedly. She glanced down at Mitch and Melinda, “I think these two are hungry, do you have anything they can eat, Mother?”
“Yeah, I do. Come here,” Elizabeth said, walking over to the counter. She got some bread with honey and handed it to her two youngest children. “Thanks for watching them, Kate.”
“You’re welcome!” Kate replied, smiling. She had enjoyed watching her siblings.
After lunch they went back outside, today they had to clean the barn and the horse stalls. They got the wheelbarrows and got started, Justin was going to start on one side of the barn and Chad on the other side. James was going to help them and bring down fresh hay and feed, which was a tricky job!
After a while Justin and Chad were slowing down, this was hard work! James came over and helped them finish up, he had brought a bunch of hay and feed down from the hayloft for the horses, he put some in each horse’s stall and brought the horses back in. “Great job boys! Thanks for helping!”
“Your welcome Father!”
“Yeah, you're welcome!”
They took off to see the chicks again and went for a short ride before supper. When they saw the chicks there were six! Not five! Another chick had hatched! “I’m going to tell Father, okay?” asked Justin
Chad nodded and Justin ran off, Chad decided to tack up the horses so when Justin came back they would be all set. A few minutes later Justin came back and helped Chad finish tacking up the horses. They were going to take Skylight and Sunrise.
As they rode off their mother called to them “Be back in time for supper!”
“We will Mother!” they called back.
They were going to go to the creek first to play. They almost caught a fish but it got away. “Oh well, maybe next time” said Justin as the fish swam off. They skipped a few stones and splashed around. They had lots of fun!
After a while they kept going along, “Spring is really here, look, all the trees are starting to get their leaves.” Justin said, glazing around.
“Yeah, looks like it.” answered Chad, “Let’s race, we can race to that tree.” He added, pointing.
“Okay!” yelled Justin, kicking his horse into a gallop.
“Hey! No head starts!” Chad yelled after him, urging Skylight to run faster. He slowly caught up to Justin and passed him, Justin spoke quietly to his horse, Sunrise, and she went faster. They were almost to the finish line when Justin pulled alongside Chad and Skylight and they crossed the finish line at the same time!
“Wow, good race Chad! It was a tie!” said Justin laughing
“Yeah, it was fun!” Chad responded.
“It’s probably time for supper, we better head back.” said Justin looking up at the sky.
They trotted home to Circle C Ranch, and sure enough, supper was waiting. “Did you have fun, Justin, Chad?” asked their father,
“Oh, yes! We went to the creek, skipped stones, played in the water and after that we had a race!” said Chad excitedly.
“It was lots of fun! The race was a tie!” added Justin
“Glad you had fun! Come, let’s eat supper.” said Elizabeth. So they did.
Chapter Two Such A Snowy Time
It was early February in California, it was snowy in the mountains. One afternoon James asked Chad and Justin, “Would you want to go explore the tops of the mountains? The ranch work is slowing down because it’s winter and we got almost everything done. What do you say boys?”
That would be so much fun!”
“Would Kate come?” asked Justin
“She is going to stay, as you know Mother is going to have a baby soon and she needs Kate to help out.” answered James.
“Okay, I’ll just have to bring something back for her.” said Justin
“I will too!” Chad excitedly said.
“We will boys! Let’s go tell Mother and start getting ready!”
After they packed they hitched up the horses “Are we each going to ride a horse?” asked Justin
“Yeah, it will be easier once we get in the mountains.” answered James, his father.
And they were on their way! It was a cold day so they were all dressed warm, it would be even colder once they got up into the mountains! As they rode along James told them stories of times when Circle C Ranch got snow, it was pretty far from the hills so it did not happen often. James launched into a story when he and Elizabeth brought the cattle down from the mountains before any children were born.
When he finished Chad spoke up “Wow, I didn’t know that happened! Was it scary?”
“Yes and no, it was scary because we were lost but we also had Yahweh with us. Yahweh is the Hebrew name for the god of Isaac, Abraham, and Joseph. From the bible.” James added when he saw their confused looks.
“Okay! I get what you mean.” Chad grinned
A bit later Justin asked “How long till we explore?”
James answered “We can dismount and stop anytime, it’s a bit further ahead where I thought would be a good place to eat lunch. Then we can explore for as long as we want!”
“Okay! I’m hungry.” said Justin
James laughed, “I am too!”
After lunch they mounted their horses and rode off, after a little while of riding James said “Want to stop now boys? This looks like a good spot to explore and eat.” it sure was, there was a bunch of rocks, trees, and even a pond! It was at the base of the mountain.
“Yeah, I’m ready to eat!” said Chad, ginning.
“Me too!” added Justin,
“Great, we’ll stop here for a bit and eat lunch, let’s see what Mother packed for us.” said their father sitting down. “Looks like roast beef sandwiches! Yummy!” exclaimed Chad excitedly, he loved roast beef sandwiches!
“Yep!” said James, smiling at his son’s excitement. “Let’s eat!” and they dug in. It was such a yummy meal!
“Ready to get going and doing some exploring?” asked Father
“You bet!” was his answers
James smiled, “Great! Let’s go!” He grabbed the canteens of water and tied up the horses to a sturdy pine tree. He turned around and asked Chad and Justin “What way shall we go first?”
Justin pointed north, “That way.”
Chad nodded in agreement. So they walked into the woods, there were no leaves on the trees so they could see quite far ahead. After walking for a bit it started snowing! “Justin! Chad! Look, it’s snowing, we are far enough up in the mountains and it’s cold enough to snow!”
Justin and Chad tried catching snowflakes. It was great fun! It kept getting colder, James glanced at the sky, “We better head back.” They started off to find the horses, but it kept getting snow in their faces and couldn't see their hands in front of their faces! James said “Justin? Chad? We need to find shelter. Come, follow me.” He took their hands so they wouldn't get lost and kept going, it was slow hard work. After a couple minutes they found a pine tree that was huge! It was definitely strong enough to stay standing. They crept under it and prayed.
A bit later the snow lessened up and James could see good now, he looked around. “Justin, Chad! The horses are just ahead! Look!” He said excitedly. The horses were only a few feet away, tied to the tree they were under!
“Yahweh definitely answered our prayers, right Father?” said Justin coming up behind him.
“Yes, Justin, He sure did.” James spoke softly.
Chad followed Justin and they stood looking at all the snow, it was a wonderful sight. James grinned, “We better head for home, Mother is probably wondering where we are.”
Justin and Chad nodded and untied the horses and mounted, James did so too. “Wait! We almost forgot to get something for Kate!” said Chad
“Yes, we need to get something.” said James thinking
“Will she like a pinecone? With a branch.” said Justin holding one.
“Yeah! She will like that.” said Chad, ''I'll get her one too!”
“Good, glad you found something!” said James smiling and they were on their way home!
There was only a few inches of packed snow so the horses had no trouble going home. There started to be less snow so they knew they were nearing home. The horses did too. They kept riding and the ranch came into view, there was no snow there! “It’s surprising how much snow is in the hills and not much here.” Chad remarked.
“It is.” James agreed.
Justin nodded and agreed.
They rode in and put their horses in the barn and fed them, after doing so they went inside to change and get warm. Elizabeth was waiting for them, ‘Well? How did it go?” James, Justin, and Chad looked at each other, “Oh, we have lots to tell you!” they said together, they burst out laughing and Elizabeth shook her head, smiling “You can tell me in the living room, it must be very interesting if you are laughing this much.” she said, laughing too. They grinned and followed in the living room. She was hot chocolate waiting for them. “We better do this more often, hot chocolate is the best!” said Chad happily sipping it.
Justin and Chad slipped outside and got the branch and pinecone for Kate and brought it in, “Kate, we got this for you.” Justin said, handing it to her. “We got two.” added Chad.
“Why, thank you!” She said happily, smelling her sweet gifts.
She and Elizabeth sat down and listened to them telling their snow story.