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.

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.

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.