excerpt CHAPTER 8 – THE MONTANA McMINNS

“…Father bought a ranch from Mrs. Leuce [sp?]. It had been her mother’s and the mother passed away. There was a small cabin with 1 full window and a window in the door, a small entrance hall inside the front door. So he went to the mountain to get logs to build more house.
My mother and us girls were alone a lot. Carl and Arby had raised a lot of beans so we put them on the table, all set around it and picked the bad ones, split ones, and any dirt out as they could sell them. That’s the way we spent our time. One night we heard a cry like a child. My mother took the gun and we went out in the brush to see who was lost. We didn’t find anyone. When the cousins came home, they told us we were lucky not finding who was crying as there was a mountain lion that had followed them around when they were cutting hay. And their howl was just like a lost child!
There was also a knot hole in the top of the door in the cabin where we cooked, and one day a man met my father and they talked on the road. That man asked what woman and two girls lived in one of those cabins on Red Lodge Creek? He said I rode my horse up to that door and sat there for 15 or 20 minutes and looked through that knot hole and saw a woman and two little girls sat at a table looking over beans and singing songs. Some were just funny songs, some were church songs. My father said they all belong to me, and the man said you are a lucky man.
We moved into the one cabin on the ranch my father had bought when he got the logs home there to build another house. The one he built wasn’t much larger than the one that was already there. When he came home one day with a load of logs, four logs were laid out like a foundation on the upper corner of the ranch. That was the thing anyone did if they jumped a claim. Father threw the logs over the fence alongside the road. Later when he saw Ira Covelt [sp?], Ira told him he had put the logs there so someone else who might cause us trouble wouldn’t do it. When the new cabin was finished we had a nice kitchen and dining area. And plenty of sleeping rooms in the other cabin. Then he dug a well close by and a short way from the buildings he dug a cellar in a dry bank. Mother had a big table in this cellar and there was an air vent in the dirt roof and a screen door. On the table she kept some of the things she wanted to keep cool. After we got some cows she kept big pans of milk on this table and after some months a pan of milk would be skimmed every day….”
Then when she went in one day a big bull snake was on the table skimming the cream on this certain pan of milk he just sucked the cream and it ran into his mouth as fast as he could swallow. She got a hoe and fixed him so he didn’t need any more cream. They thought he must of got in through the vent in the roof….”

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