Steampunk Family

Farm Living

January 7, 2011
This entry is part of a series, Voyage to Antafrica»

When the older children returned from the fields they all gathered for a hurried conference while they washed up.

“I think we should go.” Gerhardt said. “I don’t like the way the lady looks at us.”

“I think we should stay as long as they let us. We have food and shelter.” Mirabelle countered.

“She doesn’t like us,” Adolphus said. “And she serves onion porridge for breakfast.”

Bettina stuck out her tongue.

“It was better than your turnips, actually,” Claire said.

Bettina waggled her tongue back and forth, making a horrible face.

“Look,” Annabelle said, “she probably doesn’t like having six more mouths to feed or a great horde of strangers taking up all the space in her tiny house. That doesn’t make her bad. If you lot moved into my room I would be grumpy too. Even more if you were strangers.”

“I don’t like to impose,” Claire said.

“We worked hard today!” Adolphus said. “I don’t know about you house types, but we field hands were dashed helpful. I must say I’m a bit sore. All those times, back home on the airship, we flew above farms, you know, and all the farm hands stop their work and wave up at the airship… well, it all looked so jolly. It’s not so jolly on the ground, more sweaty and uncomfortable.”

“You’d better rethink your career as a farmhand, then.” Annabelle examined a fresh blister on her hand.

“I’m not a farmhand. I’m an explorer.” Adolphus thought a moment. “Which is also sweaty and uncomfortable, but not so repetitive.”

“She’s looking at us,” Gerhardt murmured.

“Wash Bettina’s face again,” Claire advised.

“No!” Bettina backed away, covering her face with her hands. “Clean!”

“Fine. Get behind Gerhardt’s ears.”

“What?” Gerhardt yelped.

Adolphus cheerfully pounced on his brother, holding his head over the basin. Mirabelle filled a ladle from the hot water barrel and poured it over the back of his head. Their victim spluttered and called them names, offended by both the scalding and the injustice.

“You know what I’ve been thinking, Claire?” Annabelle said.

“Boys never clean behind their ears?”

“If we keep moving, how will our parents find us?”

The matter was settled for them at dinner.

“Ung eee goooon,” Adolphus began. He stopped as Annabelle shoved her fork in his leg. It didn’t hurt, as the fork was made of wood, but he stopped, swallowed, and started again.

“Please convey to Mrs. Gwen,” he said to his fork-wielding sister, “that this roast is excellent, and she is a fine cook and thoughtful hostess.”

Annabelle translated, but Bettina looked at him through her eyelashes, brow wrinkled.

“Don’t worry, love,” Claire said to her. “He’s just being charming. It will pass.”By Édouard Riou (1833-1900) [Public domain], via Wikimedia  Commons

“No, this is really good.” He waved a laden fork. “First meat I’ve had in over a week!”

Gerhardt had eaten all his peas, and all the yellow mushy stuff. He always saved the best for last. He poked at the brown slab on his leaf plate, deciding where to start cutting, and gasped.

“It’s not meat,” he said. He turned his steak so the others could see it. Incised in the flesh were letters – ‘My’.

“What is that?” Mirabelle was furthest away from him.

“It’s the name I carved in our boat,” he said. “We’ve eaten our life raft. Now we’re stuck.”

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Entries in this series:
  1. On Grandmothers
  2. With A Bang!
  3. In Search of Ancient Angiosperms
  4. Assault on the Galley
  5. The Sorrows of Chef
  6. Faeries, Helpful Siblings, and other Mythological Creatures
  7. Meanwhile, Back in the Lab
  8. A Day of Discovery
  9. The Children’s Hypothesis
  10. A Research Date
  11. Aboard the Schmetterling
  12. The Cave
  13. The Cage
  14. Knee of the Yeti
  15. Kidnapped!
  16. A Clue
  17. The Yeti and the Comb
  18. Fighting the Count
  19. Fighting the Yeti
  20. Falling
  21. Breadcrumbs
  22. The Search is On
  23. Flight to Saigon
  24. On the Streets of Saigon
  25. The Sad Man
  26. At the Grandiere Club Aeronautique
  27. If you Give a Count a Cookie
  28. Out of Cookies
  29. Stuck!
  30. Airships Float?
  31. Where is Claire?
  32. Drowning
  33. Into the Drink!
  34. Boat!
  35. Mushroom Trip
  36. Ambush
  37. The Variegated Strangler
  38. In a Strange Land
  39. Hand over Hand
  40. The Last of the Gouda
  41. An Unusual Breakfast
  42. Downstream
  43. What's for Dinner?
  44. Axe and Fire
  45. Meanwhile, Back at the Airship
  46. Over the Gobi
  47. Return of the Grandmothers
  48. Warning from Huang
  49. Anxious Hours
  50. Ulrik Prepares
  51. Destruction by Dawn
  52. Finding Philomena
  53. No Luck in Pekin
  54. The Children Rescue...Something
  55. Corndog Liberation
  56. The Fate of Corndogs
  57. Have you Tea?
  58. Antafrican Hosptitality
  59. Onion Porridge
  60. Homesick
  61. On the Hunt
  62. Farm Living
  63. Singing for Supper
  64. You Say Potato...
  65. Curiosity is the Foundation of Discovery
  66. An Awkward Position
  67. Trouble Comes Riding
  68. Capsicum Capture
  69. To the Palace
  70. The Death of the Lincoln
  71. War Wings
  72. A Long Way Down
  73. Enter the Lightning
  74. Before the Queen
  75. You are a Tomato!
  76. A Sunken Ship
  77. Eglantine Aubergine
  78. Children of the Soil
  79. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  80. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  81. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  82. The Price of Popcorn
  83. Ulrik and Chef
  84. Fire!
  85. Claire's Bluff
  86. Tomato Queen and Aubergine
  87. It's Going to Blow!
  88. Rhodri in the Gardens
  89. The Servant's Fountain
  90. History Revealed
  91. Fight at the Fountain
  92. Repercussions
  93. Father Discovers the Yeti
  94. Aboard the Lucy Stone
  95. Summoned
  96. The Queen's Accusation
  97. The Queen's Rage
  98. The Khan
  99. The Last War Wing
  100. Eglantine Departs
  101. Thumping Rhodri
  102. Bad News from the Boys
  103. Where's the Count?
  104. In Search of the Count
  105. Spying on the Queen
  106. Confronting the Count
  107. Orphaned?
  108. Orphaned?
  109. Montesanto's Experiments
  110. Montesanto's Experiments
  111. The Queen's Tantrum
  112. Bettina's Tantrum
  113. The Flaming Queen
  114. Uprising!
  115. Uprising!
  116. Escape
  117. On the Run
  118. The Mysterious Coach
  119. Red Racer!
  120. Revolution Reset
  121. By the Acid Sea
  122. Farewell Antafrica
  123. Home Again!
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