1 October 1641
I finally took care of the pine tree today. Every since it fell I've been meaning to go with the axe and chop it up, and today I did it. I dragged an awful lot of firewood back to the woodshed, which is to say our only shed, and left it to dry. The tree that grew there will keep me warm this winter.
I'm going to plant a new one. It's going to be hard, but I plan to get the dirt from around the stump and fill in the hole and then find a new baby pine tree to plant. I know it'll be years and years before the new one is as big as the old one was, but I want to start it now. Maybe my children or my grandchildren will climb the new pine tree.
3 October 1641
The kittens are so grown up! They eat entrails with their mother and walk around all on their own. They're so sweet! Snowy likes to snuggle up to me at night, like Button. Misty is terribly smart and she's going on her own little hunts for the mice in the house. And Shadow! Shadow follows me around all day, yelling his tiny little head off. I'm going to be sorry to let them go. But they're almost three months old, and that's plenty old enough for new homes.
I'm a little worried Button might miss them. I don't know if cats miss their kittens. I know that sometimes cats leave their kittens, but Button's been a good mama so far. I hope she doesn't miss them. I can't afford four cats, and anyways other people need them.
5 October 1641
I asked people in town today if they'd like a kitten. Tavros's family wants one, and so do the Baxters and the Coopers. I told Tavros to come by soon to pick out the one he wants. Mrs. Baxter said she'd be by within the next week. And Mr. Cooper said to drop off whichever was left, he was sure he'd like the little fellow. I think his family is suffering a lot from the loss of their son. He seemed…sad, a bit like how our mama used to, when she talked about her old family. I told him I'd bring the kitten by as soon as I could. I find having a cat can make a home feel a lot less empty.
7 October 1641
I wish Meulin would write more. I miss her. I feel like I haven't heard from her in months. I know she must be busy, but I wish she would at least write sometimes.
I wonder why our birth parents named us how they did. We're not named after saints or anybody important. I don't know anyone else who has my name or Meulin's. Our mama told us she wanted to name a daughter Violet. I suppose Meulin would've been Violet if our mama was our blood mother, but I don't know what my name would be. I suppose since our mama only ever had one baby, and he was a son, she never thought of a second name for a daughter.
I'd want my child to have a pretty name, something to make them feel warm and remind my child I love them.
9 October 1641
I've been looking in the woods for pinecones and I think I've found a few good ones. I'm drying them out to get the seeds, and then I'll plant it in a pot inside until it's strong enough to be outside. I see pine trees sprout around December, so that's when I'll start it. I suppose they like the cold. They must! They're the only trees that don't give up when the weather is cold. I'm surprised they can blossom when the sun is so weak, but they can. I hope this little tree grows well. I don't want to put it outside only for it to die in the cold.
11 October 1641
Tavros came over today to pick out his kitten! He met them and played with them and Misty really liked him, and he liked her. I told him she's the smart one, and he said he knew it and he'd like to take her anyways.
"I think she'll need to be fed for a little while longer. She can hunt, but she's still little," I said.
"What does she eat?" he asked.
"I mostly feed her the entrails from my hunts, but any meat will probably do," I said. "Once she's a little bigger, she'll probably feed herself from mice in the barn."
"She's so sweet," he said when she curled up next to him for petting.
"She's a lot like her mama," I agreed. "Take good care of her."
"Of course. She'll be safe with us," he promised. "Come on, Misty. Let's go."
I walked him back to his house and made sure Misty was going to be alright there. She likes Tavros, and I'm sure she'll like his parents. The only one I'd worry about is his brother, but I don't Rufioh is cruel. I think he's just thoughtless. I know very few people who would hurt a kitten.
14 October 1641
I think the festivals will be wonderful this year. I think I'll make some of the pudding my mama liked to make and bring it. It takes a lot of fat, but I usually use the drippings from the cooking and animals I hunt. I want to bring the best to for the festivals anyways! I'm excited to show my friends what I can cook. I'm looking forward to seeing what they can cook, too. The food is always delicious.
16 October 1641
I went to see my friends in the village today. Aradia and Terezi and I sat at the table and had tea together. I told them how Linny hasn't been writing, and they all said they were sorry to hear that. Porrim was walking by and she gave me a long look. I suppose she's been missing Meulin too. It's good to have my friends, though. Even if I don't have my sister anymore, my friends are still here. They're very kind.
Aradia's family is preparing their sheep for the winter. Kanaya's learning fancy new embroidery stitches and reading about fashion. She comes up with her own dress patterns! I could never do something like that. Terezi says she's studying criminal law now. She said she's old enough now that she might be able to go to school! I hope she can. That would be wonderful.
18 October 1641
I was able to get some seeds out of the pinecone today. I put them in one of the jars and prepared a pot for inside. I can plant the tree in one of the pots and let it grow a year or two, and still have enough pots to start the herbs indoors that need that.
I'm preparing for winter right now-bringing in the plants, drying and salting and smoking, all that. My flower garden is starting to die and I'll have to bring in the blossoms for winter. I suppose I know that plants survive the winter all the time, but I can't stand to let those flowers I planted get cold. I planted them. I can't let them be cold when they're my responsibility.
20 October 1641
Equius came to visit today! He thought the kittens were adorable and he kept tripping over food on the floor. I'm trying to keep most of it in the empty rooms, but it always overflows. I want to have as much as I can for when the frost comes.
We went shooting and I told him soon I'd take him hunting. He's very good! When we were younger, he couldn't really hold a bow. He almost broke our mama's good bow! It's like how when children get taller and they trip over their own two feet. He got strong too fast and didn't know what to do. But now I think he could hold our mama's bow. But I have him use the nice bow Meulin bought me and I use our mama's when we practice together. I don't like other people messing with our mama's bow.
22 October 1641
Mrs. Baxter came today to meet the kittens. She ended up picking Snowy. Snowy's the snuggliest little thing, and she was delighted to sit in Mrs. Baxter's lap and be pet.
"She's awfully sweet," Mrs. Baxter said.
"She's like her mother that way," I told her.
"Are you sure you're alright to give her away?" she asked.
"I am. I'll still have Button," I said.
"How old is Button?" she asked.
"I think she's ten now," I said. "We've had her almost as long as we've lived here."
"Oh, really? Somehow I thought your mother had kept cats for much longer," she said.
"Not before she took in Meulin and me," I said. "She said she always wanted one, though."
Mrs. Baxter nodded. "They're good for a house," she said
"Button keeps the mice out," I agreed. "She's a good cat. We'll need to have another one after her."
"I'm glad to hear that," she said. "Young lady living on her own, you need a cat!"
I smiled at that and she went on her way with Snowy. I'll bring Mr. Cooper Shadow soon.
24 October 1641
I brought Shadow to the Coopers today. He meowed nearly the whole way! Mrs. Cooper thought it was sweet. Mr. Cooper said Shadow seemed like a good cat. I told them like I did with Tavros, that he'll eat solid food but probably won't be hunting all his own for another month or two.
It was strange, taking the last little kitten out of the house. Button seemed a bit miffed, but not upset or missing her babies. She still curls up on my bed to sleep, and it's nice. It makes me feel less alone.
26 October 1641
Everyone's preparing for the festivals! I saw Kanaya today and she's sewing up a new dress. Tavros's mother said she'd bring one of her best beef stews and Aradia's family is going to make some of those fried potato things. I think they're called latkes? She told me once, but since she doesn't write I'll have to write out the recipe myself.
I also saw Vriska today. I don't know why she's so mean. She seemed almost happy to hear that my sister hasn't been writing, and bragged about how nice her dress is going to be. She also said she's going to ask the queen for a letter of marque so she can become a privateer, which I think it just a fancy kind of pirate. I imagine she'll need to work on some ships first, before that happens, but I don't know much about ships.
29 October 1641
I brought in most of the dead blooms today and put them in the glass jars for winter. I want them to be warm for the winter. I also separated the leaves from stems for some of the herbs that have dried, and set some meat to smoke. I'll have to go into the village for salt and sugar too, so I can preserve that way. More people have enough prepared themselves, but I want to have enough just in case. Just in case.
31 October 1641
Today was All Saints' Eve! I put on one of my nice skirts and went into the village and it was such fun. I danced with Equius, of course, and Tavros. I thought of asking Karkat to dance, but he wouldn't meet my eyes still. I tried not to think too much about it. So what if he doesn't like me? My other friends do. I don't need him to like me too.
The food was delicious, and it'll be better tomorrow. And there was so much! Lots of people with new homes brought their first new dishes in their new homes. Everyone was talking about the lovely new homes, and the children underfoot seemed hale and hearty. It's nice to see my home so warm and alive.
1 November 1641
I brought the pudding into the village today and there was hardly any space left on the table! And the container was empty when I brought it back home, so I suppose people liked it. Aradia said it was delicious, and so did Tavros. I'm glad to hear that people other than Meulin and me like our mama's recipes.
The dancing was such fun. I'm still not the fastest, but I did better than last year. And then I had to sit down and drink some punch to catch my breath. Equius said he was proud of me and surely one day I'd be the best dancer in the village. I love dancing! It's almost the opposite of hunting, where I have to be still and quiet. When I dance I'm as fast and loud as I can be. I'm a good dancer.
My friends and I all had a wonderful evening. It was fun and there was so much good food and the music was beautiful. It felt lively, even when the world starts to die. Or, I suppose, the world goes to sleep for a little while. It makes me feel better to think of it that way. The plants will come back in the spring. They just need to go to sleep for a little bit.
4 November 1641
It's getting awful cold, and the ground is getting hard. I'm glad I went to get new leather gloves made, because otherwise my fingers would be completely frostnipped whenever I go hunting. People know that they can't come to me like they came to Meulin, but I do what I can. I don't want anyone to get sick. There's not a lot I can do, but I know a little. I want to help. I hope I can help.
6 November 1641
I wish Linny would write more. I miss her. When it starts getting cold and dark like this, I feel even more alone. I almost wish Shadow was still here, to make noise at least. It feels so quiet. Button of course meows at me and purrs when I pet her, but it's not much. The fire crackling helps, too. I suppose I'll get used to it, but for now it's still strange.
8 November 1641
As much as I miss my mama and my sister, there are nice things about living alone. I can wake up whenever I please and make all my favorite foods, without Linny bothering me about celery and how it's good for me. I get all of Button's attention, which means I can pet her lots. And I can read whatever books I want.
Some days I love it, the feeling of just being alone. And some days it's so lonely I can hardly stand it.
10 November 1641
It feels strange, writing to someone who isn't writing back. It feels, in some ways, like talking to our mama's grave. Meulin does it but I don't because I know she can't hear. When I'm writing letters to her I sometimes feel like I'm talking to someone who can't hear me. With our mama, though, I know. I know she can't hear me and I know she is somewhere better. I don't know if Meulin's hearing from me, or if she's responding, or if she's even alright.
She's always worried about me, and now I'm worried about her.
12 November 1641
I hope Equius brings home more of his drawings next weekend. He's very skilled! I think he's going to be a wonderful architect. His drawings are just incredible. I wish I could go to school with him sometimes. I'm not sure I want to be an architect myself, but I sometimes think it would be nice to have a proper education. I wish I could go to university. Our mama told us that was her dream when she was small, too. Maybe someday, girls can get a full education, too.
14 November 1641
I have a lot of food stored up, but I still went hunting again today. I've been preserving, but I've also been bringing fresh food into the village for other people to eat. I was worried the butcher might be upset, but he's selling as much as ever-he sells beef and pork and such, and I hunt game.
I might hunt another deer. I haven't in a while, but it was a fun challenge and it'll keep people fed. One deer can feed a family for months, properly preserved. It could probably feed me for a year.
16 November 1641
The old grandfather clock isn't working very well. It's been losing time and I think it hasn't been chiming. I'm lucky we have a clockmaker in the village. The next closest one is in the city. I'll go see him tomorrow and ask him about fixing the clock. I hope it's not too much. I don't have much money. I have some pennies in the old crystal glass, but it's not a lot. I can see my embroidery, but no one is buying. I wouldn't ask them to. No one has much to spare.
Equius came by today, and it was cold enough that we just sat inside together with tea and enjoyed each other's company
18 November 1641
I asked Mr. Johnson in the village about the clock and he said he'd come by and have a look as soon as he could. We've had that clock as long as I can remember. Our mama said it was her mama's, and it'd been in the house as long as she could remember. Everything we have that's valuable is also very old, even the books. Our good porcelain is chipped and our silver doesn't all match, and we're missing pieces.
I think that sort of thing is supposed to bother me. I sometimes hear the older women talking about things like that, broken plates and lost silver. I think it's one more of those things I'd understand if I was normal. Then again, I haven't heard much about it lately. I suppose we all have bigger things on our minds.
20 November 1641
Mr. Johnson came by to look at our clock today. I showed him and he had a look and said, "I think it just needs a good cleaning."
"Oh, that's good to hear. Will you need to bring it to the village?" I asked.
"Most likely," he said.
"I'll bring it today. How much?" I asked.
"No charge," he said.
"It'll be a lot of work," I said. "I have some money. I can get it."
"Nepeta, you fed my wife and children," he said. "Your mother delivered my youngest son. This is the least I can do for your family."
"Are you sure? I'm sure I can scrape something together," I offered, feeling strange.
"I'm sure. Let's bring this to my shop now," he said. We carried the clock into the village and set it in his workshop, a small room full of tiny metal parts. "I'll bring it back when I'm done. It shouldn't take long."
"Thank you. If there's ever anything you need…" I tried.
"Thank you. Be well," he said.
"And you," I said.
I feel very strange now. I don't want people thinking they owe me. I did what I did to keep people alive. No one owes me anything for it. Our mama didn't charge for what she did. People always just gave what they could. I wouldn't ask anything for feeding people.
22 November 1641
I went out to the clearing that had the pine tree in it today to work on the stump, and when I came back home, Meulin was there! She ran down the stairs and stopped right in front of me and took my hands and said, all in one breath, "Kitty, I'm so sorry! I've been writing every week, but I think my husband has been stopping my letters, and I haven't been hearing back from you…"
"Meulin? What on Earth are you doing here?" I asked. I hadn't seen her in months! She hardly writes! And she always told me before she'd visit.
"I came to see you. I missed you," she said, which made no sense.
"You never write," I pointed out.
"I've been writing, every week," she said, sounding confused.
"Then why I haven't heard from you?" I asked, feeling irate.
"I think my husband is stopping the mail. I saw the letters upstairs, and I didn't write those. I think he did," she said.
"Why would he do that?" I asked, shocked. It doesn't make any sense. He loves her.
"I don't know," she said. "I have to go back soon, but I just needed to see you."
I felt angry again, then, because she visited just to leave again. "Why did you leave?" I asked.
"I thought it was right," she said weakly.
"I was too young, Meulin. I was sixteen!" I almost yelled.
"You're right," she said, still sounding unwell. "I shouldn't have. I don't know why I did. I don't…it doesn't make any sense. I need to think. I'll write. I'll make sure it goes through."
"Alright," I said. I didn't want her to leave, but whatever is going on, she knows what she has to do. "I love you, Linny."
"I love you too, Kitty," she said, like a promise.
And then she left. I don't know what to make of that. How could her own husband be stopping her mail? Why would he? Why wouldn't he want her and I to be writing each other? I don't understand. It seems almost cruel.
24 November 1641
Equius was home today so he came to my home and I told him about what my sister told me.
"That is…disturbing," he said, staring at his cup of tea.
"I don't know what to make of it," I said. "Why would he do that?"
"I am not sure," he said. "But it troubles me."
"Why?" I asked.
"I do not know who I will marry, but I cannot imagine attempting to keep her from her family. I doubt you could either," he said.
"Of course not," I said.
"And so I conclude that his purpose is, perhaps, less than kind," he said. "As you and I are kind people."
"I don't know what to do," I said.
"I am not sure there is much to be done," he said. "Except to keep writing, and wait."
"I know she has to solve her own problems and it's her marriage," I said. "But I'm worried."
"You are a kind person, and so you worry," he said. "But I am certain she can solve her own problems, and will return to you soon."
"I hope so," I said.
"Whatsoever you might need, you need only ask," he said sincerely. "I am here for you."
"I know. Thank you. You too," I said.
"Thank you," he said.
I know there's not much I can do, but it's frustrating to feel helpless like this. I don't even know what to put in a letter to her.
26 November 1641
I went to Kanaya's house today for tea and to talk to her. I told her I'm worried about my sister and I want to write her but I'm not sure what to say. She pointed out that I should be careful what I say in case he's reading my letters, and told me that we were all here to help. Porrim was there, too, and told me she was sure Meulin would figure it out. I hope they're right.
28 November 1641
Mr. Johnson finished the clock today, and he and Mr. Carson carried it back to the house. It works like new now. I have missed the ticking. It's comforting. I don't really need a clock-I can read the sun just fine-but it was our mama's and it's been there my whole life. It's nice to have it back.
30 November 1641
I can't stop thinking about Meulin. I always thought Kurloz seemed like a kind enough man. He cared about her. But keeping us apart is undeniably cruel. Maybe she thought I was angry with her, or that I stopped caring. I feel bad now that I thought she could ever forget me. Was that his plan? Did he mean for us to stay apart from each other? I know he and his brother aren't at all like Linny and me (most people aren't), but why would he want that?
I don't know what to think.
3 December 1641
It's Advent now, and the village is preparing for Christmas. In the coldest time of the year, we celebrate the birth of hope. When it's dark, we light as many candles as we can. I've always liked the Magnificat. They say Mary danced for joy in her dreams, and the shepherds were filled with hope. There must always be hope, a candle in the darkness. I try to remember that.
5 December 1641
I saw Terezi today in the village, and she's been doing quite well. She told me about all these interesting law cases she's read about. She's a wonderful storyteller-very animated. She talks a lot with her hands. She told me about a case not too long ago, not long before we were born, where the court decided that King James couldn't do anything he wanted. I'm sure our mama would've liked that one! It's good to know that the queen can't do anything she wants.
7 December 1641
Equius came by like he does on the weekends. He asked if we could go hunting, and I told him it's much harder to hunt in the winter, so we'd best wait until spring. In winter you have to be much quieter and stiller so the animals don't see you, and you have to stay very still in the cold. I told him that I really do want to take him hunting, but I don't want him to get cold. So we practiced some on the targets and then had tea. He let me talk about Meulin some more, even though it's all I've been talking about lately. He's a good friend. I asked after his father, too, and he said his father doesn't feel much better, but he's also not getting worse. I hope he's alright. I know Equius worries.
9 December 1641
I planted the pine tree seed in a pot today, one of the pots we sometimes use to start herbs. I watered it and put it by the south windows so it would get the most sunlight. I hope it sprouts and grows into a little tree I can put in that clearing. I know I can try again next year, but I don't want to wait too long. I'm worried if I wait, I might never get it done and no new tree will ever grow there.
11 December 1641
I've been writing Linny, but it feels strange when I know she might not even be getting the letters. I hope she is. I want her to know that we're still sisters and I still care, and I am glad she didn't just…stop caring. But I still feel like I'm shouting at the sky. I haven't heard anything from her except those short letters she said she didn't write. I hope she's alright. I hope I hear from her soon.
13 December 1641
I went to see my friends in the village today, and we sat in Aradia's family's barn with the sheep. They're sweet little things, and they're very soft to lean against. Tavros and Terezi and Kanaya and I sat together and talked for a long while, until we all had to go back to our homes and do our chores. I'm the only one of my friends who lives alone, but we all have a lot to do. And we're mostly of marrying age now. There's a lot to be done!
15 December 1641
Today was the third Sunday of Advent, peace. It snowed today and that felt very right. It wasn't a blizzard, although I'm certain one of those will blow up sooner rather than later. It was a peaceful snow, that made everything seem quiet and soft.
The pine tree hasn't sprouted yet. I hope I haven't done anything wrong. I'm trying to keep it in the sun and warm and watered. I hope that's enough.
18 December 1641
Button's been staying inside more now that it's cold. She spends much of the day curled up near the fire, enjoying the warmth. I wish sometimes I could do that too! I have to go out hunting most days, and bring food into the village. Some days I do stay home and work on my knitting or mending or somesuch, but mostly I have to go out.
Maybe I should rest. If I don't rest I might get sick again.
20 December 1641
I can't believe it's almost Christmas. It's going to be strange having Christmas by myself. Maybe I'll buy Button something nice at the butcher's. I don't really have anyone else to buy presents for. It'll be nice to go to the festival and be with people for part of Christmas, anyways. I think it would be awfully lonely otherwise.
22 December 1641
Today was the last Sunday of Advent, for love. I wrote my sister even though I'm not sure she'll get it, because I love her. I also made sure to pet Button lots, so she'd know I love her too. I went to Mama's grave, too. It's strange going in the winter, when the forget-me-nots are sleeping and the graves are under the snow. I picked one of the branches of the big old oak and sat with our mama for a long while. I don't know if she knows that I come back, but I hope she does. I hope she can see from where she is that Linny and I love her and we miss her. I love my family. I always will.
25 December 1641
Today was Christmas! The butcher gave me entrails for Button, somewhat confused why I'd want them, so she had a special treat. Then I went into town with the pudding my friends liked last time and it was such fun! It was a little bit icy, so the dancing was a bit precarious. But I think that makes it more fun! It's a challenge to dance when there's some ice in the square.
Everyone brought delicious food and the music was wonderful. Mrs. Topham plays dance music so well, and Mr. Reynolds plays the Christmas carols beautifully. One of these days I'll be the fastest dancer! William Fletcher and Jane Bennett are still usually the winners. If they married and had a baby, that baby would be born dancing.
Equius and his family were there, too. It was good to see him. We danced some, even though he still doesn't move like he's used to his limbs yet. I danced with Tavros, too, and John and Dave, the new people, and even Sollux, even though he doesn't dance much. I asked Karkat but he said no and rushed away. I don't know why I bothered. It'd be nice if he'd just give me the time of day, but what can I hope for?
I have my other friends. I can't let myself keep hurting that Karkat won't look at me. Christmas was fun and I had a lovely supper at home with my cat, and it was good.
27 December 1641
I've been having such strange dreams. I dreamt about deer running and snow falling and being so hungry it hurt, and about my sister and our mama and Button, and I don't understand any of it. I just know I was scared. I don't know why but I know in my dreams I'm very frightened. This happens when the winter starts, I think, when the plants die and I have to hope I have enough to make it through to spring. I hope I have enough.
29 December 1641
Kankri came to my home today, of all people! He asked if I had anything for a fever. I always try to have some feverfew in the jars, so I gave him some and asked if he was alright. He said it was nothing and not to worry and he'd be fine and goodbye, all in a rush, like people do when they don't want to talk to me. I'm not sure if he was embarrassed or if he doesn't like me, like his brother. I don't see why anyone would be embarrassed to have a fever, but men get embarrassed about strange things.
He didn't look unwell, though. Maybe Karkat is sick, or their father? I've never met their father. I know he's related to Mama's husband by blood, but she said her husband was adopted like Linny and me, so they never knew each other. I don't know what kind of man is he is. I hope he's like Mama's husband. He was a good man, and I hope my friends have kind parents.
31 December 1641
I can't believe it's almost 1642. I've been living alone for almost two whole years now. I didn't think I'd be able to manage, but here I am. People treat me like an adult now. It's very strange. Mrs. Bennett asked me to call her by her first name! The baker haggles with me and when I run my errands, people say hello like I'm just another adult shopping. I still feel like a child, most of the time. I don't really understand half of what people do and I have not had a single thought of getting married. And still, I'm grown up. I feed myself and my cat, and anyone who needs it. I suppose I am an adult.
I hope Mama would be proud of me.