Life was hard work but nobody minded. Everyone knew that they had to work as a team to make sure that they all had food to eat and produce to sell. Besides, the farm was a great place to live. It was large enough to house the whole family and still leave room for a guest annex to use for a bed and breakfast operation.
Alice loved the farm. She could never live anywhere else. The hills behind the farmhouse took on a pink glow as the sun went down every evening and it was at those times that Alice felt she was closer to her mother than ever.
Gertie had passed away when Alice was a little girl – the birth of her younger sister Ellie had been too much for Gertie and the midwife arrived in time to save the baby but not the mother.
Alice had been close to her mother and made sure that she spent all the time she could with her younger sister. It was important that Elle know of her mother and even though she would never know her in her human state, Alice wanted to make sure that Ellie would know of her personality and spirituality.
As a result Ellie grew up knowing that her mother had loved her even though she had not seen her and she had all the love she could want from her sister Alice. The two sisters were closer than close could be and shared their chores on the farm with good humour.
Alice would help her father Richard in the fields and she was in charge of the poultry and pigs. She loved being with the animals and found that they were actually good company!
Ellie meanwhile was in charge of the bed and breakfast business and she liked making sure that the guests were well fed and looked after. She kept the farmhouse tidy and always had something good cooking on the stove for her sister, father and all the farmhands.
There was also a very special person to feed who lived at the farmhouse with the family – Grandad Moses. He was ancient; nobody seemed to know exactly how old and he had been a spy in one of the wars! He would sit out on the back porch in his rocking chair and tell Ellie stories of his past for hours and hours.
Ellie was fascinated with Grandad Moses and she soon developed a passion for solving mysteries from listening to his exploits. She could often be found creeping around the farmhouse trying to find clues to some imagined mystery and when she was ten she went through a phase of producing her own newsletter for the family, telling all about her findings!
Ellie and Alice had a good childhood together and although they missed a mother figure they were so close that they could anticipate exactly what the other was wanting or needing. They would make sure that they had enough time in the day to go and swim in the stream at the bottom of the hill. They always collected wildflowers on the way back to the farmhouse to give to Grandad Moses who was too old to walk around the property anymore and missed the changing colours of the fields.
Richard used to watch his two daughters running through the fields and smile to himself. He felt so lucky to have so much joy in his life. He missed Gertie but he was blessed with two healthy and happy daughters, stability and a steady income from the farm.
He couldn’t help but laugh whenever he saw Ellie trying to boss her older sister around. She was a real character that younger daughter of his! Always standing up for what she believed in, even when Alice (who was a lot bigger and certainly a lot stronger) would try to fob off some of her chores onto her so that she could spend some time making eyes at one of the farmhands! Ellie would have nothing of the sort and there was quite a fight that day in the hen coop. But it was Ellie who came out on top. Richard admired that streak in his youngest but also admired the fact that Alice cared enough for her sister to let it go.
Days passed and the girls grew. They did what schoolwork they could by correspondence. They were both intelligent and were quick learners and Richard had no doubt that they would do well in their lives.