Chapter 21 Summary

As the weather continues to improve, the family searches for places that might serve them better. Their idea is to build several dwellings spaced throughout the island. Each place will provide shelters at various intervals so they can more easily explore without having to camp or travel back to their main dwelling. The separate dwellings each offer different advantages. One has a pasture nearby that will feed their grass-grazing and seed-eating animals. Another sits on top of a hill, giving the family a wide view of the coastline.

As they journey across the island, they first come across the site that would make an excellent pasture. Below the pasture runs a pleasant brook. Small groves of trees surround the grasslands, providing shade from the summer sun and heat. They decide to camp out in this place to better explore what else the area might offer.

They discover cotton bushes, which provide yet another fiber to make clothing. The small woods offer lumber. They decide this is an excellent location and immediately start building. While the father and his sons cut wood and erect a four-room building, Elizabeth gathers raw cotton and makes soft mattresses.

Within days, they erect a rough farmhouse with four sections. There is space for their animals and belongings as well as a large room for food preparation and another for sleep. The family names this new dwelling place The Woodlands.

After working so diligently, the father notices that their storages of food are dwindling. They must gather more. While hunting, they are delighted to come across a wide field of wild rice. The island continues to surprise the family with its bounty.

Traveling on, the family climbs a hill and are so impressed with the setting that they build another small cottage. This structure takes less time as they have gained experience. They name this abode is Prospect Hill.

While at Prospect Hill, the father discovers a grove of trees that remind him of the European birch. He had been looking for suitable trees to build a canoe. He finds that two of the trees, tall and straight, should satisfy his purpose. He gathers his sons, fells the tree, and begins carving out the center. The trees prove to be perfect. The bark is moist enough to make it flexible. When the canoe is finished, the family heads back to Falconhurst, where they rest for a day, and then continue on, with their new canoe, to Tentholm.