Year One, Spring: The Gothard Family

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The Gothard family started Spring with five coins to their name, one billy goat, and three nannies.   Hadley wanted to make some money, so she paid a business fee and started making butter to sell, every time she had a chance.  She could usually keep an eye on her baby sister, Bonnie, while churning.

Bonnie was a comfort to Daralis, their mother, who still mourned their father and her husband, Red.

When Daralis found time, she was teaching Bonnie to walk.  Daralis worked in the early mornings performing mundane chores for the Steward’s household, for a small amount of coin.  Daralis hoped this would be enough, that the family would be able to pay their taxes, tithes, and rent this season.

The nannies had all miscarried during the last invasion. She didn’t want to have to slaughter one when tax time came, because to lose any would be a major setback.  Fearing theft, the family kept the goats in the house at night.

The family cat, Bell, was wary of the goats, especially the billy, and found a safe perch from which to keep an eye on them.

The days were long and exhausting, and Daralis didn’t know what she’d do without her daughter, Hadley, or her father, Gabe, to help bear the load.

One early morning, early in the spring, while the rest of the house was sleeping, Bonnie crawled out the gate and sat amongst the fireflies at her father’s grave.

Hadley found her there when she went out in the dawn’s light, to take the goats out and inspect them.  It appeared that two of the three nannies were pregnant.

Hadley cleaned up after the goats, and then worked on her other chores.

Bell, their cat, was quite a hunter, and kept vermin at bay.  Unfortunately, she also took down the occasional duck that decided to roost in their little pond, so the family had not been able to build up a flock.  Everyone knew, though, that cats had brought good luck during the plague, and Daralis was certain Bell had helped them survive, so she would not part with the little hunter.

When Daralis returned from work, she asked Hadley to sit and talk with her for a while before resuming her chores.  She wanted to make sure Hadley understood “the birds and the bees,” and also had news to share with her daughter:  Daralis was in love.

Bonnie happily crawled about as the women chatted about love and lovers.

She wanted her daughter to know, she expected a visit soon from James.  They had met at the Berry’s dance and she expected him to call soon.

James had just returned from battle, and had no family of his own.

Daralis invited him in for supper.

Trying to use every minute of daylight for the household’s profit, Hadley quickly planted some seeds while Daralis prepared stew from dried meat and roots.

James had brought his friend, Cadby, with him as a chaperone, and he sat a respectful distance from Daralis while they ate.

He explained to Daralis that he could not abandon Giles, the son of a fallen fellow soldier, and the manager of the Squire’s hedge tavern.  It seemed James was not in a position to marry, at least not for now.

Daralis responded that she understood that obligations were important, and fear of being outside the law, or the favor of the lord, were vital.

Gabe interrupted their conversation to express his opinion of their assessment of the situation.  He thought they were crazy, and if they weren’t ready to marry, they needed to stop seeing each other.

Gabe began to argue with James.  But James did not want to argue, and tried to pass it off with a joke to keep the peace.

Meanwhile, Hadley ate her stew and Cadby asked her how she fared.

Hadley’s mind was on how to turn a bit of profit off the meager holdings left after the war and plague, and did not try to engage in conversation any further.

When no one was looking, Daralis and James had slipped into the back room.  Although they couldn’t be together formally, they didn’t mind stealing a few moments alone.

Gabe liked Cadby quite a bit more than James, and joked and chatted with him.

After Daralis fell asleep, James quietly left.  How he wished he could marry her.  But he had promised Giles’ father to help the young man.

Hadley climbed into the loft and fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.

The next day, as Hadley was cleaning up after the goats, Lady Elizabeth, the Abbess, was at the door, but Daralis was at work at the Steward’s.  Hadley did not have time to greet her before she left.  Hadley was working hard to collect enough dung to sell to neighbors as fertilizer.

Gabe had gone foraging for honey, and was not successful.

The whole family was worried how they would be able to pay their rent of $500, or their taxes and tithes.

Daralis, who had left for work happy and in love, cried when she came home and saw Red’s tombstone.  Whether she felt guilty for falling in love so quickly, tired to the bone trying to provide, or just missed Red, she wasn’t sure.

There was good news, though, when Daralis went to the privy and saw that she’d started her moon cycle.  Another mouth to feed would have been another burden to bear right now, and possible recriminations on her character from the nobility.

Rosalind, the Squire’s Lady, passed by, not stopping to talk, and dusting off her fine dress as she caught a whiff of the goats drifting over the fence.

They had each other, but it really didn’t seem they were going to make it this season.

That night, before they brought the goats in, one of the nannies was stolen.

When Hadley brought them, in she realized one was missing.  Fortunately, it was the nanny who wasn’t pregnant, but how would they ever be able to meet their obligations now?  Thankfully, during the night, two kids were born to the remaining nannies.

The next morning Hadley did her chores while Gabe gardened, and Bonnie splashed at the edge of the pond.

The tomato crop would be ready early in the summer, but not soon enough to sell before taxes were due.  Hadley had churned quite a bit of butter, and had gotten license to sell it, as well as the dung they collected.

Today she had cramps, and gardening was harder than usual.

She wasn’t able to churn as much as she had hoped, either, due to the cramping and frequent visits to the privy.

It was a good thing that Bonnie was such a content baby, and never gave anyone any trouble.

After noon, Hadley put out word that she had butter and fertilizer for sale.

Cadby was the first customer, and thankfully, it was not too difficult to reach an agreed price.

Oakes, unfortunately, drove a hard bargain.

And he reeked.

Hadley eventually ignored him and hoped he would leave, fearing she would never make enough sales if she spent the whole afternoon with him.

The next two customers were Rourke Honeycutt and Giles Porter.  Hadley greeted Rourke, while thinking that hopefully, Giles’ romantic interest in her would translate into an easy sale.  She had noticed he liked her, and although she knew they had no future together, at least her charm might be a small benefit to her family.

She turned to Giles.  He seemed happy to see her, and eager to chat.

She told him a recipe for ale and oats, which was perfect, with butter.  It was getting dark soon, and she really wanted to make this sale.

She flirted, just a little bit.

Giles’ whole manner changed, as he put up his hand in rejection.  She was stunned.

Leaving her mother to finish selling the butter, she hastily retreated to the privy.

Daralis closed the sale, and in no time, had sold all the butter.  Although she feared the long-term consequences, she also sold one of the nannies for slaughter.  She hoped the kids would grow up healthy and able to increase the herd.  But with Taxes, Tithes, and Rent due tomorrow, she felt she had no choice.  This left the family with a billy, one nanny, and two kids, no better off than they were at the end of winter.

The family had another small success this day — with Gabe’s help, Bonnie finally learned to potty in the bucket.

Everyone was tired, and as soon as Hadley had warmed old stew, they ate and went to bed.

Hadley woke before light, let the goats out, and went to check on the crops.  All seemed well.  But Taxes, Tithes, and Rents were due today and the family was unable to pay the full balance.

If only she could speed up the harvest, they would be able to pay their taxes and rent.

At dawn, she and Gabe tried to catch some fish to sell.

Daralis, thinking of debtor’s prison, joined them, since she was not needed at the Steward’s today.

Gabe caught a big one, but even so, the Steward was coming, and it was not enough.

Gameplay Notes

  • Daralis is a knowledge sim and James is a family sim.  He walked by with an engagement thought bubble, but when I played this I thought I couldn’t move him out of Giles’ house till he ages up, and I’m not willing to move Daralis and Bonnie into Giles’ either because it doesn’t seem he, a Yeoman, would accept that arrangement with a peasant family.  Since playing this round Maisie reminded me about making Giles an independent teen using insim, and VT told me I could transfer the business from James to Giles by clicking on the deed. During dinner they talked about their kiss and then Daralis brought up law enforcement.  They woohoo’d but the next morning she started her moon cycle, for which I was very relieved.
  • Rhett Forester stole the nanny goat!  I was so upset when he did that; they really were on the edge already.  If the message hadn’t said he got away scot free I would have sent him to prison! After that I locked the gate unless the family was selling butter.  I guess it will be good for the Forester family to have a goat in Rhett’s inventory when I play that household, but it is a real hardship for the Gothards.
  • This family ended with $901.00 in income and $1053.00 owed for Taxes, Tithes, Rent, and Business License, which are paid in that order.  So they carry over a debt of $53 on the rent and $100 for the business license.  Cheats that I did for them were that (after the robbery) I forced the two kids’ birth about 5 days early, and I let them sell three boots and two fish directly to the catalog, which is against the rules.  Instead of sending either Daralis or Gabe to prison or slaughter another goat, I figure that the Steward would rather have a goat herd and peasants to care for them, and hope that they will be able to break even in the summer.
  • Beck’s butter churn from Affinity Sims 2 is a cooking skill object which also yields a bowl of butter that can stock the fridge or be sold.  I can’t find a link that works for Affinity Sims right now.  When I set up the lot, I had planned for Hadley, a fortune sim, to open a business to sell butter but when I started to play I realized the nannies weren’t lactating yet.  Even though it didn’t make sense without lactating goats, I went ahead with the butter churning, but she made very little on the butter once she opened her business.  I think gardening is a better use of her time.  I should have had Gabe fishing all along.  I kept sending him hiking (foraging) because I have Mod ‘Ur Hike ( by Raben12 that allows them to find honey, berries, or mushrooms while hiking, but he never found any.
  • Daralis is in the Max Adult Cleaning Career so I imagine her working at the Steward’s house.  The only careers open to peasants and yeoman at the beginning of the challenge are athletic, artist, service/cleaning, and culinary.  I have a few custom careers that I thought were appropriate too, like the midwife career for Hilda Berry (the healer), and the low level of the medieval medical career, Sample Getter, for Ella and Marigold Wise who are apprenticing as midwife under Mildred.

Published by Shannon SimsFan

Author of Simdale Valley Post

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    1. One thing I learned from the Gothard’s is to get the vegetable patch planted as early on day 1 as I can! Of course, you have to have placed a vegetable patch for that to work or they have to save for it. It is really hard to make the rent and of course, 40% tax is steep too, with the 10% tithe on top of that.

      I also forgot to mention in the notes that there was some kind of glitch with the Sun & Moon Factory Au Naturel Pet food, and it wasn’t just in this household. Some pets would kill the prey, but almost none have eaten it. I read that if they are not aggressive they may not hunt and if they are finicky or neat they may not eat it. I got a fix for that part way through this household – one that allows finicky pets to eat from a dirty bowl if they are hungry – but it didn’t work with the Gothards, or later, the Honeycutt’s cats. I’d really love for the cats to hunt, especially rodents, but it isn’t working out. So I ended up using the insim motive cheat for Bell’s hunger because she had killed plenty of prey, she just wasn’t eating and she was starving.

      Thanks for commenting Hollywood! It looks like you started in Fall for Ula’ree – I kind of cheated and started in Spring because I couldn’t imagine how sims with no skills and no money were going to be able to save any food for winter in five short days. Do you have sort of a starting point link for Ula’ree? I read Julie’s and would like to read more.


      1. Oh I’m going through that now. Kobe the first cat eats the prey just fine but I always have controlpets on because otherwise I would go crazy. Mow doesn’t eat the pray though because she is finicky…

        The fall for Julie is my starting point but I put it on my dreamwidth instead because I like it better. My mcc is different though. I’m not following the rules exactly as of now it’s Just Julie.

        I’m pretty far along now , especially since I only have 1 household !


  1. I totally agree with Cathy. I’ve said this before but all the work you put into constructing Ayre before you started has really paid off. It sets the scene for the story so beautifully.

    Bonnie is such a sweet little thing and the toddler spam at various points was much appreciated! She seems to bring a lot of joy to her family – especially welcome seeing they have such a tough time otherwise, I’m sure.

    A big phew on Daralis getting her “moon phase”! I can imagine a baby out of wedlock would not go over very well in this society. Poor Hadley, getting rejected by Giles. I guess she had to try!


  2. Carla, thanks so much, and it makes me happy that you are enjoying Ayre visually, even the toddler spam :-). She is a joy to her family in hard times. Daralis is in one of the best possible situations for out-of-wedlock affairs, being a widow peasant, and with James being unattached, but she still would have suffered disgrace. I was honestly more concerned about another mouth to feed, but you are right that she would be disgraced, no matter how mild that may be.

    I just found out about Heloise’s Warwickshire Renaissance playstyle and challenge this week (it is at MTS) and started to dabble in using some of her statistics and guides. According to it, Daralis would lose 150 clerical points (basically a hit to her faith or piety as it relates to reputation and ability to have prayers answered) for unmarried woohoo as a widow with an unattached man. Of course, Daralis worships the goddess who does not condemn sex the way the Allfather does, so I’m not sure that her faith would be affected that way. The Warwickshire was written pretty specifically in reference to early renaissance Europe. A lot of it will apply, though, for example, anyone who is a follower of the Allfather as well as other people whose actions have societal consequences despite their own separate way of thinking, since the Allfather is the religion of those in power.

    For example, if either of them had been betrothed or married, and they were caught, by the Warwickshire, she’d have suffered public humiliation for a year, which sounds absolutely miserable to play out. I added a page with an extremely brief description of the Warwickshire and how I am beginning to use it as a reference to kind of keep my play and story telling on track for a medieval challenge.

    Probably more detail than you ever wanted to know! As always, thanks for commenting, Carla!


  3. I was super worried she’d gotten pregnant from James! Knowing he isn’t the best caretaker, I think he’d be better off here! lol.

    I love reading the struggles and attempts to make money. All the scenery is beautiful too. This is such a treat to read!

    The goat being stolen was such a twist! Poor family! I hope the kids work out for them and the nannies start lactating.


  4. I was happy too for Daralis NOT to be pregnant. They are not really managing yet, and a healthy pregnancy and baby are not assured in the medieval challenge. I’m glad you are enjoying reading about Ayre; the next two households didn’t struggle quite so badly as this one but hopefully will still be interesting to read.

    I was SO mad at Rhett Forester. If I see anyone gossiping about him stealing the goat, I plan to hold him accountable with the Squire. I hope too that the kids grow up healthy and that next round the Gothard’s will catch up a bit. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Maisie!


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