August 10 2012
Our trip to the mill was uneventful. We took our time to clear a path large enough for a horse and wagon. Also made some pullovers in case wagons met with little room to pass. The reconstruction of the mill went as planned. Captain agreed to have his company redirect the creek and within a day we had water. We located a few trees capable of running the water flume. We damned up the water as we built and placed the flume. Also, the water was allowed to flow without the water wheel in place. The flume had a water gate to stop the wheel when not in use. A paddle gate would be deployed to divert the stream into the flume when operational. We also located trees to reconstruct those pieces deemed unreliable. The water wheel was completely rebuilt with the old one used as a template, what was left of it. The years had not been kind to the mill. We cleared allot of trees and brush to allow sunlight to reach the mill. We didn't want needless mold and dampness around all the grain. Luckily a few of the Big 12 families and a few soldiers were experienced wood craftsman. The past few days solidified our relationship with the Guard and with ourselves.
After a couple of days of oil and grease, all the metal gearing is functional. The stone was lifted and inspection found the stone was in great shape. We built wooden brackets for support and doubled up areas we thought might give way early. The water wheel was set in place with allot of sweat and pulleys. After a week of hard labor we were able to fire up the mill. A few minutes of creaking and groaning the mill finally came to life!! A test run of some wheat was a success as was the corn. We can now grist our harvest and have goods for barter.
All the woodcrafters, including the soldiers, were staying behind to finish out the detail pieces.
August 13 2012
Finally I can type well enough to make entries again. I must be honest here, the destruction of the local town is a blessing. I was afraid we'd have to help support all those people without them offering any help by labor. With the Guards permission, we have been removing items from the town. All the glass, wiring, copper, plumbing, etc...has been removed from the homes. We have inventoried it all and are storing them in barns and the town storage units. Basically, we are preparing for the future needs of our homes. We just can't run to the hardware store anymore. We have to make do with what we can salvage.
Plans are developing to create a forge. We eventually will need basics like shovels, picks, farrier equipment and many other items. We also can smelt down the jewelry into bars of gold and silver.
Larry and friends came by today for a much needed visit. We told war stories, tall tales and had a great laugh. Doc came by while the guys were visiting and gave me news that my wounds are healing nicely. A couple more weeks and the cast can be removed. I am getting more use of my hands and fingers everyday. I won't even attempt movement of my arm for fear of causing permanent damage. Doc says the surgeon will be here in two weeks for a final exam before removing anything.
Larry commented that their Guard company is a bit odd at times. Not the most friendly bunch and even getting a conversation with the Captain is like finding a store with toilet paper. They guys all chimed in with comments and for the most part they were negative. The next morning I talked with the Captain and asked him if I, being the "mayor" could visit the other Guard unit to see how they've defended and incorporated the locals. He said that was a great idea and we made tentative plans to travel within a week. I did all this without Larry's knowledge and felt its a way to repay all they've done for us.