August 15 2012
Larry and friends stayed a few days. After we finished bragging of my adventures, we set out to build a smokehouse. We built a smokehouse of cinder block, then constructed a separate underground (or lower) fire pit. The finished smokehouse is quite versatile and will enable us to smoke hams and bacon as well as drying meats. This requires far less wood than outdoor drying racks, and thus take less of our time and energy to use. It can be operated 24 hours a day (No carrying in the racks at night!) and thus can dry meat in about 1/3 rd the time required for outdoor drying.
Cell phone use has been null and void for many months now. We've all decided not to even try them anymore as its heartbreaking and pointless. We have one radio station and TV station which are state run. Of course we're not relying on a state run station for our information. But when electricity is available, its a nice break to watch some TV or sit around a fire and listen to music. There is no Internet and even if there was access, we are hesitant to use it for fear of our location being detected.
We are slowly preparing for a winter onslaught of scavengers. Reports of small groups of people roaming the countryside and attempting to scavenge anything not nailed down or protected by arms. The Captain states that if this kind of activity continues, anyone caught inside a community and not a resident there will be shot. We have devised a plan to maintain our safety and allow the Guard to visually verify each of us. Each member of the Big 12 will have a yellow strip sewn on the top right shoulder of their garments. In th event they have no strip, they will perform a series of moves when asked to halt and turn around. None of these moves are life threatening to the soldiers. For example, if one is asked to halt and turn around they will stop with left foot forward and right foot back. Turning around will always be to the left and facing the Guard will always have the head tilted to the right and back. And if that is convincing enough, there is a serious of questions with predetermined answers. Always thinking ahead...