Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Holiday Update

Yes...I am still alive and kicking. I regret that I've not posted in awhile but life has been very chaotic, to say the least. Now to the news...

I have a job!!! Yes, I've been gainfully employed since October and am working 3rd shift, 11:00 pm - 7:30 am. Sleeping schedule is set but is very erratic. I get to bed on time and get up on time. It's all the commotion in-between that has me frazzled. lol Anyways...job is good and its nice having money to pay bills and purchase the necessities for life. While its not a great paying job, its a job nevertheless. Beggars can't be choosers!

Status update on my dad...Prayers have been answered! He has been given a clean bill of health on the cancer. He went through radiation therapy and the last blood test showed no signs of cancer.

We also obtained temporary guardianship of the wifes two nephews, age 4 and 6. That was a battle itself and will still be an ongoing battle until we can obtain permanent. I won't go into details here but will just say for the record, I don't make it a habit to take in kids. So having that stated, it was imperative we took control of their lives rather then see them spiral into the abyss. Yes...more added stress, costs and so much for "retiring" from parenting in 4 years. lol

As for my story...I will return to posting after January 1st. I have decided to spend more time producing quality rather than quantity. While I have enjoyed reading my own story, I see holes and blanks that need filled. I will be adding moire details to the content, contemplating adding a fictional State with towns and giving it more meat. I may continue writing and posting like I have, for now. I am still riding the fence on if I should write it as a novel. My grammar and the use of the English language isn't exceptional but I'm all for someone else editing my mistakes, if it ever is considered for publication.

Merry Christmas to all my fellow bloggers and loyal readers!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 30

September 24 2012

Two days of constant rain is leaving us worried we'll not get the harvest started. We've measured 5 inches of rain and the ground is starting to become saturated. We are watching the creeks and lakes/ponds for possibilities of flooding. One such lake is damned to prevent flooding of a downstream housing area. If that damn overflows or gives way, it would be a disaster. The families have relocated to other houses and have removed their possessions. Much more precipitation and we'll have to wait a month to harvest which by then the crops could be ruined by mold and mildew. Our cistern systems are well stocked now. lol

I'd like to discuss how the economic collapse spawned from the perspective of a non-financial person. I hadn't dealt with Wall Street nor do I consider myself an expert. But when this all started to unravel, I was compelled to investigate. Yes, we all know that the earthquakes and subsequent economy collapses played a crucial role. What most don't know or recall is that the US Economy was already heading for failure. Mother Nature's interference was just a catalyst to expedite the outcome.

For years and even decades in some cases, trillions in fraudulent activity, trillions in bailouts, billions in political bribing and billions in bonuses, the members on Wall Street were beginning fight amongst themselves. The beginning of the end, as lawsuit after lawsuit were filed and the consumer propaganda became ugly and intense. The financial crisis became more than finger pointing and escalated into a corporate espionage that was deadly. The government allied Eddie and Annie Financial Groups sent the first salvo. They took 20 of the top lenders to court. They asserted that these banking institutions committed acts of fraud, securities violations and misrepresentations of lending practices. The pot calling the kettle black...

It didn't take long before the States started filing their own lawsuits and the FDIC became involved. Also the SEC took a backseat waiting for this all to filter out so they could file suits of their own. These lawsuits alone brought the market to a standstill and shutdown trading on Financial Lending to a halt. The government stepped in and froze all market share pricing on those traded institutions named to ensure the shareholders financial claim. However, this intervention didn't happen fast enough and most on the financial sector took a 50% loss in stocks. Commodities such as Gold and Silver tripled in price overnight.

The 50 state Attorney Generals Oversight Group also declined to release any financial institution from all civil or liability in lawsuits. The financial sector saw a massive explosion in layoffs and termination of employees. While some were determined to ride out this storm of legalities, over half decided to shut its doors until further notice. About a month later, the lawsuits went International and the same sweeping legalities and layoffs commenced in other countries.

As the financial legalities spiraled out of control, the finger pointing turned deadly. Corporate assassinations were becoming common and while most of us cheered or sneered at the news, after a few dozen it became apparent this wasn't all fun and games anymore. I guess one could call it a form of Corporate Terrorism.

So thats my general perspective of how our economic collapse started. I don't remember allot of company names now nor the major players. But to whom ever reads this later, it gives an insight that probably won't be detailed in future history books.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Tasteless Jokes Thursday

I got nothing...

Our son hates it in jail, many a time he's been physically abused in the showers.

My wife thinks I may take Monopoly a little too seriously.


What do you get when you cross the Atlantic with the Titanic?

About half way.


Find $20 in the bathroom.

Urine luck.


If sex between three people is called a Threesome and sex between two people is called a Twosome...

Then why is Handsome still a compliment?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Anyone Else ...

Find these type of commercials annoying? I live in Indiana and I sure as hell don't check the labels to see where the milk comes from California or not. There's gotta be a better way to spend money!!

Personally I prefer these adds:

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Well life is a roller coaster, thats for damn sure. I am unemployed, again. Saw it coming but was praying it would last a bit longer. I have some employment opportunities in the works but with the job market being an "Employers Market" its looking bleak. Having to sign "Arbitration Agreements" in the beginning process makes me ill. I am signing away my 7th Amendment rights. But what are ya gonna do? Don't agree and you're not considered for employment. I am also disheartened by the "Credit Checks" being performed on basic jobs. If you deal with handling money, then yes a Credit Check should be required. But working in a warehouse environment stocking and picking shouldn't require one. My credit sucks because I have NO JOB!!!

Dad is doing well after his prostrate removal. He is undergoing preventative radiation treatments and will be finished after Labor Day. He was Stage 3 and his blood test prior to starting radiation treatments showed no signs of cancer. So all is well and thank you God. And thanks to all of you who supported him with prayers.

My grass is dead...this drought we've experienced in the metro area is taking its toll. July was the driest in history and August isn't shaping up to be much better. My tomatoes aren't fairing well either. Takes forever to ripen and I'm trying to water them 3-4 times a week. Seems the squirrels like tomatoes too. Who knew? I saw a squirrel nibbling on my tomatoes and by the time I got to them, he'd nibbled 4-5 of the cherry ones.

The tragedy at the Indiana State Fair has been the forefront of news. While I sympathize and send condolences to those families involved, I am astonished that lawsuits have already been filed and the blame game is getting a bit boring. I have to ask...If you are OUTSIDE and see the same storm approaching as the officials, why didn't YOU be proactive and seek shelter BEFORE having to be told??? I've coached off and on for 20 years and the first lightning ANYONE sees and the game/practice is halted! So yes, the officials should have been more proactive as well. But when should common sense take over? It shouldn't!!! It should be the FIRST line of protection.

School is back in session and I am thankful. The house is peaceful during the day and I can do as I please. Free time to search aggressively for a job and try to find odd and end jobs to make some cash. Thank God the house was paid off back in June. My son started his Freshman year...doesn't seem possible. I hope the next 4 years creep by so I can enjoy him becoming a man.

Not much else to speak of...still trying to post my story but my mind is preoccupied with other events. My desire is there but my motivation is lacking. lol Hope you all are fairing well these days! I still try and cruise by weekly.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 29

September 22 2012

Raining today so I thought I'd take the opportunity to write some journal entries. Tommy is improving everyday and becoming apart of our family. Tommy still sleeps outside but he's been caught napping in the house. It's become a joke amongst us and he's accepting the ribbing pretty well. His parents left him to fend for himself...I cannot imagine at any age how that must feel. He's told us his parents were drug users and fears they're already dead. He still has feeling for them and we don't try and dissuade him from having them. He has taken to the two younger nephews like a fish to water. He plays with them and unconsciously is teaching them. I saw him the other day showing them how to make a rope from the vegetation. It was for a game of cowboy...lassoing one another but all the same he taught them a skill. He has been reading books and writing things. He is quite the intellectual fella and soaks up any information he gets his hands on. He's been tinkering around with an old lawnmower and by golly I think he'll have it running within a week. Whenever we are working on tractors and the like he's always right there.

I have not heard directly from Larry and friends since our last visit/attack. Captain tells me they are well and interacting well with the soldiers. He tells me the community is now defended and the community is more at ease. Our soldiers have really become family. And I think a few soldiers are eying some of the single ladies. Our troop strength and numbers remain constant with a squad rotating out for 2 weeks. Most of the men are single and take they're leaves with gusto. So far nothing drastic has happened with their leaves as they tend to travel back to base.

Gardening has slowed to a crawl. We are canning and prepping apples, walnuts and persimmons from the fall harvest. Corn and beans will be harvested soon, as long as this rain stops. The military has brought us a new tanker of farming diesel. We were hoping to start this week on the beans but with rain it'll be a week or more before we can start. The hay harvest went well considering we forgot. We have enough to last through the winter as long as we manage properly.

Doc is going to administer flu shots in October. We are fearful of the winter as disease can spread quickly. And with medical assistance at a minimum, we are more susceptible to severe cases and even death. We discussed at the last Elders meeting of how to handle this potential. Right now we are keeping our discussions discreet and have made plans for an area just outside of town for a new cemetery. The old town cemetery isn't well kept and quite frankly we are nervous about digging graves there. Who knows what we'll uncover by accident. Doc tells us that Smallpox and Measles are becoming quite an issue in the larger communities (cities). Even Chicken Pox is being considered a threat. We have already agreed if anyone showing up from outside our community will be put in a quarantine area for 72 hours. We will provide them food and water but no physical contact. Doc will provide the military protocol and we'll follow his lead. He'll have the final say so on accepting anyone into the community based on their health.

We've not had any foot traffic lately. Military reports of travelers on the roads are few and far between. I'm assuming that when winter starts to set in we will see more people.

Our wild dog situation is decreasing in population as we are dispatching any canine without an orange collar. Some of the teenagers go on hunting parties with 2-3 military escorts. It's teaching them skills that will be useful later in life. And quite frankly, it gives them something for entertainment outside the community. So far they've discovered a cave that has potential for a shelter or hideout. We've not explored the depth of the cave but right now it extend at least 100 yards and is approximately 6 feet in height and 12 feet wide at places. Not the most luxurious place to live but will do nicely in an emergency. The teenagers have also been noting locations of game spotted. Deer is in quite the abundance and we've decided that each family, regardless of size, will be allowed to harvest 2 does and 1 buck. Our smoke houses will handle the limits and we've limited the hunting to weekends only and for two weekends. Squirrels and other small game will have no limits but excess hunting will not be allowed. These small game critters could become a valuable survival source if things go drastically wrong.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 28

September 20 2012

Christmas in September! The military came through with our needs and then some. Not only did they supply enough goods to last the winter but brought a few surprises for us as well. Chocolate candy don't know you've missed them until you taste the succulent sweets for the first time in over a year. Some of the children ate so much they became OD. lol Was a sight for sore eyes to see kids zipping to anf fro on a sugar high. Soda...pop...whatever you call it tastes so good. We've not had any refreshments like this in over 6 months. Tobacco...oh the smells of pipe tobacco and cigars. Cigarette tobacco was included in the shipment and those who craved a cigarette were anxious to get some rolled. We have set aside some of the goods as barter goods. We were all joyous with our gifts.

The mood has lightened around the community. Children are being schooled by the community and a teacher among the soldiers. School days are Monday through Thursday 9am - 5pm. We have also included a trades schooling for adults willing to learn a trade or craft. While this will be conducted during the winter months, some are excited to get an education. We've begun construction on a schoolhouse with the supplies from the town.

We are becoming concerned over the wild dog population. It's apparent people are dying off as the dog population has increased 5 fold since Spring. Most of the community dogs are work dogs such as Border Collies, Shepherds, etc...and have been fitted with a collar of orange distinction. All other canines will be dispatched on sight. We are increasingly concerned of rabies spreading throughout the wildlife. Something like this could hurt our supplement of food and could take a toll on out own canines.

Corn and bean harvest is coming soon so journal entries might be light. Also my shoulder is aching as the weather starts to become cooler. I fear its going to be a rough winter nursing this shoulder. Doc says its healed nicely as I've retained over 80% of my movement and strength.

Our community meeting went very well and we covered most topics without any disagreements. Everyone is building an outhouse in case the water freezes. Septic tanks/systems will be pumped within a month. The military scavenged a septic truck and we've been cleaning about 2 tanks a day. We have taken the waste to a local rock quarry and dumped on site. And as we quickly found out, September isn't the best time to empty septic tanks. lol So we've decided for now to stop emptying tanks until colder weather. Doc reported that community health was very good and he's happy with the current status. He and I talked after the meeting and he's preparing for a wave of newborns this time next year. Firewood is stocked and with sufficient supplies to all families. We are now planning on clearing another 50 acre wood area before winter. This wood will be kept as inventory supply and passed out as needed. Food supplies are progressing nicely and we are all confident on a much needed harvest. We will use most of this as barter and for the military. They have far more resources and can trade for better goods.

And the leather making is becoming a nightmare. But we all knew that would happen, right?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 27

September 10 2012

Items we desperately need before winter sets in:
Sugar, Coffee, Salt, Batteries, Cloth, Gas, Diesel, Leather, Lard

That was part of the list I turned into the Captain. While leather and lard may not seem like necessities, we still need to repair shoes and cook. We've attempted our own leather/tanning but we've fallen short on making comparable shoe leather. We really need someone experienced in the art. We've made a few odds and ends from the leather like knife sheaths, scissor pouches, upper body covers, etc.. Making leather is a time consuming and smelly process. The first job is to remove any bits and pieces of meat and fat. To do this the skin is soaked and pounded, then placed over a wooden beam and scraped with a dull knife. The hair and outer part of the skin is then removed by rubbing urine, quicklime or wood ash into the wet surface. This will loosen the hair and allow it to be scraped off. Now its important to keep the hide from rotting. And while this portion sounds disgusting to eventually wear, its a vital step in the tanning process. You could rub it with an oily substance like tallow (animal fat,) egg yolk or “dubbin” (a mixture of fish oil and tallow). It can also be treated by rubbing salt, brain or potash alum into the surface to produce a very pale leather. Yea...YUCK lol

I'll create a more detailed entry later. I hove so much to cover I'd hate to waste batteries.

News from outside our community isn't giving us much hope for a quick end. Rebel uprisings are becoming common nowadays and reinforcements are coming from south of our national borders. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California are considered the front lines. General news is all these states have lost 150-200 miles inland of their borders. Our Navy is doing a magnificent job of keeping our coastlines secure while our Air Force is having issues keeping our ground teams safe and free from the rebels. Right now the major cities lost are Detroit, Cleveland, Miami, San Diego, Kansas City and Lexington, to name a few. World news is very grim...

Economic collapse all, silver and copper are the main sources of monies right now. Bartering has replaced selling of goods. News of manufacturing in local areas are starting to surface. The basics are the focus of the manufacturing: hand tools like shovels and picks, toiletries like razors and toilet paper, canning products, cookware, etc.. Of course the military still has its manufacturing requirements but its nice to see basic manufacturing ramping up. Electricity still remains a priority but with manufacturing down, repairs take 5-10 times longer. So far we've been lucky to have electricity most every day for extended periods of time.

Harvest time is quickly approaching! We are set to harvest, stock and produce goods. Our corn and beans are looking good. The weather has been cooperating with temperatures hovering around average of the mid 80's. Rain has been manageable and we continue to use our cistern systems and water storage without any difficulties.

Until next time....

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Below are some videos I've located regarding our Independence Day. 2 narratives and one musical video for your enjoyment. If you have a video you like, leave me a comment so I can check it out.

Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!!!

The great Red Skelton...

The great Ray Charles...

The great Johnny Cash.....

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 26

August 30 2012

The grist mill is working wonderfully. We have ground some of our wheat harvest into flour and bagged it for storage. We are also grinding some to use as trade. The military is interested in obtaining our supply of wheat in exchange for copper, silver and other useful commodities. We'll have a community meeting on the matter to decide how much we will part with and for how much. Our corn harvest looks to be plentiful as well. We will be gristing a portion, storing a portion and using the rest for feed and bartering. We are in preparation mode full time now. Winter months are fast approaching and time is short.

We have separated the livestock for non breeding purposes. Basically, we don't want any babies during the winter months. :) Our smokehouses have been going non-stop the last week and we are perfecting the technique. The women have been busy canning fruits, vegetables and anything they can dream up. Pickling is a big thing at the moment, although I'm not too keen on pickled pigs feet. But I'm sure if the time comes thats all we have, I'll eat it without any regard.

We have planned a community meeting for next week. Topics of discussion are winter preparations, septic waste/disposal, firewood, electrical use, etc... We need to determine our community health and status for the winter survival. Septic cleaning is of a huge concern right now. We should all build an outhouse for the freezing weather in case water freezes and such. We have also been requested to supply the Captain a "Needed List" of supplies. He told me that quarterly he will be making such a request. We should keep the supplies to what we need and he'll take care of trying to appropriate what we want, the items considered to be extras.

As for the Captain, he tells me things are calm and the patrols have not produced any evidence of unfriendlys in the area. He is still not convinced and will continue patrols. He really didn't have much information during our talks. I believe it was more small talk than anything. Kind of worries me a bit as its not like him to just have small talk.

We are still using the electricity when its available. Telephones are still useful but encrypted conversations are still necessary. News from the outside world along the grapevines isn't good. I'm tired for now so I'll save that for another entry.

Cataclysm - Post 25

August 23 2012
The days following the attack were somber. Talk was very limited as we mourned the dead soldiers and civilians. 4 soldiers and 7 civilians were dead as a result of the attack. The community banded together and threw the largest wake I've witnessed to date. The hardest part of the deaths...1 child boy of 5.

The attack produced various degrees of camaraderie amongst the soldiers and civilians. Larry and crew are now armed as we are and are being included in most of the daily operations. This is considered a milestone for our involvement and my Captain is very pleased. This involvement will serve as training and will help solidify our cause.

As for the dead and captured rebels...the dead and alive were impaled and stuck along the main highway. This will serve as a reminder to all those attempting an attack of the fate that awaits them. It is implanted into everyone's thoughts now that THEY are targets and not just the military. Each person of that community have the look in their eyes. Its unmistakable...

Our trip home was guarded, uneventful and quiet. We actually convoyed as a military unit and took the main roads. A few people did come out and wave albeit very cautiously. This alerted the Captain to an unwanted presence in the area. He has coordinated patrols between both communities in the form of scouting parties.

Our arrival at home was received with fanfare and a heroes welcome. I refuse to be recognized as a hero. I did what had to be accomplished but I am neither proud or ashamed of what happened. We had a huge picnic with fresh vegetables and a hog and lamb for meat. We spent the day hugging our loved ones and embracing the community as a big family. I think it finally dawned on us the severity of our situation and our plight. The family and I all slept in the living room tonight. We joked of how much easier it was to camp inside than outside. I fired up the wood stove and we cooked S'mores. I fell asleep with my family huddled around me and it sure felt peaceful for once since this all began.

Tomorrow is a new day and we will move forward!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 24

Jim took his hand off my mouth putting a finger to his and said a soft shhh. 6 of us were laying low on the ground and every sound was intensified. I had read about and heard stories of your senses becoming acute when the adrenaline kicks in. Jim had carried along my rifle and ammo can. I noticed the others had various types of weapons none of which were to be underestimated. I quietly chambered a round in my 308 and the others were checking weapons and ammo as well. Jim motioned a few signals and 4 of the guys slithered off into the woods.

Gunfire and mortars were still raining down on the range although everyone capable of leaving had already. The wounded were now muffled cries and I suspected someone was ordering them to remain still and quiet. I moved into position and viewed the area through my scope. I could see 6 bodies in various stages of death or injury. The scene was surreal with writhing arms and legs, dancing about the landscape. Bullets skipped off the dirt showering the area with particles of lead and dirt. Almost with the rhythm of an ancient tribal beat. Jim had maneuvered into a spotting position and was glassing the area. Unbeknown to me, he was looking for targets for my 308. We slowly turned to the south watching for the muzzle flashes and mortars sound waves.

Within minutes, Jim was giving out ranges, wind and I was confirming his directions. I saw one mortar crew 600 yards off in a brush line. A crew of 3 were firing mortars at anything that moved. With the brush and us hidden within the wood lot, I could fire a minimum of 2 rounds without being detected. I noticed movement to the right of the crew and it was one of the guys who left earlier. He was belly crawling through the brush towards the mortar crew. Jim whispered to take a shot. I took a few deep breathes and calmed myself. I could hear my heartbeat and nothing else. I set my scope sights accordingly to the wind and yardage, slowly squeezed off the round. Jim whispered I was right 2 feet and high 6 inches. Obviously I hadn't squeezed the trigger but jerked it. I chambered another round and settled in for the shot. The man crawling was only 20 yards from them now and if I didn't want to hit him, I must be accurate from here on out. I slowly let out my breath as I squeezed off another round. Jim whispered...1 down Lone Ranger. The mortar went quiet and time seemed to stand still. The gunfire continued from a distance beyond our sight. Now gunfire was being returned and it was quite obvious a fierce firefight was quickly gaining momentum.

The woods suddenly came alive with movement. Jim and I laid low and as still as a dead stick. We couldn't tell if they were friend or foe and never of us said a word. I was not trained for this type of soldiering. Snipers took years of highly specialized training and controlled scenarios. And here I was right in the middle of a worst case scenario, sniper team alone and behind enemy lines. Or were we? I could feel the ants crawling on my legs and I imagined other insects and creatures of the woods were rejoicing the feast! As long as a snake didn't come along I think I could maintain composure. I was sweating profusely now and I could smell myself. Or was it the corpses starting to decompose. But not so soon right? Doesn't it take like days for decomposition to begin? My mind was running 100 mph with all kinds of thoughts. FOCUS!

And as quickly as the woods were alive with movement, they became still once again. Jim whispered they had moved onto the range area and we could continue. Just about that time the mortars started again with the ominous thump thump. I quickly regained my scope of the area which I had dropped one rebel. I saw the shock waves of the mortar as it was fired once again. I spotted movement just behind a bush. The figure leaned forward a bit and the mortar reported again. I squeezed off another round and the figure lurched backwards and fell to the side. Our man sprung into action and dove into the third man and killed him. 1 mortar team eliminated.

The gunfire from our side intensified for minutes until another sound entered into range. Two sounds to be exact, one reminding me of a blackhawk and the other made the ground shake. A low rumble that intensified with each passing moment. A couple of Blackhawk helicopters broke over the treetops and laid down fire to our south. A few moments later 2 M1 Abrams came into view. Machine guns blazing and we popped smoke to not incur friendly fire. After about 15 minutes of tank and helo gunfire, the rebel gunfire ceased and according to the Captain the rebel forces had retreated.

Jim and I walked over the gun range to survey the damage. A mortar crater and taken the place of where my competition had been. His rifle still lay there, charred and contorted from the mortar blast. I can only assume he died and his body scattered about the area. 15 minutes earlier and that would have been my crater. Funny how fate rears its ugly head at the most inappropriate time. Feeling a bit dizzy and disoriented, I sat on the ground and tried to maintain my composure. Thoughts of the days shooting event, eliminating a mortar crew (taking two lives) and the thoughts of my family flooded my mind. Tears began streaming down my cheeks dropping inconspicuously into the charred surroundings. I wept quietly hoping no one could hear or see me.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 23

August 20, 2012
The Captain and I, along with a few soldiers and notables from the Big 12, traveled to Larry's area. We have spent the last 3 days and 2 nights observing the Guard Company's protocol. As the defensive and patrol aspects of the Company is comparable to ours, it definitely lacks the friendship we've gained with ours. The two Captains had a private 2 hour meeting the first day and when they emerged from the house, the Captain of Larry's crew looked perplexed. I was not privy to the meeting nor was anyone from Larry's crew. So we were unsure of what to expect for the remainder of our visit.

The next morning the Captain approaches and informs we are to attend the morning target practice. Larry was shocked as this was a first! I was stoked hoping all went well and they'd be well supplied as we were...dreaming a bit but hoping for a chance. As we approached the range, we came across a PVT arranging guns on the table. He tells us we need to learn proper maintenance of the M-16 before practice with live rounds. As my Captain watched over the whole training scenario, he had this sheepish grin about him. I let the Pvt continue his instructions as I disassembled my firearm. As he was talking I was performing the tasks and reassembled the M-16 as he finished. As I was about to step away, a Staff Sargent came up behind me and barked..."Seems we have a smart ass in our midst. Bet he can't disassemble and reassemble blindfolded!" He definitely wasn't accepting of the whole civilian militia concept. My Captain spoke out..."I'll take that bet!" Ummm...I'd never done it blindfolded before. I sure hope I didn't let the Captain down. I was blindfolded, handed a M-16 and told to start. I fumbled at first but I got my bearing and wits about me and relaxed. I disassembled and reassembled the M-16 in working order. The bet...medical supplies for Larry's crew!

Next to the target range and we all zipped off 2 clips of live ammo at targets 200 yards downrange. The Captain was impressed with my marksmanship but he definitely had laced his words with sarcasm. I did not think much of it as I was on a diplomatic mission and no need to upset the balance this early. We all cleaned our firearms and headed in for lunch. The Captain and crew joined us for lunch and the others went to the mess tent. The Captain was still grinning and he chuckled when I asked why. He claimed that the other Captains arrogance and disdain for civilian militia was his Achilles heel. He was purposely setting him up. I was his Ace.

After lunch, we trained on basic maneuvers and had a mini-raid simulated. No firearms just basic maneuvers and how to counter act them. Nothing fancy as it was extremely hot this August day. As we broke from the mini-raid, I noticed one of the men from the Company carrying a sniper rifle. I asked if this was a M24 and he nodded slightly, looking me over from head to toe. I told him I was a big fan of the Remington 700 series and he scoffed that military weapons were far superior to mine. Now those that aren't familiar with the M24, its the military version of the Remington 700 series in .308 caliber but uses a 7.62x51 NATO round. A friendly debate started over the two comparable rifles and their qualifications. A few soldiers from each crew chimed in and the game was on. Before long, the two Captains were involved and a challenge was laid out. Starting at 300m, 3 shot groups would be charted and accessed between the sniper and myself. Each grouping must be within 1" location of your opponent and within 1/4" overall size in diameter. This would be done to 800m or until a winner was decided. If after 800m a winner was not declared, a shoot-off at 800m with 1 shot within 1/2" of location. Location is determined by the distance from the bulls-eye in any direction. Each contestant would be allowed a spotter, thank goodness!

The gauntlet had been thrown! The prize?? If I win, the opposing Captain must meet the same protocol as my Captain with Larry's crew. If I lose, the opposing Captain has no obligation to assist Larry's crew. Unbeknown to me, both Captains had already had an argument that day while we were training. Since the Army had no established protocol for such a scenario, there wasn't much my Captain could do besides persuade them to provide the same.

That night at exactly 1900 hours we gathered at the range for the sniper match. I had spent the last 2 hours talking with my spotter, Jim, who seemed patient enough to help this civy out. I was confident to 600m but after that things were a bit fuzzy. I'd never shot over 600m and had no idea what to expect. Jim calmed me with his charm and jokes. He said it was a goodnight for shooting as little winds and low light were perfect. And if all else failed, I'd be able to hold my head high.

I was a bit sore from the cast having been removed. How would the 308 and extra padding effect my shooting? Would I re-break my shoulder? I didn't care, the purpose was worth the risk. We shook hands and commenced to the range line. We flipped a coin and I was given first chance to shoot. 3 rounds in the bulls-eye at 300m. Easy as pie...yumm pie. The sniper did the same and was a bit faster in his shots. Accuracy I told myself..thats what its about today. We moved out to 400m and again, the same thing although I was drifting a bit left. Jim said the wind had picked up a bit and next round I needed to compensate for this. I forgot at dusk the warmer air rushes out as the cooler air falls. 500m and I was all around the bulls-eye but well within the limits of the rules. The sniper was a closer grouping but he had drifted high this time and was very close to missing the 1" criteria. 600m and I struggled with all 3 shots. My shoulder was sore and a bruise was developing. I left a grouping low and left of the center. I was 2 inches from center and was praying he was outside an inch from center or I was finished. 700m and my stomach was grumbling, sweating and shaking from the heat and lack of food. I didn't eat while talking to Jim as I obtained all the information possible. Jim told me 2 clicks right and 1 click up from our last setting. I sent one downrange and he said perfect, keep the same and you'll be fine. I chambered another one and sent the second one downrange and then the third. I jumped up from my position and ran off to the field. I dry heaved what was left of lunch. I couldn't watch the sniper shoot. I didn't want to know my grouping. At this point I wanted it over...over with and done. I heard the first shot...second...and the last. I stood frozen anticipating the outcome.

As the crowd started to applaud, gunfire erupted from the south and a flare went into the dusk sky. The air was whistling with bullets and the thump thump of mortar fire. Two mortars hit the firing range and screams of agony rang through the calm night.

I was helpless, I left my weapon at the firing range. I fell to the field and lay motionless. I heard footsteps approaching but not from which direction. My mind was blank...I needed to gain my wits about me or I was good as dead. The footsteps came closer and closer with what seemed about 5-8 people. idea how many. I was afraid to look. And at the last second a set of hands reached down and dragged me into the woods pinning my hands and covering my mouth.

Cataclysm - Post 22

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...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 21

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.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 20

July 30 2012
Ok...I was stupid for traveling to Larry's alone. I almost lost my life and put my family in peril. That will never happen again! son is typing for me as my right hand is basically useless and I can't type 1 handed without getting extremely frustrated. It's bad enough I am restricted to the house and 10 acre perimeter.

Doc comes by twice daily to check on my wounds. We are very concerned about infection setting in and have taken every precaution. Pain medicine is short supply and I've not had any today. And I can tell! I can sit for short periods as well as lay. Walking and standing is the most comforting but I am still weak.

The boy, who's name is Tommy, is adjusting to "civilized" living again. He still sleeps outside but spends his awake time indoors whenever possible. He let us cut his hair yesterday and he is a handsome young boy. Those eyes...he truly is gifted. He bathes or washes off every couple of days and is wearing some hand-me-downs. Doc says the boy is in great shape considering his living off the land for months. And talk about an appetite! I swear the boy could eat a steer all by himself. We've not talked about what happened to him being abandoned or his life after. I figure that will come in due time.

Lt. stops by daily to check on my progress. He won't discuss anything with me. I think he feels the stress is too much right now. And I fear he thinks I'll go Lone Ranger again, although that wasn't my intentions at the time. And yes, LR has stuck. And as m son types this, he will forever be known as Tonto!

Traveling in a couple of days, with Doc's permission, to the mill we found. We need to get that working or construct something with the grist stones that will. Harvest time is coming soon and we need to prepare. The crops are looking great and the wheat harvest was a success. About 70% of our predictions but its better than starving.

Hay harvest for the livestock...we forgot all about this! All available fields not producing grains will be used for hay. We are frantically working to get this monumental undertaking planned. No baling as we can't use up the fuel. Guess we'll have to accomplish this task the old fashioned way.

That's all for to eat dinner!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 19

July 25 2012
We call him the Lone Ranger now. He blindly stumbled across a rebel encampment and was shot by a sentry, according to the prisoners. The sentry had shot "in the direction of the noise" and had the unfortunate luck of hitting the LR. The sentry then fled back to the camp and reported seeing a man on a horse. As the rebels massed a defensive strategy, they sent out 2 others to investigate. That's when a sniper from the Guard shot one of the men and all hell broke loose. Statistics of the fight: 25 rebels lay dead, 5 captured, 3 soldiers killed, 5 wounded and rescued one Lone Ranger. We also have one boy who is 11 and will not leave his side.

Our patrol had spotted LR and Pancake sprinting down the cornfield. They flagged the point of entry and called for back-up. They proceeded into the woods tracking his movements.The Captain alerted 15 men to assist the patrol and return LR. And to be hasty but cautious as news of rebel forces in the area had already reached command. Do not attempt contact with the rebels unless necessary. At the point of shooting one of them and the other fleeing, it became a mission of life or death. The rebels didn't know we, the Guard, were in the area but knew of the Big 12. The prisoners told of a mid-day raid that day but LR muddled those plans. The knew of the Big 12, had Intel on their locations and Intel on what supplies they were stocking. The prisoners told of another community half-way between their camp and the Big 12 (approx. 15 miles from the Big 12) they'd attacked the day before. The rebels had sustained heavy losses and retreated into the safety of the woods. Obviously they attacked Larry and friends and have sent a Squad of 12 to check into their well-being.

LR is recovering well. Doc has him sedated, on IV with anti-biotic and says healing time to be about 6 weeks. LR took one round to the right shoulder which went cleanly through and breaking his shoulder blade. Doc called in a surgeon and after 5 hours they had him all stitched up. He is a very lucky man to be alive. Pancake came home on her own and looks to have no wear and tear about her. Glenn told me of LR's journal entries and we found his laptop. Since he didn't have it password protected I took the opportunity to keep his journal updated. I'll relinquish the updates once he's recovered enough to resume his writings.


July 27 2012
LR is recovering nicely. He's been taken off sedation and is resting comfortably. I talked with the boy today. he's not much of a conversationalist but will answer direct questions. He claims his family owned the house down the road. They had abandoned it back in early March. He was abandoned also and left to fend for himself. He's been hanging around LR's place sneaking food and things when opportunity presented itself. He likes doubt about that. Otherwise, he posses no threat to the Big 12 or the Guard. We are not pressing issues like hygiene or clean clothes at this time. We are simply leaving out the necessities and in time he'll start taking care of himself. We even setup a cot in the room with LR. For now we'll just let him be himself.

News arrived from Larry's place. All is well and no one lost their life when the rebels raided. Larry had ventured into the same wooded area and detected someone had been there. He saw no one but his sign cutting left no doubt. They had 3 days to prepare for the unknown. He states the rebels attacked at night. They were met with a barrage of arrows, guns and fire. They had spread dry grass and straw between the woods and the houses. When the rebels advanced, they were met with heavy gunfire. They tried to retreat but Larry's group had set the straw afire cutting off the retreat temporarily. 20 rebels lay dead, 10 injured and 5 others tortured while being interrogated. All 5 were hung publicly and with the 10 injured watching. A cache of weapons was found a few miles away with information obtained. Maps, directions, Intel and other valuable information were found inside the bunker.

We have called for another company. Captain says they'll make a fire base between the two communities to keep both guarded. I'm relieved they are coming...its damn scary knowing only a company of men are protecting us. None of the Intel gathered from the bunker told of our positions here. But after our attack, you can beat they know we are here now.


Cataclysm - Post 18

Pancake ran off when I fell into the creek. I was getting tunnel vision from the mix of adrenaline and the pain. I was nearing shock and needed to focus. I had to figure out where the shot came from and more importantly, how was I to defend myself? I reached for the revolver with my left hand very slowly. I cocked the hammer and poised my finger on the trigger guard. I had now become the predator with the prey stalking me. If I had been ambushed, whoever it was would want either trophies or confirmation I was dead. Being down in the creek I was partially concealed from anyone on the ground. I rotated slowly to my left so only my right side was in the water. My shoulder and arm were throbbing with intense pain and I knew I was losing blood. I was hoping the cold water would slow the bleeding down a bit and give me time to retreat. Why hadn't I heard the shot? Was it like the old tales of not hearing the shot before hand? Was it a sniper? Was it a stray bullet?

At the very moment I was beginning a panic attack, I heard a movement to the left. Snapping myself back to alert mode, I scanned the creek bank and part of the woods I could see. I heard the movement...very light footsteps...cautiously approaching the area I lay. I decided the footsteps were zig-zagging looking for signs. Apparently whoever it was didn't know my exact location. I lay motionless...slowed my breathing down to minimum and waited what seemed like hours. Then silence...had the person or animal stopped? A squirrel perhaps maybe an opossum. How long had it been since the shot? Were the woodland creatures coming out again? I listened for birds and heard none. That meant something was in the area. But what?

About that time I heard more movement and finally caught a glimpse. A head of hair...lots of it! And it was moving in my direction slowly. I closed my eyes halfway and started breathing as little as I could. My heart was racing and I wanted to jump up and fire. I was still losing blood and I knew without my right arm to use, dragging my 200 lbs frame upright quickly enough to shoot was about as likely as Hell freezing over today. I had to lay and wait for the right moment. As the hair came closer I saw a forehead and then the eyes. Eyes..the window to a persons soul. These eyes were very comforting and those not of a killer. These eyes belonged to a child...the body of a 10-12 year old. My goodness...a wild child had shot me? I'll never live this down back at home. The child stayed motionless for an eternity. I guess we were both playing chicken to see who moved first. Finally the boy moved towards me very cautiously and at the last possible second, he splashed water in my face. Naturally I flinched and the boy jumped back. "Help me please", I whispered at the boy. The boy inched forward and reached out to push the hair back from my face. He looked like he shed a tear but I couldn't be sure as he was wet as I was. He grabbed me by the collar and pulled me out of the creek beyond my knees onto the small sandbar. Our eyes met again and they were filled with tears. Obviously this was not the shooter. Now we were both in danger...the shooter was still out there.

Another shot rang through the woods and the boy disappeared in a flash. Then a series of shots from my left and from my right. I could hear the bullets whizzing above me whooshing through the leaves. Two distinct sets of arms was M4 and the other sounded like AK's. About the time I got my wits about me, all hell broke loose. I heard some splashing in the creek like someone running. In an instant, the boy had returned and was laying across me as if protecting me. The gunfire intensified and I heard what I believed were mortars incoming. Explosions ripped through the treetops and the concussion of the blast rippled through my body. I could hear the cries of people being hit by shrapnel. The gunfire from my left was coming closer and the boy and I were both trembling in fear. I raised my gun to defend ourselves just as the first soldier cleared the creek bank. I held my shot as the man looked familiar. He grabbed the boy and threw him against the bank and pointed the M4 at his head. I screamed, "Don't shoot don't shoot for God's sake don't shoot!!" The man didn't appear to hear me so I rolled to my left and hoisted my gun to his family jewels. I screamed again, "Don't shoot Don't shoot or I'll shoot your balls off!"

At that moment, 10-12 men cleared the creek banks, started laughing and took off to what had been my right. More gunfire erupted and Hell had come back to breakfast for a second helping. The man took his M4 off the boy and looked at me again. it was the "boy" from the supply truck. As I dropped my revolver he was yelling, "Medic Medic...MEDIC goddamnit!" I then heard the company medic saying, "Yep thats him...clear the way. I need to administer his BP meds and confine him to bed rest in the brig!" I chuckled a bit and everything went black.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cataclym - Post 17

"Quiet Pancake...don't wake the others.", I said quietly in her ear. We headed out of the barn and across the pasture on foot. The grass had a coating of dew and felt like walking on water. Pancake was all giddy with excitement as her ears were perked and she wanted to run. Pancake is a 6 year old Palomino who has followed me everywhere since the day Larry gave her to me. The boys thought she was colored like a pancake so the name stuck. She didn't seem to mind and sometimes I think she has a sheepish smile when you called her name.

I packed lightly with emergency backpack, a 30/30, a 357 revolver and some food. I didn't plan on being gone more than 48 hours and seemed senseless to travel packed for a week. I did pack some coffee the Guard had supplied as I knew Larry and friends were low. Always nice to show up bearing gifts!

We found the edge of the pasture so I bridled and saddled her. We cleared the barn and pasture right at daybreak and if all went well we could be at Larry's by mid-afternoon. I was tired of no news and decided this "Project Manager" was going to check on his friend. I mean its not like they'd miss me or anything. I left a note with the missus and told her to keep hush, I'd be back tomorrow. I saddled aboard Pancake as she reared with anticipation. "Whoa Pancake...easy girl", I said as I patted her neck. I felt her relax just a bit and thats when I yelled, "Giddy-up Larry's we go"! She sped down the side of the cornfield towards Larry's as if she instinctively knew the way. As we came to the edge of the corn and about to enter the woods, she slowed to a trot and we stopped 20 yards inside the woods and listened. "Listen girl...lemme know if you hear anything", I said as her ears were like radars. After a few minutes all was calm so we proceeded on our marked trail.

After an hour of riding, that feeling of being watched hadn't subsided. We had cleared the first woods, crossed down two fields and entered a second woods. I had circled back some and kept an eye on the fields yet I saw nothing. Pancake and I proceeded down the creek as it was easier traveling and in the heat was a fresh source of water. I kept an eye open and her ears were still swiveling like radars. We both were on edge trying to listen and watch behind us. I had taken a different route this time that took us deeper into the woods. I had mistakenly taken this route once before and I knew we'd be ok. No one else knew of the path and if someone from home was following, they'd either become lost or give up and go home.

Another hour of riding and we stopped for a break. It was warm and humid today and in the early morning the bugs were thick. I took my handkerchief off and dipped it in the cool water. Wiping my brow and squeezing the rest on my head. Pancake was drinking and suddenly snapped her head up and towards the rear. Her ears were locked on something I couldn't hear or see and she nickered. Shuffling about nervously she started to lunge forward. I jumped up and grabbed the reins and looked back as I felt a searing pain in my shoulder and blood splatter across Pancakes backside. I fell forward halfway into the creek as I grabbed my 357 from the holster. I never even heard the gunshot...

Cataclysm - Post 16

July 21 2012
Wow...what a cookout!!! We could not have asked for better weather, food or company. Sweet corn, green beans, fresh tomatoes, peas and the list goes on. Not much food left but what was left we sent with the Captain for his troops. And the Captain is quite the horseshoe player! We had games of baseball, horseshoes, frisbee and we even had the pond cleared out for some afternoon swimming. The kids all had a great time and most of the younger ones were asleep by dance time. The older kids collected fireflies and the teenage ones do whatever teenagers do. We kept the fire down a bit so we didn't attract unwanted attention. But it was enough to keep the dance area lit and the players able to read their music. Nothing like a band with guitars, banjo, mandolin and even a washboard. We danced until the wee hours of the morning.

I participated in the sniper shoot and made a name for myself. My 308 did a fine job out to 700 yards. I was better suited for the 500 yard and kept a group of three at Silver Dollar size. Since I was shooting against the Guard, I didn't hold back my aim. I will say the guys were most helpful getting dialed in to 700 yards although I won't be using that distance anytime soon. I wasn't much good at the horseshoes so I tended to the younger kids and kept them busy. I set up a scavenger hunt and that kept them all busy for a couple of hours. And one was a clear winner as Armadillo eggs are very very rare around these parts. **Evil Grin**

I am still on restricted work duty and this is killing me. I'm tired of being Project Manager!!! Still no word from Larry and friends...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 15

July 7 2012
Had to call for the company medic today. I was having issues with my vision and concentration. Headaches were severe also. My BP is elevated and I'm positive its from all the news. It's stressful knowing all this information and can only share it with Glenn, who is just as stressed out. I've been taken off chore duty for 2 weeks and told to get as much bed rest as possible. Was given some kind of sedative that will knock me out at night. During the day, they'll have to lock me in a shelter to stop me. Rain brought a much needed relief in cooler weather. For July here, its only getting low 80's during the day and a comfortable high 60's at night.

We have a few town stragglers coming out from hiding now. 2 of the clergymen and their families escaped harm and we've taken them in. The other 12 or so were sent back to town for the Guard to care for. We just can't take anyone in and besides, having a man of God on our side is a morale booster.

July 9 2012
Two Guard supply trucks came today with ammunitions and weapons. We also received some sort of radar thingy. Glenn was practically drooling and we had to fan him to keep him cool. Not sure what its really for but he claims it'll track enemy fire and direction. To me thats all good and dandy, but that means trouble is brewing on the horizon. They also brought us items we needed, such as toilet paper.

The grunts offloading the trucks told of excited "chatter" on the military radios. I eyeballed the Lt but he acted like he didn't see me. They weren't sure what the chatter was about as it was in code. I'll be asking Lt later...

Lt was informed another squad would be in our area before sundown tomorrow. I asked one of the grunts about Larry's area. He said he'd been through there and a few places had been looted and burnt. He was going back through there soon and promised to look in on the folks. We gave him a crude map of the area and houses with names. He was a good kid...19 if I guessed right...and seemed genuine to our requests. Of course the convo was without anyones permission. But a few jars of homemade whisky will get ya motivated.

July 11 2012
I finally cornered Lt in a shelter to ask about the increased "chatter". He was reluctant at first but when Glenn appeared in the door way, he knew there was no use resisting. We broke out the whisky and talked for a good hour. The increased chatter was the exile of the current POTUS. The POTUS, VP and President pro tempore fled to Mexico and took refuge in a submarine of unknown nationality. This left a vacuum in the Executive Branch and left our Nation leaderless. The Joint Chiefs of Staff took control, from what I gather, and is currently assisting the remaining states not under rebel control to fill the voids by special elections. Not sure if thats how its supposed to run but I don't really care at this point.

Federal troops have been activated and are currently planning a defensive stance. They are also responding to relief in the form of food and medical needs. News from my home I left was gruesome and we are so glad we left. While the capital did fall, it was completely surround by guard and militia. It did little to capture the city as they couldn't do anything with it. We chuckled for a long time over that one!

Lt still wouldn't give up the nationality(s) of religious sect(s) of the rebellion. But Glenn and I aren't stupid...

July 18 2012
Things have calmed downed immensely! Fire fights are non-existent and people are working back towards a normal routine. We are still heavily fortified and encamped with a platoon of Guard. Glenn and the other ex-military men have been given trainings on all the weapons. They have also been refreshed on the basics and have gone on patrols.

Power has been constant lately and a huge relief as our gasoline supply was getting low for the generators. We'd only run them every two hours for 30 minutes. But over what, 3 weeks, it took a toll on our supply. In the winter it won't be as important to keep the generators running the freezers. But in the summer, with our limited supplies of goods, its been crucial.

We are planning a huge feast July 20 for the Big 12 community and our platoon. We have invited the company Captain and 6 guests of his choosing. We figure to be feeding over 100 people. We are slaughtering 2 hogs and a steer for the feast. We've not had much beef lately and this will be a welcomed change of diet. Sweet corn came early as did the green beans. So yes we will be feasting. Games with prizes for the children are planned as well as some adult type games. We are also having a dance with bonfire after dark. I cannot wait to don my suit that has been tucked away since we left our home. As I've lost 30 pounds, it will fit a bit loosely but I am still excited for the dance.

Still no news about Larry and friends. My heart is saddened not knowing their fate.

Cataclysm - Post 14

July 5 2012
Medics have Lt. stable and recovering. He is alert and is back in command via one of our shelters. Fires were seen from the direction of town the last 2 days and 1 night. Patrols by the squads split into small teams of 3 provided intel on what we already assumed.

Glenn and I were in a meeting with the Lt for over 4 hours being briefed. The town was burnt to the ground and anyone left was, women and children. Everything was looted and then either torn down or burnt. Seems the rebel force moved west after their looting spree. They estimate the rebel forces numbered in the 100-150 range and our Guard of 24 cannot repel such a force. If they had come north, we would have been overrun and decimated. Thank God for sparing our lives. We are not to discuss any of the briefing with the people, only the town is evacuated and be on the lookout for stragglers.

List of gear the squads have on hand: M4 Carbine, M107, FGM-148, M136 AT4, M60, M249SAW, M252 Mortar, M32 MGL, M18 claymores, TDI Vector

I have no idea what these are but Glenn's eyes lit up when he was told. So I'm guessing its good armament. We agreed to the use of claymores for providing a defensive perimeter but will NOT allow the use of land mines. All claymores must be off pastures and fields as not to kill livestock. And must not be present in areas us civilians can be killed or injured. I realize we limited the uses but I will NOT allow us to kill ourselves. A map was drawn of the Big 12 area and copied to give to all the households. Outlined in red is considered "no mans land" and should not be journeyed into without prior permission and escort, no matter the reasons. This is also considered a free fire zone. Anyone seen within these areas will be given 3 verbal warnings to vacate the area or risk being shot.

It sure is HOT without air conditioning. Rain has been minimal and we are all glad we built multiple cisterns, especially with 24 extras. We have plenty of food available with an explosion of the chicken and hog population. lol We didn't manage that too well as no one really had experience with that livestock. And the gardens are still growing well minus the rain.

July 6 2012
Relief in the form of rain and troops arrived this morning. Lt. has sent two men out to find our troops and obviously they were successful. Lt and 6 men have stayed behind to assist us and conduct scouting operations during the night. Lt. said it was an infantry company and they were heading back to the town and sweep it clear. While it holds no vital strategic importance, its the perfect spot for a fire base.

News from the company Captain wasn't good news at all. Illinois and Ohio have fallen to the rebels. Michigan is holding firm as the rebels are having a tough time in Chicago getting through the warlords who have taken control. This makes it tough for them to come across Lake Michigan or through the southwest part of Michigan via Illinois. Detroit is also a warlord controlled area now as is Toledo and Cleveland. Kentucky is standing firm as they have Fort Know tanks brigades at their disposal. News from the other states was not discussed...only our neighbors are whats important right now.

The rebel forces are a combination of different sects of religion and nationality. The troops are efficiently trained and move quickly, never staying put in one place too long. Our Federal government hasn't intervened yet and have left the State governments fend for themselves. Not even relief supplies for the population or troops! Captain estimated over 15 million people (civilians) have perished in our region of surrounding states alone. Thats about 1/3 of the population. Most have died from starvation and lack of proper medical care.

Glenn and I were shocked...

Cataclysm - Post 13

July 1 2012
Power has been very sporadic the last few days. The only things we have plugged in are the freezers and a light in each occupied shelter. Still no communications with cell phones or landlines. 2-way radios are static and we believe a frequency jammer is being used by the Guard or even possibly the rebels.

We heard small arms gunfire from the direction of town yesterday. We are at the ready to defend our homes and lives. Helos were seen all that day flying towards town and reports of gunfire from the helos. A few townspeople were seen fleeing town but no one would stop long enough to tell us whats happening. One older couple were taken in by a family and given medical care. We haven't heard yet what news they gave the family.

We are only taking care of the livestock before light and after sunset. This makes it challenging as most times we can't see. I've found the barbed wire fence now 4 times. lol We've flagged the fence lines in orange and gates in yellow. And not flagged every 5 feet to be obvious...just far enough apart to get the idea. Even ran a wire across the top so you could follow it by holding on.

July 3 2012
Guard Unit finally stopped by today. Lt. is injured and the unit came to the only known safe haven in the area. I guess I should use the proper terminology as Glenn mentioned during talks, it is a Squad not a unit. The Squad brought along another one so we have 24 extras to defend and feed. They would have 26 but they lost two during the town battle. They are busy preparing defenses right now so I best lend a hand. Small talk with the squads...doesn't sound good.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 12

June 29 2012

Word from town and other information gathered isn't good. June 26th we heard jet fighters doing bombing runs to our North. The fighters flew throughout the day and into the wee hours of dawn the 27th. We are certain the fight is far enough away we won't have to worry about friendly fire. We never heard small arms fire or anti-aircraft guns so we're quite certain its over 20 miles.

We took extreme defensive measures as word came back from town the rebellion had flared up. We took shelter in the bunkers, posted guards all around the Big 12 and rotated our shifts of guards and tending to the farms. All the weapons we have are spread out with each house have enough to make a small stand.

After the Lt. left, I talked to the men and found out 4 of them are ex-military. Glenn, who was a Staff Sargent in the Army, is now our Commander. He spent the time I was at Larry's showing everyone how to use the M-16s. They also left a few cases of hand grenades but decided only those ex-military are selected to use them. Glenn was reluctant at first to take the responsibility but as I explained to him, we needed someone with the knowledge to keep the guard unit comfortable with us. He can talk the lingo and understand the tactics. We also need them to provide us with much needed supplies that soon they will only be able to obtain. It is vital for our existence we keep in their good graces. We all jokingly referred to us as F-Troop. But the more I think about it, this does seem fitting to our situation.

On a lighter note, our gardens are plentiful! The first round of planting is providing a much needed change in our diets. Its amazing what a Big 12 group can do to can and prepare foods for the winter. The things these people know...we would have never survived the winter without their assistance and knowledge. The chickens are now producing over 6 dozen eggs a day. Each family has taken livestock as their main responsibility. We were given the chickens as our main livestock. Some other livestock we initially started with as did the other families. That way each farm could sustain itself through the hard winter with a fresh supply of milk, eggs and meat. We are now trading the eggs with folks in town for our inventory needs. I am also donating a dozen eggs a day to the old nursing home that has become a hospital/shelter.

The Lt. and his unit should've been by today for the visit. I don't suspect they'll be visiting after dark though. I hope we didn't lose our Guard connection.

Cataclysm - Post 11

June 25 2012
Electricity and landlines went out today. Cell phones were static and intermittent. The Big 12 started preparations for a long stay in the shelters as we have no idea whats happening. Two of the men traveled to town to gather any information.

I have just returned from Larry's place assisting in the wheat harvest. Spent two days there learning the skills of harvesting. I was able to drive a combine and to save diesel we used horse and wagons to haul the grain to the silos. They had modified the original grain trailers to accept hitches. They had also cut them into quarter sized trailers to make the weight less and easier for the horse teams. Was quite a show and I remembered seeing late 1800 pictures of these types of operations.

Larry has started his own community around his area. Unfortunately, with their location closer to highways they have quite a few unwanteds in the area. These people are starting to cause a problem and I told him about the National Guard unit stopping by. I will tell them of the situation when they arrive in a few days. Larry has guards posted now at various areas and so far no violence has erupted.

I still feel a presence when traveling back and forth to Larry's. Its hard to say exactly what I feel but I am being watched. I don't sense any harm though. My intuition is on high alert when I travel and its not failed me yet. I am gonna devise a plan for the next trip in 3 weeks.

Logging off so I don't use up the batteries!

Friday, May 06, 2011


Dad came through his surgery well and is recovering nicely. They are certain they removed all the cancer and he will have another test on May 24th to be sure. We are so thankful!!!

My friend is home now from the hospital. He is recovering nicely and I will see him Friday of next week. He is one lucky SOB and God was definitely watching over him.

I hope some of you are enjoying the Cataclysm posts. I may take them offline and write the entries in Word. Not sure yet as I've not received much feedback. Not the usual

Happy Mother's Day!!!!!

Cataclysm - Post 10

June 22 2012
No real evidence was found of someone following us home from Larry's. I am still not convinced and will keep my ears and eyes open. Some sign cutting techniques were left around our property and I can check them as needed.

One of the Big 12 neighbors found an old mill along the creek. Now when I say creek, its not one you can jump over yet its not large enough to be called a river. And as per Mother Nature, the creek has changed course over the last 100 years. The mill was secluded within the woods and overgrown. We are planning an outing to see if its still usable. He stated the stones looked intact and just needed some care. Now with the crops coming, we can make flour and cornmeal.

Speaking of which, we are scrambling to gather sugar. The supplies are depleted in the store and future shipments are in doubt. Next spring we can obtain and make maple syrup which will help feed out sweet tastes. Coffee...yea this sucks without a cup of java. We have begun a ration process attempting to make it thru the winter months. Coffee...we definitely missed out gathering this commodity. Sugar, tea and Coffee will become like gold this winter.

National Guard unit stopped by today. They were told by some of the Big 12 families I was the "mayor" or elder for our community. I felt honored and a bit overwhelmed when the Lt. mentioned that. I invited the Lt. to the porch for some iced tea and biscuits. As we talked, his unit scouted the area and mingled with the kids. The boys were excited to see the military and as usual were best buddies within minutes.

The Lt talked of creating a militia force within our community. All weapons and gear would be supplied by them along with training. We would be supplied with small arms and a few larger weapons. They would like for us to be very mobile and the heavier weapons would slow us down. As we were talking, a truck arrived and a few men gathered around. The Lt. stated as a show of good standing they'd leave us with some weapons. M-16's with ammunition and a few other oddities like grenades and stuff. I have no idea what all was there but he left an inventory list. He said he'd be back in a week to receive our answer and asked that a ex-military person be appointed as "commander". All discussions would involve myself and the commander.

We also spoke of the supply situation and I was reassured we'd be supplied with what they could spare. This was a relief as medical supplies were top of the list.

Talk of World news took over the latter part of our visit. The last report I received, Pakistan and India were at a stalemate. Pakistan fired the first nuke and it escalated to a holocaust. Both countries are considered a "no mans land" and people are basically left to fend for themselves. Supplies are being air-dropped into the more populated areas. Nuclear fallout is ravaging the countries to the west and fears of this going Global grow each day. Israel and Iran now occupy most of the Middle East. Saudia Arabia is being supported by Israel. After the nuclear strikes in Pakistan and India, most nuclear capable countries have signed treaties to not use nukes. China and the earthquake damaged countries are being overthrown. The governments couldn't sustain a major disaster and the populations revolted.

Also there is talk of a revolt here in our state. There are rebel forces gathering north and south of our location. It appears they will try to squeeze the middle and force the state capitol to surrender. Other states are attempting the same and looks like the current government may fail.

All military is being called to active duty, oversea troops are being brought back within our borders and all American citizens abroad are being asked to return.

Our conversation ended with warm handshakes and the Guard Unit headed down the road. I tried to document as much of our conversation here but allot of information to process. More information will be posted soon.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 9

June 15 2012
We are here to visit Larry and the gang! A nice visit and everyone seems to be well. The cisterns are almost completed but with the wheat harvest coming in 3 weeks or so, it'll be August before they are completed. We spent our days planning for the coming winter months. The ladies spent time doing whatever ladies do. lol Seriously though, they spent time talking canning, harvesting the garden, etc... Us guys spent time planning, designing, bartering, etc... I reviewed their defense setups and was quite impressed. In fact, I took a few ideas down on paper. One of Larry's friend is ex-Guard and had improvised their protocol to suit their needs. We spent a whole day reviewing and discussing plans for the Big 12 defense setup.

We left our home in care of the Big 12...our first big step in trust. We have become quite close to them all. We are slowly becoming more than just a small community. We consider them all family. We all agreed that each family should get 5 days of vacation and the other families would attend to the chores.

List of supplies we need to start gathering:
Toilet Paper
Butane, Lighters, Lighter fluid, Matches, etc...
Duct Tape
Womens Hygiene products
Medicine like aspirin, cold medicine, etc...
First Aid supplies like band aids, gauze, syringes, etc...
Storage containers
light bulbs

The list is endless!

June 20 2012
Home from Larry's and all is well. We returned to a small bbq and a day filled with fun!

On a serious note...while riding home via the countryside, I felt as if we were being watched. So we detoured and rode through town and stopped here and there. I'm hoping whoever it was left us when we entered town. I am still feeling uneasy. The town was also unusually quiet. I called Larry and warned him. They are gathering a scout party and retracing my route for signs.

Will be a long couple of nights.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 8

June 5 2012
9 inches of rain in the last week. Much needed for the crops and animals. Our root cellars have held really well with minimal dampness. We need to work on sealing the entrances better from water. We stayed in the cellar for a few days after the shelling stopped. We ventured out in groups of two mainly during the darkness. Once we felt safe we ventured out during the daylight using that time to tend to the livestock. We were starting to get cabin fever and grind on each others nerves. So it was a welcome turn of events to get out and about.

We have plenty of livestock as the sows dropped their litters. 24 little pigs running around make for allot of commotion and humor. The ewes should birth here soon along with the cows. Separated a few laying hens to produce more chicks. So far we've not had to eat any chickens but the day is coming. So we want as much supply as we can handle. The Vet is due by this week for a check-up. I want to know when we'll be having lambs and calves so we can prepare accordingly.

I forgot to mention we planted the second round of the garden a little over 3 weeks ago. Rows of corn, beans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc... Lots of canning in the months to come. After the good slow rain the garden is looking great. We even planted some herbs. I don't think we can get anymore in that 5 acre garden. The Big 12 took one of the abandoned farms and turned all the tillable land around the house into garden. Not sure the actual acreage but it looks to be around 10. We are using this to help fill others pantries and use for towns people to barter for goods.

The local clergy stopped by again yesterday. We had the usual sun tea and biscuits on the porch. News from town is disheartening as the medical supplies are drying up and food supplies are getting scarce. The National Guard did bring 2 truckloads of goods and distributed it among the needy. The medics also tended to those with injuries and poor health. About a dozen residents left in the nursing home were relocated to the Guard base. The nursing home is now a shelter for those requiring such and also a makeshift hospital. The Guard told the clergy the attempted overthrow was thwarted but allot of casualties, both civilian and the rebels. The state government is in complete chaos. Quite a few of the state leaders were either killed, kidnapped or severely wounded during the overthrow.

Anyways...we held a small service here at the house. The clergy committed to stopping by the first weekend of each month for services. I know I felt better after the services and from the looks of the Big 12 families, it did them well too. We'll have a good ole fashioned "Sunday Service Dinner" after our next meeting. Of course it'll be on a Saturday...but God doesn't follow a schedule. Looking forward to the community gathering and fun!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 7

May 25 2012
Our meeting with the neighbors was very productive. Of course the hot topic was protection since the attack on us has worried the neighbors. We have beefed up our first warning by adding a few dogs. And more weapons are available for quick response. As for the neighbors, we have devised a patrol plan that will involve everyone and rotation. There is not much we can fix about people on foot through the countryside. But we have "booby trapped" the roadways to signal us and disable a vehicle. The local authorities stopped by our meeting to lend suggestions and support. While vigilantism is discouraged, the mood has shifted to our protective rights. They assured us they'd not interfere as long as we didn't become the aggressors. This created a bug sigh of relief.

May 30 2012
Root cellars are now built, run with electricity and hidden amongst the buildings on our farm. All "bunkers" are buried 6 feet below the surface and are a minimum size of 20x20x8. We moved the deep freezers into all 3 of them and supplied most with basic necessities. Concrete 2 feet thick was used, sealed and drainage applied so they hopefully remain dry.

Some neighbors are leaving the area for family or the cities. All the Big 12 families (as we call ourselves now) are remaining and have received permission in writing, from those leaving, to pillage their properties. We gathered all that was useful and inventoried it all. The Big 12 will take the minimal amounts of what they need and the rest will be used for bartering.

Patrols have been uneventful but we are becoming more familiar with our surroundings. Most travel on foot while a few use bicycles. We are seeing wildlife while patrolling and are making maps of movement and locations. This will become useful in the fall as we gather food.

May 31 2012
SHTF literally today. We are not sure what actually triggered the events but we have seen Helos, heard tanks and artillery fire in the distance. NPR has little to no information available and TV stations have gone off-air. We have hunkered down in a root cellar and some of the neighbors are coming later. We quickly moved any evidence of using the house into the bunker. That way if anyone stops by, all they'll see is the livestock.

One neighbor came with news...our state government has gone rogue with extremist group taking control of our state capitol and attacking National Guard Armories. Hence the sounds of artillery and tank fire. Our local national guard base has counter-attacking and right now have the upper hand. Reports of troop movements north have us a little relieved as they aren't moving in our direction. No word from the federal government if they will support our state.

As long as the battle is north and doesn't come closer, we should be ok.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 6

May 15 2011
Made it home without incident from Larry's. The boys and I had a great time riding and looks like the boys are natural riders. Larry and his family stayed the night and left early the next morning.

Just to keep updated we are using the telephone landlines to call each other. Using cryptic messages for valued information. It's getting dangerous to even travel the 15 miles thru the countryside. I spent the last two days finally meeting my neighbors. Yes, we've been so busy we've not met but the closet neighbor. We met aver 20 neighbors the past couple of days and formed friendships with those who seemed trustworthy. We have begun the process of networking for supplies and needs. Of the 20 surrounding neighbors, 12 seem to be good people. I guess you can call us a farming community of around 50 people.

Bad News - Petroleum supplies have dried up around the county. We traveled to town today and met a few towns people. People already knew who we were though, so it made it a bit uncomfortable being stared and talked about. Anyways...Entire country is under martial law. Electricity is shut off in most major cities except for the government buildings. Gas supplies are mostly gone except for military and government supplies. Unemployment has sky-rocketed past numbers/percentages seen in the Great Depression.

We know use no electricity during the day or night. We go dark when the sun goes down. Right now it works well as we get much needed rest. There is still electricity available to us as most of our local power plants are coal fired. We are going dark to protect us from roaming bands of armed gangs. The neighbors closet to town were attacked last night. Everything was looted and the family is safe as they were prepared for such an event. They had escaped through a tunnel in the basement.

Meeting next week with the 12 neighbors to devise a protection plan and start pooling our resources. All machinery have been drained of the fuel and stored in a safe place. Now time to build a shelter(s) for our food supplies. We are going to be proactive and make this work.

May 20 2011
We were attacked yesterday, during the day, by 5 armed men. 4 left their bodies on our property while their souls went to meet their maker. Was first time killing a man and while its not pleasant, it was necessary for our survival. The 5th person was wounded and the local authorities were able to track him down and arrest him.

First guy made it through the front door and halfway through the house. He was met with 12 ga. 00 buckshot. Second guy behind him has the same fate. Other 3 started to flee the property but 2 were dropped with my Remington 700. The 5th one was hit 3 times with a 22 rifle from my wife. She thought she had the 270 but in all the excitement she grabbed the 22. I am thankful the nephews and son were over at a neighbors for the day. Its hard enough dealing with this emotionally AND trying to help the wife cope with it. I cannot imagine how'd we deal with this if the kids were involved. We know were firearms even in the house. I have my 40 cal and the wife has a 380. The son will be carrying a 9 mm when they return tomorrow.

I need a drink...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 5

May 9 2012
Arrived at Larry's 2 days ago. Travel was without incident. Marcia stayed behind with her kids at our place. I feel much better now and not as stressed about the family being alone. I still took the nephews with me as the other guys families have kids. So I guess you can call this a guys mini-vacation.

Lots of work the past 2 days. We have all 3 cisterns designed, inventory list of supplies needed and a rough layout with scrap wiring. Yes...scrap wiring! It's easier for some folks to see it laid out and be able to read the design on paper. Especially since I won't be around when the systems are actually built.

We are planting crops. Yes...we as in me included. A huge learning curve as we are working 100+ acre fields and not my little 5 acres. We are planting corn and soybeans right now. Did you know that 30" corn row spacings give better yields than 38" row spacings? Me see I am learning new information and hopefully next year I'll be planting my own crops for harvest. Also planting this time of year has a greater yield advantage of 99% than later dates for planting. Anything above 130 bushels per acre of corn is considered good. I'm not helping plant the soybeans so I'm not focusing on learning all those numbers. I'm running the disc and Larry is running the planter. We are making good progress as we have 500+ acres of corn to plant. We accomplished the first 100 acres after training the nOOb how to properly disc. lol

Ok...short entry! Off to plant more corn!

May 11 2012
All the corn is planted! Bad news from the Middle East. NPR states that Saudia Arabia is in military conflict. As I last reported, Iran had taken over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. This basically sealed off shipments of crude oil. It appears Iran is making a push for the capital of Riyadh. Reports are sketchy but it appears Iran is within 100 miles of the city. Israel is stretched thin and the US bases in Saudia Arabia are fighting and preparing for defense.

That news has sparked a rush to obtain all the gasoline and diesel. Prices are soaring over $10 a gallon and rising daily. Truck shipments have stopped and gas station owners/operators are now armed and defending from looting. One owner we talked too said when the gas is gone, he's leaving and letting them loot whats left. The military has been activated to guard any and all petroleum reserves nationwide. I cannot discuss yet but our gas situation is safe.

News from the bigger riots and store looting has erupted. All shipment for stores including groceries and basic needs have ceased until the military can devise a protection plan. As we expected, armed gangs are taking anything and everything. There are numerous reports of deaths and injuries. It will take weeks to get semi-accurate figures.

Heading home tomorrow and Larry is driving his truck. I am taking 4 horses saddled through the countryside. 2 of them I am keeping for now and the other 2 Larry will use to bring his family home if we run into trouble. The nephews are stoked as they get to ride horses!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cataclysm - Post 4

May 5 2012

Larry and the guys have been such a great wealth of knowledge and man-power. The wood burning stove is now installed properly and works great. We fired it up and burnt the dust off and made sure the flue was functional. Metal flashing installed around the flue where it enters the roof. Plans already laid out to provide a brick flue at a later date. More likely next year as we hit the planting season.

We fixed the tractor and it runs like a charm. Being its a 1956 Ford tractor, its not diesel so its relatively easy to maintain. Doesn't run well on unleaded fuel but the guys had a fix for that. We also repaired the fence line to the largest pasture and gridded it into mini pastures. We went to the local Co-op again and were supplied with worming medications and some antibiotics in case they are needed. We also got the name of the local veterinarian and left a written note for him on the bulletin board. The Co-op is on the outskirts of town and have to yet venture into town. Larry says the town is around 5,000 people, library, police (sheriff outpost), volunteer fire department, the regular churches, bars, etc... We made plans to go next time we were in the area.

May 7 2012

Packing light to travel to Larry's place for a few days. The wife and son will stay behind but I'm taking the nephews. At their ages its better to have kids to play with then run a muck and constantly cause a commotion. Larry's wife, Marcia, has spent her time her helping her get acquainted with canning, sewing, gardening and anything else one will need to maintain order within the house. She also showed her how to shoot a handgun, rifle and shotgun...although a shotgun is more point and fire. She taught her how to shoot for birds. I had shown her before but Marcia really fine tuned the skills.

Went over the feeding of the animals again although they say I sound like a town crier repeating everything. We also discussed defending the home of intruders although the entire time here we've not had an issue. But still...its best to stay prepared. We built a 1 acre yard by using wire fencing boxing the house in. One gate on each side rigged to purposely make noise upon opening. Also have various noisemakers tied to the fencing at irregular intervals and hidden close to the ground. This 1 acre box will give anyone inside the house plenty of time to react. It also provides a safety zone for unannounced visitors. No one in the fence!

Local clergy stopped by today and visited for close to 2 hours. Once we all felt comfortable, we invited them to sit on the porch. We served sun tea, biscuits with jam and had a nice visit. They brought news of the current events. Some of it was common sense but most of it was bad news. It seems the oil production has slipped further with a war breaking out in the Middle East. Syria attacked Lebanon with amazing accuracy and speed yet Lebanon was able to fight off an occupation. Israel seized the moment and swept through without much confrontation. Israel, out of fear possibly, counter-struck Syria with full military force. Lebanon was over-run by Israel and is now occupied as such. Syria was left crippled severely and is occupied by Israel. Jordan intervened diplomatically and the Israelis bluntly stated if Jordan wishes to interfere, they would be next. Iran now controls the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Iran invaded Qatar, Oman and United Arab Emirates and these countries are now occupied as such. Iraq was able to fend off the Iranian invasion, for now, but now they are land locked and cut-off from being resupplied. Israel has issued a warning to Iran...come any closer to our occupied borders and we will retaliate with nuclear force. Pakistan and India are now at a stalemate. Both sides have massed their military on the border and seems a crossed-eyed look will set off a major conflict. We fear these two will not have the restraint of not using nuclear weapons.

More to come as we leave in an hour for Larry's place!