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!