just another story #2 Part 25
Sure would like some corn bread and pinto beans, Joe said at lunch one day. Effie laughed and told him, ain’t got none. Now iffens you and young Clark dere wanna go look and find some, I be happy too. Oh and when ya lookin for dem beans see iffen ya can’t find a 22 and some bullets to shoot a mess of squirrels for some thick white squirrel gravy. Don’t like squirrels dat been shot with shotgun. Da BB’s really hurt my gums when I bite one. So another trip was planned, they debated taking the scooters or the truck, but when Clark said it is 19F outside, a little gas could be spared. They would take the scooters in the truck to search the large town that supposedly was infected. In the manual and literature they got with the scooters. It said they would get about 115 miles per gallon and that thought Clark was really sipping on the gas.
They used a 2 X 8 to push the scooters up in the truck and tied them to the truck bed hooks with tow strapping. They first searched the grocery stores, all the food, except sugar, salt, molasses and strange items, was gone. They stopped and planned their next move. Clark said there are 4 or 5000 houses here and that is a large search area for 2 people. Well, Joe said whatcha want to do. Clark said I have no idea. Joe said well let’s look at all the stores before you grid this town off and we each start searching houses. A house is probably where we will find a 22 rifle. I expect all the people took their large caliber rifles and pistols. Clark said OK. In a small mom and pop store they found a 20 pound sack of pintos, three 25 pound sacks of rice and 5 2 pound bags of kidney beans, Joe said ah, we can have some chili now. They laughed when they hit the family dollar store; there were about 40 of those little single serving boxes of corn bread/muffin mix on a shelf. OK Clark said that will take care of us for a long while. Now let’s go find a 22 rifle. Clark thought it was the 76th house he searched that he found a Ruger 10 – 22 with a 1 inch 2 X 7 power Bushnell scope on it and a 30 round empty magazine in it. There were no bullets in the house that he could find. He went to the next and next and on and on. He met up with his dad at the time and place they said they would meet. Clark showed him the rifle and Joe said nice, now we can go home. Clark said we have a small problem, I never found any bullets. Joe said argghhh. They went back and looked in the yellow pages for a gun store. They found 2 gun smiths but no gun store, Joe said look for pawn shops. 1 pawn shop and 2 gun smith places were put on the search now list. The pawn shop had nothing but dust in it. The 1st gunsmith house netted them some shotgun and 30-06 rounds. The 2nd gunsmith, of course it is always the last place you look, they found what they were looking for and a lot more; AK-47 bullets, 2000, 223 bullets 1000, 22 bullets, 10 bricks or 5500 rounds. They loaded their great find and left the town, hoping it would be a long time before they had to return, Clark had that itch he sometimes got when he was under observation by the enemy in the war zone. They made sure they were not followed, filled the truck tank up and took a circuitous route home.
15 of the terrorists had made it to this town and were staying in a gridded off section of town in 2 houses which were to be searched next. Clark’s luck was holding. One of the hot heads told the element leader to shoot them and take that automobile that is running. Our friends have put us on foot from the EMP (airborne electro magnetic pulse). No the leader said, they both have long guns and that young one in the front has an AK-47 at the ready and he looks and acts like those trained enemy soldiers we have seen in our country. We will search this and the next few towns we come on and wait for them to come again. They cannot live to far from here and I know gasoline is hard to get right now, that is why they are riding those small motor scooters to save on gas. They probably only have a small amount.
just another story #2 Part 26
Joe and Clark got back about 430pm. Clark told everyone at supper there would be no more trips to town till Christmas. They all looked at him. He just said I’ve had these feelings before and I trust them. There are bad people in that large town. I recommend we not use the radio any more and go back to those mailbox deliveries. I am going to put in that message for the mail boxes there are many armed Arabs in town. Pearl said, you don’t know that and then she remembered something that happened on the way out of town. She just said forget I said that. Effie said some of those people want a meeting held ta meet us. Clark said something only his dad heard, hope there are some pretty young girls, Joe grinned. Pearl said yes, I would like to see the faces of those voices I hear on that radio.
The meeting was set for 3 weeks from today; Clark looked on the fridge to see if any bacon turning was to be done that day, no turning. Clark asked Effie why the bacon was in a box. She just looked at him as if he had turned into a stone cold idiot. All she said was mice, done got ta cold for bugs. He turned kind of red and mumbled something. They all watched whatever movies they wanted. The solar system was a good one and Clark and Joe followed the instructions, they had gotten with the panels, to a T on watching and charging the batteries and checking the acid levels. Joe had his corn bread and pintos and a few days later they had chili. Clark took the 22 and sighted it in, grabbed his rucksack after morning chores and went squirrel hunting. Effie had told him where the hickory and nut trees were at the end of the property and there were probably 2 or 300 squirrels there. He shot 7 squirrels in the head and a 20 some pound big tom turkey in the head. She said good, dere is our Thanksgiving dinner. She had to show Clark and Joe how to skin a squirrel the correct way. The turkey she said can be dry plucked or the easy way is ta take da big heavy copper bottomed stock pot and boil some water on the BBQ grill and pull em out and drop em in the pit, da feathers burn up good when ya start a good fire in pit. Just gotta make sure ya gettem all in pit, cuz they make a mess if ya lettem blow all over yard. The turkey was dipped in the boiling water and Joe and Clark plucked it. Effie had to show them how to get the guts out without ruining the bird. She told all of them I don’t like gizzards and only liver I like is a mess of chicken ones. The gizzards went in a bucket to be disposed of with the squirrel skins and guts. The turkey was washed out and hung outside to drip dry before it would be vac packed and put in freezer.
The next evening after chores, Clark had the best gravy he had ever eaten. The squirrel meat covered in the gravy with home made bread right out of the oven with real butter was an extravagant meal. He wished he could make gravy like that, because he would eat it 24 hours a day till he burst. For dessert he grinned as he emptied the pint jar that had blackberry jam in it on to a thick slice of still steaming bread with melting butter on it. He said next one I am going to try is strawberry jam.
just another story #2 Part 27
At lunch on a single digit really cold day, Effie told Clark and Joe to bring in the planters on the porch. She had them set on the metal brackets under the 2 south facing windows. She sprayed a little water on the dirt and said now we gonna watch to see if any bugs hatch out. This here gonna be my herb garden for da winter. Iffen any bugs hatch out I gonna pour some boiling vinegar water on da dirt and you n’s set it back on porch to freeze da hatched bugs under da dirt. After 2 days we bring it back in an I plant my herbs.
Another week before we meet these survivalists or preppers Clark thought. They must really be stocked up to not have to go into town. I am going to recon those 3 towns before it snows. He asked his dad to do his chores for him for a couple of days. He told him what he was going to do. His dad said, be really careful. Clark took the super quiet scooter 14 miles to the last turn off before he would be visible from the main road and parked it 10 yards back in the woods. It was one of those painted in a camouflage pattern and was extremely difficult to see. He took to the woods like a phantom. The weather was really cold, but he was dressed for it. He took the M-16 because of the massive amount of automatic firepower it had instead of the slower shooting AK. He had 5 magazines loaded with 19 rounds in each. The 357 rode smoothly on his hip. He had his night vision with him. The Alice pack had eveything in it he would need for 3 days. He was in combat mode and on the hunt.
just another story #2 Part 28
He knew the 1st 2 towns intimately and it didn’t take long to see that they were deserted. The 3rd town he knew about half of it fairly well. He set up an observation post about a mile back from the town on a knoll and looked for smoke, steam or some heat waves going up in the air. A normal human needed heat and shelter at least 12 hours of the day to survive in weather this cold, unless they were on the move or dressed properly. He glassed the town and there it was, a white mist of smoke coming from 2 house chimneys. He continued his looking and said to himself, lookee here, there was a man like figure about 800 yards away in a small grove of trees moving around trying to keep warm. Clark figured this was the 1 or more look out people; now if I was smart and knew about combat tactics, where would I put the other 1 or 2 watchers? He glassed for a long time across the road from the houses and saw a little movement in a 2nd story window that over looked the heated houses and the main road. OK, gotcha, that’s number 2, now if this guy leading this crew is any good there should be another one on the 3rd leg of the triangle. He glassed for another hour but did not spot anyone. So he remained where he was and would see where the relief went to when the changing of the guard occurred. Right at dark 3 men left the 2 houses and headed out – he wasn’t worried about the 2 that were headed to the known positions. He almost lost the third man when he turned a corner, but he showed back up and went into a house about 500 yards from where Clark had figured the man was supposed to be. The 3rd man went into a single story house and another one departed soon thereafter. Well, well, well there is a combat team of what looks like Arabs in this town, he mentally patted himself on the back. Now what am I going to do about it. He thought a while and said, I ain’t going to do anything. It looks like there are too many for me to take on single handed. I ain’t got a silenced sniper rifle or I could take out the 3, but that’s just wishful thinking, I would have to get a lot closer unless I had a .50 caliber sniper rifle. I ain’t got that either, so I’ll just keep a watch till I get cold or run out of supplies. He got cold about 130 am. He eased back to the next town and started a small fire in the back of a garage that had the windows missing from it, he left the pull up door open about 4 inches so there would be a cross draft. The floor was concrete so he wasn’t worried about burning the town down. He just needed some heat to get through what had to be below zero weather. He lay down about 4 feet from the fire on his rolled up ground pad, which was a short one and 3 inches thick. He got warm for 5 hours, had some coffee in his GI canteen and heated up some beanie weenies for a protein breakfast. The fire was left to die out at day light.
He eased back into the woods and travelled to his original observation post. He must have missed the shift change because nothing happened all day. He decided to go home and check on this team in a few days if it didn’t snow. He could be tracked back to the cottage in the snow. He got to the scooter when those large flakes started falling. The temperature had risen into the 20’s and the clouds overhead looked ominous. He parked the scooter in the barn, warmed some water up, took a bath and told everyone he was going to sleep for 5 or 6 hours and he would then tell them all about his trip.
just another story #2 Part 29
When Clark woke up everyone else was asleep. He chuckled and went back to bed, the many miles of running between towns and the extreme cold had taken a little out of him. He woke up about an hour before daybreak and started a fire in the kitchen stove. He then stoked up the wood stove in the living room. Effie came in to a warm kitchen, gave him a big toothless grin and made herself a cup of tea. Clark decided to have a cup of coffee and he made some hobo coffee, dumped in 4 or 5 tblspns of grounds into a pot of boiling water, let it boil for a minute or more. Took the pot off the stove and dropped a few drops of cold water in it to settle the grounds. Effie handed him a muslin cloth and said pour yourself a cup through that. Clark added a little milk to the cup, leaned back in the rocker sipped on the strong coffee and was at peace with the world. He and Effie watched the snow covered land light up as the day brightened. There were about 6 or so inches of snow on the ground, this made what he was looking at through the kitchen window look exactly like a winter wonderland. Effie eventually tore her gaze from the spectacular outdoor scene and made some biscuits. Soon the kitchen smelled just like a bakery. They had eggs, biscuits and Effie surprised him with a large bowl of squirrel gravy she had made last night while he was asleep and kept in the fridge. He ate like he had never eaten before. Then he finally opened that strawberry jam up and put it on a melting butter covered biscuit. Clark thought this is a good life until he remembered he had chores to do. Effie looked at him and said, farm life is hard, da work never stops, it just slows down a little in da wintertime.
Clark milked the cow for his mom, mucked the stall and made sure the cow could get to the pasture. He had looked and there was enough browse above the snow for the cow to graze on. He remembered what Effie had said about 4 or 5 feet of snow. He guessed the cow would stay in the barn then, he would ask her. He had checked the fridge and today was a day to rotate the contents of the curing box. He did that and scooped the cure on the bottom of the boxes back up onto the meat. That brown sugar made the boxes smell really good. He sat there on one box just inhaling the ham sugar odor for a few minutes. He refilled the kerosene lamps, checked the curing room thermometer for the temperature, 39 degrees F. Now what to do next, he thought; he remembered Effie’s words, the work just slows down a little in the winter. He decided to do nothing then, just relax and think about those guys in town and wonder about the new people he was going to meet in a couple of days.
just another story #2 Part 30
It started snowing again about 11am and dropped another 5 inches on top of the 6 that was already there. Clark told Effie it is getting to be a pain in the legs to get to the barn with all that snow. Ain’t no way I am going to remove a hundred yards of snow with that snow shovel. Effie said next time ya go ta barn in curing room, look over door about 6 feet above door, there are 3 sets of metal snow shoes with nylon strings on em. Ah ha Clark thought. Effie said takes a cupla hours ta learn ta walk and run in em. Clark mushed himself to the barn and brought the snow shoes back to the porch. About 2 hours before supper, Clark started on his self training program to learn how to use the snow shoes. It took the 2 hours to find out it was going to take another 2 hours tomorrow morning to get around on them.
It snowed some more that night and the snow was about 17 inches deep when he made his trip to the barn on the snow shoes. Effie had told him to use the right side of the double barn door, it opened both ways. She looked at the snow and said, it’s ok ta let da cow out to pasture, she cn get dere. We will have ta keep her in da barn when da snow gets another foot deeper. That answered the question he was going to ask her. Then she said you n’s gonna have ta muck da barn 3 times a day when she in da stall. Just shovel it in da wheelbarrow till it full and ya can wheelbarrow it out the side door and dump it in dat big hole by da barn, dat be our compost pile for next fall. Clark wondered how he was going to get it out of the hole when it came time to spread it next fall. He was sure he would find out when the time came.
The 15 terrorists were stuck in the large town. The leader said all of you people will have to search every house for food; this is going to be a bad time for us. We will cut the watches down to one man in the 2 story building across the street. No one is going to be moving around in this snow unless they have tracked machines and we will hear them coming from a long way off. The leader was only partially right. Clark wasn’t through with them yet.
just another story #2 Part 31
There were 6 of the 14 families at the designated site. 1st mailbox on right going east, Clark chuckled at those directions; wouldn’t mean much to anybody unless they were extremely familiar with this area. The thought the postman would probably know where it was and he grinned. 15 minutes after the meeting started, Clark was ready to go home. 2 of the families were religious fanatics, not just bible thumpers, they were rabid holier than thou people. The cute girl that shyly looked at him several times was with the rabid fanatics. Not much of a chance going that route he thought. The other 4 families were so closed mouth that Clark wondered if they talked in their houses. Effie struck up some kind of a trade deal on some cured hams and some processed flour and made another meeting scheduled for the 4th of January. Right before Clark and family rode the 2 snow mobiles home the girl edged towards him and said these people I am staying with are not my parents. She sidled back to her group and everyone went home. On the way home Clark locked into his memory every feature of the girl; blonde, sky blue eyes, 5 ft 8 or 9 inches tall, maybe 135 lb; couldn’t tell much about the body because it was bundled in winter clothes. The rest of his thinking was, well I can dream about her and scheme how we can get together. Clark could be a ninja thinking person when he wanted to.
He asked Effie why the trading for flour, we have 200 pounds ready to grind. She said I know, but ya gotta start a trade system up with sum tradin and barterin. She continued, dem people grow some things we un’s ain’t got and dey got da seeds I want. Clark just told her to wait till they planted them and he would go steal the grown plant and she would have the seeds she needed. She said it may come to dat. And young Clark, just what did dat yello haired girl say to ya? He didn’t answer for a few minutes, but he finally told her what the girl had said. Effie said that is the best news I heard in a month of Sundays. Clark didn’t reply to that comment.
The Clark family fell into that farm routine and Clark had to do his running exercises on snow shoes which he finally mastered after a week. He talked it over with the family about what he wanted to do. Effie said ya cn do it when it starts snowin. Just ride da snow machine to where ya parked da scooter and use da snow shoes to get to em; ya cn do some damage to em while it snowin. Da snow fall cover your tracks up when ya come home. Clark lay on the couch that night and ran some scenarios through his head. I can burn them out with some Molotov cocktails and probably pick off 4 or 5 before running to another location. I have the night vision and I bet they don’t. He grinned again and thought about them trying to chase him through 3 feet of snow without snow shoes. I’ll make some more plans before I do anything. First thing I have to do is wait for an evening of snow.
Effie was looking at the schedule of turning the bacon on the fridge door when clark came in from outside. She said it time to bring da bakin here and slice it. She told him to fill the big stock pot with warm water and set it on da porch. When ya got da slabs here, rinse em off in stock pot and lay em beside da slicer, when da water drained off em, slice em up and bring da slices in house beside vac packer.on table. Joe and clark made short work of rinsing and slicing about 70 pounds of bacon. They had to change the stock pot water once, but Effie had already thought of that and had some hot water ready to mix in with the cold. Effie and Pearl were vac packing them in 1 and 1 and a half pound packages. Effie said we un’s gonna have fried potatoes, bakin sandwiches, and my famous egg cheese omelet with our home made cheese this evening. Clark got to slice the potatoes. Effie strained and saved the bacon grease into a large ceramic bowl and put it in the fridge. Joe said, I ain’t never ate bacon that good. Clark chimed in right behind him with a ditto. Clark really had not eaten properly home cured bacon before and it was, he wanted to say out of this world, but he just said ditto. The potatoes were perfectly fried and Effie had put some bell pepper slices she had rehydrated in them, they were perfect, the egg cheese omelet was another perfect strike to Effie’s cooking. The cooking utensils and dishes finally cleaned up they argued like a good natured family over which movie they were going to watch.
just another story #2 Part 32
After doing his chores Clark came in and looked at the 3 of them looking at him. Clark said what? Joe started the conversation off about him eventually finding a woman; Clark said that would be nice. Well we have been talking about it and made some plans you may have not thought about. This is going to be a lot of work to. We want you to move a large trailer here and park it on the north side of the house and place it on blocks for a permanent parking. There is enough electricity for you to have a fridge and if we notify each other you could run a small microwave in the trailer. The heat would have to be a wood stove placed in the center of the trailer living room. Effie tells us that the hook up and clean out entryway to the septic system is right beside where the trailer would be parked. We haven’t quite figured out the water situation yet, but we have some ideas on that; this all being contingent on what you do about those Arabs in the city. It will be another month and a half before the next meeting, so we have plenty of time to make plans and do things. Clark said, dad you know you are 100 % right and I am glad you brought it up. Just some more plans to go along with what I am planning. Joe said Effie tells me about the middle of December the snow usually melts away until the next big blizzards come along.
That night Clark solidified his attack plans on bad people in a place he needed to go to often. 2 days later about 3pm it started snowing. Effie told him its time if you are going to the city. The only extra things he took on this trip were 4 pint mason jars full of gasoline with new lids and duct tape around the lids to insure no leakage. The 4 lids with wicks inserted through them were in his Alice pack. It would not do to have a leak in his Alice pack ruining everything and the main reason, leaking and catching his back on fire. He shuddered at that thought. The other thing he had was a zeroed in vari 3 Leupold 4 X 10 50 mm scope on one of the Fednand boys 30-06. He had run 50 rounds through this gun and it shot super fine out to 500 yards. The scope had extreme low light gathering capability. He was depending on that. The 06 was strapped crosswise over his shoulder on his back and the M-16 slung on his shoulder butt stock hanging straight down. He took a chance and drove the snow machine through the woods to the edge of the 1st city. Snow was falling heavily and the noise the snow machine made could not be heard over 20 yards away. This cut off 7 miles of him tramping through the deep snow on snow shoes. It wouldn’t do him any good to go to his original scouting post. The visibility was about 50 to 75 yards. He scouted the 1st single story building for an observer. There were no foot prints around the building, so the leader had pulled this post. He went to the woods where the 1st man he observed was. No tracks in this area either. That left the 2nd story house overlooking the road and the 2 houses the terrorists were in. He could smell the wood smoke coming from the chimneys of the 2 occupied houses. He came in from behind the 2 story house and looked at the front door. Yes, a deep trail from across the street to this house was visible.
This could not be this easy he thought. He sat down and to himself said do not get overconfident. There may be 25 armed people in those 2 houses. The only problem he had was what the man in the 2 story house was going to do when he pitched the 4 Molotov cocktails through the windows of the 2 houses. If he looked out the window Clark was going to take him out and run down the street across the road and take out any people running into the street. Then he was going to wait and start sniping on any movement with his night vision. He figured he could get 10 or more before the leader if he was a good combat technician tried to either surround him or rush him. He had no plans of staying in one spot over 5 seconds. He could move through the deep snow, they couldn’t. he wished and wished for 2 grenades, they didn’t appear so he tossed the lit gas bottles through the 4 windows beside the chimneys. The M-16 stuttered 5 rounds at the mans face in the 2nd story window. He was on the move now. 50 yards away across the road, down from the 2 story building, he could see a large group of men bunched up outside the house on the roadway. He got all of them and moved behind the building and back up to where he was 50 yards away on the other side of the 2 story building. Some gunfire roared at where he had last been. He noticed where it came from and unstrapped the 30-06. He could see the mans shoulder behind a wooden corner fence planking. He shot him and that gunfire stopped, He moved 10 yards closer to the side of the 2 story building. Some more gunfire came from beside the burning building. He waited and re-slung the 06. He could hear the foreign language and men moving around beside the burning building. He left where he was ran behind the building down the road a hundred yards. The visibility cut him off from anyone in that area. He ran across the road and went 2 hundred yards into the woods and slowly moved back towards the burning buildings. He was in extreme combat mode now. 10 yards more he could hear some people forcing their way through the deep snow. He turned on his night vision and there they were 5 men in a file with weapons pointing outwards. Well if I can do it once maybe twice is a charm. The 06 was pointed at the 1st man, they were all in a line. He fired. 3 men fell the other 2 started firing blindly at where his muzzle blast was. He was 15 feet to the side and had the M-16. He made short work of those 2. He gathered his 06 up and re-slung it.
He wasn’t sure how many people he had killed, but he thought it was 12. He back tracked the 5 men he had just shot. He heard 2 men talking in Farsi about 10 or so yards away. He eased up behind a large (what he thought was an oak) tree and lay on the ground. He eventually got situated enough to where he could peer around the bottom of the trunk. There were 3 men, one was on the ground and another was wrapping something around his head. He could see through his night vision the scorched clothes. He eased the M-16 around the tree and shot all of them. He didn’t know it yet, but he had wiped out the entire terrorist team and burned 2 nice houses down to the ground. Good thing it was snowing heavily or others would have caught on fire. He went on a, what he called a stealth patrol, he made a 300 yard circle of the 2 houses he had burnt down. There were no tracks except the snow shoe tracks. OK he thought, no one has left the immediate area. He closed the circle down to 200 yards. No tracks yet. He took another gamble and cut it to about 75 yards. He stayed right where he was for an hour not moving, just listening, nothing, not a sound. He moved in closer and started running into dead bodies he had shot. He continued to search. He found no human tracks made today anywhere outside of those 2 houses. Well I guess I got all of them. He went to the 2 story building across the street, went upstairs, drug the face shot man to a corner and watched the area for 3 more hours.
No sense in me freezing my butt off out here, he went home.
just another story #2 Part 33
OK dad the Arab problem has been taken care of. On the way back I thought about parking a trailer on cinder blocks and it ain;t a very good idea. Need a footer to keep the trailer from sinking into the ground on a corner or the middle and causing the thing to crack in places, maybe even crack the outer shell. Joe said well let’s think about it. We ain’t got no heavy equipment, probably could get a small back hoe or something if we plan it out. I noticed there were diesel pumps at that station we been getting our gas, might be some left in them tanks like the gasoline. Clark said those 2 pick ups we got won’t even come close to towing an 80 foot long 14 foot wide trailer up here. We done thought about that, we seen 4 or 5 one ton trucks, older ones look like diesel engine ones in several places. Clark knew this was just a planning stage meeting and Pearl was taking notes. Effie was drinking tea taking in every word. Effie finally broke into the conversation. Iffen you could get eight 20 foot steel beams up here and bury em in da ground after ya weld em together. You n’s wouldn’t have ta worry about da trailer sinkin in ta da ground. You n’s could then put da cinder blocks on da beams and dat would take care of da sinkin problem. Clark said we still going to need some cement to cement the blocks together. Effie said won’t need much, go check da hardware stores in da ware rooms out. Pearl said where you going to get the steel beam. Effie said at da steel beam place. She continued on by saying ya could get one of dem steel buildings and fix da inside up like ya want it. Dat be a whole lotta work. You n’s can get on dem snow machines tomorry and look da 3 towns over. That’s when the 1st planning meeting broke up, everyone headed out to do their chores.
The next morning Clark and his dad were in the excavation pit parked beside the white truck from which they had taken the CB and antenna. Parked next to the bridge footer was a small diesel backhoe, an older model. Joe said I bet that one will start if we jumper the battery. Clark said probably. They went to each town and went through the yellow pages. There was a cement plant about 4 miles out of town. They looked it over and there were enough bags of ready mix to do a footer and cement for the cinder blocks which were stacked up on pallets for about 500 yards; could build a big, big house with that many blocks, Joe said. Clark said now to get all this stuff to the property when the roads clear. They found a tilt flat bed that would handle the block, cement and back hoe. They continued their search of the cement plant an found a manual cement mixer, Clark said this should work for just the one job that I am going to be a brick layer, Joe laughed.
They checked the diesel tank at the gas station and the hose came up showing a wet spot about 26 inches on the hose. Clark said we should look for some Pri-D, the thought that we may use diesel equipment never entered my mind when all this started. A large supply of Pri-D and the stuff that stops bacteria from growing in diesel fuel was thrown into the back of the diesel flat bed they were going to try to get started when the roads cleared. The trailer sales park had a diesel truck that was set up for towing the behemoth trailers. Clark went trailer shopping and found a fully loaded 14 X 80 that was set up for the colder regions of WV. It had 2 X 6’s in the walls that had 6 inches of insulation in the walls. He kept on looking and found all kinds of doo dads and plugs that he did not know what they were. He sat down and read the brochure about the trailer and he said, I’ll be danged, there are eight 4 X 8 height and direction adjustable solar panels on the roof of this thing. They found a charge controller ready to be attached to batteries in a large empty battery compartment. Clark told his dad, this one will do.
They still had not figured out the water situation yet. Clark thought about putting a 2 or 300 gallon pressurized tank beside the trailer. Joe said the water will freeze into a solid block of ice in the winter. Ah ha Clark said, we will have a back hoe, we can bury the tank to keep it from freezing. Joe said yes and I just wonder who is going to pump on that well pump long enough to fill that tank. Clark got a kind of dejected look on his face. Dang dad we got power, we should be able to figure some way out to pump the well water to both places. Lets go to that plumbing shop in the big city and browse around the equipment; you’re going to need some sewer pipe and some ½ inch pipe and fittings to do this job that we haven’t figured out to do yet. Joe said I have no earthly idea how to dig a well. Clark said me neither. They spent 2 hours in that cold building and stacked a bunch of stuff by the door to be picked up later. They had 6 different kinds of electric water pumps with all kinds of fittings to try and drop one of them down beside the pump. Joe said I got it. OK, Clark said lets hear the solution. We take the kitchen well pump out and drop the electric one down, Effie said its only about 28 feet to the bottom of the water in her well. We can just put an electric pump down in the well and hook it all up under the sink and she will have a Fawcett to turn on and that eliminates one problem. We can tee off the top of the pipe coming out of the well and run your water pipe to the trailer underground and you will have water. Glad you got that figured out dad. Now we can go home and make some fancy measurements before we destroy Effies water supply. His dad looked at him in an odd manner. They couldn’t carry much back with them since they were on snow machines. They had the pumps and the plastic fittings and some pipe glue they hoped was still good after freezing, they were going to glue some parts together and see if they could pull them apart before gluing up an entire system.
Clark came out of the root cellar with a jar of canned green beans. He asked Effie how come the basement didn’t have ground water or dampness on the dirt floor. She said let me tell ya a story. Bout 30 some year ago, I let a man sleep on my screened in front porch and fed him 2 or 3 meals. He tole me ta follow him an bring pen and paper. Well he got dem 2 limber sticks he had with him a quiverin like snakes as we walked over da property. He was a water witch man an I show ya da map I drew following him around da property where all da underground water is. Da kitchen well is at da edge of one of dem underground streams. And iffen ya go ta da root cellar You will see da well is on da outside of da house wall right over top of da stream runnin down towards da woods over dere. Ain’t no water under dis house unless it 10000 feet down. The Clark family was amazed at this story. Da man dat had dis house built musta knowed it too.
just another story #2 Part 34
The thanksgiving dinner was a feast for a billionaire. Effie even let Clark open a pint of apple butter. Joe cut the turkey and juices sprayed up to his arm. Clark thought to himself I hope that bird is as juicy as what I saw squirt out, it was. The bird had been soaked in a brine for 3 days and everyone had to take turns bringing the soup stock pot with the turkey in and the thermometer in the water was checked, when the temperature got back to 42 it was placed outside for several more hours. Effie did not tell him, even after he asked what kind of spices she had put in the brine. She said Pearl knows and it is in one of my hand wrote cook and preparation books. The light smoke taste that was barely hinted at in each bite, Clark knew about. He had dumped some wet hickory shavings on the smoldering fire in the BBQ pit and the turkey was placed on the grill. The stock pot went over the top of the turkey while Effie supervised Clark in how much wet chips for him to throw on the smoldering fire. The turkey was placed in the oven at 9am to finish off. The mashed potatoes were smothered in butter and if anyone desired any gravy, they had to add some brown gravy from a large steaming bowl in the center of the table. 3 large loaves of French type bread were cut thickly and melted butter was drizzled over them. The 2 loaves not being eaten were placed beside an open burner cover on the kitchen stove to stay warm. Of course green beans, but these were a tad different; they were really wide, cut about 1 an a half inches long and plump. Effie said dem beans are Italian ones and I really likem. The super bacon flavor was barely tasteable, but it was there. Sorry we ain’t got no fresh salad makins. Dat be a while yet. There were a few other things – some stuffing and he remembered everyone got a really small bowl of corn floating in cow butter. What topped it off was home made vanilla ice cream with pieces of hickory nuts and some chocolate homemade syrup. When Clark finished eating he did not think he would be able to get up, he knew he weighed at least 10 more pounds then he did this morning. 2 hours later he did the last chore of the day. He told his mom he would milk the cow for her. Joe fed the chickens and cleaned the coop. Right at dark the snow started, Clark and his mom sat on the screened in cold front porch and watched the flakes slowly do there little fluttery dance to the ground. Effie told Clark the next morning, can’t let cow out today. He looked and it had been a huge snowfall. He checked the solar panels, most of the snow had slid off and he still had about 2 and a half more feet before it got to the bottom of the panels.
Not much to do on a day like this after chores was done. Eat left over’s, read a little and sit around the kitchen and talk.
10 days later the snow was gone and the temperature was about 45 degrees F and sunny. Effie told Joe and Clark, if you got things ta do in da city, now is da time. Dis weather ain’t gonna last long.
They took 2 empty 5 gallon cans and pumped some diesel out of the gas station tank. Jump started the back hoe which of course would not start till Clark poured a lot of Pri-D in the tank and stirred it around. He had a can of ether from the gas station and sprayed it into the system. It started. Clark told his dad don’t look at me, they let me drive a tank around for 50 feet and familiarized me with the controls and then my buddy didn’t feel good one day so I got to drive a 5 ton crawler around. It took Joe 30 minutes to get the shovel and the stabilizers up. They drove it up out of the pit onto the side of the road. The ton and a half tilt bed truck was next. It was easy. They drove it to the back hoe, dropped the bed down and drove the back hoe and truck to the gas station and filled them up, Clark added Pri-D to them. Joe took it home and Clark started the big fork lift they had at the cement plant. They loaded the cement mixer on first, tied it down and Joe started putting pallets of cinder blocks on the ton and a half. Clark had calculated how many they would need using a simple system – 80 feet X 4 for 1 side = 320 X2 = 640 and 4 X 12 = 48 for each end X 2 = 96 and total was 736 cinder blocks He was going to take 1000. Clark stopped his dad when he had 400 blocks on the bed. He told him the truck is getting down to the over load springs. Joe looked at him and asked a simple question, how we going to get these blocks off the truck when I get home? Every thing came to a screeching halt. A dirty 4 letter word was what Clark said. It is simple really, Joe said, we need another fork lift. They scoured the cinder block plant yard, nothing there; they went inside and found a twin to the one loading the truck. Lucky us, Joe said. So they took all the block off and Joe drove the extra fork lift to the gas station after they started it and filled it with treated diesel and then drove it off the tilt bed at home. It was a little after noon by the time they started loading cement on the truck. It took 3 trips to get all the block home. The cement was dropped off on a heavy duty new plastic drop cloth and covered with another new one. The rebar was picked up on the last trip, the hydraulic rebar cutting machine, a small one less then a hundred pounds was un bolted from the shelf it was on at the cement plant and borrowed for an indefinite period of time. A spool of wire to tie the rebar together was loaded alongside the rebar cutter. They stopped at the plumbing shop and took enough pipe to plumb a new 2 story house and left for home.
They went back to town about 4 pm, got the trailer towing truck started, filled it with diesel and treated it. There was a little more to do then just tow it home; all the tires were flat when they lowered it to the ground off the jacks it was on. They searched for an air pump, the kind that plugs into a lighter or hooks onto a battery with alligator lips. There was one in a small maintenance shed behind the main trailer sales office. They pumped the tires up and headed for home, deciding to tow it home in the morning. Clark asked his dad, where they may find some golf cart batteries or solar panel batteries. Joe said a golf course. They stopped the truck and looked in the yellow pages, sure enough about 20 some miles past the large city there was a golf course beside the New River. We will go there 1st in the morning Clark said. They did in fact this time go home.
They did their chores and left about 7am – Clark was glad the cow was back in the pasture, he surely did not like mucking that stall 3 times a day. 8 batteries would fit in the trailer compartment, his dad told him to take 20 from the golf machines. Why? You are going to need some replacements years from now and some of those batteries we just absconded with may not be any good. Clark decided to drive the trailer home. His dad stopped and filled the truck up and the slow 5 to 10 mph trip home wound through the mountains. Clark said where should I park it? His dad said how about where you got it sitting there in the roadway. If a herd of buffalo come down the road they can surely get past you. Clark laughed for a good minute. They planned a little more that day and finally went out and staked out the ground where they were going to dig the footer. The distance to the septic tank pipe was measured out and marked well with a 4 foot red painted stake. Clark told his dad to practice digging the water pipe trench, they had to go out to the trailer and find out where the water hook ups and drain was, that caused another problem. They had to move the stakes and reset them. All kinds of problems can occur if you ain’t got the experience or a good plan with contingencies built in. They were beginning to find that out. Clark’s dad only dug a trench about 3 feet long, he decided to get the footer in before risking tripping in a ditch. He would figure it out before they poured the cement that the trench for the water from the house had to go under the footer as did the sewer pipe. Before Clark fell asleep he thought long and hard about what he was doing. This was virgin territory for him. He had a dream the trailer with him and his new woman slid down a hill and over a cliff because it fell off the cinder blocks.
After an hour Joe got a handle on this trenching business for the footer. The width of the digging blade was 16 inches which was going to use a lot more graveled cement. He and Clark had measured between the beams on the trailer before they started that morning and found out they would have been off if they had dug the footer using the current lines. They moved them again and re measured where the beams were. 2 trenches for a footer were dug 1st across the middle to let the trailer mid section beams set on. Joe checked his work when he was done and gave himself a silent yahoo, it was good work for a first time. Short sections of pipe for the water and sewage were placed in the trenches covered and temporarily capped off. The rebar was sat on half bricks which were staggered and tied with the bailing wire. They were ready to mix cement. Effie was sitting on the porch in the 45 degree weather with a sweater on keeping a close eye on things. The next evening the 8 inch deep footer was finished, they leveled it off with the string line as they poured. Joe had watched many construction jobs in his youth and knew the importance of having things square and level. He used a 4 foot concrete level from the cement plant to make a final check when they were smoothing the concrete off. Clark said wow dad both my arms need a break, turning that concrete machine and heaving those 80 pound bags into the hopper will put a hurt on you. Joe just grinned, Clark was only 22 years old and would recover from sore arm muscles quickly, he ran 8 or 9 miles a day when they finished, Joe thought if he could have used those leg muscles they would have already been done.
Pearl said I want to put the cement on the cinder blocks. Joe said lot of work, if you get tired of it let me or Clark know. She was the one who should have been a brick layer, she had the touch and every sling of the mud onto a cinderblock was perfect in the right height and thickness. She became super proficient on reading the level and using the end of the cement trowel to square a block off. With 3 of them laying block and waiting 1 day between courses, they laid the last block on the 4th day. The grunt work of just mixing cement and filling the center hole of each block where a stick of rebar was sticking up level with the block began. That took one more day. Joe told all of them he hoped they didn’t get mad at him when he busted some blocks out. They stared at him. He just told them, you have to have 1 or 2 entrances to get under the place. One of the across the middle block sections has to be knocked out so you can move from one end to the other. I recommend we only knock the far end of the middle block out and leave this end solid and have 2 side entry ways. He finished explaining before they could ask any questions. The water pipe comes in here and the stove sets here right close to where the water comes in. We do not want a draft under the trailer so this end across the middle will be solid as it is closest to the wood burner which is where the forced air vent is (he had looked) and if we remove the air vent from where it hooks up to the floor register, there will be some warm air going into this walled off section under the trailer. This will keep the water pipe from freezing. Everybody just stared at him and Clark said, great thinking dad. I wondered why you wouldn’t let us put any rebar in that interior end middle section and the two 48 inch outside sections. I forgot to mention the trailer was on jack stands over top of the cinderblocks and just had to be jacked down. It was easy to get it in that position; a new trailer had 6 plum bob locations to center a trailer on a new foundation. Before the center cinder blocks were laid, the trailer was driven in between the 1st course of block and the plum bobs dropped. The trailer was then jacked up 6 or 7 feet where it was perfectly centered over its foundation. The tires could then be removed or left on, most people removed them and either stored them or sold them back to the trailer dealer. When the trailer was dropped onto the foundation there were metal tie down straps already attached to the beams on the trailer. These were bolted into the cinder block assuring a wind or hurricane steady house.
Effie told them on the 6th day that the barometer showed bad weather coming. They finished up the under the trailer hook ups and the water line to the cottage. Dang Clark said we didn’t put a wood stove in the place. Effie told them that they had better find a good one because they didn’t want any smoke in that new house. Clark told Effie he hadn’t really been looking for wood stoves, but he surely would have written one down in his log book if he had seen one. Da man dat delivered my new stainless steel chimney pipe worked in dat Ace Hardware in dat 2nd town, Dat store is on a back street and is kinda outta da way. It was only 1 pm so they decided to take the truck to town and look around. Dang Clark said how did we miss this store. Don’t know came the reply. They had to break in the place. They found one that had a glass window and one that had no window. Joe said I would not like to have a stove in my house without a window on it. Now some of the places I worked at it would be OK. Let’s take that pretty pale green one that says air tight on the label, Clark said. The name on it was Heritage – soapstone collection. The price sputtered out of his mouth when he looked at the price tag, 3700 dollars. Take a few minutes to see if this one can go out the side of your trailer, you cannot use a top vent stove because of the solar panels. May as well look for some type of stone floor thing to put it on Joe said. Clark said this one goes out the back. OK now you need some pipe and some stuff to put logs in and a brush and heck just all kinds of things. Clark said Effie don’t have all that stuff. Yes she does, Joe said, you just never paid any attention. Clark thought back to an image of the stove in the living room, yes there was a little log holder and a brush, shovel and a little thermometer on top of the corner of the stove; how on earth could he have forgotten that as many logs as he had carried in and placed in the log holder. The thought hit his mind, is this the way you get when you get old.
Fortunately they had thrown the dolly in the truck. They found a heavy 1 or 2 inch thick piece of larger then half heart shape slate or some kind of material to set the stove on to keep from catching the floor on fire. The stainless steel chimney gave them fits, there were tons of 8 inch but he needed 6 inch diameter. Finally Joe hollowed out from a back corner, here it is. Enough of those sections went in to raise it 15 feet in the air. You need a 90 degree elbow to take it straight up when you get through the wall. Half an hour later it was found. Joe said now if I remember correctly there is some kind of special pipe that comes out of the stove before it is hooked into this double wall stainless. They finally sat down and read the directions in the box. Ah ha Joe said a thimble to take it through the wall to keep the pipe from catching the walls on fire. Now we need to find some of that fireproof cement to cover the 3 holes you are going to drill in this special pipe and seal the connection permanently. I have no idea how to connect the chimney to the side of the trailer. Let’s read some more. Clark thought his dad was attacking this logically whereas he was stampeding headlong into a mess without analyzing things like a normal educated or common sense person would. They finally found some wall connectors and some extensions that would allow him to keep an 18 inch outside distance from the outside trailer wall. They left after picking up a few more neat things; one was a couple of cases of miniature fire logs to start a fire. These were worth there weight in gold on a cold morning when you would want a fire started quickly.
Since it was late when they got back they left everything in the truck, ate supper and did their chores. They got another fair day but the temperature dropped down into the mid 30F range. They disassembled the manual well pump and studied and scratched their heads, shined a light down and sat around and talked for a bit before doing anything mechanically different to the working system. We will never know if we don’t try, Effie said I sure would like ta be able ta turn a Fawcett on and have water. They hooked up half inch pipe to the 110 pump, lowered it all down to where it hit bottom and raised it a foot. They held their breath when they plugged it in; a steady stream of water with a pretty good pressure behind it streamed into the sink. My goodness was all Effie said. They spent the rest of that day and part of the next plumbing it all in. A shut off valve to Clark’s trailer had been installed and no water had yet been sent to the trailer. Joe told him he was going to have to make sure the hot water tank, the hot water valve to his washer and the rest of the hot water valves in the trailer were turned off. But before any water was sent to his trailer, he would have to be living there in the winter time to make sure the pipes did not freeze and burst.
They had 32F weather the next day and started installing the stove into the trailer. They liked to never got the 500 pound thing in the door. They had to disassemble the thing partially to slide it up the steps. They had run electric to the trailer, but nothing was turned on except for whatever power tools they were going to use that day. They had taken all the screw in florescent 100 watt bulbs from the hardware and squirreled them away. There would only be incandescent lights used in the chicken coop in the winter and three 100 watt bulbs in glass wire mesh cages in the barn close to the cow to generate a teeny amount of heat on those sub zero frigid nights. They would make a note to put florescent bulbs in during the summer in the coop and the cow barn. They did some fancy metal cutting with the reciprocating saw to get through the trailer wall. It took them all day to get the stove installed. Since there was such a small amount of cold particulate matter coming from this premium stove, the solar panels would not be affected. Effies stove belched out the smoke and particulates. But the cottage solar panels were out of the wind stream from her stove.
It snowed 2 days later and Christmas was fast coming. The next meeting was a few weeks away and Clark was getting anxious. He had made note on top of note with messages to give her on how to surreptitiously meet.
That ain’t at all how the girl meets boy meeting went down.
just another story #2 Part 35
At breakfast one morning, Joe told Clark you should build another storage room, we have some block and I know where to get some more, he grinned when he said that. Clark asked what do you have in mind. Clark didn’t hear him the first time clearly. He did the 2nd time, and blurted out no absolutely not, it would take months to build something that big. Joe said we haven’t got anything but time and chores. What Joe had proposed was a 24 by 48 foot concrete building with a 4 inch thick concrete floor. Joe said we have the equipment and the wherewithal to do it even if it takes a few summers. Clark said no way am I going to manually mix that much cement up. Joe countered with there is a diesel motored mixer at the plant. But who is going to lift that thousand bags of cement into the mixer. Joe said a forklift. We can leave it on the pallet and cut it open over the hopper and push it in. Well Effie what do you think about it. She said a mouse proof storage area built inside that big building would be a life saver. Clark thought a concrete room within a concrete building. Well Pearl, Clark asked what do you think. She said it will give us something to do in our dead time. That settled it. Clark said, OK lets draw up some plans and talk it out before we do anything.
Clark had shot 2 more turkeys and 8 or 10 more squirrels which had been cleaned and frozen. Effie told them ham for Christmas with baked potatoes, asparagus, hot rolls and some corn, may also make some pudding for dessert. Clark started salivating like the dog in Pavlov’s experiment.
Christmas came and the food was again beyond superb. The plans for the building were rehashed many times and this time they had thought out in minute detail how they were going to do this big project. Of course they couldn’t do anything with a foot of snow on the ground. Clark asked Effie if she wanted a deer for some deer steaks or roasts. She gave him that you are an idiot look again. She then said what would you really want to eat in the dead of winter, a juicy cow steak or a dried up piece of deer meat. He again shut up. She said next month when we get through eating a few things we have in the freezer, you can shoot some pheasants and some grouse.
The meeting was the next day.
just another story #2 Part 36
Joe asked Clark if he was ready to go, Clark came back with I don’t think I’ll go. Clark heard that double negative again, yeah right his dad said. Effie had 5 pounds of sliced bacon and a small ham in a sack. They got there as the other people showed up. He looked around and immediately saw that golden hair glistening in the sunlight. Effie as usual had to start the talking, this time 3 more families had showed up to see these 3 new additions to Effies household. A lot more conversation went on about long range planning and what had happened to the residents of the cities. Clark got involved in one of these conversations and was asked what happened to the armed Arabs. He didn’t want to flat out lie so he was careful in his response. He just said Allah must have called them because I can’t find a living soul in those cities. The conversation then went on to gardening and Effie joined in. Clark eased back and bumped into the yellow haired girl. They talked for a bit and she said the people I am living with are my kin on my dad’s side of the family. He and mom were supposed to come get me when all this started. I don’t want to talk ill of the people that have been housing me, but it is definitely time for me to move on. I just cannot live in that much hullabaloo any longer. Clark never one to miss an opportunity, said why don’t you come stay with us for a bit and see if you like it. I do not think you can make it in the empty cities by yourself. There is hardly any food and no power to do anything. They talked for 10 more minutes and she told him, I don’t have much could you come get me tomorrow. Clark asked her if she could get it on both snow machines. She said yes. Clark floated home, he felt like he was about 6 inches above the machine he was riding. All he saw were little golden beams of sunlight bouncing from the snow.
Then reality hit him when he walked in the cottage. Another softly spoken dirty word slipped from his lips. There is no place for her to sleep here unless I get the trailer stocked up. It was noon and they were eating and talking about the mess Clark had gotten himself into and they were all laughing except Clark. Come on people help me out. Dad if I remember correctly it was your idea to get me a trailer in case I found a woman. They all quit and he said I know son, we have a small plan and we are going to implement it right now. They went to town to get some new sheets, blankets, pillows, silverware, plates, cast iron cookware to cook on top of the wood burner. They had turned the power on to the trailer before they left. Pearl stocked the fridge with eggs, milk, meats and put some of Effies canned goods in a cabinet. The bread and anything requiring baking would have to be done in the cottage until Clark built a porch and installed an outdoor cook stove. Effie baked 2 loaves of bread and would have Clark take them to the trailer this evening when he got back from town. A 1 gallon tub of lard was put in the fridge along with about a quart of strained bacon grease. They got back about 5 pm and Pearl helped Clark and Joe make the beds. Effie took the cast iron goods they had brought back and began to season them in the oven. Clark had earlier stocked some shelf stable items like soaps for the washer, bathing and dishes. He brought back towels, wash cloths, some disposable razors, feminine pads and what not things for women. The trailer was as minimally ready as it was ever going to get for occupancy. Clark had fired the wood stove up and was going to spend the night. He sure was taking a chance on all this preparation. He shut that thought out and went to sleep.
just another story #2 Part 36A
Clark woke up and was chilly; I have never been chilly before. Oh! I am in the trailer and I can see now this place is not as warm as the cottage and then again maybe not, he opened the bedroom door that had been left open only about an inch and the main part of the living room was still warm; going to have to leave that door open more if I want to stay warm. He was surprised when he opened the stove door to still see live coals. This is a better stove then Effie has. He put some water on top of the stove to warm up for tea or coffee. He looked around and didn’t find any. OK, a trip to the cottage is in order for some thing hot to drink. He and Effie talked and sipped hot tea. Effie said to him, I ain’t gotta talk ta dat girl, but sumtimes, ya just know when a person is good. Clark pondered that for a bit and asked her if she wanted some breakfast. Yep, came the reply. He cooked her 2 over easy eggs in bacon grease and made some toast on the little wire grill she had to place over the open top port of the stove. He fixed himself 5 scrambled and 2 pieces of buttered toast. He saved the used grease after straining it into a cup she kept on the stove. The 2 dishes and cups were washed nd put away, a quick wipe with the clean grease rag and the cast iron skillet was hung over top the stove. She said yore mama and daddy can fix dere own breakfast. I goin ta take a little nap.
At 9am Clark and Joe went to get the yellow haired girl. He had to laugh he never asked her, her name. His dad chided him unmercifully on that one.
She was walking up the snow covered road when they met her. She had 1 box and 1 suitcase. Not much Clark thought, until he remembered she was just visiting. Very little talking went on, on the way back. He showed her, her bedroom and asked her if there was anything special she wanted to do today. He figured she would talk about the religious people when she got around to it. She opened the fridge poured herself some milk and said OMG you have real milk. Yes Clark said for another couple of months until the cow dries up. Is that bacon I see there and a ham and cow steaks? She just said thank you lord for rescuing me from the rabbit eaters. They talked till noon and Joe came and knocked on the door and said come over to Effies, Pearl and her fixed up a nice lunch. And what a lunch it was, A beef stew with chunks of beef and at least 3 quart jars of different vegetables Effie had canned. The girl, her name was Annie, yes, Annie, ate like a normal human but Clark had the feeling that if no one were around she would have used both hands shoveling it down her throat. The reason he thought like that is because it was often what he wanted to do. Annie said I can’t remember when or if I have ever eaten anything so scrumptious. She actually used that word. Effie beamed with that toothless grin. Pearl said you can thank Effie for that delicious lunch time meal. The talk revolved around food and what she had eaten at her kin folks during the past several months.
just another story #2 Part 37
Clark asked Effie how she was holding out on tea and then he asked his dad about coffee. Both said very little left, maybe a couple weeks before its all gone. Annie said why don’t you go to McDonalds and take there supply. You could hear Clark, his dad, and Pearl’s brain working. All 3 tried to say it at the same time, thank you Annie, because none of the grocery stores had any. They had planned to go through houses to find some. Since Clark didn’t have any in the trailer and it was just past 1 pm. Clark and Annie got on one machine and Joe and Effie took the other. They went to the 1st town and went through the McDonalds there and found enough tea and coffee to last them a year or more. Joe told Clark as soon as the snow goes away; we are going to have to get it. Clark wrote it in his book. Annie said she wanted one of the coffee pots and was shot down, Joe said not enough room on machines to carry it back. Oh, she murmured. Clark said we will get one when we can drive the truck here. She was relieved. Clark asked her why she wanted a coffee machine; she told him I used to work at Mickey D’s and got hooked on the freshly brewed stuff. As a matter of fact I haven’t had a cup of coffee since about the 1st of July last year. Clark grinned and told her I bet I can make a better cup then comes out of that machine. She grinned and said I’ll believe it when I taste it. He said I hope you like milk in it because it will need a little. She looked thoughtful at that remark. They took a small bag of ketchup, mustard, black pepper, and hot pepper samplers. Clark squeezed a large roll of Reynolds wrap foil onto his machine. Joe said that’s it folks, I am cold and we need to get home.
Instead of Clark and Anne cooking anything that evening, they ate the stew for supper. Annie followed Clark down to the barn and watched while he milked the cow. She said will you teach me to do that. Clark said yes. This is normally my mom’s job and I am 100% sure she would like some help on this job. While he was milking the cow he told her if they didn’t get the cow serviced this spring when she dries up, there would be no more milk. She playfully asked and how you going to get her serviced. Clark turned red and said; well you know find a bull. She kept on and said, I see. Clark kept on milking with his head down. Annie just giggled.
Clark said, well here it is and he handed her a cup of hobo coffee made on the wood burner in the trailer. She said more milk puuleasse . She sat there after drinking a cup of it and said if you had strained the grounds out of it, it would have been great. He smiled and said next time we’ll do just that. He opened the lap top up and laid 20 or 30 movies out for her to choose from. OMG, you have movies. I am not leaving this place, never, never, never. Clark said I was hoping it would be for something other then a movie. She said we will see. He at least got his hopes up.
He got up long before Annie did and placed the tin foil on the top of the wood burner to keep the grease off and to keep from scratching the stove up. He had told her about leaving the door open and she again teased him, not gonna jump in bed with me and take advantage of me, are you. He turned red again and said no, but you will freeze that pretty rear end of yours off if you do shut the door all the way. Things settled down, he told her what time he got up and the chores he had to do. She said if you need help wake me, if not, I get up at 615am every morning unless an atom bomb goes off near the house. At 6am he fried some bacon and sat it on the side of the stove to keep warm. He waited till she came out of the bathroom and said smells good in here, he handed her a cup of strained coffee and she said now this is good stuff. He handed her a plate with 3 scrambled eggs and some bread that he just lay on the stove an let it brown a littlee and slathered some butter he had set out to soften up near the fire. She ate like she hadn’t eaten in a week or so. You do know that I have not had an egg in 6 months or bacon. This is amazing what you all have here. I ate rabbit cooked every which way it could be cooked. I never did like rabbit but if its rabbit or starving. You know what you will do. He said eat rabbit.
They visited with Effie for a while before returning to the trailer. Today, if you help me a little bit, I will install the batteries for the trailer solar panels and in a day or 2 or 3 we will have a micro wave. Holy cow, she said. They had a little teeny solar panel and a boat battery and all it would run is a small 15 watt florescent bulb in that dark log cabin. I should be thankful though the place was warm and he has at least 10 years of wood cut for the stove. I don’t think they have any more gasoline for the chain saws. But 10 years is a lot of time for things to either get better or worse. He asked her how she was set up for clothes and shoes. She said what you see is what you get big boy. He laughed and told her I know where a department store is that has just oodles of clothes for you. She said the jacket I wear belongs to Ellie and I told her I would get it back to her. OK, Clark said it takes a lot of gas to run the snow machines to the city, but I think this trip will be OK. Make you a list and after we eat lunch we will go clothes hunting. She said that is wonderful. Joe said to Clark, we really don’t want to make a trip today. Why don’t you and Annie take both machines so you will have a lot of room to bring some things back?
It took him 3 minutes to show her how to ride the machine. He also told her we do not go fast or act like teenagers on them because this is all we have and we ride them very carefully and always stay on the snow, so as not to wear the tracks out. She said – Got it.
She was a no nonsense girl when it came to gathering up rugged clothes that would last a while and some good winter, summer boots, walking and running tennis shoes. She spotted some house shoes and took 2 comfortable looking pair. Took her about 45 minutes to get her clothes. She went in the make up department and filled a small bag. She said how are you set for toe nail clips. He said mine are just about worn out get me a couple sets. She went to the sock department and looked at him, he said I got a few pair when I picked my boots up, plus I still have my good ones from Uncle Sam. She looked at some lamps and asked for his pen, he had anticipated this and gave her a small spiral book and a pen and a pencil with a small pocket knife. She looked at the knife, he said for sharpening the pencil. She giggled and said OK, Robinson Crusoe, what do we look at next. He said there is not much we can pick up till the roads clear. But we can look around town and the drug store has only had the narcotics stolen from it. They went to the drug store. She went to the pharmacy and came out with a large quart or half gallon sized plastic jug. He looked at her; she said I’ll tell you later. It hit him, birth control pills. The dirty little part of Clark’s mind was jumping for joy. They wandered in and out of businesses for about an hour. She had made a copious amount of notes. He was dying to know what she had written down.
just another story #2 Part 38
They parked the 2 machines in the shed, refilled the gas tanks, turned the gas tank switch off and let the engine run the carburetor dry. She asked him can I wash clothes yet, he had to look at the gage and it showed an 80% charge on the 8 batteries. He said let me check with what dad is running in the cottage. He unplugged both freezers on the porch and opened the doors since it was 3 degree F. He told her we have plenty of power to wash clothes and if we had something to microwave, we could do that too. She washed all the colored clothes together with no soap. He had hung the clothesline up straight down the dining room across from the fireplace. She had used a gentle short cycle and in 15 minutes they were hanging clothes up with a big bag of wooden clothes pins. The white things were done the same way and she giggled at him and said – no touch my undies, he again turned red. They talked for a while and it was bed time. He asked her what she wanted for breakfast, eggs and bacon or bacon and eggs. She laughed at him and said I want 4 eggs over medium tomorrow morning, 4 pieces of bacon and 3 buttered toast. He said you are going to get fat and she said nope, I am going o work tomorrow and burn all those calories off. He just said OK, see ya in tha morning.
Annie asked Effie when she thought the cow would quit producing milk. Effie said I hope no earlier than April. I have a plan for us to save 60 or so gallons of milk. Annie said ugh, you are not going to make milk powder. Effie said nope, we are going ta town and get a large freezer and some gallon jugs and freeze da milk. That means we will be down ta using 1 gallon or so a week. Unless we find another cow with 2 month old calves. Cows have same birth period as human. Ya really need 2 cows ta be in milk all year long. Da cow give milk for 300 days an then it dry off for 2 month and get serviced again. 9 month later plus 2 months to feed the calves with da milk and da cycle keeps on goin till cow wore out. It never stops unless ya can’t find a bull. Ya really gotta have 2 cows with one dropping calves about 240 days before da other cow run dry plus da time ya gottta wait. Did I make myself clear. Clark got it and went back over it in plain English for everyone else. So Joe said we need to find a bull and another cow and get the times for different birthing dates in synch. Dats it Effie said. Clark said I hope we don’t have to get 2 freezers. Da cow is now givin about 4 or 5 an a half gallons a day, when it is in full production it give about 9 gallons a day, so mommy cow is on down hill end of producing milk.
Clark and Annie went to town again on both machines and did a complete search for freezers in the stores and gallon milk jugs. They found both. The problem now was they needed a little more power and they had to run the big generator every now and then to get the batteries back in synch. They never let them go below 70%, And when the sun did shine they had enough solar panels to charge them back to the 99% level. They brought some coffee and tea back just as insurance and Annie got Effie a nice flannel night gown and some new house shoes. No one else had thought of this and proud Effie never mentioned anything she personally wanted. But Annie had talked with her many tmes and found out some things she never told any one else. There were many bottles of Motrin for Effies aches and pains and some Murine (it does not freeze) with the lubricants in it. Effie beamed all the time now. Clark found a whole case of geriatric vitamins in the kitchen cabinet for Effie.
Effie told Clark one morning when they were alone that if Annie left, she was going to use her polk stalk and shoot him and then she was packin up and leavin with Annie. Clark pondered on getting shot with a 12 guage shotgun. The thought was not a nice one. He thought he was getting along fine and making some sort of romantic progress with Annie. He asked her about their possibilities of having a romance. She said soon. I am thinking other things right now, but don’t you dare quit being sweet on me. I will explain it all in a while just hang in there. Got lots of things on my mind. She asked him the next day to take her back to the log cabin. Clark’s heart dropped almost to the floor. She said I want to take Ellie’s jacket back to her and some gloves I picked up for the kids. I also want to take a gallon of milk to them and a pound of bacon to make that nasty rabbit taste better when they fry it. Clark said OK. Clark didn’t go in the cabin, and she wasn’t there but 4 or 5 minutes. Ellie hugged her on the porch. Clark noticed Annie’s eyes were misted over. She said I didn’t ask you all for what I gave them, but since I picked up the spices in McDonalds, I thought they were mine. I gave them 20 packages of mustard, 20 packages of hot spices, 20 packages of ketchup and about 200 of those little pepper packets and sugar packets. They have salt. Clark said that’s great, I wish we could share more. When we can get the truck to town we can bring back lots of things except food. There isn’t any. You must remember Annie they never mentioned on the CB that they needed anything. I thought most of them were survivalists and preppers living out here on the mountain. She said that’s OK I feel a lot better now knowing that the rabbit will taste better. She laughed then and said rabbit really is nasty and every time I ate it, I wanted to puke, but the need to survive was greater then puking it up. He hugged her a little and got a hug back.
They became a couple that night after returning from the log cabin.
just another story #2 Part 39
Early March, the snow was gone but it was a brisk windy day. The 2 pickups made the 1st trip to town to bring back lots of stuff. They had prioritized their trips during the long cold snowy months of January and February. The gasoline cans were refilled, the coffee and tea retrieved from the 1st McDonalds. The trailer diesel truck was brought back to get it out of the way on the farm. The ton and a half tilt flat bed was parked at the cement plant to be reloaded again. The Vespa scooters were brought out and the countryside scoured for live beef. Joe found a bull. The bull had been on a farm with haystacks everywhere and Joe saw a covered shed with one door gone that the bull must have stayed in during the cold time. Some of the hay stacks were only half size when he looked the place over, so the bull was a smart one and had survived. He made a circuit of the rather large ranch and found 3 cows with small calves. How could this be? He kept on searching and found another covered over shed on a section with haystacks that the cows were on; Lucky cows. The bull had broken the fence down and got to the cows. This solved the milk problem, and the service problem for years to come. They would just bring momma cow here about 2 months after she dried up and nature would take its course. He continued to look the farm over and some of the haystacks had been covered. Enough hay to feed 2 cows and a bull for many years. He would look in the barn for other feed later. Effie was ecstatic.
All of the materials to build a concrete shed were finally assembled at the location. Construction would not start for several weeks.
Another meeting was held and the religious fanatics were shouted down and some real bartering began. Items that the people on the other places did not have were talked about. Clark asked why no one else had gone to town and scavenged. They had no gas and their vehicles would not run. Clark told them if they were really ready to become a community, he would bring a diesel bus out here and show them where to get fuel for it and they could all plan and make trips to the empty cities.
Effie got her seeds.
The concrete shed was finished during the 2nd summer.
An Army Hummer with some National Guard and remaining Federal Military troops came through town that 2nd summer and the information on what had happened to the occupants finally came out. The Commander of the military base that had been attacked with one of the 60 millimeter mortar shells releasing the cocktail of virus had sent a squad of infected Soldiers and Airmen out to warn the communities to move to a protected base that had also been attacked and was not known by anyone till the damage had been done. The fleeing citizens died from some type of infection on their way to what they thought were safe havens.
The population of the US was down to about 25 million.
The Nuclear submarines were still on patrol on both coasts of the US and were short of rations. The West Coast submariners had made contact with some farmers near Port Hueneme Navy Base in CA and were going to be restocked with some vegetables and fresh corn. They were told to come back in 60 days and some Corn flour and deer meat, fresh and dried would be available. Fresh fish was caught by the submariners which supplemented their diet. The East coast Submariners were not as lucky as their brethren on the West Coast and had to send out hunting/scavenging parties and eventually a third of its crew to farm some land for fresh food for the submarine. The submarine commanders had SEAL teams on board and were planning on sending them to the military bases that housed the Nuclear weapons to secure or destroy them and determine the status of the in ground nuclear missiles. Neither the President nor any ranked US elected officials could be contacted. The Submarine Commanders were on their own.
The major cities in the US had imploded; surviving gang members and gang warfare over turf and food had reduced the populations to just about zero.
Some forms of agricultural communities began to appear all across the US.
There were no cattle alive west of Missouri and some smart people had figured out what the terrorists had done and just decided to let the virus die off before bringing cattle westward again.
Small militias in and around Maine had intercepted the remaining terrorists and executed them by hanging; One brilliant or evil minded militia member paraded a pig in front of them before their execution and told each one of them that he was going to place part of this pig in their mouth after they were hung and that would stop their ascent to the 72 virgin program and they would all rot in a pig sty haven for eternity.
Effie was as healthy as a young horse on her 92nd birthday and still giving out instructions to the Clark family, which would soon increase by one. Clark eventually found out Effie had no plan for removing the composted cow manure from that 25 foot deep hole that they were dumping the waste from the cow in. But they did dig a ramp down to the hole using the back hoe and used the compost every fall.
AND the reason Clark’s mom was called Pearl was she had eaten a whole string of pearls when she was 4 years old out of a bowl on the kitchen table that Effie was going to restring after the string they were on had broken. They took her to the doctor and the doctor just said let nature take its course.
Small amounts of oil would eventually begin to flow to the remaining refineries in the US and life of the greatly US reduced population would regain some normalcy in the future.
Just another story #2 - Ending. Thanks for reading…