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The Long Winter

Re: The Long Winter

Postby fastback65 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:33 am

Chapter 39


Marty, Ron, and Al, made short work of unloading the trailer and getting the furniture moved into the house. After assembling the beds, the ladies took over and began replacing curtains and giving the house a good spring cleaning. Marty told Martha, that he and Ron had a few errands to run and would be back in the afternoon. “If you need us, we will have the radio on,” said Marty as they left.

“Ron, we need to get some sort of security for our place as well as Al and Barbara's. I am thinking some night vision cameras that can be run wireless and operated from solar panels and batteries. We have been too lucky for too long,” said Marty.

“I've been thinking the same thing,” replied Ron. “I think wired camera will be OK for us to use at the house, but the wireless cameras will be a better choice for locations away from the main house. We should also look for cameras that will transmit audio.”

“There was a security supplies store over in Meridian, I think we should start there. If by chance they are open, I have six rolls of quarters and a bag full of paper dollars, if they are dumb enough to take them, I will sure let 'em,” laughed Marty.

The once busting city of Meridian was a virtual ghost town. There had not seen a single person or even one running automobile. “Keep a sharp eye out, Ron,”cautioned Marty, being as we are the only thing moving, we are going to draw a lot of attention.”

Marty located the shop they were looking for and noticed the plate glass door was broken out. “Better lock and load, Ron, it is evident someone has been here,” Marty said.

They parked on the sidewalk and both men exited out of the truck from the door closest to the entrance, being careful not to expose themselves to the street side any more than was necessary. Entering the building, Marty switched on his head lamp, finding this allowed him to keep both hands free, he and Ron both had switched from flashlights to head lamps. The front of the store had been ransacked, but as they entered the back room, they found a lot of merchandise that had not been unpacked. They began going through all of it and found almost everything they needed.

“Let's get this loaded and then I want to go by the motorcycle shop,” said Ron.

“If you want a motorcycle, we need to come back with a trailer, said Marty. “I wasn't planning on bulky items.”

“I want to get some motorcycle batteries,” said Ron, “the smaller batteries will be easier to conceal and will provide plenty of power for the cameras. We also need to see if we can find some smaller solar cells or even those solar sidewalk lights, we can always remove the lights and parallel the panels to keep the batteries charged.”

“When did you get so much smarter than me, Ron, I always thought I was the smarter brother,” joked Marty.

After rounding up all they needed to complete the camera installation, Marty and Ron started back to the farm. Marty noticed a glint in the rear view mirror and knew someone had a rifle scope trained on them. “Ron, don't look back, but we are being watched through a scope, I just saw the sun reflecting of the lens in the rear view mirror. Do you want to check it out, or should we just keep going?”

“Turn left at the next corner and let me jump out, then see if you can get behind them,” said Ron.

“They are on the second floor of the four story brown building just off the corner of 1st and Main.” Be careful and keep your radio handy,” said Marty.

Ron slipped out of the truck and entering the first multi story building he could find, he climbed to the top floor and searched for an opening to the roof. Finding a comfortable perch, he began scanning the second floor of the building Marty had pointed out. It didn't take but a minute and Ron saw the barrel of a rifle protruding from a raised window. The barrel was following Marty's truck as Marty wove around in a seemingly random pattern as if he were searching for a specific store.

Marty heard his radio break squelch twice, the prearranged signal the Ron was in position and had located his target. Marty drove directly to the building that he had spotted the glint in and stopped the truck. He climbed out, empty handed, and stepped into the middle of the street in plain view of the 2nd story window. He saw the barrel withdraw and them reemerge, only this time, it was pointing down directly at him.

“Hello in the building,” Marty called out, “we don't want any trouble. Care to come out and talk a minute?”

“I can hear you just fine,” came the reply. “State your business.”

“We are here trying to find a few things to help us out on the farm, if you want to come down and talk face to face, I will be glad to answer your questions, but, I am not going to stand out here and yell at someone I can't see, that has the bad manners to be pointing a rifle at me.”

It was a few tense minutes later when a reply came back, “OK, I am coming out, but no funny business, my wife and kids know how to shoot and they will be covering you.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: The Long Winter

Postby fastback65 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:25 am

Chapter 40


Time seemed to slow to a stop as Marty waited, he couldn't see the rifle barrel in the window so he took the opportunity to move closer to the window in order to take himself out of line for a direct shot. At this angle, the shooter would have to almost shoot straight down. He knew this would give Ron the best chance at stopping a shot.

A gaunt man in his mid to late twenties slowly walked through the door. Marty saw a pistol stuck in the man's waistband, but at least it wasn't pointed at Marty. “Names Marty,” Marty said said extending his hand. “We were here looking for some security cameras for our farm. Didn't mean to intrude on your territory.”

“Ain't mine,” said the younger man, “We are just passing through. I saw your truck and ordered the wife and kids into the closest building and we started going up to get a better view. I apologize about pointing a gun at you, but with a family you can't get to careful. By the way, my name is Rodney, Rodney Jones.”

“Rodney, glad to know you, how are you and your family making out,” asked Marty?

“I guess we are doing fine, if you don't count starving to death, and sore feet form walking,” he grinned.

“Rodney, I don't know which way you're headed, but My brother Ron and I have a farm not too far East of here. If you would like, you and your family can ride back with us, and after a meal, we will talk about what you are going to do. This is no place for a family. I can't promise anything more than a good meal and a safe place for y'all to spend the night.”

“Mister, you don't even know us, why would you stick your neck out like this?'

“I like to think I am a good judge of character, if had wanted to kill me, I wold already be dead. If you are a hard worker, and don't mind farming, there may be more opportunities than you could imagine,” said Marty. “I am going to drive back and pick up my brother, and then we will come back and see what you have decided. If you want to go with us, please have everything ready to go, I really don't want to be here when it gets dark.”

Marty walked back to his truck and turned towards Rodney before he got in, “Son, I know you don't know us and I understand you are trying to do the best you can for your family, I give you my word, you will be safe and your family will be safe.”

With that Marty climbed into the truck and started on the short trip to pick up Ron. When he pulled up in front of the building Ron was in, Ron was standing in the shadows of the doorway waiting. Marty stopped and let Ron in and said, “well, I may be screwing up, but there is a young man and his family and they are about starved down. I invited them to come with us and get a decent meal and a good night's sleep. I don't know if they will accept, but I felt like it was the Christian thing to do.'

“You know I would have done the same thing, maybe I can vet them a little on the way to the farm, if they decide to come with us,” said Ron.

“Might want to get on the radio and let Martha and June know we are on the way and we may be bring some strays. Might want to tell her to prepare a little extra, as these folks are probably pretty hungry,” offered Marty.

When Marty pulled up to the building, Rodney and his wife and two kids were standing outside. Marty had a pretty new looking backpack on and his wife had an over the shoulder bag. She looked to be in her mid twenties and was absolutely gorgeous, despite being about twenty pounds underweight. The two kids were about the age of the two at the farm, Marty reckoned, the Little boy had what appeared to be a Boy Scout pack on and the little girl had a bright pink Hello Kitty bag. Marty's first thought was what kind of dumb ass let's his kid carry a bright pink bag, when that are trying to hide.

“Y'all get in and let's get on the road,” said Marty, “ suppers waiting on us.”

The young lady introduced herself as Janet, and the kids were Sophie age 4 and Billy age 7.

“We got a couple just about your size at the farm,” said Marty. “Maybe you all can be friends. There are lots of toys to play with and even a computer, no Internet though.”

“Y'all have electricity,” asked Janet?

“Yep and running water and indoor plumbing,” bragged Ron.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: The Long Winter

Postby fastback65 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:28 am

Chapter 41



“Do you mind if I ask you a question, Mr. Marty,” asked Rodney? “Just how did you know where we were hiding, I wasn't going to let you know where we were, I was just watching you through the scope to see if you meant us any harm.”

“Rodney, when you were using the scope to follow us, I saw the sunlight glare off the lens of your scope in my rear view mirror. Most snipers have a kill flash or a sun shade on their scopes to prevent that. Once I saw which building you were in, it only took a minute to find your rifle barrel in the window. It was the only open window in the building. Ron had you in his sights the whole time we were talking. If you had tried anything, I would have had company on my trip to heaven or where ever.”

“How is it you have electricity when no one else does. There is no fuel for a generator,” asked Janet, enthralled with the idea of running water.

“Mostly solar panels, with a little wind backup and a generator as a last resort. Being on a farm, we had a little diesel on hand for the tractor and we have managed to scrounge a little here and there. Rodney, we have come to the conclusion, that it will be a long time, if ever, before things get back to normal. We are a small community and we are trying to make sure we are all fed and healthy. We don't have a doctor, but my wife, Martha, knows a good bit about medicinal plants and natural remedies,” Marty continued, “We have plenty of land to farm and we have a lot of power equipment. We have enough fuel to get a crop in and a harvest this fall, but a failure of our oil crops would mean no fuel for next year. We are trying to grow crops to make ethanol and bio diesel, but like I say, we are one failure from disaster. What we need is labor, people that know how or can be trained to farm. We have three ladies living on our little farm and they are overworked trying to keep the greenhouse producing, that leaves Ron, Al, our neighbor, and myself to keep the vegetable garden going. There are several other members of the community that are going to be trying to raise oil crops in exchange for some of the bio diesel if it comes to fruition, but the food is the main focus.”

As they were driving, Ron made a metal note of a business that sold mobile homes, or manufactured housing, as they were known now. That is just what June and I need, thought Ron. He hadn't told Marty and Martha about their plans to set up housekeeping.

Marty pulled into the driveway and Ron, jumped out and opened the gate. “We're here,” said Marty,
“It may not look like much, but it is heaven to us.” Martha was standing on the porch witing to greet the new arrivals, and Bobby and Sissy were waiting to see if there really were some other kids. Kids being kids, they quickly introduced theirselves and disappeared into the house to check out the toy box.
“Welcome to our home,” said Martha, “I am Marty's wife and this is my sister June.”

“It is so good to meet you,” Janet replied, “My name is Janet and this is my husband Rodney. I don't know how to thank you for a meal for my kids and a chance to clean them up.”

“Right this way,” said Martha, “and don't think twice about it, we are glad to be able to do it. If you need to use them we have a washer and dryer, we usually hang the clothes outside, but since it's almost dark, we can use the dryer. If you want to wash up before supper there are two bathrooms, one on each of the hall. You and your daughter ccan use one and Rodney and your son can use the other. There is plenty of hot water if you want to shower.”

Janet almost cried, she just couldn't believe anyone would help them like this with no strings attached.

“It's all right darling,” said Martha, “Everything is going to be OK.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: The Long Winter

Postby fastback65 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:51 pm

Chapter 42



Janet luxuriated in the hot shower as she tried to scrub the weeks of road grime off her. When she was satisfied she was as clean as she was going to get, she put Sophie in the tub and started trying to get her clean. She was shocked and perhaps a little embarrassed as the dirty water ran down the child's neck as she washed her hair. She decided then and there, they were going to put down roots and either survive or die, but they were through with the road. “Maybe we can find something close by here,” she mused.

In the other shower, Rodney was finishing up with Billy, and they were putting on some of the clean new clothes they had scavenged in Meridian. All four finished at about the same time and they headed down the hall to the delicious smells coming from the kitchen.

“It's not fancy,” said Martha, “but it is filling. You children are going to have to sit at the children's table we set and there should be enough room for all of us adults at the big table.”

The four kids sat at the folding card table and waited patiently while Marty said grace and then with the formalities out of the way, Billy and Sissy dove in with reckless abandon. “Mind your manners,” said Janet, “There is plenty to go around.”

“Besides,” said Marty, “if you eat that fast, you will fill up and not have room for desert.”

That did it, the pace slowed down and the children ate with a little more self control. “Mr. Jenkins,” Janet began, “Do you know of a homestead close by we might be able to settle?” “This life on the road is no good.”

Rodney gave her a look, and said,”Don't you think we need to talk about this?”

“We can talk all you want, but I am through with the road. It is hard on the children, and it is hard on us. We will find a place and settle together, or I will settle somewhere with kids, but I am not going back on the road,” Janet said with finality.

“When Mama ain't happy, nobodies happy,” said Marty trying to lighten the mood. “Rodney, I wanted to wait until morning to talk to you about this, but now seems like a better time. We have room for you here, if you want to stay. The farming life isn't for everyone, long hours, low pay, but there are rewards. We grow most of what we need to survive, and we have an abundance of clean water, and good dirt, bout the the only thing we don't have anymore is a doctor, but so far, we have been OK, knock on wood. Fact is, we need help and the kids here have no one their age to play with and have always believed that kids need to interact with other kids. I won't lie to you, we have had very little trouble, but we expect it to get worse as people start roaming further from the cities. One of our strong points, is no one knew where Pineville was before the sickness. We are out of the way. It won't be an easy life, you will have to work for what you eat, but we will all share in the bounty. You would be free to leave anytime you want, but I think once you see what we have to offer for you and especially for your family, you will stay. Think on it tonight and let us know in the morning.”

“I don't need to think on it,” said Janet, “I was raised on a farm and I loved it. By the way, I didn't mention it, but I am a nurse practitioner. I only recently graduated, but I do have the training. Between Martha, June, and myself, we should all stay healthy.”

“Well, if we are all agreeable, let's call it a done deal,” said Marty.

“One thing,” said Ron, “June and I have been talking a lot and we think we want to set up housekeeping on our own. We passed a mobile home dealer on the way from Meridian and I saw what I think would be the perfect sized home for June and me.”

“Well, I guess congratulations are in order,” said Martha, “Although I thought June was through jumping the broom.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: The Long Winter

Postby fastback65 » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:48 am

Chapter 43


Bright and early, Ron, Rodney, Al, and Marty were all on their way to the mobile home dealer. Marty assured Rodney, they had plenty of room for him and his family, if they wanted to place a mobile home there. “If you think the farm life suits you, you are welcome to set up your home on the farm. We will need to see about putting in another septic tank. There are already three wells on the place. We never wanted to take a chance on running out of water,” said Marty.

“You folks sure have been good to us,” Rodney replied, “I don't reckon I will ever be able to repay you.”

“Wait until after planting and harvest and see if you still feel that way,” Marty joked.

“The gate to the dealership was standing wide open, so they they pulled in and got to work searching for just the right trailer. Ron settled on a 14x80 single wide that only had two surprisingly large bedrooms. “Just the two of us,” said Ron, 'and I don't think we will be having any kids.”

Marty and Al laughed out loud. “Mr. Marty, do you think there would be enough room for one of the double wides, with the two kids we really need something larger than a single.”

“Plenty of room,” Marty assure him, “In fact there is one triple wide on the lot, if you like the looks of it. We will need to go and pick up a couple of loads of cement blocks and some plumbing parts and pieces. I think we have enough solar panels to outfit both trailers. We had several pallets of them left after we finished Al's place.”

They prepared the trailers for moving, checked all the tires and got the truck running the dealer used to move the trailers. Ron and Al, went back to the farm and got a flatbed and the toolcat and took off to find the cement blocks. Marty drove his truck and Rodney jumped into the cab of the trailer moving truck and they set out for the farm.

Ron and Al, bound the building supply store untouched so they unloaded the toolcat and started loading pallets of concrete blocks on the flat bed, making sure to distribute the load while leaving room for the toolcat. Soon, Al declared they had enough, so they started back to the farm. On the way they stopped and picked up two, one thousand gallon septic tanks and all the PVC they thought they would need to connect them.

Back at the farm, Rodney and Marty had disconnected the trailer and were going back to get the first of the three parts of Rodney and Janet's new home. It was a long day, but they finally had all of the trailers moved to the farm and two holes dug for the septic tanks. Tomorrow, they would dig the field lines to the leech field and get started leveling Ron and June's trailer and start putting Rodney's together.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: The Long Winter

Postby fastback65 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:06 am

Chapter 44


After a week of work that turned out to be much harder than anyone had expected, both mobile homes were fully functioning and everyone had moved in. For the time being, they all still came to Marty and Martha's for meals, but that would gradually end as they got their places stocked with food. The crops were put in the ground and all the seedlings that had been started in the green houses were planted and new seeds started. It was a time short time of rest between weeding harvest so they took full advantage. With four household to prepare for, the families all found themselves salvaging as much as they could. A new pole barn was built to hold supplies they had found including enough canning supplies to last them a very long time, if they were careful. The alarm system was revised to cover all the homes and tested and changes as needed and the homes were hardened as much as possible. Marty was convince that trouble would find them. It was almost prophetic. A gang of about two dozen had been working their way further and further out form Jackson, and not only were they stealing, but raping and destroying everything in their path had become their calling card. Marty had received some advance warning from an anonymous person on the radio so he ban to get ready.

“Ron, I want you to find a place to put a LP/OP on the road in both directions. How far will the cameras transmit,” asked Marty.

“We can go about a quarter mile, but I can use some of the AV repeaters we have to extend the range as far as we need to. We have plenty of batteries and small panels.”

“Well get on, Take Rodney if you need him, I need to go talk to Al, about moving some dirt. The sooner the better, and Ron, take some fire power with you. Keep alert,” warned Marty.

“Al, we need to build a berm around the houses and if possible, let's take up the culvert in the driveway. I want to put a sheet of steel or a cattle gap down for a drive, but I want to be able to lift it to make the driveway impassable if we need to.” explained Marty.

“I'll get right on it, I suggest we start with the driveway, and then, I will deepen the ditches and use the dirt from the ditches to get started on the berm. If you will take the dump truck and start moving some dirt to the farm, I will get started on the driveway. Do you have a cattle gap or do we need to build on,” asked Al.

I know where I can get one,” Marty replied, “ I will take care of that. I am going to the dirt pit and use the track hoe there, I should be back in a couple of hours with the first load.”

They worked furiously and as soon as Rodney and Ron, finished with the cameras and had verified they were working, they started in on the dirt work. Ron helping Al with placing the dirt and Rodney driving another dump truck helping Marty. When they had the from ditch squared like they wanted it, The cattle gap was lowered into place and a cable was attached to a winch that would allow them to open or close the gap from the house.

“Marty, I have a few enhancements in mind for the ditch out front and the front and back of the houses. I think a couple of claymores back to back in the ditch and around the perimeter of the houses would stack the odds in our favor,” offered Ron.

“I agree,” said Marty, “but the kids have to be warned and everyone need to know their exact placement. We also need to make absolutely certain that none of the houses will be hit in the crossfire.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: The Long Winter

Postby fastback65 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:57 am

Chapter 45



The radio crackled to life with a call from Mr. Johnson. “Looks like you got trouble headed your way,” said an almost out of breath, Mr. Johnson. We had about two dozen try to rob us, but we Looks like their regrouping and heading your way. They can't shoot for crap, but they got plenty of guns. We are going to let them get out of sight and then we are going to fall in behind them. If they stop at your place, we will hit them from the rear while you occupy them from the front. Watch out for us.”

“Understood, Mr. Johnson, we will be ready. You and the boys need to avoid the ditches, and don't get close to the houses. We have a surprise waiting for them,” said Marty. “All hands on deck,” shouted Marty, “That was Johnson on the radio, looks like the gang is on the way here. Everyone take their positions, June, get down to the shelter with the kids and don't come out until we give you the all clear.”

Two dozen strong, body not mind, thugs continued down the road to Marty's place. They had convinced themselves that it was just bad luck the first house they tried was armed. They were sure to do better on the next one. Ron had been busy and he remembered his time in Nam and he knew fear was the real enemy of a soldier. He would be ready. Her slipped out of the back of the house and positioned himself where he could be of the most benefit. The rest of the group took up their rifles and got into prearranged shooting positions. “Remember,” said Marty, “Wait until I give the word and watch for Mr. Johnson and his two boys coming from behind the group.”

The lead thug, positioned himself in the middle of the pack, with the most aggressive out in front and the bullet fodder bringing up the rear. He thought he was protected on both fronts. The first of the group was loud and yelling with the intent of scaring the occupants. Their taunts and racial epithets were falling on deaf ears, however, as Marty and his group were the picture of concentration. The lead thugs crossed the ditches with no trouble, and continued to approach the house. When the first half dozen got within 10 feet of the front of the house, Ron released the valve to the rack of pipes hidden in the bushes that were connected to the propane tanks. The thugs were met with a wall of flame. The two survivors jumped int the ditches where the others were already taking coven and beginning to shoot at the house. The click of the claymore detonator was the loudest sound in the house. The carnage was hard to look at. Fourteen dead thugs in the ditch and three survivors head back up the road they had just came from. Shots rang out from Mr. Johnson and his boys confirming there would be no survivors. The leaders body was found almost directly in front of one of the claymore emplacements. It would take at least two trips to remove his remains. In the house, Martha asked June to keep the kids in the basement until the worst could be cleaned up. There was no point in exposing them to this.

“Well, I guess I need to get the end loader and start loading up the bodies,” said Al, “If some one will start a slit trench, we will have all of them buried in a couple of hours.”

“I'm on it,” said Caleb, as he walked to the barn to get the track hoe out. “Looks like across the road will be the easiest and fastest.”

Ron began searching the bodies and retrieving their guns and ammo. Not surprisingly, he found a lot of cash among them and a couple of bags of jewelry and silver and gold coins. “I sure hope they weren't doing this just for money. Damn fools don't have any food with them,” thought Ron.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: The Long Winter

Postby fastback65 » Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:29 am

Chapter 46



With the grizzly task of cleanup behind them, Marty turned his thoughts to the Winter that seemed to be behind them now. “You know,” he began, “if this coming Winter is like the one just ended, we are going to need more propane, than we have. The tanks is about half full, but now there are more people living on the place and the trailers are heated with propane.”

“Can we find some wood stoves and convert them over,” asked Ron? We can heat and cook with a good wood stove.”

“We are going to start clearing more woods for pasture and crops, so there will be an abundance of firewood,” said Marty, “and I am sure Rodney and Al will want to help.”

“There is a large wood stove in the barn behind the house,” said Al, “Apparently the old couple that lived there converted to propane at some point. I don't see why we can't convert the house back.”

“It is decided then,” said Marty, “We start prowling for more solar panels, batteries, and now wood stoves and wood heaters if we can find them.”

“Don't forget stove pipe,” added Rodney.

Marty asked the ladies if they had anything to add to the list, and told them the plan. “You all be careful,” she warned Marty, “If you see an old treadle sewing machine, I would like to get Janet and Barbara, trained, in the mean time, mine will do double duty, but with all these kids, we need to get busy making some clothes.”

“I'll keep an eye out,” Marty promised.”

The men folk loaded up in Al's old four door pickup and headed to town pulling a sixteen foot trailer. They made it to the town of Raleigh and were surprised to see a couple of stores apparently open for business. Marty approached a man on the street and asked if the stores were indeed open, and the gentleman informed him they were but only for barter, or gold, or silver, no paper money or credit was being accepted.

“I have some silver with me,” said Marty, “Let's see what things cost.”

“I have the coins we took off the thugs,” Ron reminded them all, This is as good a place as any to spend some, if we can get what we need.”

There was a lot of used furniture, obviously scavenged from abandoned homes and a six burner Home Comfort wood stove complete with hot water reservoir and a large box full of stove pipe. “It will never fit in our trailer,” said Ron, “but with the double class doors on Rodney and Janet's trailer, it would be a cinch to get it in the house.”

“I was going to cover those glass doors in the Winter to try and conserve heat, but have them open during the warmer weather. I'm glad I haven't had time to do it now,” said Rodney. “Only problem I see is I don't have any gold or silver, and nothing to trade.”

“You have an equal stake in the coins we took off the gang, everyone of us should get an equal share,” Marty replied. “Let me talk to fellow,” said Al, “I have been a horse trader my whole life.”

Al, found the owner and the two of them disappeared into a back office, Marty and Ron, continued looking through the store until Ron, spotted a box full of cast iron cookware. “If we are going to start eating at our respective homes, we are going to need some cookware and dishes and a lot of other things. Al and Barbara should have plenty of everything form the old couple that lived there before,” Ron said.

“Let's try and get the cast iron too,” said Marty, “Martha could never resist a piece of Griswold.”

Al and and the owner came from the back room and they were both smiling. “Rodney, give the gentleman one of your twenty dollar gold pieces and we can load up your stove and stove pipe,” instructed Al.

“Really,” asked Rodney incredulously?

“Really,” said Al, “oh and you are going to be clearing a lot for him and preparing it for planting in the next week or so.”

Marty made a deal for the cast iron and found it was all Griswold and Wagner. Ron and Rodney found some silverware and dishes and both ended up with a nearly new percolator. “Now if we can find some coffee, we will be in hight cotton,” laughed Ron.

Marty was almost out the door, when he remembered the treadle sewing machine, he turned and went back in and asked the owner. The owner of the store took Marty next door to his home and showed him the machine that had belonged to his wife. “She didn't make it through the sickness,” he said sadly, “but I kept most of her things here at the house. Somehow I couldn't bear the thought of strangers handling her things. You seem like good people and Al told me about the kids, take it and use it in good health, I think there is a box of add ons as well as buttons, needles and a lot of thread. Grab that young man and let's get it loaded before I change my mind.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: The Long Winter

Postby fastback65 » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:32 am

Chapter 47


Martha, and the ladies, were astonished at the condition of the old Singer treadle machine. A quick perusal of the boxes found a buttonhole attachment and dozens of bobbins, there was a hemmer, binder, edger, quilter, ruffler, and some things Martha had never seen. There were bolts of cloth and more buttons than any of them had ever seen in one place. “Sewing lessons begin in the morning ladies,” said Martha.

Rodney asked Janet to come out to the trailer so he could show her the huge cast iron stove. “It is beautiful, Rodney,” exclaimed Janet, “but will it fit in the house?”

“I figure we can put it in through the double glass door opening without any trouble, but, when we get it inside, I am closing the double opening to a single door. Better security and more energy efficient,” said Rodney.

Marty gifted Martha with the cast iron cookware. She lovingly scanned each piece and then she started setting some aside to give to Janet and June. She had duplicates of some of the pans and she thought it would be a good thing to get the other two households started with quality cast iron. Al and Barbara already had a good start left in the house when they moved in.

“Ron, tomorrow we will find another stove and some pipe and get you and June fixed up,” Marty told his brother, sorry we couldn't get it done today. I think tomorrow, we'll head over to Bay Springs and see what we can find. There is an old antique store out on the highway. It is the solar panels that I am worried about finding. I just don't know where to find any around here.”

“Didn't the big home improvement stores sell them,” asked Ron, “It might mean another trip to Meridian, but that is the most likely place to find them.

“Then, let's leave early and go to Meridian first and come back through Bay Springs. We will take enough supplies to spend the night if we have to,” said Marty.

“I don't know about Martha, but June isn't going to like an overnight trip one bit,” warned Ron.

Ron was right. Neither of the ladies were thrilled about them going, so a compromise was reached. They would go to Meridian and look for panels today and the next day, Rodney and Ron would look for a stove for Ron and June's trailer.

Rodney was all smiles as he came out of his trailer and climbed into Marty's truck. The trailer and toolcat had been readied the night before. “You look might chipper this morning,” said Marty.

“Last night was the best night I have had in a while,” said Rodney with a grin, “The misses was sure proud of her new stove.”

Marty laughed and put the truck in gear and they headed for The home improvement store in Meridian. When they got there, Marty noticed the gated had been torn off the hinges. “Better be on the lookout,” Marty warned Rodney, “We may have company here.”

Marty got out and grabbed his rifle and making sure he had everything he would need, he slipped in through an open door and clicked on his night vision inside the darkened building. Rodney stayed where he could watch the truck and make sure it would be there when Marty came out. Marty glassed the aisles as much as he could and when he was satisfied it was safe, e turned off the night vision and turned on his head light. The only thing that stirred was a bird that apparently got in and couldn't find his way out. They found a display for solar panels and were disappointed to find there were only a couple and a controller on display. “What about the storage area”, asked Rodney? “Surely there would be more there.”

They found their way to the back of the store and were rewarded with no less than ten pallets of 200 watt panels, boxes of controllers, and a mountain of connectors and wiring. Rodney went to pull the truck around to the loading dock, while Marty got the loading dock doors opened. It didn't take long to load the trailer with the solar supplies and the angle iron Marty had gathered to make installing the panels a little easier. As they were leaving, Marty said, “surely they wouldn't sell solar panels without batteries, so the search began again. The batteries were dry and they also found enough sulfuric acid to fill them all. The trailer was loaded to over capacity and Marty thought they would be lucky to get home with the heavy load.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: The Long Winter

Postby fastback65 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:53 am

Chapter 48



The next day, Rodney and Ron, took off in search of a wood heater or wood burning stove or both, for Ron and June's trailer. Marty started building the rack for the panels on Rodney's trailer. They had positioned both trailers with the roof facing South. Marty had measured everything and was on the ground welding the rack together when he saw Mr. Johnson coming down the road. “Morning, Mr. Johnson,” welcomed Marty, “good to see you out and about.”

“Morning to you too,” said Johnson, “ I thought I would see if we could do a little trading.”

“What do you have in mind,” asked Marty? “You know you are welcome to anything I've got. Just name it.”

“The boys have been busy cutting firewood and they wanted to see if you would be interested in trading some firewood for that horse to Tony's. They need a good horse to pull the wagon to town so they can sell some of their firewood.”

“I would trade in a minute, but the horse is not mine, you need to go see Barbara and see if she would be willing. I don't see why she wouldn't, they haven't even looked at the horse since shes been here. Here and Al Smith are living in the old Foster place next door. Go on over and talk to them. I am sure you make a deal. If you want to sell a little firewood, I might be wanting to buy some, we just put in a wood stove in Rodney's trailer and Ron is out looking for one for his trailer.”

“Dang,” declared Johnson, “I have a perfectly good stove in my barn. He is welcome to it if they don't find what they are looking for.”

“I'll let him know when he gets back,” said Marty.

Johnson, left and went on over to see Al and Barbara about the horse and Marty got back to welding. Before long, Marty had the rack completed and decided it was a good stopping place. He would get Al to use the track hoe and they could set the rack on the roof, but they would have to wait until Ron and Rodney got back so they would have plenty of help. Meanwhile he started checking the connectors and laying out the wiring. Rodney is going to have to build a small battery house to hold his charge controller, inverter and batteries, thought Marty.

In the house, Martha and June were busy preparing a light lunch, the green house had started producing some salad greens and Martha had made a vinaigrette. There would be some ham sandwiches and a salad for lunch. They were all glad to see the first produce from the greenhouse.

Rodney and Ron pulled in with a load of stovepipe and enough lumber and materials to finish the job of closing in the double glass doors on Rodney's trailer. “Mighty slim pickings, the way we went,” said Ron, “There is enough brick to skirt both trailers and that's about it.”

“Ron, Mr. Johnson was by earlier and he said he had a wood stove that was yours for the taking. Why don't you and Rodney, go on down and pick it up now, and I will let June and Martha know y'all are home.”

It didn't take long to get the trailer turned around and back on the road, and in an hour or so they were back at the farm, Rodney driving the truck pulling the trailer and Ron driving one of the UN Unimogs. “What in blazes are doing in that thing,” asked Marty?

“Johnson said his boys claimed the other two and said this one belonged to us,” explained Ron, “This thing has PTO on both ends and all wheel drive. It isn't armored or anything but it is a hoot to drive.”

Al and Barbara had walked over to help unload the trailer and Al got excited when he saw the Unimog. “Do you boys know what you have there, he asked?”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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