Dear Diary, It’s Me, Jessica: Part 6

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Dear Diary,

It’s me, Jessica.

The day after we went to the market, we started putting the windmill together.  Mr. Miller was trying to ‘conserve’ the fuel, but it would take us nearly all day long to cut a three-foot wide log into four, three-foot high bases for the windmill’s four legs using a manual two-person log saw.  Mr. Miller got out a large chainsaw and did the whole job in less than a half hour.  He then fired up the tractor to lift the logs and put them in the place where Dad said to.  

Diary, it sounded strange and yet comforting to hear the tractor run.  Something from the distant past, yet familiar.

Dad measured the distances of the four bases six times, each time making a minor adjustment using a heavy, six-foot-long breaker bar.  

Mr. Miller then used a smaller chainsaw to cut ‘rough’ notches into the base logs, where the windmill’s legs would slide into, and then be bolted down using heavy metal straps as some of the things Mr. Miller traded for.  Dad used a mallet and wood chisel to finish out the notches using a scrap piece of wood of the same size as the windmill’s legs.  

While Dad was working on the notches, the rest of us laid out the legs and nailed cross members to them.

Dad had finished the second notch when we stopped for lunch.  

Mrs. Miller laid out lunch at the kitchen table: grilled cowboy ham steaks, potatoes, a slice of buttered bread and a glass of milk.  Diary, it was fantastic.  Even the grilled pork fat was good.

While I ate, I listened to Mr. Miller and Dad talk.  

Mr. Miller said normally, it was about this time of year when he and the other farmers would place bulk orders of fuel for that season.  Since the power went out, Mr. Miller conserved as much fuel as he could.  He did not harvest as many crops last fall as he usually does.  Just enough for their personal use and some to trade.  Enough to get the livestock through the winter and the next season’s planting seed and let the rest to the ‘wildlife.’   

With no outside ‘markets’ to sell to, he cut back milking the cows to once a day, culled part of the herd saved on hay and fuel.  He still had about two-thirds of the fuel left in the tanks.  With an ‘additive’ to keep the fuel from going bad, he could get what he had left for at least another season, maybe two.  After that, things would get ‘interesting.’ 

They had the horses and Mr. Miller knows oxen can be used as beasts of burden.  He figured he had broken and trained horses, but an ox?  He shrugged his shoulders and said when the cows calved out this year, he would take a few bulls, castrate them into steers, and raise them by hand to make them more ‘docile.’  Then he would try to train them.  One thing he had a problem with was things like a yoke, the tack to fit the oxen, and mainge a plow.  Dad sat back and stared at the ceiling for a moment.  He then looked at Mr. Miller and said he would look into that and not to worry.  Mr. Miller smiled and thanked Dad.

Mr. Miller then talked about how he and other farmers in the area were discussing setting up a breeding program—a breeding program for not just dairy cows and cattle but everything from hogs to sheep to goats to rabbits, even working dogs, and who could train them.  

Diary, it was then when the importance of long-term thinking hit me.

I helped Mrs. Miller clear the table while she sent Olive and Daisy to fetch two buckets of water each to wash dishes.  Mrs. Miller washed, I dried.  We were doing ‘small’ talk when she suddenly said that I had become an impressive young lady.  

Diary, I blushed and said something off-hand like, “I don’t know about that!”

Mrs. Miller stopped washing, plate in hand, and said with a smile,

“Oh, I do.  And so do a lot of other people.  You are a lot stronger and more confident than when you first came here.”

We had just finished the first set of legs when the dogs began to bark.  Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked down the road when we heard the sound of horse hooves.  Everyone ran to where their rifles were, I was the first to mine being the closest.  I shouldered my rifle and was about to bring it to bear as the riders came up the drive when Mr. Miller shouted,

“Easy there, Rambo! It’s okay! That is my sister Janet, her husband Justin, and their kids, David and Charlotte!”

I lowered the rifle muzzle toward the ground, but kept it in the pocket of my shoulder, just like Jack taught me.

“Easy there is right, Miss Rambo,” Janet said to me with a broad smile as she rode past.

Justin touched his leather-gloved hand to the brim of cowboy hat and greeted me simply,

“Good afternoon, Miss Rambo.”

David and Charlotte were young, maybe twelve or thirteen, both wearing cowboy hats like their parents, rode past saying nothing.  They had two very large horses tethered to their horses, behind each of them.  They looked like those big horses in the beer commercials during the ‘big’ game.  All the horses were loaded down with saddle bags, packs and other things.  

Janet dismounted from her horse and ran to Mr. Miller, giving him a big hug.  Mr. Miller held her tight and then broke the hug and said, 

“We have been so worried about you, Justin, and the kids.”

“It is a long story, but we are here.  Finally.”

Mr. Miller told Billy, Daisy, Olive, and me to take the horses into the barn, remove their tack and baggage, rub them down, feed and water them, and then return to the house and sit down at the kitchen table to hear their story.

Diary, who is ‘Rambo?’

Entry two:

Here’s what they told us.

Justin and Janet lived on a small forty-acre ranch backing up to a state park outside a large town.  The furthest edge of the sub-burbs was about twenty miles as the crow ‘flies,’ but with the hills, the twisting two lane county road, mostly up hill, added another ten miles.  At a higher elevation, they would get snow while the town would get rain.  They were pretty isolated with the closest neighbors about a half mile in one direction, to mile down the road in the other.

They always kept small livestock, and gardens.  They had the horses which the kids competed in hunter-jumper.  Hunting was part of their tradition.  

They did not have any problems after the power went out.  Until about five days after the polar vortex.  

Justin guided one of the big Percherons out of the barn and into the corral when the big horse got the smell of something he did not like and began to pull back.  Then in the woodline, the sound of something moving through the brush.  Justin turned the horse around, and led it back into a stall in the barn.  He secured the barn door and walked quickly to the house.  He heard more movement in the woods.  Whoever it was, did not care about making that much noise or did not know how to move in the woods quietly.  There were more than a few of them, too.

Justin walked quickly back to the house, called Janet and the kids to hallway closet where the gun safe was hidden in the back.  As he handed out their rifles and extra magazines, he calmly explained there were people in the woodline on the one side of the house.  If they had bad intentions, it would happen quickly.  He instructed them they were to aim, shoot, and move on to the next target.  Not to hesitate.  Use the range markers in the yard and the ones he had painted on the trees at the edge of the woodline for accuracy.  If they looked like they wore military uniforms or wore body armor, aim for their belt line.  Pull the furniture back from the windows and use them as rests.  He told Janet he would be outside, behind the wood pile, to keep them from getting behind them and away from the barn.  Janet and the kids opened the front of the house windows and set themselves up on the furniture with their rifles like Justin told them.

Kneeling behind the wood pile, Justin could now see shadowy movements in the treeline.  Then someone let out something he guessed was supposed to be a battle cry but sounded more like an old truck with a loose belt.  Several others in the woodline responded weakly.  

Then they charged.  

There were dozens of them.  Some with rifles, shooting as they ran, others with handguns, and a few with shovels, pick axes, and baseball bats.  Justin, Janet, and the kids returned fire, dropping the attackers, but they still kept coming on.  Justin began to feel a sense of panic at the possibility of being overwhelmed and began shooting faster.  A few of them, mostly those with gardening or sporting goods for weapons, seeing their comrades falling in numbers, turned and ran back for the woodline.  Then, three of them with ‘Molotov’ cocktails came running toward the house.  Justin got one when he felt the bolt lock back on an empty magazine.  Either Janet or the kids got the second.   Justin had just finished slapping a fresh magazine into his rifle when he looked up to see the third man launch his cocktails into the air.  Everything seemed to stop as everyone watched it’s trajectory.  It landed squarely on the garage roof with the sound of shattering glass.  The roof was on fire.

Their attackers began cheering.  The Molotov man, arms raised in the air, gave a victory yell.  

Justin shot him in the throat.  

Thinking the battle was over and over, the remaining attackers turned back toward the woodline to wait for the fire out.  Justin, Janet, and the kids continued to shoot them, dropping another half dozen.  

Diary, a few months ago, I don’t know how I would have felt about that. Now, after having to save Daddy, I think I would have done the same thing, knowing that if I didn’t, they would come back.

Justin ran back into the house told Janet he was going to use home field advantage to attack them, they would not be expecting it.  Save what they could and get it into the barn.  He gave her a quick kiss and was out the back door.

Janet called the kids to her.  She explained the house was on fire and they only had minutes.  

She told David to grab all the canned and dried goods he could out of the pantry and put them in the backyard – no condiments. Then, the firearms and ammo, and the camping gear in the basement.  

Charlotte was to go to each bed room and toss all their clothing out the windows—whole drawers—and then all the winter jackets, rain gear, and riding gear.  

Janet took up the same position Justin did behind the wood pile to watch for any attackers.  She stole a glance upwards to see thick, black, oily smoke rising into the air.  There was not much of a breeze to feed the fire, but it still was spreading across the garage and into the trusses.

All at once it seemed to take forever for the kids to get the stuff out and yet too fast as the fire to spread to the main house.  

Charlotte announced she was ‘done.’  Janet looked over to see piles of dresser drawers and clothing piled up outside of the bedroom windows.  Janet said, good, and pulled the clothing away from the house.

A few moments later David said he got as much as he could of the camping gear, but smoke was now in the main house.  

They stopped what they were doing when they heard a gunshot in the distance.  Then another one.  A long pause, then another.  There was no return fire.  Janet made a decision and told the kids to start gathering everything and take it to the barn.  She would help but looked over her shoulder to the woods and hoped Justin was okay.

When Justin returned nearly an hour later, the entire house was on fire.  The panic he briefly felt was gone when he saw the one barn door open.  When he walked in, Janet and the kids ran over to hug him.  He reassured them he was fine.  When asked what happened he just said he caught up to some of them and left it at that.  

Janet and the kids were organizing and taking inventory of what they had saved from the fire.  While they finished, Justin took a reusable grocery bag to see what he could take off the dead on their lawn.  

As he gathered up handguns and rifles, he noted most of those with handguns only had the magazine in the gun. No other additional magazines.  Those with rifles only had two or three extra magazines.  

One of the men with body armor Justin shot, was on his side.  Justin aimed for the man’s belt line, had to lead a bit as the man was running, when the shot took him on the inside of his leg where the thigh met the groin.  The exit wound was an explosive mess nearly blowing the entire leg off.  Justin was using premium hunting ammunition for white-tailed deer.  The man must have bled out in minutes.  After taking the rifle and the two magazines off the dead man, he noticed the smell over the smoke.  It was the smell of something rotting.  It was too soon and still too cool for decomposition to have set in that fast.  Using a stick to not touch the body, he opened the mouth.  The stench was worse.  The man’s teeth were rotting.  A few were missing.  Justin check half a dozen other bodies.  They were the same.  Their clothing also hung off them very loosely.  A few had leather belts with new holes made from a nail or something of the like to keep their pants from falling off.  

If it were not for the earrings he would not of known the body was of a girl, perhaps a young woman, it was hard to tell.  He used the stick to remove her dirty, pink knit winter hat with the pom-pom.  Patches of her hair were missing.  He dropped the stick and walked at a fast pace for the barn.

When he entered, Janet asked if he was okay.  He gave a smile and set the bag of handguns and magazines down and dumped the rifles on the floor.  They had finished organizing and an inventory of the supplies.  Justin looked around at the amount of canned and dry goods.  David said he was sorry. He grabbed peanut butter.  He did not think it was a ‘condiment.’  Justin could not help but laugh and said it was okay.

All the weapons and ammunition were there.

Justin was looking over the camping gear when he spied the GPS.  It was only a few years old, but looked toy like compared to the newest ones on the market before the power went out.  It used either rechargeable batteries or double As.  He picked it up and pressed the power button.  Despite not been used in over a year, it powered up.  There was no signal, but it still had all the maps loaded.  Justin pressed a few buttons when a plan began to ‘formulate’ in his mind.

Dad politely interrupted Justin, announcing we had to go as it was getting late and we needed to get home for dinner.

Diary, I did not realize it, but I was on the edge of my seat!  I wanted to hear more, the heck with dinner!

About 1stMarineJarHead

1stMarineJarHead is not only a former Marine, but also a former EMT-B, Wilderness EMT (courtesy of NOLS), and volunteer firefighter.

He currently resides in the great white (i.e. snowy) Northeast with his wife and dogs. He raises chickens, rabbits, goats, occasionally hogs, cows and sometimes ducks. He grows various veggies and has a weird fondness for rutabagas. He enjoys reading, writing, cooking from scratch, making charcuterie, target shooting, and is currently expanding his woodworking skills.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • Ist–You’re getting better and better! I look forward to my Saturday morning read more and more…keep up the great work.

    • Giving you something entertaining to read on a Saturday morning with a hot cup of beverage of your choice is what Daisy and I are aiming for!
      Thank you!

  • Reads like its author has seen actual combat.
    Many people’s disaster “plans” intend to use their guns to steal from those who prepared. Most of those will end up like the pests in this story. They might win a few early fights but their neighbors will HAVE to kill them eventually in order to survive.

    • This entry had a few points I was trying to make.
      1) Defense of the homestead from a group
      2) Having to bug out of one’s home in light of an event like a fire
      3) Lack of nutrient dense food or food at all, leads to poor health i.e. missing teeth, scurvy, weakness
      I hope you are enjoying it.

    • Great job. I can’t wait for the next installment. Throwing the clothes out the window was brilliant. You are teaching in your story. Thanks. Keep up the good work!

  • I don’t freakin’ believe you guys 🙂 This is really good quality stuff. Really surprised. Way to go.

  • And that’s exactly the way it will go, half starved survivors, or ‘Grillos’ (Locusts as we call them here). A gripping read.

  • I’m saving these on my laptop, along with Daisy’s Widow in the Woods.
    Eventually I’ll print them so I can read them when the power goes away.
    Keep up the good work.

  • I was taken aback by the suddenness of the attack on the homestead, and the terrible physical condition of the attackers. Saints preserve us from such a fate!

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