Been raiding.

So, raiding. It’s the new thing. All the cool kids are doing it. Thought I’d give it a go.

Turns out, in the town, the power hasn’t even gone yet. There was even power to the pumps in the gas station on the way in, and nobody in sight. Guess there’s a limited number of cops left to go round, and they’re sticking to the banks and the major food stores. Nobody was guarding the road blocks, but then I didn’t see any other traffic. Maybe they’re guarding road blocks further out towards the freeway, and I’m just in the middle of an exclusion zone. It looks like I’m pretty much on my own here, and I’m hoping that means everybody else got evacuated to some kind of quarantine place and I got left out, rather than, you know, the alternative, which is kind of creepy. I don’t pass many houses on my way into town, but the few I did, I tried not to look in the windows. The nightmares are bad enough without that.

I worked out how to pump the gas – I’m not the first, cause there’s about $25,000 on the dial. Not a cent on the till, so I didn’t bother leaving cash just for the next guy to pick up. I didn’t bother with the rest of the town, cause I’m pretty much OK for food, water, ammo. Realized when I got back I coulda done with some cooking oil, but isn’t that always the way? I’ll stock up next time I go in, and I’ll plant some sunflowers to press my own oil in future.

So I got seed in the ground and food in the stores. To answer Mei’s “recipes for disaster” meme, I’ve been preserving plums, since I got a good crop. Here’s my Mom’s recipe:

1. Put 1kg of fruit, minus the stones (yeah, I only made that mistake once) and about a cup of water in a pan and heat it till it boils.
2. Lower the heat and simmer it for about 30 minutes, or until the fruit’s really soft.
3. Add 1kg sugar and stir it in till it’s dissolved, then bring it all to the boil again.
4. Boil it for about 10 minutes, then scrape off any bits on the top and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
5. Put it in jars that you’ve warmed and sterilized in boiling water and put the lids on while it’s still warm. They should pull the seal down as they cool and pop when you open them up for the first time.

I used the preserve to baste a roast chicken. Real cooking! Mom would be proud. I reckon there’ll be enough preserve to see me through the year. The chicken was from frozen – have to use all that up before the power goes for good. Tomorrow I’m going on a sort of self-interested mercy mission to round up any ownerless poultry or cattle in the area. Fruit and vegetables are what I know, but they’re not what I want to live on forever.

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10 thoughts on “Been raiding.

  1. That’s good to hear. And don’t kill all those chickens, you’ll do better from the eggs in the longterm. Cattle, I can’t help you with! But what are you going to do when you run out of seed? Isn’t your farm a Friendly Frankenstein franchise? I believe all the FFs are F1s.

    • Well, the main crops, yeah, but my folks did a bit of experimenting with traditional varieties in the yard, so I’ve got those seed stores. Not enough to plant fields, but then I’m only growing for one right now. If I save seed from those, I should be able to grow more next year.

  2. How eerie, an empty town. I get that eerie feeling too, as I haven’t been within 100 m of another human for weeks (months?), well except outside houses I guess. But our community forum keeps going, so we know who’s still around and able to do their jobs, and, increasingly, who isn’t. Jack, I’m very impressed with how you’re coping, you’re doing just the right thing to keep going and keep in touch with your friends, do keep it up.

    On a related note, Ash, I have chickens now! At least, I have the care of some chickens. A whole barn full!

    • Hey, awesome! Wish I could mail you some of my plum preserve…
      I don’t see anybody local on the state or county socnets, but then I haven’t exactly advertised my own presence there. When you’re alone on a whole farm, putting your location up on one of those message boards is like pinning a “raid me” sign to your own back.

      • That is the dilemma we all face, isn’t it? To find like-minded survivors and forge alliances we have to make ourselves vulnerable to predatory or desperate people. My feeling is that it’s the duty of those who have the relative security of a solid base to invite wanderers in. Those of us on the move are far too vulnerable to gangs, landowners and the authorities to risk approaching an occupied location.

        • Can’t say I feel too secure with the likes of the triggers roaming the area, either. But then I’m not exactly a legitimate “landowner”.

          • Yeah, I think we got worse security concerns. At least if you’re mobile you can run away. I might have a pretty sweet setup here but that just makes me a bigger target.

      • Not so much a find, more an inheritance. They belong to neighbours who have fallen ill. I don’t really know too much about taking care of them besides putting out feed, which luckily there seems to be enough of to last awhile. It’s nice that they’re so good at voluntarily coming back in to their roosts at night.

        • I always liked that part – I found them a very reassuring presence. I miss them, and not just for the eggs! Make sure they’re safe from foxes, or whatever your local predators are. Animals that usually rely on our leftovers must be getting as desperate as we are.

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