I was wondering if there are fishing spots anywhere close, and about any streams of whatever size in the area? Water is critical here, with about 20" to 24"/year, I got from Google. We get twice that where I live in Indiana, so I'm kinda lost about what is commonly done with agriculture in this area.
I've heard that they grow sorghum for grain in parts of Texas, but I don't know where. It seems to me like the gardening would have to be done early in the year to get the most out of the Spring rains?
Any knowledge of the area would be most appreciated--kinds of retail stores, and that sort of thing, too.
In this part of Texas the main crops are winter wheat, corn and maize. Also a few soybeans. A lot of cattle and horses(mostly pets but cow horse bred). Normally there is ample rain although we have been in a drought for the past few years. Little irrigation is used. In the summer , temps in July and August in the upper 90's to over 100 degrees. Winters are fairly mild average lows in the mid to low thirtys, dipping into the teens with the arctic fronts that blow in. Humidity make A/C almost a requirement from May to Late September.
Everyone went into the big kitchen where the pressure cookers were still softly hissing and jiggling away. Irene said, "Hi Stephen, what brings you here?" Sam said, "We have a resident Vet now, so let's make him at home. Is there something hot to eat?" "Oh there's plenty to eat, if you like beef. We still have a lot of meat thawing out, so get busy and eat some so we don't have to can so much. Jane fried some steaks, and we have some vegetables thawing out. They'll be ready in a few minutes."
Sitting down at the table, David asked Jim, "How'd you get holes in your tailgate?" Jim gave a hard look as he began. "It's getting nuts out there. Hank decided he needed another trip in his truck, so we went to town in mine. We got some stove pipe at the hardware store and drove on to the Wal Mart, but before we got there, some kid thought he was gonna steal my truck at the intersection. He pointed a pistol at me and I floored it through the intersection. Meg got a couple shots off at him, but he still shot up the tailgate. Don't think she hit him, more's the pity. Anyway, we didn't stop at the Wal Mart. There was a fight goin' on in the parking lot as we drove past, but we didn't get a close look at it."
Meg's face looked like a whole different person than David was used to seeing. "I'm taking a shotgun if we go anywhere from now on."
Attempting to get Meg's mind off that, Jim said, "We did stop at the auto parts place and got belts, hoses, filters and such for my truck. I got a couple spare batteries, and a battery powered tire pump, and I found a 12 volt water pump, like they use in RV's there, too."
Sam interrupted to take the load off Jim, seeing that Meg was still pretty hot. "Meg, you remember Steve Lodge, don't you?" "Yeah! How are you Steve?" "Been better. I hate to impose on you folks, but being by myself, it won't be long before folks make it out to my place from town, being that close. I'd already seen a couple guys walking that I didn't know, and they were carrying guns." Irene told him, "You just park yourself here and don't worry about that place. We'll get you something to eat, and worry about the rest later." Jane told Steve, "I thought I was imposing here, but Irene straightened that out soon enough. We've been canning meat and vegetables from the freezer since we got here. She'll have you busy so quick you'll think you've lived here all your life!" Sam smiled and said, "Now wait a minute! I found him, and he's mine!" Irene put on an indignant look. "Sam, you let the poor guy alone and let him finish supper! He hasn't even got settled in yet, and here you're trying to put him to work. Shame on you!" Steve grinned a little at his friends and dug into the food.
David asked Sam, "Do you want to unload the truck tonight?" Sam said, "No. I'll just back in into the big barn and close the door for now. Steve, you might want to unhook that chute trailer and put your truck in the garage where we can lock it up. Does anything in there need to be kept cold?" Steve shook his head, "No, I gave up on the refrigerated stuff right away. All that was in there was some Combiotic, and I have some dry penicillin, so we'll just use the liquid stuff until it goes bad. It can all sit there for tonight. But we need to get that trailer out of sight, because everyone in the county knows it on sight, and if they think I'm here, some body will come looking for drugs." Several faces darkened at that remark. Jim said, "Why don't you back it in the back side of the big barn, and we'll deal with it later. There's no stock in there now."
Steve nodded agreement as he chewed. Irene asked, "Did you bring some clothes with you? We'll find a place for 'em in that upstairs bedroom in front. Hope that suits you, since we are about full up now."
Steve smiled and said that would be fine.
As people finished eating, they went their different ways to attend to things, then drifted back onto the side porch to sit, while Irene and Jane tened the wood stove in the back yard. Jim looked at Sam and asked, "Think we ought to keep a lookout for a while? Things aren't looking so good now."
Last Edit: Jan 5, 2012 18:18:52 GMT -6 by patience
Bella had quietly sidled up to Jim and sat down by his leg. Sam smiled and said, "Looks like we have a volunteer for guard duty. Yeah, it wouldn't hurt to have somebody watch for lights on the road, and listen for anything unusual. But everybody's been going pretty hard for a couple days, and when things get quiet at night any of us could fall asleep on our feet."
Jane was close by, watching the slow boiling kettles on the wood stove. "I can keep an eye on things for a while. I'll be up anyway until this batch gets finished. How about the rest of you get some sleep and Irene and I will keep watch?"
Irene said, "That's right. You men go on to bed, and you too Meg. We need to keep canning meat, so Jane and I can take shifts doing that tonight. Meg, you can cook breakfast, and take over then. "
"Okay Mom, but you'll have to catch me up on what you're doing. What did you plan on for breakfast?"
"How about steak and eggs? That 'll save canning the meat, and you can cook enough steaks to eat on the rest of the day."
"Okay. Anybody see after the chickens today?" "Yes, Jane is getting acquainted with 'em, and gathered eggs before you all got home. They are in that basket by the sink. They'll keep without being in the fridge, but they won't taste as fresh, and get kinda runny when you break 'em in the skillet. Oughta be good for a couple months, though, without spoiling, but use the ones in the bowl first, since they are older."
"Got it. Are you going to bed tonight Mom?" "I will later on, after we get another canner started. Meg, you check those jars in the living room to see that they are all still sealed before we take 'em to the cellar, okay?" "Yeah, Mom. If any didn't seal, we can run them through again, maybe with a new lid."
Sam, David, Jim and Steve got the trucks put in the barns and made their way to the house and a night's sleep. It had been a long day. On the way through the kitchen, Sam told his wife, "You keep a gun handy, y'hear? I don't know what to expect now. I'll remind the men to all sleep with something close by, and I think we all should at least wear a sidearm now."
Irene wiped some sweat with one hand and slid the other behind her apron, coming out with her .38 revolver. "Wouldn't be without it now. Don't you worry. Get some sleep. I'll be along after a bit for a nap. Jane is going to work till midnight or so, then get me up to keep the canning going."
Jane took 7 quart jars out of a canner kettle and turned them upside down to seal and cool on the picnic table, then reloaded the kettle with empty jars to heat in the water before filling them. She went to the hand well pump and worked the handle until she had 3 gallons of cool water in the bucket for drinking, then took a ladle full to pour on a washcloth and wiped the sweat away. That stove was HOT! She took the wheelbarrow to the corn crib where she got another load of corncobs to burn in the stove. There was still a massive pile of them, where they had shelled last years' crop. She was learning just how often to stuff more cobs in the firebox, to keep the heat just right.
On the back of the stove where it was a bit cooler, she set a small pan of lids in water to heat and soften the seals before she filled the next batch of jars. This is work, she thought, and hot work at that, but it isn't hard, and there was great satisfaction in seeing the growing collection of canned meat that would feed them later on.
About this time the town water tower ran the last of its' supply out someone's faucet. The night was quiet.
I'll give it another day or so. How are all those fine townspeople going to behave when there is no water from the taps? Is there another water source besides the towns wells that relied on electrically powered pumps? This is a record breaking drought year....
Last Edit: Jan 19, 2012 21:23:06 GMT -6 by patience
The next morning the men got busy putting things away from the trucks while the women wound up the canning process. The cellar shelves were groaning with the load after many trips up and down stairs to load the jars of meat. Irene had been busy clearing things out of the floor where they had been hurriedly dumped the past few days, stashing them in piles in the rooms of their respective owners.
Steve began to organize his supplies in one end of the big pole building garage, and had his vet trailer parked out of sight behind a grain bin. His heavily laden pickup was in one of the 4 garage bays near his supplies on shelves that Sam had cleared of miscellaneous mechanical stuff. Things were in somewhat less of a mess, but not everyone knew where to find things yet.
"SAM!" Irene called to her husband as she entered the big barn. "Back here", he answered from behind the old farm truck. She walked back to where he and Jim were stacking fertilizer bags. "Can we put the wood cookstove in the garage somewhere? It can't stay in the back yard forever, and we're done with it for now, but there is more canning to be done as garden stuff gets ready." Sam sat down on the stacked fertilizer to rest and said, "Yeah, don't see why not. I'll have to run a stove pipe out through the wall somewhere, then up the side of the building for a chimney. I can do that. Need to get the truck unloaded and then me and the youngsters can move it in there. Let's go see where we can put it." David came out of the house then, having finished carrying jars, and offered help. Irene decided where she wanted the cookstove and David said he and Jim would tend to it. Jim indicated that it would be no big thing to cut a hole for the stovepipe and hunted up the supply he'd bought. Irene's car got shoved outside to make room, since it wouldn't run anyway, it was simply in the way. Jim's truck took over the bay instead, since it would run and might be a target for theft if it was in sight. Thinking about that, Jim began to be more aware of their surroundings. "Amazing how things could change so much, so fast", he said. David agreed, nodding soberly. "Yeah. Last week I was a desk jockey, and now I'm a ranch hand and carry a gun. It all seems pretty unreal, still. And everything is so quiet out here, I feel like the world just came to a screeching halt." They went searching for tools to install the stove.
Sam left it in their capable hands and went back to shuffling fertilizer bags, this time with Steve's help, both with a holster on their hips, it having quickly become a habit now. Sam said, "It's time to check the windmill gearboxes for oil level, and make sure they are pumping okay. I need to saddle a horse and look over the stock anyway. Probably should move them up to the near pasture now, where we can keep an eye on them. That back pasture is pretty short now, as dry as it is. Good thing I sold some cattle last Spring." Steve suggested that the young guys could climb the windmill towers, and Sam agreed, saying, "Good thinking. Let's you and me check the stock after lunch. Maybe the boys will be finished by then." "Can we put the seed in those barrels, Sam? It would keep the mice out of it." "Yeah, I got some extras for that. I buy seed ahead sometimes when the price is right." Saves room since we can stack the barrels if we put some boards on top of the first row."
After lunch, David and Jim set out walking for the windmills with gear oil, rags, and wrenches. Quick instructions got them started so Sam and Steve rode on to check cattle. They rode slow and bunched the cows and had them slowly heading them toward the front pasture when David yelled from atop the windmill. "FIRE!" He pointed west toward town, where those on horseback could see just the tip of a column of smoke. Steve was closer and asked, "What do you see?" "Can't tell what it is, but there's a lot of smoke way off there somewhere. Could be a house, but it is real black smoke, like oil burning." Jim climbed the tower to have a look. The column of smoke was visible on the ground now, densely black and compact. "Looks like it could be a car burning. Can't see for the rise down the road, but I don't think it is as far away as town." Sam said, "Let's get these cattle in the barn lot." Steve turned his attention to them and moved them a little faster through the gate, closing it behind them, now where they could get water from this windmill's tank. Turning his horse, Sam said, "That's far enough away that I don't think it's Hank's place. Maybe we ought to go see what is going on."
The women had seen it, too. They greed somebody should go look into it, but they wanted some men to stay at home, too. With Sam and Steve already on horseback, they each grabbed a .308 rifle and slung it across their backs, then headed out at a canter to see what was up. They kept some Cottonwoods between them and the column of smoke as they made their way toward Hank's place across the front pasture to the top of the rise. The smoke was coming from somewhere farther downthe road past Hank's place, so they went through the gate in their boundary fence and out close to the road.
Hank saw them coming and stepped out into the road carrying a rifle. "What's going on Hank?" "I dunno. I heard some shots down that way, but I didn't want to leave my wife alone to go see about it. You want to go through the pasture, I'll open the gate there", and headed for it. Steve nodded at Sam and they headed out at a trot.
A half mile farther on, they saw a pickup in the ditch, blazing away. The tires were burning and there was a body lying in the road, not moving. Around the house beyond it were 2 men with rifles crawling along a weedy fenceline. The front door of the house was open and a body had fallen out of the doorway onto the porch. Sam motioned to dismount. They left the horses tied to the fence in a low spot.
One of the crawling men stuck his rifle through the fence as Sam and Steve slid under the fence on their side of the road and into the ditch. Steve motioned that he would take the one on the right. Sam nodded and didn't hesitate. He acquired his target as the other man's rifle came to his shoulder to fire at the house. Sam's shot was quickly followed by Steve's, and both targets fell. Steve motioned to stay down. Time went by slowly.
Sam finally yelled at the house. "JAKE!! IT'S SAM!! YOU ALL RIGHT??
"NO HE AIN'T ALL RIGHT! THOSE BASTARDS KILLED HIM!" His wife screamed.
"How many was out here?" "I saw 3 in the truck. Jake got the one in the road." "We got 2 by the fence. You see any more?" "No." " Don't shoot at us. Steve, the Vet is with me, and we're coming in, okay?"
Last Edit: Aug 7, 2012 10:33:01 GMT -6 by patience
I've only been in Texas four times in my life and never in that part. How far are they from the Red? By road and cross country? Do a lot of the stock tanks have windmill pumps in the area? Any working shortwave or CB radios? Might be some sheltered and unaffected.
Some days I feel the world is out to get me just because I'm paranoid.
I've only been through Texas once in my life and that was 50 years ago, and at a high rate of speed, at that. What I learned from the map and other posters, this group is not that far from the Red River and OK border.
How about helping out here? Take this ball and run with it! I think we can assume there are water pumping windmills around (this IS fiction), and the folks might go to the Red to go fishing. That could be a dangerous endeavor, if there are still locals around. Or maybe they all died off for some reason?
The locals are out of water, and we've already had a shooting at the neighbor's place. There is a drought going on. What will happen to their ability to grow food? If they succeed at growing food, how many will be around wanting to take it? Fuel and a running vehicle are coveted items now, and they have some. Horse rustling might come back into vogue, too.
What happened to the government?
How many have been killed already fighting over a drink of water, or drinking bad water?
What do YOU think would happen next?
Last Edit: Jul 29, 2012 20:06:51 GMT -6 by patience
"Please hurry, my water just broke!" "It's not safe here, we'll get you to the hospital!" "It's even less safe in town and I heard the hospital was going to shut down when the water ran out. Besides I can't leave Jake like that." "We'll take care of Jake, gather some things to take to our place. Do you have anything that still runs?" "Oouh!" she moaned and both men looked at their watches. "Yeah, the old camper still runs and so does the old tractor. Jake was going to hook up the trailer to it to haul some hay." "How about we take care of Jake, then Steve drives you up to our place in the camper, and I load your things into the trailer." She went back into the house and Steve said "Who's going into town to get Doc Marble?" "Nobody, you are going to midwife a patient that can talk to you for a change. Now, there's a flowerbed that they were just starting, that probably be the best place for Jake." They dug a hole, not as deep as they would have liked, but as deep as they had time for. Sam took Jake's bandanna and spread it out on the floor next to the body. "Empty the pockets and get anything she might value before we bury him." "What about the other three?" "We'll take their guns and ammo, better that we have it to use than someone use it against us. Better check their IDs too, there are a few families that might start a feud. Other than that just drag their bodies to the side of the road as a warning to anyone else with the same idea." After they placed Jake in the grave, they covered him with the soil he loved and covered the grave with some pavers from the patio. Mary came out with two bags and saw what they had done "Thank you. "Would you feed the horses before you come up?" "If it all right with you, how about if we bring the horses up to our place where they will be safer. Steve, I'll wait here, please ask Jim to come down and help with the horses and things." Sam helped Mary into the cab of the camper and Steve drove them carefully out the drive and turning away from the burning truck and towards Sam's house. First things first, Sam got their horses and brought them to the back of the house. Next the three looters. Two he knew, they spent most of their time at the local bar and probably the third one did too. Only one of them had a local family, but the grandfather was known as a proud and hard man, Sam knew he would have to tell him in person. A few minutes later Jim and Irene showed up in a pickup. Irene held up here hand to stop any objections. "We talked Mary into staying with us for a while with the baby. I'll get more of their things and you two can load the wagon with hay, tact, and other things for the horses." Jake had sold all his cattle early in the drought, just keeping the horses and two milk goats and a boar billy. Most of his pastures were changed into hay fields. Irene put Mary's clothes and personal items into the cab of the pickup and the food into the front half of the bed of the truck while the men loaded the trailer with hay and tack. "Put a couple of bales of hay in the truck to separate the goats from the food. And don't forget the milk bucket and milking stool." After the goats were loaded and secured, Irene drove it back to her home. After showing Jim the basics of driving the tractor Sam said "Take it slow and steady. I'll tie Steve's horse to the back of the trailer and between following the horse and following the hay, there shouldn't be any problem keeping the other horses going along." After they got home Sam said "I have to ride over to the McLeod place." The ride was uneventful, riding along fence lines and along the creek to be less of a target. "Mr McLeod I have some bad news for you, your grandson is dead. We heard shots and saw smoke at Jake's place. When we got there Jake and your grandson were dead and two others were getting ready to fire into the house where Jake's pregnant wife was. We killed them. I don't know who killed who. We buried Jake, but left the other three. I don't know if the other two have family but I knew you would want to take care of your grandson. We secured their guns and personal items to keep them from being stolen, you can get them when you want." "Thank you. That boy brought what happened on his own head, there is no honor lost by the rest of the family. We will ride over there to get the body. Again, thank you."
Last Edit: Jul 30, 2012 9:23:46 GMT -6 by freebirde
Some days I feel the world is out to get me just because I'm paranoid.
Really, though, My wife andI have been sick with one thing and the other since last Spring, and just now getting back on our feet. Got the gardens plowed today for a cover crop this Fall, and got some apples picked. Wife is making applesauce and needs some help, so I better get after that.
Getting old is not such a good deal.
I hope to get back to writing soon, if I can get my aching back straightened out. Going to the Chiropractor in a couple days, but then I need ot lay around for a day or so to KEEP my bones lined up. Fall chores are all over now. Lawn mower spit up a drive belt today, and I didn't feel like crawling around in the gravel driveway to fix it.
Yada, yada, yada. Enough excuses. I'll try to do some more before too long.
Yada, yada, yada. Enough excuses. I'll try to do some more before too long.
You started it.
My lunch breaks and when I (rarely) lie around is when I do the most of my writing. I'm working on a SF story with a spin off of Just Me and a follow up to the SF in a Paw story. Mostly I write to get these stories out of my head.
Some days I feel the world is out to get me just because I'm paranoid.