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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guest Post: Firestorm Chapter 4a , by Christopher Young

Gomer continues rescue
 

Why am I still writing? You know I hate to write. I'm a military guy, not some dead poet with a flair for prose. Lets get with it, and find someone else to write this story. I'll tell you what went on, and you can find someone else to write.

"Hey, you got to see this!" I hollered down. Chris turned off the water, and started up the stairs. In the closet of the back bedroom, I'm shining my flash light into the back of the closet. Chris walked over, and saw a pile of boxes. "Here's all the emergency supplies I left behind with Faith. We got us some more supplies."

A quick conversation followed. Load the supplies now, or on the way back? They decided to load supplies on the way back. Not sure how much stuff Sam had. The stuff is only a couple miles away from my retreat, we could come over with the trailer. On the other hand, the Mussies might burn the apartment. We weren't sure what would be still standing when we got back. That had to be considered.

Chris glanced at the boxes. Camp stove, several cases of MRE, and four packs of a dozen propane bottles per pack. Bottled water, tent, sleeping bags. Good stuff to have. Well, we chatted a second and figure to come back for it later. Heck, I got plenty of stuff at the retreat, and Chris has some in his truck. Been a while since I've been to Chris's place, maybe he's got some gear he hasn't been telling me about. He gets kinda quiet, when I ask him what kind of gear he's got. He hadn't told me about the solar power array he put in a couple years ago, and he's been using solar power for ages. Smart kid. Wish he wasn't a three hundred pounder. He's not gonna fit into any kind of normal military uniform in this lifetime.

So, we go down stairs. I  helped Chris unscrew the caps off the soda bottles, and screw the caps on after they had been filled. I stacked them neatly in the cabinet under the sink. Out of sight.

Time to use the latrine. I hooked thumb in the direction of the upstairs. Chris was a bit clueless, but a few crude remarks, and he figured it out. Damn civilian, got to explain everything. At least I didn't have to take him in the latrine and show him how to potty.  I headed upstairs, and closed the bathroom door. Chris went into the downstairs bathroom. The light didn't work, and there were no windows. No matter, took his mini mag 2AA flash light out and set it on the sink. The Teralux bulb lit up the entire bathroom. Lucky me, the upstairs bathroom had a window, and I had plenty of light. Five or six minutes later, we met back in the kitchen. Fastening belts, and adjusting shirts that needed to be tucked in. Freaking civilian, at least he tucks his shirt in, but his gig line is something to behold. Chris went out to the truck, and got several water bottles, and carried them back in. Filled them each at the sink.

Time to hit the road, again. Glad to find some more supplies. Will be useful.

I locked the door, and got back in the truck. Chris started up, and pulled the truck out the driveway onto the country road. He's going along about 45 MPH. Fast enough to get there, but slow enough that we could see trouble from a long way. We hadn't seen another person in two hours. Wondering where the people were. Who can tell? Might all be in FEMA camps.

We came around a curve, and there's a tree down, on the road. Since when? Not like it's been windy or anything. Chris slows down, and starts to go around the tree. Just about that time, I'm busy scanning for trouble, and I saw a couple trucks, with guys in turbans behind the trucks. "Trap! Trap! I yell, and yank the door handle and bail out. Chris hits the brakes, and throws the shift into park. He's out the other door. He's got some pretty fast moves for a fat civilian, you know?

I'd left the rifle home, figuring we needed the weight and space. I unholstered the accurized and modified Glock from my belt, and hammered back at them. What felt like about ten minutes later, one shot pops off from Chris's side of the truck. The Mussies are firing full auto, looks and sounds like AK. Glad they can't hit for beans. I can hear the ord flying over head. So, the two mussies pause for reload, and I pop in another magazine. I figure 17 shots isn't like 30 for the AK, but I'm returning fire. And about half an hour later, it sounds like one more shot pops off from Chris's side of the truck. The ambush is silent, so I pop off another four or five shots for good measure, and then pause to recon the area. I flank right, and dash off to the tree line.

I pull the compact binoculars out of my field jacket, and have a good look around. Two trucks, and two Mussies. Both of them laying flat, and so I watch for a couple minutes. They don't move, but that doesn't mean much. I swing the field glasses left a bit, and there is Chris along side the road, slowly walking towards the ambush pos. Well, it's his butt if they start shooting again. I'm going to give it a few more seconds. No sense being in a hurry.

Chris gets to the ambush guys, and slings one AK over a shoulder and slings the second one. He pats down the guys on the ground, and so I figure it's time to come take a look. I'm on high alert, nerves all over the place. I get over to the guys on the ground, behind the trucks. They still aren't moving. So, Chris and I take turns covering the guys, while the other fellow looks in the trucks. Both the trucks are Fords, and both fairly new. The one is mostly empty, the other one has some stuff in it. Keys in the switch.

I have a quick look at the stuff, mostly antiques and valuable small stuff. Jewelry and that kind of thing. Chris asks me what I figure we ought to do. Well, sure as anything we don't call the cops. I'm thinking we stash the trucks in the woods, and take what we can find that might help with our operation. Chris says that's a good idea. He cleared the actions of the two AK, and looked in the vehicles for more ammo. Found a couple boxes, and a couple magazines full. Neat stuff, might come in handy. Chris climbs in, and fires up the engine of one of the trucks. He drives it about 100 feet off the road. I take the other one. We put the keys in our pockets, no sense leaving them in the switch.

We got back to the road, and trying to decide what to do with the bodies. Chris points out, look where they both got hit. Yeah, right between the eyes, and exit hole in back of the head. So? He says look at the exit holes, and see what's distinctive. I don't see much. well, he says that due to the size and shape of the exit hole, that indicates expanding ammo. OK, so?

Well, so. Chris unholsters the four inch revolver he'd been carrying. Extracted two spent shells, and put in two more from some loose shells in his pocket. Asked me what I'd been shooting. Well, 147 grain FMJ like most military guys. He smiles, and starts dragging one of the bodies into the woods. I get the other one. Sucker is heavy, for sure. I had a moment to think. You mean to tell me that ancient wheel gun put down two mussies, with two shots? And I'd hammered about 45 shots of 147 FMJ from my Glock. He's never going to let me live this down. I've been busting his chops for years about being under powered with that wheel gun. And sure enough, he's telling me the expansion power of hollow points with the four inch barrel. I dunno, maybe them hollow points do some good? But how do you figure I've been hammering away, and he only fires two shots?

So, we're back in the Blazer. Sucks to be a passenger in a Chevrolet. Plenty of time to talk, and only bad things going on in the world. Over the hours, we discussed the world in general. We memories of growing up. I'm interested to hear Chris's early interest in survivalism. Chris had stored food and water in his bedroom from an early age. Even though it got him in trouble a couple times. After getting lost in the woods once, Chris figured out there was one person he could really count on when things got bad, and that was himself. Chris always wondered how he would handle a real emergency. Life had been pretty tame, to date. Well, this is as real as it gets, and he felt good about the choices he'd made. He was both taking care of himself, and taking care of others.

I had much the same experience, though growing up in the country I stock piled guns and ammo from an early age, figured I could use my hunting skills to keep myself fed. The relationship with Faith had been heaven on Earth in the beginning, but it was hard to tell what went wrong. Just different personalities. It was driving me crazy, Faith living day to day. She was always spending money on stupid stuff like DVD. When I was trying to stock for the future.

Sam had come into the picture, met on an email list. Sam and Chris met in person a couple times, and forged a friendship based on similar interests. They could both see the world getting rapidly worse. And knew how important emergency preps were. And are. I haven't met Sam, but Chris says he's a pretty good guy. 

At the intersection route 5 and 81, there was a National Guard truck. And they got waved on, just like the last time. Chris took the ramp to 81 south, and sped up to 65. Figured if there was anything wrong, they would see road flares, or some kind of sign. Chris turned on the FM radio in the dash, and scanned the wave band. Two preacher radio stations. Switch to AM, and scan the radio band. One of the stations out of Syracuse was still on the air, but at low power. The two men listened to the radio news, which as nearly no information at all. Just continued requests to stay calm, and to call 911 if you saw any trouble.

Into the city of Binghamton, it was frightening. The entire city was a pile of ashes. They had to swerve around a couple vehicles, burnt out. But they were able to make it to route 17 turn off. Chris took the ramp slowly, it was hard to see what was ahead. And then the ramp opened up to I-17, the Southern tier Expressway.

"Oh, hey, you think we ought to stop and get gas?" Chris asked. "Sure, and lets see if we can find a McDonalds and get some dinner." I replied. Ah, the dark humor of crisis. Keeps sanity some how. Chris pulled into a gas station, and drove around back. The bathrooms were locked, so we took turns going out back of the dumpster. The dumpster smelled like rotted garbage in the heat. When they returned to the truck, the dumpster smelled like rotten garbage with a hint of ammonia.

And it surely was dinner time. The clock said 6 PM. Without slowing down, Chris reached into the back seat, and pulled out a package of oatmeal cookies. Might be the last for a while. No more Walmart to go buy more. Cool stuff, I love oatmeal.

So, we are going down the road eating oatmeal cookies and drinking out of canteens. Sam was trying to decide if he should be eating anything. He'd been out of water for a couple hours, and was starting to get thirsty. Sam was also lost in thought. Thinking of the series of decisions which landed him along a creek with a broken leg. Growing up in Ohio, his heros had been long haul drivers. When he was about five, a kindly trucker had given him a ride around the block in his semi. He never told his parents about this, figured they would worry that he would fall out of the rig and get hurt. This was long before the days when anyone worried about missing children, the worst that could have happened was that he'd fall down from the truck. Still, Sam knew that he'd be in trouble if his parents ever found out. But, it started a life long love of over the road trucks. The company in his home town had a freight run that went through New York, and so he was on the run when the FEMA ordered everyone into the truck internment.  

At Sam's home, Brenda had finished dinner, and was back out on the  breezeway playing games with her grand daughter. Of all the people in the world, Brenda had it  best. Plenty of food, plenty of loving grand kids, and not much cares. She'd be fine as long as the medication held out.

Medication was more and more of a growing issue for Bill. Bill had been on assortment of medications over the last few years. Including some pain medications for his bad back. He'd fallen on the cement floor at work about twenty years ago, and had been taking pain meds since then. But, in the last few days he was really getting worried. He was down to his last few pills, and those were the ones that kept him alive.

And David was totally out of his anti depressant pills. He had been meaning to get the refill, but hadn't quite got around to it. The daily routine of the guard post was  exhausting to him. David had noticed that he felt a lot better when he was watching adventure movies on television, and on DVD. Which is why there were so many adventure DVD at the house. Car chases, and war movies did him some good. His job at the factory left him almost in a suicidal state some days. There was just no adventure, and so life wasn't worth living. He had gone to the doctor, and told the doctor. The doctor had prescribed some strong anti depressants. But, the real cure was real action. Unfortunately, there was no action. Just sawing wood to burn to heat food, and walking to the guard post each day. David was even more depressed when he saw his boxes of movies. David never expected trouble. But since Bill was prepared for everything else, why didn't he at least have a generator? David resolved to try to find on tomorrow.

How To Turn A Hand-Crank Flashlight Into a Cell Phone Charger

Learn How-To in Less Than a Minute!





I found a really cool video that I wanted to share with you guys. If you have a spare hand-crank flashlight you can turn it into a cellphone charger.



Use a Covered Tray to Germinate Seed

germinate-seeds-in-coverred-seedling-tray


It’s that time of year to start the process of seed germination for zones that will allow planting in late March or early April. Time to plan your strategy for what you will plant and where you will plant them, and then to start the process to germinate the seeds indoors.

How to germinate seeds indoors

An effective method to germinate seeds into healthy seedlings indoors is to use a special tray, just for this purpose. There are a variety of seedling trays available, and a good choice is one that has an outside shell, the seedling tray itself, and a see-through cover.

Soil

Begin with good soil that is specifically recommended to germinate seed. It is a good idea to pasteurize the soil before using it, to ensure a healthier environment for fragile seedlings, and to increase the likelihood of successful seed germination if you are using your own soil.

Seed Tray

A tray system that is designed to wick water from the outside shell up into the seedling tray (with a cover) is ideal to keep the moisture inside through the germination process.
Plant your seeds according to instructions (which are usually very similar, say, bury only about one-quarter inch deep). Using a pencil is my preferred tool to press the seeds down a tiny bit into the soil after dropping them onto the surface.
Add water to the outside shell tray, about half an inch, much of which will get wicked up into the soil trays. There will be no need to add anymore because the cover will condensate and keep the moisture inside.
Don’t forget to write down what seeds went into what parts of the tray! I just sketch it out on a piece of paper while using an orientation method, like a paper clip in the top right tray cup.

Germinate Seeds in a Good Environment

Then, simply keep the tray in a warm place and on a flat surface. For most seed varieties to germinate, the soil needs to be ‘warm’, that is, room temperature or slightly warmer. Some seeds germinate fine in cool weather while others do not. Generally speaking, just keep the tray in an area of your environment that is the warmest (but not in direct sunlight, else it get too hot).
You can purchase specially made seed tray warmers to keep the environment warm enough to germinate.
Once the seeds germinate, move near a window with sunlight. When the seedlings get tall enough to reach the top of the cover, you can prop it up a bit higher (use your imagination with how-to), and-or it’s okay to remove the cover until mature enough to plant outside. Just keep an eye on the moisture level in the tray because it can dry out quickly in the sun.

Home Gardening for the Soul

Learn the skill of home gardening. Not only will it be a rewarding experience, but the talent of knowing how to successfully grow foods will bring you a step closer to self-sufficiency while being less reliant upon ‘the system’.
It takes time to learn how to be successful at gardening. Some plants are easier than others, but they each have their own special-care requirements. It can be fun to learn them, and it is certainly rewarding (and tasty!) to eat your own home-grown food. Not only is this much healthier for you, but it will definitely save you money too!


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