Homestead Dreamer http://www.homesteaddreamer.com Working toward a more self sufficient life and trying to be prepared for the unknown. Thu, 20 Apr 2017 18:11:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.4 67527824 How To Be A Successful Homesteader http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/04/20/how-to-be-a-successful-homesteader/ http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/04/20/how-to-be-a-successful-homesteader/#respond Thu, 20 Apr 2017 18:11:48 +0000 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/?p=4579 Success is defined in a thousand different ways, regardless of what it is you’re trying to be successful with. Homesteading is no different and everyone’s definition of a “successful homesteader” will be different. I asked several people what they thought and though each answer was indeed different, there were some common themes that made me […]

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Success is defined in a thousand different ways, regardless of what it is you’re trying to be successful with. Homesteading is no different and everyone’s definition of a “successful homesteader” will be different. I asked several people what they thought and though each answer was indeed different, there were some common themes that made me think, “More people need to hear this!”

I myself go through phases, feeling like I’m a total failure as a homesteader. We moved to our own land and I don’t even have a garden to speak of anymore, let alone a ton of land (we live on 1/3rd acre) for livestock. “What a joke I am, what a poser” is something I’ve said to myself often over the years. “I don’t have <insert item or skill or possession here> so I’m not a ‘real’ homesteader, even by modern definitions!”

Sound familiar?

Here’s the flip side of things: another view point. It’s something that I have to remind myself of, sometimes often. I am a successful homesteader because I have the following:

Can-Do Attitude: Anyone who has been in the work force knows how important your attitude is. It plays, in my opinion, the largest role to your success. If you go into a project with a bad attitude, of course things are going to go to crap! All you will see is the negative and not the solution staring you in the face.

Adaptation: To be a successful homesteader, you absolutely must have the ability to adapt and overcome. It’s not something we are usually born with so much as a learned perspective. Unless you have a ton of money to buy whatever you could possibly need (I don’t know many rich homesteaders, do you?), you have to adapt and overcome the challenges that come with the lifestyle.

Adapting includes needing an imagination to find creative and sustainable solutions. You don’t want to slap a fix on something over and over again – you want it to be fixed and good to go! Generally speaking, homesteaders don’t go buy new, they look around their own property and community first.

Working With What You Have: Success comes from resources and some of the best resources you can get are already on your property! The leftover scrap wood is not garbage…you can make planter boxes for flowers to pretty and brighten the place up a bit. The perfectly usable gutter that your neighbor is just going to throw out after getting them replaced can be used to plant a vertical strawberry patch. Free supplies and strawberries for years: seems like a win-win to me!

There is the old saying “Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without.” Sometimes, that means getting very creative – particularly the “wear it out” part. We all want stuff to look nice, but when you homestead, it’s function versus form. I would rather have a hideously looking water pump that worked than a shiny pump that failed me 90% of the time.

If you’re caught up on the looks of everything, maaaaybe homesteading isn’t for you.

Being Reasonable and Realistic: We all have talents and limits. Some people can plot out a new field and have it all ready to be used in a couple weeks. Others can make a database from scratch. NO ONE can do it all on their own and that’s especially true when it comes to living a homestead life.

It’s unrealistic to think that your new homestead will have everything all at once. If you expect you’re going to start year one with a huge garden, chickens, goats, bees, and pigs…you better have a serious backup plan because chances are very likely you will fail. That is simply too much! You’re already changing your entire lifestyle, schedule, and redefining what’s important to you. Even if you have some experience with a hobby food garden and a few chickens, the whole game is changed when you go full time.

Sometimes, you really should call a professional instead of going the DIY route. The money saved DIY’ing your plumbing, for example, may end up costing you a lot more than you saved if you did it wrong. Electrical is even worse of a risk! Being frugal isn’t a competition. Leading a simple life doesn’t mean you don’t spend money. Using the money you have wisely is a good balance.

 

Did you notice? All of the things listed above isn’t something you buy. It’s something you learn and live everyday. Homesteading is a lifestyle that takes commitment!

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Featured Contributor: Dana of Mama Zed Homestead http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/04/11/featured-contributor-dana-mama-zed-homestead/ http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/04/11/featured-contributor-dana-mama-zed-homestead/#comments Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:19:18 +0000 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/?p=4568 There are only 3 regular guest contributors here at Homestead Dreamer, by choice. I have high standards (ok, so there’s typos 😉 ) for the information shared with people. It’s important to me that people can rely on what they read here as factual, useful, and without any fear mongering. A considerably amount of research is […]

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There are only 3 regular guest contributors here at Homestead Dreamer, by choice. I have high standards (ok, so there’s typos 😉 ) for the information shared with people. It’s important to me that people can rely on what they read here as factual, useful, and without any fear mongering. A considerably amount of research is put into what’s written on the things I don’t have personal experience with and sources always given.

I want to give special recognition to these three hardworking people and bring to your attention who they are! We conclude the 3 part series with Dana of MamaZedsHomestead.com. She is the newest contributor to Homestead Dreamer and had added to the team immensely! Her “You CAN do it” attitude and message is something that is near to my own heart. An avid DIY’r, Mama Zed brings perspective from just about as far away from Alaska as you can get: Australia! I hope you enjoy getting to know her as I have.

I highly encourage you to check their site and follow them on social media – I do!


Tell us a little about yourself

I LOVE to DIY. If there is a project, something that we need or an item that needs fixing, I will usually try and do it myself. This has led to learning how to make our soap, brewing cider and mead and building our kitchen to name a few projects! My family means the world to me and my motivation in life is to see them living the best life possible. This is what made me the frugal, DIY, earth loving mama that I am today.

What is your dream?

To own our homestead debt free! Right now, we own 2 and 1/4 acres debt free and are currently saving to build our straw bale house on it so we can move in and start our debt free, self-sufficient life!

What got you into homesteading?

I grew up on 5 acres in New Zealand, so I was exposed to homesteading and prepping from a young age. I remember pouring over books like “The New Complete Book of Self Sufficiency” by John Seymour and numerous herbal encyclopedias as a child and plotting my dream homestead.

Were you raised in the lifestyle or did you choose it?

I would say both. While my mother’s dream was to become a homesteader and this was something we were raised with, I do think I chose it. I moved out at 16, have lived in the city, and I still came back to homesteading as being a core aspect of my identity.

What skill was the hardest one to learn that paid off the most?

For some, it may not be considered a “homesteading” skill, but for me, money management is essential to a successful homestead. I am 25 and had accumulated a nice chunk of student and credit card debt over the years. Learning about how to manage money has been a hard road. However, we’re now debt free and in the next few years will own our home without a mortgage – it has definitely been worth it.

What are you really passionate about in your genre?

I am really passionate about sewing and yarn crafts such as knitting, crocheting and spinning.

What goals do you have for this year to progress your overall dream?

This year we hope to save enough to start building our straw bale cottage! Between having two children under two and running a business, it will certainly be a challenge.

What skill do you think all humans should know?

I think all humans should know how to build and maintain shelter for themselves. I know far too many people who struggle when the air conditioner breaks down (though in Australia, this can be a valid struggle!) or when the power goes out. I would be mortified to see these same people trying to cope if it was something they had to deal with on a long term basis. Knowing how to do without or make do with what you have, having back up plans or alternative options is knowledge that I believe everyone should have.

What message would you like to get out to people?

Don’t rely on others to provide for you. Whether it’s the government, your family or a friend, there is no guarantee that they will always be there to help you out. Learn how to do things for yourself so you put yourself in control. It is a very empowering and rewarding state to be in.

Is there anything else you’d like to share or say?

Never stop learning! There are a million blogs, books, podcasts and videos out there for you to watch to access an enormous amount of information. Pick a skill you’re interested in, research the crap out of it, practice it, and then do it again! “I wish I could do xyz but I don’t know how,” is the WORST excuse. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of thinking you can’t do something just because you don’t know how to. Yet.

You can find (and follow!) Mama Zed on her main websiteFacebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

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Saturday Survival Serial – Volume 3, Week 30 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/31/saturday-survival-serial-volume-3-week-30/ http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/31/saturday-survival-serial-volume-3-week-30/#respond Sat, 01 Apr 2017 07:39:52 +0000 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/?p=4555 This is week 30 in volume 3 of the Saturday Survival Serial. To learn more about what the Saturday Survival Serial is, click here. To start at week 1, click here. The last six weeks had been a whirlwind of activity not experienced since before IT happened. The information flowing in and out of the […]

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This is week 30 in volume 3 of the Saturday Survival Serial. To learn more about what the Saturday Survival Serial is, click here. To start at week 1, click here.

The last six weeks had been a whirlwind of activity not experienced since before IT happened. The information flowing in and out of the camps was flowing steadily now. The intricate web of supplies and locations of camps for the U. N. was being unveiled more quickly now. Liberty’s Teeth had people everywhere.

The full extent of the horror of details in the United Nation’s plan to “save humanity” was something right out of a movie script. Brainwashing of children, using women for breeding stock, killing any child with deformities, not to mention taking them from their parents at such a young age – it was too much.

Tori at Plymouth, Indiana met a woman who had been crying behind one of the work buildings. She said she was suffering from postpartum depression, having a child five weeks prior. She was told it had died and that she had an infection that required her to have a full hysterectomy.

Tori was shocked, angered, and sad for her all at once. She glanced at the woman’s identification band and saw she had a high clearance. When she asked, Tori learned the women was in Development, specifically agriculture. She was a scientist in her former life, studying plants with multiple degrees in botany, horticulture, and environmental studies.

It wasn’t until later that Tori put two and two together: The woman told her that she had a child before who had down syndrome that had been killed shortly after IT happened. The second child must have also had some deformation and they killed it. Due to her expertise, they chose to sterilize her instead of killing her. They ensured she wouldn’t dirty their gene pool again. The realization had made her physically ill.

___

Shannon at Reed City, with her new position overseeing the entire water and sewer systems of this camp, had learned and confirmed some of the worst rumors. She learned that Reed City was a propaganda spot, the location chosen specifically for the high level officials and officers within the U.N. military machine to safely conduct business. The helicopter was making at least two trips a week now, always with new people coming in and out. None traveled into the main town. Instead, supplies were brought out to the building that was heavily secured. Sensor, cameras, and regular patrols of select soldiers now kept the area clear of any unauthorized personnel.

Any ideas of religion, cultural heritage, and the forming of groups was discouraged. Posters had been created and sent out from a printing place somewhere back East. It encouraged people to remember their “part in the restoration of the human species” and to always “consider how their decisions affected humanity.”

Then there were the rules put on relationships, sex, and procreation. Even now, the system to be tested and approved for having a child was being finalized. People couldn’t just have children anymore as they chose. They needed permission. Given the nature of how things were already, it was expected that those who violated the rules were killed, or the child aborted, or the parents sterilized. There were rumors heard about some camps that were more like jails, the people living there treated horribly and literally worked to death. Working on what was anyone’s guess.

Some of the biggest accomplishments in the last few weeks included Liberty’s Teeth taking over a couple U.N. supply distribution facilities and the creation of a way in and out of each camp. They were added upon and soon, routes had been charted in, out, and all around U. N. camps. Called Liberty Trails, people wanting to escape the camps, get information in and out, and move troops now had a safer way. They also provided ways to get key people in when the time was right.

Shannon dreamed of taking one of them out of the hell she was in. The only thing that kept her in place was the ability to get vital information needed by those who wanted to see the thumb of the U.N. on humanity severed. Where she was would do the most good and for that, she stayed.

The attacks on supplies kept the U. N. on their toes but the leaders of Liberty’s Teeth were cunning: they chose locations that weren’t too big, erring on the side of caution and going after smaller distribution stations. Not only were the supplies they looted valuable, the psychological warfare that was being accomplished was just enough to have people talking about it three hundred miles away and more.

Roger overheard a couple soldiers talking about it. He had befriended one of them, slipping the guy little bits of candy or other bits of food on the side. His position as a laborer in the supply area had paid off in spades. He asked the guys about what they’d heard, nodding when expected, feigning outrage at the barbarians living like animals out in the “wastes” as the outside was called by many.

___

In the area East of the Mississippi River and North of Kentucky and Virginia, LT members were working on getting bits of supplies out of the U. N. camps in preparation for the battle to come. It was close now, a mere month left before the big day. So far, there was no indication that the U.N. had any idea what was coming. Not even a hint or whisper and there were many ears listening.

Safe houses were well equipped, well used, and well guarded. Plans for homemade munitions were sent out via runners that were chosen for their hardiness and speed. They were to be made out of common items that weren’t of real value now: vases, stuffed animals, old pipes and ‘trash.’ People began making way to the locations they would be joining the fight. Word was sent out that it needed to be done quietly and slowly, with no more than five people to a group.

Though hundreds and thousands were gathering, it was still easy for them to keep spread out.

Those traveling the furthest distances left first. The safe houses kept track of the general idea of where people were and how many were in each location. This information was conveyed back to the powers that be, though the time it took to get information back and forth made for some frustration. The key to the success of eradicating the United Nation’s presence and goals was surprise. Without it, the resources the U.N. had could take out enough of the resistance to squash it for generations to come.

 

 

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Featured Contributor: Bobbi Peterson of Living Life Green http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/28/featured-bobbi-peterson-living-life-green/ http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/28/featured-bobbi-peterson-living-life-green/#comments Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:00:33 +0000 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/?p=4518  There are only 3 regular guest contributors here at Homestead Dreamer, by choice. I have high standards (ok, so there’s typos ;)) for the information shared with people. It’s important to me that people can rely on what they read here as factual, useful, and without any fear mongering. A considerably amount of research is put […]

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 There are only 3 regular guest contributors here at Homestead Dreamer, by choice. I have high standards (ok, so there’s typos ;)) for the information shared with people. It’s important to me that people can rely on what they read here as factual, useful, and without any fear mongering. A considerably amount of research is put into what’s written on the things I don’t have personal experience with and sources always given.
I want to give special recognition to these three hardworking people and bring to your attention who they are! We continue the 3 part series with Bobbi Peterson of LivingLifeGreen.com. She and I have worked together on other projects and her factual insight and positive message are just a few of the reasons I accepted her as a contributor to Homestead Dreamer. She was gracious enough to be interviewed, which is shared below!
I highly encourage you to check their site and follow them on social media – I do!

Interview With Bobbi Peterson of Living Life Green

Tell us a little about yourself!
I recently graduated college and started my blog shortly after. I love to focus on the environment, gardening and homesteading!
What is your dream? 
My dream is to eventually buy my own land and start homesteading full time.
What got you into homesteading/prepping?
I began writing on environmental and gardening topics in May 2016 and found the homesteading community shortly after. I fell in love with it immediately!
Were you raised in the lifestyle or did you choose it? 
I chose the lifestyle.
What skill was the hardest one to learn that paid off the most? 
Gardening! I currently live in the woods in a very rocky area with barely any sunshine, but I’ve learned to cope!
What are you really passionate about in your genre? 
Gardening
What goals do you have for this year to progress your overall dream?
I’d love to learn some woodworking! I’m not very crafty, but I think it would be an excellent and useful skill to have.
What skill do you think all humans should know? 
Gardening and food preservation because you never know when you’ll need an extra food supply.
What message would you like to get out to people? 
I think everyone should look into this lifestyle and see if they could incorporate it into their everyday lives. There are so many skills that we’ve forgotten over the last few decades that we should bring back and make mainstream again!

You can find Bobbi on their main website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

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5 Things To Do With Wild Fireweed http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/26/5-things-to-do-with-wild-fireweed/ http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/26/5-things-to-do-with-wild-fireweed/#comments Sun, 26 Mar 2017 09:00:25 +0000 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/?p=4471 Wild Fireweed grows everywhere here. It lines the roads and fills the valleys, bringing a vibrant splash of color in an otherwise green temperate rainforest. Also called Willowherb, Wild Fireweed is not only edible, it has some minor medicinal uses, too. Learn more about this wonderful wild edible and increase your foraging knowledge! Wild Fireweed […]

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Wild Fireweed grows everywhere here. It lines the roads and fills the valleys, bringing a vibrant splash of color in an otherwise green temperate rainforest. Also called Willowherb, Wild Fireweed is not only edible, it has some minor medicinal uses, too. Learn more about this wonderful wild edible and increase your foraging knowledge!

Wild Fireweed is a gorgeous plants that produces bright pink/magenta colored flowers. The more common variety has an odd quirk in how the flowers bloom and die off, too! They bloom and die from the bottom to the top, not the other way around! Here in Southeast Alaska (and many other places, I’m sure), we use it as a gauge to tell how much more summer is left. I’ve found it to be a much more accurate way of telling when we’ve gone around the bend, seasonally speaking. When the flowers dying off hit the middle of the plant, you know you’re running out of time to get things done!

Here are 5 different things to do with Wild Fireweed!

Fresh

Young shoots and leaves are delicious greens that you can add to a salad, sauté up with other greens, or just nibble on while out hiking around. As the plant gets older, the leaves get more bitter and once it has begun to flower, the leaves aren’t very tasty at all.

But wait, there’s more! The flowers themselves are edible and have a delicious sweet taste. Also, as the plant gets larger, they tend to get thick stalks on them that can also be eaten. NOTE: If eating the stalks/stems, you don’t want to eat the outer part – very bitter! Instead, you eat the meat out of the middle! Slice it open and enjoy a bright, clean tasting green that will also help hydrate you some. Enjoy the vitamins A and C you’re getting from it, too!

Jelly 

Making Fireweed Jelly is a lot of fun, and easy! There are many recipes out there and people tend to have their own preferences. Some use red and white clover, others don’t. There are recipes that use only wildflowers, too, like this one

Syrup

Making syrup isn’t too much different than making jelly is and also very easy. If you have the flowers available, a batch doesn’t take very long, either. Use it over pancakes and waffles, of course, but don’t forget oatmeal or drizzled over vanilla ice cream!

Tea

The flowers can be dried and stored to be used in making teas later on. The flowers are added not only for the sweetness they give, but also for the medicinal purposes of indigestion. It’s believed that fireweed helps maintain your gut health.

Honey

I was surprised what I found out when I first looked up fireweed honey. It seems there are several things sold as “wild fireweed honey.” Each one is different and it really makes me wonder if the overpriced ‘honey’ I’ve bought wasn’t just some thick, fireweed flavored sugar syrup.

  • Honey from bees that fed on wild fireweed
  • A variation of ‘honey’ made with sugar and flower blossoms
  • Flowers pressed to extract the ‘honey oil’

No matter which way you slice it, all are pretty darn tasty! Personally, I enjoy the honey from bees who’ve been playing in the fireweed patch over the others. It is my sincere hope to someday have a couple bee hives so I can harvest my own fireweed honey!

Bonus – Want more?! Here’s a wonderful information sheet with recipes included from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Cooperative Extension office.

Comment below with any questions or other ideas of things to do and make with Wild Fireweed!

Sources
Medicinal Uses of Fireweed
When Alaska Hands You Fireweed

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3 Reasons Why I EDC A Water Filter (And Bottle!) http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/21/3-reasons-edc-a-water-filter/ http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/21/3-reasons-edc-a-water-filter/#comments Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:00:38 +0000 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/?p=4497 I always have a water bottle on me. All.The.Time. Since giving up soda pop (I miss the bubbles sooo much), I’ve taken to being one of those women who haul around a reusable water bottle like an extra appendage. I also EDC a water filter or always have one close at hand and it has […]

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I always have a water bottle on me. All.The.Time. Since giving up soda pop (I miss the bubbles sooo much), I’ve taken to being one of those women who haul around a reusable water bottle like an extra appendage. I also EDC a water filter or always have one close at hand and it has come in handy more times than I can count!

First off, I know it seems a little odd to most people to carry a water filter with them. I carry a backpack everyday and it has all sorts of bits and bobs in there that have shown me an EDC bag isn’t just for disasters! When it comes to the lifestyle I live, not to mention where (rural Alaska), an adventure or afternoon hike can lead you to places you didn’t expect! Having water, and the means to reliably filter more, is a big deal and this is the first reason I carry one.

We have tried both the LifeStraw and the Sawyer water filters. For us, we much prefer the Sawyer system for several reasons.

  • Smaller
  • Filters more
  • Comes with cleaning system to purge the filter
  • Comes with a heavy duty plastic bag that can be used for gravity filtering and water storing

They are roughly the same price. I go into more details on different emergency water filter solutions in another article. The purpose of this one is not to compare different options, but more to discuss the importance and ease of having one close at hand, if not carried everyday like I do.

Water is life. Without it, you won’t last more than 3 days. This is my second reason for carrying a water filter. Most people don’t consider how much water they really use in a day, a week, or a month. Between hygiene and cooking, not to mention lawns, car washing, and laundry, the average person uses 80 – 100 gallons of water per day! (source) So, it kind of makes sense that we should take some simple steps to increase our chances of having access to safe, potable water.

Last year, my husband and I took a 3 mile hike (one way) to a lake. The hike itself isn’t too bad – there is a boardwalk and stairs for most of it. There are some good elevation climbs here and there but when you’re out of shape…let’s just say we went through the water much faster than we’d thought we would. We had 3 liters between us but by the time we made it to the lake itself, we were out.

It was pouring down rain, which helped for a swallow or two. Of course, we were prepared with our Sawyer filter and Kelly Kettle (reviewed here) so it wasn’t the end of the world. We didn’t have to worry about getting sick from drinking unfiltered (and boiled!) water.

The third reason I carry one on me, or have access to one at all times, is because it’s small and easy, so why not? I don’t care one iota what other people think of me. They can think I am some crazy prepper or survivalist all they want. I know I will have clean and safe water – something taken for granted by most in the United States. I would rather be in charge of my own needs and being prepared to meet those needs is something I take seriously. Water is kind of a big deal for us to survive and grow.

All joking aside, there are more good reasons to carry a water filter with you than there are reasons not to. The bottom line is when you need a water filter….there’s usually a pretty good reason. Preparedness isn’t just for some major natural or man made disaster. It’s for dealing with the malarky that comes after the disaster. Water is just as important as air and that is why I will not be caught without my water bottle and filter!


WANT MORE!? Follow the links to see what a few of the Prepared Bloggers always carry in their EDC. Would you feel safer with these items close at hand?

Shelle at PreparednessMama always carries cash, find out why and how much she recommends.

John at 1776 Patriot USA tell us the 5 reasons he thinks his pistol is the essential item to have.

LeAnn at Homestead Dreamer won’t be caught without her handy water filter.

Justin at Sheep Dog Man has suggestions for the best flashlights to carry every day.

Bernie at Apartment Prepper always carries two knives with her, find out what she recommends.

Nettie at Preppers Survive has a cool way to carry duct tape that you can duplicate.

Todd at Ed That Matters tells us about the one item you’ll always go back for…your cell phone

Erica at Living Life in Rural Iowa knows how important her whistle can be when you want to be safe.

Todd at Survival Sherpa always carries 3 essential fire starters wherever he goes.

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Saturday Survival Serial – Volume 3, Week 29 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/17/saturday-survival-serial-volume-3-week-29/ Sat, 18 Mar 2017 06:36:03 +0000 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/?p=4531 This is week 29 in volume 3 of the Saturday Survival Serial. To learn more about what the Saturday Survival Serial is, click here. To start at week 1, click here. Jimmy read the message a third time, just to be sure. He looked up at Terry, Jessica’s husband, with wide eyes and half a […]

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This is week 29 in volume 3 of the Saturday Survival Serial. To learn more about what the Saturday Survival Serial is, click here. To start at week 1, click here.

Jimmy read the message a third time, just to be sure. He looked up at Terry, Jessica’s husband, with wide eyes and half a grin. Glancing at Al and Jessica, he let out a laugh of disbelief. Amie came in just then and stopped, looking around at everyone’s expression.

“What is it? I heard there was a runner that came in. Good news?”

Jimmy laughed again and said, “The track just got laid to our station.” He passed over the hand written note and waited for her to read it, exchanging smiles with the others who already knew.

“They made it! They already found Liberty’s Teeth people inside the camps and there are communications already in place?! That’s amazing!” Amie suddenly frowned and narrowed her eyes. “Has this been verified?”

Jimmy chuckled. “Turn the page over.”

She did so and saw several symbols and crudely drawn animals that she recognized as codes, much like the emojis that were so popular before IT happened. They essentially served the same purpose as the millions of tiny icons to convey various messages, emotions, and other information.

Amie took in a deep breath and then smiled as she passed the letter back to Jimmy.

“Well, what’s the plan now?”

*************

Pako’s backside was sore from being tossed around in the truck so much in the last week. Once he had heard about the mention of liberty in a quote by a founding father, he had insisted that they all head over to meet the newcomers and wish them well. Of course, Pako had an entirely different agenda.

It hadn’t taken long before Pako was able to confirm beyond any doubt that these people were part of Liberty’s Teeth and, astonishingly, from a camp a mere twenty or so miles away. On top of that, they all personally knew Jimmy Walker and spoke of him with respect and fondness. They’d talked for about an hour before Shannon pointed out that they might draw unwanted attention. They parted ways, with Shannon and Sandi promising to get together the next day.

Pako decided that he would put in for going on the run to Plymouth to drop off three of these people and pick up supplies. He would use his position of overseeing the mail system in the area as his excuse for needing to go with and had promised Shannon he would hand deliver her letters to Edgar and Joli. He’d expected to be gone 48 hours or so.

As luck would have it, by divine intervention or just dumb luck – he wasn’t one to question good fortune – Pako ended up traveling to yet another U. N. camp. He was ordered to set up and train people there on the regulations for the mail system. The trip to Norfolk, Nebraska had taken two days of bone jarring driving. They’d been shot at and had to ram an attempted roadblock on the way there. Once he’d gotten there however, he thanked whatever lucky stars were shining for him.

Not only was the location a storage facility and hub for moving goods, it was roughly 60% filled with people loyal to Liberty’s Teeth. He learned that over the last eight months, people had been steadily moving in. This was the first warehouse and goods location they’d discovered and a great deal of intel had come from this location. It was a treasure trove!

With key people in trusted positions higher up, it hadn’t taken long to learn of other supply warehouse locations nearby and so the spiderweb began to reveal itself. It was estimated that there were 5 super warehouse locations that fed 20 larger locations, that then fed hubs like this camp, and so on. It both shocked and angered Pako that there was that much food out there, in the hands of the United Nations no less, and people starved unless they submitted to being slaves, breeding stock, military drones…

Ultimately, he’d taken comfort knowing that it seemed Liberty’s Teeth had done well in infiltrating the United Nation’s system and were putting things in place to take it down. He reached down into the wrist of his jacket and itched absent mindedly and looked down, feeling something against the back of his fingers.

He smiled, recalling one of the ladies at Norfolk stitching an “LT” into the inside without any hint of it showing on the outside. Apparently, many of the people had taken to doing so as a way to help more easily identify each other. Sometimes talking wasn’t always possible. Too many mentions of ‘liberty’ all the time could also cause suspicion. Pako liked it and promised he would pass it and everything else along, too.

The truck lurched to the side as it slammed over another large pothole and Pako sighed. Just a couple more days… He would end up staying overnight in Plymouth again and he would be lucky if he could catch a truck heading to Reed City outside of schedule. He thought he would be on the supply run going back up but the diversion to Nebraska had changed all that.

At least I will be able to pass the information along to the rest up there. He knew that the Canadians had all but wiped out the United Nation’s presence in their country, minus a few larger installations on the eastern and westernmost borders. Rumors were confirmed of them moving south and getting into position, many already in place on the north east coast.

He jerked awake, not realizing he’d dozed off, when the truck slowed down. Sitting up and looking around, he was surprised to see it almost full dark and they were at Plymouth again. He thanked the driver for getting them there safely and got out. He stretched the kinks out of his body and turned when he heard his name being called.

“Hey, Pako! How was the trip?” Edgar was walking toward him with a woman he didn’t recognize.

“Someone needs to do something about those roads. I swear some of the potholes are so deep, you lose the light of day for a moment before you’re over it!”

They shared a laugh, agreeing that the worst roads before IT happened were almost brand new compared to how it was less than two years later without maintenance. Pako glanced at the lady before looking back at Edgar questioningly.

“Oh! My apologies. Pako, this is Tori.” He lowered his voice. “She came from up north, where the apples are bitter?” Edgar gave him a knowing look. Word about the apple password had spread throughout this general area and was now used as a way to identify the people in the area north of Idlewild.

“Nice to meet you. In truth though, we voted not to use the apple thing anymore. In fact, it was wholly agreed on to never, ever use food for a code word again!” Tori smiled at Pako and winked playfully at Edgar. The men laughed amiably.

Tori handed a small stack of folded papers to Pako. “Can you please get these to Sandi or whoever that can pass them on?”

Pako took the notes and nodded. “Of course! I will, of course, have to read them.” He grinned.

Tori laughed. “Of course. The difference between you and someone else reading them though is you will likely understand what they’re really saying.”

That made him chuckle and nod. “Very true, very true. How’re you settling in here?”

Tori exhaled a breath rapidly and put her hands in her pockets. “Well, at first, it was god awful. Now that I know the right people, it’s not too bad. Knowing there are people who have my back is good. Plus, with the other three, it’s almost bearable.”

Pako smiled sympathetically. “I’ll be here a few days and have some of my own information to pass along here. Cheer up! This will all be decided one way or the other in a few short months.

Tori scoffed. “How, exactly, is that supposed to make me feel better?”

Edgar spoke up. “Well, either way, you’ll be out of your misery!”


*Sorry it’s short this week. I figured better something than nothing, right? 🙂

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Featured Contributor: Dan of Survival Sullivan http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/13/featured-contributor-survival-sullivan/ Mon, 13 Mar 2017 16:47:05 +0000 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/?p=4479 I get emails from people who claim to follow my site and want to guest post for me all the time. Last week alone, I had 8 different ‘offers’ to guest post and “help provide important information to my readers.’ Needless to say, I delete them without replying and mark them as spam. There are […]

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I get emails from people who claim to follow my site and want to guest post for me all the time. Last week alone, I had 8 different ‘offers’ to guest post and “help provide important information to my readers.’ Needless to say, I delete them without replying and mark them as spam.
There are only 3 regular guest contributors here at Homestead Dreamer and that is by choice. I have high standards (ok, so there’s typos ;)) for the information shared with people. It’s important to me that people can rely on what they read here as factual, useful, and without any fear mongering. A considerably amount of research is put into what’s written on the things I don’t have personal experience with and sources always given.
I want to give special recognition to these three hardworking people and bring to your attention who they are! We start the 3 part series with Dan Sullivan of Survival Sullivan.com. He and I have worked together on other projects and his factual insight and positive message are just a few of the reasons I accepted him as a contributor to Homestead Dreamer. He was gracious enough to be interviewed, which is shared below!
I highly encourage you to check their site and follow them on social media – I do!

Interview With Dan Sullivan of SurvivalSullivan.com

Tell us a little about yourself!
Well my dad was military but I didn’t find out about prepping until 2012 I think, right around the Mayan Apocalypse. I started looking deeper into it, I saw there are legitimate reasons to prep and that was it! I got hooked, started practicing, I started my blog and trying to help as many people as I can
What is your dream? (Example: Mine is owning land/homesteading) 
 A 2-3 acre survival farm with a permaculture garden, chicken and a pond 100% energy independent and more.
What got you into homesteading/prepping (If you focus on only one, please specify) 
 The fact that I worked for a survival company and spent enough time managing products to learn more about prepping
Were you raised in the lifestyle or did you choose it? 
I chose it, although I was raised partly by my grandparents who lived on a homestead.
What skill was the hardest one to learn that paid off the most? 
Perseverance. I read people stopped prepping after Trump was elected, big mistake.
What are you really passionate about in your genre? 
I would have to say bug out bags. They fascinate me. I believe there is a perfect BOB for everyone.
What goals do you have for this year to progress your overall dream?
Well my biggest hurdle is that I can’t afford the 2 or 3 acres of land… hopefully I’ll make some financial progress this year to reach my biggest survival goal.
What skill do you think all humans should know? 
Awareness. If they learn that, they’ll be naturally inclined to learn more.
What message would you like to get out to people? 
 That preparedness is a lifelong journey and they should not abandon it. Ever.

You can find Survival Sullivan on their main website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!

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What Makes A Homesteader? http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/06/what-makes-a-homesteader/ http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/06/what-makes-a-homesteader/#comments Mon, 06 Mar 2017 18:56:35 +0000 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/?p=4434 The term ‘homesteading’ brings up different images for different people. It’s safe to say that most people’s imagination would include growing food, a large spread of land, chopping firewood, and raising and butchering livestock. While this was assuredly how it used to be, the “Modern Homesteader” tends to do things differently. The end results may […]

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The term ‘homesteading’ brings up different images for different people. It’s safe to say that most people’s imagination would include growing food, a large spread of land, chopping firewood, and raising and butchering livestock. While this was assuredly how it used to be, the “Modern Homesteader” tends to do things differently. The end results may be the same, but the methods are different. So, if it’s not the land, the methods of farming, or whether or not you raise livestock, what makes a homesteader?

I’ve had people tell me that I’m not a ‘real’ homesteader because my current plot of land is a third of an acre. I’ve had people tell me there’s no such thing as a ‘real’ homesteader anymore. When I ask these people why, the first person replied with “You have to have a ton of land for your garden and animals. There’s no way you can produce everything you need!” The second person’s reply was along the same lines: “Because homesteaders didn’t have dishwashers and washing machines and electricity!” Sound familiar?

It’s kind of like telling someone they aren’t a ‘real hunter’ because they no longer use sticks and rocks like the cavemen did.

So, tossing aside those judgements, let’s dig into the nitty gritty of what ‘makes a homesteader.’ The dictionary definitions paint a picture about as clear as mud, mostly saying that a “homesteader is a person who works a homestead.” (source).  Not very helpful and yet, it does give a bit of a path to follow. The function of a homestead is to produce as much of the things you need as possible. You work your own land for food and survival, not head off to work for someone else and buy what you need. Keep in mind that even the pioneers of old had to go to the Trading Post for things like salt and cloth. Even the ‘real’ homesteaders had to get money to buy things they couldn’t make themselves.

A homesteader is a person who desires to provide for themselves and their family through their own efforts. They are more concerned with the pursuit of self reliance and happiness than monetary wealth (generally speaking, of course). Though many out there wish to be rich, those who seek out the homesteading lifestyle tend to wish for the more simple and basic things. They find more joy in tilling the soil than driving a sports car. They take more satisfaction from a project and job well done than their investment portfolios.

Homesteaders look at the world differently than the average person. What one person sees as a pile of trash or ‘junk,’ the homesteader sees raw materials to work with to create what they need. When you decide to start living a homestead life, your mentality begins to shift over. I used to be one of those people who scoffed at yards that had piles of various ‘junk’ in them – even if the piles were neat and tidy. “How can they stand to live like that!?” I would ask. I get it now. I understand that the pile of scrap metal is a treasure trove for a homesteader. The pile of ‘dirt and garbage’ is actually a compost pile making them fertile soil for next year’s crops. They keep all their old sheets, jeans, and towels to make rag rugs out of – or patches, cloth rope, and a million other things.

I learned that the saying, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” is a mantra that many homesteaders live by. It took me a solid year before I really noticed the mental shift in myself. Now, when something is broken or I need something to make life easier, I ask whether or not I have the resources already on hand. If I don’t, can I get them? If I have to buy them, would it be cheaper to buy the item instead of crafting it myself?

Homesteading is not about how much land you have. It’s much more about how you live. You can be a ‘homesteader’ on a third of an acre, using electricity and modern conveniences. I grow as much of my food as possible and preserve it. I harvest the bounty of where I live in berries, meat, and fish and preserve that, too. We build/craft a lot more of the things we need instead of buying it outright. My little garden shed is a prime example. We could have bought a pre made steel or wood shed and slapped it together. Buying the wood and building it ourselves saved money and we ended up with a shed we actually wanted instead of what was available to choose from. On the mushy side, it’s also something we built together that will last us several years and is a great memory. 🙂

As with most anything, it is your actions and skills, not stuff, that makes us what we really are. Just because someone owns a jet doesn’t make them a pilot. Having a full set of Snap On tools doesn’t make you a mechanic or carpenter. Your skills and actions do. Relying on yourself more than others, making do with what you have or bartering for what you need….these are actions of a homesteader.

Because there is no one “correct” answer to this question, I asked for the help of several fellow homesteaders who also share their experiences, tips, and tricks with those who want to learn. Below is their answer and a link to their site!

“A homesteader is a person with the mind set to make there own, grow their own or raise their own!” The Petite Plantation

“A homesteader strives for self-sufficiency by growing or raising their own food, making household items, learning about and using alternative medicine and energy, and striving to protect and repair nature.”Off Grid Homestead Prepper

“A homesteader must have passion and perseverance. You have to love what you do, and never, ever give up just because a day is tough. There are always blessings all around us!” – One Ash Homestead

“A homesteader is someone who strives for freedom through self-sufficiency: freedom for their time, freedom of their energy, and financial freedom.”Hillsborough Homestead

Homesteaders are people who take responsibility for their own well-being. They are more interested in producing than consuming.” – Farming My Backyard

BONUS: FarmingMyBackyard.com has a great article about being a homesteader in the city! Click here

 

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Saturday Survival Serial – Volume 3, Week 28 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/03/saturday-survival-serial-volume-3-week-28/ http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/2017/03/03/saturday-survival-serial-volume-3-week-28/#comments Sat, 04 Mar 2017 07:14:13 +0000 http://www.homesteaddreamer.com/?p=4494 This is week 28 in volume 3 of the Saturday Survival Serial. To learn more about what the Saturday Survival Serial is, click here. To start at week 1, click here. The group of volunteers heading to Reed City had been traveling for two hours, mostly in silence. They were heading into the unknown though […]

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This is week 28 in volume 3 of the Saturday Survival Serial. To learn more about what the Saturday Survival Serial is, click here. To start at week 1, click here.

The group of volunteers heading to Reed City had been traveling for two hours, mostly in silence. They were heading into the unknown though thankfully, since Kace’s arrival from Liberty’s Teeth, they had a solid plan going in.

Kace had spent the last five days filling Jimmy and the other leaders in on details for the upcoming battle. Jimmy, in his usual manner, let everyone else know about it, too. The battle to get rid of the United Nations presence everywhere this side of the Mississippi River was scheduled to take place in less than three months. That had caused quite the range of reactions.

In the letter that Kace had delivered from the group that left to Plymouth, he’d learned of Sticks’ death. When he shared the news, it was felt by everyone. Roger and Sticks had become part of the family. Jimmy had used it to remind people how serious what they were doing was, and the potential consequences. “No one has the right to make the choice for anyone else but themselves on whether or not they wish to volunteer. No one has the right to judge their choice. We are free men and women, so long as we remember that!”

Once word had gotten to the other camps about what happened and what Jimmy had said, volunteers had doubled for patrols or whatever else was needed.

Kace had gathered all those going out on patrols and volunteering to go to Reed City and taught them several quotes about Liberty that were used as code to identify ‘friendlies while out there.’ He also gave valuable information about creating markers for information drop off spots and how to spot ones left by other people. The use of rocks and sticks placed in one of three ways was also shown.

“When you don’t have paper and pencil to write, or a way to keep it safe from the elements, these markers are basic ways to convey safety, danger, and in which direction. They can also show the way to resources.” Kace explained how people all over the world had been using systems like this for millennia. “And it still serves us well today.”

It was clear that several different styles of warfare tactics were being used by Liberty’s Teeth. Kace said different areas used different methods but there were certain things, like communication, that needed to be more universal.

“Sometimes, the way you get a job done doesn’t matter as much as the results. It’s a judgement call but when it comes to communication, that needs to be something solid and reliable. With all the codes we use, one wrong word said in the wrong sentence can ruin everything.”

The last thing Kace had said to them was that it was imperative that at least one person remains at Reed City at all times. It was agreed that it was of some importance, especially with no one really coming in or out. The helicopter hadn’t been seen again, either.

Henry from South Camp, Ryan and Sandi from Center Camp, and Tanner from Main Camp were the ones chosen out of the dozen or so volunteers. Though Ryan and Tanner were young, it was hoped that their age would be an advantage. Young, healthy people were valued among what was left of the human population.

Denise hadn’t been very happy about her son going into danger and the argument had left them both red faced and fuming. After a talk with Captain about it, Denise had to concede that her son was grown up, by all definitions, and had the right to make his own choices. They had a meaningful conversation before he’d left but her crying had put a damper on the whole group.

After another hour of travel, they decided to take a rest. They would make their destination tonight, before it got dark. If anything delayed them, they would wait until it was light again before approaching the camp. No one wanted to get shot in the dark.

“I don’t know about anyone else, but my guts are twisted with nervousness. If those are butterflies, I think they’re duking it out,” said Sandi. The silence broken, everyone seemed to relax a little.

“The closer we get, the more I feel like puking,” commented Tanner. “I’m not afraid to admit that I’m afraid. What will they do to us? I mean, it’s not like we look like we’re starving here. The clothes are a nice touch and lack of anything useful but honestly, would you believe us if we came up to the camps at home?”

Henry grunted. “Good point. One thing we all have is a lot of nervous energy and a healthy dose of fear at what’s coming. That will help give some credibility.”

Ryan looked around. “For one, we’re too clean. Even though these clothes are torn and badly patched, they are clean. That would set off a red flag for me.”

The others agreed and immediately started getting dirt and mud, sprinkling it in their hair, on their clothing and rubbing it on ankles and arms. They sat a bit longer, letting things dry out so they could wipe it off to make it seem like older dirt and discussed other things that might give them away.

“We have our back story covered. We are from up north, near the lake, and were raided by cannibals. There was a camp there and out of the seven that made it away, we four survived. We saw the camp there, watched it a couple days, and decided to approach.” Sandi nodded her head. “As long as we stick to it, we are good.”

“Ya, but what are the names of the others who didn’t make it? How many people were there at the other camp? How did we get there?” Tanner grimaced. “My mom has taught me many things and one of the biggest ones was about the devil and details. The wrong answer to any one of those questions could blow it all.”

The others looked around, wide eyed. No one said anything for a moment as the realization of how complicated this might really be set in.

“Hey, guys, let’s not unravel here. The group that went to Plymouth made it in, remember? Yes, we lost Sticks, but we all made our choice. Let’s make the best of it.” She smiled at Tanner. “You may have just saved the whole show. Let’s work out some more details and keep things straight. We will drill each other on the way, too.”

________

Later that afternoon, the group were watching Reed City with Olaf Havhausen, who had been the one to discover it in the first place. He knew, better than anyone, the schedules and details of the place.

Before he took them to the best spot for making contact, he showed them a few places where information could be dropped off. Two of them had paper and pen inside a plastic bag. Though he’d only seen one person leaving the camp on a regular basis, he wasn’t sure how often any information could be gotten out.

“We’re working on loopholes to get you out of here if needed. There are some weaker spots in their patrols and surveillance but we need to be 100% certain before we try it. You’ll need to last at least a week in there.”

He took them to a stand of trees about half a mile from the edge of the camp. Taking out a set of travel binoculars, he let everyone look through them to see the area he thought had the best chance of safely making it in.

“A jeep will come down that road within the next hour. There are no functioning cameras that I’m aware of on this side of the camp. There’s no infrastructure or anything of importance, so you will likely be seen as less than a threat if you make contact there.”

Everyone nodded and fell silent, waiting. They had spent the last several hours ironing out details and drilling each other on them, making up fallbacks in case something slipped, and were about as ready as they could be.

All too soon, the sound of a vehicle could be heard as a low rumble in the distance. Olaf scoped the road and saw the jeep driving slowly along the road. There were the usual two uniformed and armed soldiers who rode with the look of boredom. They didn’t even bother checking anything out.

Olaf wished them luck and promised that if it looked like they were in danger, there were eyes on them and sights on the soldiers. Shooting U.N. troops would be an absolute last resort as it would give away any advantage they currently had by being off the radar.

The group moved forward at a trot, intending to catch them when they looped back around. When they were within a quarter mile, they began running with their arms out to the sides to show they were not armed. The jeep came back into sight and down the road. As the two groups got closer, Henry called out and waved his arms.

The jeep swerved a bit as the soldiers perked up and pointed. They regained control and turned sharply in the direction of the ‘survivors’ running at them. Jumping out of the truck, they pointed weapons at the people but no one stopped.

“Help us! Please!” The only female said in an anguished voice. Her hands were stretched out imploringly. The soldiers looked at each other, uncertain.

“Pretend we think we are being chased! It will fit in and these two don’t look like the smartest apples in the bunch.” Sandi said it quietly enough not to carry but loud enough for those with her to hear. They fell into their roles and called out or looked back, seemingly in fear. The sun was just beginning to get low in the sky. The timing was perfect.

One of the soldiers called out. “Halt right there!” His voice cracked a little, belying his nervousness. When the people kept running, he licked his lips and called out again.

“I’m warning you! Halt where you are or-” he was cut off by his partner who was saying something too quiet to be heard.

Henry made a noise and started to slow down, looking warily at the soldiers who were now in an animated discussion. The others stopped behind Henry and waited. They didn’t need to fake any of the emotions showing on their faces.

Finally, the soldier who spoke first turned to them and said, “Welcome to the United Nations Camp at Reed City. Are you seeking refuge?”

Sandi cried out, “What do you think?! We came running to you, didn’t we? Can we please come in? There are bad people out there and I am so tired of running!”

The quiet soldier was pulling things out of his pockets, looking at them and then dropping them to the ground quickly.

“Yes, Ma’am. One moment, stay where you are.” He looked at the other man impatiently.

“Aha!” the man said triumphantly, holding up what looked to be an index card. He started to read from it.

“Welcome to Reed City, Michigan, United Nations camp. You are welcome to seek refuge here, survivors, but must understand a few things first. By entering, you agree to follow the rules and regulations of the United Nations. You will be subjected to a medical and psychiatric examination by our staff to make sure you are not diseased. You will be quarantined for three days, where you will also be questioned on your work and education experience so you can be properly placed in a settlement camp or wherever else your skills may be needed.

“This camp is not meant to house many survivors. Instead, it serves other purposes in the efforts of the United Nations to save the human race. It is unlikely you will remain here longer than seven days. There are other camps not too far away that you will likely be relocated to.

“Until then, you are not allowed to leave the designated areas set out for you. You will be under supervision and are not to ask any questions about what you may see or think you see here. Failure to follow any of these rules can and will result in death. If you refuse to seek refuge and return back to this camp, you will be killed. Is that understood?”

The shock that rocked through the group was not faked. This was anything but what they’d been told to expect. If they couldn’t stay here, how were they going to get any information back home? If there had ever been question as to this place being something other than what it seemed, it was squashed now.

Realizing they were not saying anything, Sandi spoke up again. “If we try to make it out there, we’re dead anyway. Better to try and help than die for nothing” She stepped forward and broke the spell that had kept the group frozen in place. They stepped forward too, nodding agreement.

They were told to get into the back of the jeep and were taken to the main building. As they got off the truck, they were surprised when they were surrounded by more soldiers and taken inside. A puckish man sat behind a desk and heaved a long suffering sigh when he saw them. “Oh lovely, just when I’ve caught up from the paperwork of the last people to come in. Of course, bring me more!” He sighed again and waved the soldiers off.

“Where are they going to go, hmm? Honestly, just stand outside.”

They were asked their names and general information such as age, ethnicity, where they were born and last lived before IT happened. They were given clean clothing and hygiene items to wash up with before going back to the same room to await their physical exams. They dared not say anything for fear of the wrong ears listening and jumped when the silence was broken by a door opening.

To men walked in. The first was dressed in a doctor’s coat and the other in more casual attire. The second man looked at each of them and smiled when he saw Sandi.

“You’ve taken us by surprise! Amazing you look so well after getting cleaned up. No lice or anything! I’m sure you have some fascinating stories to tell us about how you ended up here but I’m getting ahead of myself. My name is Eugene. Eugene Rupert.”

***********

Shannon couldn’t believe what she was reading. She read it again and looked up at the soldier for confirmation.

“Is this for real? I’m to oversee the entire water system for the whole camp?” She looked up at the sky as if to ask, “Why me?”

“Yes, Ma’am. You’re to be provided with an assistant who will help you keep things in order, along with supervising all water and sewage system staff.” He smiled. “Congratulations.”

Though she was used to being in charge, she wasn’t used to being at the top. She’d learned long ago that when you’re at the top, you were also the first target when things went wrong. Realizing she hadn’t replied, she thanked him. He saluted her and left, leaving her standing there, holding the paper. She was, effective immediately, in charge of all water and sewer systems for the whole camp. She was now required to be at planning and organizational meetings, along with making regular reports to the mayor about the state of things. She almost groaned at the thought of all the political muck she was going to have to wade through. The kicker is she couldn’t refuse, and she couldn’t move to another city to get a different job. She was stuck.

As the day wore on, she busied herself with checking the main lines leading from the water reservoir. After a while, she had to admit that the promotion would put her in a good position to get additional information that might help them break out and join the free people outside U. N. control. She wasn’t about to voluntarily get branded, not after what she had read about it and how people were treated once they were.

Later that day, she was heading home when she heard her name called. Looking around, she saw Pako and Dale waving at her and stopped. She waved back with a smile, waiting for them to catch up.

“I heard an interesting rumor today, Ms. Grand Empress Overseer of All Things Liquid. Care to enlighten us poor peasants?”

She laughed and assumed the posture of royalty. “Yes worship my all knowing waters of clear, gray, and black. Give sacrifice that ye may be blessed.”

The men laughed at her theatrics and fell in step beside her. The hadn’t seen each other in a couple days, what with the sudden arrivals. It was funny how completely off guard the camp had been taken by survivors showing up at their front, or rather side, door. The mayor had ordered that all critical infrastructure be checked for possible sabotage, video footage checked and rechecked, and everyone’s whereabouts accounted for over the last three days. It reeked of paranoia or, at the least, ill prepared for people seeking refuge. The oddities just kept adding up.

“I hear they are getting shipping out to Plymouth the day after tomorrow. Three of them, anyway. One is being kept here but for what, I’m not sure. I know they were in with Eugene for quite a while.”

Shannon snorted. “Of course they were. You know how he was with us and we’ve been in the system for almost a year. Imagine how he would treat people who were on the outside this whole time!”

The others nodded in agreement. “The good news is this will be the second run of mail from here to there and we should be getting something back from Plymouth this time,” said Pako.

“Ohhh, I hope I get a letter from Joli and Edgar. I miss them.”

“I heard on the waves that a shipment of fuel made it to Plymouth and they are sending barrels up here, too. A nice big shipment is expected, actually. Not only that, but some veggies and eggs, too.” Dale licked his lips and grinned.

Shannon laughed. “Dreaming of a nice quiche?” She laughed harder at the grimace on Dale’s face.

They continued enjoying each other’s company on the walk to their respective homes. Dale went off first, leaving Pako and Shannon to walk alone.

“You know, I will have more knowledge of the inner workings with this promotion. It could help, right?”

Pako smiled at her with affection. “Yes, but please report only, no heroics.”

Shannon made a most unladylike noise. “Ya, I’m just naturally prone to all sorts of heroic deeds. Please, what are you worried about?”

“You.”

The way he said it made Shannon skip a step. She recovered quickly enough and switched the subject. “I’m supposed to be getting an assistant. Hear anything about that?”

Pako gave her a quick frown before answering. “Nope, nothing has been said about it. Just your promotion. The overall feeling is pretty good, actually. People like you.”

“I hope I like my assistant. I wonder if they will be some kind of spy though. How will I know if I can trust them?”

“How did you know you could trust me?” Pako asked.

Shannon considered that for a moment. Finally, she shrugged. “I went with my gut, I guess.”

“Then I’d say go with your gut again.”

Shannon nodded. They made small talk the rest of the way, Shannon ignoring the white elephant walking alongside them. Since they had come here, Pako had been dropping little hints off and on. She wasn’t sure how to take them and hoped that if she didn’t acknowledge it, the problem would solve itself.

_______

Today was the day they would be released from quarantine and learn of their fate. They had been through the medical exam that showed they were healthy, if a bit underweight. The ‘counseling session’ they had endured had taken more than one of them to the edge. Eugene had turned out to be a nightmarish man who alternated between kindness and paranoid insanity. During Tanner’s session, the man had taken to ranting as if to someone else in the room. Tanner was unsure whether or not to respond at first but when he heard the name Walker, he abruptly kept his mouth shut.

The group was taken out of their rooms and back to the building they were first brought to. Left alone, they were quiet for a few minutes before Ryan asked if everyone was OK under his breath. The others made various responses to the positive before the door opened and a man walked through. His features were sharp and though he dressed as a civilian, his gait and posture said military.

“Hello. I am Mayor Jeffrey Miller. I am here to let you know where you will be sent and what to expect.” He smiled, though it looked like it strained him.

“I apologize for the way you have been treated here. We weren’t ready for any survivors just yet. You caught us a little off guard but, because of your arrival, we are now up to par so I guess thanks are in order.” He gave another strained smile.

“Now then, I’m sure you’re wondering what’s next. We have need of every human we can get to help us rebuild the race and world. Therefore, the three of you, “he pointed to Tanner, Ryan, and Henry, “Will be sent to the camp at Plymouth to assist in the efforts there. You leave tomorrow morning.”

He turned to Sandi. “As for you, Miss, we have need of your clerical skills here. Don’t worry, there is a mail system recently set up between the camps and you will be able to stay in touch.

“Until tomorrow, you will be taken back to the quarantine area. This time, however, you will be free to come and go outside in a two block radius. Meals will again be brought to you. For those leaving, you will be provided a jacket and better shoes. You will also be given a pack with some basic items inside.

“I trust you will all fare much better within the U.N. system than you did outside. Best of luck.”

Without waiting for any response, Miller turned and went back through the door he’d come in from.

The vacuum left behind made the group look at each other with wide eyes. Sandi whispered, “What the hell are we supposed to do now?”

“At least you will still be here,” replied Henry under his breath. He reached down, seemingly to scratch his leg. “Stick to the plan and it will work out.” He fell silent as the door opened again, a soldier motioning them to follow.

They were dropped off in front of the quarantine building and reminded not to leave the two blocks designated as safe for them. They looked around, unsure what to do next and too paranoid to be the first to say anything.

Finally, Ryan simply sat down on the side of the road and laid back in the tall grass growing on the greenbelt.

“What are you doing?” Asked Henry.

“I’m enjoying the sunshine and considering what to do next. No sense in panicking and we’ll never achieve our goals without a plan.”

The others looked around, seeing no reason not to do the same and soon all four of them were soaking up some sunshine, talking quietly. They agreed that the mail system would be a good way to get information back and forth. They would use the code system that was shown to them by Kace before they left. It was hard to believe it had only been 5 days.

The sound of a vehicle made the group raise their heads to see what was causing it. A golf cart, of all things, was coming down the road, being driven by a woman. When she saw the people on the grass, her head tilted as if to make sense of it. She turned slightly and headed for them. As she neared, the group sat up and she smiled at them.

“Hello! I have to admit, both my curiosity and boredom got the better of me. Since I haven’t seen any of you before, you must be the survivors that came in a few days ago.” She looked them over and stopped when her eyes met Sandi’s.

“And that would make you Sandi, my new assistant.”

Sandi’s eyes widened and she scrambled to get to her feet. The woman laughed. “No need to get up on my account. It’s good to see people enjoying the little things in life, you know? Keeps us sane. I imagine you’ve earned a bit of rest after being out there in the wild world. How’d you survive?”

No one answered, most having a deer in the headlight look. This was the first person they’d met that wasn’t a soldier, not to mention friendly. The woman laughed.

“Perhaps if I introduced myself? My name’s Shannon. I run the water and sewer systems for the whole camp here at Reed City.”

Tanner suddenly spoke up. “We survived the best we could. Some cannibal religious freaks drove us away from our home up north and we ran.”

Shannon’s face showed surprise at the casually given story. “Sounds like you’ve been through the ringer. Religious and cannibal hmm? I’d hoped all the really scary people had died off by now.”

Tanner laughed harshly. “Some of the scariest people survived because they are scary. “In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty.” Religion has done more harm than anything over the ages.”

Shannon’s eyebrows raised up. “Who said that?”

Tanner looked her right in the eye and replied, “Thomas Jefferson.”

Shannon laughed. “Figures. A founding father. Well, I need to get going. Good luck on your trip to Plymouth. It’s not too bad there. That’s where I was before here.”

She looked at Sandi. “Your first shift is the day after tomorrow, ok?”

“My name is Sandi. Nice to meet you. If you need me before then, I’m sure you’ll know where to find me.” Sandi smiled, realizing that this woman was going to be her boss for the foreseeable future and wanted to make a good impression.

Shannon returned the smile. “Hard to keep secrets around here. Enjoy the sunshine!”

She turned the golf cart around and took off toward the main building.

The others looked around at each other, not sure what to make of the encounter.

_______

At dinner that night, Shannon ate with Pako and Dale. She told them about meeting the newcomers and the interesting conversation she’d had with them.

“They looked healthy enough but were so skittish, I think i could have made them jump if I’d just said “Boo.” They didn’t talk much.”

“Well,” replied Dale, “From all accounts, they’ve had it pretty rough out there. Kind of makes sense they’d be jittery. Plus, remember how we felt with our group being broken up? All the uncertainty that goes with it is enough to make anyone act odd.”

“Odd is one thing. Quoting Thomas Jefferson is another.”

Pako stopped, a bit halfway to his mouth. “Thomas Jefferson? Do you remember what the quote was?”

Shannon looked at him in surprise. “Why?”

Pako looked at her almost pleadingly. “Do you remember?”

Shannon sighed. “Not word for word, but it was something about religion not liking liberty or something.”

“Are you certain? The quote had the word “liberty” in it?”

Shannon nodded and then jumped when Pako smacked the table with a loud whoop. “You have to tell me where they are! I need to speak to them right away!”

The post Saturday Survival Serial – Volume 3, Week 28 appeared first on Homestead Dreamer.

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