Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Seven Fat Cows 1.2: The shopping list

Rick said “I think we can get most of what we need for about five thousand.”

Kate winced.

“We are good on firearms and ammo. In fact, we have more than we need and we should probably feel out our neighbors to see who can be trusted with them.” Rick said.

In addition to the 12 gauge pump shotguns that every rural family had at least one of, Rick had been picking up .22LR semi-automatic rifles and AR clones on sale. Add in 20,000 rounds of .22LR ammo and 5000 5.56mm NATO ammo and "the makings" to reload an additional 10,000 rounds, Rick thought they were more than squared away.

Rick’s rough list had seeds, grain, large griddles, firewood, wire, calves, deep-cycle lead-acid batteries, 3V laser diodes…..

“How long do you think we have before we know?” Kate asked.

“Hard to tell.” Rick admitted. “If it doubles every twenty days and there are twenty patients now then it will take ten doublings, say seven months, to hit twenty thousand patients. That is when people will lose faith in the CDC and the economy will shut down. Then another seven months to hit twenty million. That is when there will be a total, blood-in-the-streets shitstorm.”

Kate said, “I am not opposed to pulling the trigger on this stuff but I will be a lot more comfortable if you can show me some confirmation.”

“Meanwhile, let’s use the time to refine the list and find good prices.” Kate said.

Rick spent the next several days sorting and inventorying their gear. He also scheduled appointments with the eye doctor and dentist for both he and Kate. He knew that he had an old prescription for his glasses and his dentist had been bugging him to get some of his teeth capped before they split. Now seemed like a good time to get that done.

He also visited a few of the neighbors who he knew kept the long view in mind. It wasn't so much that they would completely buy into Rick's hypothesis about Ebola, but they knew that civilization was fragile and there was always something nibbling at the foundation. It might be an EMP event or war or plague or the shredding of shared social bonds, but the cause was not important because the consequences and actions required to mitigate would be nearly identical.

One neighbor was a Romanian born electrician who live a half mile closer to one of the main roads. Another was a disabled vet. The third was a skilled tradesman who had retired in his mid-fifties and dabbled with his hobby farm and hunted and fished.

Dmitri, the electrician took on the problem with the IR sensors. He had experience installing fire alarms and the communication protocols were a walk in the park for him. He would have a working prototype shortly after the mail-order source dropped off the battery carriers, transistors and such.

Tim, the disabled vet and Rick cruised the neighborhood several times on Tim’s utility vehicle and talked through probable “zombie kill zones” and which clusters of dwellings were most defensible and which were write-offs.

Kelly, the tradesman pointed out that the marsh could be augmented by the simple expedient of plugging the drain tile. Or, if it was desirable, damming the drainage ditch. Kelly also took on the task of mapping out who owned the larger tracts of land. If the owners lived in a different state, then the land would be up-for-grabs whether for squatters or for “common use”.

For his part Rick said that he would keep them supplied in food if things shut down. Even if that food was nothing more than cornmeal pancakes. That is when Tim offered the use of his utility vehicle to help in the delivery. A full-on quarantine would have people starving in their homes. A person can take a lot of cold if they have the clothing and the calories..

Other than a couple of chainsaws Rick and Kate had never loaded up on the motorized vehicles that defined rural life for many folks. They did not find it limiting because they fiddled around on a small scale and rented out the land for a neighbor to farm.

Next Installment

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