Another crisp, cool morning. I check the beef in the garage. It hasn't frozen. The water bottle outside has though. I switch it with the one in the cooler.
Husband and the Bigs will be working on the outhouse again today. They're cutting all the pieces with the chainsaw. We have a decent supply of nails and spikes, due mostly to the boys telling me we're out of things, when they haven't put the last bunch I bought away yet. Still, we'll need to be a little cheap with the supplies.
I dig the campfire 'toaster' out of the trailer, and we have toast for breakfast. We're low on water, but it feels like rain. We'll wait and see rather than going for water now.
I have crabapple catsup to finish today. I need to find something to occupy the Littles. They'll try to kill each other if left on their own all day. I decide to send them to Grandma's for water after all. They'll stop and visit there for awhile, and bring back a couple of pop bottles full of water from the spring. It'll keep them busy for a few hours anyway. Then maybe I can get started on that inventory in the cold room. I better check the freezers too.
I get the crabapple catsup set up alongside my canner on the woodstove. Before lunch I have 6 quarts of catsup cooling. Sandwiches for lunch again, but we're almost out of sandwich meat. It's
almost funny how we've gotten addicted to store bought convenience.
I'll have to start serving lunch- probably soup. Yeah, more cooking,
more dirty dishes.
Husband and the Bigs are pretty sure we'll be able to test out the outhouse before dark. Dark. Hmm... "How about a window?", I ask.
"Is that really necessary?", Husband looks annoyed.
"Well, I can pee in the dark, but you all have bad aim. And the Littles won't use it- they're afraid of the dark. Or were you planning to install hydro?". I can tell he doesn't appreciate my sarcasm.
Husband sends the Bigs to the window pile- it was there when we moved in. They find a small window that still has it's glass, bring it back to the outhouse, and they work on framing it in.
I look at the solar lights in the sunroom window. I'll need to make them less fragile, and able to sit up on their own. Or hang. They could hang in front of the window. I get out my spool of string and make several loops around the base of one of the lights. Then I work on wrapping string through the loops, over the top and back. It's not pretty when I finish, but it should work. I wrap a second one the same way. I'm not sure that the outhouse will need two, but I could hang one in the livingroom window. Then I decide to do all of them and hang them around the house. We had been carrying them around, bringing them back to the sunroom to charge through the day, but hopefully they'll get enough charge in the rooms they're in to stay put.
I finally get started on the food storage inventory. I light a candle in the coldroom. The solar lights might keep you from stubbing your toes, but they don't work well for writing.
I count 60 quarts of beets, 52 quarts of dill pickles, 49 pints of salsa, 15 pints of yellow beans, 9 quarts of cabbage, and 24 pasta sauce. If I count each jar as a serving for 6, and we eat 1 serving per day, we're good for 209 days. That would get us through til spring. If I count each jar as one serving for 6. So much for 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
There are other things too, of course. Lots of jams, jellies, juices, condiments. They'll help. And of course the buckets of carrots, the squash and pumpkins, but only 35 pounds of potatoes. We'll have rice for awhile, too, but I guess I better start alternating potatoes every third meal, rice every third meal, and one meal with neither. I look at the buckets of mangels and wonder how they'd work as a potato substitute. But then I wouldn't have anything for the cows in the spring.
I grab a jar of beets, a jar of pickles, and a bag of rice and go back upstairs.
I haven't been too worried about the freezers, since things are staying frozen. I know I froze 30 bags of green beans, and 25 of yellow beans. There's a basket of other mixed veggies as well- cabbage, pumpkin, rhubarb, turnip- 25 bags. Another 80 servings.
I'll have to bake with fruit, but that's nothing new. How long will 70 kg of flour last? With no potatoes to fill those hungry bellies? We have to get potatoes. I just can't see any other way around it.
Husband and the Bigs are just finishing the outhouse door when I go outside with the solar light on a string. I hang it up above the window. We need a toilet seat. We could take the one in the house off, but I'd rather not. Mom and Dad have an old toilet that hasn't made it to the dump yet. I decide to walk over and see if it still has the seat.
Mom has the Littles bringing in firewood when I get to their place. She fed them lunch. She's in a much better mood. Brother and Sil couldn't get through to the girls on the phone. They're very worried. I feel sick. I wish they had come with their parents. Otherwise everyone's fine.
Brother and Sil want to cut some firewood for their camp. They're almost out, and they could be here for awhile. I tell them to go ahead and cut anything close, save fuel for the chainsaws rather than hauling wood from farther away. There's a pile of older stuff left from logging years ago. If they mix it in with greener wood it should keep them going for awhile.
I find the toilet and borrow tools from Dad to take the seat off. I tell the Littles we should head home, and mom says, "Take those bags". I look over and see she has two big bags filled with dandelions. Mom's a little weird with dandelions and the lawn. We usually feed her diggings to the cows, but I'll pick through this batch and cut the roots off to roast. That'll stretch the coffee and tea. We head home with the Littles each carrying a bag.
There's a mob of people coming up the road. I tell the Littles to drop the bags and run back and tell Grandpa. I wait at the end of their drive as the people get closer. Dad and Brother join me with guns. The people start yelling before I can see them clearly, "We come in peace".
We yell back, "Why? What do you want?"
"We're looking for a friend who lives around here. Do you know Husband?" I can see it's a man and a woman with a bunch of kids now. Oh.
"Diego?" I call out.
"Yeah, hi!", he yells and starts running towards us. I can see him clearly now. I tell Dad and Brother it's ok.
I introduce them when they get there. Diego is Husband's friend from work. People are looting in the city, and they decided it was time to leave. They walk home with the Littles and I.
Husband is happy to see them, glad they made it to our place. We tell them they can use the trailer and add-a-room for now. They don't have any food with them, but brought guns, ammo, and crossbows. The 4 older kids are each carrying a backpack with clothes, sleeping bags, and pillows. Diego and Nira have back packs and duffel bags. They brought their lab, Tank with them too. Their smaller dog disappeared before they left the city. I wonder to myself if someone ate it.
They were upset to leave their food storage- enough for a couple of months- and home, but just didn't feel safe there anymore.
I haven't started supper yet, so I rummage in the freezer for something quick, and decide hot dogs will have to do. The kids are all happy with that, but I don't want to use up half of the remaining potatoes to go with them, so that's all I serve. Everyone gets 4 hot dogs on bread, with toppings, but that's it. No one complains.
We chat for awhile, then everyone goes to bed.
Husband and I talk about the food storage. I tell him we would have probably been ok until spring, but with 7 extra people... I was already worried about potatoes. I ask him to get the horse cart put together, and get Tori working. We need to see the potato man.
I go to sleep worrying about food, firewood, and heat. This could be a really long winter.