We're going to town today. First our village, then Rivertown. We're hoping we can make some kind of deal with our old hay man. It's a bit of a jaunt, but we can use the horses to haul the hay back to the house.
Pancakes for breakfast, stew on the stove for lunch.
We stop at Mom and Dad's and drop off bread. We take their empty jerry cans, along with our own.
We stop at Diego and Nira's to see how they're doing. The injured pony is all healed up, so they decide to join us. The boys stay there with the kids.
In our village we go to the library to exchange books. I pick through the selection and fill a box with books I've already read. I look up at the wall and see someone has added to my weed list. More than one person, there's three different sets of handwriting. I read over it quickly. I'll have to bring a pencil and paper with me next time so I can copy these new finds.
We go to the store, mostly just to chat. There isn't much news. Someone made the trip to Southern City and back. Supplies are running low everywhere. More people have left and headed south. They think there will be some kind of government relief closer to the cities. Someone brought back potatoes from the potato man. Most of the fields have been dug now. Others brought a load of wheat and a load of turnips from another farmer. There are more pumpkins lined on the shelves as well.
The community center has been opened up and left open. There's a collection of library books there, some board games and cards, and toys for the kids. They're using the community kitchen to feed the townsfolk who can't feed themselves. Everyone has to bring in something to add to the pot, but everyone gets fed and boredom gets alleviated. Some of the parents are teaching classes there as well.
We go to check out the community center. There are kids of all ages playing, reading, doing school work. A lady greets us and gives us a tour. Nira would like to send the kids to school, but she's not sure how she'd get them there everyday. The lady says to just bring them whenever they can. It's all very informal.
We find a few cars with fuel on the way to Rivertown. We go into the library, where the librarian is actually working. She says she doesn't have much else to do anyway. I trade the box of books for a new selection. She gets me a second box full as well. Rivertown used to run our village library, but it was closed due to budget cuts. They still have boxes of books in the basement that were never sorted or put away.
We go downtown, and see people milling about everywhere. The grocery store and hardware store are both open, running bartering type business. The grocery store shelves are nearly empty of non-perishables, though there is one shelf filled with mostly home canned goods and the meat cooler is filled with assorted home butchered meats. Like the store in our village, the shelves have filled with pots, utensils, clothing, furnishings and such.
At the hardware store we see more of the same. That's the real reason everyone should shop local. I doubt Walmart's store managers are even showing up, let alone running a barter business to help people survive.
The school is open in town, all ages, all religions, bilingual. There are parents teaching classes, as well as two of the actual teachers who live in town.
The hospital is open, though the doctors are gone. The nurses who live in town are taking turns treating patients.
The community center is open. A community kitchen is set up, with the same rules of everyone contributing getting fed. Tables set up with board games, puzzles and cards. There's a sign on the door advertising a dance for Saturday night. That would be fun, but it's a long way to travel in the night.
We go to see the hay man. He would be willing to trade hay for diesel. Right now he has no way to load the hay and has had to fence his cattle in around it to feed them. We'll have to look for transports that still have diesel in them.
On the way back we stop at a house that used to have refurbished horse pulled equipment for sale. The man there already has enough orders for hay cutters to keep him busy until spring. He doesn't have enough parts to build everything people are asking for, but if we can take the side cutter off the tractor, the seat, find some decent wheels and lumber, he might be able to make it work- for half a cow.
When we leave there we decide we'll take a trip to see the Hutterites before we make a decision on that.
Back in our village we unload the books at the library, then go back to the community center. I tell the lady who gave us the tour about the dance in Rivertown. She writes up a sign and puts it on the door. I ask her to put up another sign, asking local musicians if they'd be interested in playing at a dance here. She thinks that's a great idea.
We leave Diego and Nira at their place, pick up the boys and leave. We drop fuel off to Mom and Dad. Brother, Sil, and the girls are there. We share the news from town with them.
The girls are interested in going to school- not as students, but as teachers. We'd need to build another horse cart and teach them how to drive, but they could pick up the Littles and all the kids and take them all to school everyday.
Everyone is interested in the dance. It would give us all a chance to get out and do something. I hope people volunteer to play in our village. It would be so much easier!
Back at home the boys put Samson and the cart away and do chores. It's well past lunch already, so we decide to eat the stew for supper and call it a day. We play monopoly until bedtime.