Lisa and Sally come up for breakfast this morning. Lisa returns the hatchet and trades it for an axe. She has most of the stubs flattened off now, and needs an axe to spit kindling. She'll need to keep working on firewood as well, since there's not enough back there cut to last the winter. She helps the boys with chores, and me with the dishes. She's never been afraid of hard work, and it's good to have her around.
The girls come to get the Littles and the wagon to go to school. Sally asks if she can go too. Lisa is a little concerned about them being separated, but I assure her Sally will be safe. #1 goes with them and takes the .22. He'll go hunting while they're at school.
#2 gets the smaller cart ready with Tori, and helps me load laundry. I take one of my big stock pots as well, since it's too cold to use water from the creek. We put four of the chickens in a cage and take them and a bale of hay with us as well.
I take the water filter off the tub at the creek. It's frozen solid, and they'll need it in the cabin. I use some baler twine to tie it to the wall inside, and set the stock pot below. Once we've filtered enough water through, it goes on the stove top to heat. I empty the oldest of the lye water buckets into the tub, dump the ashes, and refill it with ashes from the stove. Lisa scooped them out with her hands this morning, but she'll need a shovel and a metal bucket for future use.
#2 sets up a little chicken pen with another log cabin coop for the birds. The thin layer of snow keeps them from being able to feed well, but I notice a piece of rotting firewood that's full of trails at the end. Lisa splits it open, and we toss it in to the pen. Full of ants, it'll feed the chickens well for today. We cut a pine branch for them, and toss in a flake of hay. They should be ok for a few days. I tell Lisa that they're hers now, so she'll have to forage feed for them every day.
#2 takes the cart and goes back to the house. He and Husband are going to see Diego and Nira.
When the water has boiled, I pour a bit into one of the laundry buckets, fill the coffee pot, and take the rest out to the tub. Lisa washes the bucket with a bit of lye water, and rinses it out. That'll be their drinking water storage. She takes in another bucket of water from the creek to filter and boil. She puts a pine needle branch in the coffee pot on the stove to steep.
I'm almost done my laundry when she comes outside to the tub. It's too cold to be too picky about how clean the laundry is, and we seem to change clothes less and less frequently these days, so there's not a lot to do, mostly just socks and underwear. We add more lye water to the tub and start on Lisa's things. Sil arrives with a basket of laundry to wash as well. I think they've met before, but I introduce them anyway. Lisa hangs her things on the line, while Sil and I leave ours in baskets to go home.
The second pot of water has boiled, the bucket to drink is filled, and a third bucket is filtered and put on the stove to boil. I bring in another stump to sit on, and we drink our pine needle tea and chat.
The drafts in the cabin are really bad. The bucket of clay is warm and gooey, so we fill chinks in the walls. Once it's empty, we refill the bucket and take it in to defrost. We wash up in the bath tub, then drain the water out.
Husband and #2 arrive. Diego has started a little hobby, making bows and arrows from a pile of PVC pipe he found in one of the sheds. Husband has brought one with him, a gift. Diego thinks they'll make good trade items. I think it's great, and perfect timing, too. We leave the bow with Lisa. It's the only weapon she has. She shouldn't need it for protection, no one is likely to be wandering that far back in the woods, but if she practices and becomes a decent shot she might be able to get a few birds or a fox with it. I'd like at least three more for the Bigs and I. It would save ammunition for hunting. I'll have to think about something to trade with them.
We load the laundry and go to Brother and Sil's. Brother has been busy hunting, and has two fox skins nailed to the side of the cabin. He's feeding the meat to their chickens. I think that's great. That'll help with the predator situation, as well as the chicken feed. He's gotten some partridge and a couple of rabbits. He's also built shelves in front of the window. Sil wants to plant something in the window. She's got a bucket of dirt that she dug up before the freeze, but needs some pots and seeds.
We go back to our place. Sil hangs my laundry for me. I get a bunch of pots from the garden shed. I had wanted to start some kale in the house, but hadn't been motivated enough to get it done. No time like the present.
I sort through my stash of seeds and pick out kale, swiss chard and lettuce. We each plant a pot full of each. Then I plant an extra set for Diego and Nira. Hopefully they'll provide enough fresh greens to keep us all through the winter. We take Sil home, then Lisa and I go back to the cabin to put up some shelves in front of the window.
Everyone returns from school. Sally had a fun day. It's the first time she's been out with other kids since the blackout started. #1 got two partridge on his hunting trip. He saw a couple of friends from school, and they made plans to go ice fishing together as soon as the lakes freeze.
Lisa and Sally stay for supper with us again, then walk back to the cabin. I am really tired, considering I didn't really do that much today. I have a bit of a chill, but it's probably from the laundry. I go to bed early.