It was nice catching up with Treesong yesterday, wasn't it?
I'm back now, and our trip was well worth the fuel we used. We stayed gone all of yesterday as well, because the cache we found was quite a lot richer than we thought. It was at an old country store, the kind that small towns still have. The kind that sell bulk goods, in this case a lot of it produced by the local Amish communities.
Getting inside was a little tricky. Like most survivors, we've become very good at drawing crowds of zombies away from where we want to be. With the recent discovery of the affect of ammonia on the zombie population, that task got a lot easier. Even more so since someone had the bright idea to rig up a canister of the stuff with some pressurized air to make a little aerosol bomb. One of those cleared out the whole parking lot and lot the store sat on. All we had to do was wait for the wind to shift in the right direction.
Of course, we don't have a lot of it to use. Most of what we brought with us from North Jackson has been used up, and it wasn't a lot. We can make more from urine, but we get a relatively small return on the volume needed.
So, we got in to the store, and it was ideal. Someone had used it as a dump for a lot of supplies, then locked it up tight. I'm not really surprised that no one has raided it yet, given how deep in the country it is and the fact that it's hidden by a lot of trees. We were very, very lucky to get to it before someone else did.
Inside we found a fair amount of dry goods; grain and rice, mostly, enough to give us a little breathing room back at the compound. The larger part of what was stored there were items that will be very, very useful--bows and arrows. I guess someone was thinking about using the store as a base and decided to stock up on whatever they could find. It's a godsend, really, because the few people we have that can make a decent bow and good arrows are overworked and can barely keep up with our need for them. The ones in the store were mostly compound bows with aluminum arrows, which will be a nice addition to the ones we already have.
This means we can send hunting parties out in a larger area without jeopardizing the safety of the people at the compound by losing too many vital weapons needed to man the walls. That's a very good thing, since the hunting closes to the compound is scarce. I think that's a combination of the constant swarms of zombies that seem willing to attack animals now, and the fact that we hunt almost daily. Being able to cover a larger area is going to do wonders for our supplies of fresh meat to eat and make jerky with.
It looks like our immediate concerns over food have been eased somewhat. We're still going to be running on short rations when possible, but no one will be starving by the time we've got veggies to harvest.
Over the weekend, my brother started training a few new people in how to do the job he and I share at present. Like any skill, coordinating resources and planning projects isn't for everyone--Jess is running into this problem with teaching more people how to make chain mail and some of her other skills. Some folks just don't have the knack for it. Fortunately the people Dave brought in actively want to do the work I do, so they are really trying to learn all the aspects of the job. We're not getting a lot of time in with them just yet, since we're still running short on people to fill all the spots we need to get work done. The three trainees came on their own free time to learn--and that says a lot for them.
I'm worried that we're going to have a rough time with the zombie population around here before very long. Things have been quiet here lately--at least, no big attacks--but I have to think that at least part of that is because so many of them have been slowed by the cold, which still hits us in fits and bursts. I'm not all that concerned about the compound itself, really, but more for the loads of people going back and forth between here and the farms, as well as the scouts. My experience at the rest area up north with that damn smiling zombie taught me a hard lesson--smarties will watch you, learn from you, and even (god help us) anticipate you. I'm certain that he was waiting under our car because he watched me staring at it, trying to figure out a way to get to it. He saw my desire to make it to the SUV and figured out that his best chance to get me would be to hide there.
That's not just intelligence, it's actually clever. Clever zombies scare me, because a clever zombie will watch our activities, see the pattern in how we move people, and strike when the opportunity presents itself. I've seen the smarties in action before. I won't underestimate them.
Still, I'm a living person with full possession of his faculties. I'm also smart and clever myself, so I think I can bend my efforts toward outfoxing a bunch of (relatively) smart dead people. I can anticipate them, too. My real worry is that they'll wait for some break in our routine as we ferry people back and forth, a broken axle or something, and then hit the group in force. At that point, there isn't a lot you can do. Though, I do have a few ideas...
Mom always used to tell me to work on one problem at a time. I wish I could do that, but there are just too many of them. Our trainees might be able to help out a bit, though, which is nice. Problem solving is a huge part of this job, and if it isn't a skill they have, it might not be the right choice for them.
Jeez, you know what? Tomorrow I'm gonna try to post something a little different. It's been so humdrum on here lately due to the hard time all of us have had. I haven't had much of a chance to write anything really interesting, or really had time to put thought toward things like I have before. Maybe tomorrow I can give you a different perspective. I like writing posts on here that use our daily lives to illustrate something important about us and how this last terrible year has changed us. I hate being so hungry, worn out, and tired that I can't do more than just relay the events that have transpired without giving you something deeper. Stupid zombies. Stupid soldiers. You've taken my friends, family, freedom, and home.
Don't take my writing, too...