Yes. This post is about hamburgers. You have no idea how much I've missed them.
One of our scout teams (now my favorite scout team EVER) went about twenty miles away late last night looking for game. Somewhere in the rural area between here and Georgetown, they found a whole bunch of cows grazing in a herd. The team had taken a few of the heavy duty pickups. Cue maniacal laugh at the thought of delicious beef.
It wasn't hunting, really. The cows didn't even try to run. I kind of feel bad about that, being the animal fanatic that I am. All told, more than a dozen of them were killed using some of our precious bullets. The scout team butchered the cattle as well as they could in the field and loaded them up.
So today, there were lots of cuts of meat for people. I surprised myself by not really caring about steaks or anything fancy--I just wanted a burger. With cheese. We keep dairy cows, and some of the farmers make cheese. So that's what I got. I almost cried when I took my first bite, though it was sans condiments except for a few early tomato slices and some pickles that Jess brined herself. Delicious doesn't even begin to describe it.
Funny how a day spent eating fatty beef to fill the stomach seems to put smiles on a lot of faces. I can't remember the last time I saw so many people looking happy at one time. It's a fitting way for things to be on the eve of our trip to Tennessee.
I was hoping to have longer before we needed to go, but the council has been talking with the group that is asking to join us pretty much nonstop for the last two days. The consensus is that our mutual best interests would be served by going sooner rather than later. I can see the logic in it, since more people means more security, more hands to plant foodstuffs, etc. Then again, if the food stores and seed plants that the Tennessee group claims they have aren't accurate, taking them on could end up being a burden that the compound won't be able to bear.
I've heard some news in the last day that several of the groups of survivors we've been in touch with further south have been in talks to decide whether they should combine their numbers and try to expand the land they can cultivate. From what I've been able to gather, it seems like what we've been dealing with here at the compound is actually pretty typical for most of the large groups. With the easily acquired canned food running out or expiring and winter stores starting to thin out, many people all over are facing difficulties providing enough food. Of course, there are levels of survival to consider in that equation. People can live off very few calories, even to the point of severe malnutrition.
You don't want the guy guarding your perimeter weak from hunger, though. Nor do you want him to have to patrol it for twelve hours at a time because you can only provide solid meals for a limited number of people. There are a hundred little issues to consider when you ration meals, and a thousand more that matter when you throw in the immense danger we face. Making sure that dozens of people have enough to eat is hard. Ten times as hard when the numbers are in the hundreds.
North Jackson is a little over a thousand strong now. Maybe I should shoot them an email and see how they're doing with that...
At any rate, I had a lovely early lunch with my wife and a few friends. We talked about the trip, planned for it as best we could, and generally just enjoyed each other's company. Tomorrow, our path forward will get murky again, going down highways that none of us have driven since The Fall began. We'll probably go nuts trying to maneuver through abandoned cars. We'll almost certainly encounter swarms of zombies. We may face marauders, or natural disasters, or any number of other threats that we haven't thought of.
That's tomorrow, though. Right this second I intend on seeing if there are any burgers left. Then I might say goodbye to some folks I've spent too little time with, and make sure Pat will watch my animals while I'm away.
My poor baby chicken will miss us so much.
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