Jess has been working her ass off with the agriculture side of things for a while. Really, she's been keeping busy (aside from recuperating from injuries) pretty much since the onset of the zombie plague. Her weird assortment of skills and knowledge, gained from years of being obsessively curious about things like making chainmail and how to make fabric from scratch, have been as invaluable to us as they are unusual for any one person to possess.
As most of you know, she spent a lot of time teaching other people those skills and sharing her wide range of knowledge. It's almost like she was just getting that out of the way so she could work on farming full-time, because my lovely wife has found an area in which she doesn't just shine, she burns like the sun.
Keep in mind that in the time New Haven has existed, tracking and running all the different elements of our farming and food supply needs in general has been a nightmare. With Jess in charge, the system has become streamlined and efficient. What really blew me away was learning that with just what we can grow inside New Haven's walls (including the annex), we'll be able to meet eighty percent of our food requirements.
That's more than we expected. About twenty percent more. Remember that we send out hunting parties regularly, and that the whitetail population in this state has exploded since The Fall and continues to grow. We expected about twenty percent of our needs to be met with wild game. Then there's the tons upon tons of edible greens sprouting up all over town and in the county. That was intended to make up the difference. So, boom. Extra food.
Of course, we're sure that the wild greens growing around town, along with a few large plots of fruits and veggies we've spread about town, will suffer from the old standby: zombie trample. That's something not a lot of us thought about in the early days, but the undead are hell on things that grow. The huge swarm that nearly wiped us out all those months ago destroyed the crops we'd cultivated just by moving though them.
Which brings me to the whole point of this post: Jess is smarter and more practical than the rest of us put together. I've been so busy with worrying about the New Breed, the Beaters, the Exiles, the politics of trade, and the dozen other hats I wear that I missed the fact that my pragmatic wife has managed to solve one of the most basic needs we've got.
Remember our outpost in Bald Knob? Yeah, in the midst of all the other things going on, a lot of us didn't either. Jess did. Through deal-making and wheedling in her sweet voice, and smiling with her adorable girl face, she managed to convince the folks in charge of the different aspects of New Haven to lend her extra people to go to Bald Knob.
This has been going on for a while. Since a few days after we left on our trip. So, six months as a round number. In that time, when the weather agreed, those extra folks have been helping expand the area of farmland in Bald knob. They've hunted down and spread seeds for clover and other foods we can grow in the open. They spent most of the winter, during the warmer days (which were plentiful here) preparing the ground for new planting.
Oh, and they build a greenhouse the size of a house. With all the clearing going on there was plenty of wood and brush to heat it with. Thousands of seedling plants grown in trays, just waiting to be put in the ground. How much extra food does Jess estimate the crews at Bald Knob have or will have ready to send here?
Enough to meet fifty percent of our needs. Just from that one place.
So, yeah. Jess is awesome. While the rest of us worried about other things, admittedly important things, she took care of business. She did it with minimal staff, no official title, and a boatload of initiative. What this massive amount of excess edibles means is that we can bring in new people without fear of starving ourselves out, which has several implications. Like being able to better secure ourselves, work on the expansion, and the like.
Tonight we're having a dinner in Jess's honor at my house. For her work, obviously, but also simply for who she is. When I freaked out at the report she handed me, detailing all this information, she just shrugged. To her it's nothing special. She just did what needed to be done to the best of her ability. I think I married a superhero without knowing it.