A Ten Pound Bag
Chapter 34: Blame it on Luna

Copyright© 2020 by Emmeran

I cut up enough wood for two days, and I’d continue to do that every day for the foreseeable future. Cutting wood and stacking it gives a person time to think; it’s not hard work and you do have to be careful, but it’s not rocket science. I began to get some ideas.

After the wood chore was handled I practiced with the drone a little more, and I discovered it had all sorts of features that I could use: minimum altitude, maximum altitude, return to base, set base. You could even preprogram it to take a video of an area at a certain time every day. Most of those features relied on GPS but it had a dead reckoning backup mode also, I’d have to rely on dead reckoning until we started getting GPS signals again. The backup mode had to be scripted manually but that was something I was very familiar with as an IT professional. Another benefit of winning the lottery: most people can’t afford to drop twenty-five thousand on a drone, but when I bought this I apparently spent the money and bought one designed for professional hunting guides. I still don’t remember buying that damn drone.

I did recall buying a road atlas. I went to the truck and grabbed the atlas and started plotting my search areas based on my assumed location. Most importantly, I thought that if I hit max altitude I could probably fly the drone far enough east to confirm the Missouri river was there. I could do the same flying west and confirm that the Nemaha river was there also. That would make me a lot more certain that we were in the same location. I’d have to recharge the drone between flights, but I could get both runs made today. As a side benefit I’d get the flight command output logs to help me to write my daily survey scripts.

I poured myself a cup of coffee, set out the drones base and took flight, heading east towards the Missouri. I found the river in just a few short minutes and still had plenty of charge, so I decided to see if I could find the town of Rulo just south-east of us.

There were only trees. I brought the drone back to the base to charge; I’d view the footage later with the women. Meanwhile, I had a lot to think about.

Matilda and Kordi had returned from where-ever they’d gone; by the basket of young greens she had, I assumed she had been out gathering. I went to my gun safe and pulled out my shotgun, and I was still cleaning and oiling it when Michelle turned up. She’d been down to the creek scoping it out and doing a little fishing; she even caught a small trout which was a very positive sign.

Michelle explained that she would normally have thrown one that size back, but she thought we’d all like to see it. We cleaned it and put it in the freezer. I told her that the Missouri river was still where we had left it last but I didn’t tell her about Rulo; I’d do that later tonight.

We had dinner leftovers for lunch. Sonya hadn’t come back yet, but Matilda let us know that she had taken Mila to her earlier.

After lunch we discussed our plans for the rest of day. Michelle intended to inventory our feed situation and take a look at the two fields of vegetables that we had available to us. I was told I needed to run some laundry line and bring out whatever I had for a clothes washing station.

I grimaced at the thought of washing clothes by hand but Michelle assured me, with Matilda’s silent backing, that Sonya was going to start pulling her weight around here. I resolved to keep myself to man business and work on some ideas about fencing the pasture; things were about to get rough around here on the female side of the world.

Michelle eyed my shotgun and asked if I had anything she could carry, I allowed that I had purchased a double-barrel also. We broke that out of storage, cleaned and oiled it and she loaded up with bird shot; I gave her a handful of shells to carry with her. I loaded my pump with two bird followed by two buckshot and then two slugs, I didn’t expect to see a deer but rabbits and ground birds were plentiful. I looked at Matilda and she just shook her head. I put my pistol back in the gun safe and locked it all up.

After we cleaned up lunch Matilda put one of the llamas on lead. She and Kordi wandered off down towards the stream with the llama in tow; it looked like it was training time for her llamas.

Michelle and I had Brin, and we saddled up to do a little exploring. I was taking Lunch out for the first time, and Michelle chose Mara over Cecile to keep the horses on a comfortable rotation. We led them over to the tack room and hung rifle scabbards from the saddles. Holstering the shotguns, we headed out to start the inventory of our available assets.

We started where the fence line broke and rode the line while I counted posts, Michelle was evaluating grazing grass and possible planting spots. Michelle took the lead and I trailed behind, Brin exploring around us as we went.

Michelle stopped and pulled her shotgun from the scabbard; Brin and I both instinctively froze in place. A moment later a large cotton tail broke from the tall grass racing towards the brush, Michelle’s shotgun went off with a mighty roar and the cotton tail tumbled mid-leap and lay quivering on the ground. Lunch on the other hand panicked and broke, we were suddenly going the opposite direction at breakneck speed. The stallion was fast but apparently wasn’t gun trained, and if I hadn’t been resting my hands on the pommel I would have been thrown the moment he bolted.

It took me about a hundred yards to bring him under control and it may have been the tree line that did then and not me. I got him calmed and we started walking back to Michelle who had dismounted to collect her harvest. We would have to make sure all of the animals were fully gun trained; some target practice might be in order. We finished up our inspection and headed back to the camp.

Sonya and Matilda were back when we arrived, Sonya merely sitting in a chair and staring at the fire. Matilda, on the other hand, was excited and showed off her take of a few tiny crayfish, a turtle egg and a hand full of spring berries. I knew that much like Michelle’s trout these were just examples to show us what food treasures the creek had for us. Matilda took the rabbit from Michelle with a grin, hung it from a branch on a small tree and put a bowl underneath it; she then cut the rabbit’s head off with one strong and practiced slice of her knife and let it hang to drain the blood into the bowl.

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