It's been a long time, eh?
I've been fighting the urge to sit down at this laptop and crank out something here in this word processor for some time now. It's hard, amazingly so. So very long I sat with this little remnant of technology in front of me and swore and swore about how much I hated it, and all the time it took from my life, and how much of a burden it was, and all that horseshit.
But sitting here, putting words back on this strange, electronic white page, I feel good. A little guilty that I'm not doing the things that have taken over my life of late, but still, I feel good.
There's a LOT to cover Mr. Journal. I know I won't remember it all, but I'll write what comes to mind, and hopefully that's enough for you to feel less alone, sans all the love Abby has hopefully been sending your way.
Speaking of which, I sincerely hope that she has been writing. I initially handed my laptop (this laptop) to her in the hopes she'd just take over and keep writing. Making files one after another like I did, but after a few days, she handed me this machine back and was all like, "Thanks Adrian, but I'll use my laptop."
I caught of whiff... of arrogance. I think she's a Mac user. Nothing against Mac users, but they frequently have an air of elitism that makes me want to fist them. You use a computer, just like I do, now get over the make and model and just use the damn thing. Or I get the Ben Gay.
Funny to say "You use a computer just like I do."
We... don't really use computers at all. Lots and lots of writing by hand. Graph paper has become a staple here at Bastion. We use it for everything it seems. The only computer use is the security systems, and the few folks that absolutely NEED to use a computer to play a game or whatnot. I wonder how many more people here at Bastion are writing journals just like me? I'd bet quite a few.
Let's talk next about basic logistics, supplies, and needs as we head closer and closer to another winter. Winter scares us a lot. Despite us doing very well on food and general supplies, staying warm, and ensuring that our food harvest lasts will keep us up late no matter what. I think from here on out, for a very long time winters will be very scary. Fighting zombies was one thing, but waging war against mother nature is an entirely different matter altogether. I'm glad now we are only fighting one at a time. We have accomplished a few things to make our live a lot more tolerable though.
Not long after my last entry, and our shit visit to the city, things have settled down appreciably. The biggest change of all is the entire lack of undead anywhere. No zombies, anywhere to be seen. When I put a bullet through Cassie's head, forgive me, they all dropped to the ground, and that was it. Like a fucking switch got turned off. We've seen none since, which has been a real frigging blessing. Life has gotten much easier, and moving around and finding salvaged goods is now a commonplace, easy task to accomplish.
Going house to house still requires increased vigilance over what I'd describe as pre-zombie days. Not as much as when the living dead were out and about, but still more than "usual." We're more worried about bumping into new survivors, and dealing with rot, and subsequent disease.
Yeah, rot. I think we're largely past the worst of it now, but initially in March through about late May, we were absolutely fucking overwhelmed by the quantity of dead bodies that suddenly started rotting all over. Do you remember when I said that the undead weren't rotting? I think while animated they had something to them that prevented the vast majority of decay from kicking in. I think that same property kept them from freezing solid all winter too. That same property also prevented the spread of disease off of their corpses as well. Remember the stories of how the second massive waves of death came from the spread of disease? Well, we were fortunate enough to dodge deaths from sickness, but I'm sure across the world others weren't as lucky as us.
When they all dropped dead though, shazam, rot, decay, pestilence, you name it all came back with a motherfucking vengeance. Houses were beyond horrid. The City was entirely off limits the entire summer. A self imposed quarantine. We've only just this week started braving the edge of it again. Our friends over at Spring Meadows have been huge in getting supplies gathered from that edge of the City. Everyone over at the Factory has been a godsend as well. They're in a far more industrial region of town, and with their access to factories and raw materials that previously weren't really an option, we've been able to accomplish far more in the way of technological... recovery.
We got exceptionally lucky mid June when the Factory people encountered a trio of fellow survivors nearby. They met on friendly terms, and after a week of staying touch, the new folks moved into a building down the street, then finally into the Factory itself. Two of the three are here at Bastion now.
The two we have here are a husband and wife in their mid fifties. Fletcher and Annie Thomas. Fletcher was a veterinarian before the end, and Annie worked at a magnet company. She has a degree in electrical engineering. They were on vacation visiting some relatives in this neck of the woods when the shit hit the fan. Fletcher has added considerable experience to our medical capabilities, as well as to Ollie and Melissa's farming ventures. Our cows will be much better off, as are our chickens, our six goats, eleven sheep, and the three horses we've managed to find running wild. They're a very nice addition to our transportation needs, though I'm still too scared to ride one of them.
Horses scare me. Call me a pussy. I dare you.
Annie has a lot of good, basic electrical and engineering experience. She's done a shitload of research into bio diesel, and we're already several months into her building a substantial bio diesel plant in one of the staff houses in the ass end of campus. It's not technically in the house per se, but at the house, and the house is her office. We've spent half our damn efforts scouring the world around us for all the materials she needs to get it going.
But she assures me that by Halloween, we'll be in production of bio diesel. The fuel truck that Kevin and company brought with them has been an incredible boon clearly, as has all the other fuel sources we've been able to acquire, but it's getting lower and lower faster and faster due to our increased travels to acquire shit here and there, especially seeing how we're moving much further than home than ever before. I can't even begin to describe to you how incredible it was for us to hit the City library, and pillage it for science texts.
Reminder: winter is coming.
Bio diesel will solve our fuel problem for the vehicles, as well as our fuel issues for the generators for the different dorms. Annie has been helpful converting them over. Plus, we were able to hit the DOTs in the surrounding larger towns, and get our hands on the industrial generators, which luckily enough ran on diesel already. I don't understand the science of it all but things are working out. She also has plans to build us a hydroelectric generator on the river, but that will be several years of work, and we haven't even begun that yet. I'm excited for the future, and that has been a very long time coming.
Speaking of bio diesel and Ollie, we've increased our food production. Well, fuel production. Ollie has put effort into translating a large amount of our available farming area, especially that area outside the Bastion walls to growing soybeans. They have great nutritional value, and they are one of the more efficient plants to turn into bio fuel, so Annie and several texts on the matter say. Ollie has ZERO experience growing soybeans though, so I imagine this will be trial and error for a season or two while he gets things ironed out.
In addition to the soybeans, the simple fact that we have all the available farming land now available to us, means we've expanded our fields. We planted a fucking TON of corn this year, as well as squash, pumpkins, zucchini, lettuce, cabbage, etc. Our barn here at Bastion wasn't nearly large enough for all our animals too, so we moved the lambs and goats to the barn on Jones Road. We are eating well, and are canning a lot too. I think we will have enough food to last winter, but with all the new mouths to feed…
Thirty new in total here at Bastion, twelve at the Factory, and six at Spring Meadow. Without going into excessive and needless detail, we're now using all the dorms here, and they've all been upgraded with wood stoves, as well as fresh generators. I simply cannot overstate how much easier it is to get around and find things when the threat of attack by zombies is nil or next to it. Right now we get more excited when we find a gallon of bleach than when we find boxes of ammunition.
That's not to say we haven't had our dangerous encounters. I'd say every three weeks or so we're shot at as we move about. We've run into two small settlements that I'd describe as being "openly disinterested" in any kind of contact from us. One is set up at an old junkyard, and numbers somewhere between fifteen and thirty, and the other is based out of a large National Guard base. Not sure what their headcount is, but I'm guessing it is around twenty. Their building isn't that big, and our recon shows they have fairly small fields for food growing. They're in opposite directions, and are approximately an hour's drive away.
Both encounters were nearly the same. We rolled in with our travel group of humvees and box truck or military tow truck, and immediately warning shots come across our way. We stopped, took up defensive positions, identified the source of fire, and as we were about to return it, they yelled at us to leave, and we yelled back. Luckily, enough diplomacy happened at both places that no one got hurt, but we've been ice cold ever since. We send a small patrol to both places every month to touch base to make sure all is well, but that's the extent of it. We stay on top of our defenses, ensure that all adults are either armed, or capable to use a firearm quickly, and god help them if they come for us. Our anger has diminished, but our accuracy has not.
Our new people are from all over. We've actually lost ten of the existing folks from Bastion that you knew about, and we've picked up forty, hence the +30 number. As folks leave and encounter new people, they are spreading the word of Bastion and all that we offer, and some of those who hear of us, are coming. We offer a considerable place to stay, and all you have to do is hold up your end of the work. Heartwarming and shit.
What else? I've got a million things to write down here and I can't quite focus enough to hit the bigguns. No one has died here since March. NO ONE. We've been lucky. Beyond lucky really if you spend any time thinking about it.
Babies! Ollie and Melissa are pregnant again. They're due sometime in February, I think. Patty and Mike are trying to have a baby, once openly in the Hall E common room at night (much to my dismay) but the age issue keeps coming up. Blake and Kim are expecting again, and their turd drops sometime around Christmas. I'm fairly certain that Abby and Harold are only months away from announcing their conception too. Abby asked me one day if it would be weird if she asked Harold to name a potential son Gavin. I told her that man deserved a child named after him, and if she wanted, I'd talk to Harold about it. She smiled, and that was the end of it.
Two couples in the new forty are due as well, one within a few weeks, and the other in about two months. If all goes well, we'll be plus four more little bouncing bundles of vomit, poop and tears.
I mean that in a good way.
Michelle and I are not expecting, despite our attempts to the contrary. We stopped using protection a few months ago, mostly due to the fact that there is a rather dwindling supply of condoms out there. Michelle isn't getting any younger, nor am I, and we figure of all the couples that are out there in the world, we're about as good as any to have a baby.
Mr. Journal, I think I love her. I can say that pretty comfortably today, many, many months after the whole Cassie thing. I think I was starting to love her before then too, but denial slows things down, and if anything, I'm stubborn as fuck.
Yeah I love her. It's good.
Not sure what else to say here. School is going great, the farm is growing things as fast as could be expected, our cows are good, the chickens are laying eggs, there are no zombies around, and the assholes that are still living are doing a good job of not killing us at will. I spend all my days working on building a large second barn here for our animals. It's near the first barn we built last year, and I've got a great tan to show for all my work. We should be done with the new stables sometime in late October, barring setbacks. I said that strictly for the Jinx Fairy. I'm on to you, you lousy bitch.
It's not all bad.
Maybe I'll post again soon when the urge strikes me. This was nice.