The Beginning – moving right along to chapter 5

The cover for my first novel, Book 1 of a Trilogy.

The cover for my first novel, Book 1 of a Trilogy.

Chapter 5
I get up and head down for the wood lot as soon as I wake up this morning. Lots of space to fill, now. After falling and limbing a couple of hours, I went home and had some breakfast. Then took the pickup back down to start hauling. Noah was gone when I went by his place so I figured he must have to work during the week. I cut, hauled and stacked, all day.
About the time I figured I better stop or drop, Noah pulled in and jumped out of his truck. He reached back in for 2 carry out containers and came over offering one to me. He said there was a small stand near the road and he figured since I had been feeding him he would return the favor. He didn’t know what I would like, so had got me a club hoagie with chips and a huge pickle. I was wondering what I was going to fix for dinner.
He said they had the same attitude I had on getting public utilities out here. He didn’t know how good business was for them, as they had some interesting signs out by the highway, very much like mine. I told him that was where I had gotten the idea for some of mine. One of these days I was going to stop and introduce myself, but figured they would feel a lot like I do about newcomers in the area.
They sure did make good sandwiches though. He said they also offered some hot sandwiches but due to regulations, they could only offer microwave hot food. Well, this would give me a good excuse to go introduce myself, since I was a “newcomer” of sorts, only having lived here about 5 years now. They probably felt about me the same as I felt about the newer newcomers. Maybe my waiting a while to stop by, would be in my favor. After we finish eating, I grab the containers and head for the trash, “Doing the Dishes, since you supplied.”
We were both too tired for a late evening of visiting, so shortly after eating, we went our separate ways and some sleep. He wasn’t a bad neighbor.
The days passed quickly, wood cutting, gardening and repairing damage from the winter filled my days. Noah and I shared a few meals, but he had work to do and so did I.
I needed to take my bear hide and skull in to F&G to get it sealed before 30 days was up, so figured I would go in a couple of days. I rough cleaned the skull and packed it in salt so it wouldn’t stink. The hide I had already fleshed and salted, so it was okay. The hams were in brine, curing to be smoked and the loins, we had eaten as roast and steaks although I don’t think the neighbors had any idea they were helping eat the bear they watched me kill and butcher.
I found a nice stand of alder, so fell a few nice large shrubs and peeled. These would make a nice smoke for the hams. The shoulders were in the brine as picnic hams, and 4 cured smoked hams would last a good long time.
After checking the hams in brine, they looked fairly well cured, so I hung them to drip dry and checked the smokehouse. It needed some cleaning out and I brought out the charcoal grill I used in there as a source of smoke. I started a good small fire in it, to get a bed of coals to put the green alder on and let it burn outside the smokehouse. I had some cheesecloth bags I sewed up a while back and put each piece of meat in it’s own bag. By this time they had dried and had a glazed looking surface. So I hung them from the cross bars in the smokehouse, put the green alder pieces on the glowing coals in the grill and rolled it back inside and put the lid on it, tightly. A top vent and a bottom vent would keep it from choking out and it let out enough smoke to haze the air in the smokehouse. A few pieces of peeled green birch would add some good flavor, later.
I added some wood just before I went to bed that night. The smokehouse was smelling good. I sure hoped that had been the only bear in the area right now. I planned on leaving early the next morning and really didn’t want to have the smokehouse raided.
I loaded the trash into the pickup and tarped and netted the whole load. No need to scatter it along the way in. The roadside looked bad enough with out adding to it.
When I woke up, I grabbed something to eat on the way and a bottle of water. Then stoked the smokehouse fire again and shut it down to smolder. The meat was looking pretty good now and soon would have enough smoke for good flavor and to inhibit the growth of assorted undesirables.
I pocketed the little vial of gold I had panned out during breakup to sell in town. I wanted to stock up on a few items. I grabbed a couple of pet carriers, just in case.
I slowed as I passed the driveway where the snack shack was located. The signs were easy to spot, even the ones for the business. The Hit & Run Snack Shack. Hmmm, wonder what that represents? Too early to stop in now, as they open from noonish until 7-ish. Yes, we should get along fine. Looks like they pay as much attention to the time as I do. Ooooo they have ice cream. I will plan on stopping in on my way home instead of some drive through in town.
I’m waiting for the guy when he opens the door for turning in the bear at F&G office. He fills out the paperwork and pulls a tooth from the skull, then measures it. Then the tags are fastened to the skull and hide and I am good to go. Now I can finish cleaning the skull and tan the hide.
Next stop is to sell the gold and see what I will be able to buy on this trip. I get quite a surprise, the price has gone way up. So maybe I will stop by the feed store and check out the chicks and some feed for them. That is something I have been wanting to do.
I’m in luck, they still have some and they are growing well. I pick out some Barred Rock and some Orpingtons, get some feed and load the chicks into one pet carrier. They get the back seat of the pickup. The feed goes under the tarp in the back.
I stop at the fuel supply and fill the 2 drums in the back, with gas and add some Pri-G from the boat shop. This will go the farthest back in the woodshed.
Then it is on to the water wagon to fill up the water barrels and my pickup is starting to look loaded.
The member warehouse is next, to get some #10 cans of dried and canned foods. I stock up on diced tomatoes to re-can at home and to make other things with, like spaghetti sauce as it is never a sure thing to grow enough fresh tomatoes to supply all I want for the year. I see that they also have powdered tomatoes on hand, so get a couple cans of those, also. Powdered eggs, flour, sugar, salt, cooking oil, shortening, yeast, baking powder, baking soda, powdered milk, tea, chocolate, and a bag of rice pretty much rounds out my shopping there.
Then on to a regular grocery store to stock up on odds and ends. Fels Naptha soap, washing soda and borax will make gallons of laundry soap.
I find a good sale on TP so get a lot of that until I am afraid I may not be able to put much more on my pickup load. The inside is almost as stuffed as the bed and I am glad I have the tarp and net to hold everything on with a bungee cord here and there to reinforce it.
As I come out of the store, a guy is standing at the door with a beautiful big dog. He has a sign he is writing out, free dog. The dog looks at me and grins, yes, he grins. I kneel down and he puts out his paw to shake. I am sunk. The guy says his name is Pal, he is well behaved and likes to pull. He will include 3 bags of feed for the dog and a harness.
Looks like I have a new best friend. The man has to leave State and can’t find anyone with the room to have him. As we load the feed, dishes and harness onto my load, 2 kids in his truck are crying and waving to the dog. The man looks like he is about to join them. Pal presses his face to the window looking out at them and seems like he might cry too. I better get going, or we will all be crying soon. Well, it isn’t noon yet and I have increased my local population by about 21 new residents.
I check my mail on the way home. It is in a row of locked boxes in the parking lot of the Fox General Store, located in beautiful downtown Fox. Well, that is what they always say it is, I personally have never noticed the beautiful part. It is all old tailings from back when the huge dredges went through here, mining and dumping the round gravel out the back.

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2 thoughts on “The Beginning – moving right along to chapter 5

  1. Not too many folks in town know a Fels Naptha combination, but anyone who’s perfected a washboard technique appreciates the reference. All the small details, the particulars of a past life send me to a favorite cookbook with an old shopping list I’d use to radio call my groceries in by VHF marine operator. One of them was a friend I’d grown up with from Petersburg; but he’s lost to the past as are marine operators themselves. With cell phones, younger folks wonder what a marine operator is; I’ll never tell. So glad to see #5 posted. It’s the perfect excuse to keep me from work. Thanks, and looking forward. This is the best stuff…

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