January was pretty dull. Mostly just bow practice. The weather should be warming up soon to make travel better. We’ve just scoured around town this past month. Found a few canned goods here and there. The best thing was a family that did home canning. Found some recipes and supplies, so we’ve started working on that. That could really keep our supply of plant food up. Pretty soon we’ll be out of pre-canned foods, and without this, no vegetables/fruit next winter. We’re trying to learn how to salt preserve and smoke some of this venison too. There is a nearby meat processor, but we checked it out and it was abandoned. We took some of the preservatives and we’re trying to use the smoke room.
We smoked some meat, but it still went bad. Maybe lasted a few extra days. Now we’re trying smoking with salted meat. We’re also trying drying meat, we cut some thin strips rubbed a bit of salt on them and put them out on some tin foil in the sun. Hopefully it’ll work, but we may have to wait till it gets warmer. We’re heading back in towards Houston tomorrow. After Mr. Lane got a cut that started to look infected we figured we ought to try to get to a hospital or pharmacy and get some meds. Unfortunately, none of us work in medicine, so we don’t really know what to look for. There were a lot of hospitals in Houston, so maybe there’s still some docs or nurses or EMTs out there, if we’re really lucky. But a lot of them were the first to get infected, trying to help. We remember a few antibiotics though that we’ve taken. Amoxicillin, Augmentin, penicillin, a couple –micins, ezithromycin or erithromicin. And that’s the main thing we’re thinking of. But we’ll try to see if we can find more of the meds that the other housemates use. Mr. O, Mr. Lane and Mr. Kelly, gave us some old medicine bottles and we’ll try to find anything that matches. Fortunately, none of us need insulin or anything critically important like that. Although I suppose the guys’ heart attack risks would go up if we can’t find the blood pressure and cholesterol meds they need.
We had some pretty good luck. Tom, Lee and Cruz headed in to Cypress/Fairbanks area to hit up a couple hospitals. Not only did they bring back boxes full of pills, they found a couple nurses, Sarah and Ashley, who at least know a hell of a lot more than we do, even if they aren’t full-blown doctors. They even went ahead and brought some protocol sheets and order sheets from charts to give guidance on dosing, which we wouldn’t have had any idea to do. I can’t help thinking an ER doc would be best, but you take what you can get. And this is a huge step up over us trying to remember old prescriptions and guessing. Of course emergency medical personnel probably had some of the highest casualties when this started. Now we have our own little pharmacy, enough medicine to last a few years. Assuming they don’t go bad. They have expiration dates of only a year or two, but none of us, even the nurses, can think why dry, inorganic, pills would go bad. With any luck we won’t need to use this stuff anyways. It’s been pretty quiet on the Zulu front. Only the occasional sighting, nothing too dangerous. It actually has me a bit on edge. There had to be a couple million of them in Houston, where did they all go? The guys reported only seeing two groups of 20-30 zekes on their trip in to town. Well I suppose we’ll find out eventually. And 20-30 isn’t a guaranteed easy win if they surprise you.
The weather is getting warmer, we’ve planted a fair amount of potatoes, corn, and beans. Tom and I are going to head out toward Tyler tomorrow. San Antonio had a lot of military personnel and those areas have always been most dangerous. Now that the plowing is over we can use the horses to travel, we figure about two or three days each way. At this point I really don’t figure we’ll find any sort of government or military, but finding more survivors would be okay by us too. Haven’t heard too much on the HAM, but with so many frequencies to scan I guess that’s not surprising. There is some concern there with power, but I think we have enough fuel for the generators to power the HAM for a long, long time. Hank has been in touch with some out of country folks on the HAM that he had regular meeting times with and it seems that the USA is definitely the hardest hit. But countries with soldiers were also hit. Though, fortunately for them, they had their own soldiers to fight of the infected, so it hasn’t been a complete breakdown globally. Only those exposed to US troops. So, the scary part is, the less friendly you were with America, the better off you are. So, apparently Russia and China have been having fun invading neighbors, while we can do nothing about it. The bright side of the international news is that there is at least some functioning military around. Apparently the reserves and national guard were unaffected by the disease. So there is still a government and military somewhere. The overseas HAM guys didn’t have much in the way of specifics. Hopefully we can find out and join them sometime soon. Not sure on the exact numbers, but I figure there ought to be enough state and national guards and reserves, plus vets that will re-up to get this country back to running order in a few months once we get all organized.
Returned from Tyler today, no sign of government or military organization. But we did find eighteen survivors grouped up in a large house on some land outside of town. They were a couple of older couples and their children and grandchildren. We invited them to come down and join our little ranch, but they said they’d rather stay in their home. Especially as they weren’t sure about the older folks travelling that far on foot. We scouted around the town for some time, generally very little sign of Zulus anywhere. The survivors said they’d had a crowd of them back in early December, and again another big crowd came through shortly after New Years, but almost nothing since. I’m not sure what to make of the lack of them. Perhaps they are dying out, they are, after all, diseased; and most every disease I can think of eventually kills its host. Plus, they are humans without the high level of intelligence that allows us to dominate animal life. It may be that in competition with wild animals many are dying. No doubt they have a hard time killing anything other than domestic animals and unarmed people. But I don’t have such high hopes yet that all of them are gone. We ran into a few small packs on the way back, but the fact that they were mostly athletic males, apparently in their 20s or 30s would support my theories. With most of the population either dead, sick, or hiding, they may be spreading out looking for food. Perhaps the end of this mess will come sooner than we hoped. We’re planning to stay and help out at the farm for a week or two before heading out again. It may be that it’s not Tom and me, though, Cruz and Lee seem to want to get out and do some traveling themselves.