Nathan Brewster was having a blast. He had bought a hundred acres of land, at a thousand dollars an acre. It was in a remote area, and he was busy exploring his purchase. Oh, he had gone to see it with the original owner, previously. But when they had come out, it had been a short day trip.
Now he was ready to look it over carefully and explore all the nooks and crannies of his newly bought land. It was heavily wooded, and had water on it. This pleased him, as he wanted to build out here, and it was very private.
He had gotten his money from his parent's savings and insurance, and from the sale of their small farm after their death in an auto accident, a couple months back. He was single and feeling a bit lonely without his parents to talk too.
A couple weeks after he had closed on the sale, he had hauled several items of equipment and supplies as far as his four-wheel-drive Jeep would go. Then he transferred them to the ATV and the small trailer it could haul. That was how he had brought his tent and supplies the final mile to his land. There was no clear road or path to his property yet.
It had taken him over an hour to set up the A-frame tent he had brought with him. The instructions said that it could be set up by one person, in just 25 minutes. Nate realized a short time into the set up, that that was only true if you knew what you were doing. Still, at the end of an hour and twenty minutes, his tent was up and ready.
He then placed down the wooden pallets he had brought as a floor. After that, he put in the small wood-burning stove, that he had bought as an extra. Hell, he had gone all out with 'extras'. He had even bought the screened-in add-on room for the front of the tent. He had put it up, too. He also had a camp stove, which he used to cook on, outside of the tent.
He set up a cot inside, moved in his camping chest with his clothes and extra blankets, his sleeping bag and air mattress. Cots got uncomfortable after a few days. He had decided to buy a nice three-foot thick airbed, to give him comfort. It was almost as high as a regular bed, and was at least as comfortable. Praise be to Coleman! A "Raised Twin Airbed", and just $159.99 plus tax, too!
He set up a small camping table, and set his Coleman lantern on it. That would provide light at night in his tent. He had brought a couple extra lanterns just to be on the safe side. His tent also had a liner he could add if he choose to do cold weather camping. Since it was so warm, he had not installed the liner. It was in his clothes chest, stored.
For two weeks he enjoyed the camping and peacefulness of the countryside. He also felt himself healing from his parent's death. He had not realized he would miss them so much.
Eventually, though, it was time to head back to civilization.
He decided to leave his tent up, as he would be back several times before winter set in. He did take down the add-on screen room, though. It was just too fragile to leave unattended. He stored it in his tent, on the table, after folding it carefully. He let the air out of his airbed, and stored it in its carrier. After checking to make sure his camp was clean of food and that everything was stored, he made his way on his ATV to about a hundred yards short of his Jeep.
He hid his ATV in the brush. It was out of site of where he had parked the Jeep. He took the ATV's key with him. That was the best he could do. He did put a cover over it though, to keep rain and weather off it as best as he could manage.
The water samples he had dropped off at the university came back as potable! That meant he had been a little over cautious by bringing his own water to his camp, but it was a small price, now that he knew the water source he had on his property was drinkable after all. Excellent.
He was looking at log homes for his property, and had thought he had found the perfect one to build. Of course, he would have to have a road built, so that the tractor-trailers could get in and deliver the pieces. Still, he was looking forward to building his home.
It would not be connected to the power grid, as that would cost to much. Still, perhaps a generator... to run a few lights, maybe a couple electric heaters, and a coffee pot, would not be out of order.
He would have a hand pump in the kitchen drawing water from his water source. Pipes would take care of the delivery system. He would also put up a small shed over the water source to protect it.
Finally his plans were complete. He had the road surveyed and put in. That had been a bit tricky as he had to cross someone else's property, but he had to have a right of way to have access to his property. The owner of the land where he put the road was agreeable. Hell, he was never around, anyway. That guy had bought the land as an investment, and that was it.
Nate, as Nathan liked to be called for short, made sure he was on site when the trailers arrived with the precut logs for his new home. The foundation was already in place, and all they had to do was place the logs into position, and assemble them 'by the numbers'.
Nathan was amazed at how fast the home was built. He had understood that these kits were easy to assemble. The crew that came with the trucks had the home up, the roof on, and the walls treated with weather resistant sealer; all in just six days time.
Nate lived in his tent, which was at the other end of the clearing from where he'd had his new home built.
He had picked the perfect place for his log home, between two huge oak trees, which would shade the house during the hottest part of the day.
Next came the guy who put in the pipes from his water source, and ran it to the house. After it was installed, they tested it, and it worked fine. Nathan had had a good waste system built, as well as indoor plumbing. He would not be able to use the plumbing, much. The pump that placed pressurized water into those pipes, would only be powered occasionally by the generator he was going to buy.
He also installed a few electrical outlets, as well as a few lighting fixtures for later use. As with everything he did, things went from simple to more than he had originally planned for, in less than a day.
He spent time finishing the inside of the log home's walls and floors, before he started moving furniture and other needed items inside. He had picked a two-bedroom design, thinking he might bring friends out here upon occasion.
Slowly but surely he started furnishing his 'country vacation home'. Of the two bedrooms, he furnished his with the best. A quality queen-sized oak framed bed, with the best mattress he could find was complimented by a solid oak dresser. The second, and smaller bedroom, was done with a double bed and a pine dresser.
The living room had a couch, which folded out into a bed, if they had more people than beds. A couple of large chairs and a potbelly stove were the other furnishings. He would eat in the kitchen, so he'd bought a solid oak table, with four matching oaken chairs.
The indoor bathroom would only work when he ran his generator. Otherwise, it would be trips to the outhouse. Of course, if he wanted, he could keep a large bucket of water handy to flush the toilet, if he didn't want to go outside. The indoor shower and bath were out of the question until he had power.
He had a walk in pantry built, so he could stock up on food items that lasted. Canned goods, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, rice, beans, and other staples that he wanted were stored there. One thing his parents had made sure of, was that he knew how to cook and to bake.
Cabinets in the kitchen held canned goods, spices, glasses, cups, and a service for four. Drawers held silverware and other items he felt he wanted or needed. The pantry was next to the kitchen. For cooking, there was a wood-burning stove with an oven. It was like the one that had been in the house he'd grown up in, and he was familiar with cooking with it.
That year he made only four weekend trips to his vacation home. Three times during the warm months, and once during winter. He still had not bought a generator for the place, but that was ok, as he'd built it to be livable without electric power. Still, he decided he did want one.
Since he had spent heavily on his land and the vacation home, a lot of his inherited money was now gone. That meant he had to be cautious with the remaining money. He wanted a generator that was multi fueled. He figured that was the best way to go... but the prices!
Since he had spent so much money, he kept working. He did fairly well as a carpenter. He had learned a lot from his dad, and moved up through the ranks at his company. He was just shy of 'master carpenter' level, when he quit and went out on his own.
He had enough work to pay his bills and save a bit. Buying the rest of the tools he needed to go into business for himself, had also bit a little into his savings. However, he now had everything he needed for his profession. Previously, the company had supplied all the tools he had needed. After he'd quit, naturally he did not have access to a few tools he wanted and needed.
It was while on a job that he met and started dating the woman who had hired him. She was in her early thirties, with a ten-year-old daughter. They had a huge dog, a boxer named Buster. He seemed very protective of the family and house she lived in, and had to be introduced to him outside, first.
He continued to date the woman, and had become friendly with both the woman's daughter, and with the dog. He was thinking about taking them camping next summer to his cabin.
It was already fall. While there were warm days, the nights in the country could get downright cold. He was not sure if they were prepared to rough it, even though they would have a roof over their head.
It was during a rainstorm when he was watching the local news, when he first heard of the flu-like epidemic. He listened as several cities were named, that were being hit hard with this new strain of flu. It made him suspicious.
He started packing clothes in duffel bags. He made sure to pack all his winter things. He called Megan and asked if she had been watching the news. She had. He explained to her his suspicions, and asked if she wanted to go with him, out to his country place. They should be safe, there; and if it was a false alarm, no harm would be done.
She said she had a weeks vacation saved and could use it, saying she had an emergency with a relative. Nathan advised her to pack warm clothing for herself and her daughter, Tammy; and to get the dog ready. He was going to stop at "Sam's Club", and buy extra food, just in case. He had already stocked the shelves of the pantry at the log house, but he wanted to be really sure he had plenty with three extra mouths to feed, two humans and a dog. Dog! Don't forget dog food, he reminded himself
Sam's Club had been only slightly more crowded than normal. Apparently he was not the only one stocking up on food items. While he still did not have a refrigerator or electrical power, he had diverted some water from the seep where he got his drinking water, and placed a metal container in the new pit he'd dug. The constant running cold water kept whatever was in the metal container cold. It was a primitive refrigeration system, but it kept milk, eggs, butter and other items chilled.
After fueling up his Jeep, he filled up four five-gallon containers with unleaded gas. He placed those cans in the trailer, and strapped them in.
Then he made his way to Megan's house. She was ready as was her daughter. The dog was excited, because 'his' humans were excited.
Nate quickly got the luggage transferred to his Jeep. He loaded as much food as possible, for the family and the dog. They got in, and started the two-hour trip out to his country vacation place.
The weather was not cooperating at all. The rain was pouring, and he apparently was not the only one with this idea. People were leaving the city, and he could see that police were all over the place. Some responding to accidents, others just sitting and apparently waiting.
"I think I need to get off the main roads," Nathan told Megan.
"Whys that? The road is not to bad," Megan stated and asked.
"Have you noticed all the police on the highway? I think they are there to form roadblocks and turn people around. Just listen to the news! It's bad. I know some side roads that will get us out of town, and meet up with the highway further on," Nathan said.
He got off the highway at the next exit. It was just as well he did, because when they topped the next hill, they could see a roadblock had been set up further down the highway. Megan gave Nathan a startled look, but said nothing.
"It's that damned flu that seems to be going around. Have you noticed that it seemed to start in cities that had international airports? Also, the people who catch the flu seem to develop even worse symptoms.
"That's why I wanted to get out of the city, before they closed us down. I think that what's happened, is that a terrorist group has infected a group of volunteers to spread something. We are now seeing the end result, and it won't be good," Nathan finished grimly.
The rain slowed and finally stopped, but by now it was getting dark. He decided to take side roads wherever he could. He did not want to be stopped on the highway by the state police or national guard. The radio had announced that all roads leading to and from their city had been closed and that travel was being restricted to emergency vehicles or by special permission.
They had gotten out, just in time.
Nathan made his way cautiously. He was traveling without lights most of the way, despite the darkness. He stopped briefly and strapped an NOD, (night observation device) onto his head. With that on, he could see well enough to finish the drive to his country home.
It was definitely fully dark by the time they arrived at the house. After removing his NOD, he used a flashlight and keys, to unlock the house. After entering, he lit three Coleman lanterns. He placed one in the kitchen, one in the living room, and one in the spare room.
The house smelled a little musty, so he opened a few windows to air the place out. He decided that everything could wait until tomorrow during day to be unloaded, except for the things that had to be chilled. Those he carried to the well house, and placed them in the special metal container he had built for such use.
After that, they gathered around the kitchen table and listened to the battery-operated radio that Nathan kept out here for times he wanted news or music. The news they heard was not good.
Not only was their city on lock down, the state was closing all roads as of midnight that night. The federal government was closing all federal interstate highways at the same time. People were ordered to stay in their homes, and not interact with other people if at all possible.
Essential services personnel were ordered to keep working. Their supervisors would have a schedule for them. Nathan, Megan, and Tammy had gotten out just in time. Nathan explained the plumbing to the two girls, and they promised if they used the toilet, they would refill the bucket for future flushes.
The next day, Nathan was up early, and had gone out to get eggs, bacon, and milk for their breakfast. He put kindling in the kitchen stove, and was soon cooking breakfast. After getting breakfast all cooked, he went into the living room and woke Tammy, who had crashed on the couch. He then knocked on the door to the spare bedroom, and yelled if Megan was not out in five minutes, he was tossing their breakfast to the dog.
Buster looked on with interest, ears perked.
After breakfast, he cleaned the dishes quickly and then they all went out to unload the trailer and the Jeep. Nathan directed all foodstuffs be put in the kitchen and he would place then in the pantry in a specific order.
There were several bags of dog food. Nathan figured that with a twice a day feeding, they had enough food for the dog for six weeks to two months. He guessed they could stretch that with table scraps. He hoped the dog was a hunter, because if he wasn't, he might get pretty hungry!
After they had everything unloaded and all the clothes put up, they sat in the living room and discussed how long they were going to stay here and Megan wanted to know how long their food would last.