I muttered as I again failed to change the settings on the generator. It had been left to start at dusk and run for three hours a day, that's it. I could not seem to change the timing of that at all. I had, of course, been able to bypass that. But then I had to remember to go out and shut it off, manually.
Fred Saunder's son had been a clever man it seems. He had wired the house, put in the generator, and programmed a simple computer to run it. It operated off a separate large fuel tank, which still had a lot of diesel fuel left. The tank was located about a hundred feet from the house behind a dirt berm. All in all I was hesitant to screw with something that worked.
One of the things I was looking forward to was warmer weather, for several reasons. First, I was tired of winter and being housebound. Second, there was a water tank at the top of a fifty-foot tower. It was filled by a pump, which was operated by a windmill.
According to the information on it that Fred left me, the water tank used gravity to operate the indoor plumbing. However, during the cold months, the water was drained out of it, the pump disconnected, and the house plumbing was not used. This left the old tried and true outhouse, which was cold. Of course, I could and did use a bucket of water to flush the indoor toilet, most of the time. Only made sense, after all.
Another thing that Fred's son Carl did, was to have the indoor plumbing put in as it was. This meant having to put in one of those systems to handle water and waste, which he apparently paid for out of his navy pay. Fred's son was a career naval officer apparently.
I got to know Fred and his wife through his children's letters. They had saved years of letters, and I had nothing better to do with my time than to read them. They had been a close family. Everyone was proud of their brother who had graduated Annapolis Naval Academy.
Another son had become an editor for a newspaper out on the west coast, in LA. A daughter had gone to college and graduated with a degree in theater arts and was the manager of a playhouse in New York City.
Those two cities had been hit hard with the flu/plague. All cities with international airports had been hit hard. I had a radio tuned to the local emergency broadcast channel and the latest news was that the situation had finally been stabilized. Apparently the CDC, Air Force, and a medical school had come up with an inoculation that stopped the flu/plague cold.
According to the information on the radio, there was a massive effort underway to manufacture enough of the drug for the remaining population. This information had been shared with the rest of the world, since the release of this flu/plague was worldwide in scope.
Weeks turned into months, and slowly the weather changed. I read everything in the house that Fred left on running his farm. The majority of the farm had been fallow for several years, with the exception of the large garden area.
I knew next to nothing when it came to farming, and had no clue of even how to go about doing anything. I read the instructions left on making the garden though. Fred had left step by step instructions on a lot of things, on how to run the house, when to reattach the pump in the tower water tank, to maintaining the stored farm machinery.
I smelled the meal cooking, and while it smelled good, it was just a vegetable stew. I had not had much meat lately since I was not much of a hunter. I had been turning into a vegetarian, albeit a reluctant one.
One side effect was that I had dropped an additional twenty-two pounds, and was feeling pretty good at the weight loss. I had even found some old clothes stored in the house that fit me... well, mostly.
I sighed and thought about doing some hunting soon. One thing I had discovered was that there was fish in the river that ran through part of the property of the farm. I had been able to even catch a few of them now and then. While I was not a big fish fan, it was better than nothing, and provided some meat.
I ate the stew when it was ready, and was enjoying it when it started raining. I looked out the window and watched as the rain started getting rid of the remaining snow. Thank god! I had gotten so damned tired of snow and the cold.
During the next few days it started warming a bit more than normal, and I started spending more time outside. I looked over the area that the Saunders had used for their huge garden, and was waiting for the right time to plant, according to the instructions left me.
Fred had left fertilizer, seeds, and instructions on the time frame to start planting and a step-by-step instruction on how to do it. I thanked god that Fred had taken the time to write out instructions, since I knew next to nothing about growing anything.
I took binoculars from where I had stored them, and climbed the water tower. There was a small walkway going all the way around the tower, and I used it to walk slowly around the tower, checking the surrounding countryside with my bino's.
Off in the distance I could see a thin strand of smoke climbing into the air. I tried to estimate how far away it was, but was unable too. I looked quickly to my farmhouse, and saw that while smoke was coming out of the chimney, it was dissipating fairly quickly.
While there was a little wind here, could there be no wind where I was looking? I shook my head in frustration. It must be miles away. The smoke was faint from what I could see of it anyway.
.... There is more of this story ...