Story Market Day


Senior Member
The thing with the string is to cut through the wax so it can be removed like the little baby snack cheeses. Pull the string, separate the wax, then unscrew the lid

Grouchy Granny

Veteran Member
I'm thinking beeswax may work better than paraffin? I suspect the string might tare thru the paraffin.

There are other hazards to canning lids this might help provide some protection from. One winter at our then new to us homestead, we had an infestation of rats. I think mice do it to. Nasty things. As they move they pee. Their pee can eat thru canning lids if not washed off. They have to washed off not just a quick wipe with a wet cloth. Found that out the hard way.

Another hint: put chickens feed away at night. Chickens roost at night and don't feed till morning. Rats eat all night long and you end up with lots and lots of fat rats and wasted feed.
With a houseful of cats I better not have mice or rats! Think maybe this canning season I may try one or 5 jars this way and just see what happens down the road.

BTW - the next to the youngest cat has discovered he can catch garter snakes! Boy is he having the time of his life with those wriggly squirmy things! As long as we check his mouth for squirmies before he comes in we're good. Did have one at one time who smuggled them into the house and presented them to the oldest Kid (in his bed of course) as a present. He hates snakes.


Retired, practising Curmudgeon
No rats in the 'hood other than the usual colored ones that we've seen. I do have a min schnauzer that would be on them in a minute.

Thread drift - sorry!
In my experience, dogs are better at rodent control than cats. If the cat is hungry, they do a good job but, like me, a full tummy means nap time. Now a bloody-minded Terrier....well, that's a whole different matter!


Senior Member
“So, which way?”

Doug was looking at the terrain and trying to see detail. He was still having problems with vision and headaches. He was trying to get a good answer for Heidi.

Heidi saw him squinting, rubbing his eyes and shaking his head. They had traveled upstream for about an hour until they came up into an open flat area. She wasn’t sure where to go next and needed input. She needed him to see to be able to do that. She walked up to him, taking her sunglasses off as she did so.

“Here.” She handed him her sunglasses. “We need you able to see and not have a blinding headache if we want to know where we are going.”

“Thanks. Mine were on the dash of the truck. I should have grabbed them.”

"Most people don’t think of that in the dark of night, with a concussion, after a firefight,” Heidi quipped back. “But I would have.” She smirked at him. “So, now that you can see, which way are we going?”

Doug looked around for a few after putting on the sunglasses. They helped a lot, chopping the glare and the volume of light to an almost tolerable level. Now that he could see better, he was able to orient himself to where he was at. This was his area of the park and hadn’t thought about how to describe enough to talk someone else to where they were going. Heidi was in the military, so she should be able to read maps, however. He pulled the small laminated copy of his topographical map out. He looked at it a couple of times and the terrain a few. This would have been much more accurate with the more detailed maps from the truck. When he got back to the cabin, he would have to grab another copy and put it in his pack.

“Ok, guys, here we are on the map.” Doug pointed with a pencil. ”Here’s where we want to get to.” He pointed to a small pair of blue dots on the map. “The name of this little valley comes from these big ponds or tiny lakes. It’s called Thor’s Footprints. I told my daughter to head that way. I came up and around to avoid leading the bad guys towards her. Now that the three of us are together, collecting her, we could then head across to the stone cabin I work out of. There are supplies and resources there.”

Emilia looked at the map.

“That doesn’t look to be too far.” Doug’s reply stole some of the enthusiasm from her.

“It’s not, in the scheme of things, but to give you an idea, your marshmallow campsite was here,” he pointed to another point on the map. “And it took almost a day to get to me here,” he pointed to another position. “I hope we can get to Thor’s by this evening, but we have to get a move on. Heidi, how well do you remember your map and compass work?”

“I remember some, but it’s been eight or ten years since I’ve had to do any for real.” She answered with a bit of trepidation.

“Ok, I’ll keep it simple then. Do you see that saddle over there?” Doug pointed to a dip in the hills some distance away.

“Yeah, I see it.”

“Head for that saddle. When we get there, I’ll find the next point to chase.”

“How fast of a pace do you want?” Heidi said, the corner of her mouth just starting to show the smirk her eyes were already carrying.

”I’m not up to running, I think my head would fall off, but I can walk a far piece for a long time. Pick one you two can handle and I’ll let you know if I can’t keep up.”

“OK, Doug. Emilia, drink some water. You too Doug. You’re still blowing through more water than you realize. This evening we need to check your dressings.”

Everybody sucked down some water. Heidi started making tracks for the saddle in the distance.


Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Injuries impact one's ability to function not only physically, but also mentally. Good that Doug has help.

Thanks CCG.



Senior Member
Jesse had ridden over to Doug’s place at dawn. He poked around the perimeter for a bit to begin with once he saw Doug’s truck wasn’t there. The absence of the truck worried him greatly.

Going around the outbuildings he marveled at the fact the more things change, the more they stay the same. The vehicle shed that once was a barn had a few more coats of paint, and a new coat of paint on the metal roof. The large pole barn style carport for lack of a better word was the same as when he last parked his work truck under it. He peaked into the vehicle shed/barn.

The big Argo eight wheeled utility vehicle was still there. At one point they were ‘the’ off road utility vehicle. That was long before commercial ‘Mules” and ‘Gators’ and all the rest of the UTVs. In the summer, it would go almost anywhere. In the winter, they had tracks to put on it and it would still go anywhere, only on top of the snow. It also did something the others didn’t. It would float so they could cross ponds and such. Jesse figured Doug had the last one in the park. A lot of people wanted the newer faster shinier models. Doug still had the rack Jesse had built for the Argo to carry the patient in the Stokes litter as well as the eight wheeled trailer and the tracks for both. All of this was tucked in one corner under tarps. Next to it was a snowmobile and a newer four-wheeled ATV.

The other side of the barn seemed to be stacks of plastic boxes and bins. A workbench in one corner had a chainsaw torn apart and a rack of tools. Next to it were some shelves with several more chainsaws. Several big 55-gallon drums are filled with axes and shovels as well as the other, more specialized woodland firefighting hand tools. All were clean and sharp. That was one thing Jesse liked about Doug. He kept his stuff tidy.

There was a new enclosure where one of the stalls used to be. This had thick electrical cables running in and out. On further inspection, there were a bunch of big batteries in there and some sort of controller hooked to them. When he went out of the Barn, he looked closer at the roof and saw several solar panels tucked on the back edge.

Next to the ‘carport’ were two long connex boxes. One had a placard on the outside with an inventory. It looked like this held the yurts and tents for the remote camps the seasonal employees used. The other was unlabeled. When Jesse opened it, he was overwhelmed with the smell of cut wood. Inside, stacked rows of firewood filed the entire container. They were stacked in such a way as to let the air circulate and the wood to dry and cure. Just inside the door was a large stump, splitting maul, wedges and axe. A file for sharpening them was on a thong hung against the wall.

Jesse went into the cabin. Out of the ones here in the park, he considered this one the best. If you squinted, you could imagine it was 1930 again. Looking around, he saw the same desk and radio setup that was in the other cabin. He started thinking that it might be a good idea to bring one of his spares over and set up an old school system that worked.

Looking around, he didn’t find anything amiss, so he rummaged in the desk for pen and paper. His next problem was how to leave a note on the table that told enough without giving too much away in case the other guys came here. Finally, he figured something that might work.


Was running your errand, ran into Einsatzgruppen, and thought you should know.

Signed, your friend from breakfast
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Senior Member
It was almost full dark when they crested the hill overlooking the valley. When they saw the SUV stopped on the road, there was a spit in the thinking of the small group. Doug was concerned about why the SUV was stopped on the road leading into the valley he was hoping Angelique was hiding in. Heidi was more concerned it might be a group of the killers. Emilia was just exhausted and scared her mother might be right.

Heidi was able to convince Doug it was better to wait and watch for a while. They moved back to a position where they could hide and observe.

“Doug, we should pull back and hole up for the night. Fumbling around down there in the dark would be bad.”

Doug didn’t want to wait. They were here now and his daughter might be down there in trouble. He wasn’t sure what he could do down there, but he felt kinda useless to get this close and then pull back.

“Heidi, we are right here. She should be down there. We could…“

Heidi cut him off.

“Run down there, yell and scream to get her to come out, get the bad guys to pop up and finish their work? Sure could. Wouldn’t be the best idea. We should rest, refuel, observe and then in the morning, when we can see better, move down there and get a better picture of the situation. If she is ok right now, she will be fine in the morning!”

Emilia was watching the two debate. She was already worn out and didn’t feel up to this level of conflict. She watched for a few more minutes until she had had enough.

“Damnit, kids. Don’t make me turn this forest around. Food, Water. Rest. Find Dory tomorrow.” Emilia turns and walks back down the hill.


Senior Member
Heidi and Doug followed Emilia back down the way they came. They found a good spot where they could set up for the night. The spot wasn’t as good as the one where Heidi set up the leaf canopy, but it was workable.

With no idea who was with the vehicle or where they were, it was decided to try to reduce their signature in camp. There would be no fire. For food, Doug got the MREs out. Heidi was very familiar with them, and how to modify them to make them more palatable. She dug out the spices and hot sauce she had brought. The flameless heaters made the entrees hot, her spices made them taste good. All three were hungry and tired. All the extra unused elements from the MREs were stored away and the trash buried away from camp. All through dinner, conversation was at a whisper. One of the big topics was ‘drink more water’. Since they knew there was water nearby, they were working at rehydrating, especially Doug. Tomorrow they will drain and refill the water containers.

The sleeping arraignments would basically be one of the ground cloths, a layer of sleeping bag, them, then the second sleeping bag. The last ground cloth covers the whole pile of bodies and bags.

Once they had the stuff for bed out, there were still some things to be done before everyone curled up for the night. Emilia and Heidi each took turns stepping away from the camp to pee and wash up as they could with the baby wipes. Once they are back in camp, sleeping positions were discussed.

Heidi had the plan. She would sleep in the middle. Doug on one side and Emilia on the other. Emilia though her mother was being a little over cautious. Emilia didn’t think Doug would get overly gropey in the middle of the night but she couldn’t be mad at her mother for wanting to protect her.

Doug was curled up, his back towards Heidi. Emilia was tucked up in front of Heidi. The whole ball of people was quite warm and, all things considered, comfortable for a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, only Emilia really got that decent night’s sleep.


Senior Member
Jesse came back to Zed’s place after his visit to Doug’s cabin. He was moving carefully. The whole forest still seemed to be on pins and needles. He needed to get his systems up and running so he could monitor the airwaves better. They needed information. He caught snippets of stuff on his scanners but he wasn’t sure what they meant yet. He needed more and needed to look at the notes he made at the time.

If the guys at the clearing had anyone else in the forest, they would be talking to one another. Unless they were using satellite phones, he should be able to discover their signals and find out more about them. There were other signals that didn’t quite make sense.

Zed pulled out a chunk of plywood and one of Marta’s easels. The two of them started making notes and pinning them onto the plywood.

“Alright, Jesse. What do we actually have?”

“There are a bunch of new signals out there, and a bunch that are normally there are missing. With what I have set up, we should be getting all the local law enforcement, the air traffic, and even some of the marine traffic. Right now, most if not all of that is missing. There is some other traffic. It sounds like we might have some military traffic in the area. It’s coming from the direction of the airport, but on a different frequency. We probably have a military crew in charge at the airstrip. Shoot, would take too much for them to drop a TALCE there and run the whole thing.” At this, Zed gave him a funny look.

“It’s a Transportable Airlift Control Element. They can bring it in on a C-130 or sling-load under a big helicopter. They bring in a couple of container boxes that connect together, making a small airport control tower, complete with radios and radars. This is how the military sets up an airfield in the middle of nowhere. After the tsunami, we ARE the middle of nowhere. I figure what we hear as ‘Briar Patch’ is the TALCE over at the airport. The air traffic is sounding a bit low powered compared to what I would expect, and incomplete. The other traffic is all just short bursts like ‘vehicle three nearing clubhouse’, ‘position six, all clear’, and so on. Those are on common commercial frequencies as well. I think these are the guys from the chopper. If they have the juice for a chopper, they probably have enough cash to do satellite phones for their bigger conversations.”

“So, Jesse, what are we going to do? Do you just dial up the ‘TALCE’ thing and get the military to come help?”

“These are air traffic controllers, not cops. It would be like calling taxi dispatch for a plumber. Besides, I’m just guessing it is a TALCE. It might be some other thing. What I don’t know. What if it’s the bad guys? Do we want to reveal ourselves? I think it’s monitor and prepare.”

“What about Doug?”

“I can go over about every other day to check his place.”

“With all of this going on, I think we should go ahead and drop a couple of trees to block off the road here.” Zed sounded worried.

“I don’t know if we need to go that far yet. Besides, I don’t think running a chainsaw outside the canyon would be a good idea with as far as sound travels.”

Zed just smiled and shook his head.

“Jesse, you are sending mixed signals. ‘we don’t need to drop the trees’, but ‘we don’t want to make sound’ so if it’s bad enough we don’t want to make noise, I think we need to drop the trees. I have a way around the noise as well.”


Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
“Jesse, you are sending mixed signals. ‘we don’t need to drop the trees’, but ‘we don’t want to make sound’ so if it’s bad enough we don’t want to make noise, I think we need to drop the trees. I have a way around the noise as well.”

Axes are nearly silent unless you are very close.

Thanks CCG.



Senior Member
“Jesse, you are sending mixed signals. ‘we don’t need to drop the trees’, but ‘we don’t want to make sound’ so if it’s bad enough we don’t want to make noise, I think we need to drop the trees. I have a way around the noise as well.”

Axes are nearly silent unless you are very close.

Thanks CCG.

Zed has an even quieter method. Just like the paper bags, it will be revealed a little later


Live Free & Die Free.... God Freedom Country....
Zed has an even quieter method. Just like the paper bags, it will be revealed a little later

Another twist to wait for.
You can dig out the bases of the tree leaning the right way and with the right tree make it fall where you wish or dig a deep hole under the tree and a little bit of dynamite that is packed with soil.




Senior Member
Heidi was up early, wiggling out from under the pile. She had barely slept. She rarely slept well and the day’s hike was nowhere near enough physical activity to exhaust her like she normally had to for sleep. She was also aware of every little sound and movement. It had been years since she had slept in the same confined space with others. Whether a tent with others or a bedroom with someone else. It was hard enough in a four person tent with just her daughter at the start of the trip. Now, curled up in a ball with two other people, one who she barely knew but was also her new boss, there was no calming her mind down enough to sleep, at most she was able to let her body rest for a bit.

She dug around the area for small twigs and sticks. Once she had collected enough, she made her little pit fire again. Once it was going, she started some water for coffee. She knew the fire was small and completely below ground and the cup covered most of the hole, leaving almost no signature to be observed. She shuffled through the pack to find a change of clothes. She was using an old trick to keep things clean and or separated. In the cool weather, she was wearing two layers, not because she was cold, but because it separated the dirt/seat and such. Her inner layer was more body sweat and grime, the pants, shirt and jacket were more environmentally dirty. This was part of the whole layer thing. She had several sets of compression shirts and pants she wore under the travel pants and long sleeve shirt. Each set was packed in its own ziplock bag, whether dirty or clean. This kept the smell from migrating. To help with this, each had a couple dryer sheets in with them. She did the same thing with her underwear. This was taught to her years ago and she had taught it to her junior troop, and later to Emilia.

She had changed the compression stuff when she wiped down last night, but hadn’t changed the outer layer. This was what she was swapping out now. She was down to her last clean set, so this meant Emilia should be as well. They needed to do a bit of laundry and soon. She also knew they were running low on food. They ate the MRE’s Doug had. They still had the left over elements from them to snack on like crackers and cheese but not much. There was still some food left from the campsite, but not much. Things were looking a bit sparse in the food department. She was also down to fifteen or so of the tubes of instant coffee. All the good stuff was gone. She was far too many years removed from survival school to remember any of the eatable plants and such. Bugs and grubs? She knew she could do it, but she didn’t know if they had enough hot sauce with them to convince Emilia to try them short of starvation.

Her mind was deep in thought when she heard a rustling of the ground cloth behind her. She whirled, hand going for the pistol tucked into her waistband. She saw it was Doug scooting out the end of the sleeping bag sandwich. She relaxed some.

Doug had tossed and turned in his mind for most of the night. His burns made it uncomfortable to move much and his head still hurt. He was worried about Angelique. Part of him raged to go down and finder to protect her. The other part knew if she wasn’t safe right now, there wasn’t anything he could do other than get himself, her, Heidi and Emilia killed. Id Heidi wasn’t here, he would have blundered right down there and done just that. Get real, he told himself. If Heidi wasn’t out here, you would have died back by the creek. He remembered looking at her resume weeks ago. It had a whole host of great training, schools, and talent represented. It also had some holes his boss asked him to dig into. This was how he came to find out about her in the first place. At the initial read, he made his pitch to his boss about maybe moving her to Backcountry. His boss wasn’t convinced and had him do some background digging.

The initial stuff revealed such things as her widowed status, the single child, age 14, and the very impressive military record. It was the later stuff in the records that worried his boss. College, followed by a high school teaching position which didn’t last very long. Many jobs of short duration followed. Foreclosure proceedings were initiated on a house in her and her husband’s name years ago that was pulled at the last minute. That house was subsequently sold for a loss, followed by her move to this area. Plenty of other jobs here, mostly things like bartender and such.

Doug did some investigating. Turns out Heidi lost her teaching gig for having an altercation with one of her fellow teachers. This was followed by an altercation with higher administration officials for failure to apologize to the other teacher. All of it was over curriculum presentation and concepts issues. This led to Heidi being ‘let go’ as well as poisoning the well for any teaching references or any teaching jobs within any of the surrounding counties.

Doug burrowed a little deeper, reached farther back. The Defense Visual Information Distribution Service has a website to get access to Department of Defense imagery and stories. He plugged her name into the search engine and was a bit surprised at the amount of results. Mostly her name was listed in the captions of pictures for things like ’30th Security Forces Squadron conservation patrolman, brushes Military Working Horse "Trooper" before their ride at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Trooper is a 14 year old American quarter horse who entered active duty in 2010 and helps to patrol 99,600 acres of hard-to-reach areas on Vandenberg with his patrolman’, but some were more focused. One was an official portrait from where she had won an award. She was in full dress uniform with a whole pile of ribbons and decorations. She was quite stunning. One of the other pictures was older, from downrange. It was a shot of a huge guy carrying another who was half his size. The woman being carried was Heidi. Even with all the gear on, and the blood covering the front of her uniform and face, there was no mistaking that face. The caption and story was part of a write-up for the medal she received for her actions that day. Three and a half hours of continuous CPR on someone in a moving vehicle is just brutal. Doug also realized by linking up KIA info from that day, the woman she was doing CPR on was a good six or eight inches taller and fifty or more pounds heavier. With Heidi’s tiny frame, she was doing it with pure muscle and determination. That level of stubbornness and no quit attitude was something he admired. Unless he found something ridiculously disqualifying, he was going to recommend to his boss she would be a good fit for the Backcountry position if she wanted it. He got tentative approval to pitch it when she got there from FLETC.

Doug looked over. He could see Emilia asleep. He could see her mother’s features in her. There was no doubt she is Heidi’s daughter. Beyond her, Doug could see Heidi putting a linen shirt on over her compression shirt. With nothing but a silhouette, he could see some of the inspiration for Emilia’s drawing. That woman looked like she was ready to run a marathon and load a truckload of hay bales when she got there.

He was ashamed at his first thought. ‘How could I take advantage of her to ensure the safety of Angelique?’ He could hear his mother in his head.

“Vasily, this woman has been screwed over many times, all for doing the right thing! She will help you, because it’s the right thing. This is not the place for any of your father’s tricks .I did not raise you to be a manipulative bastard.”

Doug hung his head in shame for a few moments as this went on in his head. He knew it was time to get up, start the day and find Angelique.
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