“What are you doing?” Helen poked her head into Glenn’s office.
“Just programming the behavior of the irrigation system behind the house. The collectors have amassed enough rain water, and I want to test the valves before we plant.”
“Well don’t forget you have to do the firmware upgrade for the chicken coop alarms.”
He turned and winked at his wife. “You’re not worried about the deleterious effect our local woodland predators could have just because we’re absent two of our hens, are you?”
“Keep the acerbic comments to yourself, and Henrietta and Goldie were dear friends. I don’t think other hens will ever get over it.”
“I don’t think Foghorn and Beauregard have particularly noticed, and the brood is still numerous enough, but the alarms were next on my list.”
“You sound like you had coffee and a thesaurus for breakfast.”
“Your maternal concerns our duly noted. Speaking of which, where are the kids?”
“Surveying the dry creek east of here. The section of our property it used to feed is really parched, but they think a beaver dam diverted the original flow path.”
“It would be a relief if we could restore the water there. I wouldn’t have to run irrigation lines down from our reservoir.”
“I’ve got to get back to the canning. Can you do something about the speakers in the kitchen? I was listening to Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’ but the playback cut out.”
“Sorry. I thought I’d only muted it in here.” Glenn ran a command in a bash window. “Fixed.”
“Thanks, Gentleman Farmer.”
After she left, the former software engineer turned and looked out the window at the lush garden growing in front of their home and the series of greenhouses beyond. They had taken a big chance quitting their jobs in the city and selling everything so they could live off the grid and be self-sustaining. Everyone down there took life for granted. They all assumed that they’d always have enough water, that the food big Agra was producing would nourish their bodies, or the drugs pushed out by big Pharma were actually healthy.
Something terrible was coming and the illusion of security and prosperity would vanish in an instant. The few families who had joined them would be able to take care of themselves without any outside support. They were doing the right thing for them. He wished he could save more, but the urban masses didn’t even see the storm approaching.
For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
–Matthew 24:37-39 (NASB)
I wrote this for Wordle #198 #Wordle #MLMM #amwriting hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to use at least ten of the twelve words in the “wordle” to craft a poem, short story, or other creative work. The wordle list is:
- Absent (this word is duplicated, see item 1)
Yes, item #11 duplicates item #1 and I used only 10 of the 11, bolding those words in the body of my story so the reader could pick them out.
Interestingly enough, it was my research into the one word I didn’t use, “Nestle,” that inspired the topic I chose. Look at the news story Why Nestle sold its U.S. candy business — and bought a vitamin company. Not many people know that the production of vitamins isn’t that closely regulated, so what a container of vitamins says it holds may bear little resemblance to what’s really in the bottle.
The nutritional value of our food has been in a steady decline since the end of World War Two, and our medical system believes in treating symptoms rather than proactively preventing disease and disorders.
No, I’m not an isolationist and I’m not about to live off of the grid, but I can see why some people do.
I also got the idea for this story from a conversation I had with one of the programmers where I work. He has chickens and produces a certain amount of food for his family, but does so using programmable devices, including something to manage his chicken coop. I thought it was an interesting idea.
Oh, in case you don’t know, this is a bash shell.
The quote from Matthew 24 popped into my head as I was finishing my wee tale, so I thought I’d include it. Yes, I suppose it makes Glenn, Helen, and the others who chose to live in this 21st century high-tech “commune” look like religious crazies, but on the other hand, if they’re right, then they may end up much better off than most people should western civilization’s digital infrastructure collapse.
One last thing. Some of those “wordle” words did make Glenn sound a bit “artificial,” so I decided to call that out.