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A Scene from Dystopia, Ch 2

I wrote this about the same time as I wrote the first chapter, which I posted some time ago. I’ve resisted the urge to edit as I go, so this one is pretty rough, as are all the others that I’ll post here over time. Anyway, here it is.

Chapter 2

The motorcycle is running well today. In spite of the coolness of the morning, it starts with the first bump of the starter, carbureted engine and all. I nod to Bruce, my middle son, who will start today by being the south side outrider. He will be on one of the Honda Ranchers, which he already has running and ready to go. At 6’4”, he is an impressive looking figure. Slender and all lean muscle, with blonde hair, bright blue eyes and wearing leathers for his ride, he sort of looks like Tom Petty as the Bridge City Mayor.

“You sure you have all your gear?” He’s a grown man but I can’t keep myself from being the concerned parent. He will be on the side nearest Eastland. If there’s trouble, he could be right in it.

“Yes, I have all my gear.” His inflection is a little flat. He is here physically, but I can tell he isn’t all that thrilled to be riding with me. My fault, probably, at least from his perspective. Hell, if I were he I probably wouldn’t like me either.

“Remember, your job is to look and report back what you see, not engage. Make sure you –“

“Dad. Do you trust me to do this or not? We talked about all this stuff and drilled it for months. I’ve got this.”

I can’t keep myself from sighing. “You’re right. Sorry.”

I look at the other outrider, one of the guys from Ian’s team, I can never remember his name – not a good failure for a leader. I start thinking about how to fake it with radio comms when it comes to me. “You all set and ready, Jason?” He nods in response.

“Yep.”

The guitar and dishes are put away and our group is ready to go. They won’t move, though, until they get the “all clear” from the outriders. We discovered yesterday, when we first pulled onto the railroad right of way, that progress would be slow. The gravel-covered bed and rough terrain makes anything approaching highway or even back road speeds impossible. Between that and the less than impressive performance of our ATVs, every minute wasted is really going to put us behind. We need to get moving and I’m just procrastinating. Time to go.

I make a final check of my weapons and gear, make sure my radio is set to our designated secure guard channel, plug in and put in the noise cancelling earbuds, wave to my wife and then my other two sons and give the word. “Outriders, move out.” I pull out, keeping the tracks to my left as I head toward Eastland noting that Bruce and Jason head south and north respectively. I’m nervous as hell. Hopefully, I’ll settle down in a bid.

It is the rainy season and with us being east of Abilene, there is already a lot more dew. There is a low hanging, heavy mist in the air and it wets the legs of my jeans after just a few minutes. Today, I am riding the middle scout position which means I’ll be following the tracks pretty closely, while Bruce and Jason will be roughly following the roads south and north of the tracks. This will be our first full day of traveling beside the railroad tracks and if I want people to ride outrider, I need to set the example for how it should be done, so I ramp up the situational awareness, forcing myself into condition yellow when what I really want is to be sleeping next to my wife in our bed at home.Wish in one hand and do the other thing in the other and I would still be here.

Keep your mind on what you’re doing! Time for a comms check.

“Phalanx, this is Ranger. Comms check for the outriders, over.” Bob’s running comms for the main group. While I questioned the wisdom of RPG related names for radio comms, we’ll see how it works. He comes back immediately with “Ranger, this is Phalanx. I have you loud and clear, over.”

“Roger, Phalanx. Outriders, check in.”

“Phalanx, this is Mage.”

“Phalanx, this is Wanderer.”

“Mage and Wanderer, this is Phalanx. I have you both loud and clear. How’s it lookin’ out there?”

“Phalanx, this is Wanderer. All good.”

“Phalanx, Mage. It’s fine.”

My turn. “Phalanx, this is Ranger. All clear so far. I’m coming up on Eastland now. I’ll give you a follow up in one-five minutes, over.”

“Ranger, this is Phalanx. Roger that. Update in one-five minutes. Anything else to pass?”

“Phalanx, Ranger. Negative, nothing to pass. Ranger out.”

The tracks take a turn to the southeast just before they enter Eastland. I pull to a stop and check my map. Looks like the tracks here are crossing North College Avenue, which puts me on the northern edge of town. I look at my watch and notice it is almost time for a comms check. Just as I get ready to check in, my radio starts sqauwking in my ear.

“Dad, this is Bruce. I have a problem!”

Shit. He has trouble bad enough for him to break our radio protocol. I feel my heart start to pound in my chest.

“Mage, this is Ranger. What’s going on, over?” The Coast Guard drilled radio comms into me, so it feels natural to follow it now. Maybe it’ll help keep me calm.

“There’s a road block ahead of me and people just pulled in behind me. What should I do?”

I can hear the panic in his voice. Bruce is probably the most level-headed and even-tempered man I know. Even without a ton of tactical experience this is sounding Not Good.

“Mage, Ranger. What’s your location, over?” I check my weapons, waiting for a response.

Nothing.

Come on, Bruce. Where are you, son?

“Mage, this is Ranger. What is your location, over?”

“Wanderer, this is Ranger. Have you copied this, over?”

“Ranger, Wanderer. Roger that. Do you require assistance, over?”

What the hell kind of question is that? My son is in trouble and I don’t know where he is. Of course I require assitance!

“Wanderer, Ranger. Roger that. Standby for instructions.”

“Ranger, Wanderer. Standing by.”

“Ranger, this is Mage, over.” Finally, thank God.

“Mage, Ranger. Go.”

“I’m on Hillcrest, between Patterson and uh, West Main, over.” He’s trying to force himself to at least approximate protocol. Good. That’ll help him stay calm. I look at the map, again. He is west and south of me, about a half-mile away. The Kawasaki screams as I start moving, pushing it to redline with each gear.

“Mage, this is Ranger. It’ll be okay. I”m headed your way. Just stay calm. Where are the roadblocks and the people behind you, over?”

“Ranger, Mage. The roadblock is on Commerce, I think and the people behind me are about a block north of Patterson, but they’re moving closer. What should I do?”

“Mage, Ranger. Can you get to West Main and head east?”

“I think so.”

Screw radio protocol. “Then do it. Push the ATV as hard as it’ll go. Jason, head my way and wait where the tracks cross College.”

“Okay, dad.”

“Roger, Ranger.”

Suddenly, I hear the sound of gun shots in my headset, louder that way than what I hear from outside the noise cancelling earbuds I’m wearing.

“Damn! They’re shooting at me. I think they hit my ride.” He sounds calmer than I would in that situation.

Up ahead I can see the sign for Main Street. I don’t see any traffic, so I swing wide to the left and then lean the bike hard to the right, rolling on throttle as I force it through the turn faster than I should, the dual sport style tires skittering as they try to break traction. Somehow, the bike stays shiny side up and snaps upright as I straighten my track onto Main Street. Up ahead, I see Bruce, leaning low across the handle bars. We meet about half way down the street, both of us pulling to a stop. I can see the locals, if that’s what they are, pulling onto the west end of the street from both the north and the south. My quick count tells me there are maybe 15 or so of them in three pickups and an old Jeep Grand Cherokee. Not good odds, we need to go.

“Are you hit?” I swear, if he has been shot I’m going to kill all of them. And anyone who loves them. And anyone who loves the ones who love them.

“No, I’m fine.” He looks okay. Worried, but okay.

“Okay, let’s get out of here. Ride that thing as hard as it’ll go. Left turn onto College and head north to the railroad tracks.”

“Wanderer this is Ranger. How close are you, over?”

“Ranger, Wanderer. I’m pulling up to the tracks, now.”

Bruce is moving now, pushing his Rancher rapidly up to its top speed of 55 miles per hour. As he reaches the corner, the ATVs less than perfect steering forces him to slow to navigate the turn. Even then, I can see his Rancher tilt briefly up onto two wheels before dropping back onto all four as he straightens up coming out of his turn. Looking over my shoulder, I see the vehicles drawing closer. I know I can outrun them on the bike, but if something doesn’t change, they’ll be on Bruce before he can get away.

There’s a couple of old highway concrete barricades on the northeast corner of Main and College, sitting in the dirt driveway of the remnants of burned out house. That’s my target. I cut the turn short and rocket to the far side of the street, squeezing hard on the front brake and standing on the rear, pushing the bike into a stoppie. Bailing off, I don’t even bother with the kickstand. Instead, I’m headed for the far side of the barricade, as hard as I can run, screaming into the microphone as I go. “Do not stop! Jason, Bruce, both of you get back to the group.”

I drop behind the barricade as the first bullets slam into the concrete.

***

Ian patted his “baby” brother, Duncan, on the shoulder as he walked by. Of course, most people who have a baby brother don’t have one who towers above them by five inches. Just a little shorter than Bruce, Duncan was a little more heavily built and not quite as blonde. As for Ian, he was 5’9” when he stood ramrod straight and considerably heavier in build, with what his dad called “linbacker shoulders.”

“What’re you driving, today?”

Duncan turned his way, holding up a single finger to ask the person he had wanted to talk to to wait for a moment. “I think I’m scheduled for the big Jeep, the, uh, Grand Wagoneer.”

Ian chuckled. “Ah. All comfort for you, then. I’m in that stupid pickup. Hate that thing. Rides like a rock and Bob says it’ll make the trip, but know much more than that.” Bob was one of their two mechanics. If he said the truck was going to die, it was only a matter of time before it happened. Hopefully, it would make it the whole trip. They had a lot of important gear packed in it and the trailer it pulled. “Drive safely, Duncan.” He headed on up the line of vehicles to touch base with his team while Duncan turned back to the person still waiting for him. He was almost to his team’s group of vehicles when he saw Carol urgently waving him her way from the lead pickup. “Guess my team will wait,” he muttered. She was still waving with the same urgency and her face looked concerned. He remembered the lead truck was also the comms truck and that his dad, Bruce and Jason from his team were on patrol. “Shit.” He broke into a run, ignoring everyone who spoke to him as went by.

“What’s going on, Carol?” From her face, he could tell it was not good. He noticed that Bob, Linda and “the boys” were all huddled in the dual cab pickup, listening to the radio. Carol’s eyes were hard as she stared at him. “I need you to go back up your dad and brother. They’ve had some issues with locals and I’m worried things’ll go bad.”

“What kind of ‘issues’ have they had? I’m sure they’ll be okay. None of ’em want a fight and even my dad won’t want to engage if he can avoid it.” He knew his dad pretty well. All he would want was to get them all clear. “Why the concern?”

“Ian, Bruce is on patrol and he doesn’t ride motorcycles real good, yet.” Damn. She was right. And the ATVs were slower than anything else they had. Each one of them had a rev limiter that kicked in somewhere around 55 mph. Now he understood.

“And dad’s only concern will be getting Bruce out. Shit.” He turned toward the cab of the pickup, words on his lips, when the radio traffic began. It took him a second to translate the pops he heard into something he recognized when he heard voice comms.

“Damn! They’re shooting at me. I think they hit my ride.” That was Bruce’s calm voice.

Carol turned from looking at the cab, speaking as she did. “You need to go help –“ She let her voice taper off. Ian was already sprinting toward the pickup he was to drive that day. Seconds later, he had disconnected the trailer, grunting with the effort of doing it by himself but not willing to wait for help. A quick dash and he was in the cab. She heard the engine start and he pulled out of line, then punched the accelerator, throwing gravel over all the assembled people and vehicles as he roared away from the convoy, the truck picking up speed and bouncing over the uneven ground as he went.

***

Ben Hooper was in the lead truck. That was how it was supposed to be, wasn’t it? He was the leader of Eastland, these days, and leaders had to lead from the front. That’s what he had read, anyway, years ago when he first started prepping. He had laid in a decent supply of food, but he had mainly focused on weapons, figuring those would be handy in making sure he could get what he needed when things went to hell. He’d built a team of people who saw things the way he did; people who knew they were going to have to be strong enough to take what they needed. That was how things were. It’s how the country was built and how people like him would build it again. He and his group of “patriots” had found it pretty easy to take over when things started to go really bad. They had spent months watching, figuring out who seemed to be doing okay when others were not. When the food ran out, they had simply called the more prepared “hoarders” and the hungry populace had turned on them. He had overseen the executions himself. By the time most people figured out what was going on, the people who might have most successfully resisted were dead, either by execution or disease, and he and his group of thugs were firmly in control. It was nice, having the choice of the best food and drink…and anything else he wanted.

Being in charge had its downside. He had not thought to recruit farmers and gardeners, so when the supplies he and his group had taken from others began to run short, there was no one to produce more food. Those folks had all left or been killed by he and his friends. As a result, people, including his people, began to look to him for a solution. When he did not have one right away, his second in charge, Frank Church, the guy he called his right hand man, had even attempted to take over. He had gone behind Ben’s back, “like a little bitch” Ben thought, and recruited people to help him take over. Frank’s plot would have probably succeeded too, if not for one thing. Frank was sleeping with another man’s wife. When someone tried to recruit the husband into the group of plotters, he had gone to Ben, who had been very sympathetic. That night, he and the jealous husband had chained closed the doors of the three adjoining houses the plotters shared, and set them ablaze. That was the end of the plot. It had also decreased the size of Ben’s group of thugs, but left him firmly in charge of them and the town.

Years before he had read about preppers whose plan was to take what they needed from others. There was not really anyone in town to take stuff from, but, every few days to weeks, the occasional traveler would come through, headed for some place they had heard about that supposedly had food, water and security. By the time they got to Eastland, they were weary, fatigued from lack of food and easy to pick off. Between what they could take from the travelers they killed and the size of his now much smaller gang, they did okay.

And so, this morning, when one of his watchmen had reported a lone rider coming in on an ATV, they had gone into action. As expected, the stranger had run. Not a problem, their trucks could outrun any ATV. The motorcyclist had been unexpected. His decision to come to a stop and make a stand had been even more so.

Ben called his group to a halt just as they started to turn onto College. No point in getting too close. Pointing to the motorcyclist who was running hard for cover he started giving orders. “Kill that asshole!” That was something his guys knew how to do. They started firing and bullets began hitting the concrete barricade.

Just how many is a trillion, anyway?

Way back when I was in college for the very first time (way back then it was a teacher sitting on one end of a log and student on the other), I wanted to be not just a double major, but a triple one. I wanted degrees in marine biology, oceanography and ocean engineering. Then, one day, I began my dance with calculus, that bitc-. Sorry, I digress.

One of the things I learned during my brief flirtation with engineering is that, at least for most of us, numbers reach a point, simply in terms of the number of digits, that they cease to convey any real meaning or “feel.” They simply become too big (or too small) for us to wrap our heads around them. Sure, we can discuss them in a sort of detached, intellectual fashion, but again, to most of us, the feel isn’t there. Which brings me to guns and ammunition in the United States.

For longer than I can remember, I have heard that there are, in the US, around 300 million (that’s 300,000,000) privately owned guns. That is almost certainly wrong. A report from June, 2018 from the Small Arms Survey estimated there to be about 393 million (393,000,000) guns in the US (I’m going to be providing the numbers both ways, for reasons I hope will become clear). Back in 2016, “WeaponsMan” provided his own estimated range of 412 million (412,000,000) to perhaps 660 million (660,000,000). I actually find his reasoning pretty compelling, so I tend to round off the numbers at about 500 million (yep, more zeroes…it’s 500,000,000) privately owned guns in the US. That’s a half-billion guns. A half-billion of anything is a lot! While I doubt WeaponsMan’s upper estimate is correct, the possibility makes me chuckle, especially when I think of the discomfiture such a thing would produce among gun control advocates. I have no issues, then, when pro-Second Amendment people talk about there being far more than a mere 300 million (300,000,000) guns in the US.

My issues come into play when we talk about ammunition.

I know people who own both a single gun and a single box of ammunition for it. And, I know people who own a lot of guns and multiple thousands of rounds for each of them (or at least for each caliber in their various gun safes). I fall somewhere between those two extremes. If we were to speculate that the average gun owner has, say, 1000 rounds per gun, that gives us a total of 500 billion (500,000,000,000) rounds of ammunition. Wow. That borders on what some would call a “metric a**-ton.” Some people, though, are not content with that number. I have had some gun owners suggest there are as many as 10 trillion (10,000,000,000,000) rounds of privately owned ammunition in the US. Some have gone so far as to suggest there are multiple tens of trillions of such rounds. Let’s think about this for a minute. If there are, indeed, that many rounds of privately owned ammunition in the US, then my elementary school math tells me there are some 20 thousand (20,000) rounds per gun (10,000,000,000,000 rounds / 500,000,000 guns = 20,000 rounds per gun). Though I could be wrong, I find this profoundly unlikely. As for suggesting multiple tens of trillions of rounds, I find the idea patently absurd. After all, each multiple would require an additional 20,000 rounds per gun. Even a trillion rounds (1,000,000,000,000) would require 1000 rounds per gun (which is not unreasonable).

But, it gets worse.

We are not concerned only with the number of rounds per gun. Let’s look at the number or rounds per gun owner.

Many gun owners will argue that the total number of American gun owners is about 100 million (100,000,000). Let’s do the same math we did above, but let’s replace the number of guns with the number of gun owners. (10,000,000,000,000 rounds / 100,000,000 gun owners = 100,000 rounds per gun owner). The average, then, would be 100,000 rounds per gun owner. Remember, though, there are some gun owners who own only a single box of ammo (typically 20-50 rounds) per gun. This means some gun owners (arguably not the typical ones) must own significantly in excess of 100,000 rounds to make up for those who possess only 50-100. Really?

Do you see what I’m getting at? The numbers simply don’t make sense. And that’s my point. It sounds good, if one is trying to induce apoplexy among gun control advocates, to suggest there are multiple tens of trillions of rounds in the US. But the numbers seem unrealistic, to me. I think the problem is that the numbers tossed around are so large, have so many digits, that they overwhelm our ability to consider just what those numbers imply. We don’t consider what we’re doing when we move from billions to trillions. We aren’t increasing everything by a fact of 10 or even 100. No, we are increasing things by a factor of 1,000, but because our our difficulty comprehending numbers that large, there’s tendency to sometimes toss around big numbers without considering what we are actually saying.

Again, the numbers are just too big to make sense.

Think of the lottery. Let’s say you win the Power Ball and, after taxes, you walk away with a lump sum of 100 million dollars ($100,000,000.00). How long can you live on that? It all depends on your expenditures, right? Let’s say your yearly expenditures, after taxes, are $50,000.00/year (your real life expenditures may be more or less, but lets use 50k). How long can you live (in terms of when would you run out of money) on your $100,000,000.00? Elementary school math strikes again. You get 2000 years at that rate! (100,000,000 / 50,000 = 2000). Double your expenditures (increase them by a factor of 2) and you decrease your time by one-half, meaning you only get 1000 years. Some people find it amazing that the money could last that long, that they could spend $100,000.00 a year and still have the money last 1000 years. Let’s put it a different way. If you are an American male, you can expect to live an additional 57 years, on average. This means, if your life span is exactly average, you could spend almost $21,000.00 per day for the rest of your life, running out on your last day.* Pretty amazing, huh? And that’s what happens with really big numbers. The numbers and their implications are so great we often don’t have an immediate grasp of what they imply other than “a lot.”

I think it would be cool to be able to conclusively prove we have a half-billion (or more) guns in the US. Though that may well be the case, the fact that we don’t know where they are or who has them makes that an impossible task. Considering the alternative, I like it that way. When it comes to ammo, it would be nice to be able to prove, conclusively again, that we have 10 trillion or more rounds of privately owned ammunition in the US. In this case though, the difficulty is not simply that we don’t know who owns the ammo or where it is. The real difficulty is that those numbers are, from my perspective anyway, impossible to justify.

 

*Note: Actually, because of leap years, spending at that rate would mean you would run out of money about two weeks before your death.

 

The wisdom of Clark Griswold

I’ve been contemplating my return to this blog, now that I’ve come to realize just how much a time waster Quora can be. Regardless of its original intent, it has become a place for people to fight from the relative safety of a keyboard. So, while I don’t want to cancel my account there, I’m backing off a bit, to focus on things that matter a great deal more. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about authoritarians and their seemingly inexplicable support for gun control. I had started a post to make the point that for those who accept the underlying premises of authoritarianism, such support makes sense and that they aren’t all evil people bent on controlling the rest of us. But…

I ran across this gem of a comment regarding gun control. Now, the question was, “When do you think we will begin to see the rate of compliance for the various firearms bans that have recently taken effect in the US?” If you don’t wish to follow the links, I’ll quote this particular answer to the question, here:

“A few high profile arrests and sharp fines would bring the scofflaws to heel. Isn’t it amazing when so-called ‘law-abiding’ citizens deliberately break the law and then howl when they get burnt? These are the same people who whine that gun laws aren’t enforced strictly enough.”

That’s your answer? This from a man who ostensibly took an oath to the Constitution? Let’s just jump straight to “a few good hangings,” shall we? What happened? Have you found the concept of a free people to be inconvenient in your efforts to remain relevant by clinging to the vestigial remains of the power and authority over others you once enjoyed? Here, this is for you, Ed.

 

Seventeen years…

And I’m still so angry I could spit nails.

‘Nuff said.

 

Of SCOTUS and the Law of Unintended Consequences

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement, effective July 31 of this year. The implications are profound. First, for the potentially good one.

It is possible, though not guaranteed, that President Trump will nominate and the U.S. Senate will confirm a person who has a due regard for the Constitution. That would be great. Here’s the problem: it seems a virtual guarantee, given the current Republican majority in the Senate, that whoever he nominates will be confirmed — even if that person is a less than enthusiastic supporter of the Constitution. So, if you are a conservative (or a libertarian for that matter), I would not recommend assuming this is a done deal.

Now, on to the less good.

When Barack Obama was President of the United States, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was able to institute the “nuclear option.” Back in 2016, CNN put it this way:

Senate Democrats are eager to make Donald Trump pay a political price for nominating staunch conservatives to fill out his Cabinet, hoping to exact revenge for the GOP’s stubborn opposition to President Barack Obama’s nominees.

But there is little they can do about it — and some top Democrats are now coming to regret it.

That’s because Senate Democrats muscled through an unprecedented rules change in 2013 to weaken the power of the minority party to filibuster Cabinet-level appointees and most judicial nominees, now setting the threshold at 51 votes — rather than 60 — to overcome tactics aimed at derailing nominations.

With the Senate GOP poised to hold 52 seats next Congress, some Democrats now say they should have thought twice before making the rules change — known on Capitol Hill as the “nuclear option.”

“I do regret that,” said Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, a Democrat who voted for the rules change three years ago. “I frankly think many of us will regret that in this Congress because it would have been a terrific speed bump, potential emergency break [sic], to have in our system to slow down nominees.”

I’m sorry. How did no one see this coming? Well, one person did. I don’t like him, but it appears Chuck Schumer lobbied against the change.

Here is my concern. It is a fact that no party stays in power forever. This means that any precedent established, any policy set, any law passed, will at some point in the future be applied and/or enforced by those with whom disagree — often those with whom you disagree profoundly and on a fundamental level. It seems clear to me, as we contemplate the replacement for Justice Kennedy, that this idea is alien to many politicians and to many Americans (“the People”) in general. As a nation of citizens, seemingly unable to think more than 2 weeks ahead, we have largely elected politicians who suffer from the same deficiency. While I have hopes re: the nomination of a Constitutional absolutist, I have far less hope regarding our willingness to abandon our focus on short-term gain and our tendency to elect those who both pander to it and who have the same short-term focus. Shortsightedness is not good.

Note: I should add that I can easily see the same thing happening if the Democratic and Republican balances in the Senate had been reversed over the last 20-30 years. The vast majority of them are short-sighted idealogues, regardless of party. Charles Krauthammer was correct: “Whenever you’re faced with an explanation of what’s going on in Washington, the choice between incompetence and conspiracy, always choose incompetence.”

The U.S. Army…

is 243 years old, today. Happy Birthday to all of you, past and present. You have upheld a fine tradition of service.

Alas for my bok choy

A few nights ago we had what can only be termed a “significant” thunderstorm here in our small West Texas city (bear in mind that “small” is a relative term and I tend to favor towns in which the population falls somewhere between four and five digits). It decimated my bok choy cabbage, which is a bummer. I had very specific plans for it. Specifically, I was going to make my initial efforts at making kimchi with bok choy, rather than the traditional Napa cabbage. Sadly, such a thing was not to be.

Fear not! All is not lost.

Enter Napa cabbage.

bok choy

I actually used two of them. Yummy looking, yes? They got chopped into pieces about two inches wide.

Then, of course, we needed the daikon radish.

daikon radish

If you are used to the small red radish that we typically see here in the US, the daikon is a little different. Other than the fact that it is not red, there are two other differences. First, it is a lot bigger (the one I used weight right at one pound). Second, it is very mild in comparison to many red radishes. These also got chopped, though into much smaller pieces than the cabbage.

All the other goodies.

kimchi ingredients

Garlic…I used about six cloves. I peeled a piece of ginger about two inches long. I chopped the entire bunch of scallions into pieces about one inch long. The garlic, ginger,  and about 1/3 cup of the sambal oelek went into the blender to make a paste. The cabbage, daikon and scallions went into a food grade plastic bucket along with about four tbsp of kosher salt. The veggies and salt were mixed by hand and then allow to sit for two hours or so. Although I didn’t take a picture, after two hours the salt had pulled so much water out of the veggies that they occupied a much smaller space.

I pulled the veggies from the bucked, placed them in a glass bowl (now that they would fit) and with gloved hands mixed them with the paste. Then, into the canning jars they went. That was yesterday. According to the recipe I used, they need to be opened every day to allow the gases that are a by-product of fermentation to escape. The recipe was right! After less than 24 hours, the lids on the canning jars were bulging. The mixture should sit one more day before I taste it to see if it’s ready. Still, it already looks like the yumminess that is kimchi.

kimchi

Tomorrow, we’ll see if it is ready for the refrigerator or if it needs to ferment another day at room temp.