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Just in Time Delivery


By Fred LooneyPublished about a year ago 13 min read
Just in Time Delivery
Photo by Lester Hine on Unsplash


Every day, within a couple minutes of 10 in the morning, if the weather is reasonable, a drone emerges from the heavens on a bee-line for my solitude. This has been happening for almost a full week now. For the past 4 days, at 10 AM, every day except for Tuesday, when a Snowstorm at about the appointed hour delayed the delivery that day until noon. A box has been left on each delivery, they have been different sizes and some have contained rocks and one was packed with feathers but with no markings.

I built my “Homestead” almost 2 years ago. I was inspired by a TV series about a man and his family who travel around helping people who had attempted to choose the homestead life style but were on the verge of failure. I watched episode after episode about how the show’s hero, a jack of all trades and expert negotiator, with the help of his grown son an expert hunter / heavy equipment operator and his daughter who is blessed with a green thumb and the skills necessary for general carpentry. find miracle cures to save one homestead after another, all in 1 short week. As I watched I became hooked on the lifestyle and at the same time I was certain that I could make a go of it without having to walk to the edge of failure.

My homestead is about 50 miles from the nearest population center. My neighbors are few and far between. I have a business which I am proud to say is ECO friendly and I am entirely “off the grid”, self sufficient. Wind power and solar power, geothermal heat pump. I live in tune with the environment. I build things that people want and once a week I pay a small package delivery service in the local hardware store to make the trek to deliver the few items which I need and pick up the outgoing products that are my source of income.

About a month ago I had a long and at times heated discussion with a big box company that wants to take over the deliveries by using a drone. They apparently did not listen because every day I get a drone delivering unmarked box of varying weight and size, I suppose they are just try to prove to me that it works!


I used to live in a big city. When I left my condo each morning I was immediately assaulted with honking horns, revving engines, slamming car doors and people screaming about things that did not matter to me at all. The air was heavy with pungent unpleasantness and that was badly covered up with the aromas of street foods. Don’t get me wrong, I loved most of the street foods and the vendors were just ordinary folks trying to eek out an existence in a world gone mad. But if you imagine a tasty aroma of a breakfast burrito with an under tone of diesel fumes and whiffs of dogs being walked, well, that was not so pleasant. I was a big shot investment broker working for a big shot investment company and every day my life followed that same disgusting pattern. Checking markets all night long, looking for triggers and speed bumps, things that have a large affect on markets very quickly and can make or break you in an instant, I needed to be sure that I was not sleeping when something big happened half a world away that would catch me off guard.

When I was forced to take a vacation it was always to hike in the mountains, away from other people and man made noise. I spent a week or two listening to birds and squirrels. Smelling the earth with all the scents that mother earth sent to me. I learned to not ignore the fresh air breezes with the scent of an approaching storm and soon I recognized that I needed to react just like all those creatures, both big and small that were my fellow visitors in this seemingly perfect world.


The days had flown by, I had finally quit worrying about what was happening in the world that I had left behind and learned to just live and love this world. It was then that my mind caught up with my body and I discovered that I must be crazy to live in the craziness of modern gold chasing. What was the point of chasing after a dream of great wealth when I eschewed the trappings of that wealth at every opportunity. I loved smelling the world, from a distant drift of the pungent and very real warning of a skunk to the fabulous aroma of a field of clover that is so strong and wonderful that you actually taste it and sooner than later. Lying in the clover looking up at the scant clouds drifting slowly overhead and wrapping myself in all the senses that my body had to offer. Not just the sight, sound, smell, touch and taste of this beautiful world but also in the oneness that I felt with the world.

I rested, I sought more to experience and I heard small scurrying sounds that had been ignored earlier and discovered that looking beneath the cover of the vegetation revealed another world of small creatures of every kind. The taste of my own sweat was quickly brough to the forefront by a simple licking of my lips.

I was so absorbed by the hidden worlds that at first I ignored a larger sound and a very pungent aroma. The sounds were of footfall and a sniffing or snuffling that was not near enough to reach with my hands by not far away at all. I wisely choose to stay as still as possible as I slowly scanned the larger world to search for the source of the intrusions to my day dreams. Then I became aware of a very large and very dark furriness. Then the being became much larger as it rose to it’s hind legs and stood, only about 25 feet from me and the gloriously majestic and frightfully fearless black bear studied the tree line to my far left. I was as motionless as I could force myself and stared in wide open admiration that was the only barrier I had left between the bear and my terror of understanding of how much that wondrous creature could hurt me without even trying hard. As he or she fell back to all four our eyes met for a very brief second and I felt zero malice. The bear simply decided that it was ok that I was there and turned away from what first caught it’s attention and slowly wandered out the field of clover.

At that moment I knew I was home! This place was meant for me.


I returned to the city and my chosen profession knowing in my heart that I needed to get away from that rat race and to find my new home, living off the grid and on my own. Seeing others when needed and contributing to the world by doing something that was far different from what I was doing at that time.

Within 9 months, which the length of time took on a special meaning to me as I felt as if my next life was developing and getting ready for me to arrive. I found that field of clover and I found an owner willing to sell only after he heard my plans for the use of the land. I bought about a hundred acres, which was the upper limit of that the current owner was willing to part with. I had a small access road constructed using ecologically friendly methods so not to spoil what I had. In the nine months of gestation I had a well that provided an endless supply of clear clean water, a serviceable road and a small solar farm on the edge of a small cliff. My plans included a wind farm discreetly filtered around trees and protected from storms and not an eyesore. I set up a comfortable tent shelter at the edge of my field of clover and left the city for the last time.

My next goal was self sufficiency and sustainable life style. So, since I have serviceable shelter, my first permanent building was to be a dry storage barn and workshop. This barn will be the “hub” of the homestead, it will be a place to work and play and most importantly a place to make everything possible.

I have an agreement with a fellow who owns and operates a small lumber mill only about 80 miles or so away. He sends in a crew to harvest fallen and occasionally standing trees and logs. I manage the crew while they are here, that way I am safe, out of the way and still useful.

The saw mill gives me a fair price for the wood after deducting their expenses and I, in turn buy their dried logs and lumber. Sometimes I sell them more than I buy and other times the pendulum swings back to my needs for lumber exceeding the amount of wood that I am willing to sell at the moment. My house is built of lumber from that mill, some of which started here on my property and was harvested when it had been down for a few years and was properly dry without beginning to rot. I have a glorious fireplace and mantle which I built from a beautiful black walnut tree that I found deep in the woods and then we spent a whole day dragging out. The mill got exact specs from me about how I wanted the lumber and after I installed a highly energy efficient fireplace I brought the mantle to life in about 6 days. That fireplace and mantle is now the center of my life. I begin everyday in front of it and every evening sitting and chatting with friends (via internet) or occasionally in person, in front of a warm and comforting fire. My house always smells of a bit of wood smoke and the various types of wood scraps that I choose as much for their aroma as for thier stored energy. I can even burn soft woods in this amazing grid fireplace and get that wonderful pine scented air which is absolutely marvelous when blended with the poplar and hickory.

I have a few neighbors and one family includes exceptional cooks and even a world class baker. I trade what I build and add some cash to have these neighbors, the Bellany sisters, come to my home once or twice each week and they keep me stocked with fabulous meals and the kitchen almost always smells of pies or cakes, especially my winter favorite, pumpkin. They bring full meals to pack into my freezer and often prepare some things, especially pies and cakes in my kitchen. What an ideal life I live.


It has been a productive morning, I have a large box of products ready to ship and I sent my list of needs in yesterday. Tomorrow is Sunday so, on Monday I will get my supplies and then get shipping confirmations of fruits of my labor later in the afternoon. That will trigger invoicing and keep the cycle going.

I step out of my barn onto the loading dock as the sun has already set and the temps have taken a nosedive. I recall something about a cold front from yesterday evening’s news cast and thought, the prognosticators sure got that one right. The air smells of snow and I can faintly smell my fireplace which I keep banked and ready to be productive again within just a very few minutes.

As I turn to go back inside to shut everything down for the night I see a streak coming from my right. I am startled and jump slightly as the possum rushes by. Unfortunately I landed too near the edge of the loading dock on a small patch of ice. My feet fly out into space, my butt strikes firmly into the dock surface and my noggin gets a bit of a bump as off the dock I soar. The dock in only a bout 3 feet high but with me having zero control of my body, that turns out to be a very ugly 36 inches. As my right leg curls under me and I land with a sickening crack with my lower leg on the outside of the loading dock curb and my right foot tucked under my now sore butt. The bulk of my body weight is carried by momentum out over my knee and the sound is an immediate recollection of my football days when I was 16 and I broke my right leg. The fibula, that smaller in diameter and greater in length bone in the lower leg was broken by a 220 pound lineman in the title championship game. I remember being taken from the field by stretcher and trying to wave to the fans as the team trainer told me to just lay back, the girls will all remember how you got hit. Then I was loaded into the waiting ambulance.

When I came to, I was not in an ambulance, my jeans were a bit too wet and way too red. I tried to rise and quickly discovered that was a stupid idea. Using a bandana that I was wearing as a scarf I wrapped it as tightly as I could around my leg to try and control the loss of blood. That effort knocked me out again, which quite honestly I appreciated very much.

I awoke in the middle of the night, I was a bit woozy and figured that it was caused by blood loss but my makeshift compression bandage seemed to be working pretty well enough for now, or perhaps I was running out of blood to loose. I decided to try to get up on the dock using only my arms and my relatively uninjured left leg. The pain made me scream and I felt heartened when I heard a Coyote reply and then a few minutes later a Wolf added his song. I hope I am never able to remember any of the details but somehow I managed to pull myself onto the loading dock and dragged myself over to the loading dock doors. The sun was beginning to break and I was thinking about the telecom unit on the other side of the loading dock doors when I realized that the door remote was in the right pocket of my soaked jeans and I dug it out while being accompanied by Coyote song, I then found it had been broken in half by the fall and was completely useless. Of course I had another way in but that was all the way to the other side of the barn and it was no easy trek when my body was whole.

Now I once again tried to figure when the Bellany sisters would be back again, but I was not at all sure of when that would be.

As I dozed fitfully, shivering and in pain, the sun climbed in the sky and I was concerned about my being able to stay conscious. Then I heard something, a man made sound, and as I looked up the drone settled on my loading dock once again. This time it bore the name of the hardware store that provided me my delivery service every week and the note inside said that the owner was playing with this new method, trying to find more customers for his service. It went on the explain that if I had anything to reply just put in in the box and press the orange flashing button on the drone and he would have my reply in a few short minutes.

I took the note and looked for a way to write, I had no pen or pencil but I eventually realized that I still had wet blood, though not much. I used my finger to write HELP closed the box and pressed the orange button.


I kind of woke up on a stretcher, being carried from the football field to the awaiting ambulance but I could not hear the fans this time and as I tried to wave I found my arm was strapped down and it was impossible.

Half way to town I started warming up and opened my eyes to see Mary Bellany holding my left hand and looking like she had been crying. My buddy Carl was playing paramedic and telling me all about his drone and how he hoped it be a boon to his business.

A couple days later I was out of the Hospital, being shuttled home by Mary and Paula, I convinced them to stop by the hardware store and Carl almost shook my arm off. I told him that I would abosolutely be a drone delivery customer as soon as he could set it up and teach me what to do and I seriously thought he was going to jump till he fell over something and then we would have to go back to the hospital.

The Bellany sisters took me home and Mary refused to leave, stating with firm finality that I needed someone to help with little things for a while till I got a bit better. It’s been about 5 weeks since I got out of our little clinic and I am feeling much better but Mary doesn’t seem anxious to leave and for now, I have no intention of encouraging her to do so.

The End or Beginning

Short Story

About the Creator

Fred Looney

My first lifetime, I wrote in the language of computers. Now, in my "Retirement" I want to express my thoughts and feelings to other humans.

Please join me in this new adventure while I explore what I have been hiding in my subconscious.

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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    Writing reflected the title & theme

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