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An Outdoorsman’s Journal

An Outdoorsman’s  Journal An Outdoorsman’s  Journal

By: Mark Walters

The Art of Survival

Hello friends: In mid-February after having watched what was happening in China with the coronavirus/ COVID-19 for a good month, I just about wrote a column on what I would do to get prepared for what I assumed would be a major change in our day-to-day lives. A couple of important people in my life advised against it and so I did not. This week I am writing about the selfsufficient way of life that I have lived for the last 30 years. In January, I started telling my daughter Selina, who is a freshmen at UW-Stevens Point, that I felt the virus was going to cause some major problems all over the world. The day before what was supposed to be spring break, Selina packed up most of her belongings in her dorm and moved home. UW-SP, like just about every school in the world, had cancelled inperson classes. Whether a person understands this or not, this is a really big deal for college students.

Selina has wanted to learn how to use a chainsaw for quite some time and next fall is hoping to take a chainsaw certification course. Because Selina is home, I fast-tracked her classes and am down to one more day of wood cutting and everything for next winter will be cut and stacked, just not split.

I felt that there may be shortages of food or at least possibly. A month ago I built a three-level trellis in my house and planted green beans, sugar snap peas, summer squash, cantaloupe, zucchini, broccoli and potatoes. In no way do I feel that these vegetables will feed us for a season, but they will mean fresh vegetables from mid-May to late June.

I rigged up a light over the top of the trellis and my guess is that I will grow veggies from November until June each year. I have my garden setup right in the kitchen, next to a sliding glass door which lets me watch each plant and offers the most sunlight in the house.

I have had laying hens and a rooster for 20 years. The rooster that I currently have is five years old and is as pretty and kind as I have ever seen for a rooster. My chickens are free roaming and the rooster comes to either a window or sliding glass door every morning and looks inside until he finds me.

When he does find me, first he gives me the look, if that does not work he starts crowing until I give him a treat, which is always oyster crackers or bread. Here is what is really neat about this guy, especially since most roosters are kind of mean. This old boy would starve to death if I did not give him treats alone. Every time that I have done this — which is hundreds — if there is a hen with him he takes the treat and gives it to the hen.

A lot of people are going through financial hardships and could find themselves short on provisions. I have lived this way of life, which basically is a self-employed outdoor adventures writer, and in a lot of ways a survivalist since I was in my mid-20s.

I am not complaining, just stating a fact. My income is low but because I do not spend more than I make and more importantly I create so much of my food, heat, and entertainment, I do very well for being what could be called “low income.”

None of us knows what the future holds but all of us can think, plan and work so that when adversity strikes, we can mentally, physically and financially be as prepared as possible to deal with it.

Support your local businesses, they need you more than ever. Sunset

Selina Walters in the early stages of learning how to run a chainsaw.

Fresh vegetables by June 1st!

Mark Walters’ rooster is a true gentleman.