The art of survival
An Outdoorsman’s Journal
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 self-sufficient 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 in-person 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 is hoping to take a chainsaw certifi cation course next fall. Because Selina is home, I fast tracked her classes. I 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, 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. My guess is that I will grow veggies from November until June each year. I have my garden set up 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 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. 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 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.
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