Tag Archives: survival

Survival Lessons – Edible Plants

My husband recently bought me this book:

It makes me want to spend hours hiking around the wild spaces, looking for all these plants.

This is the perfect time of year too, with all the plants sprouting and blooming — so much to see and explore.

Reading through the book, it amazes me for some reason how much food surrounds us. Eating lots of different leaves for salad greens, making flour out of roots and seeds, making tea out of dried flowers. I’ve got quite a few edible plants in my yard (things I planted), but it’s reassuring to know that the boundary of edible wildness (what most people call “weeds” because there’s a grocery store up the street) extends infinitely.

One thing I want to commit to experimenting with this fall is acorns. We get a ton of them on the ground near our house and I’d like to read up on them, find some recipes for processing and making tasty stuff out of them.

In order to make a survival lesson out of edible plant identification for the kids, I might make a scavenger hunt of sorts. Maybe make copies of drawings to identify them and make up a little booklet for them to use as a handbook to find stuff. Whoever gets poison ivy automatically loses! 😀

Playing Their Game vs. Survival Mode

A few weeks ago, after we received our tax return, I came up with a very reasonable, responsible plan to pay off some of our credit card debt with a substantial portion of the amount. I even projected my plan into next year with the goal of eventually paying of our debt entirely.

I’m sure my current position as budgeting instructor has contributed significantly to my fabulous life strategy.

Playin’ the game to win, baby.

But here’s what happened.

Real life and the cyber world conspired to place within earshot one too many conversations about the end of civilization as we know it. Since making my brilliant plan, but luckily not yet sending in the check, I’ve heard lots of talk of global warming/peak oil consumption/terrorists getting nukes/ and other nail biting scenarios in which the fire pit out back becomes the hearth of our home and whatever seeds a person happened to buy for their garden lately is what they’re gonna eat for the next, well, forever.

My thought has shifted to: I’m gonna waste the bird we have in our hand on something pretend like a credit score?

A game changing world event could come along any second. And if it does, are the credit card people going to be banging on my door? No, they’re gonna be in their own corner of the planet, trying to build a fire pit in their backyard. Wishing they’d bought seeds instead of another yacht.

So I can blow a wad on paying them back, or I can spend that money on real items that might help my family survive in our own corner.

Even more than the actual money is how I FEEL about each decision. When I was in the mind frame of paying a lot toward credit cards: trapped, small, controlled, sad, resigned, low. I’m never going to win the game. It’s definitely rigged. Once you’ve agreed to play, you’ve lost. You can lose more or less, you have some control over how far you’re gonna bend over, but you’re gonna lose.

Once I entertained the possibility of continuing to pay a bit more than the monthly minimum (after all, I’m not out to default on my agreements) and invest the rest in our life and our actual future: alive!, powerful, engaged, real.

I’m sure the credit card companies would be thrilled with this plan. After all, the longer it takes me to pay them off, the more they get.

But if the ship goes down, I’m swimming away without looking back. They can keep their numbers and their scores and we’ll just call it good.

And even if it means paying more in the long run, it might be worth it to buy this feeling of control.

Survivalist Lifestyle

Although I hope I will never succumb to outright paranoia, I think that living a survivalist lifestyle of sorts is a good idea for me and my family. (And by this I mean: coming up with strategies specific to our situation; stockpiling some resources; learning and practicing various essential skills for day to day survival.)

1. We will be prepared if anything happens: natural disaster, political unrest, even personal financial ruin.

2. It gives people confidence and security to know how to do basic things like start a fire and identify edible plants.

3. It puts people in closer touch with the Earth to know how to accomplish the basic tasks of daily life without electricity and complicated gadgets. The closer in touch with Earth, the more harmonious the walk through Life.

4. It might bring us closer together as a family to learn and master different tasks together, and to know that we can rely on each other and each has vital skills to contribute to the group. The older kids especially might learn a greater sense of responsibility toward the family and their younger siblings as they realize how much more they are able to do, and how much they would be depended on in an emergency.

5. It is something to pass on to children that can never be taken away from them: the skills and confidence to survive.

We’ve been watching some shows together, such as “Man, Woman, Wild” and “Dual Survival.” It’s kind of funny because there are so many harsh environments out there that they strand themselves in and sometimes have to give up and just say, “Okay, we would have died,” but an episode of “Man, Woman, Wild” we recently watched was set in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, of which we live in the foothills, and it was like a paradise. They were essentially camping and hanging out. Made me feel super confident about our location.

A kind of “reward system” I thought of for the lessons with the kids is to get them each a “go-bag,” which is some type of backpack or satchel that a person would grab in an emergency situation and have all the tools they need to survive.

As we accomplish different lessons, like fire starting, they would then get their own piece of equipment to keep in their go-bag. (Of course, it would be understood that the go-bag isn’t for playing, and that it has to be kept somewhere safe, but they could take it out and practice skills with supervision.

I certainly would guard against scaring the children with doomsday scenarios (I remember how frequently I dreamed of nuclear annihilation as a child), but I would present it more as something fun, challenging, useful for camping, etc.

Anyway, so if anyone has any great ideas, websites or experiences to share, I’d appreciate it. I’ll update on this project as we get started (It seems like we should wait until it warms up some. I’d think practicing in the cold would be more intermediate level, and beginners might be afforded the luxury of not fighting the elements as well as their own ignorance.)