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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Archive from August 12, 2007

Entry for August 12, 2007

The word “survivalist” often has bad connotations. People picture some shirtless Rambo gnawing the bark from trees, or some camo-clad recluse scavenging road-kills. In fact, we are all survivalists. When things go bad, we look for ways to get by, we find ways to survive. Even with no planning at all, most will salvage or scavenge enough to last quite a while.

Mom and Dad came from an area of the country where luxuries were few, and from an era in time when people knew how to make do with what was available. As far as food, if they did not buy it, barter for it, or grow it, they would go out and shoot it. They had kerosene lamps for reading homework assignments, homes heated by burning wood and / or coal.

The Chicagoland suburbs are not the Cumberland Mountains, until Mother Nature decides so. While I was a little tyke, an ice storm once took down all of the power lines and closed every road. This event lasted for several days, and Mom and Dad took care of themselves and their brood of five sons in style. There was no heat, no fireplace, no water, but we never shivered, never thirsted, and never felt hunger. Mom always kept the shelves well stocked, so food was available. Water ran a little short, but we got by. One morning Dad built a fire in the front yard, melted snow in a pot, tossed in a hand full of coffee grounds and voila, the vilest tasting coffee ever suffered by man or boy. This memory prompted me to have bottled water, a propane stove, and a camp-stove peculator in my collection of disaster gear. I am never going to be as tough as Mom and Dad, nor will I ever be as smart. I need to plan ahead. Winter survival can be tough. One of these days, you will be in an area where the electricity will be off for days. If the roads are closed going to Grandma’s house will be off the option list. Give it some thought.

Summer survival should be easy, but heat kills more people each year than any other weather event. If the power drops off for a week or two during a heat wave, what will be your options?

Many people associate the word “survivalist” with eating insects. If you plan ahead, bugs will be pretty far down your food chain. A couple of large jars of peanut butter and a couple of boxes of saltine crackers will store on the shelf a good long time, and feed you and a couple of friends for three or four days. If you tire of eating peanut butter, put some on a cracker, leave it outside for a few hours, and then munch the peanut butter with the bugs that are stuck on it. Think of it as animated extra crunchy with color. If you are starving to death and find yourself covered with bugs, you may want to eat those bugs before they finish eating you.

When Y2K was all of the rage some folks took it to the extreme and decked their domiciles out in preparation for the end of civilization. When Katrina was bearing down on the Gulf States, most treated it as just another windstorm. The best preparation is probably somewhere in between obsession and neglect. What will you need to have on hand to survive for one week, be it at work, at home, or stuck somewhere in between?

Thanks for listening,

James A. Zachary Jr.

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