Saturday, May 28, 2016

Twenty-Five Pounds Of Oats To The Good

The other day I realized that the 25-pound bag of oats that I bought for $19 has lasted me almost a year, and I eat oatmeal every day. I add blueberries I grew myself, which also last all year. When I heft my next new bag of oats, it will feel heavy with virtue.  It will feel as though Grandma, now around 200 years old, is smiling right behind me, her floury hands on her hips and her root cellar fully potatoed for the winter. I will feel like a woman acquainted with the thuck of Mason jar lids sealing shut. A woman with a good pickling brine. A woman who can take care of herself.

I am not.

And that's not good. We have this gigantic earthquake penciled in for these parts, and we have been advised to be prepared with anywhere from three weeks' to a year's worth of water and food, depending on whom you ask. We're told no one is going to come feed us or tape up our scratches or anything else for a good long time, because even the rescue personnel are planning to be buried in rubble. Electricity and gas will be a fond memory. We'll be back in the 18th century without the manual.

So that's a problem. Every critter on the planet knows how to go about feeding and watering itself, and humans have been no exception, until about a hundred years ago. Then we went stupid. And now, even though we tend to think of ourselves as pretty clever, with all the wisdom of the world on a little pocket doohickey, most of us are basically screwed if we can't drive to the grocery store.

Come the quake, your average dude will be able to glean Cheez Doodles from the sofa cushions for about a day. He might be able to Second-Amendment someone out of their food stash, but then he's out of options. We're the first species to have evolved past our own survival skills.

My own life strategy has been to make myself appealing to people who know how to cook, but if push came to shove I could probably cope until the cupboard ran dry. I'm just a little ahead of that large contingent that doesn't know how asparagus grows, or thinks turnips hang from turnip vines. But if you throw me in the woods to fend for myself, I'm in a world of hurt. I can recognize a few berries, but unless I can manage to whack a chipmunk and toast it over someone's broken gas line, I'm going to be very hungry very fast.

M.A. scouting big game.
My friend Mary Ann will not. Give her two sticks and a patch of forest floor, and she'll weave herself a basket and fill it with edibles and conjure fish out of the stream and serve you fourteen members of the insect family in all stages of personal development and make you think it's risotto. Give her another week and she'll have relieved enough mammals of their fat stores and pounded nuts and berries into them that she and three of her closest friends will be sitting pretty through a snowy winter, with plenty of time to play Scrabble. She'll make bon-bons out of bark. She'll negotiate with bears.

My new strategy is to hope that when the earthquake comes it will push my little piece of the crust close to Mary Ann. I further plan to be appealing.

25 comments:

  1. Plan 1: learn everything you can from Mary Ann as fast as you can.
    Plan 2: buy up enough matches or gas powered portable Barbecue lighters to last you an eternity, to start fires to cook whatever you manage to whack, skin and gut.
    Possible Plan 3: move away from an earthquake area.

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    1. Mary Ann tries to teach me everything but I have that retention problem.

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    2. I'll have to chain the notebook with my eyeglasses and shoes to the bedpost. Evidently that's what you're supposed to do.

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  2. I'm not worried, I can learn everything I need from the internet.

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    1. That would be the serious response we would get from 95% of Americans.

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  3. Or teach yourself hibernation tricks.
    XO
    WWW

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  4. We chuckle knowingly, with thee
    As everyone can plainly to see
    M.A. will quake
    As earth doth shake
    Murr often spouts hyperbole

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    1. I NEVER spout hyperbole. Everything is the God's own troot.

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  5. Bill Burr says, "If you don't know how to fight, you're just collecting supplies for the toughest guy in the neighborhood."

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    1. I guess that's why I'm not collecting supplies. I'm trying not to attract the toughest guy in the neighborhood.

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  6. It wouldn't be any fun, unless I'm pretending to relive my boy scout career. With many people armed to the teeth I have to hope they kill ff each other before they find me.

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    1. I wonder how many guns are in my very neighborhood. I'll bet it's a really low number compared with the rest of the USA.

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  7. I have a daughter living in LA and she will NOT listen to my pleas to store some food and water, and a loud whistle, and whatever else is supposed to be in an earthquake preparedness kit. She probably does think that turnips grow on turnip vines too. She lives within walking distance of a Gelsen's and Trader Joes. Maybe that will hold her over?

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    1. I'm afraid I'm just like your daughter, with one difference: our earthquake is going to be WAY quakier, and I'll be EVEN screweder.

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    2. Oh honey, you couldn't be screweder. just isn't posable.

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  8. I hope that someone realises that we NEED story tellers. And should feed them. Which has you safe, but leaves me in limbo...

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    Replies
    1. Screw you, as long as I'm safe! Oh, I mean...

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  9. I learned the hard (read:stinky) way not to fill the freezer with my summer's bounty.Canned/bottled food must also be stored.A flood once knocked out the transformer and it was 5 days before the crew could get to it by boat.Man! A lot of us had freezers full of fish and meat.

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  10. At my age (60+) I cannot use sex appeal to lure some handsome man into taking care of me and providing to my needs. *sigh* I have friends who are hunters and fishermen so will have to hit them up. I will not eat bugs! NEVER!

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    Replies
    1. Naah. Money is what God gives women over sixty to take the place of sex appeal. Some women.

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