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Another Day in the County

Survival instinct is a survivor

© Another Day in the Country

I grew up with parents who were a contradiction. My father, a preacher, had one foot in the hereafter and the other grounded in survival — on this Earth. Children of the Great Depression knew what you needed to survive the Dirty ’30s: food, water, wood. If you had something to eat, water to drink and wood for heat in the winter, you could make it.

Even though we lived in the city when I was a child, finding a small acreage, in a rural area, where water, wood, and garden space were available was my father’s idea of a hobby.

“Recreation is RE-creation,” Dad was fond of saying.

Making something, planning ahead — that was fun for him and, by repetition in our family, it became fun for us, too.

Dad didn’t get his first little parcel of land until my sister was a teenager, but my parents’ home was by design a place where you could live for some extended period of time in an emergency.

They were always prepared. They could live off the grid long before it became fashionable or an ecological standard.

They always had a wood- burning stove or fireplace in their house. They had gravity-fed water from a spring on the little farm where they retired. They had plenty of trees and a stockpile of wood. My mother’s pantry was always overflowing with bounty from their garden.

Mom and Dad lived their retirement years in Oregon. At the time, I lived in Northern California. Always in the back of my mind was the thought, ”if we have a really bad earthquake in California, or some national disaster, I’ve got to have enough gas in the car to get us to the farm.”

That’s what we called their place, the farm, even though it only sat on 18 acres.

Always lurking somewhere in my subconscious is that rule of preparedness that was so important to my father.

I now live in a house that was the last bastion of my mother’s pantry — always overflowing — and I still keep commodities in that pantry that could sustain us in tough times.

There are jars and jars of tomatoes and kraut — not the prodigious amount that Mom used to can, but enough that you could live on for a few months, if you had to.

In the Ramona house we have a wood stove — so there’s somewhere to go for heat if the electricity fails.

I wish I could afford to have a windmill or solar power but will just have to make do, in an emergency, with kerosene lamps and candles.

I know where to get water from a hand pump nearby. I keep dried foods and canned goods in that pantry. I’ve got an extra five gallons of gas. And, being the older generation now, there’s no one else to look to in times of trouble. I’m it.

Oh, and, I have chickens. I must not forget to list them along with my disaster preparedness kit.

Today, I went to get something out of the freezer and I was shocked at how much I’d stockpiled.

“Your survival preparedness is getting out of hand,” I said to myself. “You’ve got enough food here for several emergencies.”

I used to tease my Mother about her freezer being stuffed to the limit; now I’m following suit — it must be hereditary or maybe it’s environmental because we no longer have a store in Ramona.

Needless to say, I’ve got more than I can consume on a regular basis. I could feed the whole town for a while with all this frozen food, but I’ve a hunch they’d be disappointed in vegetarian fare — no prepared TV dinners, no frozen pizzas, no ice cream or hamburger patties. But there is lots of frozen corn, petite peas, nuts, French bread, peaches galore and sour cherries from my almost-defunct cherry tree.

I’m not sure all that counts as survival food, but gratitude will reign should the day arrive when we really need it — not just want it — and are stranded, out here on another day in the country.

Last modified June 2, 2016

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