It doesn’t seem to matter what “end of the world as we know it” scenario a novelist picks; they all have certain traits in common. First you have Lars Strongheart, ex-CIA hit man, brain surgeon, rocket scientist, jack of all trades and, of course, martial arts expert on all types of weapons. Upon reaching his secret survival retreat in “the mountains,” he spends the next 400 pages fighting off cannibal “bikers” (motorcycle gangs seem to be better than cockroaches at surviving an apocalypse). Well, if you think that is a realistic long-term plan for the collapse of modern society, don’t expect to survive very long. You’ll be lucky if you freeze to death before you starve. My personal recommendation for one of the finest “EOTWAWKI” novels is Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain. (And don’t confuse the book with the movie.)

For those not familiar with the plot, it takes place in the hills of North Carolina during the Civil War. With the menfolk off to war, two young women are forced to fend for themselves on a small backwoods homestead. Money’s tight, and many basic supplies you would normally take for granted, like salt, are in extreme shortage. If you don’t grow and preserve it yourself, you don’t eat. Which brings me to the ridiculous theory that “survivalists” will go “out in the woods” and live off the land as their long-term plan. Any game would be gone in a few months, and eatable plants would probably follow right behind them.

Self Sufficiency
I won’t try to tell you that our own homestead has made us totally self-sufficient, but I do consider it a useful annual training ground for any future emergencies that might force us to live off of it. It has been years since we bought a potato, and the same goes for canned tomatoes, green beans, corn, dried beans and a number of herbs. While other produce like onions, squash, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower and peas are more seasonal, they provide table fare for at least several months out of the year, which brings us to the subject of knives…


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It doesn’t seem to matter what “end of the world as we know it”…