It just occurred to me that I’ve been writing this blog for a week or two and never really explained what is my idea of Suburban Survival.
First off some pics from my constitutionals-
This was an Osprey checking us out. Look close, about halfway down from the top center, white body and black wings. I had to check a few books and Wikipedia.
This is a Great Blue Heron. She likes to stand near the overflow and catch fish as they get washed over. You can learn a lot about being stealthy by watching one of these things hunt. This is a success story of modern environmentalism. These great birds were almost wiped out by DDT until we banned the stuff.
These people are water skiing on a beautiful fall day surrounded by foliage.
Suburban survival is to me…this is just my perspective. It may not be right for you or mesh with your worldview.
1. Mens sana in corpore sano. This means a strong mind in a strong body. Respect for self. This means that you need to take care of yourself. You need to eat right and exercise. You need to read and try to become a better…whatever you are. I try to be the best Abraham I can be. Hey we all have vices. Vices are good. Vices reduce stress and help to blow off steam. Nothing wrong with having a drink as long as you don’t let the drink have you. Nothing wrong with playing X-box as long as you don’t let X-box play you.
2. Advance your skills. Girls want guys with skills. Strive to be a life long learner. Read and practice. If you know how to read and can follow directions you can do anything. Anything. Take a class on auto mechanics. Not to replace your own timing belt, but to know if your mechanic speaks the truth when she tells you that you need your timing belt replaced. Know how to use basic hand tools and do stuff around your home.
3. Learn about the world around you. Learn about the bees, the plants, the paths and the people that occupy your slice of the planet. Learn the different seasons and the plants and animals that occupy each. Learn about the wild edibles that surround you. This past summer I was always hopped up on purslane and red mulberry. Yum. You will be amazed at how many of the things that you consider weeds are edible or medicinal. Stuff growing through the cracks in your driveway can be tasty.
4. Be adaptable. The world is ever changing. Don’t assume that the future will be like the past. Don’t imprint your view of the world on reality. Accept reality as it is and adapt to it. Quick example here, you go body surfing on Cape Cod all of the time. You always have fun body surfing and consider yourself an expert. You fly to Hawaii and head off to body surf. You are making a big mistake by imprinting your past experience on reality. Hawaiian waves aren’t Cape Cod waves. Read this book – http://www.deepsurvival.com/. It’s about the mental component of surviving. The mental component is mroe important than any tools or knick knacks that you may carry with you.
5. Waste not want not. Be thrifty. Buy stuff on sale. Don’t throw stuff out. Just about everything has a second and third and fourth use. Don’t be ashamed either. I’m not above trash picking if I see something useful. Heck, some folks in my town cut up fallen branches and bundle them up for the town to take away and dispose of. When I’m driving around if I see one of these bundles of wood I’ll stop and throw it in my car. It’s like an instant fire. Plan ahead. I bought two cords of wood in June for $190 each. Now they are over $300 each. Plan ahead. Beat the crowd.
6. Make lists and refine them. Lists of what you want to do. What you want to buy. Where you want to go. Become better organized and eliminate wasteful trips.
7. Buy enough to store some away. Wait for it to get on sale then buy.
8. Redundancy. One of anything isn’t enough. Get extras. The worst time to find out something doesn’t work is when you need it the most.
9. Balance. Find a balance between work and play, prepping and not prepping, time by yourself and time spent with others.
10. Walk lightly. Don’t be a big mouth. Don’t attract attention to yourself. I like to say that our cars are urban camouflage, no one would look twice at them. Make sure your brake lights, headlights and turn signals work. Don’t give the Man any additional reason to prevent you from moving freely. Avoid bars late at night. Avoid drunks. Walk away from fights. If someone is picking a fight with you it has more to do with them then you.
11. Be prepared for any possible contingency. Learn some self defense skills. Be prepared to defend yourself. Learn how to shoot. Carry some mace or a firearm. When you go out make up scenarios in your mind. Observe those around you. When you go in somewhere look where the exits are. Sit with your back to the wall. Check out your surroundings. Think who is with who and what they’re doing there. If anyone makes you nervous leave. Listen to the hair on the back of your neck.
12. Treat everyone you meet with respect. I can learn something from everyone I meet. Don’t expect everyone to like you.
13. Learn first aid and field medicine skills. Have a great first aid kit.
14. Respect the world around you.
15. Learn about gardening and do it. Compost. Learn how to preserve food.
16. Learn how to cook good food from humble ingredients.
17. Learn basic outdoors skills – how to build a fire, fish, set up a camp, use a compass, dress for different types of weather, set a snare or a trap, track an animal, tie a knot, cross a stream, tell if the ice is safe, sleep outside overnight, learn some constellations, stars and planets, learn how to shoot a rifle, row a boat, SWIM, paddle a canoe, skate, cross country and alpine ski, ride a bike, pack a back pack, build a lean to, bake in a Dutch oven, chop wood and so on.
18. Economy. You have to know the difference between principal and interest. Be able to balance a checkbook. Understand the time value of money and the power of compound interest. (Would you rather have $1,000,000 or a penny that doubles every day for 30 days?). Know the risk of debt. Understand how amortization works. If you owe a balance to anyone call them and try to negotiate better terms. If they’re not willing then search around for better terms. Pay off your higher interest rate debt first.
What did I miss?