Monday, December 15, 2008


with the unexpected. Life isn't about dealing with all those things you've planned for, like retirement and getting married. Life is about those things that attack you out of left field... like your kid contracting meningitis or your toddler drinking charcoal lighter fluid. It's how you react when your spouse is on the floor in Wal-Mart shaking in the throes of a grand mal seizure.

The unexpected right turns in life reveal what kind of people we really are. Do we break down in the midst of a crisis? Do we bear up until the emergency is over?

Watching television shows like Survivor are fun, but they're based on a false premise. After all, if the players truly want to leave, rescue is at hand. But what if rescue was not expected--ever? What if in the aftermath of a hurricane, ice storm, or earthquake no assistance is to be expected?

I once asked a question on this blog... what two things would you want if you were stranded? The answers were interesting, revealing how far we have moved away from the reality of survival. One individual listed her laptop. Another listed her iPod. Neither seemed to realize that it was very unlikely that there would be electricity available.

So, just for interest sake...
Do you know how to treat water to make it safe to drink?
Do you know at least one way to preserve food without refrigeration and/or freezing?
In your immediate neighborhood could you identify five edible wild plants?
If necessary, could you construct a temporary shelter?
Could you build a fire without using matches or a lighter?
Do you know how to cook without using a fire?
Do you know how to build some type of temporary sanitation arrangement?

I'll be interested in your answers.



  1. I have to admit I don't know the answer to many of those. I know some in theory, but haven't done them.

  2. Yes, I could do all those things - really I could - but I don't to

  3. I remember how cool I thought Survivor would be before it came out...then how disappointed I was at the outcome. I kept thinking a better show would be a couple of teams of two or four and simply seeing which team did better at things like cooking or building shelters...not the silly made-up drama and eliminations.

  4. While I cannot do those things now, I have several books that tell me how to do them and I have the ingredients on hand should they be needed. I have water treatment tablets (for camping) and other camp gear that could be used (propane, etc.)

    In terms of plants: yes, I can identify those. Yes, I can build a fire without matches. Temporary sanitation? Yep, done that in camp.

    Am I truly competent in those things? Nope. But if push came to shove, I could do it. One of my book series (not yet submitted for publication) is about a post-apocalyptic America and I did a LOT of research on how to do all things when the infrastructure fails. It made me realize how woefully unprepared I was.

  5. Building a fire and the edible plants part would be a challenge. I think when you post questions like the two item on a stranded island thing, people are assuming light hearted comforts of home are what you are looking to know. Things they'd miss from their lives now. If I were stranded, seriously stranded, I'd want a Hatchet and magnifying lens. True answers.

  6. hatchet and/or good utility knife
    metal bucket

  7. I freely admit that I'd be in trouble.

    I'd take matches and a pot/bucket of some kind.

    I'm cheating, 'cause I'd want a survival manual too.

  8. I can boil water to make it safe.
    I know how to can food.
    I probably could identify several plants used for cooking like herbs. Pretty much everyone here has some kind of citrus tree in their yard.
    I have constructed shelters.
    I have never made fire without matches. I have watched the folks on Survivor use fling.
    I know how to dig a trench for sanitary use. You then put dirt on top of the used part of the trench.

    So I guess I'd do okay. 20+ years as a girl scout including three as a Trailblazer senior scout will do that.

  9. LOL.

    Trust me: I don't have a citrus tree in my yard in Minnesota!

  10. I freely admit I would be totally lost without an instruction manual and probably couldn't do half the stuff I needed to, even with one. Therefore the two things I would take would be a couple of people who have practical experience in how to do all that stuff