As I’ve mentioned before, I was raised rural. I know that still comes as a shock to some, given my cosmopolitan mien (That means manner, by the way, but all us cosmopolites already knew that.). And then there is my total suaveness that seems to belie any rumor that I might have been raised in the country. I have even been known to sniff a wine bottle cork at fine restaurants so the wine steward would appreciate how sophisticated I am (Seems like they all smell like a piece of wood with old grape juice on them.).
But I was brung up in the country and am right proud of that. The reason I mention this is that while on a recent fishing trip, my good friend and self-proclaimed international fishing expert Ted and I started talking about what the world’s going to be like when the oil runs out and transportation and communication is set back about 150 years worth.
Where are folks going to get groceries?
“Kids these days would just think they could put a seed in the ground and get food a week or so later,” Ted said. He’s also a philosopher, by the way.
But his point was not wasted on my sharp mind. I got to thinking. It’s not been that long ago that folks were a bit more self-reliant than they are today, especially country folk.
When I was a mere lad, we lived on about 60 acres (my dad’s place plus my grandfather’s holdings across the road) of rocky ground with a few good garden spots, a field or two big enough to raise some corn and wheat and enough pasture to keep two or three head of cattle.
We had chickens, so we also had eggs and frequent chicken dinners. I remember when I was really little we had a milk cow. I also remember how bad that milk tasted when the cow got into a patch of bitter weed or wild onion. Yucchh.
We raised vegetables and took some to a community cannery to put up for winter. We kept meat in a rented freezer locker. Few country folk had freezers back then (We’re talking the 1950s, by the way.). We dried beans.
We caught fish from the creek and brought home squirrels, rabbits and quail to add a bit of variety to our diets.
We still needed the grocery store, but we were much more self-reliant than we are today.
My mom and dad depended even less on store-bought goods and their parents, with transportation limited to horse and buggies and early model automobiles, made rare excursions into town, and then mostly for staples: coffee, sugar (if they didn’t have homemade molasses or honey from their own hives) and a few other items they couldn’t raise.
They got by. I’m not certain we could.
I figure when the oil runs out I want to find a little place somewhere near a stream, with a good patch of squirrel infested trees and a few acres of land for a garden, some chickens, maybe a goat and a hog. I’ll have to learn a bit about animal husbandry and may need to find a mule and breaking plow, but I believe we can survive.
Then again, I might just move in with one of a dozen or so farmers I know who have an extra room or two.