Survivalist Steve

Diary of a Survivalist.

June 2020.

Dear diary. How are you? That’s silly, you are an inanimate object. I’ve just got into the habit of asking everyone how they are before going anywhere near them. Not that I’ve seen anyone for weeks. But I have decided to jot down a few thoughts should anyone read this in the future. It might be helpful.

I can’t believe I now think of myself as a survivalist. Survivalists had mockingly been called Preppers given they were preparing for a time when they would have to hunker down. I’d always been amused at these folks with their bunkers and their secluded cabins and their guns out in the woods ready to ride out the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society. One can hear their cries of “I told you so” all the way from Tennessee.

Now here I am.

I suppose I should recap.

Back in early March we were all interested in this Covid-19 thing but not overly concerned.

I was intrigued by the share market’s reaction to the drama unfolding.

Then Trump cancelled the upcoming Presidential elections and Putin like awarded himself an unlimited term. Two weeks later he suspiciously died of the Coronavirus and Pence looked like the cat who’d got the cream. He died of it soon after and last I heard Nancy Pelosi the 80-year-old Speaker of the House was doing a decent job.

I’d given Jane grief when she came home with a dozen rolls of toilet paper instead of the usual half a dozen. It was only several days later I was encouraging her to do a little hording ourselves.

But we were too late. I later experimented with different varieties of trees and now have half a year supply of frozen Catalpa leaves secreted away in the dog tucker deep freeze which should get us to next summer’s crop.

It was only in early April when there were ram raids on supermarkets and the thieves were running past the ciggies and booze to get toilet paper, hand sanitiser and cotton buds.

But I did have the gumption to zip up to Watties and grabbed a pallet of dented baked bean tins for a good price which we have hidden out on the farm in an old hayshed.

I went around to our young neighbour Tom’s place to get my shotgun and 22 that I had lent him as I hadn’t used them in years. He claimed I’d given them to him, and it cost me 2 dozen tins of beans to get my own guns back.

I’ve let the other neighbours know I’m rearmed as I’m fairly sure they know about the beans.

I’m finally getting quite good at shooting rabbits and we can’t believe back in the old days we used to buy roasted chickens when we could have been eating rabbits all the time. They are delicious.

The hares are a bit tough, but we boil them for a few hours with dandelion and chickweed and they are OK.

The surprise has been the hedgehogs wrapped in clay and slow roasted over a fire. Better still I don’t have to use any ammunition but just take Ditch out for the occasional night forage.

The common pigeon is nothing to write home about but makes a bit of a change.

I remember as a kid going to a Maori mate’s birthday party and reporting back home that we had been fed boiled eel. Now I lie awake at night thinking which dam to put my hinaki in next.

We’ve been eating masses of water cress and looking forward to Puha in the spring.

I’ve experimented with the pith of the cabbage trees which we dried and steamed then made into a type of porridge but honestly its more work than its worth.

However, I’ve been digging up the roots and brewing them into a half decent intoxicating drink. Other than the beans the only other thing we managed to hoard were a few cases of cheap wine but with the stress in those early weeks, we neglected to ration ourselves and now just have the one bottle for Christmas.

I had to use the internet to remind myself how to butcher and dress a sheep as for thirty years its been a lot easier and cheaper to buy lamb when the supermarkets loss led on legs. I’m petty adept now and have several years sheep supply ahead of us even though I did forget to put the rams out this year what with all the drama of the unfolding crisis.

We had about twenty kilos of potatoes going into this calamity and I’d seen that movie with Matt Damon stranded on Mars and rushed into a planting frenzy. Fairy disappointed in myself when I realised in May that the frost had got them and that I’d misjudged the seasons.

Did learn from this episode though that I have a tendency to panic and to be honest quite like a good panic but must curb this flaw in my character. I’m no Matt Damon.

Garth who had been a school teacher before all the schools closed and who is a terrific gardener, bikes out from town each week and deposits potatoes and sometimes cabbages in our secret swapping place in exchange for legs of mutton, beans and sometimes hedgehogs when Ditch catches too many.

I’ll leave it there and hopefully my next diary entry has some positive developments.

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