Saturday, September 15, 2007
A Monster Survivalist Interview: Deborah
Our Survivalist friend, Deborah, is back. Actually, I'm happy to announce that she has agreed to write a monthly article for us. She'll be writing about subjects that will help us get prepared. I hope you'll enjoy it. Many thanks to Deborah.
1. You said you've written five cookbooks. For anyone or just you? For what purpose?
Well, I took classes on wild mushrooms, and since we have many varieties up here, the cookbooks started out as a way of having my favorite recipes for those mushrooms in one place for easy access to me. It expanded quickly. "Cooking in the Woods" became a passion. I love to cook. There is Cooking in the Woods: with Mushrooms ... with Pasta, Breads and Pastries... with Venison, Fish and Chicken ... with Soups, Snacks and Salads ... and Around the World. The last and unfinished is Cooking in the Woods with Elegance. I love cooking gourmet and everything in every one of my books was cooked on a wood cook stove.
I sold them locally for a while. I'm currently working at combining and updating the books and putting them on a CD. Perhaps publishing a hardback copy, if that happens, they'll be for sale again.
2. What would be a tasty recipe using only the basics if there was no power?
Since all of my recipes are cooked on a wood stove and that's without power... ALL of them! Guess my favorite would be de-boned trout stuffed with wild mushrooms and fiddleheads. Or perhaps Chicken Wellington with oyster mushroom duxelle and cattail flowers. Both of these can be done in a Dutch oven over a campfire.
3. Do you make preparations for medications? Do you know about home remedies?
I've done some study on natural remedies, but only basic herbal stuff and only that which I can grow myself or harvest locally. I personally don't take any medications other than the occasional IB for a headache. I'm really healthy... fortunately.
Aside from that, I have extensive medical preps. One of the disasters that could face us is a Pandemic. The need to isolate and quarantine will be paramount to survival if that happens. There is also the basic needs for fighting infections (like alcohol and peroxide). Just keeping track of blood pressure or a heart beat could mean someone living or dying. All that takes supplies, lots of them.
4. You gave me a poem last time. Do you write a lot of poetry? Read a lot? Have a favorite poet?
I read ALOT. I always have at least one book going, sometimes two. I vary what I read, just to download my head. Reading is escapism to me.
I wrote a great deal of poetry as a teen. Volumes in fact. I was searching for a way to express myself... we all do.
No, no favorite poet, but as a teen I read quite a bit of e.e.cummings and Poe, strange combination, I know.
5. How did you become interested in ballroom dance?
I've always danced. I have this ... inner need, drive, for movement. I started the male Modern Dance Program in my school in Detroit. Ballroom dancing was a natural progression for that. It's organized, yet has room for self expression... and you can do it to almost any music. You would be surprised what is cha-cha music! I was very fortunate to have found a very talented instructor, and ended up his assistant and dance partner. He's since moved back to Florida when school finished, and I really miss the dancing.
Artistic expression is necessary for a balanced peace.
6. Do you preserve your own food?
Oh certainly! my garden is 24x65 and that produces alot of food. Just this past weekend I canned up 37 pints of mixed vegetables. My favorite thing in the winter is to keep a pot of soup going on the wood stove, and there's always a jar or two of home grown veggies in there.
My garden is all heirloom seed produce. That means the seeds will produce true next year, so I save seeds from the crop. It was very dry up here this summer and my sweet corn did not do well. What I did grow will go for next years crop, but that crop will be double. Some sacrifice must be made for perpetuation. Law of the land. My grinding corn did better, it's heartier. I will have enough to double my crop and some for grinding into cornmeal.
I also harvest wild berries and make jams or can just the berries for winter use. Blueberries are abundant up here, but I also pick raspberries, blackberries, Thimble berries and June berries (sugar plums). In the spring I make my own Maple syrup from my own trees.
Processing your own food isn't hard, but it does take time and commitment.
7. Is it enough to be prepared for 24 months or should it be longer?
I think that depends on your circumstances. I have 24 months right now, but that includes long term items like rice, beans, sugar, salt which can be spread out to last longer with the sustainable gardening and wild food foraging.
Two years will get you from one year past a bad harvest, but the next year needs to be good. I'm aiming to double what I have... just in case.
I would urge everyone to do some preparations: a month, six months, whatever you can handle, just do it! and remember, store what you eat, eat what you store.
8. Anything you'd like to add?
I think what you're doing, helping to bring awareness to the masses is a noble thing, and I thank you. For every person out there that even tries to prepare, it takes the strain or pressure off the rest of us. The government, as much as it would like to, just CAN'T take care of all of us in times of disaster. We need to take responsibility for ourselves.