Surviving a Collapse

I’ve often told friends that if civilization were to collapse, I would survive. Thanks go to my parents for that. I’m sure teaching their children to be self-sufficient wasn’t what was on their minds when we were put to work gardening, canning fruits and vegetables, feeding livestock, milking cows, gathering eggs, etcetera, etcetera; the reason we were put to work was so there would be plenty to feed a bunch of growing kids. And truth be told, us kids didn’t labor long or hard. My parents did the lion’s share, especially Mama since she was left to run the farm/ranch a good part of the year while Daddy worked half the country away.

I learned how and when to plant seeds, how to take care of the plants, and how to harvest and preserve fruits and vegetables. And I learned how to cook meals from scratch—not as tasty as Mama’s, but edible.

And I wasn’t a stranger to the ranch side of our life, the taking care of cows and chickens. My parents stopped raising pigs when I was small, so I don’t remember them, though there are pictures of me and my sister with our pet pig, Red. I was told he tasted good. Yes, Red was slaughtered to feed the family.

I probably sound callous to a lot of you, but I grew up in a time and place when most people were still close to their food sources. Pigs, cattle, and chickens were harvested the same as corn, potatoes, and beans. It was just a part of life. I admit, though, that I have never killed an animal, but I know if push comes to shove, I could.

I have processed many and varied carcasses. When I was small, I helped my daddy skin squirrels and rabbits, and I remember him telling me what a good helper I was. His praise made the fried rabbit and squirrel and dumplings my mama made taste even better, knowing I had played an important part in bringing food to the table.

Then there was the time I assisted Mama with freezing some chickens, an experience that didn’t produce any good memories. Chickens are a horse of a different color, so to speak, when it comes to readying them for consumption. One has to pluck out the feathers, and before one can pluck the feathers, the chicken has to be dipped in hot water to loosen those feathers. I’m here to tell you, that is not a good smell. Add that smell to the plucking, gutting, and cutting into pieces of about twenty chickens, and even a strong stomach can turn. I didn’t eat chicken for a year or two after that.

My first husband had a hand in furthering my education. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. I learned a lot from him in regards to fishing—what made good bait and how to find it, how to recognize the best places to fish, and how to scale and cut up the catch. I learned how to skin and process deer from him. But I never hunted.

I had no problem dealing with dead animals; it’s the live ones I couldn’t deal with, not as food. But as I have learned other things, I could learn to kill. Most people could. Hunger, yours or your loved ones’, is a powerful incentive. Most of us have never known the sort of hunger that would cause us to kill an animal, with our bare hands if need be. And I pray we never do.

But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared, to have a little basic knowledge of farming and animal husbandry. Or if nothing else, own a paper book(s) on the subject. And maybe one on survival. Just in case. I don’t look for civilization to collapse, for all our modern conveniences to stop working—ever heard of an EMP attack?—but it’s somewhat comforting to know I could survive without them. What would bring me much more comfort, though, would be to know that my grandchildren could. Sadly, I can’t say that. As are most people their age, they are a product of the 21st century, willingly tethered to the Internet and their cellphones.

We have become a nation wealthy in technical knowledge, but dirt poor in everyday knowledge. Maybe along with the 3 Rs, we should be teaching our children how to plant a garden, raise livestock…and maybe skin a squirrel.

©2020 KT Workman

Image via Pixabay

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KT Workman

KT Workman grew up in the rural South without the benefit of cell phones or the Internet, a time and place that has heavily influenced her writing. To this day, when she puts pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard—nine times out of ten her mind veers south onto that old, familiar road. It goes home. KT resides in Arkansas where she writes a wide variety of gothic and speculative fiction, poetry, and dabbles in watercolor painting and amateur photography.

31 thoughts on “Surviving a Collapse”

  1. Sadly, you are right; there’s been a massive disconnect between us and food or rather where/what that food came from. I know there are a large combination of factors at play but it surprises me how relatively quickly it’s happened.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, it did seem to come about rather quickly. And I agree there are many reasons. Chief among them, I think, is the fragmentation of the family, everyone so busy, and no one at home to keep the home fires burning, let alone raise a garden.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agreed, the fragmentation of the family and the reduction in multi-generational family units means that the knowledge base thins. I guess the rise in supermarkets and the associated fall in local butchers stores is a factor too?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, like you wrote earlier, multiple factors are in play, most brought about by so-called progress. I think a lot of us long for a simpler time, but don’t relish the thought on what could affect a shift backward in that direction.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree Sister…could survive due to our upbringing…if all the unlearned in the basics of self-preservation, from the ground up, didn’t decide it would be easier to take, rather than produce.
    On a side note: Ava, our 12 year old great-granddaughter, hunting with her daddy a few weeks ago, harvested her first deer; she helped with all stages of getting him into the freezer.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So true, I am not sure if the younger generation know how ,or wants to know how to produce their own food. When they are being taught that fast food will deliver the meals quicker than making your own. Great post,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The younger generation of any time period, if left to their own devices, have always been self-absorbed. It’s up to adults to steer them in the right direction. But sadly, beginning with the Baby Boomers (my generation), a lot of parents chose to be friends with their children, took the easier road. And now we have an abundance of people that are physically and emotionally fragile.


  4. An interesting post that stirred a few personal memories long since buried. Snaring rabbits, keeping chickens, being taught by my grandad how to grow absolutely anything especially onions, leeks, potatoes, watching my mother feed us for a week on a large ham/bacon with dried peas, beans and fresh stuff from the garden. Nowadays young folks wouldn’t know what to do with such things unless it told them to put it in a microwave and for how long. It’s not the planet that’s doomed …..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right—not the planet, just certain segments of the world population who, as you say, equate cooking with zapping it in the microwave. Sadly, I think that would take in a large portion of the western world.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree and also like to think I could survive a collapse. We grew up without cell phones, weren’t tethered to the tv all the time and somehow our parents taught us how to survive off the land, if need be!


    1. Too much indoctrination going on in our schools, too much emphasis on feelings over facts, and not much life skills taught. I think if I were raising a child now, I would home schools them.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, Lisa. 🙂


  6. My outdoor skills first began with my father, then progressed with the military training me in every environment — artic, desert, jungle, etc — until I was able to survive anywhere on this planet if need be. And, as you know from previous discussions, I actually put it to the test when I survived in the wilderness for three years. And it truly gives one confidence to know they can survive anywhere if need be. Unfortunately, most people around me get flustered when we have a power outage that lasts longer than five minutes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you on the power outages…seems as if most people can’t cope without it, are at a complete loss as to what to do with themselves. We as a nation have become too dependent on technology in all areas of our lives.
      Thanks for the visit and comment, J. Always appreciated. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, they are. I like my modern conveniences, but could revert if I had to. I learned to cook on a wood stove…it was quite a challenge keeping a fairly constant oven temperature.


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