I just watched a show where the narrator was trying to demonstrate people's complete dependency on technology. "If civilization fell," he asked in a dramatic and scary voice, "do know how to raise your own food? Could you even tell the difference between a cucumber seed and corn seed?" I had to smile, because, yes, I do and, yes, I can. You, too, can smile when you hear such scary things if you have a few possum skills. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Know how to grow vegetables. Gardening has to be learned, but, hey, it's not rocket science, and I ought to know. If you are really new, start with something easy, say, basil or lettuce in a pot, and get a soil-moisture meter*. (Staff at a nursery will be glad to get you started.) Once you are ready to do more, look up organic gardening for your area or join a community garden. If you end up hating gardening, well then, you'll know. But if you like it, you will experience the joy of making your own food magically appear from the ground.
2. Find cheap or free things to do for entertainment and to relieve stress. We like to go to a park, volunteer, exercise, check out free activities, join social groups, play with our pets, visit museums, have friends over, play games, or do any of a hundred other inexpensive things.
3. Give up any notion of status related to possessions. If it's workable, clean, and in good repair, it doesn't have to be as good as your neighbors' or friends'. I try to remember that my luxury is being in control of my time and money.
4. Know how to forage, find, or scavenge. Go wild berry picking, learn how to fish, forage for nuts, join a mushroom-hunting group, research and eat invasive species, read a survival manual, or get a field guide to edible weeds. I'm not sure how much this would really help if civilization fell, but just knowing what food sources are around you is satisfying and fun.
I'd love to hear your ideas — please send them to me at www.possumliving.net.
Before I go, let me leave you with this list of some thought-provoking books that relate to possum living: The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama, Collapse by Jared Diamond, Affluenza by de Graaf, Wann, and Naylor, and 1491 by Charles Mann.
May you find your bliss in life,
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* The typical soil meter doesn't use batteries, costs around $25, and lasts forever. You poke the probe into the ground about 2 inches and if the dial registers in the middle, the moisture is about right. Stick your finger into the soil when using the meter and you will soon learn to judge moisture levels by feel.