Plan C


Way back in my first year of blogging, I explored the theme of dystopian fiction and how I would be absolutely useless in any end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario. (“Eating Bambi”) Not much as changed since then. I still can’t make candles.

But all around me, perfectly sane people I have known for years are quietly acquiring survivalist skills. They are baking their own bread, smoking and curing meats, increasing the numbers of chickens they keep, enlarging their gardens, learning how to can things, learning how to make their own cheese and butter, becoming beekeepers, turning to herbal remedies, setting up ad hoc, non-monetary trading partnerships with neighbors (eggs for salad greens, chicken meat for apples, strawberries for wine . . .), but otherwise prepping for self-sufficiency.

And then there’s me. Still gagging at the thought of eating one of my extraneous roosters. Not a single survival skill in my repertoire, unless there is some dire need for crocheted stuffed animals out there that I am not aware of.

Something must be done about this.

Yesterday, while cleaning out the kitchen cabinets, I made a discovery which then led to an idea and an opportunity to prove my mettle. I bought this sometime in 2017 out of curiosity – what exactly does Mr. Inzersdorfer consider to be corned beef? As a Reuben-loving Milwaukee-an, this was not an idle question. I didn’t follow through on the inquiry, though, and so this can has spent the last three years collecting dust in the far back corner of the cabinet.


I looked at the expiration date and told myself, “So what? A true survivor-type wouldn’t be put off by this. I’m a descendant of the Donner Party for chrissake! That should give me some genetic/genealogical advantage when it comes swallowing gross things. I’m going to open this up and eat it!”


I took a deep breath and delicately opened up the can. I pondered the color and daintily used a fork to explore the consistency of the meat. I leaned over and smelled it. I raised the fork and allowed a mote-sized portion to make brief contact with my tongue . . .


It looked like cat food. It smelled like cat food. It tasted like what I assume cat food tastes like. I fed the rest to the dog.

Apparently, the Donner gene did not get passed on to me. I need a new plan. What tradable commodity could I produce with my particular skill set and resources (consisting of thousands of books and 37 years’ worth of teaching materials) . . . .?


11 thoughts on “Plan C

  1. My nephew (who is my age) decided to plant potatoes and onions this year. He normally does tomatoes and peppers but was worried about shortages. I was hoping this wouldn’t be going on until the harvest season. No, I didn’t join him in a victory garden. I’ll have tomatoes with a parsley and basil plant and call it a day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. First rule of survival: never eat anything questionable if you might be able to trade it. You might not care for cat food-corned beef, but someone out there would give their eye teeth (or maybe a roll of TP) for it. Maybe you’ll find other things as you go about your cleaning spree, that 100-pack of D batteries you forgot about or a glove box full of moist towelettes from your fav BBQ joint that you took but never used. Candle-making is overrated. Spend your time learning to make dandelion wine–there will be plenty of those in a month or so. I am going to Google right now… I’m curious about their ideas for homemade toilet paper. 🙂


  3. I just pulled out my old copy of “The Foxfire Book” 1972 Edition. By this time next week I’m gonna know how to Dress me a Hog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Coincidence! A few weeks before we started distancing, Pete and a friend got half of a wild hog from a hunter and had to butcher it themselves. (Or did you mean something else when you said your were going to “dress a hog”?)


  4. Careful with that knowledge and skill set or you won’t be on the dole much longer. I feel I have a strong working knowledge of the Donner clan having just finished The Indifferent Stars Above and girl, you’re no Donner (that’s a compliment by the way).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. According to my sister the genealogy expert, our Donner Party ancestor wasn’t a Donner herself. She also didn’t eat human flesh, but allowed others to eat her husband after he died. At least I think that was how the story went. It’s been years since I heard it.

      Liked by 1 person

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