Author Topic: I Want to Live in the Woods  (Read 763 times)

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I Want to Live in the Woods
« on: October 22, 2013, 12:30:46 AM »
Had the title pop up on my twitter feed about 30 minutes ago, and felt a small surge of resentment. Besides, I like writing sarcastic things some times.

The poster would die without her power, smartphone, heat and AC, and Starbucks on every corner, but she has some romantic idea that living in the woods is "getting away from the madness and keeping it real." It is real alright. A real effing pain.

"How hard can it be? Our ancestors did it!"

Yep, they did. They also trained for it from their first breath and tended to die way too young of diseases which are easily preventable. Get up right now - go out and run a full marathon in under 3 hours. What do you mean, you can't? Everyone can run, right?

"So, it isn't easy?"

No. It isn't. You will be working from first light to twilight simply to feed yourself and keep yourself warm and sheltered. God help you if anything breaks and you don't know how to fix it. You are miles from anywhere and the pizza place doesn't deliver. I don't care how many times you have read "Little house in the Big Woods" or watched the Waltons, you simply don't have the tools needed.
Your vehicle breaks down - you are screwed. Your garden gets overrun by deer - you are screwed. Your chimney catches fire - you are really screwed. Break the cheap wrench you bought while working on your water pump - hello thirst and total lack of hygiene.
Ever cut down a tree? I mean, you are in the woods. Fuel free for the taking. Nothing nicer than the comforting glow of a fire at night, warming the home and sending up random bursts of wonderful smells while also cooking your evening meal. Cutting down a tree is the easy bit. Takes an hour or so using an axe. Cutting it up into stove lengths and transporting it to the stack where it has to season for at least a year - well, you are cutting and hauling several tons of wood that you can't even use for a year without the risk of a chimney fire.
Still, you do it. Set up the fire, pull out your trusty Zippo that saved your life that one time someone looked at you funny in Walmart and - nothing. Your flint is worn out. What you going to do now?

"Why do people want to live like that?"

You brought it up, not me. Get the romance crap out of your head, or the first time you use a chamber pot in sub zero temperatures will knock it out for you in no uncertain terms.

Living in the woods has it's advantages. It is peaceful. Plenty of fresh air and masses of exercise. You get the same in a forced labor camp, but hey, your life.

"What would you suggest?"

Study. Learn how to use your hands for something more than turning the thermostat up or down. Everything you own you should be able to fix.
Buy decent tools and gear. They don't cost a lot. Flea markets turn up a ton of tools made before WW2. Far better quality than the dollar store crap.
Don't do it alone. Thoreau made it sound wonderfully romantic. Until you laying on your back in the mud with a busted leg.
Remember the rule of four when planting. One seed for the slugs, one seed for the birds, one seed for Mother Nature's random vindictiveness and one seed to feed you.
Expect not to eat much meat. Hunting is viable, but there is another phrase for a successful hunter. It is "You lucky bastard." You can hunt. While you are hunting and hoping for a glimpse of an animal or bird that has great interest in not being your guest for dinner, you are not doing the million and one other jobs needed to keep body and soul talking to each other.
Do you need constant entertainment? This life is not for you.

"You are a real buzzkill."


Before you bitch about the youth of today ... think about who raised them.

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