Post Apocalypse Survival Guide: Food and Water

Grabbing some neccessities!

Food and Water

Ideas for more and more entries in my ‘Apocalypse Survival Guide’ are coming fast and furious, especially when I am tasked with more mundane things like sorting socks or figuring out my insurance bill. For your handy reference, I have added a sidebar (look right) where these handy guides will be stored for your use.
Today’s subject is ‘Food and Water.’ A more accurate title might be, “Extended plans for Food and Water,” because it’s safe to assume that our short-term plans will all be pretty much the same — raiding the “Super Duper Mart” (or its real world equivalent) for packaged, preserved food and bottled water.

Well stocked survival shelter!

The first problem with the most obvious plan is that everyone else will have thought of it, too. Wal Mart, Krogers and Target are going to be busier than they have been on any black Friday, and it’s not going to be polite shoppers respecting the one-to-a-customer and first-come-first-served rules.  It’s going to be a bloodbath, and, if the Zero-day scenario we are thinking of involves infection or zombification or rage virus, the middle of a crowd of angry and possibly infected shoppers is the last place you want to be. Anyone else remember “The Day After” movie from 1983? This film followed a handful of people around Lawrence, Kansas just before, during and after the bombs drop.  The one scene that sticks out in my mind as unintentionally hilarious was the part where people are frantically shopping at the local grocery store and the cashiers and baggers ringing up and bagging as fast as they could as people buy up all the batteries and Frankenberry. I don’t know about you, but if I was a teen age grocery bagger, I would tell Mr. Whipple to fuck himself and start looting the liquor aisle.  When you see people trampling a store employee to death during a ‘Black Friday’ Christmas sale, it’s doubtful that they are going to patiently wait in line when they think bombs are going to start dropping.

Hopefully you have enough shit at home to can get you through the first few days or weeks and don’t even have to set foot in the stores on Zero day. I don’t think bottled water goes bad; buy a couple of cases RIGHT NOW and stash them somewhere where you won’t be tempted to deplete your chances of survival every time you come back thirsty from a jog or a bike ride. Maybe put up some canned food and other shit as well. And aren’t all Mormons supposed to keep a stash of emergency food at home? Mitt and his pals are going to be sitting pretty when zero-day happens.

Food distribution warehouses are probably also a no-go, unless you and your well-armed band of squatters get there first. Canned goods and sealed stuff will be your treasure — the frozen food, dairy and produce are going to start rotting as soon as the grid goes down.

OK, but what happens when the canned food runs out or those who have control of the existing stockpiles refuse to share?  I suppose you could go all ‘Fallout 3’ on their asses and grab your hunting rifle and Pip boy and try to pick-em-off one by one — good luck with that idea.  Here are some alternatives, presented in no particular order:

1)      Gretel the Dog: I have a dog that has (no shit) killed about 100+ squirrels over the course of a couple of years.  She’s a fast and fierce Chow/Retriever mix who, at 80 lbs, is all muscle. Her secret is that she will chase the squirrel into an isolated tree and then just bark at it with her really loud, hoarse bark and the squirrels (usually) lose their shit and decide to try to jump to another tree rather than just waiting the dog out. When they miss their jump because they are scared shitless over the strength and volume of her bark, she grabs them with the jaws of death and it is game over. One morning, the ‘squirrel killer’ joyfully practiced her deadly trade in full view of our neighbors who were trying to enjoy a brunch with some elderly relatives, so we decided to end the ‘dog versus squirrel’ gladiator show.  Now we let the slow dog out first.  The slow dog chases the squirrels away before killer can come out.

As a survival strategy, however, I don’t think my killer dog brings back more protein than she burns.  If things got bad I’m sure we’d be grateful for the contribution, but we’d probably just be better off eating the dog food.  Once you skin, clean and bone a squirrel, there’s not a lot of meat.

The more pragmatic and heartless might point out that a dog is a meal that hasn’t been cooked yet, but I’m not one of those people.

2)      Benjamin Air Rifle: When I was a kid, a friend had a ‘Benjamin Air Rifle’ that shot little pellets that looked like lead mushrooms. Instead of putting CO2 cylinders in it, you had to pump the forearm like a bicycle pump, which was a lot of work for our skinny little kid arms, but unlike to air rifles that used CO2,  you would never need to buy/find more CO2 cylinders. I’m sure you could take down a squirrel or a rabbit with it… plus it made very little noise so you wouldn’t let the other wastelanders know you were out there. Of course, the success of this strategy assumes that there IS any small game to hunt (see Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”). Perhaps a crossbow or compound bow would be good for larger quarry, but requires a lot more skill to use.

3)      I live in an older neighborhood that was in the middle of the country a few decades ago, but urban sprawl has grown up around the area where my house is.  As a result, deer wander through our backyard almost every night, eating our coleus and tomato plants and looking at us with amused expressions when the dogs bark at them. The deer are so accustomed to humans that you could get within 10 or 12 feet of one and shoot it between the eyes with a handgun before the rest caught on, but I suspect that when food gets scarce, every redneck within 100 miles is going to be hunting in my backyard whether I want them to or not. Less than $120.00 US can get you a surplus Mosin Nagant 91/30 rifle and a few boxes of ammo that will allow you to hunt deer — many vendors will also throw in a bayonet!  This is the rifle the Russians used to fight WW1 and WW2 and recently hundreds of thousands of well-preserved 91-30s have been dumped on the used rifle market in the US — the Russians use this as a sporting rifle to take down bears, so it would also knock down a deer or a human, no problem. The 7.62x54r cartridge, however, isn’t exactly common, so you better stock up now.  The 91/30 is also about 4’ long and 9 lbs heavy; I’d rather have a lighter weight classic Savage or similar bolt-action deer rifle with a scope in .30-06 or similar, although  that kind of hunting rifle is going to start at around 400+ clams.

4) Canada Geese: They are all over the place. You can probably hunt them with your car if you don’t have a shotgun. We also get a few wild turkeys in my part of the state, although both the turkeys and the geese are MEAN.  Some of the turkeys took out a dude who was jogging in the woods near my house. The turkeys flew at his face, claws extended, and he went down and broke his arm. Had this been a real post apocalyptic situation, he would have been coyote food in a few days.

5) Foraging: I know a couple of plants that are edible, but I don’t know how long I would live eating only boiled nettles, gooseberries, purslain, wild onions and cattails. In our foodless future, the national parks will probably be littered with the corpses of amature foragers who couldn’t tell the difference between morels and fly agaric. I’d suggest getting a good book with good illustrations, but I took one of these ‘natural food guides’ out on the trail and then looked at the mushrooms growing along the side of the path, carefully comparing them to the pictures and descriptions and still had no idea if the fungus I was looking at was going to be delicious with butter OR was going to kill me in less than 30 minutes if I ate it… so I went back home and opened a can of Cambell’s Cream of Mushroom soup.

6) Poor Man’s Lobster: I’m talking ‘Arthropods!’ Beetles, grasshoppers, crickets and similar bugs may be disgusting to you now, but just wait till you are hungry enough! True story: I once met a guy from South Africa who told me that he was really grossed out by the sight of people eating lobsters and shrimp… even though, back in the homeland, he and his family ate termites. I asked him why the shrimp and the lobster grossed him out, and he replied, “They look like bugs!”  I replied that termites looked like bugs, too, and he aswered that he knew his disgust was illogical, but he had never seen anyone eat lobster or shrimp until he was in his late teens and old enough to travel, whereas he had been eating termites all his life… so termites were the bugs he was used to eating, whereas lobsters were just gross — especially when he saw them scuttling around in the tanks at the grocery store. How long will it take hungry Americans to look forward to a meal of beetles or grubs?



6 Comments on “Post Apocalypse Survival Guide: Food and Water”

  1. Drance says:

    “One morning, the ‘squirrel killer’ joyfully practiced her deadly trade in full view of our neighbors who were trying to enjoy a brunch with some elderly relatives”

    This image made me laugh out loud! Thanks from someone who has just rediscovered that he's a sick fuck.

  2. Stephan Poag says:

    I'll have to add a picture of the dog when I get home because she looks really cute… which makes the squirrel killing (which usually involves lots of shaking and screaming from the squirrel) all the more horrible. If Gretel the dog actually looked like a killer, it wouldn't seem so incongruous. Children see her and they just want to pet her… she looks like a big teddy bear… and she is just so fucking happy whenever she kills a squirrel or a woodchuck… although she usually doesn't want to put them down because I always take them away from her and chuck them into the swamp where (I hope) the racoons eat them. She usually looks disspointed when I throw the dead squirrel into the swamp, as if to say, “Hey… that was mine…” but once she kills it she has no idea how to eat it… she just carries it around.

  3. Drance says:

    Gotta love dogs. Especially cute ones named Gretel who are bloodthirsty killers! I just pictured elderly folk sitting there having eggs benedict and suddenly screaming at the sight of a dog mutilating a squirrel…heh heh.

  4. Stephan Poag says:

    It was probably made more comical by me chasing the dog around the yard in my bathrobe and she thought this was a very fun new game. I saw them inside, behind their picture window, and they did not look as if they found the show appetizing.

  5. Stephan Poag says:

    Updated to add picture of Gretel the Scourge of Squirrel-kind. She looks really fluffy (and has very soft, thick fur) but is all muscle under the fluff.

  6. Alex J. says:

    According to “Aquariums of Pyongyang” zero to eating bugs is a couple months. Korean zek crews would leave their work areas denuded of all animal life.

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