Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Possum Living

One of my favorite things about three 12 hours shifts in a row is coming home, and not going back to work for a stretch.

Which brings me to a book I lately enjoyed: Possum Living: How to Live well without a job and with (almost) no Money. Written by 18 year old homeschooler Dolly Freed back in the 1970s, the basic idea is: You don't have to work so muchjust to have more stuff. Have more time instead. And do things you like to do. Feel more free.

She later became a NASA aerospace engineer. There is also some practical how-to in there about skinning rabbits, catching turtles, running (not jogging) for health, and making moonshine. This book went nicely with being home on a rainy day, not working, with my favorite people. Who say they also missed me while I was away.

Incidentally, I'm learning better how to drive home after a night shift safely. It involves McDonalds french fries, cherry coke, and bad literature on tape. Also a stop-over at Gretchen's house for the strongest coffeeever. She got out of bed early to brew it for me and I'm grateful. If all that doesn't work, I pull over and take a nap.

Other inspiring reads: Nature's Garden: A Guide to identifying, Harvesting and Preparing Edible Wild plants. Author Samuel Thayer discusses the death of Into the Wild's protagonist Chris McCandless. Says he didn't die of eating poisonous pea plants, just starved to death, went into the wild unprepared, poor guy. He described a 1 month wild food diet he and his wife did. They did lose some weight, and interestingly, farted almost not all that month. I concluded too that it would be difficult to be a strict gatherer, without the hunter part also. I'mlooking forward to some of the native plants we've ordered for the garden here including elderberries, choke berries, maypop, and Jerusalem artichokes ( a perennial sunflower with edible tuber roots.) I also learned about identifying the best acorns, and how to leach the tannins to make them edible.

Finally, the book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz has inspired us to try our own sourdough bread starter, and to utilize our cucumbers for pickles. We've got some wild fermentation getting started on our own kitchen counter! We'll let you know how that all works out.
Last of all, I gave Eli and Grace a little tutorial on subcutaneous injection and we vaccinated all 10 goats this afternoon. No tetanus or clostridium for us! The goats did not appreciate the treatment. But Eli and Grace were very brave.



  1. I have (perhaps literally) tons of Jerusalem artichokes that you can take for free. Let me know the next time you're in Sacramento!

  2. Don't you want to eat them?
    But I accept!
    I've heard they are lovely and delicious, and best of all.. perennial.
    I like when friends keep coming back with no extra fuss.

  3. I'll eat some but will still have plenty to share. I found a recipe for pickling them that I'm excited to try because it looks like it tastes great (I'm a big fan of pickles) and, very important, reduces the flatulance that they too often cause. They are super easy to grow, prolific, but I've found cooking them is tricky - under cooking leads to gas; over cook and they're unappealingly mushy.
    BTW, I also have Iris croms to share. (& will soon have fig jam to trade!)
    Mike Tomlinson