A couple we now know well came to live here because they read the book.  They were retiring from the prairies anyway and they had pretty much chosen this area but reading the book narrowed their search and, last year, they came to be full-time residents on the island.  They are a great addition to the community and they seem to be loving it.  Last night, they came for dinner.

“You’ll never guess……”


“Well, we had some of our prairie friends over last week and, well, they are now looking to buy here, too! The floodgates are open!”

“Four is not a flood.  In fact, in that same time, we lost two.  So, we are net plus two, I think.”

“Good.  But actually, now that we are here, we are already starting to feel as if we should keep the good news of it to a select few.  Don’t want paradise covered in people, do we?”

“Won’t happen.  Twelve years ago one of the local guys warned me off describing hereabouts in glowing terms.  ‘Now, don’t go tellin’ folks how great it is here or they will come and spoil it.’  Since then maybe ten have come and six have left.  We are still an island gathering of 50 on a good day.  Maybe 70 on a good day in August. Two reasons for that; no one reads me and very few can imagine living like this.  I think we are safe.”

“Yeah….funny you should say ‘safe’…….we are kinda gettin’ into that prepper mind-set, ya know?  Kinda wanna stock up on stuff like grains and raise chickens….kinda…..not really….but….kinda, ya know?”

“Oh, yeah.  I know that feeling well.  It will pass.  I used to read about animal husbandry and all that.  If you read a few manuals on getting lambs to breathe after having just been born, you will either become a vegetarian or want all meat disguised in saran wrap like us. Lambs are hard. But so are chickens.  Cows are impossible.  Can you believe that? COWS are impossible!  Who knew?”

“So, like, are we ever gonna be much more independent than two weeks from Save-On?”

“We’re four weeks.”


“Bought 10 pounds of whole powdered milk powder when last in the city.  We could maybe go two months now that we have powder for tea.”

“Wow!  You guys are amazing!”

“I know.  Feel like Les Stroud.”

“But, like, is that really it?  I mean, shouldn’t we do gardens and chickens and gather roots, nuts and twigs and all that crap?”

“Some do.  L picks her pharmacy right out of the forest.  R picks 100 pounds of wild blackberries for the best damn wine every year.  But I think he likes Quaker Harvest Crunch cereal so you win some, you lose some. J catches a few pounds of prawns in season but then gives them as gifts to his neighbours in town.  They might buy him a pizza in return, ya know?  Pizza…the circle of life kinda thing?”

“So, how much of your diet do you make, find or forage?”

“Sal cooks from scratch so, if you are counting processing, we eat nothing heavily processed.  Not really.  But, if you are counting grains and spices and dairy and cheese and scotch and chocolate and comparing that to what we actually grow or catch, I am guessing maybe ten percent.  Fifteen in the summer.”

“That is not very independent.”

“I know.  But Les Stroud got rich off of Survivorman.  Wanna know what he does with the money?  Eats at Hy’s Steakhouse, that’s what.  Les ate roots and bugs for the TV show but eats cheeseburgers between scenes.  That’s the real secret to Survivorman.”



8 thoughts on “Survivorman

  1. Location, location, location. No need to parse off the grid purity. The point isn’t what percent of self-sufficiency is achieved but what clarity of mind is yours. One need not travel to Bhutan to find the satisfying happiness you enjoy. A little contrast once in a while, the smell of car exhaust, a bit of grid lock and your choices are confirmed again.


    • Right on! That’s it in a nutshell. Pure bliss accentuated by the contrary experience of a Costco now and again. The perfect combination to enlightenment!


      • Anybody catch that CBC piece today about the early 1800s portugese pioneer, who brought live grape vines to Read isl ,, and apparently some are purportedly still growing and can be seen, is this true JDC


        • There are three ‘REED’-sounding names for islands on the coast. Reed, Read and Reid. The southernmost is Reid and I suspect that there are some vineyards there. The other two are too far North, I believe. Having said that, there was a settlement of some size once on Read. So….I dunno…..


  2. Even a vacation to the city reminds me how much I love home up the lake. I know some people live a more rustic OTG lifestyle, but the one we have fits our needs and purpose. – Margy


    • They would eliminate it. Plus we have way more old goats out here than we need already. Better to get friends bring us lettuce. Or green scotch.


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