Remembering NOT to be a spoiled brat!

When I first got the ‘bug’ for bugging out, it was circa 2000.  I was feeling itchy and scratchy.  I did not know the disease, nor the cure but the symptoms were simple enough.  I was wracked with boredom, fatigued with routine and suffering the agony and pain of dread and futility.  I had been assimilated by the system and it felt as if resistance was futile.  I wanted out.

To be honest, I was really just plain nuts.  Freedom to be crazy is what happens when you get to a certain age (for me?….about 50/51).  The reality was my family was great, our house was lovely, I really liked my friends, my neighbourhood, my work and we were far enough out of debt that an accountant would call us ‘in the black’.  AND I was golfing and shooting under 95….mostly.  That was icing on a nice cake.  Apparently it does not get any better than that.

But then scratching the itch happened and the rest is a blog.

I mention all that because for reasons inexplicable, I went ‘looking’ for something and found myself on the Mother Earth News Community forum.  Back then, it was a virtual forum with a litany of topics joined by people from all walks of life – mostly blue collar and rural-types with experts in all the weird fields……including fields!  The knowledge base was amazing, the desire to share information reaffirming and the topics covered gob smacking. It was literally a smorgasbord of interest with a buffet of characters and a dessert tray of really nice folks who became forum friends.  Kevin was one of them.

(How long do you think I can keep this weird writing style going?) 

Anyway…to the point…..the FORUM tended towards the ‘hardscrabble’ of OTG.  NOT the Mountain Man married to a female Grizzly-kinda-thing but rather subsistence farmers, remote mechanics, DIY electricians, amateur builders and, like Kevin, fabricator-welders.  They all knew stuff I had no clue about (still true for electronics and raising domestic animals).  We had solar panel experts, stone masons,  gardeners, natural health/medicine types and the whole panoply of practical professions and skills to ask questions, share answers and ‘get along’ like a community.

But the OOMs were the best.

The Old Order Mennonites were represented by Pate who eventually was promoted to Majere and then, when he passed, by Sarah.  Majere was the clan leader but also the keeper of the knowledge and that knowledge was curated by Sarah in the Librum.  Translated, they were Amish-ish with a large community and a great library.  And they were eccentric-as-hell to me.  Still, despite the odd behaviours that living OOM in the Blue Mountains displayed, they were clearly very, very knowledgeable in the ‘old ways’.  They knew how to do everything from scratch.  And I mean EVERYTHING.

I once asked Pate/Majere how to use dynamite.  “We don’t use dynamite.  We mix up our own explosive from a simple recipe.  We make exploding crystals and put the crystals under the barns to kill rats.  When a rat steps on a crystal, it explodes like a mini land mine and kills the rat.”  

Of course, I had to know how to do that and P/M simply referred me to the Librum and a whole world of ancient, almost forgotten knowledge was revealed to me.  It was an unbelievable wealth of information based on basic materials from rust to bacon, from cotton balls to lye, from vinegar to horse-glue and hundreds of original DIY pages in between.  See:

To be fair, I did not read it (well, except for the exploding crystals recipe – for splitting rocks).  I just put that ‘information’ in my back pocket and I intended to refer to it as needed.  And I did.  Sometimes.  But not as much as I should have and, had I learned all that stuff, I would be a genius today if I remembered only 20% of it.

“Why are you telling us this?” 

For Margy

Because Sal just pulled an OOM trick.  She made from scratch a stain remover and took virtually every stain out of our old work clothes.  Blood, oil, paint, glue, wine and, of course, more blood.  Recipe: 3 tblsp Hydrogen Peroxide, 2 tblsp Baking soda and 1 teaspoon Blue Dawn dish washing liquid.  Put a little drop all over the stain and rub it in and then wash it. 


It is a whole different world out there from the one we all know living in the ‘matrix’ and the Librum is just a hint of it.  My last blog was about being ‘spoiled brats’ and this one is about remembering to shed the ‘money/convenience/hire others’ option….when convenient, of course.      


10 thoughts on “Remembering NOT to be a spoiled brat!

  1. In the olden days when we built our own crystal set radios and read “The Boys Own Annuals” life was an adventure. Up at the crack of dawn and gone most of the day. Not exactly OTG but living mostly free range. Mother had a housekeeper’s book of household advice. How to make mustard and how to remove it from a white table cloth. How to make flypaper and other such esoteric information. ‘Making do‘ was often heard. Sewing dresses out of flour sacks. Remember when flour came in printed cotton sacks? The kid who said, I’m bored! Might hear the quip, “You wouldn’t know if you were punched or bored.”


    • I remember when I grew up in the countryside, during sumer hollidays we also were playing outside from morning till evening, exploring, helping out on the neigbouring farm, milking cows….building treehouses and building a dam in the nearby creeck until police showed up because we were blocking all the water…still would like that my kids had that experience, now it’s all phones and iPADS


  2. Oh my god…I clicked on the link and it’s like paradise opened itself to me….this is absolutely perfect….a huge amount of info can be found here…I definitely will download, print and add to my library! Thanks a lot David for sharing this…you REALLY made my day!!


    • I know……..The OOMs are cool. AND smart! If you know 1/2 that of that stuff and I mean just what they have in the Librum, you are armed to the teeth with all the tools you will ever need. Say hello to Sarah…


  3. The way it was conveyed to me nigh on 50 years ago was “He doesn’t know if he’s punched, reamed or bored.” I like the “reamed” nuance.


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