Freckles, Fishing, and Fun

Hiya! My name is Sandy, and I don’t have a bunker full of foodstuffs or the super-cool armory of doom. What I do have is freckles. *smile*


One day, as I was sitting at my desk in my nice little office, clitty clacking away at the computer, I realized I didn't have a single outdoor hobby. And I wanted to change that, just to put a little color in my otherwise nerdy-pale skin. And because I look cute in freckles!


A conversation with our building custodian led to him becoming my fishing mentor - I hadn't fished since I was a little kid and my big brother would dissect the fish for me. This time, I wanted to know how to go from the Wal-Mart tackle aisle to fish on the table. My new fishing buddy taught me how to catch little sunfish, and my, are they tasty all fried and buttered!


James became not only my mentor for fishing, but for other "creature catching" activities. He took me to the gun range for the first time, and taught me safe gun handling. We started talking about going squirrel and deer hunting one day, and he politely asked that I take a Hunter Safety Class before going out in the woods with him. Ha! I did, promptly, and discovered that he had already taught me the safety basics for firearms, but that there was always more to learn.


It started out with a desire to catch my own food (fish). And maybe hunt, if it wasn't too hard to shoot a live animal. But I got to thinking about other types of food. I had a little backyard garden by then, just 2" by 6" where I grew tomatoes and pretty flowers. I started looking around, and wondering if the flora near me was edible. I checked out a great local edible wild plants book from the library, and would go for walks with my friends and pick mulberries and milkweed.  It was fun! I was getting outside; bringing home some tasty treats and, most importantly, getting these cute freckles!


That first trip to the library led to another, and I picked up my first "survival manual". They come in all shapes and sizes for the uber-bunker type to the layperson like me. It talked about keeping an Altoids tin of useful things with you, like fishing hooks (cause I can fish now!) and matches. And sugar, tea and Gatorade. I started carrying around a little kit which came in handy mostly for the occasional need to duct tape something and for the band aids at work.


After trekking around the woods with James for several weekends looking for squirrel (and not a nary one to be found, wily little creatures!), it was finally deer season.  I wasn't sure I could actually shoot a deer, but there's really only one way to find out for sure.


We get up onto the familiar mountain, leave our vehicle and start out in the pre-dawn hour, trying to find a quiet spot to lay up and quietly watch for some deer without getting in the way of another hunter (there's only so much public hunting land, and a lot of hunters on opening day!).  We find our little spot and snuggle in... and then we wait. A few hours. Not a deer in sight either (who knew so many woodland creatures were so wily?).  Alas. But then James turns to me and asks if I'm carrying around my little kit... I say, "Of course, I always do." (especially when in the woods, that's part of the point of having one), and he asks if I have any sugar. Of course, but why?  Well, it turns out James is an insulin-dependent diabetic and was having a major low blood sugar moment. He had forgotten to bring any sugary snacks with him, and was quickly progressing into an emergency. I tossed him half a chocolate bar to start, and used my kit for the first time to actually start a fire and make sugar tea (the kit is actually inside of a heat-able mess tin).


In those moments, I was incredibly grateful that I had listened to the hunting safety instructor and my library books and brought a little kit of "usefuls" with me. James wouldn't have died on the spot or anything, but I surely wasn't strong enough to carry him back to the car, nor could I have driven his stick shift truck down the hill (yeah, I still need to learn how to drive a manual!). And I may or may not have found another hunter to help in time. But with a little chocolate and a little hot tea, he was well enough to leave the mountain.


I had never heard of preppers or survivalists. I just knew that I wanted an outdoor hobby or two to get some sunshine on my cheeks, and that bringing home food was just really neat. I started collecting a few more books about hunting, then about edible wild plants, then about medicinal uses of the same plants, and before you know it, I had a mini-library of useful books. And while I dearly love my books, they don't do you any good on a shelf - they do you good when you go out there and DO something with them.  Try it! Start easy, find a local fruit-picking farm for strawberries or blueberries or pumpkins. How? Every town has a farmer's market (Google!); ask them.  You'll have so much fun out with your family, out on a date or out solo - just picking berries and stuffing yourself with them on the spot (you're allowed!). When you get home, you can put them in cereal, on desserts or in the freezer for later. It's just fun knowing you brought them home yourself.


And that can be the extend of it. But if, like me, you had a great time, expand that thought to other outdoor activities. Learn how to fish. Or grow a tomato. It's addicting. It's fun. It gives you freckles.


And for me, before I knew it, my hobbies had become something more than just a hobby. They are a way of life. I see opportunities to learn useful skills (like driving a manual or learning how to can my mutant tomato harvest) and am inspired to take the time to learn them both because they're enjoyable (Figure 8s in a Wal-Mart parking lot, here I come!) and because they're smart, and they might help in an emergency. It's very satisfying to know you are more prepared for an emergency than you were before, and it feels safe and even comforting to know you can make a meal from the outdoors around you.  Prepping isn’t about underground bunkers – it’s about taking care of yourself, your family and your friends when they need you.


Give it a try - go exploring. Get a little sunshine!



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Great article!

Learning how to fish and hunt is a valuable skill!

Thank goodness for those handy emergency kits!

Being outdoors is a great way to get in touch with nature.

Knowing how to take care of yourself and your family is such a empowering feeling.

Did you ever get a deer?

I have a Med kit in my car too.. maybe I should carry a smaller one on my person.

Freckles! Cute.

Now I'm scared to go to a Walmart parking lot! ;)

Love it!!!

Great post Sandy. I too have a passion for the outdoors.

Fishing with your family or with your friends is a great way to get outside, get some sun and, though I hadn't thought about it before, get some freckles.

I agree that prepping is ultimately about taking care of your family. They are what it's all for.

It's good you were there for your friend James. This brings up a good point about why it's so important that we never hunt alone.

And I just wanted to add that I've had sunfish, and they are delicious. They're a good first fish to learn to catch. They are small, and they bite easy. Bass, on the other hand, require more expertise to find and more experience to reel in.

Very nice article

Girls with freckles are HOT. Feel free to email me pics.

Sounds like an enlightening journey so far.

Everyone should have some sort of survival kit in the car.
I better got one.

Spread the word.

That would be terrifying, faced with carrying a full grown man to a truck you don't properly know how to drive...

Having the right tools for your environment is a necessity! Don't leave home without the right equipment!

It's getting warmer and the season is changing! time to pick some mullberrys!

Here in the north, canning, & preserving is almost as important as hunting and gathering

P.S Lol @ Mutant Tomato

What a great article - an interesting perspective on self-reliance. It never occurred to me to carry an emergency tin in my pocket. Thanks for the idea!

Clever article, I too used to go fishing as a kid and should get back into it!

Great post! Just remember, freckles are cute but wear lots of sunscreen!

Your introduction definitely caught my attention, and your content kept me reading. Question though...who does have a bunker full of foodstuffs and a super-cool armory of doom (outside of a comic book)? =)

I like that your epiphany came as you stared at a computer screen. With smart phones, the internet just a few finger swipes away and cars ferrying us between destinations, disconnecting from the natural world is an easy, albeit damaging, habit to fall into. I love how once you started exploring nature, you kept pushing your limit and garnering more experience!

Your caveat for hunting (if you could actually bring yourself to shoot an animal) made me smile. A part of me has always felt that if I were going to eat chicken I should wring the thing's neck myself...but the reality makes me queasy. Good for you for getting out there! (And for taking a gun-safety course!) Knowing where what we are eating comes from, and being a part of the process, is so important!

Gardening is both relaxing and satisfying, as is fishing. I used to fly fish with my dad, and we would smoke the fish we brought home in a smoker he built in our backyard. There is no finer meal than vegetables from your own garden with fish you caught and smoked. I wish you many more freckles, in only the nicest way. =)

I used to fish with my dad and I know that out in the middle of nowhere, there is truly noone or nothing but you and nature!

I love going to the Keys and fishing and lobstering!

a girls gotta have a good pair of hiking boots!

We have an emergency kit in the car and the boat. It should be a law.

My sister lived in Alaska and it was a law that you had to have an emergency kit, because in the severe cold your car freezes and ceases to run after 2 hours.

Well spoken and a good story.

I have a garden too. I can my tomatoes for use year round.

You sound like a good friend taking a hunter safety class, and being concerned for your friend in the woods.

Have you tried foraging for other types of berries, like raspberries and blueberries? They are a joy to find!

Also, I hope you know your way around the woods without GPS. That's an important skill to learn. These days everyone relies on technology to find their way around.

Diabetes can surprise people with how suddenly deadly it can become. Good idea to always have a little sugar for just this type of situation. Good job!

loved this vote 2

You can never be too prepared in the woods.

Does having a crowbar in the car count as having a kit?

I have freckles too, from spending time on the farm.

You talk about Prepping like a hobby... but as a farm kid, it's a way of life too.

Thanks for your fun and though provoking article.

Nice! But a question....were all the creatures you did not see friends with a coyote
named Wiley? Maybe the two of you were much louder than you knew?

Would it be a good idea to ask anyone you are about to go into the wilds with whether they have any allergies or medical conditions before venturing forth?
And then to follow up with do they have their meds with them.... Maybe even clear this kind of thing up the night before?????

Would you consider having a fully charged smart phone with GPS and mapping capabilities a wise carry on any excursion? If the bus breaks down or your partner twists an ankle at least you have a chance to identify where you are and could either get our or bring assistance to your location.

I like the being prepared for your friends and family part. I would rather be on the positive side than being ready to demolish any and all enemies. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't let anyone take my stuff but knowing how to resupply myself with the foods and medicines nature can provide is a real good idea. Besides, freckles are cool.

I like your writing style and its light and breezy tone. It allows me to gradually slide into the idea that prepping is not some huge unsurmountable job to do but something that can be approached a little at a time. Will you be writing more articles? Thx for this one.


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