A real guide to surviving homelessnessPosted by in Homelessness
The one commonality I’ve seen in a lot of homeless people is the utter unpreparedness they are in when they end up “out here”. That’s usually what happens when in denial about where your life is heading and the all too obvious fact that no one has taught them how to survive without money. Sadly, that’s the kind of mental programming that goes on in a society that places more value on greed and mindless materialism. Even if no one taught you how to live without money, what’s preventing you from learning how? In my opinion, it’s often a blatantly subtle form of mental laziness that comes from living too modern a lifestyle.
I’m not saying let’s all go back to the Stone Age but learning how to live off the land and make the things you need instills self-confidence and reduces fear that comes from not knowing what to do; being prepared goes a long way in making daily living more convenient than it would be if and when you get caught off guard by an unforeseen situation. For instance, how many of you have a survival plan in mind should you end up homeless and there’s no friends or family to take you in for longer than a month or two? Nowadays, getting out of homelessness and into permanent housing will take longer than six months especially if you need childcare and can’t get a living wage job but back to what I was saying….
Do you know how to make a fire without matches? Can you find clean drinking water wherever you happen to find yourself? Do you know what plants will serve as food, medicine or weaving materials? Can you build a basic shelter out of whatever you happen to find? Can you make a living without having to kill or rob another human being? Every day you walk on or past plants that are food and medicine but you’ve been led to believe they are nothing more than weeds to be eradicated from an unnaturally maintained yard. How much money could you save by repurposing items you habitually toss in the trash or recycling bin?
As we head into summer here’s a few tips to make your life a little easier:
Take a walk through a park and see if you can identify these edibles: dandelion, broad and narrow leaved plantain, red and white clover, rose hips and depending on where you are; nettles! How many abandoned fruit trees can you find? I have often asked the owners of property with fruit and nut trees for permission to harvest their trees especially when I see fruit rotting on the ground year after year because no one is using the fruit! My nine year old daughter asked me to take a nature walk so that she could learn about plants which surprised me but made me smile. In one area alone, we found red and blue huckleberries, hazlenuts, “Indian” plum, salmon berries, dewberries, abandoned cherry, pear and apple trees, wild roses putting out soon to be delicious rosehips and we even found a wild crabapple tree! Add to this thimbleberries, salal, Oregon Grape, nettles, plantains, clover, chenopodium album which is also known as Goosefoot and Lambs quarters (which can be cooked as an excellent green by the way!) and the list goes on!
I can find edibles in the city too as I have often found Miner’s Lettuce growing under bridges where I thought there wouldn’t be anything! City homelessness is a little different than out in the suburbs and semi-rural areas but many of the same principles apply and I will talk about that in future blogs.
Stay tuned for my next blog as I will include recipes for some of the plants I pick with pics so that you can make a positive identification of the plants shown! Plus, I just may show you how to cook on these coffee can cookers I keep making!