A brand, spanking new column is up at the Blue Ridge Country magazine web site. It’s entitled “This Old House.” I am tickled pink with this one, as it gives y’all a fairly accurate peek into our life here in the Valley. It’s less Country Living and more Psychology Today than you might guess. As always, your comments are welcomed both here and at the magazine site, where they’re constantly evaluating my popularity and/or law suit potential. Love y’all.
I was supposed to be folding towels. I was actually flipping TV channels and procrastinating. What do we have here? It’s a show called Doomsday Preppers. It was news to me that there’s a subset of the American population spending buckets of cash to hoard supplies for some impending very bad thing. Not sure why, but I suspect that the people who manufacture canned Spam started this whole movement. Brilliant marketing if they did. I didn’t give it a second thought until months later.
“Our government is going to collapse within six months. What have you done to get ready?”
What? I was just the “plus one” attending my husband’s company picnic. No one told me there was going to be a pop quiz.
“The name’s Bob. Bad things are about to happen. Have you stocked your basement with food and water?”
“Um, I don’t have a basement.”
“When it all goes down, you’ll die if you haven’t prepared. I’ve got an entire room filled with first aid supplies, water, ammo, and canned goods. You’ve got to be ready or you’ll starve!”
Oh, I get it. Bob here is a doomsday prepper, just like on TV. Worse, he’s an urban prepper. He lives in Washington, D.C. Bless his heart.
“Bob, you’re operating under a false assumption. Let’s just say there’s a Martian invasion. Food does not disappear. Distribution does. All that food that you’re used to seeing in your grocery store? It gets stuck in my backyard with nowhere to go.
You see, I live in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. We are Ground Zero for all that is tasty. It is rich with farms and food. We don’t starve. We don’t die of thirst. I have three working springs and a creek on my property. Even if you don’t count all the backyard chickens, pigs, and goats, there is an abundance of goodness within easy walking distance of my house.”
Poor Bob looked confused. I elaborated.
“Within roughly four miles of my front door there is: a hydroponic tomato greenhouse, an ostrich farm, a deer farm, a trout farm, an organic beef, pork, and lamb farm, two vineyards, five apple orchards, three dairy farms, at least six beef cattle operations, several corn and soybean farms, silos full of feed corn and grain, a couple of moonshine operations, and here’s the biggie, Bob. There are at least thirty commercial poultry houses chock full of chickens and turkeys.”
Bob’s bottom lip was trembling. He needed me to suffer so all the time and money he’s invested in his expensive end-of-days hobby would be validated. Bob was all kinds of sad that maybe, just maybe, I was going to be fine without a case or two of Spam squirreled away. It looked like Bob would be happier if I did not survive. This was beginning to hurt my feelings. Even so I decided to throw him a bone, cheer him up a bit.
“You just never know, Bob. I can see a situation where the Shenandoah Valley runs out of food. We’ll probably waste all our feed corn by converting it to ethanol, letting our animals starve. Then we’d wipe out a huge portion of farm land by putting in an oval track and bleachers. When the zombie apocalypse comes, I’m sure they won’t be broadcasting NASCAR races so we’ll use up all our precious resources just to have a little fun.”