What's feral for you today?

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(joan underhill) #1

i’ve been living in a town since late may of this year, and it’s been driving me nuts. before that, for the last decade, i’ve been lucky enough to live rural (or Very Remote), and have had a relatively easy time in terms of surroundings/circumstance when it comes to making changes in my daily habits. now that we’re back in a town, it feels like a much bigger, more time/energy-consuming PUSH to hold to my more sustainable routines & habits.

for example, for most of the last decade i’ve been drinking rainwater, creek water, river water, etc. now i have to walk up the side of a nearby mountain to get wild water to drink, and i definitely don’t manage that every day. on the other hand, living in a town again makes it more obvious just How Much i had managed to change about my life, and i’m pretty proud of how far i’ve come.

so… all that being said, i wanted to start a thread for sharing what step(s) you’re taking today (every day, any day, just today, whatever) toward rewilding or living the life you want for yourself. what tough thing did you manage to pull off today? what little thing are you doing consistently? what new thing did you try or make plans for?

i went big today & decided to leave facebook for the foreseeable future. that’s my win for the moment. :heart:
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(gertie) #2

Hello Joan
A great thread idea…I am more of a experiential person than a big thinker…so that’s a great way to connect with rewilding in all its facets.
I do live in a cabin,Yukon,Canada…50 km from Whitehorse…called rural residential secluded…big words…off grid…boreal forest …mostly dense black spruce,mountain valley,gravel road…Great small community…the paradox of being able to use civilization…and still just walk out my backdoor into wilderness.
After 40 years of small city life this last decade in the yukon has been such a blessing…before I get caught up in talking about me all the time…(:blush:
Feral today…I ran into 2 moose this week in a small teaching garden …right behind a building…
Eating all my trees and bushes…Darn…here goes next summer harvest of berries…
Being just a few meters away from a huge moose and calf…
We had a bit of an interaction…me …rather hysterical…the moose watching,assessing…very unconcerned…
For nearly 5 minutes…before it decided to jump the fence and wander slowly on…
What a gift …this meeting with the wild…theirs and mine…


(Alexander Meander) #3

well, i feel like there are a million ways in which i can answer this question.

for me, the most pressing aspect of my present moment, holding space for ferality in my home and mind, revolves around another human soon to come into this world. my partner is due to go into labor this month. we have a midwife and plan to birth at home, in water. the past few days i have been doing what i can to prepare for the arrival, mentally and physically. it is so close now that i feel nervous often, in a good way really, a type of nervousness that is not necessarily out of fear, but out of anticipation for something huge that is about to happen. something that i am prepared for but am not prepared for. the pregnancy so far has been wonderfully normal. typically, normal, for me, is not a good thing, but in this situation it most certainly is!

the only thing i would want to be different is to have a community of folks, a village, on the land with us at this time.

i also made a bunch of organ (venison hearts and livers) pate yesterday to help provide nutrient dense wild foods as a part of the post-partum diet, though diet has been a huge focus throughout the pregnancy.

i’ve also been moving a lot of firewood, processing and drying wild cherry bark, and reflecting on last year, as well as the coming year. i think winter is my favorite season. :slight_smile:

(joan underhill) #4

that’s so awesome, alexander! congrats to you & your family on the coming birth. it’s wonderful to hear about your prep for a good new-momma diet. :heart:

(joan underhill) #5

today, rewilding means drinking a licorice-burdock-dandelion infusion to help support the healing of a broken collarbone, rather than running out to buy supplements. the licorice helps the flavor somewhat, but it’s still a very rooty brew. the taste seems appropriate, somehow.

(BenSpiritbear) #6

I dont think what I did today was really rewilding but I did make some vapor salve for the kids. Having 4 little ones in the house they eventually get sniffles and coughs going on. I make all of our medicines and mostly from wildcrafted plants. Today it was some chest rub, tea and “cough syrup” (infused honey) for them. Having a wood stove I also keep a pot on it with some herbs steaming in it to help clean the air and their noses. I’ve also been working more on pyrography (wood burning). I know its not rewilding but I have noticed that “drawing” a plant or animal causes me to take greater notice of the details of nature. I’m still just learning though.

(Jarosław Wątroba) #7

My small rewilding things already implemented:

-Not using soap on my body
-Eating a high-quality paleo diet (including my own spring water) with increasingly more wild food involved (but the costs of food are just ridiculous… we have it a little better as we run a grocery store)
-Training archery every day
-Using wood to heat the house
-Taking every opportunity to be outdoors and in the wild, spending at least a month of every year in a real wilderness
-Broadening my knowledge of the rewilding/hunter-gatherers/anarchism topic and sharing that knowledge with others
-Having all of my wilderness gear ready to set off in less than a day to whatever northern location in the world

Implementing now:

-Keto and fasting… wish me luck :slight_smile:
-Additional certifications to my Pilot License
-Learning primitive (as opposed to purely civilized “bushcraft”) skills with particular focus on getting food
-Earning money (XD)… to possibly visit you guys in America this year
-Possibly buying land in Poland for a FC node (and my airfield)

(Joseph) #8

My big re-wilding effort during the past year has been living barefoot: Essentially everywhere, all the time.

The first time there was frost, I whined about it. The first time I walked in snow, I whined about it. But you get used to what you do, so yesterday I ran my errands and went for a barefoot walk with temperatures around 17F. It helped that the sun was shining. I pretty much only go out during the afternoon when temperatures are warmest.

(joan underhill) #9

that’s awesome, @Joseph! i’ve spent a lot of time barefoot. in some places it took many months for me to acclimate, either due to weather or ground conditions (missouri was full of thorny things, and i got wounded Many times before my feet toughened up enough & my paths got clear enough). i loved going barefoot in the alaskan interior, though summer months were tough with all the mosquitoes. but going barefoot on the snow & ice is actually one of my favorites, and i went out that way often for short chore like bringing in firewood or snow/ice to melt for water. i love the tingly sensation & how alive it makes me feel to actually have my bare feet on the earth. &, coming into a warm cabin and standing on my home tanned sheepskin is a bonus.

my ‘feral’ thing for today was going back to using my flannel wipes instead of toilet paper. i’ve been traveling, and then house-sitting, and had forgotten to bring my wipes with me, and so had grudgingly reverted to toilet paper. now that we’re back at home on our sailboat, it’s back to cloth wipes. i’ve been using them most of the last decade, and have been so happy about it.

if you haven’t heard about using cloth wipes before, or would like to know more about the process, you can see some of my blog posts regarding them here on our site.

flannel wipes

(BenSpiritbear) #10

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit I havent done many feral things the past couple of days. I fell out of a tree. It was a short fall but enough to catch a branch and break a couple of ribs. I don’t know if I’m getting old or soft but the pain feels worse than I remember that last time I broke a rib. So I havent done many wild things. Mostly sitting in the cabin reading or tinkering with stuff. But hey I was up in a tree to cause this, that should count as something feral.

@joan I’ve used cloths off and on over the years and do like them too. Most people I’ve mentioned it to couldn’t imagine using them but its really not bad.

(joan underhill) #11

um, @ragnar, i am here to say that you properly allowing yourself to recuperate counts as feral :smiley: if you’re not jumping up to go back to a job that’s going to exacerbate your injury, you’re winning. :heart: breaking ribs is such a pain - my guy broke 4 at a whack two years ago, it took him months to feel 100% again.

also, that’s awesome that you’ve used & enjoyed wipes. and yeah, i agree - like many habits, what may seem completely foreign initially can quickly become a comfortable routine. while we were in the interior, i was able to pee & poop outside Every single time, and to use moss, which was incredibly abundant in good quality for wiping. i Loved it. now i have to pee & poop in little closed-in compartments again, which i hate :frowning_face: so the least i can do is use my wipes.

my feral thing for today was to make a minor head accessory - a knitted, cabled wool headband. i’m hoping to make myself a felted hat at some point this winter to replace a knitted one that’s no longer appropriate… but i can’t quite felt at the moment given my current injury, & now that i have a long ponytail i figured a headband would work for our mild, wet winter here. i picked out a rad celtic knotwork pattern & figured out how to do it in two colors, started it last night, and finished it tonight. my ears will be so warm now even when the cold, wet winds are a howling. :hugs:

my goal for tomorrow is to take my pup for a walk up one of the local trails where i harvest water, so i can quit drinking town water again. unfortunately, with my shoulder still messed up i can only do a gallon at a time… so there will be a lot of long walks in my future.

(joan underhill) #12

like @ragnar, i’m resting today. i wanted to go for a walk up a nearby mountain to get some wild water to drink, but didn’t do it. i slept in really long instead, and only took my pup for a walk to the post office to mail out some etsy orders. in my defense, it’s sh*t weather outside (classic sideways rain of ketchikan, howling winds) and my broken collarbone has been a lot angrier in the last two days… so i’m back to not really using my right arm for much of anything.

so… my feral thing is resting. and continuing to take my tinctures to support my healing. which apparently are making a huge difference, because three days ago when i only took them once early in the morning, i was seriously hurting by nighttime. i had been taking them every 5-6 hours.

this is what i’m using (all tinctured fresh in 80p liquor)
-wintergreen leaves (tastes best in gin, in my opinion) for serious anti-inflammatory action, and some pain relief
-solomon seal root, for tendon & ligament repair… because even though i broke a bone, i’m sure the surrounding connective bits were strained, and i’m gonna need them to be ready to go when i can start stretching normally again
-my happy joints mix, which includes horsetail (joint lubrication), chickweed (anti-inflammatory), probably more wintergreen, yarrow (pain relief & anti-inflammatory), mullein root (for helping bones re-align), and blue vervain (for muscle cramps/spasms)

i’m also applying salve daily after bathing the area. i’m using an alternating cast of devil’s club (pain relief & muscle healing support), cottonwood (antimicrobial, muscle support), and comfrey (supports bone healing, bruising, muscles).

thanks to these lovely plants i have been able to take only half doses of the narcotics i was prescribed, and then used them only at night, and then stopped using them completely after 13 days. i stopped taking anti-inflammatory pills at the same time, instead using these tinctures to serve the same purpose.

(BenSpiritbear) #13

I know I’m probably the worst at doing it but @joan, resting is just as feral as tanning a hide or foraging. We forget I think that rest was and is common among h/g. Resting to heal your mind and body is important. My ribs are a little better but still very sore so I’m trying to take it easy and that’s not something I’m good at.
Today’s feral activity was getting ready for the coming storm tomorrow. We are supposed to get a bad ice storm so I’ve been in preparedness mode. Mostly that means bringing in a bunch of wood so I’m not trying to burn ice covered wood and stocking up on water in case it gets bad and it becomes difficult to get to the water. I’ve lived through some bad ice storms here in the past so I’m ready. Its funny because I was thinking about it today and most people that experience them fear not being able to travel, losing power and not being able to get to food. None of those are things that concern me so I say bring it on and give me another reason to sit by the fire and do some more reading

(Alexander Meander) #14

well, today we hit a warm spell in NC which was like a real charge for my body. it is amazing what the warmth can do for my energy levels. but we have had very abnormal frigid temps here for the past two weeks, bringing me to be abnormally domestic and sedentary. so, last night i let the fire in the wood stove die out. and today i cleaned out the chimney and all the piping. i’d be interested in hearing what feral folk do with creosote. i know it can be used to preserve wood, but it is also carcinogenic.

i also checked on my native tree and shrub seed collection in preparation for planting, post-stratification - pawpaw, american persimmon, spicebush, beauty berry, and so on.

and i finished my last round of wild cherry bark collection:

it makes a great anti-tussive and slightly sedating cough syrup. i actually use the syrup as more of a food though, drizzled on acorn pancakes. or stirred up in some raw milk.

with this warm spell the ground will thaw enough for me to plant some hazelnuts, elderberries, mulberries, and other things. one of the main reasons i love living where i do is because i get to put my hands in the soil almost all year long, even though we still have a cold winter. :slight_smile:

(Alexander Meander) #15

thanks for sharing your healing protocol! and good luck :slight_smile:

(Tyler) #16

Spent a little bit of time preparing this obsidian preform and made a little windchime the other day out of dogbane twine, phragmites, some dried yarrow and juniper, and a small arrowhead as a knocker. Not very practical but it’s nice to work on something without utility being the end goal.

(Dennis Lanigan) #17

Just a heads up that wild cherry shoots make excellent arrow shaft/pump drill material if you can find 30" sections without knots/branches.

(Alexander Meander) #18

good to know @dennis. thanks for the info. though i will say that it would prove quite the challenge finding one the right diameter of that length without knots/branches.

(Michelle ) #19

My feral for this week: I updated my foraging bag with this Fox face that was given to me as a gift. I am excited about it!


(Lloyd ) #20

Today, stacking firewood for the worktrade house I’m living at. Checking out school buses the guy sells to possibly convert one into a home for me and my dog. Walking a lot to get around town and bicycle. I have a car again but drive as little as possible when I’m situated. Snacked on a little plaintain while the other guys ate grocery store pastries. Sit in the sun before coffee in a field up the road stretching and namaste-ing the sun. Soaking in the sun in the A.M. while my oatmeal heats on my camp stove and read. I’ve always been in this mix of modern and older living. Not quite yet able to make the full leap alone yet.