September 20, 2020

North Pond Hermit

Last week a story broke out of Maine about a man, who at the age of 20, decided one day to just walk into the woods and disappear. 27 years later, he was arrested for stealing food and other supplies from a nearby camp for disabled people.

It’s a fascinating, bizarre and inexplicable story of a man who built himself a compound on the side of a hill in the dense forest and eluded law enforcement for 27 years. Everything he needed for survival he stole; mostly from camps nearby and surrounding North Pond. He averaged about 40 break-ins a year and a favorite target, Pine Tree Camp, was where he got caught.

There appears to have immediately developed the somewhat romantic sympathy among the people for a man “living the life” away from it all and of course being able to elude the strong arm of the law, never hurting another, other than taking what didn’t belong to him. Cheering for the underdog came to an end last week.

He didn’t know why he walked into the woods one day or much of everything else he did.

He talked one time briefly to another human during the 27 years.

There was quite a legend that had been amassed over the years as over 300 camps and seasonal residences within walking distance of his wilderness compound were at the North Pond Hermit’s disposal and regardless of the perpetuated myths of this man, hermit, thief, and hero, law enforcement couldn’t catch him…..or never really tried. It took 27 years before one Maine Warden thought up the idea of an alarm system that would notify him when someone had broken into the Pine Tree Camp.

BRILLIANT! And that’s where Christopher Knight, known as a nerd in high school, met his capture.

And it only took a few hours before Troy Bennett composed a song about the “North Pond Hermit” and it appears below on video.

The North Pond Hermit from Troy R. Bennett on Vimeo.

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I Put in the Old Man’s Soup of Survival???

I would like to try something here that requires readers’ participation. Perhaps some of you remember the childhood game of “Old Man’s Soup”, or not. In the game each person gets to add something to the soup and before the next person can add their ingredient they must accurately repeat all the other ingredients added prior to. I’ll dispense with the repeating of the previous items to be added.

What I would like to do is to have readers add one or more items that they consider important that people should have on hand for, well, just in case. Perhaps when adding your items you can assess and share with readers the purpose and the degree of importance or severity of projected need. I’ll explain.

Where I live, in hurricane territory, we are taught to keep a certain list of items in the ready including non perishable foods for 6 days, plus water. These items are good to have on hand but certainly do not account for a prolonged food shortage, major disaster or perhaps even an economic collapse. And then there’s the “when the shit hits the fan scenario” of survival.

With that in mind, many items are good and a brief explanation as to why and what you are planning for is helpful. Please list your ideas below in the comments section. If I get a good enough response on this, I will take the items and put them into a more usable list and post them to this website for people to download and save if they would like.

I will start by saying that for short or long term disasters, I have a relatively small plastic, air tight container in which I keep my most valuable and important papers, i.e. birth certificates, deeds, titles, etc. These are ready in case I need to mobilize quickly I can grab and go.

Now it’s your turn.

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Real or Imagined, America Has Changed

wake-up-americaI recall several years ago, Oldsmobile, a product of General Motors, attempted to remake the image of Oldsmobile. For decades Oldsmobile assumed the identity of being an automobile designed and manufactured for “old people”, real or imagined. Prior to the halting of production of Oldsmobile cars, the company took on an advertising campaign in which they plastered the advertising world with the logo: This is not your father’s Oldsmobile. Needless to say, the ad campaign failed and Oldsmobile could not be marketed to the general automobile-buying public and thus contributed to the failure of the building of any more of the cars.

America, for decades, assumed an identity of being a country designed for everyone. It became the greatest nation on earth, a land of freedom “of” and not freedom “from”. Rights were respected and efforts of all were geared toward making the country better and stronger with more opportunities from everyone, not the hate mongering, divisive, corrupt element that overwhelms this nation; one that treads on rights.

Real or imagined America is not your fathers’ country. This advertising campaign has worked. For some the change is real and with that reality comes a vision of an appalling disfigurement, a country unappealing, repugnant and oppressive. For those who don’t see it that way, perhaps you are the ones who have actively sought to make this country what it has become and you like it. If you think the America of today is the same or better than the America of my father, you are part of the problem.

Are you seeing it? Are your eyes open? Still in denial? Don’t want to see what is real, the results of your labor?

I had to go out this morning. While I was out, I decided to stop at several stores in the area and check on the availability of ammunition. There is none and each clerk or store owner told me the same thing; “I haven’t any idea when we will be getting a shipment in.”

I am 60-years old. I don’t recall ever in my lifetime that ammunition of every caliber was not available. How about you? And why is that?

There is another trend taking place that smart people have probably already noticed and blind and brainwashed people wouldn’t even want to see if they could.

While I was out, like I always do when I go into a grocery store, department store, sporting goods store, flea market or yard sale, I looked for survival items and special deals on food stuff that can be put in my storage closet for survival. When there is a good deal, I buy it and take it home to add to my supply, including ammunition.

These common items, if you are a “survivalist” you know what they are, are beginning to show signs of shortages. I commonly see empty shelves where once there was an abundance. Why is that do you suppose?

This is not your father’s America, that is why!

While I was in Wal-Mart, I also roamed the aisles, after checking the ammo department, and grabbed a few items that were priced pretty good, threw them in my cart and headed for the checkout. Now, I am one who believes that NOTHING happens by random chance. Such was the case this morning. As I pushed my cart along the aisle looking for a line to get in, I was about to fall into the shortest of the long lines that had formed at each register. I glanced one more time around and standing in the middle of all this mess of people was a cashier looking directly at me and waving her arms and hands to come to her register because there was nobody there. I mean seriously. You should have been there and seen it. It was almost weird.

I waved back and scurried with my cart over to her register. We exchanged pleasantries and to be honest I did not think all that much about the oddity that with all the people, this lady had nobody in her line and singled me out. It was not until after what happened next that I realized this was not happenstance.

I’ll tell you exactly what I had in my cart: paper plates, 6 packages of Ramen noodles, a bulk package of macaroni and cheese and 2, 1-pound bags of black beans. I placed them on the counter.

Eventually the cashier asks of me, “Now, what are you doing with all these beans?”

I personally do not think that buying 2, 1-pound bags of black beans constitutes “all these beans,” but I went along with it. (She should see my closet.)

I replied, “I’m not sure you would believe me or even understand if I told you.”

She looked at me a bit puzzled and then I thought to myself that this was a great opportunity to tell her and if nothing more, catch a reaction or get her to thinking.

“I am buying much of this stuff just to add to my stockpile of survival food. This country and the world, for that matter are going to hell in a hand basket, and I plan on at least having some food and other supplies ahead of time for me and my family when food becomes short in supply,” I answered. “And, I need to be able to protect my property.”

She looked at me and winked and began telling me that her son, who lives in California, sends her money periodically with instructions to “stock up.” And then she says, “Well, I believe the Lord will take care of us.”

I answered back, “I believe that too. That is why He has opened my eyes and given me all the right things to read, research and learn about and why I am here today buying food to plan ahead. He’s taking care of me. This isn’t my idea!”

Also during our brief encounter, I shared that America is not the country of my father and not the one I grew up in and brought up the fact that their sporting goods department was void of ammunition to sell and that this was one of the indications that something was not right. People are scared and at perhaps no other time in American history have so many people felt so insecure and unsettled about their own future and that of this country.

As I am exchanging ideas and information with this woman, a middle-aged woman who was behind me in line, kept edging closer and closer in order to hear what we were saying. I finally looked directly in her eyes and she asked, “Are you serious about all this?”

“Very,” I replied. “But do I look worried about it? Get ready because I believe it is coming to this country soon.”

Leaving the store, it was obvious this entire event was not happenstance. I was put in that lady’s check out line deliberately and I was thankful that I had spoken up and shared what and when I did.

America has lost its identity. The corrupt leadership of this nation and around the globe is determined to convince us that what was my father’s America, is no longer any good. They have stopped production on that brand and we are being directed to buy something foreign made.

Get ready!…………………………….or laugh at me.

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From the Journals of Lewis and Clark: The Struggle for Food

As I continue my reread of the adventures of Lewis and Clark, often times the reading is dry with weather reports and what they saw on the right and saw on the left and how many miles they covered. At times however, both Lewis and Clark write in relative depth about certain issues and observations.

Included in the expedition that was sanctioned by President Jefferson and headed by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were what was then considered “professional hunters”. I have no idea what qualifications these men possessed that earned them the distinction of professional hunters, but nonetheless throughout the entire journey they were on a daily basis dispatched by Lewis and Clark to hunt and gather food. Sometimes this involved having the hunters go ahead of the expedition and cache food along the riverbanks and/or trails for the troops.

Finding food was not always an easy chore. As a matter of fact, the expedition was forced many times to kill and eat horses they had bought from the Indians. Through many days travel from the Continental Divide and down through the Columbia River, Lewis and Clarke bought dogs from the Indians to feed their troops. During their first winter camping alongside the Missouri River, the expedition may have starved to death had it not been for the modest supplies of dried foods the natives had that Lewis and Clark were able to trade for.

In my reading at present, Lewis and Clark are camped for the winter near the mouth of the Columbia River where it flows into the Pacific Ocean. It rains and storms nearly everyday. Conditions are miserable, to say the least. Troops work everyday in the lousy weather building shelters, smoke house, supply storage and fort walls. Because of the conditions and hard work, the troops are suffering injuries and illness. Generally speaking conditions are not great and to add to it, the availability of fresh meat is just not reliable.

Several Indian tribes take up their winter residence in the same area. These natives eat a different diet than do the white men involved in the expedition. The natives mostly subsist on fish, roots and berries, Lewis and Clark are forced to buy a lot of this food from the Indians because there is not a lot of easily found meat, i.e. elk, deer, etc. nearby. They also struggle in keeping their meat from spoiling even though at this point they have constructed a smoke house used to cure meat.

Needless to say, the adventurers have learned to eat many different things along their journey, including spoiled meat as well as fresh meat from just about every wild critter they could kill.

During the time that Lewis and Clark spent on the coast of what is now Washington and Oregon, both Lewis and Clark wrote in their journals comments about eating certain meats that today in our society would be unheard of.

Written January 3, 1806 by Clark in the Journals of Lewis and Clark:

“Our party from necessity have been obliged to subsist some length of time on dogs, have now become extremely fond of their flesh; it is worthy of remark that while we lived principally on the flesh of this animal we were much more healthy, strong and more fleshy than we have been since we left the buffalo country. As for my own part, I have not become reconciled to the taste of this animal as yet.”

At the time this was written, I’m half guessing that perhaps William Clark was waxing a little nostalgic, hungry and missing those moments when fresh elk and deer meat were readily available for sustenance. The expedition’s hunters were able to locate and kill some elk, at times great distances from the newly built fort, there was never enough of this meat to feed the troops on a regular basis. Because of the great distances away where the elk were shot and killed, by the time the hunters, with help from the troops, retrieved the meat and brought it to the fort, it was spoiled or beginning to spoil. Smoking the meat didn’t take away the spoil.

At this time, both Lewis and Clark had expressed dissatisfaction with being forced to eat the dried fish the natives had and that which the expedition had to purchase or barter to get because of the lack of fresh meat. Also it was noted a few times that Lewis and Clark could not sustain trading away all of their supplies in order to subsist.

In short, I’m not sure that Lewis and Clark fully anticipated having the struggles they did to eat well on a consistent basis.

It was only two days later that we find where Capt. Lewis makes comment about what he eats. To set the stage for these comments, Meriwether Lewis had ordered some of his men to take canoes and travel to the beaches of the ocean and find a likely place in which they could set up and make salt. This place ended up being several miles from the fort.

After about 6 days had passed since the salt making party were to have returned to the fort, Clark and others went looking for them. In the meantime, the salt party returned to the fort temporarily and brought with them about a quart or so of fine quality salt they had been successful in making.

In the context of the below comments by Capt. Lewis, he is writing about how some of the men were excited to have salt to dress up, if you will, their meat and meals. Lewis makes note that he really could care little about whether he had salt and makes the following comments.

Capt Lewis, January 5, 1806, from the Journals of Lewis and Clark:

“The want of bread I consider as trivial provided I get fat meat, far as to the species of meat I am not very particular. The flesh of the dog, the horse and the wolf, having from habit become equally familiar with any other, and I have learned to think that if the chord be sufficiently strong, which binds the soul and body together, it does not so much matter about the materials which compose it.”

Part of the motivation to write this piece comes from comments that have been made by some animal rights groups about the recently released movie, The Grey. The movie is about people that survive a plane crash in the snow climes of the north country, smack dab in the middle of packs of wolves.

I’ve not seen the movie but evidently at some point for survival, some of the wolves that have been killed as the result of attacks by the wolves on the survivors, are eaten by the people. The comments from animal rights groups and other ignoramuses, are that nobody can eat a dog and there is nothing nutritious in them.

This of course is quite the contrary. Not only in our own history books, as I have shown above, and world history has the eating of dogs been a regular occurrence, in some societies today, the habit still happens.

Tom Remington

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