Going Feral

Cherie said she’s imagined the opening scene from a documentary.  Our children are on camera and an off-screen voice asks, “When did you first notice that your parents were going feral?”

We’re eating more wild edibles these days and we’ve taken to sleeping outside. I know that for many readers of this blog those facts aren’t particularly remarkable, but they’re way outside the cultural norms these days.  Plenty of people would see them as evidence that we’re going feral.

So be it.  Sleeping outside this time of year is wonderful.  The air is cool, the sky is beautiful, the lightning bugs are entertaining and the nightsounds are enjoyable.  It’s not quiet outside at night.  The frogs and crickets keep up a steady hum, punctuated by the calls of whippoorwills and the occasional owl. Less pleasant, but interesting, are the howls and yips of coyotes.

I’m an early riser, but sleeping outside wakes me even earlier.  Not just because the rooster starts crowing well before sunup, but primarily because daytime arrives much sooner than we realize when we’re sleeping indoors. And at dawn the air is crowded with birdsongs, nature’s alarm clock.

I don’t think there’s any danger of us becoming entirely undomesticated, but I do hope we keep stretching the boundaries.  I hope we keep going feral.

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34 comments on “Going Feral

  1. Eumaeus says:

    Naked he rises and cakes his body with clay
    A crown of spicebush
    To keep the deer flies from his eyes
    He is
    The most civilized of men

    Liked by 1 person

  2. shoreacres says:

    There’s a reason, in even marginally good weather, boat owners will come down to the bay, loose the lines and go anchor out. Sleeping in the cockpit is the marine version of what you describe, and one of the greatest appeals of having a boat. Even here on the Texas coast, where we don’t have the coves and inlets that make the practice especially appealing, people still do it.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      I’ve never done it, but I can imagine that would be wonderful–adding the gentle rocking of a boat at sea to all the other pleasures of a quiet night under the stars.

      Like

  3. hfleming1 says:

    You two are a great example for your children. WOW, what amazing memories & knowledge they’ll have.

    What’s kind of funny (too me), I read this blog then click to read ‘Ginny’.
    The first blog I read is about a family sleeping outside. Then I read about Ginny becoming accustomed to sleeping inside….
    LOL

    Keep stretching the boundaries.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      Our children are grown and gone now. But we laughed that thanks to their personalities and how well they know us, they likely wouldn’t wring their hands in worry if we go feral. They’d get it. 🙂

      Ginny now sleeps inside with us every night. She did not take it well when we started sleeping outside. I think it confused her, and the first night she stayed on the alert all night (to protect us I suppose). She spent a lot of time barking at coyotes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Farmgirl says:

    Would love to see your set up for sleeping outdoors! Maybe do a post about it? Are you in a tent? A screened porch? This is something I would like to set up here as well. (If it ever warms up!)

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    • Bill says:

      We just sleep in sleeping bags on an air mattress on our uncovered back deck. Our front porch is covered (but not screened). We’re considering sleeping out there if there is a chance of rain, but we wouldn’t be able to look up and see the stars. Which reminds me, I saw 3 shooting stars last night. 🙂 Hope you can try it at your place.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was a child, I would sleep in a bed on our back porch in the summer … one of my fondest memories is the whippoorwills calling …

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    • Bill says:

      Whippoorwills are an essential part of summer. It brings a big smile when I hear the first one of the year. Earlier this month one was lighting outside our window in the middle of the night. I was amazed at how loud they are up close. And I’d never seen one up close before. The second night it happened it wasn’t so fun anymore. Fortunately it stopped after that. Now we’re back to hearing them in the distance, which I prefer. 🙂

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  6. Laura says:

    Love this post. I can totally picture the kids saying that too!

    Like

  7. avwalters says:

    “In these cases, there are often early tendencies that, were they caught early, might have made a difference. Some ferals are merely returning to the pleasure seeking days of a free range childhood. Others, though, are deeply and genetically predisposed. No known intervention would have made a difference.”
    (That’s the expert opinion for the documentary.)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. dilipnaidu says:

    Sleeping out in the open in our hot summers is very refreshing. Outdoor activities is a sure way to remain healthy and in high spirits.

    Like

  9. associatedluke says:

    Feral is awesome! I need to become less domesticated myself. This blog and the book, “The Five Stages of Collapse; Survivors’ Toolkit” by Dmitry Orlov are aiding the journey.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      It’s a journey. We haven’t done anything particularly precipitous, but we’ve been moving fairly steadily in that direction for years.

      Like

  10. Joanna says:

    So jealous that you can sleep outside. We will be in our caravan (trailer) tomorrow night. One of my children thinks I’m a hippie anyway and that was before we started eating a lot of wild edibles. We wouldn’t be eating so well at this time of the year, if it wasn’t for the wild edibles. They are usually the first things to pop their head above the ground and are ready to eat long before the seeds can even be put in the ground, never mind germinated.

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    • Bill says:

      I wouldn’t mind being thought a hippie, for the right reasons. 🙂

      I recall reading that in earlier cultures spring was known as “the starving time.” All the food stored for the winter was eaten or spoiled. The seeds had been planted (and therefore weren’t available for food). The earth was coming to life, but there wasn’t yet anything to eat. Those first wild edibles of the year were literally life-savers.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. BeeHappee says:

    My parents went crazy like that too, when got older. 😀

    Like

    • Bill says:

      It seems to me a good kind of crazy to be. Instead of, say, trying to acquire expensive possessions to impress your friends at the country club.

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  12. Sounds like heaven.

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  13. EllaDee says:

    I’m happy to embrace more and more my “feral” side and am so pleased I’m in good company. You never know, those TV camera’s may not be too far away from landing on your doorstep.

    Like

    • Bill says:

      That would probably be the point when the media starts calling our house a “compound” (which is what they do here when they want it to sound sinister),

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  14. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, going feral, huh. In an age when most folks are buying posturepedic beds that form fit the body’s movement and shape, you are choosing to sleep in bags on the deck? …. I like it. 🙂

    Way way way back in 1970 a guy by the name of Euell Gibbons was a food naturalist that did TV advertising for Grape Nuts cereal. He definitely was a guy that ate weird things from plants in nature. I’m finding that most plants that we as gardeners try to eradicate are not only edible but actually have a lot of nutrition in them. Euell died at an early age of 64 with a genetic disease called Marfan Syndrome. It affects some skeletal but mostly the cardiac system. When he died at age 64 the average age of some one with that syndrome was 32. His knowledge of plants in the wild was taught to him by his mother. Now that I have a bit more knowledge about wild food than when he died in 1975, he may just have doubled his age by being a little feral and eating wild and crazy plants in the forest. Eat wild; be feral; live longer; be healthier. Seems like a good thing to me.

    Have a great feral day.

    Like

  15. I like to think I was born feral, at least that’s what my first grade teacher thought. The first 15 or so years I led wilderness backpack treks in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I always carried a shelter, but only slept under it when storms threatened. I am really enjoying your posts on this Bill. Good for you and Cherie. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

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