Feral Fun and Games

Wilding Tales

+Giulianna tipped me off to a free story game created by Joli St. Patrick, called Wilding Tales. St. Patrick describes the game as “a small, intimate story of post-collapse community. It’s an experiment in distilling story-gaming to its barest essence.”

Wilding Tales consists of a handful of print-and-play pamphlets that you use in conjunction with a deck of ordinary playing cards to tell a brief (an hour or so) story. As St. Patrick describes it:

It’s not post-apocalyptic in the usual, Mad Max-y sense, it just asks “what if the Establishment finally had to pull the plug next week, and all those counterculture types just became… culture?” Play is very human-scale and ephemeral; we’re here for a glimpse and a few funny or beautiful moments.

Download the game for free, and get the instructions for how to fold and cut the printouts.

The Quiet Year

Giulianna also pointed me to another post-apocalyptic game by Joe Mcdaldno called The Quiet Year. Where you could describe Wilding Tales as a collective story-telling game, you could describe The Quite Year as a collective map-building game.

Although Mcdaldno doesn’t publish The Quiet Year for free per se, a simple print-and-play PDF edition only costs $8. However, the author does offer this and other games of his in exchange for good deeds (find out more about buying Mcdaldno’s games with good deeds).

The Fifth World

And, finally, it looks like the long awaited game The Fifth World will soon pass from alpha testing to a public beta! +The Fifth World reports from a playtest yesterday: “the last big question before we start getting the public beta ready: are the individual needs enough to drive the game without any other structuring mechanic? I’m happy to report that yes, they are!”

Slings and arrows

John Hernandez: Mescalero Apache, singer, drummer, storyteller

While I was working on a pair of moccasins at the Bois D’Arc Primitive Skills Gathering this past weekend, a man came into the tent and sat down.  I could tell by the way they interacted that he and my instructor Wanda knew each other well.  He picked up a drum she had in her tent, played it, praised it, and asked to borrow it.  “Sure, John,” Wanda replied.  “All we have is yours,” Wanda’s daughter added.

John stepped outside the tent, stood before it, drummed and sang.  His voice was clear and haunting.  “Oh, those old songs,” he said.  “I know so many that I’ve started to forget them.”  Then he sang another, and he walked off.

John is apparently a fixture at the Bois D’Arc gathering.  He sings and tells stories every year.  I only spent a few moments in his presence, but I could tell that I wanted to spend more.  So when I got home, I started searching for him on the internet, and I found his story.  He tells it unabashedly.  I share it now with you: My Life Story by John Hernandez.

Wild Recipes

I discovered that the Cooking section over at the Missouri Department of Conservation website (mdc.mo.gov) has all these wonderful recipes using a variety of wild flora and fauna: Continue reading

Handy Resources: Free copy of “Where There Is No Doctor”

Hesperian Health Guides which publishes books like Where There Is No Doctor and Where There Is No Dentist makes digital copies of their books available on their website for free.  Visit the Books and Resources page of their website hesperian.org to download them.  Their site will prompt you to enter your contact information to sign up for their newsletter, but you can skip that if you like.  The books are licensed under an open copyright, so you can distribute them freely within certain limits.

The titles available on the website include:

  • Where There Is No Doctor
  • Where Women Have No Doctor
  • A Community Guide to Environmental Health
  • Advance Chapters from the NEW Where There Is No Doctor
  • A Book for Midwives
  • Where There Is No Dentist
  • Helping Health Workers Learn
  • Disabled Village Children
  • A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities
  • Helping Children Who Are Deaf
  • Helping Children Who Are Blind
  • Pesticides Are Poison
  • Sanitation and Cleanliness
  • Water for Life
  • Advance Chapters from A Workers Guide to Health and Safety

Handy resources: Missiouri flowers

I discovered a website called missouriplants.com that helps you discover unknown plants by key identifiers like flower color and leaf characteristics (ie., white flowers with alternate leaves).  I hope you find it as handy as I did when I used it to identify the spiderwort growing in my front yard.

Black walnuts tree can have companions too

Upon moving into my new house a year ago, I rejoiced when I discovered that several black walnut trees grow in my backyard.  However, once I started doing some horticultural planning, I began to worry that the alleopathic effect of the juglone that black walnuts secrete from their roots would limit my chances for planting around those trees.

A quick Google search, however, turned up a paper entitled “A review of suitable companion crops for black walnut” which lists various companions that seem to tolerate juglone.  The possibilities include currants, elderberries, black raspberries, pawpaws, persimmons, autumn olives, onions, and Jerusalem artichokes.

The moral of the story?  Just because you secrete juglone, doesn’t mean you have to live alone.