Sunday, May 13, 2012

On urban gardening 15 stories up, and how best to prepare for the zombie apocalypse

Do you have someone in your life who is obsessed with preparing for the zombie apocalypse? Do they constantly talk about what you will do, what you will eat, and what the best plan of action is to survive? If you live in a 15-story high rise, do they discuss the proper protocol for creating an "escape zipline" to the nearest building? Perhaps over a nice dinner and wine, you will discuss whether or not zombies are smart enough to utilize a zipline... are they able to use the "hand over hand" method? During the zombie apocolypse, is it wrong to forage through the empty apartments of your former neighbors for leftover Chef Boyardee and canned peas? If so, can you take their cute clothing and maybe designer shoes as well? Also, what is the zombie threshhold for climbing 15 flights of stairs at a reasonably high altitude?

I have someone in my life like this. He is my boyfriend, and we live together. We watched "The Walking Dead" together (both seasons so far), although it didn't seem to have the same effect on me, as I have continued living in a normal manner. If you also suffer from living with or in close proximity to someone who is preparing for humankind as we know it to end, this post is for you.

My boyfriend, John, has determined that we are in extreme danger in the event of the zombie apocalypse, which is certainly a "when", not an "if" affair, if you broach the subject with him. I believe the reason he came to this conclusion is because he stumbled upon the "Map of the Dead", a website in which you can put in your current address, and you will find out if you are in a "danger zone". I entered our address in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Denver. It shows a stick figure holding an automatic rifle, which is me. It's a sea of red, which signifies a "danger zone", all around me. Yikes.

 One of the best features of using "map of the dead" for your apocalypse needs is the 
ability to search for gun stores, convenience stores, hardware stores, gas stations, 
and liquor stores in your area. Prepare yourself for the demise of 
mankind at

Lest you think I am dating some sort of a freak, I don't believe that John is actually expecting the zombie apocalypse, but it certainly got him thinking about being more self-sustainable and less reliant on outside sources to survive. He heard a session on NPR in regards to "urban foraging", and it just so happens that a local organization called "Denver Urban Homesteading" offers classes on the subject. Apparently you spend two hours of your evening "walking along alleys and yards learning which weeds you can eat. Hint: many of the weeds that you see every day can be eaten!". You later reconvene with your classmates to make an "edible weed salad" that everyone enjoys.

It was John's birthday this past weekend. Naturally, this was the perfect 28th birthday gift. By the way, you can also take classes at Denver Urban Homesteading on "dairy goat-keeping in your backyard", "backyard bee-keeping", and "sharpening your own knives (and learn how to make your own!)" ( Holy crap, I can't wait to blog about this.

As part of our own self-sustainability effort, and also in an attempt to eat healthier and depend less on the local King Soopers (why do all grocery stores have such strange names? A prime example: Piggly Wiggly, a Midwestern grocery store chain in which the symbol is a piglet wearing a butcher's cap), we decided to utilize the bit of outdoors space we have and start urban gardening. Our balcony is roughly 10" x 12", I would say. It's 15 stories up.

A couple of weeks ago, John planted a few tomatoes from seeds and some herbs. Unfortunately he left for a few days on tour, and in an attempt to prove to him that I am not incompetant, I killed them by being too zealous in my watering. Today we took the opportunity of a lazy Sunday to get some more, which I will probably not be trusted to take care of.

Take a look-see at our bad-ass balcony garden. In two to four months, we will be fat, happy, and self-sufficiant, and my mouth will be stained with the berries from our new Indian Summer Red Raspberry plant.

 We will have no shortage of green beans during the zombie apocalypse.
My favorite thing: they are going to climb the trellis outside of our patio
window, and it will look like we live in a jungle.

 A wide variety of herbs will be at our beck and call to 
season the canned spaghettios we forage from the empty 
and echoing apartments of our former neighbors.

We'll have both fresh red raspberries and crisp lettuce during 
the zombie apocalypse. Don't worry, lettuce is easy to grow 
from seeds-- even for me. In the background you can see our compost 
container, which I'm afraid John is planning on urinating in.

 We will have both an abundance of fresh Roma tomatoes and an 
awesome view of downtown when s**t hits the fan.

I sit on my balcony now, surrounded by our new greenery and enjoying a Strongbow cider, while tap-tap-tapping on my antiquated computer which is missing the j, k, p, and also the 2 keys. Life is good. I hear the murmur of traffic down below and the conversation of some undoubtedly drunken hoodlums on their way back from the park. A fire engine screams by. I lean back and close my eyes in the sun, and I think to myself...

..dammit, it's going to be so much quieter during the zombie apocalypse.

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