The day the Gatineau Line fell (part 1)

(Ported over from a page on this blog in 2015, when I had no clue how to blog properly)

It all starts somewhere. Some event that brings chaos and other big words. Take this as you will, but remember, a metaphor is no replacement for being even remotely prepared. You are the first responder for your family. Keep them safe.


The Day the Gatineau Line Fell (Part 1)

Shit. It never fails. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did. My cell rang bedside, 0240, 16 October 2015. “Really? WTF”, I thought.  The number was vaguely familiar, but when I heard my supervisors’ voice and her statements, I wished I never answered the call; but if I hadn’t, you would not be reading this:

“Bob”? “Yes, Diane, uh, wait one, ugh, what’s up”? Long pause. “Bob, you know your interest in odd shit; undead, camping, homesteading, prepping, and, um, fuck me, uh, zombies”?  WTF, AGAIN? “Yes, Diane. Why a call now, at this time of night? I have enough problems with the Frat House behind me”.

“Bob, there seems to be a problem just over the river in Gatineau”. “Nobody seems to be able to put a name to it, but it looks like you were right, in some messed up way”.

I had yet to clear cobwebs; trying to maneuver a dog off my one good leg while trying to not wake my partner. “Ma’am, why are you calling me? No-shit answer, please”.

Very long pause. “Bob, from what Higher has shared down to us, there seems to have been some sort of outbreak; I don’t know what, but our channels tell us that people are not dying after being shot by police; worse yet, hospitals are reporting folks who are VSA, yet get up to attack staff”.  Heavy Silence.

“Bob, we are calling a Fan-Out, all pers to report to the office” “Gatineau Police, Ottawa Police and the RCMP have requested Canadian Forces assistance, Aid to Civil Power”.  A very long pause on my end. Very damn long. “Bob”? “Bob”? “This is an order from on High”. My reply was simple; likely even ingrained from the age of 12. “If this is what you describe it as, and if this isn’t some kind of joke, and IF it’s what I think it is, going into the office is the worst thing we could do. Let Higher set up a response team in Petawawa. It’s 2 hours away; it will give them and us a chance”. Pause. “Diane, if you or I go into the office, we’ll be dead in less than 12 hours”. “All it takes is one person who’s been bitten, IF this real, and the entire building is lost. Hell, the office is less than 10 minutes away from Gatineau, we have no way to defend ourselves; it’ll take days for the Chain of Command to issue us our weapons and appropriate ammo. Jeez, we are not a line Unit”.

“Give me an hour to get my shit together, dress, check bus schedules, see what the News has to say and let Stephanie know what’s up, then I’ll get back to you”. A very pregnant pause from Diane, then “Is it possible?” “Is it real”? I told her I didn’t know; I’ll get in touch in an hour.

I never spoke to her again. I tried over the next few hours and days, both cell and work phones. Nothing.

You do the math.

I swung my messed up leg out of bed, checked CBC News, and didn’t like what I saw. Shabby video footage, from reporters, choppers, people-on-the-street. All the same. None of it good. I checked CTV News. Same, but different footage. Footage of people apparently rioting. Footage of people attacking everyone else that wasn’t like them. The last CTV feed I saw showed a woman being bitten, screaming, being attacked by more people who did not appear to be behaving normally. The camera-person rushed in for a closer shot, and the light of the camera or breathing, or noise caught their attention. The very last scene showed teeth, heralded screams from the camera operator, then snow.

I shook Steph, gently, then more so. She looked at me with sleep confusion, blurred and blundered; “wha, ugh, hey, what, why”?

I replied simply: “Check your phone news feeds. Looks like an outbreak of some kind in Gatineau; people are biting one another, dying and getting up again. This is for real”.

Her reply, simple and perfect: “Seriously”? “You serious”? “Your hobby real”? “Shit”.

I kissed her quickly as she got out of bed and stumbled off to the john. Damn well figures. Something I’ve thought about, readied myself for for years, studied via pop culture and fellow fans, discussed over many beers long into the morning actually happens; not far away, not to be watched from a great distance via CNN or CBC or BBC or Al Jazeera, but right literally in my backyard. Less than 45 minutes away, depending on traffic.

I swung back to my side of the bed and reached for my crutches. Of course it has to happen now, when I’m a tripod, waiting another couple of weeks to see if I can start standing again, then the slow process of learning to properly walk, move and eventually run, hopefully. All because the Military medical system missed that I was walking on a broken ankle for a year.

So, despite everything I knew, thought I knew, and the steps I had taken to ensure we had some semblance of a chance in case of a disaster or emergency, I was no longer an asset. I was a liability, something to slow everyone else down.

That’s not even the worst part. My son lives an hour and a half south of Ottawa. I can’t drive right now; drive like I need to, to get him, fight like I need to, to protect him.  I can’t even properly protect my current location, can’t drive, can’t contribute, except for words. I can’t get to family or friends in various areas near Ottawa. Not alone. I just seriously hope folks I know were listening when I shared tidbits of “odd info” and Zombie related lore. Because right now, we are all we have. We are survivors, as long as we can get our shit together.

Echoing Steph and her perfectly simple musing of not even two minutes ago, “Seriously”?

More to come…..if I’m not bitten. Stay safe, Ottawa. God save you, Gatineau.

Categories: wwz, zombies, zombocalypse | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dehydrator recipes as of 15 Jan 2017


I’ve made the following using our Cabela’s “10 tray dehydrator with acrylic door feature” dehydrator, and have not yet died or become ill. Nor has the Wayward Pilgrim, or our dogs. We have even avoided food poisoning or worse at our Tiny Cabin; so we must be doing something right!

Please follow food guides/common sense when working with any food, at home, off the grid, bbqing, at the lake, camping, dehydrating, etc. Seriously, poor food health management takes a toll. If you are new to something such as Dehydrating, as I am, do your homework. Google and YouTube are great teachers. Just to be safe, if you want to dehydrate something, verify the method and outcomes by at least three (3) different websites/YouTube videos. Always read the comments, see what other people have learned before you try. Trust me, there are some Completely Useless “professionals” out there, and people Love Them. More on that later, in another blog!

If you Dehydrate anything following these recipes, and get sick or die, you fucked up; not me, so don’t go complaining about lawyers and such (see first paragraph – I’m not Blogging from beyond the grave – hell, I finally got schooled about blogging, so I’m not about to clock out. I have so much to share. And bitch about.).

JERKY (Marinade and Dry Rub):

  • Meat Used: Sirloin Tip from Costco (a fair amount of marbling/thick strips of fat).
  • Slicing: 1/4 inch, give or take (after freezing meat for 1-2 hours – helps with slicing).
  • Marinade: Whatever I had in the fridge; Gluten Free Soy Sauce, HP Sauce, Keen’s Mustard, lemon juice, salad dressing, BBQ sauce, etc. You get the drift. If it tastes good, add it.
  • Dry Rub: Smokehouse is what I have used so far (Red Pepper, and it packs a hell of a nice punch). I picked up a Smokehouse Original pack today (both from Cabela’s), but have not used it yet (review to come!).

Okay, common dog here, but just to be sure:

  • NEVER dehydrate raw meat. Some folks debate this, but most, according to Google and YouTube, agree. Safety First.
  • If you use a home marinade (let it sit, covered, in the fridge from 4-24 hrs), put it in the oven and let it bake, at low temp (160-180 f) until the internal temp hits 160 f. Google food guidelines if you do not understand.
  • Smokehouse (and other companies/brands) rubs/cures include NITRITES Not NITRATES; different beast altogether), which replace the baking/cooking of the meat till the internal temp reaches 160 f. To be honest, I put the dry rub meat in a different pan and throw it in the oven as well, to be safe. Hell, I’m learning, right?!!
  • MOISTURE IS THE ENEMY. If it sweats after dehydrating, refrigerate it; eat sooner than later (a week), but after that, I’d bin it. Don’t store it for “the future”. It’ll likely kill you. Don’t confuse marble-rich dehydrated meat with frothing meat.
  • (Meat/Any) FAT does NOT dehydrate. If you want a beautiful steak, marbling is brilliant. If you want to dehydrate meat that will last a fair while, the LESS FAT/MARBLING, THE BETTER.
  • Depending on the fat content/marbling, jerky can be stored in the pantry, out of the sun/heat for a week or more (common dog). I’ve made split batches; one small batch in cupboard, one in fridge. Learn your meat. Freezing and vacuum sealing is the best way to go (I don’t have a vacuum sealer, yet). Another Blog to come!
  • Freezing Jerky is not a bad thing at all. In fact, it helps you enjoy it much longer (I know there is some sort of split infinitive/grammar faux-pas in that last line, and I apologize).
  • 160 f for minimum 6 hours in the dehydrator. Make sure to rotate racks, and when the jerky bends, semi-stiffly, it’s damn near perfect.
  • Google further questions! Verify with other dehydrating sites!!!! Let me know what I missed!

Dehydrated Peppers:

  • Be warned, cutting Bell Peppers is both an ass pain and boring as hell. Worse than watching paint dry.
  • For Bell Peppers, cut the top and bottom off. Remove seeds as best as possible (good luck). The bottoms, along with top rings, can be cut and dehydrated, but in a separate session, as they are thicker (another blog to come).
  • Remove the meaty veins from inside the peppers, discard or dry then shave to become seasoning.
  • Cut the remaining peppers into 1/4 thick sticks, place on trays and dehydrate for 4-6 hours at 135-140 F (or by your dehydrator manual – I’m not Dog; this is a learning process, and all machines are different). The more you put in, the longer it takes (learned that on 14/15 Jan 17).

More to follow, but it’s just past midnight, and I had time to kill before I put the last batch of peppers in to dry overnight. I’m new at Dehydrating, and don’t want anyone to get sick or croak. Just sharing what I have learned thusfar. Check, and check again. 2 is one, 1 is none.






Categories: Cabin food, Camping food, Dehydrator, Food, survival, zombocalypse | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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