When she isn't sharpening her ax, K. Bannerman writes novels and short stories and screenplays. She lives on an island in the cold northern sea, where she grows apples, pears, blackberries and rhubarb. When the end times come, she'll be well-stocked with cider and pies.

How to Make Pemmican

If you hope to survive the apocalypse, you need good food to fuel you. Preferably, it’s something that’s easy to carry, won’t spoil quickly, doesn’t require refrigeration, and chock-a-block full of nutrients. If it tastes good, too, that’s a BONUS!

For your consideration, I suggest pemmican. It’s easy to prepare, hearty, durable, and delici— no. I’m not going to lie. Once upon a civilized time, I was a vegetarian, and pemmican wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. But here at the end of the world, you can’t be picky. And with a pocketful of pemmican, you know you’ll always have something to stave off the hunger pangs.

Historically, pemmican was made by the Cree people of northern Canada, then adopted by the French fur traders who crossed the vast wilderness in search of beavers.* It was used by Arctic and Antarctica explorers, to feed both humans and dogs, because it’s easy to pack and (if it’s made properly) will keep for decades.

Here’s how you make it:

1. Meat. Take your best beef, moose, venison, bison, elk, whatever red meat you have on hand. Cut off all the fat and slice the meat thinly, then place the strips on drying racks in the full sunshine or over a smoky fire. Dry the strips until they’re so dry, they crack if you bend them. Mmmmm, cracky meat!

2. Grind the meat.** With a mortar and pestle or a meat grinder, turn your strips of dried flesh into a powder. This can take a while.

3. Melt the fat. In a big pot, render down the fat slowly, then strain to remove any bits or chunks.

4. Add berries to the meat dust. If you’re adding any blueberries, saskatoon berries, raspberries, etc. – fresh or dried – to your pemmican, this is where you do it. You can also sprinkle in a bit of salt to taste.

5. Mix Wet and Dry. Stir the powder into the rendered fat. If you want it sweeter, you can also add a bit of honey or maple syrup.

6. Let it set. Form balls with the mixture and let it harden. Once they’re firm, you can put them in an airtight container and keep them in a dark place (like the bottom of your rucksack) and take them out to nibble on when you get hungry. Hmmmm… firm balls in a dark place***….

And that’s about it! Super easy to make, packed with protein. Make sure the ratio of meat to berries to fat is about 1:1:1, and you’ll have yourself a healthy snack that lasts for ages, even if it does look a little bit like a pile of dried bear dung. It’ll give you lots of energy to run from zombies, and it’s easily sharable with friends you meet as you traverse the wastelands.

Happy snacking!


*not nearly as sexy as it sounds.
** also, not as sexy as it sounds.
*** omg I never realized Canadian cuisine could be so suggestive!

How to make Divine Signs

The rebellion has begun and, here in the smoking ruins of democracy, you’ve got an opinion to share. Standing in the plaza below the Palace of the Overlords, you need the Mighty Ones to know you’re still here, fighting for freedom.

Well, I’m here to give you a few tips on how to create a great sign to communicate your message, because honestly, there’s nothing sadder than a fierce message that can’t be read because the banner is utter shit. Grab your art supplies, friends. We’re going to make a sign.

Know your message. Get it tight. You want people to be able to read your sign and understand your meaning in under five seconds. Streamline your choice of words — don’t use ten words if three will do. Enjoy the power of simple language.

If you’ve tried to simplify your message but it’s just too complex, that’s okay, you have two choices:
(1) accept that your message might not reach the masses, but it will still reach those who are willing to invest the time to read it, and that’s okay, or
(2) focus your message to one or two points, which viewers will understand even if it’s not as nuanced as you’d like.

This is your sign, so it’s up to you. Personally, I like short and catchy phrases that spark a dialogue, sprinkled with a little bit of humour. There’s power in conversation and in laughter.

Know your colours. Now that you have your message, you need to make sure people can read it from a distance. Which is easier to see: black marker on a piece of brown cardboard, or white letters on a black background? Go for high contrast, big letters, and bold design. You don’t have to resign yourself to black-and-white, though… contrasting colours can really make your words POP. For example, you can try:

Purple background + Yellow letters
Blue background + Orange letters
Green background + Red letters

Be bold. Don’t be shy, supersize is your friend! Make those words BIG. Blocky letters are great to read from a distance, and you want to be heard for miles.

So easy to read! So easy to understand!

For Pete’s sake, spell correctly. It only hurts your message if it’s peppered with spelling errors. You’re smart and intelligent and well-read, right? Of course you are. That’s why you’re here, fighting injustice at the end of the world.

Use the right tools. Don’t use pencil crayons, watercolour paint, or crayons — they aren’t opaque and they won’t leave enough colour on the paper to be highly visible. Instead, use acrylic paint or waterproof pens, like Sharpies.* These won’t run if the weather turns, and they’ll stay bright and strong. (FYI – Tempera paint is bright and bold and cheap, but it isn’t waterproof, so if you’re hit with a bit of rain or fog, your sign will run.) Make sure your paper is hefty, too — poster board works well, as does box cardboard or a light press board. Make sure you don’t use anything too heavy; you’ll want to be able to carry it for hours without hurting your shoulders.

And lastly,

Hold it high and share it. It’s great that you’ve made a stunning sign to broadcast your message, but take pictures and share them on social media, too. Twitter the shit out of that sign. Tell the world how you feel, because we’re all in this together, and your role in the resistance is integral.

Now get out there! Shout, sing, stay arms-length from the zombies, and make awesome art for a better world.

Okay, in SOME instances, crayon works well.

PS These photos came from 33 Signs from the Womens March, but I want to see your signs, too! Post and share!

Quiet Beginnings

I like to think that the end of the world will come, not with a bang, but with bird song.

You’ll be walking along, doing your own thing, when you’ll notice that a creeping quiet has descended upon you. Where’s the dull roar of distant traffic? Where’s the thrumming of planes in the sky? When did all the clatter stop?

You’ll look up from your little slice of life and notice you are – quite suddenly – alone in a great empty world, with only the soft sparrow-chirping in the treetops to comfort you.


How to Survive Life in a Survival Shelter

Here’s the situation: The end is nigh, and you’ve been fortunate enough to be given space in a shelter. You’ve gone into the underground fortress, the doors have been bolted, and the whole thing has been sealed. Outside, storms rain fire upon the land and the seas are boiling, but inside the shelter, you and 899 strangers are able to wait out the blasts, snug as bugs in rugs.

Wait a second. Eight hundred and ninety-nine strangers? Living in 135,000 square feet? Jebus, that’s only 150 square feet for each of us… you can’t even take a city bus without getting frustrated at the smelly old man sitting too close to you, and the woman with the screeching baby, and the drunk teenager vomiting in the back seat. Crap! How long are you stuck in here?!?!


Okay, so a few ground rules will have to be established. Plus, it’ll be hard to repopulate the planet if, upon release, you can’t get away from everyone fast enough and no one want to speak to each other again. So, here are a few:

Suggestions for Surviving the Shelter Experience

  • Farting in closed spaces is now normal, considering everywhere you go is a closed space. Get used to the smell, especially after bean night.
  • The ugly carpet is only going to look uglier as time passes, but once you go insane, you won’t care about the decor, so that’s something to look forward to.
  • The people who live in the room next to you? The ones who are coping with stress through copious amounts of copulation, even though only a curtain separates you? When they reach orgasm, I bet they’d love to hear you scream along. That’d be fun!
  • Get a few people together and start an amateur dramatic society, then act out your favourite scenes from thematically-relevant movies like ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘Road Warrior’, ’28 Days Later’ or ‘Armageddon’. Shake it up by making them musicals.
  • It’s okay to pick your nose and eat it, but don’t expect any kisses.
  • Water will be strictly rationed so showers are no longer an option, but it’s easier to stomach the stench of body odour if everyone pretends its the newest fragrance from Gucci.
  • Only flush toilet paper down the toilets. Please please please remember this rule, now more than ever.
  • That woman with the annoying hyena laugh? The one you hear late at night, echoing through the halls? I hate to break it to you, but that’s actually you. Doesn’t the carpet look beguiling tonight?

    If you watch the swirling patterns long enough, they start to look like a map to a magical land of pixies. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy….