The first season of Live Free or Die comes to an end tonight, and with it concludes the cast’s bizarre DIY crafts and interesting diets. And though the show’s producers dedicated plenty of screen time to the beliefs and ideological motivations of each “back-to-nature” subject, the show really shone when the cast members put their minds towards building structures from scratch or whipping up a creative meal with available ingredients.
To celebrate the finale, here are some highlights of what we learned from this season:
How to prepare roadkill (and other quick meals)
For the cast, “living off the land” is a lifestyle with a set of built-in values. But these codes of conduct aren’t driving everyday decisions – in reality, living off the land is a rosier way of saying that the cast stays alive by hunting and foraging for each meal. Tony and Amelia learned what a roadkill-ed bobcat tasted like with some mushrooms and miso (spoiler: relatively bland, but thankfully not like asphalt). Thorn survived a poor fishing day by eating chickweed grass. But Gabe wins the prize for most unorthodox diet: the back-to-nature savant hunted squirrels, feasted on rats and cooked pancakes with goat blood.
How to make tools from scratch
To survive changing seasons and food scarcity, a few cast members of Live Free or Die made some pretty great replicas of household goods using only materials gathered from their ecosystems. Thorn made a fishing rod out of “natural cordage,” or thin, yet strong wood fibers twisted into twine, glued together with sticky sap. Tony and Amelia also vermicomposted, using red worms to hasten soil fertilization to grow mushrooms.
How to recycle waste (literally)
While the cast certainly got creative with their crafts and culinary concoctions out of necessity, their commitment to sustainability and handiness was more ideological than practical. After his cabin burned down, Colbert built a treehouse from scrap lumber; Tony and Amelia did the same for their chicken coop. Gabe’s sustainable lifestyle didn’t stop at his cabin – the back-to-nature savant fertilized the area around his home with his own feces.
Don’t miss the season finale of Live Free or Die: Forever Wild tonight at 10/9c.