This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Annette L
I’d like to reach out to the newbies as well as the experienced preppers. Long term survival will depend on skills more than what stores we put by. We all need to learn something new each day and for me, the day I don’t learn something new is the day I’m put in the ground.
My parents were from immigrants/farmers and were born during the depression, so I’ve had a pretty good start on my self-reliance. Added to that was a poor choice in a mate and raising 3 children with little to no money of my own. I can open a nearly empty cupboard and put together a meal that is nutritious and filling because unknowingly I’ve always “prepped” to a certain degree.
I have no fear of experimenting in the kitchen. I garden, I can, I sew, I knit, I crochet, I’ve repaired my own appliances, I’ve rebuilt an engine for a VW, done my own oil changes & brakes, I’ve replaced a cracked toilet, rewired a broken light fixture, replaced leaky plumbing under my kitchen sink and I’m learning to spin my own wool sheared from my rabbits. Does this make me a Superwoman? No, it makes me an independent one borne of necessity and childhood teachings. I thank my mother for making sure my sister and I knew basic household maintenance , that my brothers could cook and thread a needle to sew on a button.
The best prep you can do for yourself and your family is to educate yourself. It’s never too late to learn and never too early to teach your children basic home repair or crafting. I challenge all readers of this post to spend 1 to 3 hours a week at the library, NOT THE INTERNET, the place where the real books are. Choose a topic that you know little to nothing about and put it into practical use. Look at “educational” cookbooks to create your own supply of ready to use mixes.
Read up on small engine repair and tune your lawnmower. Find information about various types of food preservation, make some jam or jelly. Look at the history of a craft, make a rag rug or quilt. Learn about beekeeping and the varying ways to create a home for the honey providers, purchase or build your own hive, purchase or capture your own bees (we caught our own swarm but that is the stuff of another post). Study a tribe of Native Americans indigenous to your area and make an article of clothing as they would have. Look up back issues of Mother Earth News or Foxfire to find plans for building furniture, smokehouse, clay oven, greenhouse, root cellar, or even a home. Once you have the information you need, put it to work!
Now why the library vs. the internet? Because there are less distractions. Whether you go in with one specific topic or a general idea it is easier to tunnel your vision in the library. Zero in on one topic at a time then slowly expand your viewing field. Relax I’m not saying never use the internet to research again, but if you are anything like me, you get too many great ideas by the distraction of “Related Topics” or “Similar Searches” and lose the focus. Besides, the libraries need us! I hear of reduced hours to flat out closures do to lack of use as much as from lowered funding.
You can take on this endeavor by yourself or with your partner, or child(ren). You can make a family affair of it! Or a group effort if you have a “colony” planned for off grid living. Choose a topic, do your basic research then divide out the finer points with the ultimate goal of putting to use what you have learned. Think back to when you were in grade school. What projects do you remember most? My guess would be the ones that were challenging but fun and provided a finished product that wasn’t just a report on paper.
I was reminded of one early grade school project right here on this site. I’m re-growing celery! I’d forgotten about that little experiment from 2nd or 3rd grade and remembered also sprouting beans, potatoes & carrots, so I have those going too. Speaking of which, there is another place to search for your project! Teacher’s educational projects for grade/middle/high school. (don’t laugh, but you will probably find more useful experiments at the grade school level) Should we all find ourselves in a situation where the life we are currently living does not exist, having knowledge of the basics will sustain us.
Before I close this, a friend made another suggestion as to an excellent place to learn. Get to A Mountain Man or Black Powder Rendezvous or gathering. You will pick up some great things to put into practice or pique your interest. This is actually what started my honey and I to dive more seriously into the prepping world.
There are many wonderful old techniques, crafts, and survival skills demonstrated by blacksmiths, flintknappers, weavers, trappers and more. Most importantly talk to the Rendezvousers, a large number of them actually live the life! As a matter of fact if you are in Cascade Locks, Oregon on the last weekend in June be sure to stop & say hello. (did the wolf pack come up with a secret handshake?)
Our plan to move out to the middle of nowhere & be old hippies has not happened…. yet. That’s ok though, it gives us more time to learn more things to put to use on our planned 2-5 acres. Should the EMP-Mayan-Nostra-Zombiepocalypse hit tomorrow we’ll be alright where we are. We’ve learned to be prepared, protect what is ours, take care of our own and do what needs to be done.
With Mr Creekmore’s permission and kind indulgence I’d really like to revisit this post in 30 days to see who took on my challenge & what task/experiment/project they decided to undertake. Knowledge is not just power, it’s survival!
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.
Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.
Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.
Contest ends on March 30 2012.