We all love our technology, don’t we? To be able to update each other on our eating habits and what our cat is doing with the laser pointer is fascinating. Even with all the “tongue in cheek” aside, technology is a fantastic thing in this modern age of ours. To be able to find out anything, at a moments notice, not only put the Encyclopedia Britannica out of business but made all of us as all-knowing as humanly possible.
We have eradicated diseases that used to plague our society, made travel to far off places commonplace and near-instantaneous communication possible. Then comes all the gadgets that are designed to make life “easier” for us all.
Consider for a moment, with how unreliable technology can be, and with the real threat of it going away in the doomsday scenario of an EMP attack – well even when it is less drastic than that, if we can’t afford any longer to have the latest in phones or tablets or laptops… what would we do?
Our communities would drag to a halt
Every car, truck, and semi are made nowadays with a computer that makes all the machinery work and checks it’s systems. Without that technology, food deliveries (any deliveries for that matter) would cease.
All would come to a standstill, except for your hunger and need for shelter. Those prepared and already practicing the following tips and tidbits have no need to fear in any circumstance of economic disparity, climate catastrophe or technological meltdown.
In the early 1900’s only 13% in the U.S. lived in an urban area. The rest were in more rural communities. Now, while that number hasn’t quite reversed, more than 70% of all those in America are not in a place that they could easily plant and cultivate a garden for personal use.
In these cramped conditions, it is no wonder that people have stopped learning how to garden (86% of teenagers today could not tell you how we grow simple vegetables and fruits). To those in urban areas, the thought of growing a garden seems like a novelty. But gardening (geared to produce a substantial amount of food) is actually a task which requires vast amounts of knowledge and practical know-how.
Here are just some of the things you need to know to grow food effectively:
– Soil Conditions
– Crop rotation patterns
– Sun exposure planning
– Seed germination
– Planter building
– Pest Control measures
– Tools, care, and maintenance
When technology isn’t enough or is out of the picture entirely, you need to have a way to produce the food you and your family require. To boot, you won’t need to get all your food from the supermarket anymore! And learning those skills beforehand will solve a lot of problems for you later.
Meat and most protein sources don’t grow on trees. We have possibly heard the stories of farm life when that poor farmer has to get up at the crack of dawn to milk cows or feed the chickens or whichever type of animal they have in the pens or fields. When you are unable to get your hamburger at the local grocery store, the responsibility for raising animals for productive food sources becomes that much more essential.
And it’s not all about feeding and keeping the animals from harm (which is an important part of it all), it’s also the personal care of those animals and the housing of those with the proper shelters and fencing.
You will need to get really good at diagnosing and treating animal diseases – how many vets will be around? – You will also get good at building sturdy and break-out-proof coops and pens for your animals that will keep them in and other animals out. Start learning about it all now before you have to learn by trial and costly error.
Hunting used to be commonplace a century ago. The safe use of firearms was as common as putting on your shoes and even the youngest would be taught how to safely act with guns. As time moved on, hunting became less about eating and necessity and more about sport and trophies. And there is nothing wrong of being proud of that 12 point buck you bagged, going around willy-nilly for any hide or head to mount isn’t the way we need to be doing things.
Developing the skill of staking out the animals that we need for eating, warmth and sometimes shelter is very important. Knowing the animals habits and tracks and how they work through the hunting grounds will increase your chances of being able to eat or not eat when the time comes for it.
Additionally, knowing how to set snares and traps for smaller game are most useful in a needing meat scenario. Unlike rifles, snares don’t require any ammo, they don’t make loud noises which will give away your location, and are more likely to get a catch since small animals are found in greater abundance.
An important part of a balanced diet is getting a variation on what you eat. Your mom has always said eat your vegetables and such. There are some things that, cannot be done with a backyard garden or kept in a corral.
Foraging, going out to the great yonder (fields, forests, and even deserts) and finding those items that can be edible AND nutritious for us is an important skill and knowledge to gain. And it doesn’t just stop at what we can put into out stomachs either. There are many plants, seeds, roots and fungi that can assist us medicinally as well.
Foraging has a loooong history, even before people planted crops, foraging was a reliable way to gain the sustenance that was needed. For us in our day it is a great way to supplement our diets and get a greater diversity in what we take into our bodies for nourishment. Start learning which plants, roots, seeds etc. to look for and which ones to avoid as well (nothing like a poison ivy salad, right?)
As we won’t readily be able to go to McDonald’s or pick up for ourselves a Hungry Man dinner for the local store the need to have the food stuffs, i.e. nonperishable foods, flours, sugars, kinds of rice, beans as well as cooking oils come into focus. To just have them doesn’t do you any good either, unless you know how to use them in what you can prepare for dinner.
Getting recipes, and making them on a regular basis is a good practice to be in. Making bread, or casseroles, or long lasting food sources can help out in any time or economic situation.
100 years ago, refrigerators were not common, having an ice-box that could preserve foods were expensive and out of the reach of many. Today, even with frozen foods more common, what happens to it all when the power goes out for any amount of time? Preserving the foods you like to eat is a skill that is needed if you want to eat those peaches, or cucumbers year round. Canning and using other food preservation methods is a must nowadays.
Our great-grandparents used the best methods of preserving the food for year-round usage which took advantage of the food seasons. Learn food preservation skills like:
These skills are what you need for that rainy day scenario. How much will you worry about food when money is tight if you have supplies like these to draw from each time you eat?
Back in their day, because hunting and keeping animals were more common, you can bet that they also know how to butcher and prepare it for eating or preservation. Now that may seem, gross and extreme for people’s “modern sensibilities” but having the knowledge of how to properly prepare an animal for meals to come without spoiling what it has to offer (i.e. skins for clothing, sinews for tools, innards for various applications, etc.)
Gaining the education on just how to do it, and then putting that education to work with the animals you hunt or look to put on your dining room table will give you a better appreciation on all that is involved in that process.
When you grow, forage and hunt for your food, you don’t take it for granted. This isn’t something that can be said for the general populace today! Considering that the average Amercian family throws away one fourth of the food they buy, adding to a total between $1525 to $2875 annually. Such waste can’t be done in times of need!
When times are lean, the habits of using what you have become fine-tuned. So when you have a surplus, you must put some aside for those rainy days for long term food storage supplies.
The notion of “first-responders” of those to protect, save and preserve life is a relatively new concept. It started gaining prominence in the Jimmy Carter administration in the late 1970’s. Before then, the first-responders were you and I, our neighbors, our friends and those who were good minded people looking to help out.
Beyond knowing CPR, and how to treat shock, there was general knowledge of what could help stop bleeding or treat a cough (without cough syrup) or assist us in living better. Those many uses for the Vitamin E oil, or what cayenne pepper could do beyond making your dinner hot were known more generally by our ancestors.
Such knowledge we must regain again! As health care and access to it gets worse and worse, we need to be able to take care of those things that make a difference to our health. Take the steps necessary to be prepared for the inevitable accidents that happen and the general sickness that can come at a moment’s notice.
The usage of jack-of-all-trades has lost most of its efficacy when it comes to the house you live in. Most, if there is a problem with the plumbing, or the roof or any other part of the building you live in you call the landlord or the plumber, carpenter or other “specialization” that takes care of what has broken.
In a serious disaster situation, these skills of fixing properly those things around the home can go a long way to your survival – even basic carpentry skills to build and use a shelter. At a bare minimum, everyone should know the following four things. After you got these down, you can build up your skills of fixing your home’s maintenance issues.
How to shut off the water main from the street – Make sure you know where it is located and how to shut it off if needed. Never a good thing to have your home flooded at any time
How to shut off the gas main – at the point where it comes off the street, nothing worse to have that hanging around putting everyone in danger when it is broken by a natural catastrophe.
How to shut off the electricity – when it comes in from the wires and something has fallen or been left bare and exposed you don’t want to have the shock that could change your life or end it altogether.
Securing your home – whether it be boarding up windows in case of natural disasters, or protecting your family in cases of societal unrest, know how to quickly get those life and property saving items in place.
In this throw-away world of ours, once something stops working properly we look to chuck it in the garbage and buy a new one that is bound to break down sooner than later. In our great- grandparent’s time, that wasn’t an option.
First of all household items were built to last. Vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, stoves, and the like lasted for years and years even handed down to the next generation. Kitchen tools and utensils were the same, as well as many of the things found in the tool shed. Not so much anymore.
But the idea here is to be ready to use what you have until it is unusable for that purpose. Then, repurpose it for another item or task or spot around your home. Being able to reuse what can still be used or thrown out by others is a great skill to have when the crap hits the fan in this world of ours.
Technology that has been designed to bring us closer together, if misused, has the opposite effect upon us. Facebook and Selfies show others that we are what we are but take us away from the personal interactions that build and cultivate a community. How many of us know even the names of our neighbors let alone think they can rely upon them to borrow some eggs or sugar once in a while?
It wasn’t long ago that neighbors knew each other and knew they could rely on them in times of need. Whether it is through your own communities in church, in a common interest or just the geographical neighborhood in which you live, being friendly with your neighbors might not seem like a skill to cultivate. But it could be the one that ultimately saves your life. Humans are creatures that are social, and there is certainly something to be said that there is strength in numbers. Being known as someone that can be a part of the community can help when the times get hard for all around us.
My grandmother sewed every dress she wore for the last 50 years of her life. She often would mend anyone’s shirt or pants or shorts that would wear and tear. She was a master seamstress that saw love in every stitch she made.
Our collective grandparents didn’t always have access to the local haberdashery or dress shop and had to develop the skills to make, mend and make due with the fabric they could get a hold of. Usually, this duty in the past was placed upon the moms to know, it is a skill all of us can gain to keep us well heeled in the clothes we have.
It was once seen as a routine component of a household economy, usually (but not always) cheaper than buying items ready-made.
Now, this was and remains as a technology that certainly improved lives. Since the 1950’s when only 33% of households had a washing machine to today when nearly all have one, it was such a time saver for an essential duty of being alive. But if things hit the fan for you so to speak, and you didn’t have access to this most convenient of machines, how would you make sure what you wore remained clean and free of dirt and grime?
Learning how those do it in the world without electricity may be a worthwhile afternoon for you.
When it comes to cleaning do we know what we could gather to clean a floor, our clothes or even our bodies? When we can’t get that Irish Spring or Dove bar any longer do we know how to make our own soap?
Gaining the knowledge and the steps that we can make soap is well worth our time and future hygiene.
When we usually talk about marksmanship we think of guns and hitting targets. And yes that is a part of this, but more importantly, it is the practice of hand-eye coordination that I want to concentrate on. Whether we are using a gun, a bow, a sling shot or any other reason of throwing something to hit a target (ropes over beams, branches etc.), this is a skill that many of us don’t do enough of.
And no, the hand-eye coordination you can with playing video games doesn’t apply here.
Being able to have this skill to being accurate in what we aim at is something that we need to do more of and become expert at.
Often when there is a natural calamity, in particular, a snowstorm, the hardest thing to do is to keep warm in the chosen shelters we have. Homes, apartments, cabins etc all need to have a heating source or it can become life threatening in those areas where exposure to cold can end life.
In the past, wood stoves were the most common way of warming a house during the cold months. Along with bed warmers, and the like it was a way to keep one from “catching their death” or losing needed toes and fingers.
We need to plan for and practice methods that we can use to warm our homes when the central heating goes out for any length of time. That is to keep in mind as well those things that won’t readily burn the house down at the same time.
Remember entertainment as we know it is a relatively recent thing. For ages, there was nothing like radio, TV or the Internet that could occupy the down time, or relieve stress or give us something to place our minds onto. These are inventions that have come by in the last 90 years and could go away in a moment’s noticed in a doomsday scenario.
What did people do to fill up there time? First of all, there wasn’t a lot of extra time with the daily chores that needed to be done. But if they had any down time, they read…. yes read, books, scriptures, and poems that others around them had and wrote upon. They also wrote, yes, I said wrote. They placed their thoughts down on paper and in journals to be kept and reflected upon later. They thought out what they wanted to say and put it down for others to see.
They also told stories. A great story teller was as good as any TV if they knew how to tell those stories that would keep them in their seats and imaginations connected.
They also practiced their skills to become better at things that they needed and could be considered luxury items. Woodworking, blacksmithing, anything that you could create as a gift to others you care about and care for.
They were occupied in a good endeavor constantly, and idleness was for the drunk and the wanton drifters. They could bring into reality what was in their imaginations and often did.
The average American goes to a store 4.8 times per week. Grocery stores, dollar stores, hardware stores, any type of shopping establishment. Then if you add in the online shopping on top of that and we are over-consuming in a big way.
With goods so readily accessible, for the last couple of generations, we haven’t had to learn to “make do” with what we have. Instead, we just buy whatever we deem “missing” in our lives.
Easy access has killed our creativity and problem-solving skills. We don’t know what it feels like to “go without” or do with what is available and at hand right now. We need to be satisfied that we have what we need for living the good life and that no attaining of material possessions of how cool or easy to use it all is, is worth your peace of mind.
Living within your means is a great skill to cultivate now.
All of these items are fine and dandy to read up on and research on Google. Even bookmarking them for later reference may be the sensible thing to do. However, if you are not putting them into practice; if you are not learning them for yourselves right now all the knowledge in the world will do you no good. If you don’t know how to sew or prepare meals from scratch, or any other item on this list, you certainly won’t know how to do them once you find yourself in need of them in the future.
Practice does not make perfect, it makes it permanent, in your mind, in your muscle memory in your habits and ways of teaching others how to do it too.
Resolve here and now to not be a succubus on the teat of society if the ease of the modern age goes away. Put into place those skills that will get you from fear to confidence when you have to apply them in times of hardship or trial. Develop the arts and the sciences of all of these so that you can pass along the essential items of living to those who come after you that have no connection to the technologies that so easily could be wiped away.
Do so today, you won’t ever feel sorry that you did!