First and foremost, this isn’t at all a hit piece on technology. Working better, faster and more efficiently is the goal of every Sub-Urbian Farmer. Rather all that we have lost or become out-of-practice is what we want to highlight and bring back to the consciousness of all those around us.

We can download an app in a jiffy, edit videos on our phones and play music (the type we want to listen to) nearly commercial free without a radio receiver anywhere in sight. As we have gone the way of convenience, we have lost sight of skills, however small, that are essential to living. Not only that of luxury but one of necessity if access to the technology was suddenly no longer an option.


No one ever said baking a cake from scratch was a “piece of cake” because box mixes didn’t exist back in the day. Our great-grandparents learned how to cook from a young age mixing ingredients from their mom’s or grandma’s recipe book since there was little frozen or ready-made food available (Swanson dinners didn’t come along until the 1950’s). Recipes were passed down from generation to generation and how to put that meal together has now nearly been lost to the ages.


Many of the millennial generation don’t even know what a couple of those words in the title actually mean! Back in the day, when someone had a hole in their pants, or socks what did they do? The idea to throw the whole of the garment away because of one hole was preposterous. I remember my mother putting patches on the knees of those favorite Wranglers that had finally worn thin. Your Grannie would get the trusty sewing kit out and darn (yes that is the proper word usage) up that hole in a quickie.


Besides handwriting and penmanship, probably the one life skill that has been lost because of technology is reading and navigating with real life maps. Yes, at one point, people bought and kept maps for all different purposes, imagine that? And the universal symbols that told you what was where on that map was key to getting the full use out of where you were going and what you could be doing there. Now, with Google Maps no one has even unfolded a map for some time.


Growing your own food and canning the stuff you can’t eat right away (or get at certain times of the year) was a huge money saver. You could plan for that rainy-day and when or if that came you had no worries about what you could be eating at that time of need. You had it on hand. The experience with the ups and downs of economic turns made this an ongoing necessity. Though in recent years with our struggling economy canning has seen a bit of a comeback, (along with the freeze drying options) it’s not as common as it once was.


Some of those in elementary schools are not even learning how to read cursive handwriting, let alone write it. Our Great-Grandparents were taught to learn cursive with handwriting tests and grades on those tests. Heck, some were even EMPLOYED for their penmanship as official document and contract makers. Yes, it was an actual occupation! The results of this so long ago resulted in the knowledge of how to write as well as the English language as one could – And gave us some wonderfully versed letters, poems, and songs.


I for the life of me, don’t know the phone numbers of my kids. All I have been doing is bringing up their names in my contact finder on the trusty Lil’ Phone and clicking that to talk with them. If I, (and I suspect this is the same for all of us) were to lose that phone and contact list, I would not know their number from any other out there. Knowing those numbers, even 30 years ago would have been a life or death situation many times over. A Rolodex was clunky to carry around (and if you need to know what a Rolodex is, just email me).


One thing that has been lost with the rising generations is the art of human interactions, expected and proper behaviors for the given circumstances and the correct manners that are required with that situation they find themselves. It goes beyond when to say please and thank you. Or even which fork to use at a fancy dinner. The lost ability to recognize the right reaction and action to take with those they love or like to be around as well as with perfect strangers is something that is going to bite communities in the hind-quarters sooner than later.

Now all these are first world problems for sure, however, when you come down to it, it is the times and places we live in and need to work with. I could have gone on and on (and probably will have a few more of these type of articles in the future) with many more examples of how we have relaxed our society to the point of detrimental effects on all within it.

We at ThatAquaponcsGuy encourage all sorts of those life-giving and enlightening practices wherever we can find them! I think we all could use these gems from our Nana’s and Pop-pops in our lives today.