Skills, skills, skills

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Saffron's picture
Saffron
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Skills, skills, skills

We woke to no hot water today so I decided to wake the teens so they'd acquire a skill they wouldn't otherwise get (thought the hot water heater would just need relighting, but unfortunately it needs replacing.) Dh is one of those who can fix just about anything and often just gets to it without thinking of passing on his handy skills, but I'm acutely aware that though we (he and I) will likely see the effects of peak oil, the kids are really the ones who will need to live their entire grown up lives through it. 

I'm compiling my own list of skills I want to acquire this year, some of which have been mentioned elsewhere, like canning, breadmaking, solar cooking. The broken water heater got me thinking of regular home repair skills that might be necessary and handy, and I'm thinking we could have a once a month (or week, as the case may be) skill-acquiring day. Would love to hear your input on skills you find:

a) necessary for self

b) good to have for barter

They don't need to be specific to home repair, actually. I'm really looking to make sure that we all (and not just dh ;) have barter-able skills if it ever comes to that.

horstfam's picture
horstfam
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Re: Woodworking sans electricity

This guy is one of the best out there for "all natural" woodworking. He shows you step-by-step how to make (and thus repair) all kinds of things. He has even done episodes on steam power (fascinating what our past, er, future, holds).

There are something like three seasons worth of episodes available to watch for free (of 29 seasons completed!). His books (7?) are good references, too.

http://www.pbs.org/woodwrightsshop/

 

On Our Own's picture
On Our Own
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Re: Skills, skills, skills

People really need to learn to grow their own food.

It is both easier and more complex than many realize and too few americans know how to grow more than  a basic tomato garden.

Then you need to know how to preserve and store that food for the winter months.  Food could be the real currency for pretty much anything else.

Aaron M's picture
Aaron M
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Posts: 2373
Re: Skills, skills, skills

Saffron,

I think ideally we should all be able to fix any problem that occurs within a home or around a farm.
- Fit and fasten pipe
- Troubleshoot issues with domestic machinery (Appliances)
- Replace the seal on a Toilet
- Fix cabinets and doors
- Build a fence
- Know where your sewage lines are so you can dig them up and fix them if a break occurs
- Know how to purify water
- Maintain Vehicles

There are so many more that are necessary, but anyone should be able to do some of these things.
Being able to maintain a home is going to be critically important.
This could truly be a "never-ending" list.

Cheers!

Aaron

Ready's picture
Ready
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Posts: 917
Re: Skills, skills, skills

Here's my "bible" for skills that will be impossibile to learn all at once, but wil generally be needed at some point in life:

Encyclopedia of Country Living

Quote:

This definitive classic on food, gardening, and self-sufficient living is a complete resource for living off the land with over 800 pages of collected wisdom from country maven, Carla Emery--how to cultivate a garden, buy land, bake bread, raise farm animals, make sausage, milk a goat, grow herbs, churn butter, catch a pig, make soap, work with bees and more.

Conservation, be it land, water, energy. livestock, wild game, etc. are all importnat skills too.

Being able to produce your own energy from wood, steam, solar, wind, etc. also very important.

Advanced first aid

 

Tycer's picture
Tycer
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Joined: Apr 26 2009
Posts: 617
Re: Skills, skills, skills

Shaving.

Those cute little Venus razors won't be so easy to come by.

I've bought and learned to hone, strop and use straight razors. I plan on stocking up on a certain brand and style. Perhaps there will be a market for a smooth face and non-hirsute legs in the future.

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Re: Skills, skills, skills

Please find and befriend a depression era farmer. They're gettin' more rare.

 

robie

JAG's picture
JAG
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Re: Skills, skills, skills
robie robinson wrote:

Please find and befriend a depression era farmer. They're gettin' more rare.

Dr. Robinson,

Any chance that you could summarize and share what you have learned from the depression era farmers that you have befriended? They are a extinct species in my neck of the woods.

Thank you sir....Jeff

Gungnir's picture
Gungnir
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Re: Skills, skills, skills

Depending on how bad things get, here's a skill that pretty much everyone will need to know

Cooking on a wood stove, or fire.

Not as simple as you'd think. Sure we can all slap a New York strip on the barbecue, How about bread?

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Re: Skills, skills, skills

Jag,

I appolgize for being both a poor and reluctant typist. I've 3 such farmers whose land joins mine. I enjoyed,rather endured, being raised at the hands of my mothers parents. Tha last passed 11/09 at 99 yrs and married in '29.

Land will grow  naturally that for which it is most suited. Nature takes a nudge better than a shove.

A good milk cow is all a family needs provided sufficient land and patience. It will provide milk, meat,fertilizer, and much time for meditation.

Fruit trees of an heirloom variety which although ugly produce with little or no chemical dependency are almost a neccessity. It takes YEARS to get to a productive stage.

oops, read Gene Logsdon, Charles Walters and Wendell Berry for poetic meditation during milkin'

Robie, all Acres USA books, a favorite being "All Flesh Is Grass"

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
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Posts: 1258
Re: Skills, skills, skills

 

Butcher , Baker, and candlestick maker . Tanning hides ,  Leather working ,  and sewing .  List could go on and on . Many things that are not taught in public schools anymore .   We will just need to find a skill  that the people can't or won't learn for themselves.     Somewhat concerned  about the fact that we make so little here in the USA !   I am storing up sheets and towels  because I figure it will some time before they would get factories up and running to make these  or the tax they could put on them .   And what about diapers !  

Great_White_Mudshark's picture
Great_White_Mudshark
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Posts: 10
Re: Skills, skills, skills

Today's vehicles require highly trained technicians equipped with specialized tools and armed with the latest diagnostic computers & software to keep them functioning. Parts are rarely repaired and entire assemblies are replaced if one component is bad (all in the name of efficiency). Even a trained technician is going to have difficulty without having all of this support. If the SHTF then most people will have to simplify. Bicycles, scooters etc will all make a lot of sense. In parts of Asia they use 2 wheeled tractors made by BCS to do all their chores in the field then hook it up to a wagon &  drive everyone into town when needed. http://www.bcs-america.com/

Nothing fancy, just very versatile & simple. The young lads cruising main street on Friday night will have to work a little harder to meet the ladies if they are driving one of these. Hey, some nice chrome rims & who knows....Laughing

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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Re: Skills, skills, skills

FWIW:

The 200 Artisan Skills Required to Make a Victorian (Era) Town Functional:

http://transitionculture.org/2009/01/22/the-200-artisan-skills-required-...

 

Viva -- Sager

ao's picture
ao
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Posts: 2220
Re: Skills, skills, skills
Gungnir wrote:

Not as simple as you'd think. Sure we can all slap a New York strip on the barbecue, How about bread?

Real cavemen don't eat bread.

SagerXX's picture
SagerXX
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Posts: 2252
Re: Skills, skills, skills
ao wrote:
Gungnir wrote:

Not as simple as you'd think. Sure we can all slap a New York strip on the barbecue, How about bread?

Real cavemen don't eat bread.

Who said anything about eating it?  We'll let it dry out and harden, and then use it in our slingshot to stun squirrels and other small game.  Laughing

Gungnir's picture
Gungnir
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Posts: 643
Re: Skills, skills, skills

Bait... Wink

Tycer's picture
Tycer
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Posts: 617
Re: Skills, skills, skills

refrigeration/ice manufacture

Hydraulic ram pump manufacture

Steam boilers for mechanical steam production

Small scale electric production

converting small engines to alcohol and alcohol production

 

Saffron's picture
Saffron
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 29 2009
Posts: 250
Re: Skills, skills, skills

I'm embarrassed to realize I never thanked everyone here for all the responses. Life got real busy there for awhile ... but I've used your suggestions to make lists of skills and now need to not panic over how little we actually know and just make a deliberate attempt to learn what we can.

I'm hoping to create some sort of gathering - a self-sufficiency fair maybe - to bring together those who can teach skills and those who want to learn. I have a location - a local open area preserve ranger is very open to my ideas and we have already started a chicken coop with a small group of families, and goats are coming soon. It works in this space because the area used to be a working ranch, so in a way we are restoring some of its original purpose. 

What's hard is actually finding those with skills to learn from. I probably need to just talk more with older folks - two retired beekeepers who've become my mentors have a wealth of experience and not just in beekeeping. I'm reminded of the book Two Old Women by Velma Wallis, based on a legend about two women who were abandoned during a brutal winter famine. I won't give it away, but it's a good read, especially for now.

Anyway, thanks again. And if you've got ideas for finding mentors and teachers in the various skills we've discussed here, please pass them on. Many of us aren't as lucky as Robie to have depression era farmers nearby. Heck, we don't even have farms nearby.

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