Thursday, July 5, 2007

Skills we may need

A very long thread on the Dollar Stretcher Community brought out the fact that so many don't feel the need to learn skills that will stand them in good stead, should we, individually or collectively, face a severe economic downturn.

Not everyone thinks that anything like that is in our future so it isn't suprising that they don't think it's important to be prepared, but life changes for us all and it's not always for the better. Those who have only known a time of prosperity are at a disadvantage compared to those who have lived through personal or general bad times... but there I go, opinionizing again.

Some of the skills I can think of that can help ease a bad situtation:

  • Know what weeds and flowers are edible for your area.
  • Know what plants in your area can be used medicinally and/or have a well stocked medicine cabinet.
  • Be able to wash and dry clothes without electricity.
  • Know how or have the means to purify water.
  • Have some basic skills in cooking without a gas or electric stove.
  • Know how to make things like soap, candles and blankets/quilts without having to buy anything for them.
  • Have some sewing and mending skills.
  • Own nonelectric appliances and tools.

There are more, but that's something to start with.


  1. Just before I read this I shortened 3 pair of Hubbys pants, and hand patched another peir that had a welding hole in them. Then had breakfast of a poached egg on (leftover from last nights supper) lambs quarters!

    I know that this isn't common anymore. My daughters both know how to hem items and mend, but I don't think either of them do. And one for sure doesn't even use a sewing machine . not because they don't know how, but because they just toss and buy new.

    I still change things and reuse them. This year one of the main things was changing some of my pants into capris. I love wearing them and the price was right! The time was minimal, just cutting them and hand hemming them while I was watching tv.

    Even just being able to tide yourself over durring a period of job loss, or unexpected expenses would help. Last week we had a wind storm. Lost the green house and picked up pieces 3 acerages away from us. But that was all our losses. Power was out for 23 hours or so, and not phone for a week. But we make out just fine. Cooked on the BBQ, and we didn't miss anything, compressor kept us in water ( we have our own well,) and a little light and the fridge and freezer going. I enjoyed the piece and quiet! LOL

    Good topic, Pat I still try and imagine what I would do with the senerios you gave us while you were writing for Frugal living on About.

  2. I feel just a little bit better about the situation every time someone comes along and says "I do that!"

    I just got through "weeding" the beans of purslane - got enough to put up a few meals' worth for next winter. It's so good with a pot of beans when it's cold outside.

    My daughters and daughter in law is like yours. I'm sure they know how to mend and hem, but they don't often, if ever, do it.

    It bothers me to think that all of those skills may be pretty much lost when our generation is gone.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Pat,
    What you say is so true!

    I have been digging into my family's history this last month and found out that my grandmother's family lived on nothing but onions and the land back in the 1930's.

    I always jokingly called my abilities to use common household ingredients for healing as "West Texas Medicine", yet I am finding that these skills are an art form.

    Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era and should have been a pioneer woman. At least my family has passed down these tips from one generation to the next.

    Take care,

    P.S. I just put my formula for simple degreaser on my Frugal Mom site. Then I clicked over to your website and read almost the same thing. Great minds think alike!

  4. From one great mind to another, Terre, I feel like I was born in the wrong era, too. :)

    While living on onions doesn't sound like fun, it's amazing how resilient the human body can be.

  5. I think the world is going to change a lot in the future, especially due to peak oil (we have no idea how much our entire lifestyle depends on cheap oil -- it's not just the cars). I am trying to prepare in small ways. I have learned to knit, I have bought an old sewing machine and I am learning to sew better, I have learned to make jam and am starting to learn some other kinds of canning. I also want to own "lower-tech" tools. I bought an old-fashioned egg beater, for example. I bought some books about soap making but have not actually tried it yet.

  6. I believe the world is going to change a lot, too. I can only hope and pray that the changes we make now will be the ones we need in the future. You sound like you're well on your way to being ready.