Skills from 100 years ago - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 08:52 PM
 
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Of course I know how to do basic things like those on the OP's list... but I'd love some more book recommendations on self-sufficiency topics I've got some books already but would love to know what other people like the most!

Such as:
Fixing and maintaining everyday things around the house?
First aid and everyday healthcare?
Gardening? Livestock? Food preservation?
Etc...

Even if skills like these never turn out to be important for our survival, it's still fun to learn them and teach them to our kids. My kids love cooking, gardening, animal care, house cleaning, anything practical... they always enjoy learning and doing more.
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#32 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 09:03 PM
 
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Ewwww....didn't expect snarkiness here!

I am really interested in this stuff b/c I agree that basic life skills can get lost. On one hand you could consider us evolving into using new life skills, but I think there is wisdom in knowing how to....

SURVIVE


I'm serious. I am still absolutely shocked that schools don't teach basic survival. A year or so back an 8 year old died of exposure in the woods b/c he got lost running from his parent's vacation condo to his aunt's. He was out one night in the fall. IMO an 8 year old should know how to build a basic shelter, start a fire from scratch, and be able to identify a few common edible plants. They should also know how to identify the 4 directions and how to do basic tracking. So that if you are lost you know if you have repeated directions.

I think in a way we need to honor the continuum and teach kids from the basic of survival all the way through sewing, mending, growing, preparing food etc.

The idea of ppl loosing electricity and being totally thrown off is a bit weird to me. (I understand...but still weird). During that last storm I read about a restaurant who lost $600 of premium meat. Except it is winter and all they had to do was bring it outside. They just let it rot in the fridge and then complained. Or my parents who sat in a freezing house for 3 days when they have a working fireplace (that they burn chemmie logs in at Christmas) and a wooded area behind their home. They could have been roast, toast, toasty drinking wine and enjoying the quiet. When I spoke to them on the 3rd day and suggested lighting a fire she said she never would have thought of it and they didn't feel comfortable doing that anyways. Huh?

So that's the kind of stuff. Our friends work for Primitive Pursuits which is a primitive skill building school for kids. They hunt sometimes with adeladles (sp?) and bow and arrow. I think these are very important skills and the people who know them will be much better off if any kind of natural disaster ever occurs or if we need to change our collective lifestyle b/c of earth changes.
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#33 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 09:06 PM
 
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I love this book. I took it out of the library and poured over it. I'm seriously thinking of buying my own copy -- it would be my BIBLE should the S ever HTF.
It was reissued in 2008...

http://www.amazon.com/Back-Basics-Co...pr_product_top

Ordering me a copy now...

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#34 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 09:08 PM
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I don't think that these are skills that have been lost. I mean, come on, simple mending? Do other people just throw out clothes when they need a button or a hem fixed? Do most people really not know how to cook? I live in a city, and I don't know anyone who doesn't know how to do these things. Maybe it's the crowd I hang around with, but that list sounds like it's aimed at 13 yr olds.
Yeah, I know a lot of people that just toss out clothes when they get a tear. I don't really know very many people that keep "public clothes" and "home clothes". In our home, when our public clothes get torn or too worn to look "presentable" they become "home clothes".
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#35 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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I didn't notice anyone mentioning knitting/crocheting a basic garment. I know lots of people can, but lots of people look at you like you've got three heads if you tell them you KNITTED the outfit your kid was wearing. Also, spinning and weaving. Possibly basic fiber acquisition - how do you shear a sheep/clean the wool if there's no electricity? I actually don't know how to shear in that case... scissors?? I know carding would be doable...

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#36 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 10:24 PM
 
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erm... my dh does the "mending" around here, and the bread making.

We both love to cook, but dh taught me everything I know about the kitchen. I have no idea how to sew a button on. Could I learn? Absolutely! Could I fake it or sew a patch on or something if I had too? Yep.

I was raised learning to break a horse, care for animals, fix a car. I can play the piano, guitar, flute etc. but no "housewifely" arts were passed down to me.

So yes, there are some people who don't know how to sew or cook, but we aren't all consumerist nuts. s

*hear the amused tone, no snark intended*

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#37 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 10:45 PM
 
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I think gardening in the winter should be included in this list. It's possible in most of the Continental US. Read Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman. Also, how to save seeds, care for fruit trees, compost, vermiculture and the like. Those can produce major boosts to your yield. And seed saving can be critical if a crop fails or there's other major problems. And how to store foods for long-term storage- can, dry, lacto-ferment, root cellar, salt cure, etc... A huge garden isn't any good if it goes to waste.

Knowledge of how to treat without pharmaceuticals is another biggie. Homeopathy, essential oils, herbs, medicinal foods, etc...

Most women know how to cook, but not cook from scratch completely. Do you know how to make ketchup? Mayo? Bake bread? Make flatbread? Biscuits? Can you conjure up a meal out of next to nothing?

Livestock- how to birth, raise, feed, protect, milk, get eggs, slaughter.

Knit, sew, crochet, repair, darn.

Also, I feel like Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living is better than the Back to Basics book.

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#38 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 11:02 PM
 
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Most women know how to cook, but not cook from scratch completely. Do you know how to make ketchup?
Had to interject. Sharon Astyk had this link on her blog a couple weeks ago.

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~mjw/recipes/s...-ketchups.html
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#39 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 11:16 PM
 
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I don't eat ketchup LOL

I can't do any woodworking. I can't skin an animal. However, I can do things like sew, bake, care for children, etc. which I could hope to barter services for the things I don't know how to do.
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#40 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 11:16 PM
 
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I agree with Flower. we had a snow storm in dec and some people were without power for weeks. I worked with one and I said something about going food shopping. She said "I can't go stock up on that item, because my power might go out and I would have to throw out all the fd". I gave her a blank look and said "why, just put it in a cooler outside".


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#41 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 11:47 PM
 
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How to do simple woodworking/wood repair, and car repair.
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#42 of 126 Old 02-19-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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Make friends with people who can do the things you can't do. Very few people are so self sufficient that they can do everything by themselves. But if you have a good group of friends, each couple can develop some of the skills that the group needs. And own some of the equipment. If you have a good 4-5 family group each family can concentrate on becoming experts on different things. Clothing, fruits/veggies, meat, repairs, etc. You don't have to know how to do everything yourself.
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#43 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 12:40 AM
 
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One of my great-grandmothers made her own butter, slaughtered their chickens, cooked huge meals daily, and birthed at least ten children that I know of while her husband was away at sea for most of the year. They lived in a port city in a warm climate, so they didn't have to preserve much food -- there was always something arriving in the marketplace.

I'm checking around with relatives, but I believe this is also the same great-grandmother who made her own fine lace in her free time so she wouldn't have to do without. I'm impressed that she had free time.


Good thread. It reminds me that I have mending to do this evening!

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#44 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 12:47 AM
 
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Back to Basics by readers Digest is an awesome book to have if you can find it.
I agree with this recommendation.
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#45 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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erm... my dh does the "mending" around here, and the bread making.

We both love to cook, but dh taught me everything I know about the kitchen. I have no idea how to sew a button on. Could I learn? Absolutely! Could I fake it or sew a patch on or something if I had too? Yep.

I was raised learning to break a horse, care for animals, fix a car. I can play the piano, guitar, flute etc. but no "housewifely" arts were passed down to me.

So yes, there are some people who don't know how to sew or cook, but we aren't all consumerist nuts. s

*hear the amused tone, no snark intended*
I was exactly the same way. I've only learned to cook non-instant foods in the past year or so, and I faked my way into sewing by reading patterns and sewing machine user manuals.

I agree with the PP who talked about basic survival and tracking. Maybe these skills aren't completely lost, but MANY people don't have them any more and aren't passing them on to their children because they don't see them as important.

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#46 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 01:58 PM
 
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Make friends with people who can do the things you can't do. Very few people are so self sufficient that they can do everything by themselves. But if you have a good group of friends, each couple can develop some of the skills that the group needs. And own some of the equipment. If you have a good 4-5 family group each family can concentrate on becoming experts on different things. Clothing, fruits/veggies, meat, repairs, etc. You don't have to know how to do everything yourself.
Yeah, I agree. I'd like to point out that even 100 years ago, people didn't know how to do EVERYTHING. Some people had specialized skills that other's didn't have - that's how economy's get started in the first place! People barter, trade, or sell their skills or the things they produce from their skills.
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#47 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 02:17 PM
 
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I didn't notice anyone mentioning knitting/crocheting a basic garment. I know lots of people can, but lots of people look at you like you've got three heads if you tell them you KNITTED the outfit your kid was wearing. Also, spinning and weaving. Possibly basic fiber acquisition - how do you shear a sheep/clean the wool if there's no electricity? I actually don't know how to shear in that case... scissors?? I know carding would be doable...
I know how to knit and have knit clothes in the past. However, I hate to knit and don't do it now. Does this mean that knitting is becoming a lost skill?
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#48 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 02:20 PM
 
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Most women know how to cook, but not cook from scratch completely. Do you know how to make ketchup? Mayo? Bake bread? Make flatbread? Biscuits? Can you conjure up a meal out of next to nothing?
Good scratch cooks rarely need to fall back on ketchup when there are so many other better sauces that can be easily made. Outside the US there is not such a dependence on ketchup that it would be considered a necessity.
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#49 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 02:44 PM
 
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Ewwww....didn't expect snarkiness here!

I am really interested in this stuff b/c I agree that basic life skills can get lost. On one hand you could consider us evolving into using new life skills, but I think there is wisdom in knowing how to....

SURVIVE


I'm serious. I am still absolutely shocked that schools don't teach basic survival. A year or so back an 8 year old died of exposure in the woods b/c he got lost running from his parent's vacation condo to his aunt's. He was out one night in the fall. IMO an 8 year old should know how to build a basic shelter, start a fire from scratch, and be able to identify a few common edible plants. They should also know how to identify the 4 directions and how to do basic tracking. So that if you are lost you know if you have repeated directions.

I think in a way we need to honor the continuum and teach kids from the basic of survival all the way through sewing, mending, growing, preparing food etc.

The idea of ppl loosing electricity and being totally thrown off is a bit weird to me. (I understand...but still weird). During that last storm I read about a restaurant who lost $600 of premium meat. Except it is winter and all they had to do was bring it outside. They just let it rot in the fridge and then complained. Or my parents who sat in a freezing house for 3 days when they have a working fireplace (that they burn chemmie logs in at Christmas) and a wooded area behind their home. They could have been roast, toast, toasty drinking wine and enjoying the quiet. When I spoke to them on the 3rd day and suggested lighting a fire she said she never would have thought of it and they didn't feel comfortable doing that anyways. Huh?

So that's the kind of stuff. Our friends work for Primitive Pursuits which is a primitive skill building school for kids. They hunt sometimes with adeladles (sp?) and bow and arrow. I think these are very important skills and the people who know them will be much better off if any kind of natural disaster ever occurs or if we need to change our collective lifestyle b/c of earth changes.

YES YES YES YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
it just kills me that all most kids know how to do anymore is sit in front of the tube and complain if they have to lift a finger.
i live in a small town where most people still have wood stoves and a large garden, but most kids around here dont know how to function if they arent in front of some type of screen.
my 11 year old is very capable of starting a fire, finding food, hunting with a basic bow and arrow he can make himself, finding water and purifying it.
and to show you how out of touch most people are, we had a neighbor call the police on us because my oldest son (11) has a pocketknife :

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#50 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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Good scratch cooks rarely need to fall back on ketchup when there are so many other better sauces that can be easily made. Outside the US there is not such a dependence on ketchup that it would be considered a necessity.
In the US it isn't a necessity either, but lots of Western European countries LOVE (curry) ketchup. My husband has to have it in the fridge.
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#51 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good scratch cooks rarely need to fall back on ketchup when there are so many other better sauces that can be easily made. Outside the US there is not such a dependence on ketchup that it would be considered a necessity.
Sometimes you want ketchup. Even good scratch cooks might want ketchup at some point.

Back on topic, I think maybe you should at least know how to make most of what you use regularly. Whether you regularly use it from a can or from scratch, have a scratch recipe for everything you don't think you can live without.

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#52 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 03:25 PM
 
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I don't think that these are skills that have been lost. I mean, come on, simple mending? Do other people just throw out clothes when they need a button or a hem fixed? Do most people really not know how to cook? I live in a city, and I don't know anyone who doesn't know how to do these things. Maybe it's the crowd I hang around with, but that list sounds like it's aimed at 13 yr olds.
Uh, I do know someone that throws clothes away by the bagful instead of washing them. I kid you not. There are people out there that have no clue on how to sew a button on. They probably taking it to the cleaners and have the alterations person do it.

Hmm....so if you have the sewing skill then you are set! You can offer your sewing services.

Then again it will come in handy if someone needs stitches.

Just kidding!

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#53 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 03:48 PM
 
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Sometimes you want ketchup. Even good scratch cooks might want ketchup at some point.

Back on topic, I think maybe you should at least know how to make most of what you use regularly. Whether you regularly use it from a can or from scratch, have a scratch recipe for everything you don't think you can live without.
Heh, why is a recipe even necessary? Just throw some stuff together and see what happens? If you are really hungry, the taste won't particularly matter anyway. :
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#54 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 03:50 PM
 
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Heh, why is a recipe even necessary? Just throw some stuff together and see what happens? If you are really hungry, the taste won't particularly matter anyway. :
Good point. When necessity hits, there is no such thing as a particular food item that you can't do without as long as there is other food.
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#55 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 03:57 PM
 
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I don't think that these are skills that have been lost. I mean, come on, simple mending? Do other people just throw out clothes when they need a button or a hem fixed? Do most people really not know how to cook? I live in a city, and I don't know anyone who doesn't know how to do these things. Maybe it's the crowd I hang around with, but that list sounds like it's aimed at 13 yr olds.
No, I know plenty of adults who can't do those things. I've taught more than a few friends how to bake bread and been hired by several friends/neighbors (even my aunt) to do simple mending for them.

I agree, the list SHOULD be aimed at middle school kids...but unfortunately it does apply to MANY adults.

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#56 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No, I know plenty of adults who can't do those things. I've taught more than a few friends how to bake bread and been hired by several friends/neighbors (even my aunt) to do simple mending for them.

I agree, the list SHOULD be aimed at middle school kids...but unfortunately it does apply to MANY adults.
Yup. I taught a bunch of ladies at our synagogue to knit and read a dress pattern at a service day. Lots of women in my mother's generation had never picked up a needle and thread and were grateful to learn.

A lot of these same women are amazed at how simple it is to whip up a from-scratch tomato sauce. They've never even considered doing it before.

I think everyone should also find something they're REALLY good at doing, and keep working on it. My DH calls it my "Dungeons & Dragons"* idea , that everyone should spend "skill points" (time and effort) on developing a marketable skill in a post-consumerist society (because I feel like I need a disclaimer, I don't think we'll be there, but it's a good thing to know your strengths). Some people are great storytellers, musicians, bakers, cooks, farmers, handypeople, woodspeople, writers, negotiators, builders, crafters, etc. Find something you're good at, keep working on it, and let it be known you're good at it - if nothing else, it helps your confidence.


*excuse the geekiness of making a D&D reference in real life.

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#57 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 04:21 PM
 
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Yup. I taught a bunch of ladies at our synagogue to knit and read a dress pattern at a service day. Lots of women in my mother's generation had never picked up a needle and thread and were grateful to learn.

A lot of these same women are amazed at how simple it is to whip up a from-scratch tomato sauce. They've never even considered doing it before.

I think everyone should also find something they're REALLY good at doing, and keep working on it. My DH calls it my "Dungeons & Dragons"* idea , that everyone should spend "skill points" (time and effort) on developing a marketable skill in a post-consumerist society (because I feel like I need a disclaimer, I don't think we'll be there, but it's a good thing to know your strengths). Some people are great storytellers, musicians, bakers, cooks, farmers, handypeople, woodspeople, writers, negotiators, builders, crafters, etc. Find something you're good at, keep working on it, and let it be known you're good at it - if nothing else, it helps your confidence.


*excuse the geekiness of making a D&D reference in real life.
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#58 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#59 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 04:47 PM
 
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Mama to 10 so far:Mother of Joey (23), Dominick (15), Abigail (13), Angelo (10), Mylee (8), Delainey (6), Colton (4), ID girls Dahniella and Nicolette (2 in July), and Baby 10 coming sometime in July 2015.
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  If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!
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#60 of 126 Old 02-20-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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Sometimes I think I'm the last person on earth who knows how to darn a sock. Or darn anything. I know plenty of people who can sew on a patch or hem something or sew on a button, but darning is definitely a lost art.

me knit.gif, he bikenew.gif, my three reading.gif, sleepytime.gif, and fairy.gif-- and the one we lost angel2.gif
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