30 Pioneer Skills We Cannot Lose

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There are 30 pioneer skills we cannot lose at the very minimum I want to address today. Here’s the deal, I grew up sewing my own clothes, making bread, canning food, and gardening. Now, some of these skills we may perform every day, once a week or some we have never done and we don’t want to do them.

I understand, I totally do. I’m left-handed and I’ll tell you, I have always wanted to knit or crochet and I could never understand how to do it because I was always being taught by a right-handed person. If I have a special baby I know that is being born I have my friend Kathleen make a pair of knitted or crocheted booties. Oh my gosh, when I go to her house she’s always knitting or crocheting something.

She made a hat she knitted for me by measuring my head and it’s my favorite because SHE made it for me. I have a blogging friend that I purchased some crocheted hand warmers from, I treasure them because Janet Garmen made them.

She spins the soft wool and these keep me warm every winter. Timber Creek Farms I love how she designs them. I hesitate to say she has a homestead because to me she has a HUGE farm with every animal known to man.

I’ve yet to figure out the difference between a homestead and the old-fashioned word FARM. Hence, her blog is called, Timber Creek Farms. There we have it.

When I was younger, my mother always wanted my great-grandmother’s spinning wheel. After my grandmother died, my mom received the spinning wheel she had always wanted. Now, keep in mind none of us knew how to spin wool, but we would visualize doing it.

It’s called making wishes into dreams. Well, the dream never came to fruition, but when my mom died I asked for the spinning wheel. It’s quite large to put on display in my small home, but I am waiting for some inspiration on how to frame it so I can put this special family treasure on display.

As I remember, years and years ago, there was one restaurant drive-thru with some girls on roller skates carrying trays filled with hamburgers, fries, and drinks level with their shoulders to each car in the parking stalls.

We still have some of those today, maybe not with roller skates, but it was a big deal back in the day. Could this be when people started doing the drive-thru dinners? I don’t know.

What I do know is the fact that we are becoming an overweight country from eating unhealthy food from drive-thrus, restaurants, and cafes that add possibly way too much butter (trust me I love butter) and salt. Why do the food outlets do this? It’s quite simple, it makes the food taste better, not to me, but to some people.

I think this is why Mark and I seem to get an upset stomach eating out because we only eat out once a month, if that, and the food is too rich.

I don’t know if you remember when I told you this, but when I used to work crazy hours I would pick up “take out” on my way home and eat at 10:00 P.M.

Well, I started putting on weight with the food I picked up. It was delicious but packed with lots of yummy butter and salt, probably more than I care to know about. I had awesome neighbors who would bring some homemade meals occasionally, they were gold to me.

Nothing is better than homemade dinners! Mark and I would rather eat at home and just relax in the comfort of our home. When I decided to semi-retire, I said: “I never want to stand in line or wait for any meals ever again.” I have followed this statement for over 8 years now. We live about ten miles from town, and there isn’t one place I would rather eat than at my home.

Pioneer Skills

  1. Baking: I realize baking overlaps into cooking, but there is something about the feel of bread dough in your hands. Or, grab a bowl and cream the butter with sugar using a wooden spoon or a Danish whisk. Then add the remainder of the ingredients. Then having the kids use two spoons to drop by teaspoonfuls on the greased cookie sheets. I feel like making some pumpkin cookies right now. My friend, Melissa Richardson taught me how to use this: Danish Dough Hand Whisk / Mixer 11″ I prefer the 11″ inch size because it fits inside a wide mouth quart jar and it’s easier for my hands to mix up cookies, brownies or muffins.
  2. Bartering: Bartering is great after emergencies or to trade teaching skills to one another. Store coffee and liquor because people will really want or need those items. I traded a few bread-making classes I taught for a brand new red KitchenAid stand mixer.
  3. Beekeeping: I follow a friend over in Colorado via FaceBook and watch her progress through the different steps of beekeeping.
  4. Blacksmithing: I love going to places that know how to do this, but I do not have horses, but I love watching this skill.
  5. Bread making: As you know I love making bread, any kind of bread. Please remember to use fresh bread flour and fresh SAF Instant yeast and your bread will never fail. I remember one blogger sent me a rather mean email accusing me of never having made my one-hour French bread because hers did not rise. Well, guess what, I got over 20 emails telling me the recipe was the best recipe they had ever tried. That same recipe was used when my girls sold door to door when they were younger to earn a little extra money. I do believe if it’s overcast my bread will not rise, old wives tale or not, I don’t know. I never make bread when it’s overcast. My bread always turns out. Now, not all the loaves are perfectly shaped, but the taste is awesome.
  6. Building: Mark and my family have built out basements in so many houses, we have lost count. I am now going to have one of my sons-in-law build me two 3 bed bunk beds. Yay, we can then sleep six in the grandkids room!
  7. Canning food: I’m so glad Mark and I took the Master Preserver Canning class here at the Utah State University extension service education center. I knew some of the articles I was reading on some websites were dead wrong. They told of canning some foods that I knew could not be safely canned. Yes, people will argue about it, but as one registered nurse said: “I hope they make it out of the ICU alive to tell about it.”
  8. Cooking: I wrote this one because I feel like we need to bring back cooking from scratch. You know by grabbing something from the pantry and/or refrigerator and throwing dinner together quickly, and more healthy.
  9. Cooking outside: If you have charcoal, matches, tinder and a Dutch oven, you are ready to boil water and cook outside.
  10. Dehydrating food: I love dehydrating food, although it doesn’t have a long shelf life like commercially processed foods.
  11. Family meals together: I think eating meals together as a family is something that people are not doing as much anymore. Is life too busy, or are there too many lessons on the calendar? I don’t know.
  12. First aid and medical care: I have neighbors on my street that call when they need a bandaid, cold medicine or Benadryl. Life is good if you have a good first aid kit if the pharmacies all shut down for days, weeks or months. It’s the prepper in me, always be prepared.
  13. Fishing: Mark goes fishing about once or twice a month with one of his best friends who owns a fishing boat. What joy fishing brings to both of them. I know we could eat as long as there are still fish in the lakes near us, and there are a lot of them. We are blessed with a lot of water where we live. How long the water will be here is a good question. Right now they do “catch and release,” but we could have them start bringing the fish home if the need arises.
  14. Gardening: I wish more people would garden, there’s something really awesome about digging with your hands in the dirt, then watching the seeds sprout and picking the fresh fruits and garden veggies. Life is good!
  15. Grinding wheat: I’m all over this. You can put “wheat grinder” in my search bar and I show you several ways you can grind wheat.
  16. Growing fruit trees: this is something we used to do, but our lot is so small. I’m hoping to trade or barter homemade bread for a small box of fresh fruit when our friends’ trees start to produce. Yay!
  17. Healing our bodies: I am big into this, but I do have Dr. Alton’s book: The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way I love essential oils, but that’s about all I can say or the FDA may shut down my website, enough said.
  18. Hunting: oh my gosh, my nephew Collin is a hunting hero of mine, and they eat the meat they shoot. I still can’t believe that we once cut up the dead deer spread out on my kitchen table that Mark shot the first year we were married. I get the giggles thinking of it.
  19. Knitting: As I said above, this is an awesome skill, just think about how we could use this with yarn that goes on sale. Or better yet, we can buy the soft awesome yarn from Janet’s Timber Creek Farm above.
  20. Know your neighbors: I know I have talked about getting to know your neighbors. That guy down the street with a chainsaw may be your next best friend. Get together and make teams with people near you and exchange your skills and ideas. Trust me, we will need those people living near us after a disaster or unforeseen emergency.
  21. Manners: I love hearing children say please and thank you. It’s hard when I see kids screaming back at their parents at the stores I frequent. It doesn’t happen often, but we do need to teach children to respect grown-ups, other people’s furniture, and school property.
  22. Quilting: Do you remember your grandmothers using every scrap of fabric and hand piecing them together?
  23. Raising animals: the only animals we can have where I live are two pets. I couldn’t kill a chicken or goat to eat it anyway, but I have wonderful friends that have the skill and knowledge to do this.
  24. Repurposing old clothes: I love some of my grandkids, they buy clothes from the thrift stores and cut them down by sewing them to fit family members, if necessary.
  25. Saving garden seeds: I’ve personally never done this, but I know people who do as long as they are not Monsanto GMO seeds.
  26. Sewing: this proud grandma loves hearing when her grandkids are learning to sew, woohoo! If you can take lessons from someone on how to sew, do it. My hands aren’t that great anymore, but I used to love sewing. I could sew anything, with or without a pattern. I realize it is not relaxing for some people, but it is to me. Having the right sewing machine makes all the difference. I learned on a Singer, then BabyLock, and when my mom died I used some inheritance money to purchase a Bernina sewing machine I have always wanted. Be sure and keep all your sewing machines, cleaned and oiled. Don’t forget to use good needles and thread, it makes all the difference in the world.
  27. Sharing: I love sharing my talent for making bread with people. I love to share my time to show people how to organize just about everything in their homes, or garages. Sharing meals with the sick or elderly brings everyone joy and blessings.
  28. Stonework: This is a great skill because we never know when we may have to do some stonework, inside our homes or outside.
  29. Water gathering and storage: Luckily today we don’t have to haul water, but we do need to store water for emergencies. I wrote about storing water a few days ago. Please don’t stand in line waiting for water bottles from your city if the water becomes contaminated. Not fun.
  30. Welding: this is an awesome talent and my son-in-law uses this skill to this day! AND it will come in handy when we construct the strong sturdy new bunk beds.
  31. Comment from Bryce:  Two other skills I think you should mention are sharpening a knife for the job at hand and rope skills, whether or not it is a simple splice or a knot that is easy to untie after it is used.
  32. Comment from JB: Weaving!! I love her reminder.

Final Word

May you think of your own family pioneer skills that you can bring back to life, and maybe you can teach some pioneer skills to your neighbors, family, and friends. May God bless you to continue to be prepared for the unexpected.

Vintage skills: Food Storage Moms

FEMA Website

My Favorite Things:

24 thoughts on “30 Pioneer Skills We Cannot Lose

  • March 24, 2019 at 7:36 am

    May I include to your list Soap making, weaving, basket making. Also knowing how to make things with no electricity. Manual tools, If the electricity is out there is so much you can do without having to have electricity. How to start a fire outside. Cooking on an outside fire. Heating water on a fire and putting in in a bath tub to take a bath or wash dishes. Using a washboard and hanging out clothes correctly. Yes, It does make a difference. Recently the electricity went out and a friend thought she could not cook because she could not light her gas stove. Matches still light the stove. Learning to bake on a propane gas grill. People cook great burgers, but you can also bake a cake, bread, corn bread on that propane gas grill too.

    • March 24, 2019 at 6:22 pm

      Hi Donna, great comment! I have several posts on skills, next time I will add soap making, weaving and basket making. I have talked about using manual tools, and how to cook outside. I have been writing this blog for seven years now, it sounds like I need to recycle a few posts. I have been fixing up several old posts with new “stuff”. l want to learn how to make soap, that’s one of my goals. I better recycle my clothespins, washboard, and hanging up clothes articles. It’s crazy but we need to teach the world little things like lighting their gas stove to cook, etc. This is why I keep writing. Great comment today! Thank you, Linda

    • August 16, 2019 at 7:25 pm

      If you’re still interested in learning to knit and crochet, I’m a lefty and I do both. 🙂

      • August 17, 2019 at 7:20 am

        Hi Diedra, I wish I had learned when I was younger, now I write 7 days a week. I love the items people make, it’s truly a talent/gift. Linda

  • March 24, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Hunting needs to he defined. It’s not driving the ATV to the stand on the deer feeder set at 9:30.
    We hunt wild. Not stands, no feeders, no crops, no ATVs and we process it all the way to the table.
    Fishing should definitely include trot lining and now fishing.
    BTW only after ROL is gone a trot line set bout knee high with corn catches turkey but AGAIN ONLY AFTER ROL is GONE
    I’d add trapping and snaring.

    • March 24, 2019 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Matt, great comment! What is ROL? Wow, you always have the best comments! I always learn something from you! I love it! Linda

      • March 24, 2019 at 6:43 pm

        ROL = Rule Of Law
        In other words don’t break the current laws but keep things like this in mind.

      • March 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm

        I’d also keep in mind the fishing and hunting menu will greatly change. Why spend time on quail when robins are in the yard? Why bother with deer when domestics are available like dog n cat fit much less energy and resources.
        Fishermen pass up on carp or gar but in SHTF …

  • March 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Linda ~ I have many of these skills but not the building so much! When I was growing up, building, hunting and fishing were “men’s” skills and the cooking/baking were “women’s” skills!

    One thing that I do have in the building arena (mom was mortified!!) is that after college (with a degree in earth sciences-soils) I became an inspector on large construction projects. I always called myself a “dam construction inspector”!! LOL! I am not sure exactly what my mother thought about that but…I do know a thing or two about concrete and soil “building”! At least how to know if it is done right or wrong!

    Of course, now I live in an apartment so some things are more challenging – gardening for sure – still waiting for my grow boxes to be delivered so I can get started!!

    • March 24, 2019 at 6:28 pm

      Hi Leanne, I can hardly wait to hear about your grow boxes! I love the “dam construction inspector”!!!! Made my day! Linda

  • July 19, 2019 at 10:24 pm

    You have weaving, knitting and sewing, but did not mention spinning. Without the threads and yarns, you don’t have cloth, knitted clothes, bags, baskets…

    I use a drop spindle and hand spin thread and fine yarns to be re-spun into 2 ply & 4 ply yarns, and thicker yarns to ply for heavier items. You can buy modern spindles with the whorls permanently attached. It’s easy to learn, I learned using Maggie Casey’s drop spindle DVD’s. Hand spun thread & yarn is good barter material. I also own a JMSWheels (Etsy) Cassandra spinning wheel. It’s solid, tough, and travels with us, and I want to get a Kromsky rigid heddle loom that can also travel with us.

    On not making bread when it’s overcast – The overcast usually means a storm is coming. Storms affect barometric pressure and humidity, and both can cause bread baking problems. So there is science behind it.

    Hope this helps…

    • July 20, 2019 at 8:31 am

      Hi Dusty, this is a great comment!! Thanks for the bread-making barometric pressure and humidity!! I love it! Linda

  • July 21, 2019 at 6:15 am

    Blacksmithing isn’t just for making horse shoes. I took classes in 2017, and we learned how to make a bottle opener, steak turner, spatula, tomahawk, and I chose to make a belt buckle.

    I just want to add to #17, healing our bodies. Please do not depend solely on essential oils. I’ve been an herbalist & aromatherapist for 22 years and they are great, but they do have their limitations and unless you distill your own, they will eventually run out. It’s best to learn herbal medicine and use EO’s as an enhancement. Also contrary to what some companies promote, they do have a shelf life. Learning to grow medicinal herbs can provide you with a front yard farmacy (yes that was intentional) for years.

    • July 21, 2019 at 8:05 am

      Hi Becky, you are so right, essential oils do have a shelf life. I love hearing you made a belt buckle, that’s awesome! I’m really glad you mentioned you are an herbalist an aromatherapist!!! We all need to learn at least the basics. Great comment, thank you, Linda

  • August 26, 2019 at 9:50 am

    I make all my own jams and jellies from the wild berries I gather throughout the year; also I crochet, garden and raise rabbits for food and I’ve taught several of my friends about many eatible and poisonous plants, I love learning how to be self sufficient. I can also sew( just the basics) and learning how to do some spinning ( cat and dog hair…I dont have access to wool bearing animals so i i impovised) i hunt and fish, and because of all of this I’m being accused of not meeting societies standards… I agree these skills are needed but many have lost them (in our throw away society) I feel privileged to know many of these how too’s.

    • August 26, 2019 at 10:03 am

      Hi Marion, wow!! I’m impressed with your skills! I’m here to tell you that you rock!!! Those that may say or imply you do not meet societies standards are way off base. Please keep doing what you are doing, you will not be sorry. I applaud you for learning and teaching others. Linda

  • September 6, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    My daughter is left handed but I am not. I taught her to crochet by having her sit facing me – kind of mirror image. It worked perfectly and now she crochets beautifully. If we sit side by side she crochets in the opposite direction that I do.

    • September 6, 2019 at 8:28 pm

      Hi Noreen, I love hearing you taught your daughter to crochet. If my hands worked now I would surely try to learn. Great tip, Linda

  • September 16, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    I’ve got to start teaching some of my kids these tips! lol. I feel like I’m failing them.

    • September 16, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      Hi Jess, you are not failing your kids!! You teach them by example one skill at a time. You can do this, I promise. Hugs, Linda

  • September 21, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    For anyone interested, the Ozark Folk Center State Park, in Mountain View AR. Has spinning, weaving, basket making, soap making, candle and furniture making. And other crafts. They offer workshops and apprenticeships for many of the crafts.


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