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. And another thing to learn is mending clothes either with a sewing machine or with a needle and thread.
  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 by Food Storage Moms

FEMA Website

85 thoughts on “30 Pioneer Skills We Cannot Lose

  • March 24, 2019 at 7:36 am
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    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.

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    • March 24, 2019 at 6:22 pm
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      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

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    • August 16, 2019 at 7:25 pm
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      If you’re still interested in learning to knit and crochet, I’m a lefty and I do both. 🙂

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      • August 17, 2019 at 7:20 am
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        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

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        • July 17, 2020 at 1:16 am
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          Just want to say, “AMEN!” to you & everyone like you! I am so thankful that I had a mother who inspired me from home to learn many skills. There were others who provided good examples from outside of my home. I only wish I could have learned more. At age 67, I continue to learn new skills whenever the opportunity (& privilege) arises. I have always looked for ways to inspire & instruct others so that the knowledge & passion that I possess may continue to flow into the future. Thank you!

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          • July 17, 2020 at 8:44 am
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            Hi Leslie, yay! You and I were so lucky to have had our moms and others to inspire us with the needed skills to survive. I also had Home Economics in school. It’s too bad they did away with that in some school districts. I turned 70 this year and I still love learning new skills! Thank you, Linda

      • November 18, 2019 at 7:29 am
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        I am right handed but I taught my left handed daughter by facing her and having her to mirror my movements. I hope this works for others.

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        • November 18, 2019 at 7:56 am
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          Hi Margaret, this is a great comment, I’m sure there are people like me who really want to earn how to knit and crochet. Thank you so much, Linda

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          • May 10, 2020 at 5:31 pm
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            Linda, I taught myself to knit about a year ago, and I’m so glad I did. I watched You Tube videos and subscribed to some really good vlogs to teach me new skills. I’m 65 and if I can do it, you can, too.

          • May 10, 2020 at 8:36 pm
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            Hi Cynthia, I love hearing this! Yes, I can! Thank you! Linda

          • October 22, 2020 at 8:45 pm
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            If you still want to learn to crochet: have the person teaching you sit in front of a mirror. Watch the mirror.

          • October 23, 2020 at 7:18 am
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            Hi Billie, that is a great idea! I love homemade crocheted items. Linda

      • September 19, 2020 at 11:56 am
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        Reading this in Sept. 2020. I’m a lefty, & this is something I’ve never learned, either. I Need to! I’m 73, but my dad is still w/ us, @ 100, & his older brother will be 104 soon. I have similar genes fr my mother’s side, although she’s been gone for 13 yrs, due to cancer. But, I’d love to learn!

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    • April 15, 2020 at 7:16 am
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      I can do most of these things, and the things I can’t do, hubby can. We also can together. I have two dehydrators, too. And a manual wheat grinder. I’m trying to get as many manual small appliances as possible. You never know when you’ll lose power or for how long. We just had a bad storm here in East Texas, and some just got their power on. This happened on Sunday, and today is Wednesday.

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      • April 15, 2020 at 7:40 am
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        Hi Deborah, smart move, we have to have manual small appliances. I love hearing you have two dehydrators! That’s what of my very favorite things to do, dehydrating! I hope the storms calm for you there in Texas. Poer outages are not fun! Stay well, stay safe, Linda

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        • September 25, 2020 at 1:30 am
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          Linda .. loved your article. I was raised in Utah, in the 60’s and 70’s. We took home ec. in school and learned many of the skills. I also learned many of them from my mother, who sewed, knitted, quilted, canned and cooked from scratch, to feed 6 kids. I also raised a large family using the skills she taught me. I am so proud of my kids when they use these skills. And I know they will be happy they know how to take care of their families in an emergency. I love the information it makes me feel a little less anxious in this crazy world. I take care of my husband and me here in oregon now,he loves homemade anything.
          Judy

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          • September 25, 2020 at 12:18 pm
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            Hi Judy, I think everyone loves anything homemade!! Your comment made me smile! You really need to apt yourself on the back for teaching your children skills. I worry about what kids are being taught now. Driving through a drive-up doesn’t teach them manners much less cooking. My daughters and their families are totally self-reliant and that’s how it should be. God helps those that help themselves. I wish the schools could bring back Home Ec. Let’s lower some government paid job salaries and give some to the schools. Yes, people teach their own kids, but there’s a whole lot that doesn’t. Linda

      • May 10, 2020 at 5:29 pm
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        During the Covid-19 Pandemic, these skills have been called into practice. Some of us have been practicing them for years, while some picked them up or learned new skills. Thanks for a reminder.

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        • May 10, 2020 at 8:34 pm
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          Hi Cynthia, these skills have been called into practice!! Great time to teach and learn. Linda

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  • March 24, 2019 at 9:19 am
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    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.

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    • March 24, 2019 at 6:24 pm
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      Hi Matt, great comment! What is ROL? Wow, you always have the best comments! I always learn something from you! I love it! Linda

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      • March 24, 2019 at 6:43 pm
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        ROL = Rule Of Law
        In other words don’t break the current laws but keep things like this in mind.

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          • January 16, 2020 at 11:53 am
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            You can also learn how to crochet, by watching instructional you-tube videos in a mirror.

          • January 16, 2020 at 3:06 pm
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            Hi Mary, I love your comment, I need to watch some You-tube videos! Thank you, Linda

      • March 24, 2019 at 7:00 pm
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        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 …

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  • March 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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    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!!

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    • March 24, 2019 at 6:28 pm
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      Hi Leanne, I can hardly wait to hear about your grow boxes! I love the “dam construction inspector”!!!! Made my day! Linda

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  • July 19, 2019 at 10:24 pm
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    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…

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    • July 20, 2019 at 8:31 am
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      Hi Dusty, this is a great comment!! Thanks for the bread-making barometric pressure and humidity!! I love it! Linda

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  • July 21, 2019 at 6:15 am
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    Hi,
    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.

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    • July 21, 2019 at 8:05 am
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      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

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  • August 26, 2019 at 9:50 am
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    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.

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    • August 26, 2019 at 10:03 am
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      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

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  • September 6, 2019 at 7:58 pm
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    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.

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    • September 6, 2019 at 8:28 pm
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      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

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  • September 16, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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    I’ve got to start teaching some of my kids these tips! lol. I feel like I’m failing them.

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    • September 16, 2019 at 3:33 pm
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      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

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  • September 21, 2019 at 5:48 pm
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    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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    • May 10, 2020 at 8:51 am
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      I’m glad someone mentioned furniture making! I’ve repaired quite a few chairs and even woven seats for a few (rushing and caning). I’m not sure it’s an essential skill… it is certainly a lot of hard work… but I’m glad I tried it and I like rescuing seat-less chairs from the curbside and making them usable and pretty again.

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      • July 3, 2020 at 9:45 am
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        Refurbishing furniture is just as essential a skill as making them, probably even more since today’s world considers everything as disposable. The best part is that there’s still a strong need for secondhand goods, stuffed animals and dolls get overlooked a lot but they’ll help your bartering efforts during the holidays.

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  • November 1, 2019 at 5:18 pm
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    Hi,
    I am on a suburban block of 709 m2 in total, this includes buildings. I have a vegetable and herb gardens plus fruit trees – most are in large pots e.g. fig, almond, apple, mulberry. I still have a good harvest from these, supplying three households with produce. It is an option for you. Additionally there are bananas, grape vines, passionfruit vines and strawberries to name a few in ground fruit. The block is not cluttered and I still have lawns and flower beds. I collect rain water for the property in recycled IBCs to supplement scheme water for the garden. It just takes planning. An idea for learning to crochet – sit opposite the right handed person. Hope this helps. 🙂

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    • November 1, 2019 at 6:03 pm
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      Hi Dale, this is a great comment! I love hearing that you have some fruit trees in pots. I’ve never thought to do that. I love it! Great tip on collecting water, we all need to be able to this. Yes, it does take planning, and you’ve done it! Thank you so much! Linda

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  • December 21, 2019 at 3:11 pm
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    Crochet People and Moogly.com both show videos for left and right -handers. Just search Left handed crochet videos. HTH

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  • December 30, 2019 at 11:32 am
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    Hi there, I’m so glad that I’ve found your site. Just discovered it yesterday. I’ve taught my daughter and oldest son most of the things that you discuss. My youngest son isn’t interested, but he does cook when necessary. I’m an avid sewist; quilting, garment making, crafts. I’ve been cooking and canning since I was 10 years old. I’ve also learned to dehydrate foods and then seal them into “food saver” bags that are vacuum sealed. I know how to crochet but don’t do knitting.
    I’m an avid gardener and feel lost If I’m unable to be outside at least a portion of the year to plant and harvest. We’ve recently moved and I’ve had to start over with my gardening plans. Last fall I planted 3 fig trees in large planter boxes. Also planted 2 blueberry plants. Would love to add more blueberries this year. I’m going to order several of the black potting bags to use for my garden this year.
    I’ve been a prepper for the past 10 years and have quite a stash.
    Again, thanks for all your info and I look forward to your future posts.

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    • December 30, 2019 at 1:09 pm
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      Hi Suzanne, thank you! I’m glad you found my website! I love your comments! Linda

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  • January 4, 2020 at 6:04 pm
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    I’ve taught many “lefties” to knit and crochet.
    The person teaching needs to sit across from the student.

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  • January 17, 2020 at 11:24 pm
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    Wow! Thank you so much for this great list of skills. Between my husband, my now adult and married children and I, we have managed to retain most of the skills that you do mention. As a result, our lives are healthier, happier, and much more frugal than most. To add to our repertoire, we (as three-generational family–grand-children included) are going to try our hand at making cheese. Fatima in Cambridge Ontario.

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    • January 18, 2020 at 8:03 am
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      Hi Fatima, oh my gosh, I have never made cheese. How exciting! I firmly believe the more skills we have to teach others the better our lives will be. You have taught your family well! I love hearing about your family! Linda

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      • May 25, 2020 at 6:25 pm
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        Get some whole milk… preferably directly from the cow. Put it in a cheese cloth sack and hang it outside until it drains. Bring it in, take what’s left out of the sack, mix in some caraway seeds, form it into small balls, place it in a crock, cover it, put it in a dark cool place for three weeks. Take each ball out and trim off the green , saving that stuff for later. Wash the crock. Put the small balls back into the crock and cover it with a cloth, a plate and a brick. Leave it for three weeks and you have what the Germans call Handt Kasse. Use the green trimmings, form balls, and do the same and you have yet another cheese(stinky cheese). Whole milk is a must. If you can get unpasturized milk, it’s the best.

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        • May 25, 2020 at 6:41 pm
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          Hi David, thank you for these instructions! I doubt I would make it, I do not care for milk but it’s so interesting how you make it. My family loves “squeaky cheese”. Thank you so much, Linda

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  • January 25, 2020 at 2:38 pm
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    What a wonderful list!

    I have a mental list of some things I wish to add to my skills, that have not been suggested yet here. I see canning and dehydrating, but not storing a harvest. It takes knowledge to know how best to store crops without refrigeration, for example, how to cure onions, or how to store apples, potatoes, or squash to last for months. This year I’m going to try to fix the ancient “cold storage” pantry in the basement of my 19th century house. Currently there is dampness that comes from the outside, and their isn’t an adjustable vent to release heat, so it wouldn’t store well. There are many ways to store food without refrigeration even in an apartment. I think this is a very valuable skill, and helps us to use our garden (or farmer’s market) and to eat seasonally the locally grown food.

    Another skill I put on my to do list for this year is to do more stain removing, mending, and repairing, of clothes, furniture, and other items. Mending is a little different from sewing, and can help us reduce our need to be so wasteful with clothes and shoes and help us to look smarter. The clothing industry accounts for a lot of the pollution on our planet, and mending clothes and shoes is also great for our budget. These days few people know how to sew on a button, and just buy something new when they lose one. They also don’t know how to iron. Something as simple as learning how to fix scuffs on our shoes, polish them, and how to waterproof them again is a nice skill to have. I’ve done just a little of this and I have nicer shoes for it.

    I have been making my own yogurt with a mesophilic culture for a while now. It’s a simple and quick process (i don’t have to heat the milk so it takes me only 5 minutes to start a batch), it saves a lot of money, and is nice and thick and tastes better than store bought. I’ve made mozzarella a few times too and this year I’m venturing on to other cheeses. You don’t need a cow or goat to do this these days, and there are even books that teach how to make vegan cheeses! Imagine how much money you’d save as a vegan if you could make your own cheese and yogurt!

    I don’t think anyone has yet mentioned brewing, which was very important to the colonists not only for drinking but also for preserving and for preventing illness in an age when we didn’t have water purification. Alcohol has a lot of use in the kitchen. My husband and I have made beer a couple of times, and I’ve been experimenting with making hard cider. The next for me to try is mead, since we keep bees. Alcohol can be used to make your own extracts or to preserve whole lemons. Though I haven’t made vodka, lol, I have used it to make my own vanilla extract by the liter!

    Related to this is fermenting. I started making my own apple cider vinegar from apple scraps. It’s so easy! And sauerkraut. I’m going to try out some other fermenting recipes this year.

    I hope you enjoyed my little list as much as I enjoyed yours and the additions by other readers!

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    • January 26, 2020 at 12:24 pm
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      HI Holly, you have some great ideas, thank you. It’s so fun to add the skills we can all use to a list of skills we want to learn. Great comment! Linda

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  • February 2, 2020 at 5:43 pm
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    If you want to learn how to knit from your right handed friends try across from them so you are see it from a left handed view. I’ve used this technique in the past to teach lefties. Good luck!

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    • February 2, 2020 at 7:43 pm
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      HI Lori, oh, you are so nice! Thanks for the tip for this lefty! Linda

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  • February 5, 2020 at 5:24 pm
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    I would add sewing and mending. Home sewing of apparel and household decor results in items “just your style” that are of better fabrics and construction than a lot of ready made items.

    Oftentimes you can extend the life of clothing by replacing a button or other closure, repairing a torn seam or a ripped hem. I’ve never darned a sock BUT I believe I have a good idea of how it’s done.

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    • February 5, 2020 at 5:57 pm
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      Hi Fl, I do have sewing on the list but not mending. I’m going to go add it right now. I totally agree with you about fixing and repairing or replacing a button. I have never darned a sock but my mother-in-law darned a lot of socks! Thank you, Linda

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  • February 27, 2020 at 12:08 am
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    Soap is the next thing I want to try; I already make our salves, body butters, hair oil, and body scrubs. I do cut bars in half or thirds, a soapmaker taught me that, why let the rest melt in your shower?
    I also want to learn to sew and can.

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    • February 27, 2020 at 5:05 am
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      HI Davette, the only soap I have made is melt and pour. It’s addicting, I LOVE making it. I like the idea of cutting the soap bars in half. I was blessed to learn to sew and can by my mother. I had been canning 50 years and decided to go to my local state extension service to take classes (12 weeks) to earn my Canning and Preserving Certificate. It was about $100.00 very affordable and you learn all the new techniques in groups by canning different foods. It’s so fun!! I wonder if they have one in your county. Linda

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  • March 23, 2020 at 5:48 pm
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    Food foraging and food preserving like, canning and drying are important too. There are so many skills that can come in handy.. Great post!

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    • March 23, 2020 at 6:20 pm
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      Hi Chris, you are so right! I need to update this post, thanks for the reminder! Linda

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  • March 26, 2020 at 4:56 pm
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    I know how to do most of these things.

    On the knitting and crocheting? I learned to crochet in my 20s from a book. I learned to knit at 54 from a YouTube and a book. I’m 68 now and still learning something all the time. I do love learning. Right now, I’m learning about medicinal herbs and essential oil uses. This will be an ongoing process.

    I wish I had learned all these things when I was younger. I feel that we need to teach these things in school. Well, when the kids can go back. To me, all this chaos is a learning experience.

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    • March 26, 2020 at 7:47 pm
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      Hi Deborah, it really is good chaos except for the economy. I’m hoping families will spend more time together and teach them some skills to help them be self-reliant. Oh, and cook from scratch, that would be awesome! Linda

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      • March 27, 2020 at 7:43 am
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        I agree, Linda. Families need to reconnect. It seems everyone goes their own ways these days. I also think that we need to quit living in a disposable society. We need to reuse what we can. I do as much as possible. I’ve started saving my glass jars and some of the plastic ones. I’ve been storing foods in them. We bought some scalloped potato mixes. Instead of throwing them away when the powdered sauce went bad, I vacuum sealed the dehydrated potatoes in mason jars. I can make a sauce for them, or use them in soups or casseroles or whatever. We are trying to not leave too big of a footprint on the earth.

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        • March 27, 2020 at 8:53 am
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          Hi Deborah, I’m glad you mentioned this today. Instead of throwing things away, some of us are all guilty of this, I know I am sometimes. I’m starting to look at say olives…those will be saved for special occasions, I’m not sure if I will get them again. I’ve always been frugal but now I’ve taken it to the next step. I’m making soup more often, I ordered lentils (yes I got six #10 cans on clearance from Thrive) two weeks ago. I’ve found myself calling family and friends more often. We do need to reconnect, one person at a time. Stay well, Linda

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          • March 27, 2020 at 9:53 am
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            So true! We are being more frugal, also. I’m coming up on my 2 week Shelter in Place. I will tr to go the the grocery store next week. We need a few things, and want a few more. We’ll see what they have and go from there. I do k ow how to make bread, so that’s not a big problem. I can make cinnamon rolls from the bread recipe with a few more ingredients.

            I’m wanting some raised garden beds, but we don’t have the needed supplies to have them. I’m thinking of just having a few in ground areas to grow some veggies. We have a fig tree, a plum tree, 2 peach trees and 2 pear trees. I want to plant some green beans, purple bull peas, potatoes, and tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes. We have plenty of pasta for now. And I can make some as long as I can find flour and eggs.

  • April 17, 2020 at 8:45 pm
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    Hi Linda! Great to revisit this post. It’s so helpful. Our family has been living off storage for several weeks now and quarantining. It’s been quite the experience! We will talk of these times in the positive because we’re all getting to know one another better. I used to read the Little House on the Prairie books and marveled at how close everyone was and how all the family pitched in. And at night, Pa would play his violin.

    And my kids are enjoying something similar, but instead of the violin, we play board games with fresh popped popcorn or some other snack made from storage. They wish this would go on forever!

    We were ready for this!! And you are most responsible for teaching us and especially me. I just can’t thank you enough. We’re in Florida and the tomato plants have just started to blossom. It won’t be long. Garden looking good. My sourdough starter makes the best bread. Yeast that lasts forever!

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    • April 18, 2020 at 7:39 am
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      Hi Debbie, squeal you have tomato blossoms!!! Thank you for your kind words, it’s people like you who keep me going. There are some positive things that have come out of the quarantine. The families are not running here and there and are enjoying each other. Now if we can get the jobs back those who are out of work. The sourdough yeast is the best!! I’m making pizza tonight! Linda

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  • May 10, 2020 at 6:10 pm
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    It is always good to see these older posts again!

    I just re-learned how to darn socks!! I finally wore a hole in a pair of socks that I really like so I darned them!

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  • May 25, 2020 at 6:14 pm
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    Leanne Long, I’m a guy whose mother darned lots of socks. I still have her mending supplies and her darning egg. And YES, I use it. Who cares if the darning yarn is a different color.

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    • May 25, 2020 at 6:36 pm
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      Hi David, I can still picture my mother-in-law darning socks and nylons with a lightbulb. I bet she could have use a darning egg. Great reminder, Linda

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  • September 5, 2020 at 8:50 am
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    I be reading all the comments !!! I remember my mother earning my fathers work socks! After 11 kids she was too busy to darn but made almost all our Sunday/Holiday outfits for us 8 girls & 3 boys!! She made all our bread. She loved the feel of the dough in her hands! She made everything from scratch and most of us followed in her footsteps. We made ice cream the old fashioned way with a hand crank!! Mom loved her rose garden & her rhubarb plants. I loved her rhubarb sauce over fresh vanilla ice cream!
    Your post has brought back so many memories!
    Thank you

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    • September 5, 2020 at 10:27 am
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      Hi Sue, I still can picture my mother-in-law darning socks, great memories! I love the feel of bread dough as well, all my girls make bread and I love it! My mom used to make rhubarb pie, yummy! Your comment makes me smile, thank you! Linda

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      • September 11, 2020 at 9:00 pm
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        Yeah, when we had Hurricane Isabel come through Viriginia, I had gone through the CERT – Comm. Emer Response Training and in that training they show you how to spot gas leaks, turn off gas, etc. – well after the storm, we were all going around checking on our neighbors and lo and behold our neighbor’s 30 ish year old daughter was at his home with her daughter about 3 and he had to go get ice and something else and I walked into their back yard with her and immediately I smelled gas and my Tree Feller neighbor right down the street actually handles gas items in his work so that was a blessing and he’s also like my son’s “brother” I hollered for “JAMES! – Gas leak!” He comes running and what had happened was the storm had turned over their gas grill and the propane tank had gotten punctured and he immediately knew how to turn it off. I don’t do propane. Terrified of them. But it could have blown up and killed them both. So yeah, everyone needs to get that General citizen training.

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  • September 11, 2020 at 7:33 pm
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    My Father was USMC, Korea, Mom and I made our clothes since I was 8 and I’m self-taught on many things. I can ride horses, garden, a lot so yeah at 65 1/2 I am also in several volunteer groups in my county: CERT, MRC, Sr. Police Acad grad 2012 class, Amer. Red Cross 2 yr. cert for stroke, triage, bullet-wounds, etc. 2019 class; TRIAD-Sr. advocate run by the Atty. Gen. and we are trained for everything from Hazmat, Terrorists, gun shots, first aid, etc. I keep well stocked on everything. Best to be prepared welllll before anything happens.

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    • September 11, 2020 at 7:56 pm
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      Hi Barbara, you are the type of neighbor everyone wants! Thanks for volunteering to be trained in so many ways! I’m trained in many areas but not as much as you, bravo to you! We need more people in the world like you to learn the skills to help their families and others. We must be prepared, great comment! Linda

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  • October 4, 2020 at 1:14 am
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    Between YouTube videos and a local friend keeping an eye on me I learned how to pressure can chicken 2 weeks ago! The friend even surprised me with a canner! <3
    Now I plan to do some every time chicken is on sale and I want to try ground beef too.

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    • October 4, 2020 at 7:09 am
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      Hi Davette, congratulations!! How exciting! I highly recommend you purchase this canning book. You have to cook the hamburger before canning it. This is the book I received when I took classes for my Master Canning, preserver class. https://amzn.to/3iu1fUy Have fun and keep canning safely! I love hearing you are pressure canning chicken! Linda

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