30 Pioneer Skills We Cannot Lose

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 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 I purchased some crocheted hand warmers, and 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.

30 Pioneer Skills We Cannot Lose

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 “takeout” 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 homes. 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. Ron Brown reminded me about Olive Oil Lamps

Pioneer Skills

  1. Baking: I realize baking overlaps with 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 have 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, and 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, and 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 grandkid’s 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 me about 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 healthier.
  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 that some of my grandkids buy clothes from 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. Please see if you can get Heirloom seeds, they are the very best.
  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 for 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.
Read More of My Articles  15 Pioneer Skills We Must Learn Today

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 this world, Linda

Vintage Skills by Food Storage Moms

FEMA Website

Copyright Images: Bread Making Woman AdobeStock_128083119 by Zoran Zeremski


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  1. 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.

    1. 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

        1. 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!

          1. 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

          1. 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.

          2. If you still want to learn to crochet: have the person teaching you sit in front of a mirror. Watch the mirror.


          4. Hi Debbie, no the pioneers did not have pressure canners or cookers. They preserved their food in different ways, like drying, curing meats with salt, and digging holes in the ground to preserve vegetables covered with straw. They did whatever they could to preserve their bounty. I’m sorry I do not know how to make soap with wood ash or lye. I was not interested in learning how to do that kind of soap. I but the melt and pour soap for molds. This is how I make soap: https://www.foodstoragemoms.com/how-to-make-melt-and-pour-soap/ Thanks for stopping by, Linda

        1. Years ago I also taught a left handed friend to crochet the way you mentioned. She still crochets. It works!

        2. Hi, A few things that I do now, canning & make my own products. Canning saves your food when your garden is overflowing, but also I can my sauce in pint (2 cup size), soups, stews, jello (half pint), and leftovers. Sauces and soups are in the perfect size to make a quick meal. Leftovers and jello, hot in the jar will self seal as they cool and will last longer in the fridge. I started making many of my own products, like deodorant with 3 ingredients (coconut oil, baking soda and cornstarch) no aluminum and it works so much better, my own laundry detergent costing only pennies per load and work better than all those with chemicals. I also made my own beeswax wraps using cotton fabric and beeswax, great replacement for plastic wrap. I made my own paperless paper towels from flannel, they work just as good, roll up like paper towels on a roll and just toss in the wash and are great to replace napkins.

          1. Hi Barbara, you are an inspiration to all of us!! I have never make beeswax wraps!!! I have seen them online. Life is good when we know how to recycle and use what we have. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment!! Thank you for sharing, Linda

      1. 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!

        1. Great article. A couple of skills I taught myself that I didn’t see mentioned, one is to make candles. Wax can be reused. Another one that is a bit more intense is leather crafting. There is sooo much info on Pinterest, lots of tools needed but so fun. There’s even a tool to make leather laces, depending on the leather you can make shoe laces or lace to sew with. Looking at the current political climate (end of 2020), we all need to learn how to go back to the old ways.

      2. All a lefty has to do is sit in front of a righty and copy. I am a righty and my sister is a lefty. We struggled many times with me trying to teach her. One day she was so frustrated she sat on the floor in front of me and copied me. We was so proud.

    2. 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.

      1. 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

        1. 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.

          1. 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

      2. 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.

  2. 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.

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

      2. 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 …

  3. 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!!

  4. 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…

  5. 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.

    1. 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

  6. 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.

    1. 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

  7. 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.

      1. I am new on here today. If I get it wrong we’ll blame it on being 80.
        I knit (machine) sew, spin wool, write recipes, cook/bake. My head holds tons of information but I have no-one to pass it on to. I was born UK but live Ireland.


  8. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  9. 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. 🙂

    1. 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

  10. Crochet People and Moogly.com both show videos for left and right -handers. Just search Left handed crochet videos. HTH

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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.

        1. 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

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

    1. 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

  16. 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.

    1. 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

  17. Food foraging and food preserving like, canning and drying are important too. There are so many skills that can come in handy.. Great post!

      1. Linda, thanks so much for the cold process soap link. i do know how to do that try but, i’ve put my beans and rice and lentils in and preserve in mason jars and plan on getting some oxygen absorbers and bay leaves for them since i don’t have a canner, cant afford one right now. i also have buckets with air tight lids for larger amounts to store more stuff . be safe, and bless you for your website.Thanks

  18. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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.

        1. 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

          1. 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.

  19. 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!

    1. 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

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

    1. 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

  22. 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

    1. 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

      1. 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.

  23. 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.

    1. 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

  24. 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.

    1. 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

  25. I’m enjoying all the comments on this post. I have at least tried, doing many of these things.
    I darn my socks whenever I get a hole in the toe. Recently I bought a wooden egg at Hobby Lobby that is perfect for darning.

  26. I agree that this is a great article. (For one thing it shows me how much I still have to learn.) It rather surprised me that your mention of candle-making was the first mention of emergency lighting that I saw. Actually, simpler than candles are improvised lights using vegetable oil. They produce a candle-size flame and date to biblical times but, today, who knows anything about them? Go to Amazon and, from there, to either “Books” or “Kindle Store” (on the pull-down menu) and search for “Olive Oil Lamps &c.”

  27. #24. “ I love some of my grandkids” Not all of them?? lololol gave me a chuckle! I love your site 🙂 I can’t kill my chickens either. 🙁 I love them.

    1. Hi Marianne, oh my gosh, now I have the giggles! I changed it to I love that SOME of my grandkids….LOL! Oh my gosh, you made my day! Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad I’m not the only one that couldn’t kill my chickens. Stay safe, Linda

  28. Crocheting…I have taught a couple of left-handed friends to crochet over the years. I had them sit across from me instead of beside me. That way they are looking at the back side of my hands and it looks correct to them.

  29. I responded to this article back in 2019 and I have just reread all the additional replies. I never realized how much we still need to learn and practice. Recently I learned that my daughter and grown granddaughters do not know how to cut up a chicken. So I now have made a plan on teaching them how to cut up a whole chicken by more than one way to obtain all the pieces needed to feed the family. I learned this when I was a young girl and today you can just by chicken already cut up. Well back in the day it came only one way and that was a whole chicken.

    I also want to share that I recently watch a movie about the electricity going out for a long, long time. Months, years… A family living in the mountains solar home still lost electricity. They had enough preserved for a year. However, at 18 months the house was falling apart and they ran out of food. They did have some books on showing them how to do some things. Like slaughter an animal and prepare it for preserving. They learned to foriage for berries. Used powdered milk until it was all gone. My point is that when SHTF it may be longer than a few weeks. So really practice the skills and use them. Linda I really enjoy your blog

    1. Hi Donna, oh please tell me the name of the movie you watched, I want to watch it. I’m so glad you talked about the “whole chicken” back in the days. I turned 71 this year and I can remember when the stores started selling just chicken breasts, thighs, and legs. I was in awe. THEN they started selling them without bones, it was like a miracle come true! LOL! No bones!! LOL! But, in all reality, people need to learn how to cut up a chicken. AND know the difference between a stewing chicken (tough as all get out) and a regular baking/frying chicken. There is a big difference. Thank you for your kind words, Linda

  30. I really liked what you said! I’m 30 and it’s always been so odd to me how few people in my generation know how to cook or bake. I taught myself when I was a kid (it was that or eat cold cereal for dinner every night) and I love it. I especially love baking. Also, I really value what you said about knowing your neighbors. My husband and I are surrounded by retired couples (which is so fun because it’s like having grandparents as neighbors) and ever since we moved into our house we have tried to be neighborly the way people used to. I always make tons of gingerbread cookies to share with everyone each Christmas and this past year our neighbors really joined in on exchanging baked goods and conversation with each other. It’s wonderful. Anyway, thanks for the great post!

    1. Hi Samantha, I love your comment! I love hearing you learned to cook and bake when you were a kid! What a blessing. Also, living by retired people is a blessing for both you and for them. It’s critical we know our neighbors so we can make a team if we have a disaster. Keep up the good work! Linda

  31. My daughter is left handed. I taught her to crochet by having her face me as I taught her. She is grown now & is a very good crocheter. Hope this helps all the lefties out there that want to learn the art of crochet!!

  32. Fast forward and here we are in the circumstances as they are in the world. Yes, it’s 3:30AM EST and I have done nothing but read non-stop the last five hours to mentally gauge what we already have and how I plan to organize it in order to truly be prepared. Well, let’s be honest. At the very least, I’ll be able to hang onto a sliver of “the peace-of-mind-feeling” that comes from knowing one did indeed give it their very best effort.

    But I was actually prompted to write, first to thank you for your passion and commitment to and for….as you said, writing seven days a week. But I also wanted to thank you for the laugh…and then reading your so very gracious and graceful response to the post where someone asked if the pioneers had pressure cookers. After four hours of quietly but stressfully researching as the sounds of sleep could be heard throughout the house…which I normally find quite comforting…it wasn’t until I busted out laughing over that particularly (_________) comment did I breathe in some extra oxygen and “reset” my mind, no longer feeling overwhelmed. Thank you!!

    1. HI East Coast, thank you for your kind words! You made my day! It was first the comment I opened and I had forgotten the pressure cooker comment. LOL! We have such a great forum here, we all help each other. I’m glad you no longer feel overwhelmed. We can do this, one step at a time. Stay safe! Linda

  33. Hi Linda. I learned to crochet from a leftie (I am a rightie) when I was 17 by sitting facing her. Then my mother taught me to read and follow patterns. I never learned to cook or sew due to a broken home, but almost 40 years ago I married a man with those skills. He made prom dresses for our daughters, and even our oldest daughter’s wedding dress. And I helped him work on the car. I will be 70 this year, and we have worked together well for all these years. Our 4 adult children are pretty self-sufficient.
    About manners…
    I will leave you with this thought. My mother used to say that in years passed, children were brought up. Nowadays they are thrown up. Charlotte

    1. Hi Charlotte, I love hearing you married a man with sewing skills!! SQUEAL! That is so awesome he made prom dresses and your daughter’s wedding dress!! I actually really like your comment, brought up versus thrown up. I LOVE IT! I have to giggle, it’s funny but true. And sad. It’s a little hard to teach children manners through the drive-through. LOL! Great comment, Linda

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