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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Introductions and preparedness thinking

My name is Jonnalyhn and I currently reside in Tacoma, WA. My home is a smaller urban lot very close to Tacoma Mall, so I can address some pieces more specifically to folks who maybe feel disconnected from those who have 2 or more acres and do the mini-farms. This year I am putting in raised beds with several perennials and small fruits, and with the help of my roommates and friends, organizing my various hoards of supplies or things into an accessible whole. A longer term goal is to be able to have my own rabbits to have meat, fur and wool for spinning, plus possibly a couple of chickens.

I'm a single mom, which is part of the reason my introductory post is so far from Bill's welcome aboard--I've simply been finishing off some garden prep, a wedding commission, and a competition entry for my costuming, as well as a major overhaul of my fabrics/notions/crafts stash with the help of my beau, in addition to the modern job that pays the bills. I'm happy to note that several of my new fruit plants (rhubarb, blueberries, bush cherries, plum and pear trees as well as currants) are doing well. Plus the flowers intermingled for fragrance, beauty and some edible or other uses are showering me with growth!

Because of my parent's influence, I have a grounding in many 'old-fashioned' skills and concepts, which I've done a lot of adding to because of my interest in historical recreation. I joke that these aren't hobbies, but lifestyles, and transpose a lot of the skills and knowledge from my personal foci to the concept of being a prepper. It's challenging at times to balance work, family, beau, hobbies and interests with beliefs, but worth it.

To me, being a prepper goes beyond having a year's supply of food, water and monies, but knowledge and skills-whether comfortable enough on your own, or with having done basic practices and having access to the references to remind you for the rest.

In the event of the apocalypse, or massive transport to pre-history, what skills and talents do you have that would be useful? That is to say, what can you do from scratch or near-scratch? These are things you have done, or have read/studied enough about that you could probably work it out after a few tries.

To give you a feel of this, here's my personal list:

I can:

make fire without matches, lighters or liquid fuel.

make candles and basic oil/rush lamps.

Gather shellfish and edible crustaceans or seaweeds and cook it.

Turn cedar bark into clothing, shelter, rope, nets and other accoutrements (or make tapa cloth in the islands).

Rett flax and other fibers, make a drop spindle and spin said fibers or collected wools or longer fur combings, my spinning isn't super thin or long (ok, it's lumpy right now), but at that point it would get better quickly!

Make cards and do tablet weaving for straps or other items or twist/braid twine.

With help, construct a basic loom and do very plain weaving for cloth.

identify many edible wild plants, and as well as medicines or dyes, and can prepare tinctures, ointments, salves and tisanes (teas).

sow, raise, and reap if I have the seeds, and know the basics of seed storage or other propagation methods for cultivating.

deal with some of the more common garden pests and problems organically.

dry, can, or otherwise store a large variety of foods.

grind grain, catch yeast, or have a sourdough starter for raised breads.

make bread, cheese, butter and yoghurt.

make soaps.

brew wine, beer or mead, and distill alcohol to help make the base for tinctures.

knap stone and could extend this into making basic bladed tools.

dress out a deer or other beasts, including plucking and cleaning birds.

make additional supplies from the rest of the animal carcasses-water bags, sinew thread, leather or fur, horn and bone and feathers (pillows and mattresses instead of straw).

make a basic bone needle, awl, or the basics of drawing wire.

make clothing, including dyeing and ornamentation in different styles-from underclothes, shoes, pants, shirts, coats and dresses.

do various styles of quilting for bedding-using fabric scraps or recycled garments or brand new cloth.

tan my own leather or furs, although I've not done it in a long time.

weave grasses, rushes, withies or pine needles into baskets or mats, but I'm better at mats.

make basic clay dishes and know how to make a basic kiln/stove (although have not actually done that).

make paper, quills, and ink.

use base medical knowledge for humans and most domesticated livestock.

construct, without help, basic shelters such as teepees (although help setting it UP is needed), larger pavilion-style tents, leantos, or roundlodges. More permanent types of shelter are possible with more hands.

do very plain utilitarian treen (woodware)although others could probably do it quicker and with a more graceful end product.

Can make basic furniture with help on cutting larger pieces, or can lash or peg up smaller pieces (trestle-type table, bench, rope bed).

Find directions without a compass, if I have to.

Make a solar or earth oven and cook with other alternative methods.

Can make and use several types of weaponry-bows & arrows, spears or javelins, rope lines, traps, and at least use swords, axes and guns. I can also make a trebuchet or catapult.

create and bind books, do calligraphy in several basic styles and illumination (illustration)

sing, know several dance styles, make some musical instruments and construct/teach/play several different games. Keeping yourself, family and friends amused keeps cabin fever and conflicts at bay!

create harnesses for animals to help with tasks.

use Morse code, with some refreshers


If I went to look at my personal library or notebooks, I could probably add a few more items to this list, which can look overwhelming. Yet I began with the basic home ec style know-how and built up from there, and you can too. Remember that balance is important, having the goods but not the knowledge or skills to use them doesn't help, nor does the opposite position, and that family and/or friends are necessary to life as well.

After all, we need both men AND women to continue.

4 comments:

matthiasj said...

Great post. You seem to have a ton of great skills. I wish I knew half as much as you do! I look forward to your posts!!

matthiasj
Kentucky Preppers Network

Dad said...

I again welcome you Jonnalyhn. With Terry's work tieing him up, it is wonderful to have you finally aboard. Great Post...

Bill

American Prepper said...

Wow! That's impressive! I don't even come close.

Welcome aboard!

rev said...

Tacoma!...well you're a neighbor Jonnalyhn..I love to see the old school skills still in use! Welcome!

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