Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday Smorgasboard: Traditional Skills

What is Saturday Smorgasbord?

In Saturday Smorgasbord we celebrate all the skills, talents, resources, hobbies and ideas that humans can use to grow and prosper. You have everything you need to get started right now. So get up and start creating! Because there's no magic pill for life.


Many of us have no need for traditional skills. Things like building a fire, sewing clothes and making shelter are of a past that most of us have a hard time imagining. Humans have made great strides in the past 100 years. And even greater strides in the past 10-20 years. It seems as though the human motto is "Faster & Easier".

I don't want to knock the Industrial Age, but in the grand scheme of things we have lost a lot of the skills we once knew because we have leveraged the power of machinery. This has left, at least countries like America, largely ignorant of the skills that got us where we are today.

Learning lost skills like fire making, building, growing your own food and pretty much any skill that requires you to get your hands dirty is extremely rewarding. Humans are also really big into instant gratification and while it may seem like a lot of work, creating things with your hands is the most gratifying thing I know. I'm sure you've never felt anything like it when you seed your first garden or pick the harvest several months later. Or the feeling when you finally light your first fire without using matches. There are only a few modern skills that make me feel this alive.

So without further ado, here are some common traditional skills to get you started:
  • Building a fire
  • Shooting a gun
  • Sewing clothes
  • Gardening and Composting
  • Cooking and baking from scratch
  • Car maintenance
  • Building a shelter
  • Archery
  • Edible food identification
  • Carpentry
  • Blacksmithing
  • Crocheting and Knitting
  • Basket weaving
  • Riding a horse
  • Soap making
The first step to finding out more about these skills is to simply type them into Google. Keep a notebook to record what you learn, what you'd like to try next and any ideas or tips you run across. There are also many other bloggers teaching these skills including Country Farm Lifestyles and Save Our Skills.

There are so many traditional skills you will probably not be able to learn most of them in your lifetime. But you can focus on the ones you enjoy most and are already most familiar with. If you are a creative person you will probably be interested in sewing, crocheting or basket weaving. If you love to eat you'll probably be drawn to cooking and identifying edible foods. This list is to help you get started. Enjoy learning your new skills and follow your interests and excitement where they take you.

Have a great and creative weekend!

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