Sunday, August 11, 2013
Sunday Reading - Skills Skills Skills
Yesterday afternoon while I was chucking some over large squash over the fence for the ram and his wether bish to chomp on a neighbor drove up and asked if she could raid my sunflowers for bouquets to adorn her party tables with. I would have let anyone take some sunflowers but this lady gets special attention since she was one of the adoptive parents of the first mess of kittens we had this Spring.
I sent her home with a couple of five gallon buckets full of sunflowers, some tomatoes and a few cucumbers all of which were going to go into the compost bin if she didn't take em anyway.
She and her husband wandered around the garden and the raised beds commenting on how everything was exploding (except for the squash which is now being killed off by the squash bugs) and asking why I grow so much. She said it reminded her of a park in bloom.
Truth is these days I grow mostly for experience and bee forage. Oh sure we make about a gallon of salsa a week right now. Actually more than a gallon as I chopped up a gallon worth of just tomatoes yesterday. We ate eggplant all day yesterday as well since the Mrs. finally found an eggplant recipe I can choke down. Yet for the most part I give everything away or end up composting or feeding the stuff to the animals now. We freeze a lot of it and make a bunch of tomato sauce and some refrigerator pickles but neither the wife nor I really can any of it these days.
We used to. Up till about two years ago we canned massive amounts of garden produce but lately instead of canning we have directed our time more to putting in sustainable projects and gaining skills in other areas. For the Mrs. these days it is simply time restraints and for me it has been more to gain skills and experience in other areas. Space also plays a big roll here as we gained enough freezer space to hold what we do save and filled up the old canned food space with other long term preps. That and the fact we haven't had a good fruit crop the last few years which was our largest single canning endeavor. We still have shelves full of canning jars and all the gear we just don't seem to make it to the final canning stage anymore.
It has been my philosophy that rather than reaching a limit and continuing with the same skills year after year that I would rather branch out while I can and become as much a "Jack of all Trades" in sustainable living as possible. This means that some skills or projects are left behind each year or like this year I ignore or leave one plant type alone so I can learn a new one. For instance this year the cucumbers and squash have been getting little love so I can focus on the pumpkins, water melons and musk melons.
There is only so many hours in the day but no end to the skills one can learn and more importantly no clue which of those skills will be needed as things continue to decline.
A rusty skill is better than no skill at all during a collapse situation. Or so I believe anyway. You just never know what skills you might need when the time comes or what skills others may bring or show an aptitude for as things progress. Some skills you may continue to use while learning others while some skills you may stop pursuing while you learn new ones.
Learning a skill and then putting it away also has another advantage. You may not be an expert but I have found that actually learning the rudiments of a skill allows you to collect the tools you need for that skill tailored to your individual needs. If you decide to move on to another skill you can safely store the old gear with reasonable certainty you will have everything you need when/if you revisit it. I have found this to be very important when I revisit skills like basic boot making or repair (or other leather working) and metal working.
Do not overlook the advantages of learning as much as you can even if you must set aside some skills to make room for others. Knowledge is never a waste.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!