Survival Skills 101

While reading Kathy Harrison’s book, Just in Case; How to Be Self-Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens, I stumbled upon a paragraph that alarmed me:

“Take stock of the skills and knowledge you may need in a crisis. A working knowledge in areas such as gardening, food preparation, first aid, sewing, home repair, and auto maintenance will never be wasted. Acquiring those skills will help you confront adversity without panic.”

Why did I frantically underline that paragraph, burst into tears, and bang my head on the table??

Because, of the skills listed here, I have 0.25 of them.

Yup. Basically, I can thread a needle, replace a flashlight battery, apply a band-aid, and follow a simple recipe. Otherwise, I’m toast. That’s how I came up with a grand total of zero-point-two-five skills out of six. Not to mention survival skills like fishing, hunting, trapping, purifying water, and building fires – important skills that aren’t even on Harrison’s list, which makes it 0.25 out of 11. (Sorry, Mom! It wasn’t for lack of trying on your part. It’s just that the only thing I remember from my 4-H experience is a story about some girl falling off of the monkey bars and biting her tongue off. That story was told at the table as we stitched our lavender laundry bags. Believe me, I, too, wish I would have remembered something about making a draw-string instead.)

No use bemoaning lost opportunities.

I’ve decided to take myself to Practical Skills School. Effective immediately. Because if there’s one skill I do have, it’s the love of learning (that’s one thing I did retain, Mom!).

So, learn I will.

I’ve drafted a year’s worth of curriculum that will help me to tackle one or two areas each month, at least mastering the basics. I happen to be married to an Eagle Scout/ Mechanic/ Plumber/ Genius, so I usually snuggle up on the couch while he attractively fixes, mixes, and mends. But I’ve decided to jump right in next to him and learn a thing or two. Ryan’s a fantastic teacher, so I know I’m in good hands. Of course, we’re fully intending on bringing the girls along with us for the fun – when it’s safe and all! So hey, get out your notebooks and join us if you’d like. Of course, I’ll keep you updated on my progress like any good Julie and Julia fan would.

January Jump: Make Preparedness Notebook; Build Fire; Create a Home-Escape Plan (hopefully not needed directly upon building fire)

February First Aid: Attend Red Cross CPR/ First Aid class; update home and car first aid kits

March Maintenance: Check and put spare tires on both cars; master automobile emergency procedures; update car emergency kits (hopefully not needed directly after fiddling around in the engine)

April Angling: Catch, fillet, and fry a fish (the same fish for all three steps); Organize home paperwork (i.e. update passports, etc.); sprout seeds

May Flowers: Plant flowers and vegetables; Get the whole family out on bikes, pump up the tires, and conquer some hills

June Jumpers: Overcome ridiculous fear of sewing machines; make one summer dress for each daughter

July Try: Go on an over-night camping trip, complete with tent, campfire, trusty husband, sharpened utility knife, and foil babies; Vivienne takes swimming lessons

August Assessment: Assess food storage and supplies; make menu plans for stored foods; can something!

September Sewing: Return to the machine. Make three decorative pillows.

October Automobiles: Return to the cars. Replace tires again; check oil; practice emergency procedures

Nutty November: Trap something furry (do not eat it); *try* to (hunt) Thanksgiving dinner (trapped-furry-thing doesn’t count)

December Delight: Evaluate all of the ways in which the girls and I have grown in womanliness, confidence, and preparation.



, , ,




7 responses to “Survival Skills 101”

  1. Michelle Avatar

    I love how you made a plan to do a little something each month. Great job! Our family completed a preparedness study together called Prepare and Pray and it was such a blessing to us. I pray all of your efforts are blessed and that whatever He calls you to do, you do it with all of your heart, as unto Him. *Ü*

    {P.S. I stopped by from Carisa’s blog}

  2. grandmomruthie Avatar

    Maybe Dad and I will retire to be near you…I would love to learn those things as well! I took five lessons in sewing from a neighbor when you girls were little…and made all kinds of fun things. One lesson in canning with Aunt Donna…blueberry jam. Those things are very rewarding!
    Thankful that the Lord as protected me and been faithful all these years to provide what I needed.

  3. Sarah Mae Avatar

    LOVE this! Yes – I’m in!

  4. Mela Kamin Avatar

    what a gr8 list and idea – this is cool – I can sew, but didn’t pay
    enough attention in the kitchen or garage, so I have some skills to
    master as well – love the idea of having the kids join in for the education-
    they would love the adventure; thx for sharing!

  5. Janet Booth Avatar

    Very good things to know. I don’t know as much as you do about them. I need to learn along with you. I am all in!

  6. Jenny Avatar

    Love your list! How about you pencil me in for August–I will teach you how to can peaches! yum!–that is, of course, if you like peaches!

  7. Rachel Avatar

    Wow. What a cool, inspiring idea. Thanks for sharing!

Let's keep in touch!
You're invited to sign up for
the Expect Something Beautiful newsletter.