As early as fifty or sixty years ago, whether we realize it or not, modern society was learning basic survival skills. On any given weekend a boy usually could be found under the hood of the car with his Dad, changing plugs or replacing a battery.
There was raking and mowing to be done, wood to be chopped and/or piled up near the house. These days nearly all those skills can be hired out and often times they are.
The older generation were far more self-reliant then those of today. Pretty much everyone knew the basics of carpentry, growing plants, or even knew some basic metal work.
It was also a more agriculturally based society. There were very few women, unless they lived in the big city, who did not have a garden in the backyard.
There are many skills that are taken for granted these days that our grand-parents saw as normal when they were a young man and woman. It’s time to go back and take a look at some of those old fashion ideals that can aid a modern day survivalist.
It’s unfortunate, but most of us have limited finances, space and time when it comes to getting prepared. The few minutes daydreaming about an arsenal in the basement, with tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition can be a brief reprise from the humdrum of the day, but it is only a daydream.
It is nice to fantasize about opening the door to an underground bunker to find rows of shelving weighted down with food, blankets,medical supplies, protective suits and masks and full water barrels by the hundreds lining the walls. In your mind and the mind of most people you cannot have too much when it comes to prepping, but again space is limited, and money is always in short supply and time, there is never enough time.
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These are the skills and methods of The Lost Ways used by ancient people to help them survive in hard times
What Can Be Done
In reality if you do not have it, cannot make it, or trade for it during a crisis then you will have to survive without it, if you can. This means you not only need a supply on hand, you need the ability to produce life essentials or be able to barter for them.
Skills will be in demand during a crisis so do an assessment of what skills you have that can be used in trade. Everyone has skills, and it is never too late to learn some more.
1. Knowing How to Live off the Land: The Art of Trapping
Traps can be defined as a survivalist’s secret weapon. A trap is not as flashy and bad-ass looking when compared to a tactical knife, but it’s one of the most reliable and effective tools for gathering food off the land. In a survival situation, hunting small game with traps and snares is the best option. Small game is abundant in almost all areas, in wilderness or near/inside the cities. There are a few proven methods that work when hunting small mammals, rodents, birds or waterfowl.
The simple snare trap consists of a noose that is placed over a trail or a den hole and connected to a stake. The noose must be large enough to allow the animal’s head to pass through; as the “victim’s” head moves through the snare, the noose will tighten around its neck and as the animal fights to get loose, the snare will strangle it.
It sounds very simple, but it’s extremely effective in the right situations.
You can improve your chance of success by baiting the trap, thus drawing the animal towards it. As bait, you should use a food source that is not abundant in the area, yet the animal is familiar with.
Using bait when fishing isn’t an option if you want to catch one. A great bait for small mammals is peanut butter (from a MRE ration for example). When using bait, you can use “samples” to attract the animal’s attention, by scattering little bits around the trap.
2.Meat Preservation: Pemmican & Smoke
1) Native Americans Method: Pemmican
It was imperative to Native Americans that no meat be wasted. There were a few reasons for this but the two main ones were that meat was crucial to survival, and wasted meat was a dishonor to both the animal who gave his life and to the hunter who took it. They were masters of preserving meat into jerky or pemmican and it was this that got them through the harsh winters.
The process of making jerky is fairly simple; Native Americans simply cut the meat into thin strips and dried it in the sun. Salt wasn’t used as a preservative like it is now. Fat will make the meat go rancid, so lean cuts are used.
Pemmican is a bit of a different deal. It consists of dried meat, rendered fat, and berries. The berries are optional but add more nutrition and flavor. Dry the meat until it’s crumbly. Grind it into a powder and pour just enough rendered fat over it to make it stick together. Add in the dried berries. Roll it into balls or press it into strips.
Pemmican will keep for years and is a great source of protein, fat, and (if you add the berries) carbohydrates. You can actually live off of just it and water for extended periods of time.
2) Smoke has the same effect as salt of keeping away bacteria from your meat. It also gives it a very tasty flavor which is why it is still used today.
If you know of a smokehouse near you, you can take it there, you will save time. If not, you can do the process yourself, but you will need a smoker. The good news is that they are available in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and use various fuels such as propane or charcoal. You can also modify grills or ovens to work as smokers, but the use of a regular smoker for this purpose is recommended.
This method is similar to grilling the meat and will generate a lot of smoke, so it needs to be done outdoors. However, grilling is a quick cooking process that uses high heat, while smoking takes much longer and uses indirect heat at low temperatures. The temperature should be anywhere between 150 and 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
This process is known as hard smoking and it is a way of cooking your meat in a way that will not require refrigeration. The end product will look similar to jerky.
Cold smoking is also available, and uses much lower temperatures below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This method is only used for flavoring the meat rather than actually cooking it.
3.How to Weight a Pig without a Scale
Weighing a pig is a pain in the behind and scales are expensive. Here’s an easy tip that’s nearly dead on. Start by measuring your pig from the base of his tail to between his ears, running the tape measure up his back. Then measure his girth right behind his front legs.
Now use this formula: Girth squared X length divided by 400. In other words, if your pig has a girth of 30, multiply that by itself to get the square: 30 x 30 is 900. Now, multiply this by his length. Let’s assume that he was 36 inches: 900 x 36=32,400. Now, divide that by 400: 32,400/400= 81. Your pig (or in this case, piglet!) weighs about 81 lbs. Easy, right?
Life on a homestead isn’t easy, and it’s not going to get any easier if we lose power and our world becomes chaos. Knowing as many shortcuts as possible that actually work is going to save you time and money so learn as many as you can. We hope that these helped!
4.How to Start a Fire
There are so many other ways to start a fire than with matches, a lighter, charcoal lighter, or gasoline, so practice making fires using alternate methods before a major crisis strikes.
The following methods may take a little skill and practice, but if done correctly there will be a fire to cook on and to keep you warm.
- Char cloth, also known as char paper, is a very popular tinder material used by preppers for decades upon decades. Made from vegetable fiber, generally linen or cotton, char cloth has been treated to become a very slow-burning fuel source with an extremely low ignition temperature. Char cloth only takes a spark to ignite it, and once lit can be used to light your other kindling and get your fire going.
- Cotton balls are a common tinder item packed by preppers due to their light weight, compact size, and flammability. You can toss a handful of cotton balls into a double-sealed Ziploc bag; for added flammability you can soak cotton balls in petroleum jelly.
- Solid fuel tablets are another popular tinder method; solid fuel tablets are compact, light-weight and dense enough that you can usually use one with a mini-stove to boil a cup of water; they burn hot, generally for 10 – 15 minutes.
- Dryer lint; for those of the economic mindset, here’s a great use for what you otherwise treat as trash. Just wad your dryer lint up in a ball and toss it in a double Ziploc, but be warned because dryer lint usually burns rather fast.
- Toothpicks, sold cheaply by the box in grocery stores everywhere, can serve as decent tinder to help get your kindling going; drop a few boxes into a waterproof bag.
- Steel wool, especially the finer steel wool, can serve as a rather suitable tinder material but you’ll need a 9 volt battery to ignite it. To ignite steel wool with a 9 volt battery, sampling drag the battery over the surface of the steel wool, it will immediately spark and catch fire, allowing you to add your kindling and start your fire.
5. How To Move Heavy Weights: Friction Reducing Slides
When you want to move a couch from one side of a room to another, aside from being very heavy, the legs of the couch may either dig into a solid floor or catch on the surface of the carpet. When rough surfaces encounter each other while in motion, drag or “friction”, it takes more energy to move the objects.
Friction reducing slides have two basic parts. The upper part sticks to the bottom of the object while the bottom part facing the floor is very smooth. No matter whether the objects is being moved across linoleum, a deep pile carpet, or some other surface, the slider will reduce friction and make it much easier to move the object. Even though friction reducing slides will not reduce drag as much as wheels, they help moving furniture or other heavy items around a smaller area.
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For example, if you place several food buckets on a wooden palette in your store room or cellar, placing casters underneath the palette will make it much easier to move around. You will find these coasters much cheaper than heavy wheeled utility carts or other wheeled systems that can also be used for moving items around a single room.
Friction reducing slides are also very useful for furniture that you may want to move in a hurry in order to get to a hidden trap door or supplies hidden within a wall. Since the coasters are usually not very high off the ground, no one would realize that the furniture is very easy to move or that there might be something hidden behind it. In addition, these coasters are also very common in many homes, so they may also escape attention because it is not unusual to move furniture around from time to time.