01 September 2021

Still Collecting Skills

As I read my friend Rosanne's link to the article "The World Is Still Short of Everything. Get Used to It" reminded me of a blog post a while back about collecting skills. Another one I wrote about collecting tools that don't require electricity to run them.  

I just looked back, the collector of skills post was over two years ago, way before any shortages had become common, or delays in getting things the norm.

When we have skills we can do for ourselves. My skills aren't anything amazing, just things that over the years I've picked up and learned because they are handy to have.

 Knowing how to grow the food you eat is a skill you will always use, that will stand you in good stead forever

The advantage is that if I have a skill that someone else doesn't, I can trade skills with them if I need to.

Oftentimes we overlook the fact that sewing on a button is a skill, and we are amazed at someone who either throws out the shirt or pays $12 for a seamstress to sew it on for them.

It's a simple skill, and easily learned. You don't need any fancy, expensive equipment - a needle, some thread and scissors will get that button sewn back on. And when you need a button sewn on, having the skill to do it is vital.

A vintage crochet pattern book, perfect for learning new designs for face washers and towels

The same goes with cooking. I'm no great cook. But I have learned how to steam or roast veggies, how to put together a basic roast dinner and make a decent soup and casserole. I've learned to bake bread and make jam. I can put a healthy, appetising meal in front of my family and not be ashamed of it. I've learned the skill of cooking homestyle meals.

As I read the article it became apparent that most of the world relies on technology to perform the skilful chores for them in some way or other. Our cars for example are so full of electronics that they can't be repaired if they break down - the "chip" needs to be replaced. Until that happens the car won't go.

We rely on mobile phones to be our to-do list, our address book, our appointment diary, our shopping list and our entertainment. I'm not sure too many people actually use them as phones any more. But when that phone stops working we have no to-do list or address book or appointment diary or shopping list or even entertainment. We've lost the skill of keeping hard copies of those things, a little notebook and pen so we can jot things down, the address book on the desk to refer to when sending cards. They are skills too - I wonder if because we've lost these skills that it's not contributing to the dementia pandemic? We don't use our brain in the way it was meant to be used, so it withers and dies.

I'm still collecting skills.

Right now I'm learning how to make hugelkultur garden beds.

Moving some of the fruit trees to set up the new garden beds


 I'm still learning to get a good sourdough starter made, and I'm practising making sourdough breads.

I've learned how to can mince and chicken, and chilli and chicken soup. I've learned how to can beans so they're ready to use. I'm learning more about canning every time I process something and I'm so glad I have this skill. It is filling our pantry with shelf stable food that will keep for years.

 Pressure canned mince - shelf stable, ready to use. Canning and any other form of preserving are good skills to have

A new skill I'm trying to master is lighting a fire with a flint. It's fun to try as a child, but I think it is a very good skill to have as an adult, when the ability to light a fire could be the difference between life and death (or at least eating warm food or cold food, or being warm or cold - you get the idea).

So don't stop collecting skills. Then shortages and delays won't be nearly as upsetting, stressful or intimidating.

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