Which Old-Timey (Pre-Industrialization) Skills Do You Have? (Read OP for more info if confused)

Since moving from a city of 130,000 people to a little mining town of about 600 people, in the middle of nowhere, I’ve taken an interest in what I call “Country Skills” - that is, skills that would have been necessary for just about any rural dweller 150 years ago but have largely gone by the wayside now.

For example, last summer I helped my friend butcher a goat, and now he’s got a pig with my name on it for harvest next year. He’s also going to teach me how to cure & smoke meat. I’ve also learned, from my friend, how to hunt morel mushrooms.

Prior to moving here, the only “Country Skill” I had is building and maintaining a fire. One of the few practical things I learned from the Boy Scouts, and I’m a giant pyromaniac to boot, so I can handle fire with the best of them?

What are your “Country Skills”? Poll to follow.

Under “Other skills that Homie is forgetting”: chopping a hole in the ice on the lake to get water in the winter. Not much skill involved, I’ll admit, but way better than trying to melt snow. That takes forever!

I recently took a Primitive Archery course where I learned how to make a hunting bow by hand. I don’t hunt, but it was rather interesting, and the bow shoots well.

Not to mention, massive amount of fuel which will also need to be gathered.

Under other skills I possess, I would include primitive shelter making. The ability to turn small branches and saplings into a dry and sort of comfortable shelter from wind and rain can be a literal life saver.

Soap making: yes
Preserving food: yes
Animal husbandry: yes
Dr. Mom skills: yes
Hair cutting: yes
Trailing and tracking: yes
Quilting: yes
Gardening: yes

You forgot one of the most important skills - the ability to grow your own food. I can grow any suitable crop, graft/prune trees, cure/store foodstuff, and so forth.
You will need to be able to make tools and maintain them too!

In addition to the ones I checked above, I am an accomplished brewer and I can design/build/operate a still quite handily as well.

For those days when the hunting is lousy. :wink:

Weaving, knitting, crochet, hand-sewing (I’d rather use a machine, but I know how). I know how to catch & clean fish.
I’m reasonably good at growing vegetables.

In my life, I have built a fire with a magnesium fire starter and maintained it outdoors, taken down a tree with an axe, gathered some very small amount of wild food, and caught a few fish. But I’m not really good at any of those things and if I had to them to survive some post-apocalyptic dark ages, I’m pretty sure that I’d die. So I’m answering “none.”

I have made wine and I could certainly do so again. I have also preserved meat by turning it into beef jerky with a food dehydrator but that seems like cheating.

I can program in DOS

While I’m years out of practice, I worked with a friend at his blacksmith shop at the local Renaissance Faire for years. I know how to start a coal fire (and keep it going), and I know the basics of blacksmithing.

I’m not expecting to use the skills I have listed in my previous post. If the shit hits the fan and I need to do those things, it won’t make any difference because I wouldn’t last a month with out insulin. It sorta frees you up to know this. Don’t even bother.

Yeah, if we’re relying on my blacksmithing skills to survive, we have a crap-ton of bigger issues. :smiley:

I checked the “other” box because I’m able to knap flint. I became interested in it when I was studying anthropology in college, so I collected a lot of obsidian and flint nodules and banged away at them in the backyard until I could produce very basic stone knives and arrowheads.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten a lot, but I bet I could re-learn it quickly.

Fire, sure.
Slaughtering and Butchering, never slaughtered an animal before butchering but I’m sure I could handle it, and I know how to butcher cows and pigs well enough, pretty sure most large animals are the same.
Skipped hunting. I haven’t hunted much.
Done plenty of fishing, pretty good at it actually.
Wouldn’t feel confident picking mushrooms, and only a few wild herbs.
Could identify many other foodstuffs.
Smoking/salting/curing I do have a bunch of experience with.
Creating and repairing garments - is a cape a garment? Probably limited ability but I could keep myself covered.
Hand hewing wood? I’d need to use a metal tool or at least a sharpened rock :slight_smile: But yes.

I can do some smithing, dry laying stone, finishing rough wood, building structures.

Can garden. Can dry seeds and use them the next year.
Have an herb garden and can dry herbs and propagate them.
Can preserve food, but don’t have enough jars to hold a year’s worth.
Have raised chickens for eggs, but don’t have any on hand.
Can sew, quilt, and knit.
I have the containers for brewing, but would need a source of yeast and malt.
Know theoretically how to malt barley.*
Know how to lash up a privy. Know that you need to do that before you need it.
Know how to launder with a wash board and line.
Can iron, but don’t have a non-electric one.
Can keep a fire and cook with one. Can lash up a camp kitchen.
Have my own sourdough starter and can bake from it. Did you know that English Muffins are cooked in a skillet, not an oven?
Know a couple of things that grow wild around here that are edible.
Have heard that the secret is to bang the rocks together, guys.
*Is it possible to make something beer-like with Jerusalem artichokes? Cause those things will take over if I let them.

If you got hold of some bear skins to go along with the stone knives, you could build yourself a primitive computer! :smiley:

If it uses DOS Inigo has a job!

I can do all this stuff too, except tracking (and I’ve never made soap). Can kill, bleed, pluck and dress out a chicken. Can milk a goat or cow, know safe milk handling practices, can make yogurt, soft and hard cheese, churn butter.

I can vaccinate and doctor livestock, trim sheep, goat, horse hooves, I know how to raise chickens, ducks, geese, I can ride a horse. I’ve delivered many a goat kid. I can prune fruit trees, grow vegetables, make compost. I can spin wool (but for the life of me cannot learn to knit). I know how to find and verify common edible fungi. And a lot of other things, probably.

But I’m no survivalist. I just have country skills. The fact is, the majority of people who live or have lived on farms have most of these skills and plenty of others. My husband is more interested in forestry skills – he gets up the firewood – and building stuff and fixing machinery. Between the two of us we do okay in the home skills department.

That line reminded me of another one: knitting basic chain mail. After seeing a display of historical armor at the museum one year, I got interested in how they made the chain mail, so bought some wire, and figured out the basics by just fooling around with some tools in the basement.

It’s not nearly as fancy as the stuff the real guys made back in the day, or what the serious reenactors produce today, but if someone is swinging a sword-like object at you in some post-apocalyptic wasteland, you’ll be glad you have it!