My grandpa knew a lot about living a simple, sustainable life. He raised cows, pigs, chickens, rabbits, and bees, he knew how to grow a garden, cut hay by hand, pick fruits and he knew wo0dworking. There were lots and lots of other things that he ultimately taught me too.
It is those skills that I want to talk with you about today. A lot of them are the exact same ones we’re going to need to live self-sufficiently in a post-collapse world. We just need to pause for a moment from our modern lives and look back at them.
Cutting Grass with a Scythe
This was one of the things I enjoyed most during summer. We had a lot of land and that meant a lot of grass that needed to be cut. We would get up in the morning, pack up our scythes, our tools to sharpen them, and our lunch in a wheelbarrow and we would spend the entire day in the field.
It was hot. Really hot, and we were a few miles away from home, on foot, because we didn’t have any other means of transportation. The two things I enjoyed a lot back then were the really cold, crystal clear water from a nearby spring and the refreshing coolness of the forest that I would run to, to take breaks from mowing.
Foraging and Harvesting
Foraging and harvesting are a piece of cake compared to maneuvering a scythe which is, for all intents and purposes, a man’s job, though my grandma and my aunts who were around 70 back then certainly didn’t have a problem with it.
Each year, Mother Nature would deliver an array of goodies and all we had to do was pick them up. Berries, nuts, mulberries, various fruits, even mushrooms, were carefully picked up by everyone in the village. Me and my grandparents even had contests to see which one would pick up the most mushrooms.
Starting a Fire
Okay, so my grandpa didn’t use flint and steel or a mirror or any other crazy way to start a fire. Still, he taught me a great deal about having respect for it, taking care of it, and of course, how to put it out. The part that was most fun was cooking on an open fire, those were some of the happiest moments of my childhood.
Taking Care of Farm Animals
We didn’t have that many animals, we just stuck with cows, pigs, and chicken. (At one time my grandpa had rabbits and bees.) But the joy of feeding them, taking care of them, and leading them taught me a lot about responsibility, particularly when my grandpa left me in charge of the house for an entire day.
OK, so my grandpa’s tools were not all that advanced but they did the job of keeping our house, our summer kitchen, our outhouse, our barn, and our chicken coops in top shape. That’s all we needed. I did smash my fingers a few times with hammers but that didn’t really stop me.
Our bartering system wasn’t complicated or strict. We gave our neighbors cow’s milk, eggs, nuts, and chicken and they would give us goat milk, honey, veggies, and so on. Since we all trusted each other, we didn’t care too much about keeping track of quantities, trading was more like just a friendly gesture.
Well, those were it. I didn’t go into much detail about the actual skills because the purpose of this article was different. I wanted to get you thinking about your own grandpa and all the things he taught you that might be useful post-collapse. If you can write a comment about them, I’m sure he’d feel very proud if he’s still alive or that you’d honor his memory if he isn’t.