Posts Tagged ‘Skills’

Skills – 1st Foundational Element of Prepping

(And now back to our scheduled programming of the ‘basics’ of prepping!)

While many survival stores on the ‘net necessarily try to sell lots of ‘beans and bullets’, in the end supplies may be the least important part of prepping.  However, because gear is the easiest to acquire, requiring only a credit card, sometimes it is the aspect of prepping most people relate to, because it is something they can immediately jump into. I’ll admit that I was part of this group, and I acquired a whole lot of stuff long before I knew what to do with it.

I’ve since come to understand that acquiring skills is of far more value.  Using a chain saw, running a trot line, knowing CPR and basic first aid, being able to change a flat tire or clean your battery posts, are all examples of useful skills. Robert Heinlein in his book Time Enough For Love says:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

As a specific example, let’s talk about starting a fire.  While I have many ways to start a fire, including bic lighters, magnesium fire starters, and waterproof matches, none of those would replace or be more valuable than the ability to start a fire without any of those things.  Any number of things can happen to our stuff, but its much harder to take away our natural abilities and skills.  The important thing to remember is that any of us can learn to start a fire the ‘old-fashioned ways’. (And it’s one of the thousand things on my list!  As I will go into detail in a future post, in a longer-term disaster scenario, supplies main use is to buy us time for our skills to come into play.

So if you’re just starting out on the prepping path, find out those around you who have skills you might one day need and ask if they would be willing to teach you. Most times they will be, as it is human nature to want to share what we know.  Also check out your local Red Cross Courses or your local community college, as many offer one day or multi-day courses in practical skills. In future posts we will cover must-have and good-to-have skills and where to learn them. If you would like to discuss something in particular, please let me know!

Our next several posts will discuss the other 2 fundamental aspects of prepping: fortitude and supplies.


05 2010

So What is Prepping?

So what is a basic definition of prepping?

A basic definition of prepping is ‘Gaining the skills, supplies, and mental and physical fortitude to be prepared for any circumstance.’ While it is likely impossible to be prepared for ‘any’ circumstance, such as the moon careening out of orbit or a large asteroid strike a la Armageddon, that is the goal we shoot for. 

When I discuss being prepared, I don’t just mean in terms of a major disaster, but also each little emergency in our lives. For example, can you change a flat or jumpstart your car? Do you know how to safely deal with a wasp’s nest underneath your porch? How to safely put out a stove fire?

So while yes, we’ll talk about being able to deal with a power outage lasting 30 days on our own store of supplies, being a prepper means being self-sufficient wherever we can. I’ll be straight up with y’all.  For most of my life, I was a chain-smoking, video-game playing, indoor-dwelling, TV-watching sloth. My opinion of a trip outside was running to the convenience store for more Amberbock. My method of changing a tire or jump-starting my car was calling AAA.

However, somewhere along the line about 7 years ago, I started controlling the elements of my life, instead of having them control me. I quit smoking cold turkey, and I was smoking 3 packs a day. I got out of debt, even though I was only making a very average wage. I started to get back into shape after having abused my body with smokes and alcohol for many years.

So please believe me when I say anyone can do this, and needs to!  My family were laughing at me recently as I struggled to dig a trench for my wife’s tomato plants.  I was actually a little hurt, but to be honest they were right to laugh.  They have never known me as anything other than a couch-dwelling, coffee-swilling layabout. 

So digging ditches was not something I had ever done before…but guess what?  It is now. I’ve learned quite a bit about good technique and not so good technique.  And as a side benefit, because so much of what I dug up was rock, I decided to kill two birds and use the rock to help with a grade I am going to build up under my porch.

If something needs to be done around my house, it is my responsibility to do it, especially if it doesn’t require specialized skills (and sometimes even if it does).  The reason I started Advice and Beans is because I believe it is time for every person to make self-sufficiency part of our lives, and to not expect others to do for us what we can do for ourselves. 

If we make it a habit to try to resolve any situation prior to calling in the cavalry, eventually we’ll find that most of us can do many tasks we used to rely on others for.  That ability to function consistently without outside assistance will help in the most critical times, because we will have conditioned ourselves to act, not react

So What’s Next?

Our next 3 posts will cover the individual components of prepping:  skills, supplies and fortitude.


05 2010