Why Urban Preppers Should Learn Basic Homesteading Skills
I had a wonderful surprise the other day. A friend of mine from high school, whom I haven’t spoken to in almost 30 years, contacted me out of the blue. It seems he’s also a prepper and recently came across our blog. Recognizing my name, he decided to reach out. Through the magic of Facebook, we instantly connected. Soon we were chatting for several hours on the phone.
Let me give you a little background. We both grew up in Northern New Jersey, right in what I like to consider the “chaos capital of the world”. Growing up in this area, people seldom leave. The only contact they have with livestock is at the local super market where it’s neatly displayed in refrigerated cases. In fact my first experience with a horse was at the Meadowlands racetrack where my grandfather would take me. Man, he loved the “Ponys”. After graduating high school, we both went our separate ways. I moved down south while he stayed up north.
After the typical “hello, how are you” dialog, I told him about my life here in the country. I spoke of our little micro-homestead, the animals we raise and the plants we grow. Although he seemed somewhat intrigued by it all, he proceeded to tell me that he envy’s my lifestyle, but it wasn’t for him or his family. I understood completely, some people thrive on chaos and the convenience of living in the city, not I.
As with any conversation between preppers, the topic of Bugging Out came up. So I asked him “What’s your plan?”. As usual, I got the response that I hear a million times, “I’m Heading to the hills”.
OK! I’m Bugged Out, Now What?
Let’s get this straight, you have a bug out bag, a bug out vehicle, a bug out location and a bug out plan, That’s fantastic! Now what?
Hunkering down for a period of time requires practical skills that are not learned when growing up in an urban environment. Most importantly, they are not quickly learned. The attitude, “I’m a Financial exec with 3 degrees, how hard can it be to learn a redneck skill” will kill you and starve your family. Sounds harsh, but I personally know people like this. Hammer, what’s that?
Prepper comes from the word prepared, but what is being PREPARED? Does having the best gear make you prepared, does knowledge? Maybe a combination of both? Gear will only get you so far. The knowledge and skills you learn will last a lifetime.
Ask Yourself This
Living out in the sticks, we quickly learn to make due with what we have. Sometimes we do not have the luxury to drive down the road to buy a necessity or get something fixed. Take this small challenge if you will. For the next few days, examine your daily routine, take note of the things you use or consume then ask your self these questions:
- If it breaks, can I fix it?
- If I need it, can I make it?
- If I plant it, will it grow?
- If I shoot it, can I clean it?
- If I clean it, can I cook it?
- If I grow it, can I store it?
- If I find something, can I use it?
Hopefully it won’t take long before that “Oh, Crap” moment sinks in. What the hell would I really do? You now realize that there are tons skills you might not know or even have thought of.
At this point you have 2 choices:
- Put in an old “Air Supply” CD and cry over your failures
- Get motivated, put one foot in front of the other and learn something new.
Be a Jack of All Trades
This figure of speech at one time was not quite flattering, It implied that someone could not dedicate themselves to master one trade in particular. As a prepper homesteader, I wear this badge with honor. I was lucky, my father a carpenter, my mother a gardener, it laid the foundation for the lifestyle that I chose later in life. Here is a recommended list of skills that I feel are important to learn whether your an Urban Prepper or Beginner Homesteader.
- Carpentry – I’m a little partial to this skill but nevertheless, I happens to be the one skill that comes in most handy here on the homestead.
- Welding – Another of my favorites, the fact that I can create and fix most things is not only gratifying, it saves me a ton of money (a rare commodity at our house)
- Plumbing – You may not be fixing many toilets during when the SHTF but there are so many great projects you can complete with this valuable skill. Make a still, create a steam engines, build a gassifier and more.
- Canning / Preserving – It’s not just for grandma anymore. The ability to save food is an essential skill and fun to learn.
- Hunting / Fishing – No matter where you stand on gun control and animal rights, I guarantee that after not eating for a while, Peter Cottentail looks mighty tasty.
- Cooking – OMG! Don’t get me started on people who can’t boil water.
- Small Engine Repair – Take a look on Craigslist and see how much they charge to fix a lawnmower. After an event like an EMP, these may be the only engines running.
- Bushcraft – Oh the memories from Boy Scouts. Quickly learned you can’t smoke the basket weaving kits even though its made from hemp.
I can go on forever but I assume you get my point. Best news is, most of these skills are probably taught at your local community college! Better yet, some classes are sometimes FREE.
Related Article: Where to Learn and Practice New Prepping Skill