Got Skills?

Volunteer rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Volunteer rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Here’s a component of preparedness that few people think about—obtaining the necessary skills now that will aid in the rebuilding of our society in the aftermath.

Picture this. An EMP has wiped out all of our communications and electrical systems. After 6 months, many have died as the result

of such a disaster, but what will those who have survived do now that our nation has been thrown back into the 19th century? Sure the wise will be able to survive about a year on what they have stored and prepared for such an event. But what about beyond that? Seeds and farming won’t solve all of our ails. Does anyone know how to work a steam engine anymore? Who will make the shoes? How will we obtain clothes? Who’s got skills such as metal work skills, medical skills, child birth skills, construction skills, weaving skills, etc. We need to prepare for that aftermath as well as the immediate aftermath of a disaster.

Woodworking skills photo c/o

Woodworking skills photo c/o

This isn’t just about rebuilding a society. This is also about you developing a skill that you can use to provide for your family. Let’s say that you’re a CEO right now. I’m sure the paychecks are great. But in the event you survive a financial collapse or an EMP strike, your paycheck will cease and your skills as a CEO may bring you very little sustenance. People will be forced to only barter for that which they actually NEED, not titles. Your professional customer service skills may provide for your family now, but what kind of skills do you have to back that up with in the rebuilding of a society and providing for others? Even the most advanced computer programming skills will become insignificant if we experience any type of event like I’ve mentioned in previous articles. So think about this, and fix it. Be sure that you are will be a vital part of your community in the long-term aftermath. Start researching and learning these “old fashioned” crafts and trades such as woodworking, leather working, weaving, iron works, steam power, cheese making (yup, that’s what I’m focusing on...hee hee) Who knows. You might really enjoy it!

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Another book you might like is S.M. Stirling's Dies the Fire. Makes you realize how dependent we are on electricity nowadays.

Just for fun I've taught myself some skills- knitting, crochet, spinning, loom & tablet weaving. I also know basic sewing and embroidery, and want to learn how to start with a trimmed fleece and end up with a sweater. We'll learn more as we can.

Aaahhh hope! I have been reading and researching information on stocking up foods and other supplies for long term.

When I read this post I realized that our family is actually in a much better position than many. We already hunt, garden and preserve most of our foods. My husband can build or make most anything. He has great skills that can be used for trade.

I hope that doesn't sound over confident. Cause I'm not. I know just enough, to know that I don't know much. I just felt hopeful after reading this post.

Thanks for a great site full of valuable information.

I've thought for a long time about becoming a Docent at a Living History farm..Almost every state has one - Sure they host Tourists, but to give an Authentic show for the public they have to demonstrate old fashioned skills such as Blacksmithing, quilting, woodstove cooking, sheep shearing, cheese making, and so forth. The facility is usually city or county owned and if you sign up to wear a "Prairie Dress & bonnet" they will teach you such skills for free. Might be a place to start if the Elders in your family that once knew how to do such things have passed on.

This is certainly true. We need personal skills as well as those to help build up a community. We are so dependent in our society now. It makes us very vulnerable.

My husband just started reading One Minute After. He's blown away. We talked about this subject this morning. This is one of the reason's that I we have a large home library. I have always had a interest in Home Skills, even those considered "pioneer". We are currently thinking through these things and what we would need, but have many questions...Could we stay on our property (or will China have the NW as payment by then)? What would we take if we had to leave quickly? Etc....

Thanks for keeping us thinking!

Have you guys read Alas, Babylon yet?

I wonder if I could get skills there. We certainly have a LOT of historical reinactment places here in Utah with all of the pioneer heritage. Good idea!

I can tell you this Kristine. Based on Revelations and Isaiah no foreign power will ever reign over the U.S. However, whether or not you'll be able to stay on your property it depends on where exactly you are. There are a LOT of factors that play into that. See today's article for more on this topic.

Our family does colonial and mountain man reenacting and besides being fun and a fantastic activity for the kids, we've had the opportunity to learn many useful skills. Through these reenactments, I've taken classes on cooking over a fire, flint/steel firestarting, basic weaving/cordage techniques, basket weaving, leather tanning, butter making, and more and hubby has taken some of the same classes plus blacksmithing and other metal work. Pioneer type reenactments in our area have offered demonstrations of some of these "old" skills as well. These are a fantastic resource as you can see the skill in application or try it hands on instead of just reading about it.

I'd definitely encourage involvement in any living history event near you. Usually the people involved/organizing it are more than willing to answer questions and help you with "appropriate attire" if you choose to get more into the reenacting. You might find you really like it :)

Rendezvous, a lot of western states re enact the old Fur trapper type rendezvous. Set up camps, trade, shoot old blackpowder weapons. All kinds of great things to do and learn. I think this next spring I may get involved with the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). They do recreations of Middle Ages life, arts and entertainment. Most try to be very accurate with the skills and items available. Always fun to watch a joust or melee combat, but I was always drawn toward the food/drink, pottery and fabric making skills.

Jamie, I too am drawn toward the foods and drinks. But I'm going to have to rethink that since I don't think that will do much in rebuilding society. Only in expanding my waistline. :-)

Well I guess I should have specified the crafts to make an oven or pit. A spit or clay fired plates, pots and glasses. But you got to admit the food is great and safe.

I saw somewhere about making cottage cheese out of powdered you know how?

yup, it's easy. There's a lot on the internet about it. You can also make ricotta and mozarella.


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