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red shirt
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I notice that a huge number of women are on the boards and some like minded people.

I would like to know what skills you have or are developing related to prepping or survival or homesteading. What lessons did you learn the hard way?

EDIT: My skills lean toward math and science. I would like to learn homesteading skills. My relatives grew up on small homesteads.

As a start I bought a food saver system and learned that I should have bought one long ago as it prevents freezer burn. I bought some mylar bags to experiment with so I bought a 20 lb bag of rice. I tried putting rice in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and moisture absorbers. The lessons that I learned was that the thick mylar bags have sharp corners and I had to be careful that the bags didn't get nicked. I had to repackage about a third of my rice. I learned that 20 Lbs of rice takes up a lot of room when separated into smaller bags. If I do it again, I will use the food saver bags.
 

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Forward, into the fray!
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What skills do I have? Hey, I'm old and have done a lot of things at least once. If you hold him down I can even neuter a calf. It's not something I've done often, nor do I plan to do it in future but... *shrug*

These days the primary things I practice is hugging and kissing on grandbabies and booting their hineys when they get too spoiled. That's the nice thing about being old; I can hold forth as being an expert in a lot of things while actually not doing any of them anymore. ; )
 

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I am good with food. I can Produce it, Prepare it, and Preserve it.

This Fall, because shipped in lettuce tastes watery to me, I have potted up several beets from my garden so that I can raise beet greens under lights. Hopefully that will make the salads taste better.

I am somewhat handicapped, so I do less than I used to, but I do have the skills. Just less energy.
 

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SNIP

As a start I bought a food saver system and learned that I should have bought one long ago as it prevents freezer burn. I bought some mylar bags to experiment with so I bought a 20 lb bag of rice. I tried putting rice in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers and moisture absorbers. The lessons that I learned was that the thick mylar bags have sharp corners and I had to be careful that the bags didn't get nicked. I had to repackage about a third of my rice. I learned that 20 Lbs of rice takes up a lot of room when separated into smaller bags. If I do it again, I will use the food saver bags.
Please **do not** store in plastic food saver bags. They are oxygen permeable--not suitable for LTS.

Do a search here on SB about Mylar and o2 absorbers. NYmin has written a ton of accurate, science-based info. And a couple other people.

The gist of what I've learned here is that food saver systems are worthless for LTS. Must use o2 absorbers, and some impermeable container. Even the mylar must be put inside another sturdier container (for mice) so consider canning jars and o2 absorbers. All stored in cool, dry, dark location.
 

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I would like to get better at my cooking skills to the point where less than 20% of what I buy is processed food. I suppose one has to technically include things like dairy products, packaged noodles, etc. in that. I don't live on a farm. However, if one is eating stored food primarily, rice and beans are part of the lesser-processed things you can buy. Still, one can only eat so much rice and beans.

Would also like to improve my crochet skills so I can start making things like socks and perhaps a sweater.
 

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I would like to get better at my cooking skills to the point where less than 20% of what I buy is processed food. I suppose one has to technically include things like dairy products, packaged noodles, etc. in that. I don't live on a farm.
If you don't live on a farm, you obviously have to buy much of your food from others who do. I wouldn't consider something as processed food just because some one else has harvested and stored it the same way you would yourself--rice and beans aren't processed foods, just commercially produced. If pasta and noodles are made with only what you would use to make them at home, again I'd call them commercially produced rather than processed. If frozen vegetables are just plain blanched and frozen vegetables, I wouldn't consider those as processed food. Niblet Corn in Butter Sauce (with "enzyme-modified" butter, modified corn starch, xantham gum, and added color) would be processed food, plain frozen corn kernels wouldn't be, just frozen food rather than fresh.

I'm not saying fresh food isn't the best choice when available, just that food preserved in some manner is going to make up much of your diet, even if you have a farm, if you aren't a tropical hunter-gatherer, and that is not necessarily a problem. If there's basically only one ingredient on the package or can, I'd consider it preserved food rather than processed food. If you think about it, there's not much differnce between pressure-canned raw-pack beef chunks and beef chunks cooked in a crockpot. The canned ones are just pre-crockpotted. :)
 

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Yes, unfortunately, I do have to do a lot of shopping. I don't count frozen veg as processed food if it doesn't come with a sauce, or rice and beans. I do buy produce when it is in season, but as someone who worked in a produce dept. for 3 years corporately, I know it's gotten from overseas when it isn't, especially since I had to set up the items in the computer system for the grocery store company. So then I do usually buy frozen during the winter months.

Meat, I try to buy fresh but it's not always affordable. I often buy eggs and seafood for protein these days.
 

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I do buy produce when it is in season, but as someone who worked in a produce dept. for 3 years corporately, I know it's gotten from overseas when it isn't, especially since I had to set up the items in the computer system for the grocery store company. So then I do usually buy frozen during the winter months.
Unless you are buying it fresh-picked from a farm stand, frozen produce is often fresher than fresh produce. Fruits and veggies can lose a lot of vitamins in shipment and while displayed at the store. Even canned will sometimes come out ahead of imported produce left to sit in your refrigerator a few more days after sitting in the store.

I agree meat is expensive. But at least around here, so is seafood. Eggs are back to reasonable, but grains-and-beans are about the only other budget foods left.
 

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x2 on not using Food Saver bags, they have ruined many many many pounds of meat in my deep freeze. They don't seal well and are permeable, meaning freezer burnt meat. Blech. I make a LOT of jerky when I have surplus meat, then vacuum pack and freeze that.
 

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Off the leash
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I too know how to grow food, garden wise, and can just about anything that doesn't get out of my way. Any vegetable and many meats.

I can sew and repair lots of things, can cook on or with just about anything and know a lot about first-aid and basic health care. Several other things too but those are just the ones off the top of my head.

I need to practice my shooting skills as they aren't what they should be. Unfortunately arthritis makes it hard and painful for me to shoot much so I put it off.
 

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Dog Whisperer
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I live in an apartment, in a city so that limits my options as far as having a big garden or making improvements to my home.

I have basic sewing skills, enough to repair items. I just bought some polartec 300 to make a sleeping bag liner/emergency bag - starting it today.

I'm frugal so I stretch my money pretty far, I've got a good set of supplies.

My shooting skills are probably my strongest skillset.

My weakest skills are definitely healthcare/first-aid. I know how to stop bleeding, but that's about it.
 

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I am good at health care (alternative), herbs etc. Am learning about what foods to eat and how to ferment and dehydrate foods. Eg Drinking about 1-2 pints of fermented cabbage each day leaves me with little to no appetite but is very nourishing and prebiotic as well as clearing the system of parasites, bugs etc. I went 22 days without food last year (although i did have apple juice and lemon juice mixed and a bowel cleanse mixture of clay, husks and charcoal. However it is important for me to appreciate just how long one can go without food. Ive gone 48 hours without any liquid touching my lips as well. The body is brilliantly adaptable. I would advise learning about how to stay health, and urine therapy is something that is very healing and costs nothing.

I have been practicing having a cold shower after warm each day so if necessary i can try and survive cold (which I hate). I leave house heating off even though ambient temerpature is less than 16 degrees and only put it on in the evenings when we are sat down.

Keeping health and using preventative medicine is vital.
 

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red shirt
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Discussion Starter #13
I went 22 days without food last year (although i did have apple juice and lemon juice mixed and a bowel cleanse mixture of clay, husks and charcoal. However it is important for me to appreciate just how long one can go without food. .... I would advise learning about how to stay health, and urine therapy is something that is very healing and costs nothing.
Last week I watched a documentary about the science behind fasting and how the body (cells) go into protective mode. This morning I was looking up how to get off of a starvation diet which is something they left out of the documentary. I was unsuccessful. I know that one has to introduce food slowly until digestion starts up again. Do you have any links to information about the subject that you can share?
 

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I have (IMHO) massive gardening skills in cold climate, canning, dehydrating, also some seed saving, and how to keep onions-potatoes-winter squash. Also grown beans for use as soup beans.

I have taught sewing, knitting,crochet, and also written patterns & hired as tech editor for others, and produced items for fabric/yarn company samples.

I have a herd of vintage sewing machines and love to clean/troubleshoot them until they are reliable.

I work in the arts and including for various churches so am very familiar with subtle idiosyncrasies of denominations.

I have birthed children and exclusively breastfed, and dealt with a EBD child (tough love required) which may be valuable in SHTF when the kids have no government babysitters. I have taught arts to kids.

I have (at same time as kids) dealt with elderly relatives, including terminally ill on their deathbed. And dealt with family fights over who gets what.

I have had cats, horses, but mostly dogs and know a little about training them.

I have refinished wood items, painted 2 cars, fixed cars, cleaned guns, and my male relatives are a bit speechless & deflated when they take me to the range.

However because I am getting too old to be "desired" by powerful men, and refuse to trade sexual favors for anything, when SHTF you will likely find me among the droves of middle age women being forced to slave in the fields or caring for sick or children. Despite all my useful skills, I fear the more powerful men will throw all of that aside, and there's not much any one will be able to say to those men. Especially if the SHTF when I hit age 70 or so, I'm pretty sure the elderly will become excess baggage.
 

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I know how to garden, and know about a lot of native plants & herbs. I have spent some time on natural remedies, essential oils, tinctures, salves etc.. I can fish, camp and hunt if necessary. I know some things about first aid & health. I had children, so I know about them. I can shoot a shotgun or rifle. I need more work with a pistol. I am working on a second language, in case that might be useful in the future as well. I am not fluent, but do know some basics. I do have experience with dogs, and how to train them. I can sew by hand. I have a little library of books on natural remedies, herbs & essential oils. (plus medicine) I am working on a natural remedies journal to pass on to my kids. I was printing material off, but it became too expensive. Now I'm just writing this stuff down, and picking the highlights of things that interest me.
 

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I cook, bake, lacto-ferment, and can. I'm learning to dehydrate.

I teach (homeschooled one all the way, starting again and writing curriculum). I sing. I knit and can sew pretty much anything.

I'm an RN and also good with natural medicine and nutrition.

I want to learn to mushroom hunting this coming year.
 

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Raving Loony
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I can neither knit nor weave; I'd like to be able to do something like that. Short-term, not that important, but if we were dealing with a radical reconfiguration of things it would be very useful.

I would very much like to learn to repair bicycles and small engines.

I'm not a great shot.

I'm a decent forager, but there's plenty of room for improvement.

I'd like to be better at mental health care. I guess that's for personal reasons-- had a lot of trouble with it in my lifetime, mostly from following bad advice because it came from credentialed sources or people who could make a very strong (oftentimes just in the sense of being loud and coercive) argument. But it's something everyone has and everyone needs, something a lot of people will struggle with at some point even in a comparatively easy world. It's STILL not talked about a lot because of stigma and mainstream social values, but it seems to me anyway it's pretty important and something we don't think about very often.
 

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MC Ain't Crazy, I am not sure what mental health issues you want to cover. I do think there are certain calming herbs that should be considered. (don't forget about essential oils, but they don't have an indefinite shelf life) Chamomile is great for a calming sensation. I have German Chamomile essential oil. You could grow your own chamomile. The German Chamomile is an annual, but will self seed if it likes where it is planted. Roman Chamomile is a perennial. Ylang Ylang is good for your mood, also Lavender. Chamomile tea is wonderful for your mood, and relaxing.

https://www.herbs2000.com/disorders/mood_change.htm
<<<Anxiety

bergamot
chamomile
jasmine
lavender
rose
ylang-ylang

Depression

bergamot
melissa
neroli

Emotional ups and downs

bergamot
chamomile
jasmine
neroli

Headaches

chamomile
lavender
peppermint

Hot flashes

clary sage
lemon
peppermint

Fatigue

Energizing essential oils such as ginger or other stimulating oils such as peppermint or nutmeg

Insomnia

lavender

Irritability

A grounding and balancing essential oil such as patchouli or a sedative oil such as cardamom

Mood swings

Grounding and balancing essential oils such as patchouli or soothing essential oils such as lavender>>>

This is not a complete list, but it will get you started. Be sure to read all about them, and any side effects or possible drug interactions. If you are allergic to ragweed (also aster & chrysanthemum), you may be allergic to chamomile too. Buy some of the tea, or do an allergic skin test to see, before buying something to plant. (and if you can do this before putting money down on essential oils, which can be expensive) I also have Patchouli, and it has a long shelf life, if the right conditions are met. (keep dark and cool)
 

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Raving Loony
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Thanks, that's useful!!

I'm primarily concerned with "minor things" (that maybe aren't so minor when you're dealing with them). Depression, anxiety, grief, et cetera in a similar vein. I'd also be interested in ways of handling traumatic stress, since that's something we'd honestly ALL be likely to encounter in a less kind world.
 

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Well, there is plenty on that list I provided, that will give you something to work with. As I said, the list is not complete, there are others. I have many of the herbs on that list already. I used to grow clary sage, and I had it for several years. I also grew some things on this list I noted. Some made it, and some didn't. I have been using essential oils now for quite some time. I also like herbal teas, salve, and tinctures.
 
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