Vintage cooking skills seem to be a dying art in the general population. I write a lot about “vintage skills” because I don’t want to see this important knowledge to be lost to current and future generations. You don’t have to be a homesteader or a prepper to appreciate that there a skills we need to maintain, even though modern society has a easier version.So I sat down and made a list of of the vintage cooking skills or kitchen skills. Some of these may feel extreme for you while others may be ones you know well and can’t believe anyone doesn’t know it. But bear with me because there is something here for all of us to learn! Never assume that these old-fashioned skills are used by anyone, just because you and a group of people on a forum are putting them to practice….
Homestead mentors are more important than you can ever imagine. As a modern homesteader there are so many tools at our disposal and ways we can learn so many skills (like homestead bloggers). So you may feel like that online community and a few books are all you need to start your homestead journey. And you might do just fine. But the reality is that a homestead mentor could be the difference between “just fine” and “kicking some homesteading butt”.
I found my mentor by pure accident but she has been an absolute blessing to me along the way and has become a dear friend in the process. She became a partner in my success – and a good mentor will do that for you. And you may find that you need more than one homestead mentor. You may need a garden guru, a goat expert and someone that understands the finer points of cheese making to round out your mentor needs.
The great part about being mentored is that someday you’ll be able to pay that off by mentoring someone else. These mentoring relationships will help to sustain the homestead life far into the future.
So what can having homestead mentors offer you?…
Homestead secrets…the dirty truth and crap you don’t read on most homesteading blogs. Let’s call these homestead secrets…inconvenient truth. I’m not gossiping about some person’s secrets, just uncovering some of the truth you may not see in pretty Pinterest pictures and gorgeous blogs. But if you’re going to have any real success as a homesteader you need to uncover these homestead secrets. We need to talk about them, help each other spread the truth and know that the crap we face.
Dirty Little Homestead Secrets the Crap You Don’t Hear
I don’t want you to be discouraged by this article; rather I just want you to realize other people face the same frustrations you have or may in this homesteading adventure. Ok, with that in mind, let’s talk about dirty little homesteading secrets.
Homestead Secrets – You’re going to feel alone sometimes.
Unless you live in a rural area or come from a family of homesteaders; you’re going to feel alone in your new lifestyle from time to time. The cure it getting connected, and quick, with others that have chosen to homestead whether in their backyards or on acres of land. You can mind them in local gardening groups, on Facebook and other online forums….
Homestead kid business, they can do now…and they should! What better time to instill the entrepreneurial spirit in your kids, than when they are young? Now don’t get me wrong, I think kids need time to be kids; but what I see more today is kids being couch potatoes. A homestead kid business CAN be fun and instill some valuable character traits like responsibility, creativity, diligence, self-confidence and independence (pretty awesome, right?)! Not to mention when they are making their own money they learn the value of it in a real and tangible way. To quote Joel Salatin from Folks This Ain’t Normal, “I’m a big believer that children should have autonomous businesses. This teaches the value of a dollar, persistence, thrift and good math skills.”
So maybe you’re asking, why not just give them an allowance for chores? Chores are good, part of life and certainly part of living on a homestead. But do YOU get paid for your home and farm chores? Or do you have a business/job that pays you money for work done outside of your personal responsibilities? Secondly, is are your children going to be able to earn, through allowance, what they may be able to through a small business?
My 11 year old daughter started a dog poo cleaning service in our neighborhood last year. Her first customer paid her $10 a week for a once a week clean-up after her 2 dogs. We are a one-income family and paying a 10 year old $40 a month wasn’t something I’d budgeted for; this was good money for her! I finally realized she understood the value of her hard-earned money on a trip to the movies. She asked if she could have a candy, to which I said she could if she paid for it herself. After some thought about how much poop had to be cleaned for a $5 candy, she decided to go without.
Now I want to say that I think teens should also consider a business they can run from the homestead but today I want to talk about your under 16 crowd, even under 13. These are businesses that even a fairly young child can run with very little intervention from mom or dad. Depending on your child’s age, experience, etc this homestead kid business may be more of a partnership with you; but that’s a call you have to make. Or perhaps you or another adult can “mentor” them for a time until everyone agrees they are ready to handle it solo….
Vintage Skills 10 More We Still Need in the Modern World
Vintage skills aren’t dead…but they are sick and needing a revival. So what vintage skills do we still need in modern society? Well if you ask me, most of them; but I whittled down my list a bit to the top 10 more vintages skills I think we still need today. This is a follow-up list to my original Homesteading Skills We Need to Learn and Teach. I’d love to hear what vintage skills you would add to either list, so make sure to leave me a comment at the end.
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have all these vintage skills. I am working on them myself! But work on them! Don’t let the self-sufficient skills of the past be lost forever – learn and teach them! These are listed in no particular order.
Vintage Skill #1 – Fermentation
Sure, I have said time and again that canning and preserving food is important. But I also think you need to know how to ferment foods. Fermentation is a preservative of sorts and it is a wonderful, gut healing, food that we need to be eating on a regular basis. Start with a simple sauerkraut (check out Survival at Home’s recipe)and move on from there. One of my favorite fermented foods is fermented salsa (I love the laco-fermented salsa from Cheese Slave)! You can really use up some of your harvest that doesn’t look as pretty for a delicious and nutritious food.
Vintage Skill #2 – Hunting and Fishing
I have talked about the importance of raising a meat source on several of my posts. But hunting and fishing should also be among your skill set for homesteaders and survivalists alike. Sure people still hunt and fish but the majority of the population does not. This skill could fill your freezer with healthy meat without ever buying a bag of feed! You’ll need some initial funds for gear and licenses, etc but I think the overall payout is worth it.
Vintage Skill #3 – Medical Care
When I say medical care, I am not talking about pouring some alcohol on a cut and putting a bandage on. I mean you know how to make a sling for a hurt arm, you know how to brace a broken bone until you can get to help (aka hospital), you know how to stop a gushing wound so someone doesn’t bleed out, what about stitches in a pinch? I recommend looking for classes but if you can’t find that available then there are two books you should consider: The Survival Medicine Handbook and Duct Tape 911 (strange name, but useful info).
I’ll admit, some of this skill isn’t vintage but people knew how to take care of themselves back in the day with the information they had. We have more information now and we should act accordingly.
Vintage Skill #4 – How to Plant & Prune Fruit Trees
If you have a vegetable garden, and you should; it is time to take the next step and plant some fruit trees. Not only will fruit trees offer you an additional food source, you’ll have fruit for canning and preserving. If you have the room to plant a lot of trees you could even have an income for your homestead. My friend’s property used to be an orange orchard and many of the trees still remain. Each year her family has an abundance of juicy and delicious citrus to choose from; then she opens it up to friends. For only $5 you can fill a 5 gallon bucket full over the best organic oranges you’ve ever eaten! If you don’t have a lot of land to work with, consider planting fruit trees that do well in containers like dates. Books to help you with fruit: Storey’s Guide to Growing Organic Orchard Fruits and Grow Your Own in Pots also see Rodale’s Growing Fruit in Pots article….