My husband and I are like minded, (he realized way before I did), and he and I didn’t meet until I was in my mid-thirties. I was considered weird, called a tomboy and later, a gear head. Don’t get me wrong, I cook, sew, knit and crochet. I had many interests though and wanted to learn.
What I have seen lately and in some people we met that are like minded, is the lack of initiative on the part of some spouses. I have seen some women and men that will ridicule their spouses or will just roll their eyes and feign interest. I have seen some that their spouses have prepared and bought supplies but their other half has no clue even how to do the basics. If you are truly vested in being prepared, your spouse and children need to brush up on the basics also. This should give you some good ideas on how to learn where you are lacking.
Do you have a grain mill? Mortar and pestle? Does he/she know the basics? Can all of you bake and cook from scratch? Are your children picky or will they eat everything you put in front of them? Can they sew? Do they know the basics on edible plants? Can they hunt or fish? Can your children do what is needed? Can you do the repairs needed to your home/vehicle?
Our daughter is 16 and she is learning about cars, she can fish with the best of them and she is a good shot. Our youngest is three years old and he will be learning as we go. Both will be able to cook (one does now), sew, set traps, care for farm animals, strip and clean weapons, basic survival, fix the family relic (car) and hopefully get through anything that is thrown at them.
The first step is to start early – my husband is Creole and we eat a lot most people don’t. Turtle soup, crawfish, head cheese and some even eat tripe. My son will eat everything he is offered, he was eating crawfish when he only had 2 teeth. So our routine was this; we fix it and tell you later what it is. It works well with older kids; younger kids will eat what mom and dad eat. It is a well known fact that most really young or really old will not eat a “different” diet, unless they have been doing so all along.
When your child starts showing interest in guns, at about 6-7 years old, take them hunting. Show them what guns do. My father did that I have always had respect for what they can do. Children love doing what mom and dad do so they will take to hunting with pride. We start ours fishing at 2-3 years old for small fish and getting them used to being around the water supervised. They know how to check nets and bait hooks by the time they’re 5, that’s when we teach them how to clean the fish (mom or dad using the sharp knife).
With cars teach them as soon as they’re out of a booster seat. I have seen too many men and women who can’t even check the oil in their own cars. Your children should be a help in most situations not a hindrance, even if it’s just handing you the tools you need. Our three year old will do most simple tasks he is shown and he does them willingly, he is so happy to be a help.
If you are in the military they have a lot of classes on the base that can help with some of this. Most bases have a repair shop and you can utilize their mechanics and tools to learn about repairing your car. They offer other things so check into at the base [or post] repair/craft shop.
Work out your plans to include the jobs you expect your children to do. When things get bad, if we’re on the move our 16 year old is to keep her little brother while we move and defend if necessary. When stationary she can shoot, load and take care of first aid. She will be able to pull her own weight and then some. Our littlest one will follow suit as he grows.
Use barter to attain the skills you don’t have, watch family, use the Internet and community college. Take a vacation to Pennsylvania or Tennessee. You can learn a lot in an Amish community, I learned how to make butter and I am going back so I can learn to shear. Some teach and charge others will share what they know for free. You can also buy produce and goods from the Amish. Davy Crockett days are in August and you can watch the craftsman work and it is for the whole family. All vendors must have a “period” looking tent up and must dress in period clothing. The on site cooking is also period.
Volunteer to gain skills; veterinarian office and humane society is a good place to learn about wound care, antibiotic use and dosage, just go watch, then you will learn, most places will not turn down a volunteer. Zoos are a great place to learn about husbandry, housing and more than basic wound care, as smaller zoos take care of injuries themselves (after a vet is consulted), most of what you learn at these places about wound care can be used on humans. Colleges have book sales where you can get books on farming and some older trades/crafts very cheap (books are 1-5 dollars). Local small gun and knife shows are also a bountiful source of information [and logistics], from hard to find books to hard to find ammo.
Buy reference books! We recently went to a “Friends of the Library” book sale and spent just $12. We now have the McGraw-Hill’s 20 volume set on technology ($5), doctor’s desk references (“fill the box for $2”), a whole box. These included: beginner, intermediate and advanced practical chemistry, triage handbook, a nurse’s reference guide, medical encyclopedias, and a diagnosis reference. We also got the EIR special report “Global Showdown Escalates”, Practical Handyman from Greystone Press ($3). In many towns, you can join the Friends of the Library for $5 to $10 dollars annually, or just hit the book sales once per year. Our $12 investment filled the back seat of our car!
Even if you don’t live where your retreat is take the time to “visit” the area. Go to the local library, stop at the local shops and grab the touristy maps. In Amish communities the maps tell you about the local farms and what produce and goods they sell. They have fliers that have information on classes offered locally. The department of education has listings for adult education classes on things like welding. Introduce yourself to the locals, visit the farmers and the farmers market. Attend the church while you are there, it is the quickest way into the fold and into being welcomed by the locals. Whether you live there permanent or you will someday, you will want to be on friendly terms right away then when it all goes down.
In Tennessee when we were there, we saw newcomers (less than one year there) helping and being helped by the Amish. Neighbors coming together when they’re needed, no questions asked other than when do you need me. They all pull together and work well.
If your family isn’t ready, or is almost ready, taking these steps or some of these steps will help you get there. If you’re not “together” as a family in your preparedness then you need to find a way to be. Get the spouse interested in this even during an outing or vacation. Find a way to get your children involved. Preparing isn’t just for one person in the family, it’s for everyone. – T.D.