The medieval times are popular again—well as far as tv shows go— and there’s no shortage of homemaking, self-sustaining visuals to remind us of how skilled people had to be back then. I think we all share the relief of modern conveniences, like not having to ferment our foods to preserve them or not having to hand wash an entire load of laundry. Yet, I so admire how self-reliant people were then because they understood that in an instant, everything could change. One minute you’re doing well and then the next, you realize that you need to know how to handle things in case you don’t have access to the safety net of the modern world.
Here are some skills that people once knew that I think would be good to know in case, well, you never know what could happen.
Making Household Cleaners
Advertising is good, it really has a grip on us. We think that we need so many things, so much chemical additives to be truly safe and clean. But the truth is that we could get by with replacing some of our household cleaners with homemade solutions. Using ingredients like water, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, lemon and essential oils, we could create spot cleaners, polishes, and cleaning soaps.
Did you know that people still die of hypothermia in the USA? Remember in 2021 when the water pipes burst in Texas during a cold front and people were left freezing in their homes? In case electric heating fails or God forbid you get stranded somewhere in your car, it’s important to remember how to build a fire and how to prep for emergencies with items like insulated sleeping bags and thermal undergarments.
More specifically, growing your own food. There are currently no nationwide food shortages but we’re still experiencing random shortages in different industries. For example, we’re currently experiencing a butter shortage because of issues with labor and high production expenses. Knowing how to grow some of your own food could save you and your family during times of lack.
Predicting the Weather
When I was in Florida recently, I saw the clouds starting to get heavy and I wondered out loud if it was going to rain? And my cousin responded that it didn’t smell like it was going to. It reminded me of how reliant we are on our phones and how we’ve lost a sense of our environment. We can learn to predict the weather by understanding the types of clouds, looking at the condition of the sky, smelling the air, or watching how animals are starting to behave. For example, the higher the clouds, the fairer the weather.
I’m not saying that we should know how to knit sweaters and make all of our own clothes but at the very least, we should all know how to repair and mend minor tears or how to make small alterations. There’s no need to toss something out if it can be repaired and re-used.
Maybe I’m too nostalgic sometimes. And I totally support the businesses that make all of these things convenient for us today. But we just never know if there’ll be a time when we’ll need to call upon some of these skills for our survival.