We had a new member join our group recently, a lady & her young son. She is into self-sufficiency & has a small block out of town. Like most of our members this lady has a strong interest in survival, & that is one of the reasons she has joined our 18th century living history group.
What our group does is interpret to the best of our ability the lifestyle of early settlers in the New World; mid 18th century, roughly 1700-1760, before the revolution. We/I chose this period & place for many reasons. In the New World there were settlers from many nations, unlike here in Australia. We have a wider choice of clothing styles, equipment & tools, period living skills, primitive skills, & activity scenarios. We participate in what is known as "historical trekking", that is trekking & camping in period style, only period equipment & clothing (or copies of) may be used, & it must be done in context. Each member chooses a persona for themselves, this is not a particular person from history such as George or Martha Washington, rather it is the type of person such as a woodsman or a woods-woman, a farmer or a trades person. Regardless of the persona you choose, you can learn & practice any skill you wish. We hold skills workshops in the warmer months, so there is always plenty to do. But a lot of the long term wilderness living/survival skills are also practiced when on historical treks.
Sorry, this was not supposed to be a post about our group, but rather something for you to think about regarding skills & tools. So back to my question, how far back to basics do you wish to go? Do you feel that one day it may be TEOTWAWKI ? And you wish to learn all the survival skills you can, or is it a matter of just learning to become self-sufficient in the world we live in at present?
Think about it, & I will include a list of SOME of the skills we learn & practice for your interest.
This is a list of basic skills in which I personally would expect an 18th century woodsman or woods-woman to have some experience with.
• Flint & steel fire lighting
• Wet weather fire lighting
• Fire-bow fire lighting
• Flintlock fire lighting
• Flintlock use, service & repair
• Field dressing & butchering game
• Blade sharpening
• Tomahawk throwing
• Making rawhide
• Brain tanning
• Primitive shelter construction
• Cordage manufacture
• Moccasin construction and repair
• Axe and tomahawk helve making
• Reading sign
• Woods lore
• Primitive trap construction & trapping
• Open fire cooking
• Fireplace construction
• Clothing manufacture
• Drying meat & other foods
• Knowledge of plant tinders & preparation
• Knowledge of native foods & preparation
• Basic first aid
You can also add to this skills such as loom weaving, spinning, finger weaving, & any other colonial skills you can think of. IF there is any interest in any of these skills, then I will be pleased to post on them if you wish.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau.