Looking to Our Past


We all know the stories about Daniel Boone, Davy Crocket, Kit Carson, Jim Bridger, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and many more too numerous to list; but how many have studied the skills and everyday chores that these men used to establish the United States as we know it today?

The books written, except for the Journals of Meriwether Lewis and a few others, normally regale us in their plight to survive an Indian attack and where they rendezvoused for the winter, not the everyday skills used to survive the u201Cwildsu201D they chose to make home. The same can be said of the stories of the medieval knights, but we are seeing more books written on the daily lives of the u201Cpeasant or commoneru201D after archaeologists do their digs and publish the findings. We can and MUST look to these if we are to survive a long term society and infrastructure collapse.

There are several resources online and books being written to help explain the skills used by our Colonial ancestors to build this country; The Book of Buckskinning series by William Scurlock, A Pilgrim's Journey by Mark A. Baker, Sons of a Trackless Forest by Mark A Baker, Muzzleloader magazine and the National Muzzleloading Rifle Association with their Muzzle Blasts magazine to name a few, will be great resources to add to the survival library. The Books of Buckskinning (8 in all) have several chapters written on everything from making soap and candles to building fires and firearms and everything in between. By studying the Native Americans, we'll learn skills of a people that survived without the aid of even metal (until the Europeans brought it). The medieval era brought us the metallurgy to make iron and steel, shape it into tools and weapons and living a primitive life on homesteads. Most of my skills are grounded more in the Colonial/Mountain Man era, as that is the times I study and u201Cplayu201D in the most.

The medieval blacksmiths were very resourceful and paved the way for our modern tools and many of the items we take for granted today. They found that by burning peat moss (with the iron ore imbedded) they would get balls of molten iron for working their trade. There are natural deposits of iron ore, but will we have the time and energy to mine it? By burning this peat moss, the iron becomes injected with a high carbon count from the vegetation being burnt with it and now we have a stronger metal. These blacksmiths did their work without the advanced forges of today but still made tools and weapons that kept society and mankind growing and surviving as a whole. They found that by adding other metals, they could form new metals, such as steel, and create an even stronger product. Find books on primitive metallurgy and acquire the skills necessary before they are truly needed. How much pride will you have knowing you skinned that squirrel with a knife you made, cooked it in a pan you created and used the fork and knife you forged? Eating and cooking utensils can also be made from wood, horn and bone.

Land Navigation

Land navigation by primitive means may be required. Compasses get broken or lost and without the local surplus or sporting goods store, replacement may be a long wait. Also, in the event of a military invasion, that fancy tritium compass may pin point your location or path due to the minute radioactive signatures (the nice part that glows may be the same as gives you away). I do not know nor claim to claim to know enough on this subject to give advice….yet. I am trying to learn and hope to become proficient in using a sextant and follow the stars.

Self bows (long bows) and wooden arrows tipped with flint arrowheads fed the tribes of America long before the muskets and fowling pieces of the Europeans. Preppers should study and become proficient in their use and making these tools. By heating the wood for the arrows, you can straighten it with a piece of antler. There are several books written on the subjects of building bows, making arrows and flint knapping. The type of wood used will depend on your locale. Hickory, Osage Orange and Yew are probably the most common used, but research what the Natives used in your area. Bow staves can be purchased at first to practice and acquire the skills to build your own from scratch.

Insects are a pest, literally as well as figuratively. There are several options to use that do not incorporate over the counter u201Crepellentsu201D and their chemicals. I use the large u201Cpunksu201D used for lighting fireworks. I will light several and place them around my area when fishing or sitting out at night. You can also burn certain fungi to get the same effect, tree fungus smoldering works very well.

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