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Twenty Skills that are Dying Out


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#41 Stosh

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 05:47 PM

My sons don't remember having a home phone number.   That said, they both knew both my cell phone number and my wife's (so they met that requirement at least for two numbers)

 

The Mrs. and I just had this conversation this past weekend.  I have her in my contacts but I didn't know her cell phone number.  When she started to tease me about it and I said I didn't need to know her number, all I had to do is snap my fingers and she'd answer.  That's when the fun ended.   :)


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There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#42 CalicoPenn

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 07:15 PM

Other skills that people have or are forgetting: Hooking up horses to and driving the family buggy; blacking a stove; converting cubits to inches; predicting the local weather for the day; land navigation without map & compass; properly sharpening and using a scythe; converting talents to sheckels (60 shekels = 1 mina and 60 minas = 1 talent - in case anyone was curious); sending a telegram; tightening bed ropes; crank starting a car (and for that matter, cranking a car window up or down); ditching a tent (that's D for ditching, not P for pitching); backing up a computer to floppy disks; using a cigarette machine; making cedar shingles; and baking in a wood stove.
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#43 Stosh

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 07:53 PM

Or finding edible food that doesn't come from a store.

 

Making clothing to protect oneself from the elements.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#44 T2Eagle

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 11:04 PM

Or finding edible food that doesn't come from a store.

 

Making clothing to protect oneself from the elements.

The second one is open to a lot of interpretation since you would have to define where in the process you start making something.  Does sewing already spun cloth count, or do you need to do your own weaving.

 

As to the former, how long do you think that's been a declining skill.  To my knowledge no one in my family has farmed anything more than backyard tomatoes since the potatoe crop failed in the 1840s, those and the occasional landed fish are probably the only non store bought food we and millions of others have ever eaten in North America.


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#45 Chadamus

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 11:42 PM

Depending on which source you use to back-up your side of the discussion, as low as 2% of Americans farm their own food. Most are vegetables i presume. Meat? Less likely. Grains? Somewhere in between. Dairy? I don't know anyone with a cow.


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#46 Stosh

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 08:43 AM

Depending on which source you use to back-up your side of the discussion, as low as 2% of Americans farm their own food. Most are vegetables i presume. Meat? Less likely. Grains? Somewhere in between. Dairy? I don't know anyone with a cow.

 

1) I have a garden which I grow 75% of our vegetables and potatoes.

 

2) Dropped 2 deer, 12 rabbits and a couple dozen squirrels last fall.  That accounts about 80% of our meat.  Even if they did shoot wild game would the average person know what to do with it to clean it for consumption?

 

3) I know how to tan hides and I know how to piece together scraps of material, repair and maintain clothing.

 

4) Wild rice and cattails are 2 grains in our area that are quite plentiful.

 

5) Dairy comes from more than cows.  :)    And with all the people that are lactose intolerant, one will come to the eventual conclusion that milk is not something intended for adult consumption.

 

Raising rabbits and chickens is quite common in our area.

 

A ton of people mow more food each day in their yards than they can consume in a year.

 

One ear of carried over shoepeg heritage corn produces enough sweet corn in my freezer to last all winter long.  Had some for upper last night.

 

I don't eat much local fish (high mercury content), but I do have all the equipment to supplement the meat in the freezer and they can be harvested 365 days of the year.

 

If one knows the techniques, one can grow and harvest year around even in the snows of the upper Midwest.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#47 Chadamus

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 09:59 AM

@Stosh I applaud you. Its unfortunate more people don't or can't do the came.
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#48 blw2

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 02:54 PM

yeah, I'm jealous of that, stosh.  I was raised by parents who both grew up on poor farms.  They always had a garden up until recently.  "put up" canned veggies.  I grew up hunting and fishing.  Helped raise chickens as a kid.... helped dad tend his bees...and even experienced farm living visiting grandparents as a young kid, milking cows and such....and got to experience their annual a hog slaughter once. 

 

I'd really love to have a small garden and more edibles in the yard.... maybe some fruit trees, blue berry bushes, etc...  Sadly, I just don't seem to have the time, and living in an HOA run neighborhood I'm limited in what i could do even if I did have the time..

Also sad that i haven't been hunting or fishing in so long it would be a struggle for me to remember how to skin a deer or clean a fish.  Sometimes I think worse than that is that I'm not teaching those skills to my kids.

 

It was a struggle for us when we moved.... I wanted more space and fewer rules, but my wife wanted the neighborhood with sidewalks, neighborhood swimming pool, and more friend opportunities for the kids.  She won.  There are up sides to it too though....

 

 

I was thinking of another dying skill earlier today.... Drafting.  I'm an engineer working in the architectural world, and have a lot of training from a long time ago in drafting.... 3 years in high school + an AA degree in Drafting and Design before I went on to get into engineering.  Mostly drawing board stuff.  That is an almost dead art.  Engineers and Architects today just don't learn drafting skills and standards like that.... and it shows in the drawings that are produced today.


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#49 Stosh

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Posted 25 January 2017 - 03:40 PM

A 1 ' by 20' strip of land between the southside of the house and driveway was my first gardening attempt.  I was about 8 or 9 years old at the time.  I bought a package of strawflower seeds and have been working in the dirt ever since then. Over the years I have learned how to produce a lot of vegetables with a very little effort. 

 

One of the gardens I grew in Iowa was turned over each spring by a farmer friend of mine who had a tractor and plow. 

 

When I retired I bought a 9 acre hobby farm that is on a hill facing south. 

 

My youth group at church started a garden next to the church, they hope to provide enough harvest to sustain the garden and provide fresh produce for the local food pantry at the end of next summer.

 

It's not just vegetables, I maintain the Scatter Garden at the local cemetery for people who haven't the funds to be buried in a standard grave or mausoleum.    The county maintains a Potter's Field, but this one takes up a lot less space and still is a nice place for an indigent's ashes to be scattered.

 

I was never an Eagle scout, but I try to do a personal "Eagle" project every year.  Just yesterday I turned over 2700 pages of historical/genealogical research I have been working on to the archives department of the local library.  The project started out 15+ years ago as a half dozen file folders of a few names.  Now their stories are forever kept at the libraries archives.  

 

This year's project is an indoor garden in the basement under grow lights so I can have fresh greens and root stock year around.

 

The Mrs. and I spend about $100/month on groceries we need beyond what we produce ourselves.

 

I may not be "off the grid", but if the grid goes down, I'm not going to have much of a problem.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#50 ianwilkins

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 08:16 AM

 

This year's project is an indoor garden in the basement under grow lights so I can have fresh greens and root stock year around.

 

 

The people who lived in our house before us tried that in the loft, and were selling the "greens" to the slacker students from the local college. They bypassed the electricity meter, and our loft has about 20 double power points and a tap in it. They got about 3 years jail time when they got caught.


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#51 Stosh

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 08:30 AM

:)  Yep, and if the police have the proper paperwork they can come and see the lettuce, radishes, beets, carrots that I'm growing.  I don't think the loft would work as well as 2 4'x4' raised beds in the basement.  Next month is set-up time for all the early start plants. 

 

One of the things that "greens" growers often forget is that darkness is a good thing.  My lights are on timers so as to not waste electricity.  12 hours on 12 hours off, on a timer, works great and uses only half the energy consumption.

 

I'm beginning to explore the possibility of rabbit hutches down there as well, but with all the travel I do, that might not be feasible.

 

My daughter is pushing hydroponics for my next endeavor.  Feeding fish can be done automatically and with lights that I already have, I should be able to have fish for dinner as well.  Trout is the preferred fish of choice in our area, tilapia isn't as hardy.


Edited by Stosh, 26 January 2017 - 08:33 AM.

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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#52 ianwilkins

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 08:55 AM

One of the things that "greens" growers often forget is that darkness is a good thing.  My lights are on timers so as to not waste electricity.  12 hours on 12 hours off, on a timer, works great and uses only half the energy consumption.

 

I'm beginning to explore the possibility of rabbit hutches down there as well, but with all the travel I do, that might not be feasible.

 

My daughter is pushing hydroponics for my next endeavor.  Feeding fish can be done automatically and with lights that I already have, I should be able to have fish for dinner as well.  Trout is the preferred fish of choice in our area, tilapia isn't as hardy.

 

I guess they figured as they weren't paying for the electricity, the consumption was irrelevant. Little realising that the police have heat seeking cameras on their helicopters, and do the occasional flyover to check the roof heat signatures. They light up like a beacon. Another advantage of basement setup I guess. Basements aren't generally a thing in the UK though.

 

Now, fish, and water, and greens, that reminds me. I'm sure I've seen something with lettuce being grown floating on expanded polystyrene (styrofoam) "floats" in ponds or tanks. Though as I guess the roots dangle in the water, you might need to do something to stop the fish eating the roots. Two birds with one stone, greens and fish at the same time!


Edited by ianwilkins, 26 January 2017 - 08:56 AM.

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#53 SSScout

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 02:12 PM

Dissappearing skills:  

*Hand lettering a poster. 

* Photo paste up for publication.

*Hand write a Thank You letter to Grandma . Or Uncle. Or aunt. As a grown up, not pestered into it by a parent, who doesn't remember why to do it, much less how.

*Paint brush cleaning, just go buy a new one, right?

*Saw blade (hand and circular) sharpening.  (can your Scout actually sharpen that knife or axe?)

*  Manual Transmission shifting/driving. Unless your semi has a clutch brake, then it is an art.... Double clutch?

* Driving at all! 

*  "Showing your work" on a test. "It's in my hand-held".

 

 

*Slide rule operation.


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#54 Stosh

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 03:47 PM

When I was an administrative assistant for the General Manager of a major corporation that produced a huge and vastly complex piece of machinery, I was going through an old closet cleaning it out I found an old slide-rule.  I put it on my counter by my desk as a "conversation" piece.  It was kinda surprising how many of the corporate engineers came over and wanted me to teach them how to use it.  They made jokes about it, but I always reminded them, this was the major scientific instrument that put man on the moon.  

 

None of the ever mentioned that the only one in the Engineering Building that still knew how to use one..... and he was a "secretary". 


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#55 eagle90

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 04:56 PM

Back in college in the early 70's I actually had to take a one hour class on how to use a slide rule!  This was just on the edge of the computer era.


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#56 Stosh

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 05:09 PM

My statistics class was taken using the Wang Calculator that stored one's data on a cassette tape.  Hand held calculators were forbidden from being used in any and all math classes.  Slide-rules could still be used.  The college's computer was used for the computer science department which stored it's information on key-punch cards.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#57 TAHAWK

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 12:18 AM

He missed:

 

Clearing a field by burning

 

Making a house from logs

 

Making a spoon from a piece of wood

 

Telling time from the sun

 

Predicting weather from clouds and wind

 

Tying up a prisoner

 

Sewing up and cauterizing a wound

 

Birthing a baby

 

Finding water in unfamiliar territory

 

Understanding Wampum, Trade Beads, and Pieces of Eight

 

Understanding pecks and bushels

 

Understanding stones and hands

 

Identifying wild animals by their signs

 

Memorizing your ancestry so it can be recited on demand

 

Making a bow and arrows from scratch

 

Smoke signals and trail signs

 

Understanding leagues

 

Tanning hides

 

Making rope from naturally-occurring materials 

 

Knowing which wood is best for various tools and devices (E.g. Do you use elm as fire wood?)

 

Recalling directions from memory for remote destinations when there are no roads or trails

 

Knowing which berries are safe to eat

 

Knowing which herbs have medicinal qualities

 

Knowing how to stalk and kill wild animals

 

Baking in a mud oven or oven made of field stones (Careful selecting those stones!)

 

Killing a chicken and plucking and butchering same

 

Making soap from lye, wood ashes, and animal fat

 

Panning for gold

 

Storing vegetables for over-wintering

 

Making a horseshoe from bar iron and installing it on a horse

 

Replacing a lock on a flintlock rifle

 

Making a wood hoe.

 

Making concrete from sea shells and aggregate.

 

Smelting copper. lead, and tin from ore

 

Making black powder from sulfur, charcoal, and animal waste

 

Killing, butchering, and "salting" a pig

 

Gathering salt from salt water

 

Knife-fighting

 

Making paper from wood

 

Making ink

 

Weaving cloth from its constituent materials, such as nettles

 

Operating a "dial" telephone

 

Maintenance of a "DA" hair style

 

Calculating correct "change" without a machine to tell you how to do it

 

Starting a motor vehicle with a crank (including setting the magneto)

 

Patching an "inner tube"

 

Setting the "points" for an internal combustion engine

 

Requirements for ordinary life change over time and alterations in circumstances.  


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#58 Stosh

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 09:33 AM

He missed:

 

Clearing a field by burning

 

Does that include the occasional prairie burning of one's native prairie plant garden?  If so, done that.

 

Making a house from logs

 

I've dismantled a log house, moved it and put it back tog ether? done that.

 

Making a spoon from a piece of wood

 

Whittled a lot of spoons and forks over the years.  Toss them in the fire when done

 

Telling time from the sun

 

I still teach my boys this.

 

Predicting weather from clouds and wind

 

Best college course I ever took was on Weather and Climate!!!

 

Tying up a prisoner

 

Nope, never had the situation ever arise.

 

Sewing up and cauterizing a wound

 

As an EMT-A, never had this as part of the curriculum

 

Birthing a baby

 

As an EMT-A.  Yep. 

 

Finding water in unfamiliar territory

 

I've had to dig for water in old river beds a couple of times.

 

 

Understanding Wampum, Trade Beads, and Pieces of Eight

 

$$"s too.

 

Understanding pecks and bushels

 

Using any non-metric measurements in this world is getting to be a rarity.

 

Understanding stones and hands

 

Same thing

 

Identifying wild animals by their signs

 

Still try and teach this in scouting

 

Memorizing your ancestry so it can be recited on demand

 

I can go back 8 generations to 1636, but with 2,000+ relatives identified in my genealogy research, no, I don't have it memorized.  I can do direct line however.

 

Making a bow and arrows from scratch

 

Done that a couple of times.  Didn't turn out too bad.

 

Smoke signals and trail signs

 

My walking trails in the woods behind the house are all marked.

 

Understanding leagues

 

4 kilometers is a league.

 

Tanning hides

 

Yep, I can do that

 

Making rope from naturally-occurring materials 

 

Yep, single twist (twine) to multiples of 3 twist of single twist (rope)

 

Knowing which wood is best for various tools and devices (E.g. Do you use elm as fire wood?)

 

With the Dutch Elm infestation and now the Emerald Ash Boer and now the Oak Blight, it's getting harder and harder to find good wood.

 

Recalling directions from memory for remote destinations when there are no roads or trails.

 

Hmmmm, how does one denote landmarks in non-road/trail areas other than mountains that may nor may not be visible at the the time (woodlands)  Otherwise it's just memorizing landmarks and distances.

 

Knowing which berries are safe to eat

 

I eat a lot of wild berries.... better than the stuff one gets in the grocery stores.

 

Knowing which herbs have medicinal qualities

 

I grow a variety of herbal plants in my garden.  A whole section is set aside for them.

 

Knowing how to stalk and kill wild animals

 

Most hunting today is wander through the woods and shoot whatever moves.  In all the years of hunting,  I have shot only once to bring down a deer and never had to "track" a wounded animal more than 10'.  When I squirrel hunt I can shoot my daily limit by sitting 9n one spot.  Knowing the spot is the trick.

 

Baking in a mud oven or oven made of field stones (Careful selecting those stones!)

 

What??? and take all the fun out of making one of river rock?

 

Killing a chicken and plucking and butchering same

 

or turkey,? or pheasant?, or quail?, or grouse?  :) 

 

Making soap from lye, wood ashes, and animal fat

 

Yep, makes great soap.

 

Panning for gold

 

Even found a flake once....

 

Storing vegetables for over-wintering

 

Got a cold room right now half full of goodies

 

Making a horseshoe from bar iron and installing it on a horse

 

Never had a horse....

 

Replacing a lock on a flintlock rifle

 

Not a flintlock, but I have replaced the lock on a percussion cap rifle.

 

Making a wood hoe.

 

Nope

 

Making concrete from sea shells and aggregate.

 

Nope

 

Smelting copper. lead, and tin from ore

 

Nope

 

Making black powder from sulfur, charcoal, and animal waste

 

Don't tell my mother, but yes, sulfur, carbon and salt-peter (urine)

 

Killing, butchering, and "salting" a pig

 

Wild game yes, (deer) domestic animals, no.  Probably not a whole lot different.

 

Gathering salt from salt water

 

Never lived near the ocean or in Utah.

 

Knife-fighting

 

Had to disarm two knife fighting scouts that were having a go at each  other.  Does that count?  I went in unarmed and came out with two knives.

 

Making paper from wood

 

Nope

 

Making ink

 

Both black and invisible

 

Weaving cloth from its constituent materials, such as nettles

 

Not necessarily cloth, but I have made grass mats and made braided rugs out of grass.

 

Operating a "dial" telephone

 

Better yet, one with no dial?  Been there, done that.

 

Maintenance of a "DA" hair style

 

Curly hair, didn't work.

 

Calculating correct "change" without a machine to tell you how to do it

 

My pet peeve!  It's the easiest thing in the world and yet people can't do it.

 

Starting a motor vehicle with a crank (including setting the magneto)

 

only once, and never again.

 

Patching an "inner tube"

 

Still have a kit in the garage for my bile today.

 

Setting the "points" for an internal combustion engine

 

And gapping the plugs, setting the points and timing the rotor..... I still own a car that I have to do that to.  Otherwise it's $350-$400 to have it done by a mechanic today.

 

Requirements for ordinary life change over time and alterations in circumstances.  

 

It's kinda remarkable how many things I had forgotten I still knew that I never get a change to use anymore.  I know how to make gunpowder and ink, but I just don't find the need to do it anymore.  Right now I sit typing this when I have a fountain pen made of deer antler in my pocket ready to go.  My ball-point matching pen is on my desk in the other room.  I still prefer the fountain pen.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#59 Oldscout448

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 10:05 AM

I have only done about half of TAHAWKS list, might be able to puzzle out some of the others.

 

Stosh 'ol buddy you thinking of teaching a class any time soon?   I didn't  realize just how woefully lacking my skills were :)


Edited by Oldscout448, 27 January 2017 - 10:07 AM.

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#60 RobbyC

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 10:04 PM

I definitely think that hand writing and letter composition are important skills we need to make sure we are not neglecting in instructing the next generation. I would even go so far as to defend cursive.

Watch this TEDx Talk by the eloquent and talented Jake Weidmann, and I think you will begin to understand:


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