Pioneer skills, vintage skills, forgotten skills… there are many names given to these essential skills. The fact is that living in a modern society many of these abilities have been dismissed as unnecessary, old fashioned or outdated. I would encourage you to rethink these as much needed accomplishments that should be appreciated and continued.
What is a pioneer skill?
This is a skill or ability that was used by pioneers to be self-sufficient. Many of these were used for centuries on farms, ranches and even in town on little backyard homesteads.
Why do I need to learn vintage skills?
I feel they are worthy skills to have no matter the situation. However they are also important in times of emergencies. Our modern world often feels very secure but disasters come in many forms and it is always better to be overly prepared than caught off guard.
How can I learn these old fashioned ways?
I hope to share as much knowledge as I can right here on Imperfectly Happy. BUT you will find other bloggers, YouTube videos and books will also be extremely beneficial as you acquire these old ways.
What are the most important skills to learn?
In my opinion it is how to feed yourself and your family in such a time that the grocery shelves become bare.
17 Pioneer Skills to Learn and Teach NOW
These are the first list of skills I would recommend learning and learning fast.
Feeding Yourself and Your Loved Ones
- Learn to Garden
The absolute first skills everyone should know is how to garden. You need to know how to grow your own fruits, vegetables and herbs. I have a huge assortment of gardening helpers here on the blog to help you; from knowing when to plant each month to using raised beds and so much more. Be sure to check my gardening section!
- Raise Your Own Livestock
You do not need a lot of land to raise your own animals for eggs and meat. There are many smaller livestock options that will work even on a city lot or in the suburbs. You can have a backyard homestead that can feed you well. It should go without saying that if you raise livestock you need to know how to butcher.
Backyard Livestock The Best Choices
Backyard Chickens 101
10 Reasons You Need to Raise Backyard Meat Rabbits
The Nitty Gritty Basics on Raising Quail
- Learn to Forage for Food
Foraging is essential to survival. But you must learn how to forage in your region or area. I am going to be looking for very different in the Arizona desert than it will in a coastal town or dense forest. Check out The Regional Foraging Series for your particular area in the US.
- Hunting, Fishing and Trapping
You may never have enough space to fully provide your family the meat/protein they’ll need. BUT by learning the pioneer skills of hunting, fishing and trapping you can supplement what you raise at home. The absolute best way to learn is to go with an experience hunter / trapper or fisherman and learn by doing. And just like foraging, you need to know what can be hunted in your area. However many have shared their knowledge and skills on YouTube and there are some amazing books available to you as well.
Hunting and Trapping Videos on YouTube
Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Made Easy
And for my local AZ folks: Survival in the Southwest – Trapping/Hunting/Gathering
- Cooking from Scratch
If you are used to cooking without of premade items or using a lot of convenience foods, there has never been a better time to learn the art of homemade cooking. I’d suggest starting with something simple like baking homemade bread and expand from there. You can do it and you might be surprised how fantastic the food tastes!
Reasons You Need to Be Cooking from Scratch
Important Vintage Cooking Skills You Should Have
Old Fashioned English Muffin Recipe
Cast Iron Skillet Bread Recipe
Rustic No Yeast Bread Recipe
- Cooking on an Open Flame (Campfire Cooking)
Whether it is just for camping or something like the grid is down for days (can you say Texas?), knowing how to start a fire and cook over an open fire or fire pit is a valuable skill to have. Make sure you have a good cast iron skillet and a Dutch Oven!
How to Cook Food Over a Campfire | Pro Campfire Cooking Tips
Cast Iron Cooking
Awesome Cast Iron Products for Your Homestead Kitchen
Home Medical Care Like the Pioneers
Accidents and illness happen and will occur even when skilled professionals are not around. You need to be prepared to treat basics first aid needs and beyond until you can get the injured person to a hospital.
- Basic First Aid
Have your kit stocked and take a class on basic first aid if you can (including CPR). It would also be a good idea to have a up to date book first aid guide with pictures for reference. And make sure to stock your first aid kit.
Homestead First Aid Tips and Kits
Prepping First Aid Skills and Supplies
- Herbal Medicine and Home Remedies
They are oldies but goodies for a reason. And they are powerful remedies that grandmas have been passing down for a 1,000 years. I have some you really need to print out (see below). But I would also highly recommend taking a simple herbalist course online.
How to Make a Herbal Tincture
Home Remedies For an Upset Stomach
Remedies For a Sore Throat
Medicinal Garden What to Plant
- Beyond the Basics – treating serious wounds and illness
There may be more than your cuts and bruises to attend. Can you deal with a broken bone or tooth?
Wilderness Medicine: Beyond First Aid
The Prepper’s Medical Handbook
Obviously this is just informational and should not replace sound medical advice of doctors and other trained professionals.
Food Preservation: Canning, Dehydrating & Storage
If you are going to grow, raise and hunt for food you also need to know how to preserve it.
So many people I talk to are intimidated to start canning. I hope my guides and recipes will help you feel more comfortable. It would be great if you can find a canning class or mentor to begin your journey but The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is an amazing tool and teacher too.
Water Bath Canning 101
Pressure Canning vs. Water Bath Canning: What’s the Difference?
Common Canning Mistakes that Need to be Fixed
Jalapeno Jelly Recipe for Canning
Dehydrating is extremely helpful in preserving meats, vegetables, fruits and herbs. I love it to make things like tomato and mushroom powder too. Dehydrating items takes up a lot let room than canning too!
Food Dehydrators What You Need to Know
Ground Beef Jerky Recipe
Dehydrating Apples at Home
Making Tomato Powder
How to Make and Use Mushroom Powder
How to Use Powdered Eggs
- Long Term Storage
Many of the things you’ll grow in your garden can be store long term without canning or dehydrating. If you have a root cellar you are really in luck but there are other options!
Root Cellar Alternatives
How To Prepare Garden Potatoes for Long Term Storage
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Storage Tips
Other Important Vintage Skills Pioneers Had
I’m shocked how little homeschooling is mentioned as a old fashioned skill. I am in my 25 year homeschooling and it has been a blessing (with challenges). BUT if you have children or grandchildren you need to be prepared to teach them should a public or private school option no long suit you or be unavailable.
Reading in 100 Easy Lessons
What You Need to Know About Homeschooling Teens
Homeschooling Advice from Veteran Moms
Bartering or swapping goods and service is really essential to survival.
5 Quick Bartering Strategies
- Sewing and Mending
Can you darn a sock or sew an apron? Fixing clothes and making your own clothing is certainly a bygone skill these days. But should store shelves empty how will you keep yourself and your family clothed? I suggest learning sewing machine AND hand stitching.
Basic Hand Sewing Guide 1-Hour Repair Guide: Stitching Techniques & Repair Guide
- Needlework – Knitting and / or Crochet
Knitting and crocheting can be useful in making blankets, dish clothes, clothing and more.
How to Knit a Dishcloth for Beginners
- Basic Carpentry
Can you build or repair a home? What about things needed for a shelter? This kind of skill takes years to acquire, that is where building a skilled community will really be helpful.
Community and Mentors
The last thing I would like to recommend is creating a community of people with these skills. Not only to mentor others in learning skills but to share with the community. If you know how to garden but not how to homeschool or fish – find others that do; and that need your gardening skills.
Learning new skills and teaching them can be the greatest prep for any disaster or emergency!
What skills would you include?
I would love to hear from you – please share your thoughts in the comments!
More on Pioneer and Vintage Skills
Here are few more articles and recipes you’ll love.