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I know, we’re a few seasons late to the game, but recently, my sons and I started watching The Walking Dead. Over the course the few days of Thanksgiving vacation, we watched quite a bit of the series. As we drove back from our trip, the boys started talking about what their first steps would be if they awoke to find a zombie apocalypse had occurred. They had good ideas – I could tell they’d thought about it a lot. And then they talked about who they would want in their survival group. Both of them said, “No offense, Mom, but I wouldn’t pick you.” Yeah, so my lack of “keeping up alive” skills was going to doom me to loneliness during a time where having allies is crucial.

Here it is, a new year again. And what do we often do at this time of year? That’s right, set goals. Sure, you can vow to get your bug out bag ready, or that you’ll rotate your stored water, or that you’ll make sure your first aid kit has enough bandages and burn ointment in it, but I’d like to suggest something different. This year, maybe set a goal to learn something that will help you in the event of an emergency.

Self Defense

In the days after a disaster, there will probably be times where you will need to protect your family and your possessions from others. Knowing how to defend yourself and others is crucial. Maybe you have guns and ought to learn more about how to shoot, as well as how to care for your guns, clean them, make your own ammo, etc. Maybe you need to learn how to fight. Even those who look like they couldn’t defend themselves can learn how – watch the movie Enough (with Jennifer Lopez) for an example. It doesn’t mean you have to become a black belt (but don’t let me or anyone else discourage you, if that is your goal) because most people aren’t that trained. But it does mean you should be able to put up a great fight if needed. Along with offensive methods, what about learning defensive methods (think “Home Alone” with Macaulay Culkin’s defense against the bad guys). Those are important – they can and should be put into place in the event of an emergency to protect yourself, your group, and your group’s shelter and possessions.

Homesteading

Being able to homestead is a lost art, but it is important. You may not be able to carry enough food to sustain your family for the long term, but if you know how to grow your own (vegetable, fruits, chickens, etc.) you will be in a much better position to sustain yourself and also trade your excess goods for other things. Back in “the old days,” our ancestors knew how to be self-sufficient on their homestead, because they needed to know how. They couldn’t just run to the grocery store whenever they needed something, and so they knew how to grow and store food, make soap and clothing, make quilts to keep their family warm and protected from the cold, and raise animals that could be butchered or that gave milk to make butter and cheese.

Conclusion

What will you learn in 2014? 

I do have some skills already, but by the end of 2014, I want to be more valuable to my survival group — and I’m figuring out how. Future posts will look at mechanical skills, medical knowledge (first aid and beyond — herbal remedies, antibiotics, etc.), how to hunt for food (trap, kill, skin, use it all, etc.) Perhaps you can suggest some other skills in the comments below. 

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