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Life Skills

March 25, 2020

Dear friends, I always envisioned that I’d have more “me” time in all the pseudo-apocalyptic scenarios that have riddled my nightmares over the past couple decades. Instead, I’m mostly confined to homeschooling a pretty cool but also pretty codependent 4 year old. He’s currently the one riddled with fears (it’s too dark under my bed! I can’t put my pants on alone! a monster might eat me if you put the laundry in the dryer without me!).

When I was in my 20s I worked part time jobs and had a lot of free time in the day that I would spend at the library learning about skills that I would then practice in real life. They’ve been coming in extremely handy lately. I realize that some folks may have some time to spend right now, and so…

Here are a few of the topics I explored, with book recommendations:

#1gardening! how to do it, what to plant, and where
Book: Carrots Love Tomatoes and Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening
#2composting! how to do it, where to place it in a yard, etc
Book: Let It Rot!
#3nutrition! what are the basic nutrients I need and how to get them in as simple foods as possible (ideally ones i could grow- see #1.)
Book: The New Becoming Vegetarian
Book: Our Bodies, Ourselves
#5sewing: I learned to sew in home ec, but I really like the book Fashion is Spinach by Elizabeth Hawes
#6bookbinding: I learned from friends, but a great book is
1, 2, and 3 Section Sewing by Keith A. Smith
#7cooking: very useful for me has been knowing how to cook rice and dry beans (which involves soaking). For folks looking to get serious with these items with a little cash on hand, I highly recommend a rice cooker and a pressure cooker (or an instapot which can do both functions, as well as make yogurt and more though also more expensive).
#8baking: another important skill for me has been learning to make bread.
Book rec from Peter: The Tassajara Bread Book

Also want to give a shout out to my friend Colin Matthes who is also a justseeds artist, who has made a series of excellent zines and prints about how to do things such as “fashioning emergency diapers” and “escaping a sinking motor vehicle” and “purifying water” and “preparing small game.” His work is available at this link and his how to guides are extremely affordable, between $7 – $12 per print:


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