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What Are Primitive Skills?

on June 17, 2014

Wikipedia calls primitive skills talents that relate to living off the land, often using handcrafted tools made from naturally gathered materials.

Totally true!  Well, primitive skills are a hobby of mine and the hubster’s and have been for years.  They are skills that at one time were dangerously close to be lost, but in recent years interest in them have been revived by many.  Now those that know and those that remember these vital skills teach those that want to learn.  I want to learn.  I want to know it all.  I want to be able to teach others.

What are some examples?

Fire Making.  That’s a huge one.  Fire making is a skill that everyone should have if they ever venture into the woods for any reason.  It’s surprisingly easy to get lost in the woods and stranded and fire could be the difference between survival and dying.  Sure, you could have a lighter.  But it may fail.  A back up plan is essential.  I’d say that Fire Making is the most important primitive skill one could possibly learn.   The bow drill method is my favorite.

Wild Edibles and Medicinals.  Hey, you have to eat!  Of course you could not eat for 3 weeks and probably be fine if you are just lost in the woods.  You aren’t likely to be stuck out there for that long.  But, it’s nice to know anyway.

Water!  Drinking is important, of course.  How to find it and how to purify it is an essential skill.  Your bottle of water that you took hiking isn’t going to last long.

Hands on skills such as cordage, basketry, shelter building, and skinning and tanning of hides are all primitive skills.

See how varied these skills are?

I find them to be fascinating.  That is why for years now we try to make it to at least one primitive skills gathering.  For a few days many people interested in these skills comes together, camp out, and go to a variety of different classes each day focused on these skills.  This past week hubster and I went to the Firefly Gathering in near Asheville, NC.  It was our third year attending this gathering and we are already looking forward to next year.

I wanted to do a really long post about this gathering, but I thought that might be a little overwhelming.  So instead over the course of the week I’ll do a series of posts.

I’ll talk about the classes we took, the (gluten free and mostly paleo) food that we ate while camping, and a  post about the experience in general.

I know that many of you might not be interested at all in hearing about these things, but I hope that least someone out there reading this will be!

Up in a tree


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