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My skills were chosen mainly because I'm tired of livng the rat race and want to get more self-reliant. I will be using this thread to update my progress. Here are the skills I chose:

Water Catchment/Filtering— In Progress

Expand and improve on my rain catchment system to add a first flush, strainers, pre-filters and purification filters in order to create potable water from the roof runoff. I currently have a three-barrel system on just one side of the house. It frequently fills up completely after only a one-inch rain. It currently only has a screen over the mouth of the downspout to screen out larger debris. We currently only use it to water the garden and our chickens, rabbits and horses. When we move to our cabin, I will have four barrels on each side of the roof. I will be adding a debris screen at the top of the downspout, a first flush to each side, then filter the water for drinking.

Container/Portable Gardening— In Progress

To continue to learn how to get more yield from our square-foot garden beds and containers.   We did a 1X7 box and a 1X6 box suspended off of our deck and two 4X4 garden boxes in our yard. In addiditon, we did two "topsy-turvy" tomato plants and two deep planters for carrots and potatoes. Some of our vegetables did very well. Some, not so much. We used Mel's mix, with 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 Vermiculite, and 1/3 compost. I hope that next year will bring us a better harvest.

Alternative Energy— Planned

Install a solar electrical system at my new cabin my wife and I are building. Many of these skills listed will involve the work we are doing on our off-grid cabin in the woods. I have been working the figures on watt-hours, battery amp-hours, etc.

Building a Solar Oven— Planned

Build a solar oven to assist with the cooking options for our new cabin we are building. This will enhance the woodstove, the propane range/oven and charcoal grill we will also be using. This will give us redundancy and is a useful skill to have.

Canning— Planned

To continue to learn how to properly can fruits, vegetables, jams and jellies, soups, and meats. We did some water bath canning this summer and canned some tomotoes, green chilies, and jellies. We would like to do more pressure canning, and add many more things to try to can.

Hunting— Planned

To properly clean and dress squirrel, rabbit, dove, turkey, deer, wild hog, and even rattlesnake. I have hunted in my younger days, but it has been quite awhile and I need to get back into it. I need to be able to process what I hunt.

Plant Identification— Planned

To learn to identify edible and/or useful plants for supplementing the garden fare, as well as identifying harmful or poisonous plants. I know that there are probably ten types of plant growing in my own backyard that would be great in salads. I want to know which ones they are, as well as plants to avoid. We hike a lot and I would like to be able to know what I can pick and eat along the way.

Self Defense— Planned

To get much better at reactive shooting, shooting on the move, as well as combat roles in a WROL scenario. I was in the infantry back in the late 80's and early 90's. But today's weapons and tactics are more sophisticated today.

Shelter Construction— Planned

To build from the ground up, a 1.5 story, 680 sq ft cabin that we will be moving into from a 2000 sq ft house. In addition, to learn how to build a storm shelter that will be closeby I already know how to build debris huts. This will be a permanent home for my wife our new baby and me.

Leatherworking— Planned

To learn to tan hides of the game we harvest to make into useful items. I have tanned one hide in the past. But it didn't turn out as good as it should. I plan to get much better.

Timber Framing— Planned

To build a cabin from majority salvaged lumber, timber and tin. I should probably replace this one with some other skill since it is repetitive.

Dehydrating— Planned

To learn to dehydrate vegetables, fruits and meats for long term storage. We have done jerky in the oven, but we would like to buy or build a proper dehydrator and put more foodstuffs away.

Marksmanship— Planned

To get tighter shot groups and then go on to shooting moving targets, multiple pop-ups, shoot-don't shoot scenarios, and long distance shooting. It has been a good while since my infantry days. I shot expert then, but I'm way out of practice.

Louisiana Suvivor:
We got some of the same goals man we need to help each other out this coming year. Is your name on 13skills the same as on here? Mine is.

Same name here. Thanks.

Update, 12/30/2012; This week we bought a Waring Pro Food Dehydrator and have since made apple chips, banana chips and beef jerky. We have also bought a FoodSaver food vacuum sealer. It is still in the box, but we will be putting it to use very soon. This gets us started on our dehydrating skill and on food preservation (even though it's not on my list right now, it will be later tonight.)

Sounds like quite a list. How do you plan on learning to clean and butcher the animals? Are you doing videos or just planning to learn as you go with the actual animals? This is on my list as well.


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