As you can see by my name, “Grandma Prepares,” I am the elder, the senior writer here at Mom Prepares. The perspective I’ve gained from living so long does give me insights you only get from being around for a long time. But, today I want to talk about someone much older than me.
A good friend of mine died. One of the best friends I’ve had. A rare person was this friend of mine. You see, he was one of the last of a dying breed, a member of the greatest generation: Those brave men and women who stepped up to serve and saved the world from tyranny during World War 2. Mr. Harvey was one of them; he was 87 years old.
Why is this man important? Because he knew how to survive. He lived through the greatest period of time humans have ever seen. He saw so much advancement in our modern world, and he tried to teach others the basic skills like how to garden, how to butcher animals for food, and how to remain flexible enough to survive in an increasingly chaotic world. He told us stories of how it used to be in simpler times when people lived close to the land. He knew the basics must be remembered, kept alive, and nurtured.
This friend of mine learned to garden when he was young; he practiced growing gardens and kept trees bearing fruits and nuts all his life. The summer of 2011 was one of drought in the deep south, yet Mr. Harvey grew a productive garden. He took time to show me, in great detail, how he got the sweet potato slips to grow and how he propagated them into more plants. He took the time to share his knowledge with me.
One day, I stopped by his place and what was he doing? He had a kettle of boiling water over a fire and was systematically butchering chickens, cleaning them and freezing them. All day he worked, but when he was finished he had over 40 chickens that he used to fill his freezer and the freezers of several other people. Mr. Harvey was a generous man with what he had as well as with his knowledge.
When we would talk, stories would come out that highlighted a time when people actually grew their own foods, raised their own meat, and educated themselves on ways to best store their food. He talked about a time when people spent a great deal of each day’s time assuring their own survival. And this was not that long ago, these times he remembered.
I, myself, remember 50 years ago when both sets of my grandparents raised pigs, cows and chickens for their own meat, milk and eggs, and how they had smoke houses to preserve and store the meat. How can it be that those practices, in existence for thousands of years, are just handed over to private companies, remembered and used no more by us? How many people today, when asked, will tell you that food comes from the grocery store? How many have no idea how to take a pig on the hoof to a smorgasbord of meats that can sustain a group of people for months?
The Provident Prepper: a common-sense guide to preparing for emergencies
by Kylene & Jonathan Jones
No one knows when a storm will hit or an economic disaster take place. Protect your family by being prepared for things like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and civil unrest. The Provident Prepper is an easy-to-use guide without doom and gloom.
These things I bring up because there are more Mr. Harveys out there. You know of some, I’ll bet. Find them. Befriend them. You may have an elderly relative or neighbor who thinks no one is interested in what they experienced and what they know. Take the time to talk to them. Learn from them. They are fountains of information, and the rich knowledge they have is priceless but it all evaporates when they leave us, if you don’t learn it from them before they go.
It dawned on me today that I don’t have a picture of my treasured friend. But what I do have is the knowledge of how to grow a field of sweet potatoes from tiny plants during a severe drought; and I think how much more I could have learned from him if I’d just taken the time to ask.
Many people are learning homesteading and survival skills from older mentors instead of from their parents, and the mentors are glad to share the information. Who has helped you with your preparedness education?