In January, I made a list of all the things I needed to learn how to do before Dec. 21. I tried or at least researched most of my ideas, but a few got left out, due to lack of time, budget or opportunity. Of those, here are the five most important skills I meant to learn this year, but didn’t:
It’s a given there will be Bad Guys after doomsday. It’s not such a given that I will be able to punch or kick myself free of their attack or abduction. Besides basics like jabbing at their eyes and screaming, I’m not too up on my self defense. Maybe I’ll work on getting my black belt over the next five days.
What has four hooves, two horns and an obnoxious baaaah? What eats fenceposts and shoe laces without inhibition? Goats are the perfect survival companion because they don’t need special feed; they can eat pretty much anything. They’re the cockroaches of livestock. You can drink their milk or use it to make butter and cheese. And if you’re desperate for meat, you can slaughter them. Close second: Chickens, because they’re relatively easy to feed and provide eggs and meat. And feathers, for all those post-apocalyptic pillows you’ll be stuffing.
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Familiarizing myself with ways to create energy for lights, vehicles or radios could be quite useful when the power companies stop supplying electricity for our every whim and appliance. If only I knew how to make a solar battery, build a dam or windmill, or even just make a basic potato battery, I’d stand a chance at keeping my important devices running, like my Christmas tree lights. Hey, there’s no reason to be a Scrooge just because it’s doomsday.
It may sounds stupid, but properly digging a latrine or rigging up a septic system of some sort will be important if you’re making a long-term camp in the wild — or anywhere, really, since sewage infrastructure won’t be kept up in the suburbs either. And speaking of such things, it might be a good idea to brainstorm alternatives to toilet paper. In the olden days, they just washed cloths reserved for the purpose, but for that you’ll need some powerful soap, which brings me to the next item.
We learn all about hygiene and disease prevention in our culture, but not how to make our own cleaning products. Knowing how to whip up handsoap, detergent or other chemicals could be literally life-saving post-apocalypse.