Author Topic: CopperKnight's 13 skills  (Read 1642 times)

Offline CopperKnight

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CopperKnight's 13 skills
« on: January 27, 2013, 08:51:09 PM »
OK, so here's my thought.  A couple skill goals are pretty easy and a couple will be hard.  Some I can do with what I have now and some I will need to acquire hardware to complete.  The hardware I need to acquire is stuff I have been wanting or really should have anyway.  This will give me more of an excuse to get off my butt and get these items.

I finally decided to start this thread so I can keep track of what I'm doing and where I'm going.  I should probably throw something on the blog a friend and I share too, but I haven't done that yet.   

The current plan is to throw all the skills in one post, then periodically do another post when there is an update to post about.  Here we go:


Sprouting — In Progress

Review James Talmage Stevens book and find a few more resources to read. Successfully sprout several different types of seeds, find a couple my family likes, and have a system to keep them flowing.

I read JTS's book and tried organic red lentils.  The first attempt was a miserable failure, but it's amazing how much one can learn. 
-I need to keep the seeds in the cupboard in the dark while they sprout. 
-James has waaay too much going into a quart jar for one batch.  He instructs 2/3 cup into a quart.  Even with a failed batch it was too much.  Next time 1/4 cup.
-I used cheesecloth and a metal ring over the canning jar.  The cloth was good for one use and the ring rusted.
-I recently stopped by a local health food store and picked up plastic sprouting lids and several types of sprouting seeds. 

Wood Working — Planned

1.Get more proficient in general area. 2.Build a solar dehydrator. 2.Build a chessboard.

I can play with wood, and my dad has a great home shop, I just haven't put my mind to it before. 
-I chose the chessboard as something that will be detailed and... "delicate"... if you will.  It will need to be neat and attention to detail and the small pieces is necessary.
-I chose the solar dehydrator because it is practical, will get plenty of use during 5 or so months of the year.  The construction is opposite of the chessboard... scrap will be OK, looks won't matter so much, and fit and finish will be unimportant.

Soap Making — Planned

1.Learn the basics. 2.Make two batches of soap.

I have only read the basics of this and have wanted to do it for a while.  That's really all I have at this time.

Fitness — Planned

Overall goal - be in much better shape. Long term goal - lose 100 pounds. This year - lose the first 50 pounds.

Pretty self explanatory there.  Lose weight.  Better shape.  Work towards paleo.

Permaculture Design — Planned

Learn the basics from a couple books and/or online/iTunes classes; then implement 3 new features in my yard.

I love the thought.  I have browsed a couple books.  I have started the iTunes NCarolina State class.
For features my initial thoughts are more perennials in the garden, fruit tree replacement (one of my two apples died), soil improvement and possible swales in my back yard.

Fermenting — Planned

Ferment 3 new recipes.

I have had a hard time doing this in jars, so I just acquired a couple of smaller crocks.  In the 2 gallon crock, one of our smaller dish plates fits perfectly as a top to hold things underwater; accidental, but fortuitous.

Curing/Smoking meats — Planned

Learn the basics and cure a batch of meat.

-Yep, gotta learn this one. 

Canning — Planned

Pressure can 3 different batches of foods.

I have water bath canned successfully a few times (pickles, pickled green beans and salsa).  I have never pressure canned.  I have an old pressure canner, but need to acquire a weight and get with it.

Bartering — Planned

Learn and be more comfortable with the skill. Use barter and complete at least one trade for an object or service.


Something I have needed to work on.  Gun shows and neighbors should produce ample opportunities.

Water Catchment/Filtering — Planned

Install a system off at least one of my gutter drains.


Need to acquire a barrel or other type of holding system and rig up a delivery to my downhill garden space.  I also want to install more gutters to catch more water for this.  Natural water is better than city water for the garden anyway.

Alternative Energy — Planned

Create and use at least one passive solar device or system (solar oven, dehydrator, and one home heating assist are the ideas).


In conjunction with the solar dehydrator.  I have Steven Harris' book and a few other resources with plenty of ideas to start implementing.

Beer Making — Planned

Finish two more batches, but use increasingly fewer pre-processed ingredients.


I have done two batches.  The first (syrup from a can) really quite sucked.  The second (a "red" with some pre-prepared ingredients) went much better.  In addition, I want to get some hops in the ground.

Bullet Casting — Planned

Cast at least one set of bullets from lead scrap.


I reload, but have never cast.  I got some lead wheel weights from the local tire shop.  I need to acquire more lead and all the stuff (pot, dipper, molds, etc).  My father in law has some knowledge of casting, so I'll tap him. 

OK, there we got.  That's it so far.  If any turn out to be too easy, I figure I'll just add more to the goal.

Offline MerryMom

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Re: CopperKnight's 13 skills
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2013, 06:17:40 AM »
Looks like a great group of skills.  We just started sprouting again too, although I hadn't added it as a skill since I used to do it a lot in the late eighties and early nineties.   I used to be way into homesteading skills, and then a bad experience with trying an intentional community sent me way in the other direction and firmly in the grasp of the "mainstream" world.  Now I am back for many reasons.  Anyway, the first thing we are sprouting is pinto beans for a homeschool project we are doing.  But after that I plan to go back to sprouting Mung beans to get some more green food for winter.  I also bought one of those plastic lids for the first time.  My husband makes fun of my jar collection, so at least I am doing something with them now! 

Have you read anything about sprouting wheat grass?  I bought some wheat with the intention of trying to grow wheatgrass  I am not sure if I should just grow it in a small pot with dirt?  Then if I want to make drinks with it, will a regular blender work?  I am going to look into this one some more. 

Offline CopperKnight

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Re: CopperKnight's 13 skills
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2013, 08:19:16 AM »
I remember as a child for a short time my mom did sprouts and I didn't like them, but otherwise no experience for me.

Mung beans are a batch I just did.  As a matter of fact, this morning I'm going to try to flood out the hulls and put them in the fridge as they are done.

Wheat grass for sprouting I don't know about.  I have only seen it grown in blocks and clipped off.  I am remembering a show Jack did one or two months ago about a grow system for livestock that grows the stuff in trays with no dirt; so it must be sproutable just fine.  For the life of me I can't remember the name of it though.  There's no reason you can't try it and see what comes out.  As for a blender, I assume it would work as well as a juicer, but juicing stuff is not something I have ever tried.