Blog, throwback thursday

Throwback Thursday #51 – Learning New Skills


Welcome back to Throwback Thursday. This week Lauren is back taking us on another walk down memory lane.  Head over to her blog to get the details, and then join in!

This week’s prompt is: Learning New Skills

Lauren posted some great questions this week as inspiration. I do write a lot of nostalgic posts so I have written about most of the these on my blog before. Instead of repeating those stories, I am going to take a different approach to her questions. Lauren, please forgive me for bending the rules.


Learning any new skill is always interesting to consider as we all learn differently. I like to think I was well rounded with the life skills I had been taught, but just how did that transfer of knowledge take place?

Growing up in such a rural community, we were all a part of growing food and preserving it for future use. Of course, I had no idea I was being taught anything – it all seemed like chores to me. But what I did learn was how to plant and fertilize a garden. I knew about crop rotation, what plants to plant close to each other, and the importance of flowers close by that would attract pollinators. I knew when vegetables were ready to be harvested and how to harvest them. I watched my parents and grandparents sterilize glass jars and lids and how to cook and process the food for canning. I learned the importance of hot paraffin wax poured on the jelly jars before sealing.

I developed my love of tools (which I have also written about before) by spending time with my grandfathers in the barns and shops where they maintained their tools. Those tools were often my toys as I explored how they worked and what they were used for. I was particularly fascinated by things like plumb bobs, planes, chalk lines, and folding rulers as I watched these men use them to make or repair everyday items.

I learned to cook in the same fashion, by participation and involvement. From breakfast to dinner and of course dessert, I learned by doing. Did I fail  at it sometimes? You betcha. I made a few pans of inedible biscuits in my time.

I also learned about my physical environment by conversations and walks with my elders. I could identify trees and plants, steer clear of poison ivy (leaves of three, let them be) and stinging nettle. I learned about gathering ginseng and may apples. We leaned to make sassafras tea (it made the perfect ‘witches brew’ for our Halloween parties.) l could smell the rain before it arrived and paid notice to the leaves that turned upside down before the rain.

I think the most valuable skill I learned was my ability to research and problem solve – there is little I would fear to tackle. I am thankful for those who took the time to help me develop basic life skills.