Home / U.S. Map / Reconstruction / Recovery / Renewal / Survival / Ark Two

Pioneer Methods

The "Good Old Days" were those of just recent decades past. In the 1800s and centuries previous the pioneer folk had it unimaginably difficult. People grew soft - and had no idea. City folk could not even begin to do the work of the real farmers who still ran small farms.

A US candidate for president once promised 40 acres and a mule. I always said that the only way I would have possibly made it through the first winter was to eat the mule. The pioneers were survivalists and had survival skills beyond any that we can imagine.

In addition to not having the "toughness", work habits and skills of the early pioneers - we do not have their resources. There are no buffalo herds and there is nowhere near that the deer and antelope play in sufficient number to support most survivors. Those who have taken survival courses that have taught them to go out into the woods and survive will be sorely disappointed. Such animals that have survived the radiation will be in very short supply relative to the survivors that would be in competition for them.

One will not have the horses, wagons or other implements that were necessary to pioneer survival. There will be a far larger population survive than there were pioneers a few centuries ago and there will be far fewer resources of the kind that sustained them. The early settlers of our village were confidant in their ability to find in a few minutes enough fish in the stream to make supper. Even in my early days in the village a person could promise the night before that they would go out on the bridge out our back door and get fresh fish for breakfast - and make good their promise. But those days are gone. Fished out and poisoned out by salt on the roads and pesticide run-off from the farmer's fields. At this writing fish no longer come safe even from the farmer's markets without warnings that they are hazardous to expectant mothers.

No, we can't return to the old days - even if we want to. But fortunately we have many, many other advantages. We don't have to cut the forests to gain agricultural ground. We know many things the pioneers did not. Childbirth was a great hazard to pioneer women - simply because people did not know to wash their hands. We have a great advantage in modern knowledege - but we may well need to supplement that, at least for a while, with some of the pioneer knowledge and skills that we have forgotten about. That is the purpose of this page.

This page does not stand by itself, anymore than do any of the others. There may be some items just as important to the subject that will be found in the pages on simplified machinery and small farming but all that information will probably be just as important to know - if not more so.

Table of Contents:

Simple Machines: Descriptions of Simple Machines

      This 81 page .pdf book from MIT explains how to build dozens of primitive machines, drills, lathes, pumps, and all sorts of other useful devices.

Farm Devices: Patterns for Simple Farm Devices

      This 150 page .pdf book shows how farmers built their own devices in the 1700s and 1800s (and for perhaps centuries earlier). Practical ideas that are still used today.

Scythes: A tool of the centuries Scythes: particularly this century

      This is one of the most basic and essential tools of the centuries. Along with ax, hoe, hammer and shovel, it has been essential to the establishment of civilization. Largely displaced by modern harvesting methods it is a technology that may need to be at least temporarily "recovered".

Blacksmithing: Blacksmithing essential technology

      This 132 page .pdf book covers an essential technology that may have to be recovered. About a hundred years ago every village would have one or more blacksmiths, but then the skill largely disappeared except as retained by farriers (horse shoeing is another subject) and some ornamental artists.

Farm Blacksmithing:

      This may seem like it should be under farming - but this tells how to set up a basic blacksmith shop. Just don't believe the prices.

Shop Practice: home_made_air_pump.htm

      This may seem especially strange here - but blacksmiths need forges and forges need airpumps.

Shop Practice: Farm Shop Practice

      This 324 page book sort of goes along with the above ones on setting up a blacksmith shop. In case you wonder why I didn't put it under 'farming', the reason is that in the early stages of recovery I figure that EVERYTHING goes under farming, and I just try to break it out into subcategories.

Home / U.S. Map / Reconstruction / Recovery / Renewal / Survival / Ark Two