Learn new skills and hobbies

Staying Home Offers An Opportunity to Renew Old Skills...and Learn New Ones

Posted by L. Woodrow Ross on May 13, 2020

Many of us have a tendency to take things for granted. We have our way of thinking and doing things, and don’t want to change. We also tend to procrastinate in doing things that can be vital to us in stressful times that merit special attention to sustain our life in a reasonable manner. In these uncertain and troubling times, it is a good time to brush up on some of our old skills, learn new ones and be thankful for our blessings.

How many times have you seen a friend or acquaintance demonstrate a skill that you would like to learn? They make it look so easy and you think, “I could do that.”

Yes, you probably could, but never seem to get around to it.

Today, we are all experiencing a new way of life which involves a lot less time commuting, carpooling, running to the store, running errands, etc. Which means, most of us have a bit more time to learn new skills or brush up on some that we may have allowed to become stale.

In my case, I enjoy primitive crafts and survival skills

These kinds of skills are usually not difficult to learn. They only require the investment of time...a commodity that we have a lot of now.

Fortunately, the internet is a fertile source of information, and many of these skills may be learned by reading instructional material online.

In my case, I have recorded many of my favorite skills in book form and made them available on Amazon Kindle, with 30 titles on various topics with an emphasis on “how-to” information.

Some skills that might be of interest include flint knapping, cordage making (bowstrings utilize this skill), fire starting with bow drill and other primitive methods.

leather working

Leatherworking is an interesting pursuit and is not as difficult as you might imagine.

Fly tying for those interested in fly fishing is a great indoor pastime for adults and children alike.

Fly tying

And there's no time like the summer to experiment cooking outdoors over an open fire using cast iron or a dutch oven.

If You enjoy the outdoors, gardening is a Relaxing, Health-Promoting and Practical pursuit

Not only is growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs invigorating it yields great dividends in healthy food for the table.

In these times of shortages and elevated prices, this is a big plus.

We should expect to see a great revival of gardening by many who have allowed their gardening skills to lay dormant, and there will be many new converts who will be joining the ranks.

Here in the south, it is not too late to start planting a variety of seeds or starts. However, you'll want to purchase seeds and plants as soon as possible.

There are already shortages of some staple items from some of the major seed providers. In addition, some prices are elevated due to the shortages.

That said, you can still find quality seeds online, or even from local growers if you shop around and keep your ear to the ground (so to speak) on social media.


Be sure to review all the requirements for any vegetables that you might consider planting. These could include: full sun or partial shade, soil fertility, sandy or clay type soils, required soil amendments, planting depth, cultivation requirements and more.

Homegrown fruits and vegetables are a great and healthy addition to the table. This is a bonus in addition to having the experience of seeing the seeds germinate, bloom and bear fruit.

Having a hand in planting, fertilizing, tilling and growing your own food is a very satisfying experience.

In addition to learning how to tend a garden, it is also wise to learn about food preservation

Methods include canning with pressure or atmospheric canners, using dehydrators and preparing foods for freezing.

Flower gardening is a very gratifying pursuit.

It is a way to improve the appearance of your property as well as providing a resource for cut flowers to beautify your home.

Beautiful flowers and shrubs can transform a drab yard into a showplace.

Flower gardening

Another area that we might consider is “prepping”.

Some preppers have been ridiculed and considered to be eccentric. To the contrary, prepping was once a way of life for rural America. It comes from the word prepare or preparation.

In this time of shortages and uncertainty, prepping is sure to become more popular.

We hear of “doomsday preppers” and there are extremes in any practice. However, not to be prepared for temporary shortages of food and other necessary items is being short-sighted.

Our nation was founded by hardy individuals who did not always have the privilege of going to a market for food and supplies. They depended on what they could extract from the land in natural resources.

Gardens were not hobbies or non-essential, but were vitally important and met the need for nourishing foods that would sustain life.

Handcrafts, traditionally enjoyed by women, are also excellent hobbies for anyone


These include: embroidery, cross-stitch, needle point, crochet and knitting.

These are artistic and provide attractive additions to home décor. Projects can be tailored to the level of expertise and can involve hours or major projects can take days or weeks to complete.

These pursuits can be a form of entertainment, but they can also fill a need.

One of our daughters is currently sewing face masks for friends and mailing them. This fulfills a humanitarian need as well as an outlet for her in these difficult times.

Plus, handwork like knitting, has been shown to help alleviate depression, distract from pain, and promote brain health*.

We can sit home and allow this time to be filled with anxiety and concern, or we can use the time to refine some of our dormant skills or learn new ones that will become valuable assets in the future.

It is our choice to be victims or victors. Let us choose the latter and continue to support or country in our prayers.

Reference: https://www.creativehertfordshire.com/networks/creative-hertfordshire/documents/health-benefits-of-knitting.pdf


L. Woodrow Ross

L. Woodrow Ross lives in upstate South Carolina with his lovely wife Margaret. As a freelance writer and photographer, he has written more than 500 articles for local newspapers and contributed to Rethink Rural, Carolina Sportsman, Primitive Archer Magazine, Palmetto Gills and Game and a number of online resources. In addition, he has 35 books on Amazon Kindle on topics such as "how-to" outdoor books, a historical novel, two suspense novels, a suspense novella, an Alaska travel guide, Greater Yellowstone destination guide and more. He is a primitive and survival skills instructor and enjoys most things involving outdoor sports.

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