What can I learn from an old man?

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by Todays Survival Show, Nov 28, 2010.

  1. Todays Survival Show

    Todays Survival Show Survival and Handgun Podcaster

    Below is an excellent post from someone on my forum.

    So I thought I would share it here too:

    I've come across a great opportunity!

    My Grandpa is getting older and is finding some of the tasks he used to do on his own a bit difficult. He finds himself needing my uncles to help him do more and more. It's not that he is unable or unwilling but he gets tired doing it. He is retired but still has a farm on his property and with the amount of property he has out in rural Manitoba there is a lot of work just by the nature of owning rural land even if you ignore the farm.

    We were talking on the phone and when he told me this a couple weeks ago I started thinking of going out to help him and learn from him. So this morning we were on the phone and I brought up the idea and he loved it. My grandpa was my hero growing up and we always had fun. However when my family moved to Ontario we lost some of that comradery and we lost the time we would spend together teaching me practical skills.

    Seeing that I am a single young man with really no commitments to family and no major work or career commitments I think this is an opportunity of a lifetime! So right now I'm working on some logistics. I'm going to drive out so I can bring lots of my own stuff like tools, my long guns and things that would really be a pain to bring on an airplane.

    It looks at this point like I'll be going out this January and most likely over August and September of next year. The busier season for what I am wanting to learn. This is more or less a barter where my grandpa teaches me how to do a variety of things and I do the work. So he gets things done that he couldn't do himself anymore and I learn some skills that can really help me in prepping and life in general. All grandpa would have to do is sit there, give me instruction, maybe show me a thing or two and relax while I do the bulk of the work.

    Fortunately because of some silly government regulations over my industry I have much more leeway and more bargaining power for time off. In reality the industry (Private Security) is hurting since the new laws have made it much more difficult for people to become licensed security guards. There is actually a shortage of licensed security guards right now in my area. Like I said the benefit to me is I have more bargaining power and I actually make more money, not much but enough to notice a difference. I have 3 weeks of vacation/ sick days left this year but Christmas is a busier time for us since more places need temporary uniformed security guards. So I've worked out with my boss that i can take the 3 weeks off next year (in January) so that I can make this trip. I'll still have 2 weeks of time off and one week of sick days if I don't use them for working into the trip in the summer/fall of 2011.

    I am making this post because I need some input from you all!

    Grandpa wants me to make a checklist of things that I would like to learn from him so that we can have a plan of attack and so that we can have a list of what we did and what I've achieved over the 3 months I am out there over the next year. My grandpa is one of those guys who can do anything, fix anything and build anything. If he can't do it or needs special tools he doesn't have he has plenty of contacts who can either lend him the tool or who can do the job for him. Not because he can't do it but because he either has other things to get done so it's worth paying someone else or he just flat out doesn't want to do it himself. I bring that up because he told me he can work out a way to get me into the shop to learn stuff he can't do or he can make the arrangements to borrow the equipment so he can teach me.

    So I'm going to post my list that I have as of right now (11/26/2010) and I am hoping you guys can give me some ideas for things I may have forgotten about or not thought of. You name it, chances are I can learn it from Grandpa or one of his contacts so don't hold anything back, worst come to worst I can put that on my list of things to try and find someone to teach me. Just keep in mind we are more or less talking about tangible skills, skilled trades, building and construction.

    Here is my list as of today

    * Mechanic work for Cars & trucks

    Gasoline and Diesel

    * Farm Vehicle Maintenance/mechanics
    * Heavy Equipment Repair
    * Body Work

    Cars, trucks, farm machines and heavy equipment

    * Welding
    * Plumbing
    * Home Electrical
    * Vehicle Electrical
    * Carpentry
    * Arborist

    More or less how to fall a tree and chop it up (chainsaws)

    * Small Engine Repair/maintenance

    Chain saws, lawn mowers, snow mobiles, ATVs, Weed Whackers and the like

    * Reloading Ammunition

    Including custom loads, supersonic .22/9mm, shot shells, rim fire and center fire

    * Marksman ship

    Rifles and handguns

    * Heavy Equipment operation

    Farm and Construction (Backhoe, front end loader, farm tractor, forklift and more)

    * Linesman Work

    Yes grandpa even maintains the power and telephone lines on his property

    * 18 Wheeler, air brakes and dump truck driving

    I may not come out licensed to drive these but I'll have experience and knowledge if I decide to down the road!

    * Towing Large Trailers with a pick-up truck
    * Tool sharpening

    Sharpen axes, chain saws, circular saws, hand saws and hand tools etc.

    Sorry this is a long post, please give me suggestions if you can think of anything I might have missed! This is a great opportunity and at the very least I can find out what kind of trade I want to go into and have some background knowledge and experience to help me secure an apprenticeship.

    In fact I might just quit my job and take this challenge on by the horns this spring if the list gets so long that I can't fit it all into the time I have. Or if I find I don't get in depth as much as I'd like because we are hitting on so many different topics and skills.
  2. iouJC

    iouJC MAGIC Bullet

    Does he have a well? Knowing how to maintain it (the pump) and change out parts would be an excellent thing to know.
    Does he have livestock? Knowing how to care for them and some of his home remedies would be valuable.
    How to sharpen a chainsaw, change the blade and chain, how to make simple repairs.
    How to lay bricks and use mortar, how to build a brick wall, how to brick the side of a building, how to pour concrete and build a footing.
    How to split wood using an axe, as well as using a wedge. How to build a fire in a woodstove. If he has a woodstove, how to re-line the stove with fire bricks.,how to set the flue and put a damper in the pipes, how to clean a chimney.
    Just a few off the top of my head.....
    If he has cows or goats, how to milk.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010

  3. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

    Garden and crop growing, harvesting and preserving.
  4. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    What ever he wants to talk about ... just my thought ... what we could have /can learn from the older folks ... is ... unlimited.
  5. GroovyMike

    GroovyMike Well-Known Member

    Learn what he wants to teach you. Chances are good that with the wisdom of age, he has a better idea of what is most valuable than you do.
  6. Clarice

    Clarice Well-Known Member

    What a wonderful opportunity for you. Listen and always be very respectful, if you don't understand something ask him. Sounds like you have a golden opportunity here, enjoy.
  7. jungatheart

    jungatheart Beginner's Mind


    What a great opportunity to learn. I envy you Survival Show. And you get to practice what you've learned right away.
  8. Todays Survival Show

    Todays Survival Show Survival and Handgun Podcaster

    Too often old folks take their knowledge to the grave with them and few learn from them. That's a tragedy. That was actually posted by someone else, I was just passing it along. If they've survived a long time, learn from their wisdom.
  9. Dixie

    Dixie Well-Known Member


    This is so true. When I wanted to start gardening, I contacted my grandfather. He always had the best garden around and most of his backyard, in the little Mill Village, was taken up by his garden.
    He is gone now but my gardens continue with the same type of plants. When I joined this group, I started searching for herloom seeds everyone was talking about. To my surprise, that's what he had me planting all these years!
  10. mmszbi

    mmszbi Junior Member

    My grandfather was a gun shooting maniac and an avid reloader. As I lived over 3000 miles away and only got to see him every few years, he passed away without an opportunity to do what you are endeavoring.
    But what I did get was a passion for guns and reloading for myself that I have pursued and it has flourished.
    My uncle still runs the farm that my other grandparents had since the 50's and now that I am living in the same state, I never hesitate to take the opportunity to visit.
    What I appreciate about it is this...you will NEVER learn all there is to what has made them what they are, you can simply be a sponge and soak up as much as you can. But soaking is useless if you don't put it to use and pass it on to your own kids!
  11. wildone_uk

    wildone_uk Active Member

    us old farts do know a thing or two,but at our grate age remembering stuff bit of a bugger
  12. 41south

    41south Well-Known Member

    You can learn a lot from an old man, how to kill hogs, chickens, butcher cattle, use fence posts tied across tractor wheels with cable to make it back out of mud, use a torch to split a bearing race off a shaft, if you are lucky enough to have a old coal miner he can teach you how to use pry bars and wedges to dang near turn the world backwards, and he can teach you how to save a living, if not make one.

    Even if his health is failing, if his mind is good listen to him, never miss a thing he says, he won't repeat some things. I would advise you, don't let this time pass you by young man, when he is gone it would be a shame to say, I wish, much better to know you did.

    My Grandfather has been gone 27 years, I was blessed to have grown up by his side. I wish you good luck and time in this endeavor, it could be the adventure of a lifetime.
  13. Ponce

    Ponce Well-Known Member

    As an retired metal lathe machinest I just bought a new one to keep in my garage and that way I will still be able to make a living if I run out of cash, silver or gold.
  14. dawnwinds58

    dawnwinds58 The Kentucky Lairkeeper

    Behind any old man is likely the old woman he does it all for. Me and mine work together and I'd match my skills at skinning out a buck for the cleanest meat and most usable hide with anyone.

    Food storage is critical. Winter has mercy on no one. Learn to smoke and jerk meat, to dry food, and tan hides for clothing both with and without fur as you will need both. Unless you have a source of cotton, wool, or flax for linen and the skills and equipment to make them, animal hide is your best chance. Mass produced material will eventually be gone, or just wear out. What then? Run naked and greased up with a dirt layer like a cave man?

    Reloading is fine so long as you have the raw materials, then you are back to spears and knives till either one of them wear out.

    Get older type muzzle loaders that can handle real black powder that do NOT require the smokeless synthetics to function. Make sure it can be taken apart and the barrell cleaned completely aka you gotta see from one end to the other that it IS clean. Get the recipe for black powder, and keep it, and collect the components NOT blended as well as a supply of ready.

    Get moulds for the balls, not the sabots. What you lose in accuracy you will gain in availability. Every non-working car has lead battery terminals, and many other items have lead that can be melted and recast as ammunition. Collect old cotton ticking, bags of old shirts, anything you can use for patches, cut to size, bag and keep.

    While you can, the desicant packs that can be heated to dry and reused. These will keep your powder and dried foods usable.

    No matter what, you must eat to survive, and be warm in the winter. Lose those abilitys, and all the training you have will mean nothing. You'll still die.
  15. Jarhead0311

    Jarhead0311 Well-Known Member

    It took your grandpa a life time to acquire all of his skills and you won't be able to pick them all up quickly. What you can do is learn some of the basis and then get books to help you with them when you need to do them on your own. My son in law was raised by his single mom and was nearly helpless (couldn't even drive a standard transmission much less a truck) but he has worked with me and now is able to do a lot of his own work with the help of books and manuals. He's learned to hunt, fish, garden,reload ammo and do light mechanic work.The funny thing is, my grandson has more skills than his father,he was one of the rare kids that wanted to actually work.
  16. dawnwinds58

    dawnwinds58 The Kentucky Lairkeeper

    One that wants to work?? Clone that one and send 3 copies for my grandaughters!!:woohoo:
  17. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    HEY!... not all of us 20-somethings are :cry: -baby :earthhug: ing hippies that can't :help: themselves and/or :surrender: when the going gets tough... so :p
  18. aklavik

    aklavik Well-Known Member

    i have a friend 70 years old , grew up in the far north, was a homesteader, farmer, his family put up 3000 quarts a year of food, allways learning something new thats old from him, we talk every day on the phone and meet up once a week or so, taught me how to make sour krout, make windmills, etc etc a very good friend and a wealth of knowledge.
  19. Todays Survival Show

    Todays Survival Show Survival and Handgun Podcaster

    So many have died and taken their knowledge with them. Many young people did not take advantage of learing from them, it's a shame.
  20. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    So many young people are sure their world is secure, and they'll never need the things they could have learned from those before them.