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Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Management Of DirtCraft Skills

You have put in a lot of effort, hours building into weeks, trying to perfect a skill. Let's take fire, trying to master the hand drill can be more than frustrating, at last though you are pretty good. You worked hard on the bow and drill, and then it came to you. Flint and steel was a bit of work but you got it. In the process you learned about the different woods, and the tinder's. You also earned a few blisters along the way. Fire was your life during that time period. Then you moved on to other skills like building shelters, where to set up and where to not setup. Which direction the opening should face, the kinds of materials that work best in your part of the dirtclod. Not too close to the water, not in that gully, and not on top of the hill. Learned to gage how long it would take to build a water tight shelter, and through some experience it wouldn't leak, much.
Perhaps you attended classes and learned many of the basics from an informed instructor, spent hours reading the books, and watching videos. All time well spent, and even more so if you were able to learn with a friend who was into it as much as you are.
Then you moved on to the gear one needs,  that opened up a world of confusion and frustration. What a mess to wade through, but through study, and seeing what others used, reading the books again, and attending classes you were able to make some solid moves into the gear.
That is just the start of learning real DirtCraft, lots of other skills yet to learn, and take your time away from the early skills that you have , maybe not mastered, but you are pretty good with. Now your interest has turned to learning the wild edible plants, trapping the critters, hunting weapons, in other words feeding yourself.
STOP. Take a step back and slow down , reflect on the “skills” you feel you own at this point in your DirtCraft Life. When was the last time you made fire with the hand drill? , the bow and drill? As you moved on to the other skills have you been keeping the edge alive with the maintenance of practicing those hard earned skills or have you let it slip a bit. Easy to do, it is human nature after all. “Next”, is always on the agenda and a new interest takes the lead.
Building a maintenance plan , an overview of the learned, and hard earned skills is an essential part of remaining sharp, and on top of the game. Easy to say, harder to do.
My suggestion is to mark on a calendar at least every 2 to 3 months a run through for an hour or more of certain skills. Fire, is very important and the nuance is an easy thing to lose. However, by having a regular practice time setup you can get down and use the hand drill the bow and drill , flint and steel. Bring them to a flame. Practice with  the correct tinder's, experiment with other tinders. You do not have to be in the Dirt , do it in your backyard, in the garage, or if you can get the Dirttime, go for it with the goal in mind to practice and maintain those hard earned skills.
All of the other DirtCraft skills can be put on a calendar as a practice day, even an hour or so. Go to classes that you think you already have  down. I’ll bet you my best broken rusty knife you will still learn something new. Always remain the humble student, and if you learn one new thing from the book, the same instructor,  you are the winner , again.
A skill is a fickle critter, just a few years ago you had this down, now you are in a pickle because the damn wood must be damp, or it is the wrong stuff, you are having an off day. Refreshing yourself is a great habit to make a part of your life, you refresh yourself by building a maintenance program and “owning the skills”. This is a sure way to keep that ownership.
DirtCraft and owning the skills should be kept fun, don't make it a drudge. But like everyone who has a talent, they train, and by building that maintenance calendar and refreshing yourself , you will keep those skills sharp.

By Dude McLean

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1 comment:

  1. one can lose their edge much faster than you might think keep up the practice..