Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Skills in the Family

Skills and Families

Dmitry Orlov, in his book Reinventing Collapse examines our society from the perspectives of Housing, Transportation, Employment/Skills, Families, Money, Consumerism, Food, Medicine, Education, Ethnic tensions and  Energy.

There are two good reasons for looking at our society from so many viewpoints.  One reason is that these are primary needs.  Society implodes quickly if one of these fails.  The other reason is that what appears to be a disordered, jumbled mess can snap into focus and become highly ordered when viewed from the proper vantage point.  You can look at a forest and might not notice the trees are planted into rows until you can look between two of those rows.

Orlov makes the case that manipulation of abstractions does not put calories in your belly, keep you warm enough and dry enough, deliver the babies....  In his words:
...there is a group of highly compensated, senior lunch eaters...Ask them to solve a technical problem and they will politely demure, often taking the opportunity to flash their wit with some self-deprecating humor.
(They) expect prosperity without end, and so they felt safe in joining professions that were mere embroidery on the fabric of an affluent society.
Orlov also makes the case that the family is the primary reservoir of resilience.  He pities most American families because of our dispersed nature.

Mom and Dad understood this

I come from a large family.  It was my Mother's wish that we have a wide spectrum of jobs within the family so we would not have to go far to find trustworthy help.  My Father's wish is that every child would master a brain job and a hand-skill job.  He laid carpet as a young man, worked his way through school and became an educator.  He continued to lay carpet to generate a little extra folding money.

Looking at my close family, I see the following skills:

  • Nurses (4)
  • Doctors (4) (Radiology, Psychiatry, Physical Therapy, Audiology)
  • Engineers (6)
  • Educators (4)
  • Auto-mechanics (2) 
  • Social Worker (2)
  • Firefighter (1)
  • Groundskeeper/Custodian (2)
  • Accountant (1)
  • Chemist (1)
  • Office guy (1)
  • Public Relations (1)
  • Chef (1)
  • Gardening (at least 6)
  • Hunting/Trapping/Fishing (at least 8)
  • Welding (4)
  • Big Rough Guys (at least 6) (BRG was a labor classification at one of my former places of employment.  The official designation was Building Repair General.  But it really means, Big Rough Guy)

No Priests.
No Lawyers.
No Cops...although the firefighter knows several.
No Industrial Seamstresses
I particularly miss the seamstress.  I am doing more BRG stuff and it plays hob with the clothing.

Tree work

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.  -Galileo
I was topping out some pear trees yesterday because a ray of sunshine can only be harvested once.  The ray of sunshine intercepted by the taller branches will cannot ripen fruit on the lower, easier to pick branches.  It is frustrating to see the best fruit high out of reach.  Even with a ladder you have to fight your way through the lower branches.

A Shoe Goo repair.  A fabric patch on the inside spanning both sides of the rip, Shoe Goo, coat, more Shoe Goo on the outside.

While pulling cut branches out of the the tree I hooked the pocket of my coat and ripped it.

I see primitive fertility goddesses.  That Kubota was a precocious rascal.

This coat was a hand-me-up from Kubota after he out-grew it in fourth grade.  I have some sentimental attachment to it because has some of Kubota's doodles on the sleeve.


  1. We were talking the other day about this very subject. My family has a great wealth of knowledge and technical skills, from medicine to carpentry, to plumbing, to auto mechanics, to woodworking, to sheet metal. Our extended family includes physical engineers, business men, accountants, teachers, boatwrights, physicists and computer engineers. There is nothing a strong family can't accomplish.

  2. My hat is off to you, Pawpaw. It is not just what you know,or who you know. It is knowing what the people you know, know. You know?

    Also, there are all of the secondary skills we picked up along the way. I come from a large family....but there are not 60 of us.

    Looking at my list I see a need for some heavy equipment operators. Hmmm!


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