If you’re trying to learn how to be more and more self sufficient,  you may not know where to start. yesterday I posted 4 Things You Need To Learn How To Do For Yourself. But life doesn’t revolve around just 4 things. There are a multitude of things you should be doing for yourself instead of depending on someone else or paying someone else to do for you.

Don’t expect to learn everything you need to know in a week or two. Take time and really practice these things if you truly want to learn them. Just because you’ve seen a video doesn’t mean you know how. It means you have taken that first important step though to learning.

One BIG thing that everyone should know is how to start a fire and what kind of fire is needed for particular job.







Here are some terms to know about Fire Starting

Fuel Wood
Fire ring

Here are a few activities to help you (and your children) learn about fire building and fire safety:

Explain proper fire safety.

Tell what combustion is.

Build a fire that is large enough to cook on.

Cook something over your fire.

Demonstrate proper fire extinguishing procedure.

Here is a good video of a boy starting and building a fire. Just remember that the comments at Youtube are not always nice so be careful.

And here is a fellow telling about how to build 4 different types of fires depending on what you want it for…..

Materials For Building a Campfire:



Fuel Wood

Shovel or spade

Large Rocks or bricks if you are going to build a Fire Ring

Bucket of water for safety. A running garden hose is probably a good idea if it is dry outside.

Instructions for making a fire (some instructions can be found here , here and also here.)
Cooking Over A Fire – once you are able to build a good fire, you need to learn how to cook over it. Some items you’ll need for cooking over a fire are:

Pot, pan or skillet that can be used over a fire. I like cast iron because its strong and heat radiates throughout the pan evenly.

Utensils that can be used over a fire, long-handled

Thick cloth or pot holders, or use asbestos gloves

Recipe and ingredients for what you are going to cook. Here are some suggested beginner recipes.

Bannock Bread Recipe and Demonstration

Roasted Potatoes Over The Fire

Panhandler Spaghetti (pasta added to dry ingredients and cooked)

Building An Outdoor Shelter:

Sheet, painter’s tarp, heavy string

Or blankets and rope. We used to make tents like this when I was a child. two trees, tie a rope between them, hang a blanket over the rope and stake down the edges of the blanket.

How To Set Up A Tarp Tent

How To Build A Woodland Shelter

How To Build A Lean-To Part One

How To Build A Lean-To Part Two

Another Lean-To


Create An Outdoor Food Prep Area – Food prep is one of the most important things about cooking outdoors, it needs to be sanitary, safe and sequestered.

Sanitary – Store all foods in containers that will keep out moisture as much as possible. Keep all your food preparation utensils clean. Wash your hands frequently. You’ll need a pan or bowl to wash dishes and pots in and a place to set them to dry. You’ll need wash cloths or dish towels too. Be sure to wash the cloths out after each use and hang to dry.

Safe – Food needs to be stored where it won’t attract animals or insects. I like to set up a food prep table using a long wooden plank between two trees. You can use a picnic table if you like. Just improvise and use whatever you have on hand. At night you can hang food in a tree, using a bag and a rope, to keep it safe.

Sequestered – Keep food away from your campsite. If it draws animals (like the friendly pooch from down the street, it at least won’t draw the animal to your tent or bed.

Dry apples – Here is my method:

Wash apples

Slice across apples making 1/4 inch thick slices. Be sure you slice across, so that the little ‘star’ of seeds show in the center of each slice, This will make it easier to hang them to dry.

As you slice the apples, place the slices in a bowl of cold, salted water. Use about 1 teaspoon of salt to each quart of cold water and stir it to dissolve.

Once all your apples are sliced, take them out of the water and string them trough the center of each slice onto some cotton string. Hang the string of apples near the camp fire to dry. It will take several days for the apples to dry like this so if you need to you can finish drying them in a low (250*F) oven or dehydrator. Dry them until they are tough and leathery. Store in the freezer or to be extra period correct, store them in glass or pottery jars with bay leaves to keep out insects.


Other Interesting Links

*Roast over a fire – link to youtube video, shows how to roast a chicken, also how to roast corn and potatoes.
*Make A Quill Pen – link to a youtube video for making a medieval quill pen, for older children or adults only.
*Make Oak Gall (or acorn) Ink – link to a youtube video, very good. The whole process including evaporation of water from the ink takes 4-5 days so plan ahead!

How To Make A Bed Outdoors – Gather brush, pine needles, leaves. Make a big pile that is a little longer than your body and a little wider. Cover it with a sheet, blanket or sleeping bag. Be aware that brush and leaves and the like can have ticks and insects in them. Its fun for children to make a bed and then actually get to sleep on it!

Pioneer Times In America