A couple of weeks I talked about the 13 Skills in 2013 challenge. I said that I’d expand on my goals, well here’s part 1.
My first goal is cheese making. As regular readers know, I have made several soft cheeses. So far, I’ve made cottage cheese, Ricotta and lemon cheese, these were all very easy. I also made Mozzarella, cream cheese and yogurt. These were not difficult, but required a little more effort to make them. For the 13 skills challenge, I want to make a cheese that requires the use of a cheese press and also requires aging to bring out the flavor. I’ll have to make a cheese press to complete this goal. I’ll also have to figure out how to set up a “cheese cave” to do the aging.
You all know that I do a lot of Dutch oven cooking. For the challenge, I want to increase the frequency of my Dutch oven cooking, but I also want to cook more difficult dishes. I will prepare some meals that take more than an hour to cook in the Dutch oven. But in addition to that, I will also attend a Dutch Oven Gathering. We do not have a chapter in my area, but maybe I can find some interested in forming a chapter.
Next goal is fire making. My family does a lot of camping. Everyone knows that you have to have a camp fire while camping. We usually do have a fire, but up until now, I would just start a fire using some rolled up newspaper and maybe a fire starter. My goal is to get better at building fires without using paper or fire starters. I would expand this to primitive methods, but I really don’t have an interest in fire by friction. But who knows, I may take a look at that in the future.
The next goal is to create a fruit orchard containing at least 6 varieties of fruit and nut trees. I almost feel like I’m cheating on this one since I’ve already started. But that’s the reason it is at least 6 types of fruit and nut. Right now my orchard has sweet and tart cherries, 2 varieties of apple and 2 varieties of almond. In the spring I’d like to add pears and peaches. I’ll have to figure the other types that I want to plant. I plan on adding Goji berries and some other berry bushes, but I’m not including these in my orchard count. I see an orchard as containing fruit trees, not bushes.
Beekeeping should make things interesting. I’ve wanted to get into beekeeping for quite some time. I’ve been researching it for a couple of years. I put it on my list of homestead goals for 2012, but I didn’t accomplish that goal. So this year I want to start beekeeping. The actual skill to add is to build a top bar bee hive. I would like to get 2 of them, I may buy 1 and build the other or build both of them. I have Phil Chandler’s Barefoot Beekeeper book and in it he spells out how to build the hive. There are also a lot of sites with plans for building top bar hives.
Ham radio is another skill that I’d like to acquire. I plan on reading through the Ham Radio License Manual this winter. Then take the exam to get my technician license. I’m not sure what I will do with a ham license, but I’ve been interested in doing this for a long time. I’ve worked with hams and they enjoy communicating with people all over the world. I’m not sure if I’d get into that side of the emergency communication side of things. No matter what I want to do with it, I have to get the license first.
I figured that i would need more than one post to get all the skills defined. I’ll continue on another post.