Learn How to Start a Fire

Completed: 33. Learn How to Start a Fire (or other basic survival skills)

Like many of you, I’m spoiled. I have access to clean water. I have access to any and every food type. I have electricity. I light candles for their scent. I flush my poop down a toilet. I’ve grown accustomed to the finer things, which are relatively modern inventions that I take for granted every day. If shit hits the fan (not my shit, because remember, I flush) and I have to survive on my own, could I?

I was once told that I would be a great asset during the zombie apocalypse because I’m funny. Guys, a joke only goes so far. I need to learn basic survival skills to make up for the fact that I’m a major liability. You might be wondering, what is your liability? For one, I’m always hungry and feel like dying if I’m not eating every two hours and 2. I’m not very strong. I’m joking about the zombie apocaplype part, but in the back of my mind, there are valid reasons for why I’ve wanted to gain a few sustainable life skills, like milking a cow, making soap, and now learning how to start a fire, arguably the MOST valuable survival skill.

I happened to find a flyer for Earth Village Education at my local coffee shop (again spoiled with easy access to delicious coffee beans), an outdoor education center not far from my house. They offer a variety of interesting classes, including “Primitive Fire Making” or fire by friction. Done.

I signed up and invited my sister, aka Captain Planet, to join me.

The class was 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., which I initially thought was unnecessarily long, but once we started learning knife safety and hearing the agenda, I realized that thorough training was necessary. Plus, we were making our own bow kit. There are three pieces of wood we had to carve ourselves. This part took a while because I have no knife skills. Girl Scouts taught me how to make a plastic mat on which to sit around a camp fire, but no actual camping skills.

This is a hand hold, spindle, and hearth I carved with my own hands (okay, I had some help from the teacher). Earth village provided the bows used to move the spindle.

Here’s Kora, the instructor’s adorable dog encouraging us along throughout the day.

Tom, the amazingly knowledgeable, instructor shows us the teepee method of arranging wood for when you’ve made fire and want to keep it going.

He pretty much instantly started a fire. It took me much longer.
Natali chopping the wood down to make our kits. It took me longer than everyone else, but I built my own fire. I’m pretty happy with myself.

I hope that I’m never in a situation where I need to use this skill, but if I do, I know what to do thanks to the fine instructors at Earth Village Education. I highly recommend attending their classes. It was a great learning experience.




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