I believe I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy multiple hobbies; many, if not most, of them serve as potential “income backup” in the event of something untoward. But, from the prepper mindset, there’s more to them than that.
The first one that pops to mind is food preservation. While the gardening and harvesting and such certainly count as a hobby (and supply source), many people would balk at listing “canning” as a hobby. Still, it fits in, right alongside cheesemaking, baking, brewing, and even meat preservation (salting and smoking, sausages, etc.). With the right mindset, you can keep yourself busy putting a little extra food aside, from lots of different sources, throughout the year. (As the weather turns colder, it’s time to start looking at those large cuts of meat. This is when pigs get slaughtered, and begin the journey towards becoming all sorts of tasty things…)
Woodworking I’ve mentioned; trees are more or less plentiful–it just takes a bit of knowledge to harvest them sustainably, and only a little more to get them turned into lumber. Granted, for most folks (myself included), the equipment costs are daunting. It’s there, though–and, if you’re merely “handy,” you can turn all sorts of wood (including nice-looking pieces of firewood) into any of a number of different things, from small bowls, plates, cups, spoons and forks up to stools and the like. (And if you mess something up, it just goes back onto the woodpile…)
I’m fortunate in that one of my hobbies is medieval re-creation (“living history,” not the Ren-faires). This leads me down lots of different paths towards making things. A little applied thinking, and you’ll see how to go from relatively easily-f0und raw materials all the way to something that would make any prepper proud–even the “doomsday” types. Granted, my stuff tends to come out looking a little less “tacti-cool” than it does “Viking,” but that’s the sort of style I prefer to have with my substance, anyway.
With winter around the corner, though, it’s become less “time to play outside” and more “time to study bits and pieces of my play, for next year.” There’s all sorts of hand-work that can be done–I always turn towards string things, making knit/crochet/nalbound hats, mittens, and socks–plus minor repairs to things that you’ve put off during the summer. Break out the glue and some clamps, and make that wobbly chair sturdy again. Replace the faulty light fixture in the kids’ closet. Things like that.
How do you go about doing the research? In one of my favorite “bastions of socialism” around: swing by your library. If they don’t have a book on a given subject, ask them–the odds are good that there’s a bored librarian somewhere who’s happy to help you with some research. Once you’ve found the book, you can get it, often through interlibrary loan (which is its own delightful brand of magic). Then read up! Take notes! Photocopy pages! And when the sun starts making its way back North, you can head back outside again and put to practice what you’ve learned. Some of the best prepping around, which money can’t buy.