No doubt you have seen daredevils on your TV screen who just live for that adrenalin rush high. You think ... I wonder how that feels? Would I ever do that? How dangerous is it?

Well? Most of us just flirted with that risk. The secure life we take for granted was challenged by an extended visit from Harvey (like visitors who take on a dead fish smell when they overstay their welcome).

Empty grocery shelves, closed stores, no fuel, electrical outage, no mail, wind and rain, flood waters, ruined property, health and stress issues, etc., we endured the worst of this for a week or so.

Folks with flooded property will endure problems for months or years.

Now, place yourself in this supply and service shortage for a month or more. How would you fare?

Our ancestors endured this line-up of difficulties and unknown perils every day. They had skills, abilities and resourcefulness that has disappeared or has darn near gone away.

We are lucky to live in a rural area where some people still have these survival skills – hunting and meat processing and preservation, gardening and canning, cooking skills, carpentry experience, mechanical repair and more.

I challenge all of you who have these essential skills to pass them on to your family and friends.

You know people in our area and especially in big Metro areas who would have no idea of what to do after the last can of beans is consumed.

This is why I always question the minimal focus on vocational and technical training in our education system.

A society full of liberal arts college graduates would be the first to expire if anything upsets our “guaranteed” comfortable life style.

Each October for the last several years, I have had the privilege to briefly introduce our county’s fourth grade students to the world of horticulture at the Farm Bureau sponsored “Ag in the Classroom” event at the Crescent’s Wharton County Youth Fair facility.

It is a challenge to direct the attention of a fourth grade student to the important concept of plants used for our nourishment and betterment.

They have more entertaining things on their minds. This year it is Oct. 4 and 5.

Most have little notion of where their daily bread comes from and what they would do if it failed to appear. They have no concept of the difficulties of life in a third world country. No concept of the fact that horticultural skills practiced around the world contribute to the fullness of our market’s shelves.

It is easy to pick out the students who are learning the right life skills at home. They just stand out in the complacent crowd.

Plant your garden, even if only in a tiny space. Prepare your meals from the garden yield. Take your family hunting/fishing for food purposes.

Insist that they all learn to dress game and prepare it for the stove.

Raise animals that are intended for butchering and consumption, not just to be a pet.

Pay attention to the labels on fresh and prepared foods to know where in the world they are produced.

Talk about the amazing supply system that delivers freshly grown food from across the country or around the world.

Teach your family at least the basics of where and how that cooked food magically appears on the table.

Be prepared for when conditions are not favorable and food supplies are not plentiful ... just like Harvey’s week.

– El Campo resident Leon Macha regularly writes the Lifestyle column “The Practical Southern Gardener” for the El Campo Leader-News.

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