The first books I ever read, ever, were the Little House books. A good chunk of that series included depictions and descriptions of life in the 1800s. For example, when the Ingalls move from Wisconsin to Kansas, Charles Ingalls builds a house for his family simply by picking a spot out and starting to build. Charles had technology and supplies to assist him — axe, saw, harness, wagon, horses, and so forth — but he brought in the logs and other materials that built the house literally from the ground up.
That sort of thing has always fascinated me. Always. One of the major reasons I was so disgusted with the Survivor series was it sounded like they were going to drop these folks on an island and tell them to get with the living. What we actually got, as I’m sure everyone knows only all too well by now, is a reality soap opera. There was next to no actual ‘surviving’ on the show. Other shows, that I’ve heard about since Survivor was more than enough to make me wash my hands of the ‘reality TV craze’, give lip service to the “from the ground up / from scratch” concept, but focus on the interpersonal drama.
Last week I came across Primitive Technology. Actually, I was linked to this video; but I clicked over to the channel and watched all the others, and took a look at the site for what extra background there is. I didn’t catch the gentleman’s name, but honestly what I’m interested in is his content. The first video I was linked to covered making charcoal from scratch, but the channel covers quite a lot of other techniques and methods for scratching out an existence without a shred of modern technology.
He wears shorts — no shoes even — and makes or finds everything he uses from the land. Sticks, rocks, plant fibers, clay … all of it. No concessions at all, not even fire. I remember how on that one season of Survivor I watched they couldn’t make fire, until one of them realized glasses could be used to focus sunlight sufficiently to heat and ignite leaves. This guy does it the ‘right’ way, with friction. After all, one of the primary reasons one might want fire is for light in the dark; what happens if you need a fresh fire at night? Or if yours goes out? Or if the day’s overcast? Never mind that glasses weren’t even invented until … I could Wikipedia it but I think it was somewhere around 1000 AD, give or take a couple of centuries. Long after dawn of humanity era this channel focuses on.
Long story short (too late, I know); this is fascinating if you’re into this sort of ‘trivia’. Now, let’s be clear; I like modern technology. I like houses and transportation and computers and all of it. Never want to give any of it up. But as a hobby, which this guy treats it as; it’s really interesting.
I’ll link this video here, since it’s the one I found the most interesting. He builds, from the ground up and entirely from scratch, a tile roofed hut. With clay walls, a fireplace and chimney, even underfloor heating for when winter sets in.
As Spock was fond of saying … fascinating.