Renaissance Women: Ready for The Big One

Trust Heather Walker of Makaria Farm to come up with an idea like this. I can just see her sitting in her farmhouse kitchen, vibrating with creative energy and no agricultural project to absorb it — it’s winter after all. She’s like a professional athlete in the off-season, twitching from adrenaline overload.

Heather invited a dozen of her “artsy friends” to create a group of “re-skillers”: women focused on learning basic skills that are no longer standard issue in our high-tech world. Here’s an example: learning to sew from a pattern is one of the skills we’ve all agreed to learn. Eight of 12 of us have access to a sewing machine (impressive); few of us know how to use it (not impressive).

Once a month for 12 months we will meet to learn a skill that, as Heather so often reminds us, when the Apocalypse comes, we will be ready. By the end of this year I will know how to make a loaf of bread from an apple, milk a cow/goat/water buffalo, and identify edible plants and mushrooms — to name a few. Just call me McGyver.

Bill McKibben wrote a book called Eaarth in which he says when The Big One hits (earthquake, tsunami, Apocalypse, etc.), communities that work well together will survive. Heather has set us firmly on a path to learning essentials and building a solid community. So when you’re starving, dirty, and in need of shelter, you’ll have her to thank when I make you cheese, soap, and build you a cob fort.

Read More About It

To find out more about us Renaissance Women, you can read Heather’s blog about this group, or follow us on Facebook.


    1. Ruthie, You can stay in our cob fort as long as you bring your lovely quilts to keep us warm. Quilting isn’t on this year’s to-do list.


    1. Isn’t it?! You should start another group just like it!! I can already think of five women who would join. See a link to Heather’s blog (above) to contact her if you have questions. She’s an inspiration.

      Thanks Caroline!


  1. Wonderful! I was so lucky that my grandparents (all prairie farmers) taught me many of the skills they used to survive having no money in the ‘dirty thirties’. They made, grew, composted, recycled, reused and counted on each other as neighbours..the list goes on and on.
    My father always said that they didnt know they were poor. One of the differences he remembers was that the ‘poor’ ate homemade bread and the wealthier had ‘store botten’.

    1. Nowadays I bet it’s the rich who have homemade and the poor who have store botten — most families have two parents working just to pay the rent! I already feel empowered just at the thought of learning all these new skills; I’ll be walking with a strut by the end of the year.

      Thanks for your comment Barb.


  2. I’m glad you highlighted the community aspect – I think it’s important, and I totally forgot! It’s going to be fun!

    1. Thanks Cindy. I love that she’s made us all write/photograph/create art about it. I think I’ll like that part as much as the re-skilling.

      See you in a month!


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