Many traditional crafts require substantial training, infrastructure, and investment of money and time. Basketry, however, requires only a few days of training to learn basic techniques, and can use materials that be harvested naturally from almost every biome on Earth. It can be practiced around a modern working schedule, and can beautiful, durable and sustainable tools and furnishings, including animal traps, armor, beehives, boats, cages, chairs, chicken coops, coffins, fences, hand tools, hats, huts, sheds, stables, wagons, walls, and weirs.
People have found many techniques for preserving vitamins in winter, which still work today. One of the most basic involves fooling plants, as it were, into thinking they are not dead yet.
Cultures around the world wove boats: Tibetans floated in Ku-Drus of woven wood and yak skin, Eskimos lashed sealskin around their long umiaks, Arabs traversed the Tigris and Euphrates in quffahs, and the Celts of the British Isles — Irish, Scots and Welsh — had an amazing variety of coracles for fresh waters and curraghs for the sea.
A growing number of homeowners are realizing how useful chickens can be in the backyard: They offer pest control, fertilizer, comedy relief, and their business end doles out concentrated protein like a Pez dispenser. Unfortunately, novice chicken-owners can encounter problems when they expect more than chickens can deliver, either in food, companionship or general co-operation.
Espalier allows a gardener to grow a dwarf fruit tree along a wall or fence, binding it for support, and sculpting the branches to follow certain lines, as Japanese artists do with bonsai trees.
Unlike many wild foods that take a long search, dandelions are found in almost every wood and meadow. And while many wild plants require special training to identify and discriminate from similar-looking poisonous plants, dandelions can be readily identified by every schoolchild.
Houses take a lifetime to pay off these days, and even a prosaic shed, barn or coop requires a heavy investment of money, time, skilled labour and imported materials. For thousands of years, though, people around the world used an ancient technique to build homes and other structures quickly, using nothing but local material and simple, easily learned skills.
It is possible to grow fresh crops through the dark months even without a greenhouse, and even where we live, a thousand miles from the Arctic Circle, where the winter sun brings only brief and meager light.