So, we skip forward a couple of years to the last few. While plant identification has had a few instances of practical application, it has been mostly an academic exercise. In my opinion, knowledge gained without use is pretty useless.
Over the last few years, I have taken up a few more practiced skills. We started sugaring. It is incredible! The first year, we tapped only two trees and were rewarded with a few quarts of our own maple syrup. The following year, we tapped ten trees and harvested about two and a half gallons of syurp. This year we will prbably only tap ten again, but more on that later.
Later that same year, I started bownhunting. First, let me explain that I had never hunted in my life. I still do not rifle hunt. I figure that if I am going to hunt, I should require myself to earn the privilege of harvesting an animal. This is why I chose to hunt with only a bow...I was in the military and feel perfectly capable of taking aim and hitting a deer with a rifle at 300 yards, but that can't happen with a bow. My effective range with a bow is a mere 30 yards. I have had some incredible encounters in spite of my limited experience.
We then stumbled upon a perfect opportunity...homeschool survival class. The class, "The Earth Is Our Home", is taught by some folks who believe that it is possible to blend primitive and modern skills and tools in an environmentally responsible manner. The class is primarily for the kids, but the parents are encouraged to participate...I think I might get more out of each class than they do. We have learned how to build fires in any conditions from wood gathered at the time...the first day was a snowy wet day. We have since learned wood carving, cordage making, and how to build shelter. We have foraged plants and cooked meals with those plants. We've also built a wigwam frame for our permanent meeting spot.
Hold on...we are almost through the introduction!