Self-sufficient farm living means different things to each homesteader. The first thing to come to mind for me is a manual kitchen tools list. Of course necessary homesteading skills are right there too. My thoughts are of living off the grid, which means having equipment that requires only manpower.
Self-sufficient farm living is something I was born into. As a child, being raised on my grandparents on their small farm, I took so much for granted. The older I get the more precious those memories become. When I think of homesteading today, words such as freedom, security, and simplicity float through my mind creating a warm feeling of satisfaction and well being.
If the power grid goes down, or the dollar takes a hard drive toward depression, not much would change for the self-sufficient homesteader. With some help from our friends and the right homesteading tools, we would be able to continue living the simple homesteader life we love so much.
My Top Three “Don’t be Caught Without” Kitchen Tools
A good set of knives is a must for any homesteader or homemaker. When choosing a good set of knives, you don’t want to go cheap. The time saved sharpening will save you enough time within the first year to make it worth your while. If you spend a little more for a well made knife, you’ll have a knife to pass down to future generations. I still use knives that my grandparents used on a daily basis. You don’t need to spend big bucks on a Damascus made, hand forged knife, but you’ll be wise to have a good set of quality knives you can rely on year after year.
A good hand mixer is a must when you need to mix a recipe to the right constancy. As a young girl, I enjoyed turning the handle with my grandmother as she whipped up scratch pies…ahh the aroma of her country kitchen still makes me smile.
Around 10 years ago, I found my favorite hand slicer. It’s saved me hundreds of hours of processing produce of all kinds. It will always be on my list of must have kitchen tools no matter if I have electric or not.
There’s something nostalgic about a stove top percolator. Maybe it’s because scent has the strongest tie to memory. The smell of coffee percolating and bacon frying makes me feel I’m waking up in my grandmother’s house. It could also be I face most days better after I’ve had my coffee! Either way, as long as I can start a fire, I can have my morning cup of Joe.
Since necessity is the mother of invention, many of us don’t learn new skills until it’s “do or die time.” However, there are some skills we must learn if we are to experience self sufficient farm living. One of my favorite skills learned from my grandmother is the art of cooking from scratch.
Nothing satisfies a family as much as a tasty, nutritious meal after a long day of cutting wood and caring for the animals. Learning the symbiotic relationship between different foods and the seasonal nutritional needs of our bodies are just some of the avenues we explore as we feed our family the best made from scratch meals we can mix up.
Because the better the ingredients, the better the meal, gardening is a must. Every year I continue to try and learn more about gardening. If I find an old timer willing to share their years of experience, I plant myself and soak up anything that may help me. Many of the old timers knew to harvest at a certain time of the year as well as a certain time of the day for optimal taste and nutritional value. There is so much to learn when it comes to the skill of gardening. I’m certain I will be learning for as long as I continue to grow one.
Raising chickens for eggs and meat is a starting place for many homesteaders. The symbiotic relationship animals have with the land and the skills needed to raise a healthy, thriving herd or flock is symbolic of homesteading at its best. Many people struggle to return the nutritional value to the soil. Without the help of animals to thin and feed the land, restoring the soil can become expensive and labor intensive. The skill of animal husbandry will produce things like eggs, butter, wool, meat, and many of the other necessities of life. If the big box store quits selling it, you can still make your own at a good price and higher quality, or your mindset is to be able to live without it.
Another skill that goes hand in hand with gardening and animal husbandry is the skill of preservation. Granny always said, “Waste not, want not!” It’s important to know what is food preservation and to be efficient at using everything to its fullest potential.
Preserving your harvest will provide you with years of food. Learning to dehydrate, pressure can, and smoke your food will keep you from starving if you run into a lean year or two down the road. A freezer is nice and easy to keep foods from going bad, but if you lose electricity, you lose your food. With a little study and practice, you can dehydrate and can your foods in a way that will make them last much longer than they would in a freezer. When your food in the freezer is becoming unhealthy from freezer burn, your dehydrated and canned foods will still be fresh with the nutritional value your body needs.
Self-sufficient farm living is filled with skills which enable us to live a natural, healthy lifestyle. For us, it’s the most satisfying way to live. For us, it’s who we are which make it what we do.
Be sure to share your own tips for self sufficient farm living in the comments below. You can contact me with any question you may have. I’ll do all that I can to shine some light on your journey.
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack