There are many skills to learn for homesteading today. Learning these 10 basic skills will help you on your journey. I know you may feel overwhelmed, but take a deep breath and relax. Every homesteader has to find what works for them. Setting your goals and learning the skills to achieve them is all part of the journey. Enjoy it.
I was raised a farmsteader. Did I just create a term? Nope. It’s actually real. To me it signifies who we are. We are farmers on a homestead … farmsteaders. Oh well, I like it. Even though I’m a farming lifer, it doesn’t necessarily follow I know all there is to know about homesteading today. Trust me!
For me one of the most rewarding things to do is learn a new skill. Being able to continue to learn and grow and making things happen in the most efficient way possible is very rewarding. I’m currently learning to garden in a totally new gardening zone. We moved from U.S. Growing Zone 8 to U.S. Growing Zone 6, that’s over 2500 miles north of my deep south life.
For homesteading today, there is a seemingly endless list of skills to be learned and mastered. This is one of the most enjoyable parts of being a self-sustaining homesteader. You never have to worry about being bored or stuck like many of my city friends. They’re always telling me how they wish they always had something to do. I gladly invite them to help with the endless list of chores. Funny, they never show up for that!
For those of you who know me, it will come as no surprise to out find I have an ever growing list of skills to learn. I keep the list to keep track of new skills I’d like to add to our homestead. Big surprise right?
Since I grew up on a farm, I learned many skills for homesteading today. Some skills were learned as a normal part of my chores. I was milking a cow as a wee young girl. I always loved most of my chores and milking my cow Star was one of those I liked best.
Maybe this is the year you start a small list of simple homesteading skills you want to add to your repertoire. I like to have clear goals so I know when I hit my target. Homesteading today requires us to set goals and take steps, no matter how small, toward achieving them.
As a way to spur your thinking about skills for homesteading today, here’s a short list for you to consider. If you’re experienced, you may only need one or two of these, good for you! If you’re new to homesteading, just choose a couple and make them your goal for the year, good for you!
1) Learn to milk a cow or goat. This is one I learned as a girl and still love. You can’t beat fresh organic milk for your own farm!
2) Learn how to make butter. This one goes hand in hand with milking. Who doesn’t love fresh organic butter? No one I know.
3) Learn how to save your own seeds. This is something we do. Start by choosing the healthiest plants and let them mature in the field. Seeds properly harvested and preserved will keep for years. This is important because of the food supply issues here in the United States. My grandparents taught me to do this because “you never know when something could happen and you lose your whole garden. You’d have to be able to start over.” It’s always better to be safe than sorry, as Granny used to say.
4) Learn how to make organic fermented chicken feed. This has saved me money as the chickens eat less and it boosts their gut health and immune systems. I just learned this skill two years ago and was happy to cross it off my list.
5) Learn how to keep bees and harvest your own honey. Learning about beekeeping and beekeeping supplies is currently on the list of new skills I’m learning. Having these little critters on the farm is of vital importance to us. Not only for their preservation, but for the health benefits of their honey as well as to ensure the propagation of our plants. My husband had bad allergies years ago, but we used raw, organic honey to completely cure him.
6) Learn how to make sourdough bread. We are completely hooked on sourdough bread It just feels good to my body and since it is a fermented food it has health benefits other breads don’t.
7) Learn how to use a smoker and the best meat food preservation methods. I love the taste of meat that has been smoked with hickory. I remember the smell of Papa’s smoke house. It’s one of my fondest memories of growing up on his farm. I recently had meat cold smoked with cherry wood by a friend of ours. Wow! What a fantastic flavor!
8) Learn food preservation methods. Using a pressure canner or water bath canner to preserve the harvest is considered a basic skill to most homesteaders. I’ve recently learned, from a dear 72-year-old lady, to can breads. I also canned meat for the first time this year. This is a great way to preserve food for years to come. My personal favorite way to preserve food is by dehydrating.
9) Learn the best way to split wood (and stack it, too.) My husband likes to quote Papa to me, “Chopping firewood will warm you twice. Once when you split it and once when you burn it.” It’s also great exercise and we enjoy being able to split and stack our own firewood.
10) Learn about raising chickens for eggs and meat. You thought I’d forgot this one didn’t you! As sustenance farmers, we raise chickens for meat and eggs. Some people only raise them for eggs. Decide which you can or want to do and go for it!
So there’s a starter list of skills for homesteading today. Share with me in the comments what skills you’re working on or have just learned so we can celebrate together. As a reward for learning a new skill, I like to have chocolate pie! That’s enough to make me want to succeed in any way I can!
Safe and Happy Journey,
Rhonda and The Pack