To be the ultimate homesteader will require you a set of homesteading skills essential for your success. Take your checklist and check out which homesteading skills you might be missing!
Homesteading Skills Every Homesteader Should Know
Going all out in homesteading was definitely hard the first years, but we got the hang of it. Now, I can say, almost everything in our homestead runs smoothly like clockwork. We learned our homesteading skills as we went along with the help of other homesteaders. We’ve had a lot of misses, but now, everything seems to come out naturally. Get yourself familiar with these homesteading skills and save yourself half the troubles of homesteading.
We’ve updated this list with our dear readers’ ideas and suggestions!
Growing your own food will arrest you with fruits and veggies more than you can handle. Preserving them naturally through canning so you can eat holistically all year long.
If you don’t have a grinder or wheat mill, there are other brilliant ways to prepare wheat. You see, homesteaders are such ingenious fellows, there’s no obstacle we can’t overcome.
Never rely again on grocery store bread with bleached flours or expensive organic loaves. Bake your own at home because, we all know, no bread tastes better like home-baked.
Every homesteader should know a few tricks to cook without any power. We’ve gone a step further and made a tutorial on how to bake without the help of electricity.
To keep milk longer and break it down into a form our bodies can find more friendly than raw milk, learn to pasteurize it. Also, we’ve got a few more ways to prepare them.
Butter is essential for a lot of recipes including, bread, pastries, and even make courses. Keep a steady supply of this dairy product by making your own.
If you’ve got more milk even after making cheese, make yogurt too. Everything that comes out of hard labor is always sweetest, and in this case, creamiest!
Not all foods can be preserved either by canning or dehydrating. Freezing food is easy, but a certified homesteader has a few tricks up their sleeves.
Some fruits and veggies can spoil fast, so before they get to the last stage before the compost, deal with ’em fast. Take these delicious banana recipes and don’t waste these nutritious fruits away.
Every homesteader knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A ready to cook pancake isn’t a good way to treat a breakfast royalty, so always prepare pancakes the good old way.
Organic meat broth is the secret to some of the most delicious recipes. Don’t waste the bones from the livestock you just had but make savory stock soup with those.
You can easily have too much of fruits and veggies in season. Plan your meals and add variety in preparing your dishes with your produce.
Tapping maple trees in late winter is a great pastime, and the results are divine! Also, I smell some sweet, cold, hard cash.
17. Freezing Herbs
Some of the best cooks out there are also homesteaders. Incorporating herbs in every recipe like herbs frozen with oil or soup stock is one secret.
You’ll see some of the loveliest and liveliest spice pantries around are of homesteaders. Jars of colorful herbs, spices, and condiments line up my pantry–it’s like a party.
If you bake your own bread with your homemade organic flour, why not take the extra step of making and maintaining your own starter dough? It’s really simple and easy, you know!
Whether you butcher your own livestock or hunt wild game you will need a way to preserve the meat properly. In that case, a homemade smokehouse should be in order.
21. Vacuum Sealing
Your food will easily go bad if you don’t seal it properly. Learn the art of vacuum sealing so you don’t waste any.
22. Brewing Drinks
Making your own beer is rewarding and delicious. Also, the process is simple and becomes easier once you get the hang of it.
Homesteading isn’t complete when you’re not keeping bees. You learn to value bees not just for honey but for their valuable role in nature.
Amazingly, honey isn’t the only gift the wonderful bees gave us. Beeswax has lots of benefits and is valued nutritionally, you’ll love rasing bees even more.
Frugality and ingenuity go hand in hand in every homesteader. There are ways to find different uses for every little thing around the homestead.
Orange peels can be utilized on and around the homestead in various effective ways. So, don’t through your orange peelings just yet.
28. Using Charcoal
Amazingly, charcoal has wonderful uses other than the compost. Use activated charcoal though when using for personal purposes.
30. Canning Tomatoes
When tomatoes fruit, you know they fruit good more than you can handle. Luckily, canned tomatoes are a staple at home, I keep a steady supply of homemade ones.
If you love raisins, you can make them on your own. Dehydrate a variety of fruits and veggies for your own year-round supply.
32. Drying Herbs
Drying herbs is an ancient practice, it’s making quite a comeback. Preserve your herbs for teas, spices, or to hang in your home as an air freshener.
Herbs have long been used as natural medicines. Learn to extract its essence and heal yourself and your loved ones naturally before you head to the pharmacy.
Rediscovering ancient means of natural healing included the use of herbal poultice. Learn to practice it your own here.
We now know chemical mosquito repellent is harmful. Make a safe organic mosquito repellent you can apply as often as you want without the side effects.
Essential oils are important for a lot of homemade products like soap, deodorizer, and treatments. Making essential oil is one of the important homesteading skills.
Going old school, including making simple home remedies, is one of the homesteading skills must-learn. Tap easily accessible resources right in your yard.
Cut the chemicals and opt for natural ingredients in your cleaning supplies. You’ll spend a little time to save lots in your budget.
Amazingly, everyday household stuff makes safe and effective skin care products. A homesteader can also be fabulous–safely fabulous on a budget!
Chemical beauty and personal care products pose health concerns. Whether they’re founded or not, better safe than sorry and use organic products instead.
Even laundry soaps can also be made at home. Make your own chemical-free detergent in either liquid or powder form.
Making your own homemade bath soap is fun, boosting your creativity. You can explore different shapes and different ingredients, and the result will be amazing.
Save your husband’s favorite pair of jeans or adjust your children’s hemlines. Basic sewing skills definitely saved me a lot from buying new items of clothing.
This skill will provide a relaxing hobby that the whole family can benefit from. I, myself, love nothing better to do on a down day than to embroider, knit, and cross stitch.
For sewing new clothes or larger fabric, you’ll need more than just your hands. Learn to operate the sewing machine for more fabric projects around the home.
Hand-washing laundry is almost a lost art with many benefits. Don’t let it die down, but experience softer hands, better fabric care, and lesser utility cost with hand washing.
Give your clothes a breath of fresh air and dry them outdoors instead of opting for the costly electric dryer option. You have fresher clothes and lesser power bills.
48. Growing Own Food
The ultimate homesteader has this homesteading skill at the top of the list. After all, this is where the idea of self-sufficiency comes from.
A homesteader knows she has to work with her environment to thrive. If the soil is unfavorable, then opt for hydroponics gardening.
Straw bale gardening is a game changer for those with poor soil. Exploring different methods of gardening is one of the homesteading skills you’ll need to thrive.
A homestead should never be without a greenhouse or at least a high tunnel. Grow fruits and veggies all year long in a homemade greenhouse.
Incorporating gardening with natural ecosystem is also a homesteading must-know. Understanding aquaponics gives you a fine gardening alternative.
53. Growing Herbs
You’ll have more uses for herbs than any other plants in your garden. Whether culinary, healing, gardening and even cleaning, herbs are important and must-grow in your garden.
Planting according to hardiness zone ensures gardening success. Like the back of the hand, a gardening homesteader should be familiar with it.
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Besides using seeds or bulbs, growing more plants from cuttings is a tricky gardening trick. If you get the hang of it, then you’re a certified homesteading green thumb.
56. Planting Trees
Trees are invaluable to homesteaders. Planting trees are one of the important homesteading skills more than being able to use them around the homestead.
58. Raising Tomatoes
“There’s money in tomatoes”, and every true blue homesteader knows that. Growing tomatoes is easy and the rewards are big.
60. Saving Seeds
Create a never-ending supply of seeds not just for gardening. Seeds are a good food source too, you know!
61. Soil Preparation
The soil is everything in gardening and growing your own food. It’s one of a homesteader’s homesteading skills to amend and work out the soil for growing success.
62. DIY Compost Bin
Correctly storing your compost will save your backyard from smelling like a dumpster. You make DIY compost bins from practically free supplies in pallets and salvaged woods.
Don’t throw out all your recyclable odds and ends. A true blue homesteader knows composting is essential in gardening.
64. Worm Composting
Every gardening homesteader’s composting buddy is the earthworm. We all know their important role in a healthy soil and healthy vegetables.
Preparation for emergencies is key, but in the event of the inevitable, you may have to forage for plants with healing properties. A homesteader will need to be familiar with this valuable nature item.
Mushrooms have both culinary and medicinal values. I must warn you though, there is more poisonous mushrooms than edible ones, so better master mushroom identification.
I can identify different plants from afar just by the shape of their leaves. I think that’s something innate in us, gardening homesteaders.
Turns out some flowers are edible! So, mix edible gardening with your homestead landscaping.
Permaculture is but a fancy word for organic gardening. Every homesteader knows the positive environmental implications of considering nature in gardening.
Foraging for wild edibles is both challenging and exciting. Add it to your list of survival and homesteading skills!
If you think harvesting is as easy as picking, there’s more to it than that. Timing is everything, and a homesteader knows the tricks.
Both invasive and poisonous plants whether in the field or water should be avoided. Knowing these undesirable plants will save you lots of trouble.
73. Keeping A Barn
A barn will be very important in your homestead. Keeping a home for your animals is just as important as keeping your own homestead.
74. Horseback Riding
You never know when your automobiles will be rendered useless. Add horseback riding to your list of homesteading skills before that event ever occurs.
Farm animals are not only great companions but can also help around the homestead. Train them properly and get a valuable workforce.
Treat your canine best friends to homemade and organic feeds. They’re family, after all, and deserves only the best.
I need not say more. Add raising cows and goats in your list of homesteading skills because…Milk!
Keeping your hay organized will cut chaos out of your homestead. And, it’s one of the signatures of a homestead.
Add to your homesteading skills ability to milk goats and cows. It’s infinitely important if you plan on making your own dairy products.
This will save you lots of money and could even earn you some if you decide to sell some of the animals you breed. Definitely a cash-generating homesteading skill.
81. Raising Chickens
Skip the hassle of feeding your chickens by hand every day by setting up this easy chicken brooder. If you’ve got chickens more than you can handle, it’s high time you keep one.
Find a recipe that works for your chickens. You may even be able to use things you have on hand already!
Build you egg-hatchers a home. Make sure to keep your chicken coop comfy as can be by using herbs–a trick valued by homesteaders.
Hatching eggs can be a tricky business. Adding this know-how to your homesteading skills will give you more than just a steady supply of eggs.
While I let my husband do the hard part, I can do the plucking. It’s a must homesteading skill if you want to survive.
This is one important homesteading skill you must learn if you want to be a homesteader. You won’t tell when your farm animals will give birth and a vet can’t always be available 24/7.
“You are what you eat”, just as how your livestock are. Give them organic feeds so you know what goes into them
Even in a healthy birth, you will still need to be near to take care of your animals after they are born. Mostly be there to keep the mother calm and hydrated.
Here we go again, vets can’t be around 24/7, so it’s an important homesteading skill to know basic animal care.
Apparently, chickens are a delicacy for predators like fox, snakes, and coyotes. Putting up a fence and other deterrents are one of the important homesteading skills.
91. Cutting And Slicing Meat
The art of butchery is different for every animal. Different cuts should be cooked different ways so you should know which cuts work for every animal you are butchering before you start making cuts.
92. Restraining Livestock
We all know sheeps can be stubborn and so some of your other livestock. Bending them to your will is also an important homesteading skill.
If you’re hunting game or consume livestock, the skin is an important product around the homestead. Learn tanning hide as one of your homesteading skills.
94. Growing Fodder
Having your own fodder system will save you money, and ensure freshness with maximum nutrients. Harness this homesteading skill for your livestock’s sake.
Homesteaders should consider their approach to agriculture and farming, and how it affects nature as a whole. Considering your environment in raising livestock is a valuable homesteading skill.
96. Trapping Flies
Sometimes you’ll be pestered and frustrated by flies in your homestead. Dealing with these pests organically and effectively is a must homesteading skill.
Mosquito repellent will not be enough at times. Learn how to trap these pesky insects with traps made from all natural ingredients.
98. Cutting Trees Properly
Clearing an area or using some trees in your land will require you knowledge in cutting trees properly. If you think it’s as easy as striking the wood with an ax or running a chainsaw, certain tricks actually apply for safety.
99. Harvesting, Splitting, And Stacking Firewood
Not all woods are good for fire, especially in an indoor fireplace or furnace. Learn which woods grow in your area and how to split it so it will be easy to stack and store.
100. Using Firewood
I’ve never entertained the idea of abandoning firewood in my fireplace or oven. There’s a certain old world charm to it and I love the smell of certain wood in my fireplace.
Trivia: Many people in Ireland still make their own natural fire starters today. This saves time when needing instant warmth on those blistering cold winter days.
You don’t know when you’ll be confronted with the need to start a fire without matches. Don’t wait for that tragedy and start practicing the homesteading skill now.
In case you find yourself temporarily removed from your home and in need of a heat source, you should be prepared to start a fire even in inclement weather.
Predators and threats on the homestead are inevitable. Don’t let lack of gun knowledge be your demise and educate yourself ASAP.
Part of knowing how to use a gun is learning to store it safely away from children and possible attackers. You’ll sleep more soundly at night knowing it’s in a safe place.
106. Tying Knots
You’ll soon find out tying knots isn’t only useful for camping and sailing. Everyday chores around the homestead may need skills in tying knots.
It is only legal to hunt certain animals during specific seasons and the consequences for hunting game outside of its respective season can end in costly fines or the restriction/loss of your hunting license.
108. Hunting Game
Make sure you have the proper licenses to hunt game and provide more protein for your family and keep your livestock’s predators at bay.
Butchering time is never a happy time on the farm, but it’s necessary to know how to humanely put your livestock down. You must also know how to gut and clean them so the meat does not spoil.
Make sure you check any rules or legislation regarding catching different breeds of fish as they can be seasonal as well. You’ll need some of the healthy protein in fish so practice your fishing skills.
Blunt tools in the middle of an important project can be frustrating. Add sharpening cuttings tools to your list of homesteading skills.
I’ve seen men and women alike wrestle with fish while they are cleaning them. If you plan to be a homesteader, know your way with fish.
Just in case there is an accident on the homestead, you should always be prepared (especially if you live out in the boonies like I do). Knowing first aid and CPR is truly one essential homesteading skill.
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Life on the homestead means no guarantees that someone is nearby at any given time. Learn this self-reliant skill so you don’t lose a whole day of work due to a busted tire.
Maps and compass aren’t just for when you’re lost. Reading maps and using compass has more uses in the homestead both in gardening and building structures.
116. Operate Heavy Machinery
A homesteader is definitely strong, but we’re no Superman. You’ll need to learn to operate heavy machinery and you’ll accomplish next to impossible things around the homestead.
117. Making Booby Traps
Don’t think making booby traps is something you leave up to kids home alone for Christmas. A self-sufficient homesteader should know how too!
118. Using Basic Tools
Knowing your tools is another key element in homesteading. Not everyone can pride themselves in knowing their way with simple tools, so homesteader, give yourself a tap on the back.
119. Make Your Own Still Water
Purify your water or make some moonshine in your own distiller. Distilling drinks could be a very useful homesteading skill too.
120. Basic Carpentry
Simple repairs and maintenance around the homestead need not be left to carpenters for hire. Save yourself the expense and do it yourself with your knowledge in basic carpentry.
You can use this structure for extra storage, a chicken coop or as a greenhouse. Either way, these domes are useful additions for your homesteads.
122. Build Fencing
Keep your livestock in and predators out by learning to build and repair a fence. You’ll also need a fence around your garden so equip yourself with this homesteading skill.
123. Purifying Water
Use various methods to make sure you always have access to clean water. These are simple methods but a certified lifesaver.
Forecasting can be possible with subtle clues from Mother Nature. Predict when a storm is coming, how strong it is likely to be, and when it is likely to occur.
In the event of an emergency, having a ready bug out kit, or at least knowing what to put up could save you.
Be sure that you are taking every precaution against wildfire spreading across your homestead. We all know a wildfire can be devastating so it’s a skill to recognize and prepare for it.
Every homestead should have a storm shelter in the event that this natural disaster blows through your neck of the woods.
128. Winter Plumbing
Isn’t a faucet creaking and groaning in winter frustrating? Learn how to prevent freezing pipes and how to thaw them in case they freeze up.
Make sure your family and your livestock are protected against freezing temperatures. Preparing your homestead for blizzards is truly a homesteading skill.
You never know when nature can be extra freezing or when you’ll be stuck outdoors. With a sleeping bag, you can keep yourself warm with some few tricks with it.
You know how animal fats were used back in the olden days. They make great fuel for your homemade lamp.
Use sustainable energy source even in your homemade solar lamp. This will ensure you different lighting alternatives come hell or high water.
Avoid hefty expense on trivial homesteading projects like emptying a pond with a wind-powered water pump. But, you can use a windmill for more than just this kinds of projects.
Learn to make a makeshift outdoor stove for warmth or for cooking outdoors. This will be handy too as a survival skill.
Harnessing sustainable energy in the sun is a valuable homesteading skill both beneficial finance-wise and to the environment in the long run. Truly, it’s an earth-friendly homesteading skill.
136. Recognizing Need
We, homesteaders, take pride in our self-sufficiency and are not always first to ask for help. Recognizing when to offer help is truly a valuable skill.
You’ll love these winter hacks for staying warm. Homesteaders are excellent at utilizing all of their resources and thinking outside the box.
Social skills are also a valuable homesteading skill. Homesteading can sometimes render you isolated. /going out f your way to meet fellow homesteader will prove to be valuable.
139. Tapping Gray Water
Recycling the water you use around your homestead will do wonders for the environment. Harvesting rainwater is also a homesteading skill to value.
Learn to make some extra cha-ching by mining the nearest river. Who knows, your prospect is just right under your nose?
Relating from experience, I decided to go on homesteading so my family can finally live within what we make. Certainly, a homesteading skill that takes time to learn.
This may seem like a game for cheapskate’s, but it is actually handy. Make sure you’re not getting ripped off when you know what something is worth.
Knowing what you can live without is just the start. Your homesteading skills in this part will be defined if you give up on these items you know you can really live without.
Social skills are also a valuable homesteading skill. Homesteading can sometimes render you isolated. Going out of your way to meet fellow homesteader will prove to be valuable.
145. Knowing Your Limits
Don’t be so hard on yourself when things don’t always go your way in homesteading. Knowing your limitations is one of the homesteading skills you should learn to master and muster.
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There you have it, homesteaders, smart and practical set of homesteading skills that will prove invaluable as you progress in homesteading. With these set of homesteading skills, you’ll definitely survive this world with your own efforts!
We probably missed some homesteading skills in there so please feel free to tell us your ideas. Share your thoughts about it in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on January 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.