10 Homesteading Skills We Must Know
Homesteaders choose to live life a whole lot different than most other people do. Instead of relying completely on retail stores and utilities for all of their needs, homesteaders look for ways that they can meet some of these challenges on their own. Striving towards a self-sufficient way of living improves not only the quality of their life, but is kinder to their wallet. We are going to talk about these 10 homesteading skills we must know!
By choosing to have the knowledge and certain essential skills, you too can live your life without having to depend so heavily on others. After all, you never know what tomorrow may bring, and how badly you would need those skills. These are 10 homesteading skills that we must know. In case you missed this post, 30 Pioneer Skills We Cannot Lose
10 Homesteading Skills We Must Know
1. Cooking from Scratch
Cooking from scratch is a skill that millions of Americans simply don’t have today. This mishap can be traced back to the food industry many years ago, as they began introducing microwave dinners and the convenience of processed food. As a result, many grown adults depend on their next meal coming from companies such as Kraft, Nestle, Betty Crocker, and Kelloggs.
Cooking meals from scratch for your family is one of the first skills that every homesteader should consider learning. Homemade meals always taste so much better than any prepackaged meal that you’d find at the grocery store any day. Nothing compares to freshly-baked bread, homemade granola bars, creamy butter, yogurt, and cheese that you made yourself. This skill will save your family a bunch of money, and you’ll be eating healthier too! I use these more than any other thing in my kitchen:
One of the most enjoyable homesteading skills that you could learn is how to grow a garden, along with the satisfaction of watching your food grow right before your very eyes. Your main goal may be to provide fruits and vegetables for your family on a full-time basis, but when you’re first starting out, go with something that is easier to grow, and don’t go too big. Gardening can be hard work and it takes time to get good enough to see effective harvests. As your growing skills improve, then you’re ready to expand your gardening space and what you decide to grow. In case you missed this post, How to Start a Garden
Please Check Out What To Plant Each Month:
- What To Plant In January
- What To Plant In February
- What To Plant In March
- What To Plant In April
- What To Plant In May
- What To Plant In June
- What To Plant In July
- What To Plant In August
- What To Plant In September
- What To Plant In October
3. Preserving Food
Preserving food allows you to enjoy your garden’s harvest all throughout the winter, and also the ability to make other foods shelf-stable for a longer period of time. You’ll have delicious fruits, veggies, jams, and salsas whenever you want them if you simply know the proper methods of pressure canning. Having a food dehydrator is another great tool to have in order to preserve your food. I have several posts on dehydrating, this one is the most popular, Dehydrating Apples
In case you missed this post, Some of the Best Ways to Purify Water
Foraging the woods and your surrounding area for edible plants is another skill worth looking into. You never know if your life could depend on it one day. But you can’t just pick anything off of a plant or from the forest floor and plop it into your mouth. It could be the last unwise thing that you did. Do your research to find out what plants and berries in your area are safe to eat and which ones are toxic. Also, consider keeping a guidebook with you, but when in doubt, don’t put it in your mouth.
My friend/reader, Leanne L. suggests these foraging books: Wild Remedies by Rosalee De La Foret and Emily Han (foraging for healing foods) AND
Pacific Northwest Foraging by Douglas Deur. Both have incredible photos and information about many wild plants. Of course, Pacific Northwest Foraging is for those of us living in Washington, Oregon, Northern Idaho, and Southern British Columbia, but I am sure that some of the plants in the book are found in other states. You may want to search for a similar book for information regarding plants in your region.
Being a good hunter is a lot more than just picking up a rifle, aiming at a target, and pulling the trigger. It’s also about safety, proper technique, patience, and knowing the laws of the area where you’re planning to hunt. However, if you learn these things, you’ll be able to provide fresh meat consistently for your family, instead of having to rely on your grocery store. Most hunters prefer to take their kill to their local processor, but if you’re left to fend for yourself, you’d have to be able to properly gut, clean, and butcher any bird or animal that you killed.
Jeff, reminded me to add fishing, this is a big one for all of us to remember. Let’s teach our kids and grandkids how to fish, that’s one more source of food for us.
6. Chicken Keeping
While you may think that people who keep chickens on their property merely do so for the eggs and meat that they are provided with, there are a handful of other reasons why they do so. Yes, you’ll have some of the freshest organic eggs in town, but chickens also are good for pest control and a fertilizer-provider for your garden. Should you decide to raise them for meat, you’ll have to know how to process chickens, and also a strong enough stomach to do so. I highly recommend this book by my friend, Janet Garman: 50 Do-It-Yourself Projects for Keeping Chickens
My guess is that you don’t know everything when it comes to raising chickens, but if you’re really considering doing so in the near future, here are 5 Mistakes New Chicken Keepers Make. This article will help you be better prepared long before you have chickens roaming around your lawn.
7. First Aid Skills
Learning basic first aid skills is something that everyone should do at some point because it’s not just for homesteaders. Knowing how to dress and bandage a wound, along with how to properly perform CPR, would allow you to provide crucial medical care for someone right away, rather than having to wait for a medically-trained professional to arrive. In case you need a first aid kit, First Aid Kit.
8. Using Herbs for Healing
When a family member of yours is suffering from pain or an illness, using herbs as a medical remedy is an acquired skill you’d be glad you had. You may be surprised that most of these weeds and herbs are already available to you, you just need to know which ones are appropriate to use. Here’s more on how to use herbs to improve health and ease discomfort.
9. Making Household Cleaners
The commercial household cleaner that you buy at the store can be expensive, but you really don’t know what harmful chemicals you’re spraying around everywhere. Learning how to make your own natural household cleaners and soaps will provide you with the comfort of knowing what exactly went into making it.
10. Being Frugal
Being more frugal with your finances will help you achieve your financial goals a whole lot faster and easier when you are spending less and saving more. With this skill, it’s important to learn how to repurpose your possessions when they no longer function the way they once did, or how to repair them if possible. By watching how much electricity that you use, you’ll save both energy and money, while decreasing the carbon footprint that you leave behind. Frugal is a better way of living.
10 Homesteading Skills We Must Know
These are just 10 homesteading skills that will help you get well on your way to a more self-sufficient way of living. They will help you feel better about yourself, and you will save a bunch of money in the process. What are some other skills and knowledge that every homesteader should consider learning? I’d love to hear from you. What are some homesteading skills we must know that you’d add to this list because they’ve worked for you? May God Bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Still Life with white eggs Deposit photos_19971723_s-2019
17 thoughts on “10 Homesteading Skills We Must Know”
Linda, I can do most of these and am so glad I do.
Hi Deborah, I write these so people can think about what they do know how to do and maybe they will teach others! In Utah, hunting animals is very popular. When Mark and I were first married, he went deer hunting. We bought all the orange stuff to wear, the camo outfits, ammo, etc. He was super excited to go hunting. Well, I was from Las Vegas, Nevada. I had never eaten meat like deer or antelope. Mark gets a deer and brings it home. We hung it, skinned it, and cut it up on our little kitchen table. To this day, I can not eat deer. I tried everything people told me to cook with the venison. Nope, nada. To this day, I think I can still smell it cooking in the crockpot! I know people love it, but not me. LOL! Life experiences are great memories! Linda
Linda, I grew up eating venison. I’ve always liked it. Granted it doesn’t have a lot of fat on it. My husband doesn’t hunt or fish. But, my BIL does. He goes deer hunting every year. And he and his wife process the deer at home. One of our sons also hunts. I’m not a big meat eater, but Larry is. We do have just vegetable meals at times. I know we need fat in our diets, but the right kind. My grandmother ate very little meat, and what she ate was mostly pork. She was born in 1901, and lived to be over 101 years old. She was one tough lady. But she was good to everyone. Her favorite meal was squirrel stewed or fried. I’ve never eaten any. Nor have I eaten rabbit. I did taste baked raccoon once. But just a small taste. It wasn’t too bad.
Hi Deborah, oh my gosh, squirrel, stewed or fried. I just love these family memories!! I could easily be a vegetarian, Mark not so much. I remember growing up and the meat portions were tiny with vegetables loaded up on the plate. Then for some reason, we saw meat portions get bigger and bigger. Then the kids started getting bigger and bigger from all the hormones in the feed fed to the animals (not the grass-fed animals). I watched a Netflix show and I learned a lot about animals and what they were fed. I haven’t eaten a rabbit or a raccoon! You are amazing! I love your comment! Linda
Like Deborah, I also have these skills in my mental library!! One thing that I have been concerned about, however, as I grow older is losing some of the mental capacity to bring those skills into play. So, I have a book that I keep (3 ring binder) of skills/recipes that I keep close!! I figure if SHTF that I will forget something – likely a little thing!! So, I keep some basic recipes (like biscuits, pancakes, etc., that I know from experience how to make but figure I would forget the baking powder!!! in a crisis!). I also have things like a chart for knot tying, a first aid section with pictures, copies of some of the most common herbs/wild plants for healing in my area with pictures. Those are just to name a few of the sections. It is a pretty hefty binder but one I think will come in very handy if/when I really need to rely on my skills under pressure.
Oh, Leanne, please tell us more about your book, please. I’d be very interested in making one for myself. You are one smart lady! I need to make me one with my recipes in it. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.
My binder is a 3 inch 3 ring binder with dividers and document protectors. It is different than my 1 inch 3 ring binder for my documents (birth certificate, passport copy, insurance and banking papers, that sort of thing that I keep up to date and have ready if I have to bug out.) But, the big binder is for any “skills” that I think I will need if/when SHTF and I feel stressed! I have a recipe section of pretty basic recipes like biscuits, pancakes, bread primarily because I might forget some key ingredient if I am overly stressed! I don’t have any fancy recipes in the binder – I have a recipe binder that I use almost daily though. I also include information that I gain through websites such as this blog, youtube videos (Townsends is a very good channel – goes into so many 18th and 19th century skills). I also have a section on shelters like tarp shelters, natural shelters (made from trees/limbs), knot tying, etc.; a section on foraging (likely won’t be able to take my herb and foraging books with me :(); a section on other basic skills. If I find something of interest that I think might be useful in an emergency, I write it in my binder or print a copy of it.
One thing that I have found to be an issue, however is that with full sized pages printed out, it is getting so full. So I am starting to reduce the size of the print to get 2 documents on a page or at least reduce the number of pages if I can. I have a full sheet magnifier in the binder as well.
Back before the turn of the century, I got involved with a group of women – some were terrified of Y2K! Well, we got together a couple times a month and went over how we were going to survive all the chaos that was going (or supposed) to happen when the year 2000 hit! 6 years after all went smoothly, I still had an accordion file folder filled with papers I had printed out. So, the file folder was in a somewhat decrepit state so I simply transferred everything to a 3 ring binder.
Something else that I make sure to include on the documents I print out – the website that I get the information from. That way, later I can go back if I need to.
Hope this helps you out in your quest to make your own 3 ring binder.
Hi Leanne, oh I have binders but I never thought to make one with knot typing, and a first aid section with pictures. I want to learn more about herbs and foraging so I posted the two books I remember you had suggested. It’s so awesome when we can pick each other’s brains and share tips! Love yours, as usual, Linda
I really enjoy reading your post & the wonderful replies from your readers.
Thanks ladies for all the interesting ideas.
Hi LaRene, life is good when we have a good group of people to hear new ideas!! And I love hearing stories and memories! I think of you often, my friend! Hugs and love, Linda
Wonderful list – might fishing and basic sewing skills fit into this list? Water purification also comes to mind. For hunters, having the tools and required items (primers, powder, shot and bullets) to reload may play an important part of their preparations as their supply and availability of factory ammunition becomes hard to acquire. Thought?
Hi Jeff, thank you for your kind words. My 30 pioneer skills I believe cover those two skills. But I think, I need to add fishing to the “hunting” sentence. Sewing skills are critical, thanks for the reminder, I will add fishing right now. I love comments because they help all of us think about what skills we need. Great comment, Linda
I really enjoy your emails, so helpful & informative & you bring up things I hadn’t thought of.
I was wondering where you get your herbs?
I’m sure you grow some & forage for some but would like to know if you have a place you trust to order them.
Thank you again,
Hi Karen, thank you for your kind words. I buy all of my seeds from” https://www.seedsnow.com/?rfsn=2346155.2c53a7 They sell 100% Heirloom, non-GMO, which are my go-to seeds. It’s so fun to grow our own herbs, and vegetables. Life is so good! Linda
Awesome! Thank you for the info, Linda!!
starting from scratch does not mean opening a scratch & dented can.
Hi Donald, you are so right! Cooking from scratch is not throwing a steak on the grill either. It’s using a recipe or a recipe in your head and creating a meal from ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator. Life is good if we know how to cook from scratch. Thank you, Linda