We’ve heard a lot the last few years about homesteading skills, vintage skills, and pioneer skills. I don’t know about you, but I can do all of these and I bet you can too. Now, I have always pictured different farms growing vegetables, fruits and raising chickens, goats or cows, etc. I remember visiting dairy farms. It seems now people are calling themselves homesteading families.
I remember growing up and hearing the word, homestead. Well, the word homestead according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is defined as “the home and land acquired by family” and “to acquire or settle on the public land.”
I think what we really need to do is explain what a homemaker is, those people have homesteading skills. They run a house, hence the term “the home and land acquired by family.” I have recently started to wonder why so many blogs have become homesteading blogs. These are basically homemaking skills, maybe they are trying to bring back the skills most of us have used our whole life.
I remember churches teaching these skills as well as schools. Somehow, the teaching of these very important skills needs to be rekindled. What do you think has happened? We can’t continue to eat processed food, eat at fast food places and eat food at restaurants every day, it’s not healthy. Plus, it’s so expensive.
Whatever sex you are that heads your home to keep it running smoothly, I tip my hat to you. It is hard to be a homemaker and homesteading family. I decided to break down the different areas of life we all have to deal with each day. I’m not talking about backyard chickens, ducks, goats, and rabbits.
I have a blogger friend, Janet Garman, who has a farm, called Timber Creek Farm (.com). She is truly a role model if you want a farm. She dyes the yarn and knits the most beautiful hand warmers, I have two sets. I love them! Today, it’s all about the homestead, as in our home.
If you understand and use any of these skills please teach them at your church, schools, and neighborhoods. Trust me, people need to know these skills.
These are the things I learned growing up, how about you?
- I learned to make bread in a big old stainless steel bowl like this one: Stainless Steel Bowl
- Learn to grind wheat
- Learn to make whole wheat bread
- Learn to make bread with flour you can tolerate
- Learn to make natural yeast
- Learn to make white bread
- Learn to make dinner rolls
- Learn to make cinnamon rolls
- Learn to make biscuits
- Learn to make crackers
- Learn to make crepes
- Learn to make tortillas
- Learn to make pancakes and waffles from scratch
- Learn to make a cake without a cake mix
- Learn to make frosting without a container or box
- Learn to make pies from scratch (thank you, Jeanne)
- Learn to make homemade pasta, it tastes so yummy (thank you, Bebe)
- Take a Master Preserver Canning course to keep up with the newest safety measures required to preserve our food. Four Foods You Should Never Can by Linda
- Only use mason jars designed for canning
- Watch for chips or cracks-discard the jars if damaged
- Never can eggs
- Never can milk or cream
- Never can bacon
- Never can butter
- The new rule (2015) when canning tomatoes (they are not as acidic now) please add 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid to quart size jars. Pint size jars use 1 tablespoon lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon citric acid.
- Always remove the rings after the jars have been canned, cooled and ready to store. This will ensure if a lid does pop up and become unsealed, it will not go back down because the ring was left on. You may never know if the seal popped up after storing it.
- When lifting your jars out of the hot water, never tip the jars, keep them upright
- Pressure canners have the weighted gauges, dial gauges, regulators, and rings, they should be checked yearly (replace as needed)
Cleaning Your Home
Make a schedule to keep on top of your cleaning, a clean home is a house of order, a house of peace and serenity.
Share the cleaning projects
- Living Room
Cleaning Your Garage
I love a clean garage:
- Blow the dust and debris outside and put in a trash can
- Keep the garage doors oiled and lubricated
- Vacuum the entrance rug between the garage and house once a week
Cleaning Your Yard
Trust me on this one, I love a clean street. Is this a homesteading skill? I don’t know but it’s important to me.
- Pick up blowing trash in your yard and adjoining neighbors yards
- Pick up dog poop your neighbor’s dog has left, try not to be bitter because you always take a poop bag
- Clean the street gutters if you have them, it makes all the difference in a clean tidy neighborhood
- Keep your bushes trimmed
- Keep your trees trimmed so people can walk safely on the sidewalk in front of your home
- How to make a roux
- How to make a white sauce
- How to cook from scratch
- How to make rice without a rice cooker
- How to make gravy from meat drippings
- How to make/cook beans from a bag
- Buy good pans the first time, this is one I use all the time: Farberware Saucepan
- Learn to make soups, stews, chili and anything that will fill the belly for less money and still be healthy
- Exchange recipes with friends that are foods you can make that are frugal and healthy meals
- You can dehydrate food on window screens or on netting
- I have had two dehydrators in my life, they run non-stop. The one I have now is similar to this one: Excalibur
- Dehydrating your own food is for short-term storage only, one-year maximum
- You can dehydrate frozen vegetables you find on sale and you don’t need to wash, slice or cut them
First Aid Skills and Supplies
Thanks to Daniel for these:
- Basic first-aid skills – up to, and including, closing a wound with stitches and setting a broken bone.
- CPR class
I remember taking these classes at the YMCA long ago, but I am pretty sure Your local fire station would be able to steer you in the right direction. First Aid Kit by Linda
- You can feed a family with 6-8 people if you have a garden, I know I have done it on 1/4 acre. My family canned and preserved all the food for one year. No animal meats, just fruits, and vegetables. Gardens for Two by Linda and How to Grow A Garden by Linda
- Find the best area to plant a garden, watch for sun and shade spots.
- My favorite items you need to start your garden, I have to use these items because I have rock hard clay soil: Miracle Grow Soil, buy at your local hardware stores.
Azomite Micronized Bag, 44 lb
FibreDust Coco Coir Block
Unco Industries Wiggle Worm Soil Builder Earthworm Castings Organic Fertilizer, 15-Pound
Miracle-Gro Nature’s Care Organic Bone Meal, 3 lb.
Espoma VM8 8-Quart Organic Vermiculite
- Composting, I confess this is the only one I do not do. I buy my organic compost.
- Learn to trim your fruit trees correctly
- Buy Non-GMO, non-hybrid seeds and plants
Heating Your Home
- Learn how to use a good chainsaw, we taught our girls to cut down trees, they cut and split the logs to heat our home together as a family. We used a woodburning stove to heat our home for six full years. This was a skill we all need to learn. It’s hard work but totally teaches a family to work together as a team.
- Change your smoke alarm batteries at least once a year before they start to beep
- Change your Carbon Monoxide Detector batteries at least once a year: Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Change your furnace air filters often (thanks to Janet for the reminder)
- Keep up on your laundry, nothing is worse than having a power outage and you need clean underwear, etc.
- Consider learning how to starch and iron your own dress shirts
- Save money and make your own laundry detergent: Laundry Detergent by Linda
Make a budget with your net income, write it down, then write your bills on the other side of the paper. Put some in savings each month even it’s only $1.00. (thanks to Debbie for reminding me about this topic)
Tina: I would add Learn how to write a check and how to Balance a Checkbook. You would be surprised how many young folks coming out of high school have no clue how to handle a checking account.
Personal Hygiene & Health
This one is critical to our well being and learning to stay healthy.
- Eat healthily, we are what we eat. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Clean remotes to all TV’s and cell phone, etc.
- Clean light switches
- Use the cleaning wipes at the grocery stores on those shopping baskets
- Wash your hands frequently
- Stay home from work if you are really sick
- Keep your child home from school if he or she will spread a virus or bacterial infections
- Keep a jar of Vicks VapoRub on hand at all times (rub some on your feet and cover with socks-helps with a cough)
- Use essential oils to soothe a cold or influenza
- Learn how to thread a needle
- Learn how to thread a sewing machine
- Learn how to make a bobbin
- Learn how to clean and oil your sewing machine
- Learn how to sew a straight line on your machine
- Buy a good sewing machine, not a cheap one, a good one, it doesn’t have to be expensive
- Learn to use a fabric rotary cutter and board
- Buy a good pair of fabric scissors
- Buy a good seam ripper
- Buy a good tape measure
- Buy safety pins
- Buy good sewing machine needles
- Buy good pinning pins
- Get a pin cushion-they make magnetic ones that are great
- Learn to sew aprons, then kids clothes and move onto harder things
- Learn how to sew on buttons
- Mending can save lots of money
- Recycling thrift clothes can be fun and save lots too
- Learn to make your own starch and iron your clothes when appropriate
- Learn to tie a quilt with yarn knots and fluffy batting
- Learn to piece a quilt with leftover fabrics
- Learn to hand quilt a quilt
- Learn to bind a quilt
- Learn to use a fabric rotary cutter and board
- Buy a good pair of fabric scissors
Knitting and Crocheting
- Knitting and crocheting must be added, I’m so thankful Valerie reminded me about this awesome skill!
Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected, we need to know all of these homesteading skills and much more. May God bless you for your efforts.