37 Vintage Homestead Skills You Should Know

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I’m sharing 37 vintage homestead skills you should know today. Most people today depend on others for just about everything, without even realizing it. While everyone would like to think they are self-reliant, some people probably couldn’t tell you how to cook from scratch, change their oil or plant a small vegetable garden.

That means they’re relying on processed food from a grocery store, a mechanic for their vehicles, and a farmer to provide the veggies for their next salad. As you can see, there are a number of skills that everyone could use to properly function without aid from another.

Here are 37 vintage homestead skills that will better prepare you to be self-sufficient.  

Vintage Homestead Skills

Whether you are into urban homesteading or original homesteading, this homestead lifestyle is the perfect way to make life simpler. Back in the day, simple living was a full-time job. You spent time perfecting a skill set like baking bread. A simpler life is still possible with these tips.

1. Learn to Grow Organic 

Homesteaders don’t rely as often on the produce department at their local grocery store, they use their land to grow food. Learn how to grow organic fruits and vegetables by keeping pesticides out of sight. You’ll be able to enjoy produce at its best. This is where I buy my organic seeds: SeedsNow

2. Composting

Composting works hand-in-hand with gardening, helping to enrich the soil for your plants while cutting down your waste at the same time. 

3. Harvest the Seeds

Collecting and harvesting your seeds is an important skill to keep future crops coming back every year. 

4. Cook From Scratch

Being able to use basic ingredients from the pantry to prepare a fantastic meal from scratch is truly a vintage homestead skill everyone needs. It’s also the secret to a man’s heart. Here are a number of meals made from scratch that you can get started with. 

5. Canning through Preserving

Not only should you be able to make up your own jams, salsas, and sauces, you should know how to preserve them for a long period of time. Sadly, canning is a skill that is dying out, but you don’t have to miss out on your homestead.  

6. Storing Food 

Stocking your pantry with enough nonperishable foods to last a minimum of 3 months is a smart practice to get started.  

7. Using Natural Remedies

Instead of heading to the doctor for another expensive visit, how about learning about natural remedies that work effectively for a lot of illnesses. 

8. First aid and CPR

Basic first aid and CPR should be taught in school today. Just imagine being helpless, not knowing what to do when you have a loved one that needs immediate medical attention. Being able to take care of minor cuts, abrasions, and burns, and knowing what to do when someone is going into cardiac arrest will be a huge lifesaver you won’t regret learning. 

9. Sewing, Crotchet, Knitting

It will also be good to know the basics of needlework. That way, you won’t have to discard an article of clothing because you can’t patch or sew up a minor rip in your clothes. Sewing Supplies You Need

Read More of My Articles  101 Homesteading Skills We Need To Teach

10. Waste Nothing

When something is worn out from its original purpose, being able to use it for something else instead of throwing it out just makes sense. For instance, if you have an old hand towel that’s worn out, put it out in the garage to be used as an oil rag while working on your car. 

11. Rendering Fats

Did you know you can use what appears to be useless animal fat and grease? No joke, you can use it for frying, recipes and even making soap. And you were thinking about throwing it out! 

12. Defending Your Home

Unfortunately, the world we live in requires us to be able to defend ourselves from intruders. Are you prepared? Having a plan and self-defense training might prove crucial to dealing with a threat in your home. 

13. Cooking Without Electricity

Do you know how to prepare a meal without electricity? Here’s how.

14. Building a Fire

Building a fire is not just something a boy scout should know how to do. You might need a fire for warmth or a method for cooking your next meal. 

15. Smoking Meats and Cheeses

Smoking meats and cheese brings a mouthful of flavor to a tastier treat. Learning about preserving food can start with meats and cheeses.

16. Baking Homemade Bread

Not a crucial homestead skill, but there’s no comparing homemade bread to store-bought. 

17. Dehydrating Foods

Dehydrating certain foods is a great way of preserving them for enjoyment for a long time, and could mean the difference between being properly prepared if a disaster hits. I’ve been busy dehydrating some apples, bananas, and mushrooms, I can’t wait to share them with you.

18. Distilling Water

Distilling water is an important skill to make safe drinking water. 

19. Hunting/Archery

Knowing how to hunt and having basic archery skills might one day help you put meat on the table. 

20. Reloading Ammunition

While this might seem silly, there’s a proper way for reloading ammunition for a gun. Knowing how to safely reload is a skill could really come in handy. 

21. Knot Tying

Another boy scout skill that everyone needs to have is knot tying. 

22. Secondary Languages

As many as 41 million Spanish-speaking citizens live in the United States. It’s never too late to take on a second language to be able to communicate with all your neighbors. 

23. Camouflage 

There might be a time when you need to have the skills to be able to blend in and disappear by camouflage. 

24. Fishing

While you might not want to stick your fingers into a fish’s mouth, you need to know the basics of fishing so you don’t have to buy the frozen food section’s fish. How to take care of that fish you caught from lake or stream to freezer or cooktop is a fun and helpful skill we all could benefit from.

Read More of My Articles  How Many Of These Vintage Skills Do You Know?

25. Camping

Knowing how to set up camp is a skill everyone should learn to master. Make sure you are prepared for the weather you might face while up on the mountains or another favorite spot.

26. Driving a Manual Transmission

Not many people today have taken the time to learn how to drive a manual transmission. While it might be a challenge at first, it’s more fun in, my opinion. Using a manual/standard transmission during a snowstorm can prove to be a valuable skill since you have more control over those spinning wheels!

27. Basic Mechanic Skills

You also should have a few mechanic skills to change your car’s oil, rotate your tires, and change out a blown headlamp.  

28. Harvesting Rainwater and Proper Storage

Learn to harvest and properly store rainwater for future usage. 

29. Cutting Down a Tree

Instead of hacking down a tree and hoping it falls in the right direction, learn how to properly cut down a tree. 

30. Splitting Wood

After the tree is down, knowing how to split the wood for firewood really helps since it could be critical to keeping that fire going to keep you and family members warm in the storm. 

31. Tapping Trees for Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is extremely pricey. Learn how to tap trees for maple syrup if you have that available in your area. 

32. Make Your Own Soaps

Believe it or not, making your own soap is a skill that still exists today. Many homesteaders enjoy using their own ingredients and scents instead of the name-brand soaps.  

33. Knowing the Time of day 

Can you tell the time without a watch or electronic? You will want to know how to do this. Being aware of sunrise and sunset times will also come in handy if you find yourself out in the woods without outside support.

34. Learn Your Limits 

It’s also important to know your limits in every aspect of your life. Knowing your weaknesses and strengths can keep you from a world of trouble. 

35. Entertainment Without Electronics 

Find ways of keeping your kids entertained without electronics gives them a more-rewarding childhood. Plus it’s nice to see their faces once in a while.  I highly recommend getting some card or board games in case of an emergency or even for tomorrow.

36. Budgeting

Knowing how to budget and sticking to it is a huge skill most people don’t live by. 

37. Living Within Your Means

Most Americans don’t know how to live within their means. Yes, this is probably the number one vintage skill everyone needs to work on.  Living on a homestead means you’ll need to live within your means.

Final Word

These are 37 vintage homestead skills that everyone should learn. If you’re a homesteader with a few extra skills up your sleeve, what other ones should we consider learning? 

Will you turn to the homesteading life or become part-time homesteaders? Let us know! May God bless this world, Linda

10 thoughts on “37 Vintage Homestead Skills You Should Know

  • October 16, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Recently I began growing yeast for bread making. I got a sample of dried bits in the mail and reconstituted them to where I now have quart jars of yeast that were saved from the year 1847 that actually do make wonderful sourdough bread! Knowing how to do this and how to keep back an envelope of dried flakes for future yeast making is something that anyone can do and feel confident that it won’t just be hardtack in the future.

    • October 16, 2019 at 5:30 pm

      Hi Linda, did you dry some to make your own flakes after you started growing some? I love hearing this! Are you keeping it on the counter or in the frig? I’m so excited to hear this! I can make natural yeast with freshly ground whole wheat, but my white sourdough was not as successful. Love it! Linda

      • October 16, 2019 at 9:45 pm

        Yes! I’ve made flakes so I can travel and reconstitute the yeast if I have to when I get back. I feed the yeast twice a week and keep it in a mason jar in the fridge I’m using bread flour to feed It and for bread mostly because I’ve run out of whole wheat lately. It’s pretty fun to think of making bread with the same strain of yeast the pioneers used. A connection with the past.

        • October 17, 2019 at 7:36 am

          Hi Linda, this is soooooooo awesome! I LOVE hearing this! Thank you so much for sharing! Linda

  • March 30, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    I know most of these well but a few I only know the basics – like falling a tree, mechanics and ammo reloading. Some of these will also depend on the availability and funds to stock – such as mechanical supplies, headlamps, etc.

    There is a program on TV called Homestead Rescue – I have it on Netflix (purchased) and I have watched all the episodes several times!! I love that program. They go to homesteads that are failing and help the homesteaders get back to homesteading. I have picked up “knowledge” that, should I ever actually have a property, I’ll be able to do some things that I didn’t already know how to do. Of course, I was raised on a ranch so I learned a number of homesteading skills from my father who could do just about anything! and cobble things together if needed! Great show! Everyone should watch it.

    Thanks for the post! I am going to try to learn a couple of new skills or revisit skills that I don’t particularly like to do like crochet and knit!!

    • March 30, 2020 at 12:27 pm

      HI Leanne, I’m going to see if I can watch that series, you know I love stuff like this! Thank you, Linda

    • March 30, 2020 at 12:34 pm

      You will get hooked on it, Linda! I cannot even remember how I got started. I think they are in their 6th season! There are a couple of things that are a little weird about it but I ignore the fact that the old man (my age!!) always has his shirt unbuttoned too far or if it is hot, goes without his shirt altogether!

      • March 30, 2020 at 12:42 pm

        Hi Leanne, now I have the giggles! I will look for the shirt for sure now!!! LOL! Linda

  • July 18, 2020 at 5:51 am

    We absolutely love Homestead Rescue! The Raneys are extremely creative, hard working folks. Their ability to think outside the box to find useful workable solutions is just such an inspiration to watch. Their willingness to share their expertise and teach skills and mindsets to help each Homesteader succeed is so great to see. We have added a few of their ideas on our place to make life easier as we get older. I’ve been using a lot of the gardening and livestock ideas.

    Great article Linda!

    • July 18, 2020 at 10:37 am

      Hi BDN, now I need to check out that series! Yay, you know I love new ideas!!! Thank you so much, Linda


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