25 Essential Homesteading Skills You Should Learn

25 Essential Homesteading Skills to Learn
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Are you wanting to become a little more self sufficient this year? Maybe your long term goals include moving out of the city and buying a little land in the country. Or maybe they simply involve relying less on convenience and more on self sufficiency and sustainability. If so, here’s 25 essential homesteading skills you should learn as you begin your journey towards self-sufficiency.

Like many this time of year, Dan and I have been busy thinking about what we would like to accomplish around our place. This years list includes things like raising a few hogs and adding meat chickens to our diet. We will also be adding a new herb bed in the garden. (Recently, I developed a slight fascination with herbalism and I’m so excited we’re putting in a second herb bed!) Lastly, we will be enlarging our raspberry and strawberry patches.

All this planning got me to thinking about skills that are necessary on the homestead. And many of these skills may not be familiar to those just learning a more self-sufficient lifestyle. So what follows is my list of essential homesteading skills you should start learning as you begin your own journey. Of course, odds are you won’t learn everything on this list in one year, but there’s never a better time than now to start!

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25 Essential Homesteading Skills You Should Learn

25 Essential Homesteading Skills to Learn

  1. Start a Garden.  If you’re new to gardening check out these beginner tips. Learning how to garden with small children around can be tough, but it’s so worth it and starting seeds with them is all kinds of fun! Lastly, if you already have a garden, look into growing a few new varieties, enlarging your current garden or a new type of gardening (permaculture, square foot gardening etc)
  2. Save Seeds.  Start with easy seeds like peppers and dill. Then, try saving tomato and squash seeds. (*Make sure you grow heirlooms as seeds saved from commercially grown hybrids cannot be guaranteed to grow true to the original seed stock*)
  3. Cook From Scratch. Don’t know where to start? Try making my venison stew or breakfast burritos. You can also start replacing boxed side dishes with simple homemade sides.
  4. Learn How to Bake.  I’m not talking about cakes and fancy desserts. Begin by making simple desserts with ingredients you already have on hand. Then, learn how to make simple muffins, pancakes, quick breads and easy homemade biscuits.
  5. Learn How to Can. Begin by learning how to water bath can and once you know how to do that, move on to pressure canning. (Make sure you learn from reputable sources using well known safe methods)
  6. Learn How to Dehydrate Food. Jerky and dried veggies are great places to start. Once you’ve grown comfortable with your dehydrator, you can move on to things like fruit leather and dehydrated tomato sauces.
  7. Build a Pantry. You can start simple by building up your food store and creating a pantry. Then, you can get a little more elaborate and build your own root cellar.
  8. Make Your own Mixes. Basic baking mixes are great to have on hand. You can also create your own spice mixes and tea blends.
  9. Learn How to Cook Over an Open Fire. Cooking over a campfire is completely different than firing up the stove.
  10. Use Cast Iron. In my opinion cast iron can’t be beat for cooking meat or over an open fire.
  11. Learn How to Forage. There are a ton of wild plants that have wonderful uses. Start with an easy to identify plant like dandelion. You could also take a mushroom foraging class.
  12. Take a Survival Class. This may not seem like a homesteading skill, but when the power goes out on your brand new homestead for a week or more, you may be glad you took that survival class.
  13. Learn How to Fish. The more protein you can put up during the summer months, the more variety you’ll have come winter.
  14. Learn How to Hunt. You’ll need to take a hunter’s safety class and learn how to use a hunting rifle.
  15. Raise Your Own Meat. Meat Chickens, Rabbits and Pigs are all easy animals to start with.
  16. Raise Layer Chickens. You really can’t beat the taste of farm fresh eggs.
  17. Learn How to Butcher an Animal.  This is a seriously valuable skill that will save you a ton of money (and in many cases actual meat as well)
  18. Work on Your Own Vehicles. If you have an older vehicle, doing routine maintenance such as changing your oil will save you quite a bit of money. Unfortunately, many newer vehicles have so many computer parts that this may not be a viable option unless you are a mechanic.
  19. Collect Your Rainwater or Learn How to Supplement with Solar. (Side note: Unfortunately, collecting your own rain water is illegal in some states so make sure and check your state laws first)
  20. Make Your Own Personal Care/Home Cleaning Products. Laundry soap, all purpose cleaners, lotions, hand soaps and more can all be replaced with homemade versions. Start, by making your own Easy bath salts and all purpose cleaners. Then, try making lotion and handmade soap.
  21. Learn a New Practical Skill. Blacksmithing, herbalism, wool spinning, and sewing are valuable skills on the homestead.
  22. Learn a New Crafty Skill.  If we don’t take time to do creative things, this lifestyle is liable to burn us out. Jewelry making, knitting, woodworking, card making (get your child involved and make simple cards like these) are just a few options. Who knows, maybe your new crafty hobby can turn in to a lucrative side business.
  23. Learn How to Make Money from Your Homestead. Selling eggs, chicks, veggies, homemade soaps, and stuff from your new crafty hobby are just a few ideas.
  24. Learn How to Create a Monthly Budget and Save Money. Simple things like stocking up on sale items, using coupons, and buying used, will free up money that can be used towards things like paying off debt or purchasing improvements for your homestead.
  25. Learn How to Make Do With What You Have. We all want nice things and sometimes it’s so hard to not indulge those desires. But, if you can make do and do without, you have a bigger chance of getting out of the rat race and living a little more simply.

Overwhelmed by All These Essential Homesteading Skills?

If you’re just beginning your self-sufficiency journey this list might seem a little overwhelming. I mean, how are you supposed to learn all these new skills in one season?! The truth is, you don’t have to. Notice I used the term self-sufficiency journey? That’s because this lifestyle IS a journey. Begin your own journey by learning the easy stuff first. If you live in apartment, start a container garden or maybe start making your own all natural cleaners. Then, move on to container gardening. Once you’ve conquered that, try preserving your own food. The beauty of it is, you can begin your self-sufficiency journey anywhere, anytime, whether you’re 20 or 60!

What new skills do you want to learn this year? What essential homesteading skills would you add to this list?

25 Essential Homesteading Skills You Should Learn 25 Essential Homesteading Skills You Should Learn

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