Imagine a life where you don’t have to spend so much on food, groceries, electric bills, and whatever new product TV ads are telling us to buy. It is possible if you open your mind to the possibility of living on a tract of land and doing almost everything from scratch. That means raising animals and growing crops for food, building your own house, making your own clothes, and doing other homesteading skills.
It may surprise some of you, especially the younger generations, but these homesteading skills have been around for hundreds even thousands of years. As the world got more modern and sophisticated, life became faster. And the more complicated things got, the easier people wanted things to be. In other words, humans hate waiting.
The downfall of instant gratification is that many grew up lacking some of the skills that are important if you want to survive and thrive on your own. Fortunately, it’s never too late to learn new tricks despite what that old idiomatic expression about dogs says.
Below are ten of the most important homesteading skills you must learn to become self-sufficient.
There are a number of reasons why you should raise animals. The most obvious one is for food. You have your own steady supply of meat, eggs, milk, and dairy products you can enjoy unless, of course, you’re a vegetarian or vegan. If you are, you can still raise animals in your homestead for other purposes.
Animals can help out in the homestead in different ways. You can put them to work by helping you till the soil for your garden. They also provide you with natural fertilizer, especially goat and chicken poop. There’s no need for pesticides and insecticides if you have fowls like chickens and ducks.
Some animals help keep the other animals in check. Particular dog breeds, for example, are excellent cattle herders. They also help protect your property and keep trespassers away. Perhaps, most importantly for some people, is that these animals are great companions.
Remember when your mom scolded you about not finishing your food? She probably told you that you can’t leave the table and watch TV if you don’t finish your vegetables. In homesteading, you just don’t eat your greens, you grow them.
The best thing about growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs is that you know what you’re putting inside your body when you eat the produce. If you don’t use pesticides and other chemicals in your garden, you don’t get any of their harmful residues when you consume them. You can also earn from selling your produce.
Cooking From Scratch
You’ve got your meat and your plant produce so the logical thing to do is to prepare and cook them. Scratch cooking is one of the most important homesteading skills to learn.
When you cook from scratch, you avoid wasting any of your food. Since your ingredients are sourced from your backyard, you know what you have and don’t have. That makes it easier to decide on what to cook. It also allows you to experiment with different ingredients.
When you’re lost in the jungle, your best chance of not dying of hunger is to hunt and forage. The former requires a special set of skills, especially if you’re hunting big game such as wild boar and deer. If you’re not up to the task, you can forage instead.
Foraging is not as easy as it sounds. You need to differentiate between what is actually edible and what is not. If you lack the knowledge, you may end up suffering from an upset stomach or, worse, dead.
Food Preservation and Processing
Preserving food is one of the homesteading skills you need to know to be fully self-sufficient. One of the problems in the United States today is food wastage. While more and more people are going hungry, the food industry keeps throwing away foods that are still edible. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re living a self-sustaining lifestyle.
If you have too many tomatoes to handle, you don’t have to throw them away. The ones you don’t consume or eat can be canned and stored for future use. There are different ways of preserving fruits, vegetables, and even meat. Storing preserved food, especially the ones that last long, will assure that you’ll have something to eat even if it’s not harvest time yet.
There are tons of other homesteading skills that may fall under this category. Making homemade cheese, yogurt, cream, butter, bread, and pastries are just a few that come to mind.
As mentioned, learning how to build and create things with your own hands is one of the most valuable homesteading skills you must have. It’s a great feeling to build your own home from the ground or even to renovate an old house and turn it into something you’d want to live for the rest of your self-sustaining life.
Carpentry, woodworking, and other homesteading skills related to building and repairs are by no means easy tasks to do. If you have little to zilch experience with construction, it may take some time before you get the hang of things. But if you know a hammer from a drill, you could start your kids early. Let your children help you with small projects such as building a coffee table or painting the picket fences. Not only do you teach them an important skill, but you also accomplish your tasks while getting to bond with your loved ones.
Repair and Maintenance
Repairs are not limited to fixing the hole in the wall or the leak under the sink. You should also know how to fix and maintain automobiles and other pieces of machinery.
Homesteading skills such as this are beneficial in a number of ways. First and foremost, you don’t need to pay professionals to fix your stuff. Also, you avoid unscrupulous fellows who will cheat you as much as they could. You’ll also don’t have to worry if you’re car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Your skill, along with an emergency kit tucked in your car, will help you get safely back home.
Sewing and Knitting
Forget about the Dolce and Gabbanas, Balenciagas, and Guccis. You can create your own clothes by learning another one of the most valuable homesteading skills around – sewing.
Even the most basic sewing skill can prove useful. You can do simple techniques to repair holes or tears in your clothes, curtains, or blankets. This will help you save a lot of money. You don’t have to buy new clothes every time your favorite shirt is damaged. You can keep repairing and mending until it’s no longer possible.
If you learn more advanced sewing skills, you can make clothes out of different materials. Once you get the hang of it, you can sell some of your sewing projects.
First Aid and Alternative Medicine
Among all the homesteading skills listed here, caring for your health is perhaps the most complicated. We have people who don’t believe in vaccines and other medicines from large pharmaceutical companies. There are also those who believe in the scientific facts behind such drugs and medical procedures.
You don’t have to choose sides here. What you can do is try to make them work side by side. For simple and mild health issues, you can opt for more natural methods of healing. Herbal medicines have been working since the time of the Ancient Chinese so there are thousands of years backing this field. On the other hand, you should still consult with a medical professional, especially for more disconcerting medical conditions.
You should also know how to apply first aid. Not all homesteads are near hospitals or clinics. In case of medical emergencies, you should be ready to spring to action and help keep the victim alive until professional help arrives.
Not everyone will agree that brewing your own alcohol is one of the most important homesteading skills that you should learn. But isn’t it neat to know such a skill?
Beer, wine, and other spirits cost a lot when bought from the supermarket. Save a little while living it up by making your own alcoholic beverages. You can also earn by selling your products.
Sustainability is achieved by knowing and practicing tons of homesteading skills. The ones listed here are just a small sample of the many things you can do to become fully self-sufficient. Go ahead and share some homesteading skills you know and have tried so others may be inspired to try them out. Visit The Gentleman Pirate to read up on other articles about homesteading such as this one about essential oils.
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