Homesteading Skills to Learn While You Wait: For Beginners

Homesteading is a way of life that has gained popularity in recent years as people seek to live more sustainably and self-sufficiently. In this post, we will introduce some basic homesteading skills to learn while you wait to start your own homestead. These skills will not only help you become more self-sufficient but also give you a taste of what homesteading is all about.

Homesteading skills to learn include animal husbandry. Blonde girl in a purple gingham dress feeding chickens through a wire fence.

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Homesteading looks different for everyone. Sometimes it involves growing your own food, raising animals, and making your own household items.

However, homesteading can seem daunting to those who are new to it. This is why I’m a firm believer that we should learn things in every season of life. We can learn these skills to prepare us for the future life we hope to have.

Therefore let’s dive into these main Homesteading skills you can learn while you wait.

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Essential Gardening Skills: The Foundation of Homesteading

Gardening is one of the essential skills that form the foundation of homesteading. Growing your own garden can save you money, ensure the quality and freshness of your food, and is a sustainable way to provide fresh food for you and your family.

When I think about Homesteading skills to learn while you wait, gardening is right at the top. Because gardening is about food and you need food to live.

Planting the Seeds: How Gardening Can Prepare You for Homesteading

Growing your own food is not only a fulfilling and rewarding activity, but it can also serve as an excellent foundation for your homesteading journey.

By cultivating a garden, you can develop important skills such as plant care, soil management, composting, and seed-saving. These new skills are not only vital for a successful garden but can also be applied to larger homesteading projects.

Gardening can also provide you with a source of fresh food. Healthy fresh produce reduces your reliance on your local grocery store as well as promotes a sustainable lifestyle. Whether you are just starting or have years of gardening experience, investing time and effort in your garden can prepare you for a more self-sufficient and homesteading-focused future.

Homesteading skills to learn while you wait Icon. A gardening icon with gardening tools and vegetables in a green circle.

Here are some gardening skills to start learning:

  • Start a vegetable garden: Growing your own vegetables is a great way to learn essential gardening skills, and it can provide you with a source of fresh, healthy produce.
  • Plant fruit trees: Fruit trees are a low-maintenance way to produce fresh fruit for years to come, and they can help you develop essential skills such as pruning and soil management.
  • Practice seed-saving: Seed-saving is the process of harvesting and storing seeds from your plants to replant the following season. This can help you save money and ensure that you have a sustainable source of seeds.
  • Learn composting: Composting is the process of breaking down organic matter such as food scraps and leaves into a nutrient-rich soil amendment that can be used to fertilize your garden.
  • Experiment with different techniques: There are several different gardening techniques, such as raised beds, container gardening, and vertical gardening. Experimenting with different techniques can help you find what works best for your space and needs.
  • Join a gardening club or take a class: Joining a gardening club or taking a class can provide you with a supportive community of fellow gardeners and opportunities to learn new skills.
  • Seasonal Gardening: Learn the skills and knowledge about gardening each season. There are different crops for the spring and summer months as well as the fall and winter months. Annuals vs Perennials and learning about edible plants native to your area you can cultivate.

By starting a garden and practicing these skills, you can develop the essential skills needed for your future homestead lifestyle.

Remember to start small and be patient, as gardening takes time and practice. With dedication and effort, you can reap the rewards of fresh, home-grown produce that is both healthy and delicious.

Homesteading skills to learn include gardening. Strawberry plants being planted as edible landscaping.
Vintage Note icon with a quill and ink bottle.

Take Note: Until you’re ready to grow a substantial garden you can practice self-sustainability by shopping from local farmers.

Don’t forget that flower gardening can sometimes be just as beneficial as companion plants for vegetables and herbs. They also bring pollinators and helpful garden bugs to assist. For more great flower gardening content visit

My philosophy is to invest in good quality. However, I have taken years to slowly build on to my stash of gardening tools & supplies. It’s ok to start small.

FAQ – Essential Gardening Skills

Read books, watch videos, attend workshops, join gardening clubs, experiment with new techniques, and seek advice from experienced gardeners.

A good pair of gloves is perhaps the most essential tool for gardening. They protect your hands and provide a better grip for handling plants and tools.

Some tips to garden like a pro are: plan your garden, choose the right plants, prepare your soil, water correctly, fertilize appropriately, control pests and diseases, and maintain a consistent routine.

Gardening is a skill that can be learned and improved over time. While some people may have a natural talent for it, anyone can become a successful gardener with the right knowledge, practice, and patience.

To make your garden the best ever, choose the right plants for your climate and soil, improve soil health, water properly, fertilize regularly, prune and weed regularly, control pests and diseases, and add personal touches like unique features and decorations.

Gardening can help develop important life skills such as patience, responsibility, creativity, problem-solving, nurturing, teamwork, perseverance, and a deeper understanding and appreciation for nature.

Preserving the Harvest: Canning, Fermenting, Freezing, and Dehydrating for Winter

Preserving the harvest is a crucial aspect of homesteading, ensuring that the abundance of summer can be enjoyed throughout the winter months. With a little bravery learning how to preserve food really doesn’t take much time and is a great place to start literally anywhere on your journey!

Slightly below gardening on the list of Homesteading skills to learn would be food preservation. Growing all that food you will ask, where do I put it all? And how do you make it last through the seasons without a garden?

Canning, fermenting, pickling, freezing, and dehydrating are five essential methods for preserving food that can be easily done in your own home with a little practice and know-how.

In this section, we will explore these methods and provide tips for preserving your harvest and creating a well-stocked pantry for the colder months.

Food Preservation | Canning

“Canning is the process of applying heat to food that’s sealed in a jar in order to destroy any microorganisms that can cause food spoilage. Proper canning techniques stop this spoilage by heating the food for a specific period of time and killing these unwanted microorganisms. During the canning process, the air is driven from the jar and a vacuum is formed as the jar cools and seals.”

Food Preservation Methods
Homesteading skills to learn include food preservation. Canned Redbud Jelly displayed with redbud flowers overhanging.

Water Bath Canning

Water bath canning is a faster, lower temperature preserving process for canning high-acid foods. The acidity of the food is essential for water bath canning. It kills the bacteria that will lead to spoilage and botulism, a rare, but fatal disease spread by bacteria.

Canning with a Pressure Canner

For low-acid foods like meats and seafood, you would use a pressure canner. The reason is that you want to efficiently eliminate the risk of foodborne bacteria by heating the contents of a jar to 240° F. This then thoroughly destroys the environment bacteria need to thrive in by using a pressure canner.

Food Preservation | Freezing

Freezing is an easy beginner’s food preservation method. The two things it does require are electricity and freezer space. You can toss most fruits and some vegetables required in the freezer with no special preparation. I’m all about no prep, so these are the things I pop in our freezer during the growing season: Peppers, Herbs, Fruit, Stone fruits, and Leftovers.”

Food Preservation for Total Beginners,

The one essential tip every article I read referred to when speaking of rules for freezing is to set your freezer to 0° ahead of time and purchase a freezer thermometer to ensure it reaches 0° before starting your preservation efforts.

The thing about freezing as a preservation method is, everyone has a freezer pretty much. So, it’s already a tool you have. Therefore it should be a great homesteading skill to learn while you’re waiting.

Food Preservation | Dehydrating Food

“Sun drying, Air drying, Solar drying, Oven drying, Electric dehydrating, and Dehydrating in a microwave or oven.

A Beginner’s Guide to Dehydrating Food

Food Preservation | Pickling & Fermentation

Pickling is preserving vegetables and fruit in brine or vinegar. The process by which they preserve is called anaerobic fermentation, which can preserve perishable ingredients for weeks and months.

There are essentially two types of pickling, each offering various methods by which to pickle. The two kinds of pickles are pickles preserved with vinegar and pickles preserved with salt.

Beginner’s Guide to Pickling

So, whether you’re preserving with vinegar or salt both are great options for food preservation as well as health benefits. There are similarities to each process, like storage conditions, preserving of nutrients, change in flavor and texture, as well as the presence of carbon dioxide.

Homesteading skills to learn include food preservation. Pouring salt on cabbage cut up in a bowl making sauerkraut.

However, raw fermented food contains live probiotics, which are essential in restoring gut bio balance, thus giving fermented food more health benefits.

For more information:

Supplies & Tools I Use and Recommend

My philosophy is to invest in good quality. However, I have taken years to slowly build on to my stash of food preservation tools & supplies. It’s ok to start small.

FAQ – Preserving the Harvest

The best way to dehydrate food is by using a dehydrator, which is designed to efficiently and evenly remove moisture from food, preserving its nutritional value and flavor.

The best ways to preserve food for winter are canning, fermenting, and dehydrating. These methods help to extend the shelf life of produce and create a well-stocked pantry for the colder months.

Pioneers kept meat from spoiling by smoking, salting, or drying it. These preservation methods helped to remove moisture from the meat, making it less hospitable to bacteria and other microbes that cause spoilage.

Fruit can be preserved for the winter by canning, dehydrating, or freezing. These methods help to extend the shelf life of fruit and ensure that it can be enjoyed throughout the winter months.

Fruit can be preserved for long-term storage by canning, drying, freezing, or storing in a root cellar. These methods help to extend the shelf life of fruit and prevent spoilage.

Three methods for preserving fruits are canning, dehydrating, and freezing. These methods help to extend the shelf life of fruit and maintain its nutritional value and flavor.

Harvesting Nature’s Medicine: Growing Medicinal Plants & Foraging for Natives

Harvesting nature’s medicine is an essential aspect of homesteading and self-sufficiency. Growing medicinal plants and foraging for native plants can provide a sustainable source of natural remedies for common ailments and illnesses.

In this section, we will explore some of the best medicinal plants to grow in your homestead garden and provide tips for responsible foraging for native plants in your area. This is one of the least expensive homesteading skills to learn because there are so many wonderful edible and medicinal plants hiding in plain sight.

I would encourage you to take pictures when you’re out hiking or walking in your own yard. What may look like a weed, might actually be gold.

Medicinal herbs | What Kind of Plants Do You Need to Grow?

“Think about the things you need on a consistent basis. For us, it’s remedies for the cold and flu, stuffy and congested noses, sore throats, earaches, and headaches. These are the basic common cold/flu symptoms that everyone usually deals with at least once a year.

How to Plant a Medicinal Herb Garden, Melissa K Norris

Some of the best medicinal plants to grow in your homestead garden include chamomile, echinacea, calendula, and peppermint. These plants are easy to grow, have multiple health benefits, and can be used to make teas, tinctures, salves, and other remedies.

Top Ten medicinal plants to grow on a homestead of any size

These plants are easy to grow and have multiple health benefits. They can be used to make teas, tinctures, salves, and other herbal remedies. There are many ways to use and preserve herbs for use later on in the year.

  • Echinacea – boosts the immune system, helps to fight off infections, and reduces inflammation.
  • Chamomile – helps to reduce inflammation and anxiety, promotes relaxation, and aids in digestion.
  • Calendula – has antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties, making it useful for treating wounds, rashes, and other skin irritations.
  • Peppermint – helps to relieve nausea, indigestion, and other digestive issues, and has a cooling effect on the body.
  • Lavender – promotes relaxation, reduces anxiety, and can be used to treat insomnia, headaches, and skin irritations.
  • Comfrey – has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties and can be used to treat wounds, bruises, sprains, and other injuries. It’s also a nutrient-rich plant that can be used as a natural fertilizer for the garden.
  • Garlic – has antimicrobial and antiviral properties and can be used to treat infections and boost the immune system.
  • St. John’s Wort – can be used to treat depression, anxiety, and nerve pain.
  • Lemon balm – promotes relaxation, reduces anxiety, and can be used to treat cold sores and other viral infections.
  • Yarrow – has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties, making it useful for treating wounds and reducing fever.
Homesteading skills to learn include foraging. Wild honeysuckle growing in the trees.

To read more fun and insightful herbal content and information about building a modern homestead visit

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Take Note: Herbal medicine is a more natural, holistic approach when compared to modern medicine. Herbal Remedies focus on supporting the body’s natural healing processes, rather than just treating symptoms.

There are also many medicinal herbs that crossover into the foraging aspect because they may grow naturally locally for you. Two that grow locally everywhere in my area are Mullein and Plantain.

Check out a local Facebook Group for Native Plants in your area and see what you can find. There may also be books specific to your state that help with identification.

Native Plants | Find them in Local Nurseries, Forage For Them, Grow them from Seed

Since native plants are accustomed to their habitat, they are able to hold water better than non-native plants, withstand the environment better than non-native plants, withstand harsh weather, and grow back the following year. Because they are adapted to the specific climate of the region, native plants can defend themselves against indigenous insects, fungi, and disease.”

6 Benefits of Landscaping with Native Plants
Homesteading skills to learn include foraging. Mullein growing wild.

Foraging | Not Just a Mushroom Thing

You may not think that foraging is a homesteading skill, but as I see it Homesteading is all about self-sustainability and re-learning heritage skills that were once prevalent in our cultures.

Foraging is not just a mushroom thing. As I mentioned above about medicinal plants, there is any number of wild-grown plants that are not only edible but truly beneficial to include in our everyday lives.

If you want to forage for mushrooms I would recommend not trying to identify them yourself but to seek professional guidance as there are several varieties that can be fatally poisonous.

Black floral illustration on a pink circle background.

The best things to forage will vary depending on your location and climate, but here are some common items to consider:

  1. Wild berries and fruits
  2. Mushrooms
  3. Nuts and seeds
  4. Wild greens and herbs
  5. Edible flowers
  6. Medicinal plants
  7. Wild game and fish (if legally allowed)
  8. Wild honey
  9. Wild tea and other beverages
  10. Natural dyes and fibers.

DIY Home Remedies: Natural Solutions for Common Ailments

These simple, do-it-yourself solutions can be a great alternative to over-the-counter medication. Which can help you create natural home remedies using common ingredients to alleviate everyday ailments.

Here are some basic and recommended home remedies that can be made with foraged or grown medicinal plants:

  1. Infusions and teas: hot water is used to extract the medicinal compounds from the plant material, which can be drunk as tea or used topically as a compress.
  2. Tinctures: alcohol is used to extract the medicinal compounds from the plant material, resulting in a concentrated liquid that can be taken orally.
  3. Salves and ointments: a mixture of plant material, such as dried herbs or infused oils, is combined with a carrier substance like beeswax to create a topical treatment for skin conditions.
  4. Poultices: fresh or dried plant material is mashed or ground into a paste and applied directly to the skin to treat inflammation, wounds, and other conditions.
  5. Syrups and elixirs: a combination of herbs and other ingredients, such as honey or vinegar, are simmered to create a concentrated liquid that can be taken orally to treat a variety of ailments.

My philosophy is to invest in good quality. However, it may take years to build up your stash of tools & supplies you can use to make herbal tinctures, etc. Many of these are on my wish list. It’s ok to start small.

FAQ – Harvesting Nature’s Medicine

The best tool for harvesting herbs is a pair of sharp pruning shears or scissors. They allow for a clean cut without damaging the plant, which promotes healthy growth and reduces the risk of disease.

Drying herbs upside down allows for better air circulation and prevents moisture from accumulating at the bottom of the stems, which can lead to mold or rot. It also helps to preserve the shape and color of the herbs.

To harvest plants for medicinal purposes, choose a time when the plant is at its peak, use sharp scissors or shears to cut the plant, and handle it gently to avoid damaging it. Dry the plant thoroughly, and store it in a cool, dry place until ready to use.

Medicinal compounds can be extracted from plants through various methods, including decoction, infusion, maceration, and tinctures, using water, alcohol, or oil as solvents.

Wildcrafting is the practice of ethically and sustainably harvesting wild plants for food, medicine, or craft purposes. Foraging is the act of gathering wild food for personal consumption.

To harvest and clean herbs, cut the stems at the base, remove any damaged or discolored leaves, and rinse the herbs gently under cool running water. Pat dry with a clean towel or paper towel before using or storing.

To harvest herbs for beginners, wait until the plant has reached maturity and then cut off the top third of the stem. Remove any damaged or yellow leaves and rinse the herbs gently under cool water before patting them dry and storing them.

To harvest herbs, use sharp, clean shears and cut just above a leaf node. To keep them growing, provide adequate sunlight, water, and soil drainage, and fertilize as needed. Regular pruning also promotes growth.

The Art of Composting: Turning Kitchen Scraps into Garden Gold

Composting is an ancient practice that involves breaking down organic matter to create a nutrient-rich soil amendment. In this section, we will explore the science behind composting, the benefits of this practice, and practical tips to help you turn your kitchen scraps and yard waste into garden gold.

Homesteading skills to learn include composting. A black compost barrel in a garden.
Photo by Brittany of

Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting, composting is among the essential homesteading skills you can learn that can help reduce your environmental impact and improve the health and vitality of your garden.

Different Ways to Compost

There are several ways to create compost for your home garden, including:

  1. Composting with a bin: You can use a compost bin to contain and manage your organic waste. Bins can be purchased or made from materials such as wood, wire mesh, or plastic.
  2. Vermicomposting: This involves using worms to break down organic matter into compost. Worms can be kept in a bin indoors or outdoors.
  3. Trench composting: This involves digging a trench in your garden and filling it with organic matter. The trench is then covered with soil and left to decompose.
  4. Sheet composting: This involves layering organic matter directly onto your garden bed and allowing it to decompose over time.
  5. Composting with a tumbler: This involves placing your organic waste in a rotating drum, which helps speed up the composting process.

Creating and Maintaining Compost

Making compost is the single best thing you can do for your garden because it adds organic matter to the soil. Without compost, soil would be dirt, the stuff you drag into your house when you forget to take off your shoes. Soil, on the other hand, is our life support system. It anchors plant roots, creates habitat for millions of critters, filters water and holds nutrients. Life without healthy soil would be nearly impossible.

How to Start Composting by Stone Pier Press
Homesteading skills to learn include composting. A compost tumbler in a garden full of compost.
Photo by Brittany of

Composting in a bin

Composting in a bin involves using a container to hold and manage organic waste as it decomposes into nutrient-rich soil.

The benefits of using a bin include faster decomposition, odor control, and easier management of the composting process.

To start composting in a bin:

  1. First, choose a container that fits your space and needs.
  2. Then add alternating layers of brown and green materials.
  3. Also, keep the compost moist but not too wet.
  4. Then to maintain it, stir the pile regularly with a pitchfork or shovel. This will aerate it and help break down the materials faster.

Composting in a bin can take 2-6 months depending on the method and materials used. Once your compost is ready, use it to enrich your soil and promote healthy plant growth.

If you’re still unsure about what to compost here is a helpful checklist!


Vermicomposting, or worm farming, is a natural, sustainable, and incredibly effective way to create nutrient-dense compost for gardening. Worm composting takes advantage of the natural process of worm digestion. Happy, full, and pooping worms provide you with a virtually limitless supply of high-quality fertilizer for your garden!

Get Started Worm Farming: A Beginner’s Guide by The Squirm Firm

What is Worm Farming & How Do You Do It?

Worm farming, also known as vermicomposting, is a process of composting food scraps and other organic waste using worms.

The worms consume the organic matter and convert it into nutrient-rich compost, which can be used to fertilize plants.

To start worm farming:

  1. First, you need a bin, bedding material, and red worms.
  2. Then add food scraps to the bin and cover them with bedding material.
  3. To maintain, keep the bin moist and well-aerated, and avoid adding meat, dairy, or oily foods.

The worms will break down the organic matter and produce compost, which can be harvested and used in your garden. To go read more check out the page The Squirm Firm.

Trench Composting

Trench composting is a method of composting where organic matter is buried in a trench instead of a bin.

To do it:

  1. First, dig a trench in your garden.
  2. Then add organic matter such as food scraps, grass clippings, and leaves, and cover it with soil.

Over time, the organic matter will decompose and enrich the soil. It’s a low-maintenance and low-cost method of composting that can improve soil quality and reduce waste.

However, it may attract pests and take longer to produce compost compared to other methods.

Sheet Composting

Sheet composting is a method of composting that involves layering organic matter directly onto a garden bed, without the need for a bin.

To do it:

  1. First, add layers of organic matter such as leaves, grass clippings, and food scraps to the garden bed. Also, alternating with layers of soil or mulch.
  2. Then water the layers well and let them decompose naturally over time.

Sheet composting improves soil quality, suppresses weeds, and reduces waste. However, it may take longer to produce compost and may not be suitable for all types of plants.

Composting with a tUMBLER

Composting with a tumbler involves using a rotating bin to compost organic matter quickly and efficiently.

To do it:

  1. First, add a mix of brown and green materials such as leaves, grass clippings, and food scraps to the tumbler.
  2. Water the tumbler from time to time.
  3. Then rotate the tumbler regularly to aerate the compost and speed up decomposition.

Tumbler composting produces compost faster than traditional bin composting. Also, the closed design helps control odors and pests. However, it may be more expensive and require more maintenance.

My philosophy is to invest in good quality. However, it may take years to build up your stash of tools & supplies you can use to make composting easier, etc. Many of these are on my wish list. It’s ok to start small.

FAQ – The Art of Composting

The 5 steps to composting are: 1) Collect organic waste, 2) Add to compost bin, 3) Mix in brown and green materials, 4) Keep moist and aerated, 5) Wait for decomposition.

The 4 types of composting are: 1) aerobic, 2) anaerobic, 3) vermicomposting, and 4) sheet composting.

The first rule of composting is to have a good balance of brown and green materials.

  1. Takes time to produce compost, 2) May attract pests, 3) Requires space, 4) Can produce unpleasant odors, and 5) Can be labor-intensive.

The 7 steps in composting are: 1) Choose a site, 2) Gather materials, 3) Shred or chop materials, 4) Layer materials, 5) Water the pile, 6) Turn the pile, 7) Harvest the compost.

Do not put meat, dairy, bones, grease, oily food, pet waste, diseased plants, synthetic chemicals, or weed seeds in the compost.

Composting is a highly sustainable practice that reduces waste, enriches the soil, and promotes plant growth while reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and landfill space.

Be Prepared: First Aid Skills Every Homesteader Should Learn

Homesteading often involves working with tools, animals, and heavy machinery, making it essential to be prepared with first aid skills. Injuries can happen unexpectedly, and having the knowledge and supplies to deal with them can make all the difference.

In this section, we will discuss the first aid skills every homesteader should learn, as well as how to prepare a first aid kit for your homestead.

Homesteading skills to learn includes first aid and having a well equipped first aid kit.

Being prepared with first aid skills is essential for homesteaders. Especially those who may be working with tools, animals, and machinery.

Basic first aid skills include knowing how to perform CPR, treating wounds, managing fractures, and dealing with burns and insect bites. Homesteaders should also have a first aid kit on hand and know how to use it.

By learning first aid skills, homesteaders can take care of themselves and their families in emergencies and prevent small injuries from becoming bigger problems.

Vintage typewriter icon in a grey circle.

Keep a First Aid Kit Handy. Visit my post about How to Build the Best First Aid Kit For Your Home & Download my Free Basic First Aid Kit Resource + Checklist in the Subscriber Libary.

CPR and Rescue Breathing Techniques

Being a homesteader means being self-sufficient, not just in everyday tasks but in every aspect of your life. It includes learning how to deal with accidents and emergency situations, especially first aid and CPR. You never know when an accident will befall you or a family member so it’s always good to know what to do in case of an emergency.

A Basic Guide to First Aid & CPR by

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) and rescue breathing techniques are life-saving skills that every homesteader should learn. It involves performing chest compressions and rescue breaths to restore blood circulation and oxygen supply to the body in case of cardiac arrest or other emergencies.

It is important to take a CPR course and get certified, as performing CPR incorrectly can cause harm. Rescue breathing techniques involve giving breaths to a person who is not breathing or having difficulty breathing. Using techniques like mouth-to-mouth resuscitation or bag valve masks.

Vintage Note icon with a quill and ink bottle.

Knowing how to perform CPR and rescue breathing techniques can make all the difference in an emergency situation.

How To Do CPR or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation. Download CPR & Choking Guide

Treating wounds & Controlling bleeding

Treating wounds and controlling bleeding are important first-aid skills for homesteaders. Homesteading tends to put you at risk for injuries from tools, animals, as well as machinery.

When dealing with wounds, it’s important to:

  1. First, clean the area with soap and water.
  2. Then apply pressure to stop any bleeding.
  3. For minor wounds, apply a sterile bandage and keep the area clean and dry. This can help with healing.

For more serious injuries, it’s important to seek professional medical attention. Homesteaders should also be familiar with using tourniquets and pressure points to control severe bleeding until medical help arrives.

Create A DRSABCD Action Plan. Danger, Response, Send for Help, Airway, Breathing, CPR, Defibrillation. Download Here.

Dealing with Fractures and Sprains

Dealing with fractures and sprains is another important first aid skill for homesteaders, who may be involved in physically demanding work.

  1. When dealing with a possible fracture, it’s important to immobilize the injured area and seek medical attention immediately.
  2. For sprains, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) is an effective treatment. Wrapping the affected area with a compression bandage as well as applying ice can help reduce swelling and pain.

Homesteaders should also be aware of how to use splints or braces to immobilize a broken bone until medical help arrives.

It’s important to note that improperly treating a fracture or sprain can lead to further complications, so seeking professional medical attention is always the best course of action.

Managing Burns and Insect Bites

Managing burns and insect bites are important first aid skills for homesteaders. Because you will likely be exposed to sunburn, hot surfaces, and stinging insects.

When dealing with a burn, it’s important to immediately run cool water over the affected area to reduce pain and prevent further damage.

However, for more serious burns, seek medical attention.

Insect bites can also be a common occurrence on a homestead. Therefore, treating them with antihistamines, cold compresses, and topical ointments can help reduce swelling and discomfort.

However, if the symptoms persist or become severe, it’s important to seek medical attention. It’s also a good idea to take preventive measures, such as wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent to avoid bites and stings.

First Aid Kit Essentials for Homesteaders

Homesteaders should have a well-stocked first aid kit readily available for emergencies.

The essentials will most likely include things like:

If you aren’t able to purchase and stock a kit yourself, buying a ready-made kit is better than nothing. But don’t skimp on the manual. I like clear pictures in mine.

Vintage Note icon with a quill and ink bottle.

It’s important to regularly check and restock the kit. That way you are ensured that all supplies are up to date and in good condition. Otherwise, in an emergency, you may find you don’t have what you need.

A few other injuries to be prepared for are: Choking, Poisoning, Bleeding Wounds, Broken Bones, Heatstroke, Bug Bites & Insect Stings, Snake Bites, Sprains & Strains, as well as Nose bleeds.

FAQ – First Aid Every Homesteader Should Know

Preparing first aid is important as it can save lives in emergency situations. It allows for immediate treatment of injuries and prevents them from worsening, reducing the risk of complications and long-term damage.

The most important thing when providing first aid is to assess the situation and take action quickly and safely to prevent further harm and provide the necessary care.

The 10 basic first aid procedures include: 1) CPR, 2) controlling bleeding, 3) treating burns, 4) splinting broken bones, 5) administering EpiPen for allergic reactions, 6) treating shock, 7) managing head and neck injuries, 8) treating heatstroke and hypothermia, 9) performing the Heimlich maneuver for choking, and 10) treating insect bites and stings.

The three steps of first aid response are: 1) assess the situation and potential hazards, 2) call for medical help if needed, and 3) provide appropriate first aid treatment until medical help arrives.

Homestead Animals Ranked by Care Needs: From Easy to Challenging

A great skill to learn when thinking about your future homestead is dipping your toes into animal husbandry. Before you can have large homesteads it’s good to warm yourself up to farm animals. But which ones will work without much space or care?

In this section, we’re going to talk about homesteading skills perfectly fit for a self-sufficient lifestyle. Therefore, I’m going to rank them in order of easiest to start all the way up to the animals more suited to large homesteads.

Little girl feeding the backyard chickens behind a chain link fence.

The Basic Homestead Animal: Beginner to Pro

We only just got the ability to get backyard chickens in my small rural city. So, I’m finally able to have my own chickens. But the future homestead of my dreams will definitely include a family dairy cow.

Dairy animals of course require way more hard work as well as essential skills for care and upkeep. So, whether you have a big enough plot for a large animal or not. Here are the typical homestead animals listed from easiest to most involved.

Beginner to Pro: Animal Husbandry

  1. Chickens: Chickens are one of the easiest homestead animals to care for. They need a coop to protect them from predators, food and water, as well as regular cleaning. They are generally hardy and can withstand a range of temperatures.
  2. Bees: Bees require minimal care, as they will forage for their own food and also take care of their own hive. A beekeeper will need to check on the hive periodically and harvest honey, but this typically only requires a few hours per month.
  3. Rabbits: Rabbits are easy to care for because they don’t require much space. They need shelter, food, and water, as well as regular cleaning. They are also relatively low-maintenance when it comes to grooming and health.
  4. Ducks: Ducks require a bit more care than chickens, as they need a water source for swimming and preening. They also need protection from predators and regular cleaning of their shelter.
  5. Goats: Goats require more space than chickens, specialized shelter, and a varied diet. They also need regular veterinary care and attention to prevent health issues.
  6. Sheep: Sheep require even more space than goats, specialized shelter, and regular veterinary care. They also need a varied diet and specialized grooming.
  7. Cows: Cows require the most space and specialized shelter of all homestead animals. They also need a varied diet and specialized veterinary care. Additionally, they can be difficult to handle and require a lot of attention to their environment to prevent damage.

Raising Chickens 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Backyard Chickens

Chickens are one of the easiest homestead animals to care for. Because they have very simple needs. Let’s talk about your new best girlfriends, your flock.

Raising Chickens 101

There’s a lot to like about raising chickens in your backyard. The eggs are a real temptation—tastier and fresher than any store-bought eggs, and better for baking, too. The shells, along with the chicken poop, can be tossed right into the compost pile. Much of the day, the birds entertain themselves, picking at grass, worms, beetles, and all of the good things that go into making those yummy farm eggs. Plus, with their keen eye for insect pests, chickens make for great gardening companions. Remember, though: Nothing good comes easy!
White circle with an icon of a chicken.

10 Things to Know Before Getting Chickens

  • Check the laws. Ensure before you invest that you are legally allowed to raise backyard chickens in your area.
  • You don’t need a rooster. Hens will lay eggs without a rooster. In fact, some cities have banned roosters anyway.
  • Get the right size coop. Your chickens will need a safe chicken coop to sleep in and also to lay their eggs.
  • Hens only lay for a few years. After that, her production will drop by about 20% a year until she stops altogether.
  • Hens don’t lay year-round. Once the days get shorter in the fall, they will start “molting,” which means dropping their feathers and growing new ones for winter. Most hens stop laying during the molt. Their bodies need a natural break, also.
  • You don’t need to wash fresh eggs. Eggs from your own flock don’t need to be – and shouldn’t be – washed until just before you use them.
  • Eggs don’t need to be refrigerated. As long as you haven’t washed your eggs, they don’t need to be refrigerated. So, don’t wash them until right before you eat them.
  • Everything wants to eat a chicken. Chickens can’t fly, so they are extremely vulnerable. To ensure their safety, chickens should have a securely enclosed pen for daytime or a dedicated guardian animal if you plan on letting them roam freely.
  • Chickens make great family pets. Once you start your flock, you will probably be surprised at how intelligent, affectionate, and friendly chickens are.

Read more here.

If you can’t own chickens at least research them

You may be in the same position that I used to be in that you are currently living in an area that will not allow even a few backyard chickens. But that’s ok, we’re in a great position to start our research now. A few ways to research could be reading books, watching youtube videos, as well as some great researched blog posts on the care that keeping chickens require. Therefore, we don’t need to be in the perfect position to get ahead.

An icon of a bee and beehive with honey dripping in a yellow circle.

Basics of Beekeeping: A Sweet Introduction to Honeybees

Keeping bees as part of your homestead can be a fulfilling as well as a rewarding experience. Bees are essential pollinators for many crops, as well as producers of delicious honey, beeswax, and other hive products.

In order to keep bees, you will need to provide them with a hive, a water source, and access to a variety of plants for foraging.

While bees do not require daily care, regular inspections of the hive are necessary to ensure that the colony is healthy and thriving. Beekeeping can also benefit your garden by increasing yields through improved pollination. As well as contributing to overall ecosystem health by supporting pollinator populations.

For more information about beekeeping on a homestead visit

Little baby girl cow in a barn enclosure. Homesteading skills to learn, taking care of animals.
An icon of a little rabbit in a brush on a blue circle.

Raising Rabbits on the Homestead: A Sustainable Meat and Fertilizer

Keeping rabbits as part of your homestead can be a great way to provide a sustainable source of meat as well as fertilizer.

Rabbits are relatively easy to care for because require minimal space, making them a good choice for small-scale homesteads. They need shelter that protects them from the elements and predators, food and water, as well as regular cleaning.

Rabbits also require a diet that is high in fiber and rich in nutrients, which can be provided through a combination of hay, fresh greens, and high-quality pellets. The benefits of keeping rabbits on the homestead include a low environmental impact. And also a steady supply of fresh and healthy meat, and high-quality fertilizer for your garden.

Sheep eating hay in their enclosure. Homesteading skills to learn, animal husbandry.

Ducks on the Homestead: Raising and Caring for These Quirky Birds

Keeping ducks as part of your homestead can provide a sustainable source of eggs and meat, as well as natural pest control and fertilizer for your garden.

Ducks require a secure shelter to protect them from predators, a source of clean water for swimming and drinking. As well as a diet that includes a mix of grains, vegetables, and protein.

They are hardy birds that can tolerate cold and wet conditions, making them a good choice for many homesteads. Ducks are also excellent foragers and can help control pests like slugs and snails in your garden. Additionally, ducks are fun and entertaining animals to watch and interact with, making them a great addition to any homestead.

Goat on a fence. Homesteading skills to learn, taking care of animals.

Larger Livestock for Large Homesteads or plots: Goats, Sheep, Pigs & Cows

Keeping goats, pigs, sheep, and cows as part of your homestead can be a huge benefit. They can provide a sustainable source of meat, milk, and fiber, as well as a natural fertilizer for your garden.

Each animal has specific needs and requirements, but in general, they all require adequate shelter, food and water, and regular care and attention.

  • Goats are hardy animals that can provide milk, meat, and fiber, and they are good at clearing brush and weeds.
  • Pigs are intelligent and social animals that can provide meat and fertilizer, and they are excellent at tilling and rooting up the soil.
  • Sheep are docile and produce wool, meat, and milk, and they can be used for grazing and land management.
  • Cows provide milk, meat, and fertilizer, and they are also good at grazing and managing land.

The benefits of keeping these animals on the homestead include self-sufficiency, sustainable meat and dairy production, and natural land management.

However, these animals require more space and resources than smaller animals like chickens and rabbits, and they require more experience and knowledge to care for properly.

FAQ – Homestead Animals

Chickens are often considered the easiest farm animal to take care of, as they are relatively low-maintenance and can be raised even in smaller spaces.

Quail is considered to be one of the least maintained farm animals. They are small, quiet, and can be raised in a small area. They also require less feed and water compared to other poultry, making them cost-effective to raise.

The best animal to have on a homestead depends on the needs and goals of the homesteader. Chickens, goats, and bees are popular choices as they provide eggs, milk, and honey, respectively. Sheep, cows, and pigs are also good options for meat and wool production.

Many farm animals can be gentle if they are raised and handled properly. However, some of the most commonly recognized gentle farm animals include cows, sheep, and goats.

Chickens are often considered the cheapest animal to raise on a farm, as they have relatively low feed and housing costs and are easy to care for.

It depends on your goals and circumstances. Chickens are great for eggs and meat, while ducks are better for meat, pest control, and entertainment. Ducks are hardier in cold weather and require less maintenance, but chickens are easier to manage and more widely available.

Homestead Kitchen: Cooking from Scratch with Simple Ingredients

The Homestead Kitchen is a place where the ingredients are simple, fresh, and grown with love. In this section, we’ll explore the joys of cooking from scratch with homegrown produce, locally sourced meats, and pantry staples.

From mastering the art of sourdough bread to canning your own jams and pickles, we’ll show you how to create delicious meals and treats that will nourish your body and soul. Join us on this journey to discover the joy and satisfaction of cooking with simple ingredients straight from the homestead kitchen.

Food – its cultivation, preparation and communal consumption – has long been considered a form of cultural heritage. A dynamic, living product, food creates social bonds as it simultaneously marks off and maintains cultural difference.

Edible Identities: Food as Cultural Heritage – Routledge

Real food tastes better, costs less, and usually doesn’t take any longer to make. Discover what you’ve been missing by cooking virtually everything your family eats from scratch

How to Cook Everything from Scratch by The Spruce Eats

Mastering the Art of Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is a staple in many homestead kitchens due to its natural fermentation and health benefits.

Mastering the art of sourdough bread requires patience and practice, but the end result is a delicious and nutritious bread that is easy to digest.

Learn the basics of making a sourdough starter, proofing, and baking to enjoy fresh, homemade bread.

FAQ – the art of sourdough

The secret to good sourdough bread is a healthy and active sourdough starter, a long fermentation period, proper hydration, and proper shaping and baking techniques.

There are many great books on sourdough bread, but some popular ones include “Flour Water Salt Yeast” by Ken Forkish and “Tartine Bread” by Chad Robertson.


Canning and preserving is a great way to store your homestead harvest for later use. It involves using airtight containers to preserve food through heat processing, which kills off any harmful bacteria.

This method can be used for fruits, vegetables, and even meats. Properly canned foods can last for years, making it a great option for homesteaders looking to stock up for the winter or to sell at local markets. However, it’s important to follow proper canning procedures to ensure the safety of the food.

Two Types of Canning: Water Bath & Pressure Cook

  • Water bath canning is used for high-acid foods, such as fruits, pickles, and tomato-based products.
  • Pressure canning is used for low-acid foods, such as vegetables, meat, and poultry. This will prevent the growth of bacteria that can cause botulism.
faq – canning and preserving

Harvested crops can be preserved through canning, freezing, drying, or fermenting. The method used depends on the type of crop and how it will be used later. Proper cleaning, preparation, and storage are also essential to ensure the longevity and quality of preserved foods.

Popular methods include canning, freezing, dehydrating, fermenting, and pickling. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one based on the specific food and your preferences.

farm to table cooking: using fresh ingredients

Farm-to-table cooking involves using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients to create delicious and healthy meals.

By cooking with seasonal produce, herbs, and meats from your own farm or local farmers’ markets, you can reduce your carbon footprint and support your local community. This approach to cooking emphasizes the importance of sustainability, nutrition, and taste.

A good start in a farm-to-table kitchen might include: Cooking a whole chicken, homemade bone broth, cooking wild game, and seasonal cooking with ingredients fresh from the garden.

faq – farm-to-table cooking

Using fresh ingredients ensures that your food is full of nutrients, flavor, and aroma. It also reduces the risk of food contamination and spoilage.

When selecting fresh ingredients, look for items that are firm, brightly colored, and free of bruises or blemishes. Check for any signs of spoilage, such as a bad smell or mold. Also, pay attention to the seasonality of the ingredient, as it will likely be at its peak flavor and nutritional value when it is in season.

Fermenting Foods for Health and Flavor

Fermenting Foods for Health and Flavor is a practice that has been around for centuries. This method of food preservation is not only a great way to extend the life of fresh produce, but it also offers numerous health benefits.

Fermented foods are packed with good bacteria that promote healthy digestion and a stronger immune system. Learn about the basics of fermentation, popular fermented foods, and how to get started with fermenting in your own kitchen.

A lot of people might have reservations, never having tried fermented foods before. But it’s a good idea to try a few simple recipes to start and decide if you can learn to love it!

faq – fermenting foods

Some of the healthiest foods to ferment include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, pickles, yogurt, and miso. Fermentation can increase the beneficial bacteria and enzymes in these foods, which can aid digestion and promote overall health.

Here are 10 popular fermented foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, miso, tempeh, pickles, sourdough bread, and kvass.

Making Homemade Cheese and Dairy Products

Making homemade cheese and dairy products is a great way to utilize milk from your own animals and to have more control over the quality and flavor of your dairy products.

With some basic equipment and simple techniques, you can easily make cheese, butter, yogurt, and other dairy products right in your own kitchen.

faq – Making Homemade dairy products

You can make a variety of dairy products at home including butter, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, and ice cream, among others.

The four basic ingredients for cheese production are milk, rennet, starter culture, and salt.

Cooking with Cast Iron: The Ultimate Homesteader’s Tool

Cast iron cookware has been a staple in homestead kitchens for generations. It is durable, versatile, and distributes heat evenly. It can be used for baking, frying, sautéing, and even outdoor cooking.

Properly seasoned cast iron will develop a non-stick surface that gets better with use. It is low-maintenance and can last for decades.

With cast iron, you can cook delicious meals for your family while embracing the simplicity and tradition of homesteading.

faq – cooking with cast iron

The secret to cooking with cast iron is to preheat the pan, use enough oil or fat, and avoid using soap for cleaning.

The best tools for cast iron cooking are heat-resistant oven mitts, a metal spatula, a cast iron brush or scraper, and a chainmail scrubber for cleaning.

Baking Delicious Desserts with natural Ingredients

Baking delicious desserts with natural ingredients is a great way to make use of fresh produce and ingredients from your garden or farm.

From fruit pies to cobblers, muffins to cakes, there are endless possibilities for creating sweet treats using simple, wholesome ingredients.

Learn how to incorporate fresh herbs, honey, and other natural sweeteners to create desserts that are both tasty and nutritious.

faq – baking desserts with natural ingredients

The 4 basic dessert sauces are custard, caramel, chocolate, and fruit.

Some common ingredients used in making desserts include sugar, flour, eggs, butter, milk, cream, vanilla extract, chocolate, fruits, and nuts.

Cooking Over an Open Flame: Outdoor Kitchen Tips

Cooking over an open flame is an essential skill for homesteaders. Learn the basics of outdoor cooking, including selecting the right equipment, building a fire, and cooking techniques.

Discover delicious recipes that can be cooked over an open flame, such as grilled vegetables, meats, and desserts.

Cooking outdoors is not only practical but can also be a fun and enjoyable way to prepare meals for your family and friends.

faq – outdoor kitchen tips

To cook over a fire outside, you will need a fire pit or grill, kindling, firewood, matches or a lighter, and your cooking equipment. Build the fire, let it burn down to coals, and place your cookware on top or near the heat source, adjusting the height as needed.

To cook over an open wood fire, you’ll need a campfire grill or grate, cast iron cookware, and heat-resistant gloves. Build a fire, let it burn down to hot coals, and place the grill over the fire. Add your cookware, and start cooking!

Creating Homemade Herbal Teas and Infusions

Creating homemade herbal teas and infusions is a simple way to enjoy the health benefits of herbs while adding flavor to your homestead kitchen.

Whether you grow your own herbs or source them from a local farmer or health food store, brewing them into teas or infusions is easy and rewarding. Experiment with different herbs, spices, and flavorings to find your favorite blends.

Herbs have so many different uses! For more wisdom on herbal teas & infusions visit

faq – Herbal teas & infusions

To make an infusion with fresh herbs, simply steep the herbs in hot water for several minutes, then strain and enjoy. The amount of herbs and steeping time will depend on the specific herb and desired strength of the infusion.

An herbal infusion is made by steeping fresh or dried herbs in hot water for a longer period of time than traditional tea, typically 4-8 hours. This method extracts more of the medicinal properties from the herbs, making it stronger than herbal tea.

Putting Up the Harvest: Stocking Your Homestead Pantry

Putting up the harvest is an essential part of homesteading. By preserving and storing your harvest, you can enjoy fresh, homemade meals all year round.

Canning, dehydrating, and freezing are just a few ways to stock your pantry with homemade jams, pickles, and other preserved foods.

With a well-stocked pantry, you can reduce your grocery bills and have the satisfaction of knowing exactly where your food comes from.

faq – stocking a homestead pantry

A basic pantry should include non-perishable essentials like grains, canned goods, oils, vinegars, spices, and sweeteners, along with perishables like eggs, dairy, and produce that can be stored for longer periods.

To make a fully stocked pantry, start by taking inventory of your current supplies and determining which items you use most. Consider purchasing staples such as grains, beans, canned goods, oils, and spices in bulk to save money. Also, be sure to include snacks and items for quick and easy meals. Don’t forget to rotate your stock and regularly check expiration dates to keep your pantry fresh and organized.

My philosophy is to invest in good quality. However, it may take years to build up your stash of tools & supplies you can use in a Homestead Kitchen, etc. It’s ok to start small.

Cleaning Green: DIY Natural Cleaning Products for a Sustainable Homestead

Cleaning green means using natural and sustainable ingredients to clean your home, without relying on harsh chemicals that harm the environment and your health.

Making your own natural cleaning products is easy, cost-effective, and allows you to customize the scents and ingredients to your liking.

Making natural cleaners from natural ingredients. Homesteading skills to learn include creating sustainable cleaners for your home.

Popular ingredients include vinegar, baking soda, essential oils, and castile soap. Using these products on a sustainable homestead not only reduces waste and environmental impact but also creates a healthier and more natural living environment.

10 Ideas for Natural Cleaners You Can Make at Home

  1. Non-toxic All-Purpose Cleaner
  2. DIY Glass Cleaner with Essential Oils
  3. Natural Wood Polish and Restorer
  4. Homemade Citrus Degreaser
  5. Eco-Friendly Fabric Softener
  6. DIY Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Baking Soda and Vinegar
  7. Chemical-Free Oven Cleaner
  8. Herbal Carpet Freshener
  9. DIY Air Fresheners with Essential Oils
  10. Homemade Laundry Detergent

My philosophy is to invest in good quality. However, it may take years to build up your stash of tools & supplies you can use to make Natural Cleaners, etc. It’s ok to start small.

faq – diy natural cleaning products

Making your own eco-friendly home cleaning products can be as simple as using natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils.

You can clean your house without chemicals by using natural ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and essential oils, along with microfiber cloths and steam cleaners.

Eco-friendly ingredients are natural, biodegradable, and sustainable materials that have minimal impact on the environment, such as plant-based ingredients, recycled materials, and renewable resources.

The best natural disinfectants are vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and tea tree oil, which are effective against bacteria and viruses without the use of harmful chemicals.

A good homemade cleaner can be made by mixing equal parts of vinegar and water, adding a few drops of essential oils for scent, and using it to clean surfaces like countertops, floors, and bathrooms.

In Conclusion

n conclusion, learning homesteading skills while waiting is a wise investment of time and effort that can lead to self-sufficiency and a more sustainable lifestyle.

I hope I have given you plenty of great skills to think about mastering in the coming year and even down the road until you are able to get that dream homestead.

Thanks for stopping by!



Before starting a homestead, it’s important to have a solid plan, knowledge of basic skills, and an understanding of local regulations and climate.

Before homesteading, it is important to have knowledge and skills in gardening, animal husbandry, food preservation, and basic carpentry. It is also important to research zoning laws, building codes, and potential challenges of living off-grid.

Start by learning and practicing skills such as gardening, cooking from scratch, preserving food, and raising small animals. Gradually incorporate more homesteading activities and invest in tools and equipment as you gain experience and confidence. It’s also helpful to connect with other homesteaders for advice and support.

To live a simple homestead life, focus on self-sufficiency, sustainability, and being mindful of resource use. Practice growing and preserving your own food, reducing waste, and embracing a slower pace of life. Learn skills such as carpentry, sewing, and animal husbandry to become more self-reliant.

Meet the Author

Hi, I’m Julie! Mother to five beautiful kids, Homeschool Educator, Writer, Handicraft & DIY Enthusiast, Photographer, Thrifter, and Furniture Restorer. Follow along for fun DIY projects creating a handmade home on a budget! Read more about me here→