As a military family, it’s pretty damn difficult to establish a proper homestead. We don’t have the real option to purchase a piece of land, settle in, and build things like workshops and root cellars and vegetable gardens.
We’re always on the move, and we more often than not settle into an area for only two or three years before we have to pack up and relocate again.
But there’s more to homesteading than owning property. It takes knowledge. It take a particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career.
Nope, not killing people. Just stuff like these:
This one’s pretty obvious. A good homestead will always have a good source of food – whether that be foraging in the nearby woods, hunting, raising livestock, or growing a few pots of herbs and veggies.
Learning how to maintain a quality garden will do wonders for your budding homestead.
There is nothing like popping a warm cherry tomato in your mouth fresh off the plant. The richness of a homegrown veggie will give you goosebumps. Your heart will blossom bigger than a squash plant.
And, your mind will wander to the possibilities for your fall crops. (Hint: Butternut squash is really fun to grow!)
Every garden vegetable needs a good soak in the jacuzzi. Sometimes moms do, too. From garlicky pizza sauce to fresh blueberry jam to crunchy gherkins, a good canning setup will fill your pantry, belly, and soul. A simple tomato sauce or apple butter is a great place to begin your canning adventures.
Ball – the leading company in canning supplies – has tons of easy-to-follow recipe books you can check out, like the Ball Canning Back to Basics: A Foolproof Guide to Canning Jams, Jellies, Pickles, and More, which has plenty of beginner-friendly information to help you get started.
Seriously, who doesn’t love to bake? The smell of fresh cookies is enough to make anyone drool. But I’m not talking about whipping up the next cake design for Cake Wars here.
When it comes to homestead baking, learning how to make a quality loaf of bread is key to your independence. Bread is one of the biggest staples of civilization development, and since we’re all about bringing it back to basics here, let me share with you one of my all-time favorite, easy-to-follow bread recipes.
I freaking love recycling. Dumpster diving Mondays is my absolute favorite. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?
Treasure is useless if you don’t have fun with it! Let your creativity really shine, like reusing an old colander in the garden. It already comes with super efficient drainage holes! Repaint it a bright color and fill it with a bee-friendly flower blend.
I like to paint my old food cans and use them as small planters on a front stand in front of my house.
Avoid the landfills and reuse everything you can. Reusing your old junk – and even your neighbor’s – will keep those items out of landfills and even the ocean.
Save the planet. Recycle your stuff.
You know that feeling when you see someone at the store or on the street, and they’re wearing that pair of pants or shirt style you looove, but probably can’t afford?
Time to stop being so jealous. First of all, jealousy gets you nowhere in life. And sewing, crocheting, knitting, cross stitch? You name it, you should learn it.
Think of what you could make: toys, hats, blankets, bags, home decor, even clothes! Sewing a pair of pants that fits your dimensions like a glove is an indescribable feeling. And absolutely nothing beats curling up in the middle of the winter under a blanket you made with your own hands. They’ll withstand the tests of your children, and even if they don’t, you’ll know how to repair them.
Yup, the title says five. But since I love free stuff, here’s an extra one thrown in for you.Basic home maintenance is good for literally anyone to know, whether you’re a homesteader or not. From squeaky cabinet hinges to patching a tire, learning the how-to’s of maintenance is a major factor in the success of your homestead.It keeps things running. It saves you some serious cash (and the embarrassment of having to call a tow truck for a leaky tire). And, you get to learn some fun tricks along the way.
And remember, maintenance isn’t just for men! A woman with a good set of tools is a powerful force.
These five (okay, six) basic homesteading skills are sure to help you build a great foundation for your modern homestead. Once you master these skills, you’ll soon be able to sit down at a table you built to eat a mind-blowing sandwich on bread you baked filled with tomatoes you grew.
How cool is that?!