Preserving food? Check. Driving a tractor? Check. Milking a goat? Check.
For me, one of the most exciting aspects of modern-homesteading is learning new skills. When I first moved to Wyoming at the tender age of 18, I had an entire mental checklist of all the things I wanted learn and do.
And as I’ve morphed into a modern-day homesteader, that list has grown along with me.
There is something so empowering about learning how to do something new with your hands. Or mastering a skill that, at an earlier point in your lie, would have seemed completely foreign.
It’s actually quite addictive, really… Since we are at the start of a brand new year, I figure there’s no better time than to start making homestead plans.
So without further ado, may I present to you:
101 Skills for the Modern Homestead
(Keep in mind that no one person will likely master all of these skills. And some just aren’t applicable to certain situations. (I sadly won’t ever be harvesting maple syrup from my homestead… I know that.) But hopefully you can pick and choose some ideas to inspire you!)
1. Milk a goat, cow, or sheep.
2. Compost both kitchen scraps and animal manure.
3. Make the perfect pie crust.
4. Learn how to cook a whole chicken.
5. Grow a vegetable garden in your climate.
6. Know how to properly prune and graft a fruit tree.
7. Learn first-aid and CPR.
8. Know how to dehydrate foods to preserve for later use.
9. Give an animal an injection (the muscle, in the vein, or under the skin)
10. Assist with foaling, kidding, lambing, and/or calving.
11. Know how to assist an animal with a difficult birth.
12. Grow a windowsill herb garden.
13. Learn how to safely cut down a tree.
14. Make perfect sausage gravy from scratch.
15. Know how to drive a manual transmission and/or tractor.
16. Learn basic metal working skills and welding.
17. Master basic mechanic skills so you can fix your tractors and vehicles.
18. Change a tire and change oil.
19. Learn how to hunt wild game–both large and small.
20. Know how to properly handle, shoot, and clean a gun.
21. Learn the laws and regulations regarding hunting wild game in your area through a Hunter’s Safety course.
22. Learn how to humanely kill, gut, and clean an animal.
23. Know how to butcher an animal and the proper cuts of meat.
24. Learn how to kill and pluck a chicken.
25. Use a smoker to smoke cheeses, meat, bacon, hams, etc.
26. Learn how to fish.
27. Learn how to clean, fillet, and cook fish.
28. Learn how to tell if your chickens are molting.
29. Know how to tell if you can doctor an animal at home, or if it needs to be taken to the vet.
30. Dry laundry using a drying rack or clothesline.
31. Make your own laundry detergent.
32. Know how to build a fire.
33. Cook over an open fire or on a wood cookstove.
34. Make cheese–master simple soft cheeses and hard cheeses too.
35. Learn how to make yogurt.
36. Make sourdough bread and maintain your own starter.
37. Keep bees and harvest honey.
38. Make basic yeast dough which can be turned into loaves, rolls, buns, pretzels, etc.
39. Incubate fertilized eggs and hatch your own chicks.
40. Learn how to identify and manage a broody hen.
41. Learn how to cut, bale, and stack hay.
42. Make your own jellies and jams.
43. Master the art of intensive grazing so you can better manage your pastures.
44. Make your own soap.
45. Make your own candles.
46. Learn how to darn a sock.
47. Mend damaged clothes so they don’t have to be thrown away.
48. Sew clothing and fabric items from scratch.
49. Knit, quilt, or crochet
50. Learn the art of no-till gardening.
51. Learn how to candle eggs so you can tell if they are fertilized.
52. Cook outside with a dutch oven.
53. Heat your home with wood or other sustainable sources.
54. Trim the feet of your goats and sheep.
55. Learn how to build and fix fence.
56. Master basic carpentry skills so you can repair outbuildings or even build basic furniture pieces.
57. Learn how to tan a hide.
58. Learn how to save seeds.
59. Use a water bath canner to preserve foods.
60. Learn how to use lacto-fermentation to preserve foods.
61. Learn how to use a pressure canner and/or cooker.
62. Make your own sauerkraut.
63. Forage for wild edibles in your area.
64. Learn how to identify the difference between edible and poisonous mushrooms.
65. Learn how to identify the difference between harmless and venomous snakes in your area.
66. Grind your own wheat for baking.
67. Repurpose everyday items to save them from the landfill.
68. Learn how to sharpen a knife or ax.
69. Learn how to prepare for a blizzard.
70. Learn how to prepare for a wildfire.
71. Understand the basics of animal breeding.
72. Learn how to work together with your neighbors to accomplish more and foster a sense of community.
73. Know how to halter-break and train an animal.
74. Learn how to harvest, split, and stack firewood.
75. Learn how to make butter.
76. Learn how to use essential oils properly and safely.
77. Build/use a greenhouse or cold frame to extend your growing season.
78. Learn how to start seeds indoors.
79. Store food in a root cellar or in a cool basement.
80. Make your own vinegar.
81. Make your own skincare items.
82. Make your own cleaning supplies.
83. Learn how to make herbal extracts, infusions, poultices, and tinctures.
84. Learn how to render lard or tallow.
85. Learn how to chop ice.
86. Learn how to make and apply whitewash.
87. Tap trees for maple syrup.
88. Learn how to repair a roof.
89. Know how to humanely euthanize an animal.
90. Understand how to identify the weeds in your yard/pastures and figure out which ones are edible.
91. Learn how to back up a trailer.
92. Know how to purify water.
93. Learn how to make bone broth.
94. Know how to use non-electric lighting.
95. Put together a 72-hour kit for emergencies.
96. Learn how to cook eggs in a cast iron skillet without a sticky mess.
97. Put food scraps like eggshells, coffee grounds, apple peels, and whey to good use.
98. Make your own bacon and cured hams.
99. Know how to protect your livestock from predators.
100. Learn how to make your own chicken feed.
101. Live within your means and get out of debt.
And the list keeps growing! The following are from my lovely readers:
102. Learn about aquaponics or fish farming.
103. Make your own ammunition, or reload ammunition.
104. Shear a sheep and process the wool.
105. Learn how to spin wool.
106. Know basic plumbing skills (like unclogging a toilet!)
107. Learn how to install/use a composting toilet
108. Make your own paper.
109. Learn how to use vermiculture (composting with worms) to create nutrient-rich food for your garden.
110. Make your own fishing lures or spears.
111. Use alternative energy sources like solar or wind to power your homestead.
112. Implement natural pest control measures.
113. Learn how to tie a variety of basic knots.
114. Learn how to make and set traps.
115. Know how to clean, dress, stitch/staple a wound in the event of an emergency.
116. Learn how to weave.
117. Learn how to make natural dyes.
118. Understand how to propagate plants through root cuttings.
119. Learn how to clear pasture and brush.
120. Master the art of home brewing.
121. Learn how to make baskets.
OK– I know I missed some important ones! Leave a comment so I can keep adding to the list—->
Whoa, Jill, with this ambitious of a list (and I am impressed–I’m going to work on learning how to drive our BIG tractor this year–I already can drive the lawn tractor, hehee) you’re gonna need COFFEE. 😉 How about learning how to make your own version of Bulletproof Coffee? http://vomitingchicken.com/make-version-bulletproof-coffee/
Blessings in the New Year, Jill, stay safe on top of that big tractor! 😉
Thanks for sharing the link to Bullet-Proof Coffee!!! Can’t wait to try it!
Lori Smith says
What a FABULOUS list! There are SO many thing to learn to do. Makes me wonder how people can be “bored”!
Well Im assuming that back in the day they weren’t bored 🙂
What a great list. I have done something similar to this in the past, but nothing to this degree. During the summer I usually have a small list of new things my kids and I are going to try and learn. I think this summer I will use your list and tell the kids to pick something they want to learn.
Something from your list you don’t have (although it’s not really related to homesteading but fun none the less) is learn a new language. We chose sign language one summer. As you can imagine like everything else, if not practiced you don’t retain it. The kids remember more than I do, but it’s nice knowing that at least we could spell our name or say thank you, and your welcome to a deaf person.
Here’s to many summers of learning!
You are the reason I open my email. I love to read your thoughts, your attempts, and goals.
The other day my husband asked me something and I immediately went to your blog and showed him what we were discussing (who knew a food processor could churn butter?). We both grew up on farms and were taught the “old ways”, not necessarily the best/easiest way. You are a great blessing to us as we try to hang on to traditions and enjoy the thngs that make life easier also.
Jill Winger says
Awwww– you totally just made my day Edie! I’m so honored to have you as a reader! <3
This is a great list! I felt great reading it, as many of these skills I learned growing up (gardening, preserving, animal husbandry), many i’ve mastered as an adult (cheesemaking, carpentry, machine maintenance), and quite a few are on my to-do list (butchering and preparing meat, beekeeping, gun maintenance).
Here are some I’d like to add to your extensive (and brilliant!) list:
1. Animal training. Dogs are invaluable farm helpers and goats make great pack animals for hauling things about the farm on a cart to save your back from pushing a wheelbarrow. If you’re good at it, dog and horse training can make a great side-income!
2. Home brewing. This year I learned to make mead. It’s been a fun adventure and a wonderful way to use resources such as fruit and honey when you’ve canned and jarred just about all the jam and jelly you can stand. Plus, it makes for great gifts about the holidays and if you ever enjoy a tipple yourself, is incredibly cost effective.
3. Taking cuttings and rooting them. This is an easy way to propagate, once you get the hang of it It’s an indispensable skill when you get a good plant, such as a hybrid tomato or a rose, that would not seed true-to-type.
Thanks for this list! It made my day.
Jill Winger says
Awesome ideas Camille! I added several of your ideas to the list!
Pris hastings says
My goal for the new yr is to do away with the grocery store as much as possible. I went to my pantry and figured out everything I could raise instead of buying. Have huge garden and cab everything I can get my hands on. Veggies and meat. We raise what we eat. Want a milk cow for milk and butter :). If we could just figure out how to raise toilet paper!
Can happily say I have done most of your list except a few. (Don’t have maple trees in Tx) that’s a great list that I plan to print out and add to as I go on my journey. Love your blog and what you a write about. Can’t wait to share this with my hubby. It is so refreshing to see someone young with the same goals that we have. Have a happy new year lovie 🙂
Learning to make your own toilet paper or paper for that matter can be easy. Here are some items that you can use: old jeans, hemp, bamboo, old news papers, etc. You cut them into small pieces and then put them in a processor. (We did this in school with old jeans to make paper). Put the blend in water and remove large pieces. Then using a screen, apply the mixture on top of the screen til you get the thickness you desire. (This takes practice but if you mess up, you can always put the paper back in the mix and reuse). You can always experiment with other materials. (My bestie likes to add petals, small flowers or herbs to hers and make cards). There’s no limit to its uses. My family has decided to use old jeans cut into small wash clothe sizes to use as toilet paper. We wet them for extra cleaning when needed. To dispose, we use a small waste can and launder them daily so there’s no smell. To clean the waste can, I like to use orange peel and clove cleaner. Hope this helps!
You can also use a 5 gallon bucket of vinegar water to soak reuseable toilet paper. Then there is no smell, and you do not have to launder them as often!
Pee pads work great! Just 4″ scraps of absorbent cloth, with the edges sewn to prevent unraveling. After you use them, put them in a jar with some water until it’s time for laundry. We now use very little toilet paper. I’m never going back to that bleached, scratchy old stuff.
Maybe it’s just growing up in Vermont, or the fact that my mother’s family were mostly farmers until a generation ago (my grandfather homesteaded and his parents owned their farm until their death) but I know how to do most of these things – including maple syruping! Which I guess might come in handy someday, but some of these – like how to use non-electric lighting – should be basic common sense for anyone living anywhere that power can go out.
But, on that note, great list! I would venture to add – know how to brushhog/clear pasture if needed, what “laying fallow” really means, and how to dowse for water. 😉
Rebecca Smith says
Learn first aide and CPR. This could save my family and neighbors because we live very remotely but I think everyone could benefit.
Jill Winger says
Good one Rebecca! i added it to the list.
You know I’m actually very flattered and not at all likely to sue for a copyright infringement.
I complied the original list in under 10 minutes at my kitchen table.How long did it take you?
That said, hope the list does as well for your website as it did for my mine.
The original list can be found in the archive of GRANNY MILLER in case your readers are interested.
Jill Winger says
The ideas from this list are from my own experiences, books, and various places across the internet– it took me several hours to put this together in fact. Your list is very nice, but it is not the same as mine–there are many differences. Obviously, there are some overlaps (since the topic is homesteading)– but my list is original. I did not copy and paste your list–that is not how I create my content.
It’s obvious the previous reader was just trying to garner more traffic at her website. Shame on her for her rant and accusations.
The lists are WAY different.
If I was trying to drive traffic I certainly wouldn’t have sent traffic to an archived site with no advertizing. I have since revived the original site.
Fact is, I want to believe that Ms. Winger did not plagiarize and plug in a very popular post that has been linked across the web for the past year – but I don’t.
It looks to me and quite a few others, that she scraped it and then altered it for her own purpose. That observation is base in common sense and has been brought repeatedly to my attention for the last couple days.
I wish Mrs. Winger the very best and great success. But do believe she should remove this post. It makes her look unethical and dishonest.
Jill Winger says
The concept of writing blog posts in the form of “lists” is nothing new– If I had a dime for every time I’ve seen a post for “20 Ways to Use Coconut Oil” or “15 Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar,” I’d be rich.
You are not the first person to come up with the idea of creating a list of homestead skills–there are dozens of such lists online. The only thing your list and my list have in common is the number (101). One cannot trademark, or lay claim to, a number. However, due to all of the suggestions my wonderful readers have shared with me over the course of the last few days, I have changed the number of my list to 121.
Hi KMG! I would like to add “honing your own personal humility” to the original homesteading list. Happy blogging and homesteading!
I always want to hit a ‘like’ button when I see comments like this on a blog post. 🙂 I agree, lists or compilations of skill sets or anything for that matter would be difficult to copyright. The blog post as a whole written document, or even photographs can be protected by a copyright, but I could make my own list of homesteading skills and post it on a blog and while it would be very similar and contain many of the same things, it would not be copyright infringement nor plagiarism. Plagiarism, by the way, is copying almost word for word and trying to pass it off as your own, something which someone else has written that may or may not be copyright protected. Great list, by the way. Many I have done or am learning, others I look forward to doing when we eventually buy a property large enough to have animals.
Lou Skunt says
I can’t tell if your dilusional or just ignorant. Basic skills or knowledge of work on homesteads are going to be very similar for everyone, if not identical. What you specifically do on your farm/ homestead will differ depending on many different conditions such as what you are growing, animals you are raising, size of property, location/ climate and personal goals of what you want to do. When a general list is made to include as many skills as possible of course it will have some cross over with yours. What you are accusing the author of is ridiculous. When you write on a certain subject obviously other people writing about the same thing will have similar points. Do you get mad at your neighbor because they fry eggs the same way as you? Give your head a shake.
Ps thank you to the author for taking your time to write the list. I enjoyed reading it. All the best!
I am a list lover, and this list is awesome! I have a few ideas you might add: 1) learn how to clean, dress, and stitch/staple a wound. Could come in handy for both people and livestock. 2) learn how to make your own ammo. Recent shortages have shown this could be a lifesaver. 3) learn how to tie various knots. 4) learn how to make and use various traps. 5) learn how to make your own fishing lures. A 1″ stick sharpened on both ends with a slight groove in the middle to hold the line in place makes a great hook. 6) learn about aquaponics. 7) learn about vermiculture. Worms are great for composting, fishing, and treats for the chickens.
Jill Winger says
EXCELLENT ideas Patty! Adding some of these!
Re-read your list. Just realized I listed some things you already listed. My bad 🙂 how about working with leather and keeping it maintained, all natural weed, pests, and vermin control, and midwifery. I live in the city, but I still garden and raise 21 chickens. Even in the city, my husband and I practice most of the items on your list! Love reading all of your posts. I almost feel like a stalker, as you are in my e-mail, facebook, and pinterest. LOL
Jill Winger says
No–actually– I already went in and edited the list to include some of your suggestions–hehe. 🙂
LOL … That makes me feel better!
Rose Anderson says
Ma’am may I ask how you homestead in the city and how big of a city. Because I live in a town of about 700 people and I love homesteading(I actually want to homestead when I get older) but can’t do it because I don’t have time and not the space. Please I would love to know how you homestead in a city
I live in a city of 10,000. All of my gardening is done in containers. I also utilize vertical gardening. You can grow quite a bit in a small area. Since this post, we have acquired 5 rabbits which we will breed. Chickens and rabbits don’t take up much space and don’t require much time (15 minutes a day). We also turned our hot tub into a pond with goldfish so I can grow duckweed to feed our animals. I also sprout grains to feed them. Sprouts are healthier and make the grain go much farther. I can and dehydrate my own food. I have learned how to make sour cream, yogart, and cheese. I have learned how to make all-natural lip balm, chest rub, lotion, and body scrub. I am learning how to use herbs for healing, and I’m growing them myself. My advise to you is to start small and learn how to do something new every week. Knowledge can never be taken away from you! Good luck!
Love this list! While I am not a full blown homesteader (yet) I think i could check off quite a few of these between my husband and I! Would be a fun printable, so you can cross them off as you do them!
Jill Winger says
Good idea about the printable!!!
Tammy Floyd says
Love your list! I have some, well, a few down. I am totally inspired. My hubby recently brought home a little tractor just for me! I will have this as a checklist. I know there are things I will never do, just because I’m not going to do them, and there are things that are unable to be accomplished, like the maple syrup, but I am so excited to get started. One thing at a time. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Rather proud of myself! I’ve got 49 under my belt and will be adding many more when I get chickens this spring. The hubby and I have only recently started turning our little Alaskan acre and a half into a homestead and are loving it. Thanks for a great list of things for me to work toward!
I felt pretty good that i know how to do so many things. SO this was a lot of fun to read through. It also pinpointed weaknesses in my skill set mainly animal care and butchering and usage of parts hide etc. ( but i do not have farm animals yet) and vehicle maintenance.
Though I took a class in small engine repair and maintenance! so technically you could add that to your list!
Other skills people may want to learn :
small engine repair and maintenance
alternate energy sources like windmill solar etc.
electrical skills for repairs.
Indoor construction skills framing drywall mudding etc.
on the idea of foraging Identifying herbs to use and harvest.
natural or organic pest control
🙂 love the ideas being generated here. my list is getting longer….
also processing wool:
making wool roving
yarn using drop spindle or spinning wheel.
How to make natural dyes.
I am sure i will keep thinking of skills i have collected over the years.
Jill Winger says
Oh yes– I totally neglected to include wool on the list!
Great list! I need to work on a few of these this year. I might add, learn to wire a simple lamp, learn to unclog a toilet or sink, and learn to do simple maintenance (oil change, spark plugs) on your vehicles (car, truck, tractor).
I could see this list being a real incentive to try new things! Thanks for sharing.
Pete Aubin says
Makes me feel pretty good about myself, but come on Jill. The essential oil part is stretching it a bit. Ya I know how you love those oils, lol.
Jill Winger says
Ok, ok– I’ll let you off on the essential oil one Pete. 😉
I love that the majority of items on the list can be accomplished by apartment-dwellers with no land at all! (I counted at least 52) And many of the remaining items could be applicable to those with small suburban lots, proving that EVERYONE can homestead!
Jill Winger says
You bet! I’m a big believer in pursuing the homesteading “mindset” no matter where you live!
I copied that into a word doc and will print it out and cross off items as I learn them.
There is a great (very loooong) list in Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living if anyone needs more than 101 skills 🙂
I imagine by the time actually GET a homestead, or even some urban chickens, I’ll have quite a few of the skills down.
And I’ll be content and consider the time until then preparation not just waiting eagerly.
Jill Winger says
Love that book!
I was surprised to find that I have done about half of your list already! I’m a homesteader at heart!! The other half are things that I really want to do. I lived in Wyoming in Rock Springs and Lander for about 7 yrs and I LOVED it. I’m in TN now and I miss WY a lot. I even skinned and tanned a raccoon when I was there…lol. (I didn’t kill it, I found it already deceased.) I plan to have my own chickens and maybe a few goats within the next 2 yrs. I got a vermacomposter for my birthday a couple weeks ago. My worms should be arriving any day and I am SO excited!! Thanks for your list 🙂
Jill Winger says
Yes– WY has a way of sticking with you, doesn’t it? 🙂
I love your list and your site. I refer to your site all the time!
You could add learning how to weave. Handwoven kitchen towels are wonderful!
Another thing would be learning how to do rug braiding.
Jill Winger says
good one Deb!
I found your blog from a friend sharing on Facebook. Looks like I have much to learn from you as I try to live the country life after growing up as a city girl. I’ve used your list on my blog (with link back to you!) to keep track of what hubby and I can accomplish now. Together, 41 items doesn’t seem to shabby! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
Eckley Farmhouse: Making a House a Home
Susan Vanderpool says
Wow I am super impressed and although I currently do not have my own animals, I am super excited to learn to make my own ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and now my own butter. I have always been the one who makes fresh pasta and am super excited to learn some of the old ways to supplement the rising cost of grocery stores not to mention taking out all those preservatives from my family’s diet. My husband can cook with tons of butter at every meal and it gets very expensive, may be time to invest in a cow or some goats. I know I am ready.
What a terrific list! We just moved to WY this fall and are hoping to get us a place in the next year. But I am pleased with how many things on your list I know already!
Great list! I’m proud to say that I know how to do 48 of these. Also, it looks like we got a secret bonus item–the number 21 appears twice!
I love this list! I already have 67 down, but the ones I don’t are going to be great motivators for the next year! Thank you! (I have a feeling it would be tough to convince my neighbors that bees and chickens are a good idea on my 2nd-story apartment patio – they were already a little wary of our packed container garden this summer! – but they will both be a huge priority when we move next summer.) I’ve worked with horses for almost 20 years, so focusing on barn management, first aid, training, and teaching is something I can do while we live here!
Awesome list! I am working on my first batch of yogurt right now! Going to raise chickens for the first time this year, and I actually also want to try worm composting too 🙂 We are homeschooling this year and my boys will likely be interested in gardening if there are worms involved.
I want to learn ALL of that!! But my graphic designer city-loving husband is NOT all about it. Can I come and have you mentor me? 🙂
Love this list! Some of this may have already been added…
Learn how to dehydrate food
Learn to cook with a sun-oven
Learn to use a smoker for fish/jerky
Learn how to harvest rain-water
Learn how to use grey-water
Learn how to properly store bulk food for long-term storage
Forgot to add:
Learn how to sprout nuts and seeds for optimum nutrition
Jill Winger says
I LOVE this list! I think I’ll print it & attach it to our bedroom door lol;) What great ideas! I’m dying for more sustainable living and the hubby is dying for a ‘simpler’ way of living & your list covers so much we truly need to learn…hmm 2-3;things a week is an ambitious goal but I think we should aim for @ least one a week. Its nice to have a plan laid out so thank you;)
Wow! I love the list and I’m excited to say I can know how to do 56 of them! (Not quite a master of them all…) and if I count ones I’ve grown up doing that number is near 100. Wow. Now I don’t feel lacking talent. They were all just things I took for granted knowing. 🙂 I’m only 24 with 3 kids and starting my own small homestead!
This is a perfect list! Ooops! I see a few things I’m missing. LOL Thanks for sharing! 🙂
I Love this list! Might I also suggest adding, how to raise, kill and clean rabbits for harvesting. Shoot and clean wild foul. And how to cook wild game. How to make starch for ironing clothes.
Thank you for the inspiration!
Wow, I am only 50 and was raised learning to do all of these with frugal, urban farm parents in Ohio among Amish neighbors. Matter of fact in 1981, when I left home I had no idea there was such a thing as ‘instant’ pudding that you just added milk to and shook. Yea, we still laugh about it.
I love this list. Perfect for overachievers like me!
Emily Clement says
I would add learning homeschooling techniques and developmental ages, et cetera. At least some sort of homesteading/home proficiency is our long term goal as a family, but the homeschooling and education is starting now. Great list! (youtube is our classroom for a lot of these skills right now. The internet is a great learning tool!)
Cheryl Allison says
Learning homeschooling techniques is an excellent idea! For those who don’t know where to start, I would say that teaching a child to read is the first skill to learn. For anyone who might be teaching reading skills to a young child, learn Phonemic Awareness and Phonics instruction.
Still following this as it grows!
great additions and i love the growing list!
It really does help me see where to focus my continued learning!
maybe I can help someone that already has animals to gain some of the animal skills and a hunter to get the hunting/processing skills. and maybe take a vehicle maintenance course or two.. there are also some skills i need to perfect a bit Either i knew how to do them and havent in awhile or am just learning… so I made a chart with this list and then graded myself in each area so to speak. Never a chance to get bored. 🙂 I love to learn…. and always room to grow and expand knowledge.
Thanks! i will continue watching..
Cheryl Allison says
Wonderful list! I’ve used it to refine mine.
Here are a few additional skills on my list that I didn’t see on yours:
– Learn to operate an emergency two-way radio.
– Learn to push-start a manual transmission.
– Learn to siphon gas.
I recently found your blog and since my husband and I are striving to “live off the land” more (without freezing to death up here in Canada. lol.) I find your posts super interesting! I just recently created a blog to share our experiences and learnings and hopefully inspire more people to do the same!
I gave a shout-out to your blog since my latest post was derived from your list of 121 skills for the modern homestead! Hope that’s okay 🙂 If you want to see how you’ve inspired me, feel free to check it out!
Jill Winger says
How cool Danielle! I’ll definitely check it out!
What about learning at least the basics of sewing your own clothes or canning food?
Trish May says
This is very good! Always enjoy your posts. Lot of knowledge to be learned. Grandfolks’ on the farm should have a copy of this to whip out, when grandkids’ come to visit…. “Oh I am sooooo Bored!”
Jason Walker says
Not exactly sure if another has mentioned in a previous comment, but one lesson I’ve learned is how to maintain a well. When I bought my place, I was fortunate enough to have all water supplied by my well, that was great and all until I needed to figure out how to keep it safe and pleasant to use. So learn the components, how to maintain them and how to take care of water issues.
Jill Winger says
Yes– excellent point Jason!
Country Gal says
Wonderful site here . Being raised on a farm living off of the land and live stock way back in the 60s , 70s and 80s I had to learn just about everything here yup even some of the stuff from your following readers . I just wish I didn’t take another root in life when I was a young adult and continued with farming But as I am getting older I am slowly getting back to my farming roots . Thanks for sharing all your know how , have a good week !
Learn to tag, load, and take animals( goats) to the sale barn or to market by yourself.
Learn the correct way to stack hay and straw so it doesn’t topple over.
Learn your neighbors and their contact numbers, so when their livestock gets loose you can call them before you catch the livestock (horses) and put them away.
Learn the names of the snowplow drivers so you can thank them.
Learn to find baby ducks, in a shed full of crap, so you can take them to the house when they hatch in the winter.
Accept there is no set meal time , all the time.
Accept not every animal lives.
Also learn how to thaw out a water fountain with the wind chill at -35 degrees.
Jill Winger says
Excellent additions Karen!
Kathleen Cook says
Hello, I didn’t notice you mentioning “gathering wild yeast” to make your own yeast for breads, etc. This is quite easy to do in many parts of the US (although not so much in the desert.) Hope you add it for the future. Katy
Jill Winger says
Good one Kathleen!
Kathleen McDougall says
It’s sad really to think that just a couple generations ago, most people knew all of these skills and more. Now most skills are lost. Everyone needs to learn them all over again.
Randy Smith says
Great list and great additions by folks. I would recommend that if you have horses or mules or whatever, that you learn to hitch them to be able to plow or pull. You may have yourself or a neighbor stuck in the mud when a team could hitch to the vehicle and pull it out. Also, how to pack gear on an animal (horse, donkey, dog, goat) for certain excursions. I also suggest perhaps getting a buckboard style wagon if you have the room. Why use gasoline or diesel when you could hitch up a horse or mule to your wagon and haul items around the homestead, work on fence, move items, etcetera.
Did you list bee keeping skills? Firemaking? Also if you redo the list as a printable, maybe group like skills together, such as: Homekeeping, Animal husbandry, fiber arts, food making, gardening, mechanics…etc. thanks for this post. Its very useful. Also, may I recommend “Survival Doctor”. He has excellent advice on being your own doctor when a doctor isn’t available.
Michelle Oaks says
Very nice list btw.
My son & I have published a book available on amazon with the second in the series due out soon and, it’s funny that many of these tasks are being covered in our series in hopes that the information will help many in their journey to becoming more self sufficient as we feel that so much of this basic knowledge of our ancestors has been lost nowadays
72.5 out of 121 for me! 😉 it just tickled my Georgia peaches how much I already know, just as much as the amount I still have to learn. To me learning is a never-ending adventure! Thank you so much! Btw- I lived in Casper for 3 years. If my hubby had his way, and he doesn’t!, we would be back there before sunrise! Lol. I love my Georgia, the weather, the people and the possibilities!
I might of missed this one, but how to build a good fence, hang gates, support corners. We have done a lot of that, and raising rabbits. Love your list.
Linda W says
I love your list! What a great idea! I have something similar, though it is stuck in my mind and not written anywhere. My list contains general things, and then I have a cooking list. My cooking list contains things like making pastrami, canning meats (I have canned veggies, but not meats), homemade croissants, Brie or Camembert cheese, and many more! Thanks for sharing!
Crystal @ Serving Joyfully says
Great list! We just tapped trees for maple syrup for the first time this year and it was a great experience! Of course I had to blog about it 😉 http://www.servingjoyfully.com/2014/02/24/diy-maple-sugaring-part-1-tapping-trees-collecting-sap/
What a fun list!! I think I will print it out for myself to see how many I can cross off! If you haven’t already done this, it would be a neat idea to have a list similar to this that shows things to have on one’s homestead! I have a really odd obsession with lists… they’re so fun to me! 🙂
I’ve been homesteading for a year now and I came across this post and realized how behind the ball I am. Thanks you for this list as I’ve used it to look up various skills like soap making and how to skin a rabbit! Keep up the good work! http://www.craftlikethis.com
So many basic homestead skills are lost to time. Which is why I love the lifestyle, my friends think I have some secret knowledge, some secret lost skills, and look at my urban homestead with awe.
I think too many people have lost even the basic skills you talk about like basic plumbing, and just pick up a phone to solve problems.
Great list! I would add making fermented feed for chickens and turkeys…
Elizabeth Luca-Mahmood says
Don’t forget being an armature entomologist! Gotta know those buggies! Great list… funny how you don’t realize how much it takes until you see it all written out!
Rich Knight says
Outstanding! If you find someone who know really how to dress a distaff to spin flax into linen I would love to to see an article on it. Please have them include lots of pictures. Thanks for your time and work in your site.
I saw a couple of my ideas (sun-dehydrator), so my additions aren’t as long as expected!
1. Learn to cold smoke. Most meat smokers are hot smokers, but cold smoking takes less wood and may be a better option for long-term storage. However, it requires attention and time and is riskier. Learning how to cold smoke safely is a must!
2. Learn which plants are edible and safe (and what they do). Some plants are well-known edibles, like nasturtium. Some aren’t, like tuberous begonias. Some plants are known herbs, like yarrow. Some aren’t, like asters. A lot of books will miss great swaths of medicinal and edible plants because they aren’t popular. However, some common herbs have negative side-effects and aren’t safe for certain people. For example, pregnancies, ulcers, and kidney problems can all change what’s safe for someone to use!
3. Learn how to use alternative power sources. Sometimes the power goes out. Sometimes, the bill’s too high. Solar, hydro, and wind power are great, but they’re expensive and may have negative health impacts (we’re just starting to learn about infrasound). Learn how to use gas fuel, geothermal heating, EMF, etc.
4. Learn to separate cream. Sheep and goat milk doesn’t separate on its own, so if you want butter and cheese, you’ll need a cream separator and you’ll need to know how to use it.
5. Learn the regulations for housing animals. You may not legally be allowed to have a certain animals in your backyard. The town I’m near doesn’t let anyone have a rooster or more than five chickens. Oddly enough, it doesn’t have any regulations on ostriches or emus.
6. Learn how – and where – to harvest salt. If you’re salting your meats and you’re not harvesting it yourself, you aren’t self-sufficient. Now, you may gripe “I’m not close enough to the ocean,” but there are plenty of saline lakes you can gather from, even in the midwest.
7. Learn to tap. I know you mentioned maple trees, but sugaring can be done with a wide variety of trees. Birch and walnut are pretty good; they’re more labor intensive, but also sell for more. Sycamore and ironwood are less-so, but more commonplace.
8. Learn how to harvest animal glands for remedies. Eating your cow’s powdered pituitary or thyroid gland sounds disgusting, but it can stimulate your own’s production.
9. Learn energywork. More and more scientists are agreeing that energy fields may be a real thing with real effects on the body. Get ahead of the curve and learn chakra meditation, foot zoning, muscle testing, and/or tapping.
10. Learn to make and wash homemade bandages and wraps. Those compression bandages are great, but they have a shelf life of only about three years, and shouldn’t be used again if bloodied or otherwise contaminated.
11. Learn to make make up and dyes. Some of us like to look nice now and then, but most products on the shelves are worse than the worst GMO, toxic chemical cleaner, pollutant plastics, etc. Homemade dyes and makeups are a must for your health (if you want to wear makeup at all, of course).
12. Learn how to grow pond plants. Sometimes, you don’t even need a pond, just a pot without any drainage holes.
13. Maintain a sicklist. Especially if you’re living alone, you don’t make smart choices when you’re sick. Make (and keep updated) a list of bare-minimum requirements to keep your homestead running – be *very* specific – and what to do with yourself when you’re sick (hot packs, bath, oils, food, etc.)
14. Learn to make hot packs. Whether microwaved or oven-heated, everyone should have at least two homemade, reheatable hot packs. They’re good for cold nights, muscle aches & cramps, and maintaining a good body temperature when sick. Even if you’re in Georgia where it’s hot and sticky, you need them. Just give in.
Just wanted to say I found your list this morning and I’m SO excited. I recently bought a house in Fort Worth, TX and I’m getting going on homesteading. I have done very few of these- I see other people commenting that they’ve done 60+, and I am definitely not there. I’m bookmarking your page and have subscribed to your emails. I can’t wait to make more progress on becoming self sufficient!
Laura Flasch says
Hello again Jill. I am binge reading your channel. 😀 (Including all of the comments.) I am 72 and live in Florida. I have 4 hens on my homestead and an ever enlarging garden. I am finally planting new things and am working on a permaculture yard. I will never be able to have all of the animals I used to have in Alabama, but I can garden year round. I am so glad I followed the Great American Farm Tour so that I could find all of the wonderful homesteaders the Rhodes family has introduced. Going out to pick cukes now but will get back to my reading this evening.
I know 52 out of the 121!
Jill Winger says
Way to go!
This was an excellent listing of “some” of the skills one needs to adapt to this life, particularly after growing up in the suburbs and having a professional life (till you retire). This list of skills has many of the essentials, but as you say, it is still a “work in progress.” Don’t worry about “detractors” who criticize…they obviously don’t share this style of life…
As a guy who started at age 57, this list is an excellent starting point. Some of the skills mentioned need some “amplification” because they take years to develop…(don’t ask me how I know this.)
You have a great website. I came here to learn about what to look for when my jersey cow is going to calve. You did a great job of that. Thanks
A retired Flight Surgeon
Mark Henry says
Its really a nice post… Thanks for sharing and keep posting 🙂
Learn how to castrate a male goat.
Learn how to disbud/dehorn a goat.
Heather l Copeland says
I just came across you blog from an picture linked to your website! I love this list! I have been partially learning to Homestead for a while now, starting with my Holistic Health Coaching classes back in 2012. I am a huge fan of whole food nutrition, locally grown. My daughter and I have recently moved into a mortgage free home with a bit over a half acre( as my mind wonders into ideas for my gardening in various areas). I have accomplished a lot of the items as a child and feel so blessed and thankful for my parents and grand parents. I am so excited to get reacquainted with this list and learn more! I made a copy of this list to check off! Thank you so much!
Great post with valuable information which helps us to become more self-sufficient. Really love the growing list, the home-growing movement & preparing your own food is amazing. It all sounds so great & I am sure it is beautiful up there. Thanks!!!
Just loved your site! I refer to your site all the time. These posts made me feel so much better about the homestead, the ideas mentioned above are of priority and need to be focused and learned at early homesteading. Having your homestead means having control over your life because growing and preparing your own food is something amazing in this modern world.
Melissa Eickhoff says
Great points, and important! Thank you for sharing, I would like to learn how to build and maintain either an aquaponics system, or hyrdoponics.
mahi yadav says
First of all I would like to thank you for writing this post I love both writing and reading new posts and I was just looking at new posts to see me something new, only then I saw your post and the rest of the post is praiseworthy.
Once when I go back to my home at the weekend I would like to show my skills to my mum… hahaha in the kitchen, I am just joking, you shared totally informative one, and this remember me of lots of things. hey, this side ishagarg.
Love this comprehensive list, Jill! I split all the relevant items into two columns, “already know” and “want to know.” They were similar in length but I was really excited to see the “want to know” one was longer, of course 🙂 More room to grow, and more things to keep me busy this winter! Thanks for so many wonderful ideas.
Kayla- Prairie Homestead Assistant says
Love that!! It’s always good to keep growing and learning new skills! Good for you.
Shruti Goyal says
Amazing Cpanel you have create on this..
Hifi Service says