Tuesday, March 19, 2013

List of Homesteading Skills

Below is a list of various homesteading skills. After writing my post about homesteading yesterday I then saw this list on another blog that I visited and thought it was neat how well it fit along with what I had blogged about. I first saw it at the blog A Separate Path and then I copied the catorigized list from Northern Home Gardener.  It is rather fun to read through and think about how much you already know and notice the things you might like to work on. Each of us are different and have different desires and goals (for instance I doubt I will ever know how to maintain a tractor!) and so don't feel bad if you don't know how to do much of what is on this list but if you do see things you would like to do then maybe you can set a goal to work on it. You might be surprised with how many things you have done too.

Below I have bolded and changed to green everything that I have done. I have also written some comments in purple. I have also tried to add a few links in to posts where I have written more on that subject. If you think it would be fun feel free to grab this list, copy it on to your blog and make it so the things that you have done or know are bolded. Then if you would let me know in the comments that you have done it I would love to come see it!



Know how to cook 10 basic meals from scratch.
Make broth.  
Bake Bread. (recipe)
Grind wheat into flour.
Basic home canning and food preservation.
Make butter.

Make soft or hard cheeses. (instructions)
Make sausage. (I have never made it and tubed it but I have seasoned meat and made little sausage patties.)
Cook on an open fire.
Make vinegar. (my story)
Purify water.
Gather edible wild greens and prepare them.
Catch and care for wild yeast for bread making.
Cook on a wood-burning stove. (Not lately however - I would love to!)
Use a smoke house.
Render fat. (instructions)
Ferment foods. (I helped my parents make Kimchee and Sauerkraut)
Make noodles. (Simple instructions)
Know and gather wild mushrooms. (I  really want to get better at this!)
Store food in a cellar.
Food dehydration.


Plan, plant and grow a vegetable garden.
Choose a location for a vegetable garden or orchard.
 Save open pollinated (non-hybrid) seeds. 
Make and use a hot bed or cold frame.
Frost protection.
Grow everyday kitchen herbs.
Start your own seedlings.
Read the weather. (To some degree anyway, I am not sure how much they mean here.)
Distinguish healthy plants or animals from unhealthy plants or animals.
Know the difference between trees and the unique properties of various types of wood.

Know how and when to prune grapes and fruit trees. (I am trying to learn but I'm not there yet.)
Break ground and plow/till. 
Use ground cover like wood chips.
  Plant a tree. 
Graft trees. (I've only watched so far.)
Build a compost pile.  (things you can compost)
Use a pressure tank garden sprayer. 
Hand thresh and winnow wheat or oats and other small grains.
Know how to tell when winter is over. (I think so :-)
Grow and use medicinal herbs.

Keeping warm  

Light a fire indoors or outdoors. Use a wood stove and bank a fire. (I have done it but I am not sure how good I would be at banking a fire currently.)
Safely use an ax and hand saws. 
Split firewood and kindling.
Stack and age firewood.
Build a wood burning stove


Hang clothes on a clothesline.
Use a wash tub, hand-wringer, and washboard.
Use flat cloth diapers and wool soakers.

Darn knitted or crocheted items.Basic sewing skills.
Sew your own clothes with simple patterns.

Make laundry detergent.  
Make soap. (On this years list!)
Dye yarn or cloths.
Use an awl and basic leather repair.

Patch pants.
Remodel Clothes.
Sew your own underwear.
Use a treadle sewing machine.

Spin wool, cotton, or flax into thread or yarn on a spinning wheel or with a drop spindle. (It was a long time ago and I am rusty.)


Basic firearm safety and gun proof.
Keep bees. (Our story)
Catch and keep a swarm of bees.
Catch a fish without expensive fishing gear.
Fillet and clean a fish.

Raise a chicken, duck or other poultry.
Hatch out chicken, duck, or other poultry eggs.
Set and bait traps for unwanted vermin and predators.
Set an ear tag or tattoo for animal identification.
Determine an animal’s age by its teeth.
Train a working cattle or sheep dog.
Shear a sheep.
Milk a goat, sheep, or cow. (I have done it in my lifetime but I am not proficient at it and I have allergies that prevent me from trying it more.)
Use electric netting or fencing. (This has been a bit of a trial for us.)
Trim the hooves of goats or sheep.
Castrate livestock.
Graft baby animals onto a foster-mother.
Butcher small livestock like a chickens. (But I have never done the head chopping off part and prefer not to.)
De-horn livestock.
Euthanize large livestock.
Skin a furbearer and stretch the skin.
Deliver a foal, calf, lamb, or goat.


Drive a standard transmission vehicle.
Drive a draft animal.
Replace electrolytes in a battery.
Charge a battery. 
Change a car tire. 
Repair a tire.
Do an oil change in any vehicle. (I have done this before but not for ages and I doubt I could do ANY vehicle.)
Basic tractor maintenance.


Use a handsaw, hammer & nails, screw driver, wire cutters, and measuring tape.
Sharpen a tool – knife, axe, hoe, chisel etc.  (My Dad does this for a living but I have never learned how - I just take them to him- I think learning how would be a good goal for this year!)
Jury-rig anything with duct tape, baling twine, and whatever is on hand.
Use a scythe.
Make and use a bow and arrow.


Generate electricity for home use.
Make a candle. (Simple method without expensive equipment)
Dig and properly use a shallow well. (Not yet but I have been researching it, have all the supplies and it is on the list for this summer.) 
Refinish furniture. (a simple method)
Build a cellar. (I helped to make a root cellar - does that count? - I want to do it again sometime, here at our place.)Erect a fence. Hang a gate.
Change all light bulbs – household and vehicle.
Prime a well pump.
Thaw out frozen pipes without busting them.
Know basic plumbing and how to sweat copper pipes and joints.
Build basic homestead buildings (sheds, animal shelters, smoke house, ice house, etc.)
Lay basic brick or build a stone wall.
Cut and glaze glass.

Simple Living

Live beneath your financial means. 
Make long-term plans for the future – plan an orchard, a livestock breeding program, or plan for stored energy sources. 
Entertain yourself and live without electronic media. 
Swap, barter, and network with like-minded people. (How bartering has worked for me)
Manage human urine and feces without plumbing.
Use non-electric lighting.
Realistically deal with life, death, and failure.
Know when to ask for help. 
Know when it is more economical to buy something ready-made or when to make it yourself.
Make a Quilt. (instructions for a simple quilt)
Make a Rag Rug. (more info)
Make our own deodorant, lip balm, lotion, toothpaste and hair cleaner.

Make and use herbal tinctures, infusions and other herbal remedies.

(Credit for original list goes to: Granny Miller)

 I would love to hear about the homesteading skills that you enjoy. Is there anything missing from this list that you think is important?


Anna said...

You have some nice additions! I have made a Rag Rug bot not a Quilt yet.

Suburban Farm Girl said...

lol!!! I love after that huge list of things to know how to do, it says, know when to ask for help. :) If you know all that, I doubt you would need to ask for much help! lol!! Great list! I still have so much to learn.


Mrs. T said...

Abbi, those are some excellent additions to the list! Boy, I sure realize how much there is to learn! Thank you for visiting my blog and re-posting the list over here. You have a lovely blog and a very sweet family :-).

Becky said...

I got to your site from Pinterest. I am amazed at how many of the skills you have on your list that I have learned in my life! I got ideas for learning more! Thanks for sharing :)


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