100 essential skills you should know as a homesteader is exactly that – a comprehensive list of 5 main categories and the skills within that you may need to learn to be a successful homesteader (that is, if you don’t already have that skill!)
I’ve been developing some posts and other content around strategies one can take if they want to hang up their corporate work boots and move out into the country.
Adding to that, I started working on this list of homesteading skills after I wrote my article on how to quit your job and become a homesteader, and after a conversation I had for the farmhoplife podcast where my host Matt asked me what skills I thought were most important and I said very eloquently – all.
And I truly do mean that. There’s many skills that are going by the wayside, if not being forgotten entirely for the sake of convenience and speed. Some tasks are now considered ‘hobby’ tasks, such as tanning hides, basket weaving, pottery and even hunting. But once upon a time these skills were essential skills for the survival of self and others.
Don’t get me wrong – I love technology, efficiency and speed like many others. I rely on a fancy phone and laptop and cameras to make my vlog, edit it, write content for my blog, make social media graphics etc. And some of the skills listed below could be assumed as being generic and not homestead related at all.
But this is exactly what is missing. So many people have lost even the basic skills of how to cook a meal, or bake a loaf of bread because there are now restaurants and chefs and delivery services that do it all for you.
Let me tell you now – in a SHTF moment, when there’s a natural disaster or some other crazy event happening, your ability to bake a basic loaf of bread or know how to cook some jacket potatoes in the embers of an outside pizza oven may help you survive.
This is not me being alarmist.
This is me speaking from lived experience of being marooned on my property in major flood events several times and having to rely on basic skills to make it through the other side.
As a listicle post, this one is a great one to follow or add as a favourite, because I will be regularly updating the links with the new posts that get released on each skill subset.
Below you will find the 5 main types of skills I think are needed to being a successful homesteader. Now don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to know every single skill. The point is to be able to look at the below as a skills check and determine what you already know and what you need to learn.
In fact, as a bonus to all of you, I’ve also added it as a free downloadable homesteader specific skills check form.
Food preparation skills
- canning homegrown excess produce
- baking bread and sourdough
- maintaining a starter
- preparing and handling raw milk
- making butter, cheese, yoghurt, kefir, kombucha
- jams and preserves
- freezing methods to preserve food including freeze drying, snap freezing
- cooking food from scratch and creatively using base ingredients to make many meals
- stock and bone broth
- eating, planning and cooking seasonal meals
- perfecting cooking in a cast iron skillet, and maintenance of cast iron cookware
- freezing herbs
- drying herbs and spices
- making a smokehouse or air dryer for curing meat
- vacuum sealing or sous vide techniques
- brewing and crafting different drinks, such as kombucha, craft beer, spirits, kefir etc
- apple cider vinegar with a mother culture
- tomato sauce
- dehydrating fruits, vegies and dog treats
- cooking outside, over a campfire, without a conventional oven
- fermenting food
- Making DIY cleaning products
- natural skincare
- laundry detergent
- cold process or hot process soap
- sewing and stitching, hand and machine
- basket weaving
- growing your own seasonal food
- hydroponic gardening
- herb gardens
- fruit orchards
- square foot gardening
- deep mulching
- composting, including worm composting
- managing a greenhouse for seedlings
- propagating cuttings
- weed management
- fire line management and fire property maintenance
- natural ways of dealing with garden pests
- saving seeds
- soil preparation and management
- harvesting and crop rotation
- fencing and gates
- keeping bees
- horse riding
- horse driving (cart, plough)
- basic farrier work
- Managing a barn/stable
- Making dog food, raw
- Raising dairy cows, goats
- Raising meat animals, pork, beef, turkey, chicken, ducks
- Cutting, baling and stacking hay
- Milking cows and goats
- Animal husbandry and other breeding
- Raising farm fowl
- Hatching eggs and breeding farm birds
- Building a layer coop
- Preparing meat for dressing
- Making homemade farm feed for animals
- Livestock management, including general health and birthing
- Predator management
- Tanning and hides
- Growing fodder
- Fly and pest management
Survival, sufficiency and other skills
- understanding medicinal wild plants
- identifying mushrooms and native plants
- edible flowers and berries
- Safe and proper handling and storage of firearms
- Understand and have local knowledge of hunting rules and regulations, and any regional hunting seasons that may impact your area
- Knots and rope skills
- Sharpening cutting tools and blades
- First Aid and CPR
- Reading maps and using a compass/GPS
- Making traps
- Purifying water
- Understand local weather and forecasting
- Making an emergency kit
- preparing for fires, floods and other natural disasters
- Understanding how to use beeswax
- Making homemade candles
- Repurposing and recycling/upcycling
- Using charcoal
- Extracting own essential oils/essences
- Basic carpentry
- Operating heavy machinery – trucks, tractors, dozers, excavators, farm/harvesting equipment etc
- Basic auto mechanic skills
- Basic plumbing skills
- Safe saw skills and tree cutting/lopping
- Harvesting, splitting and staking firewood
- Basic tool knowledge and safe use
- How to build an outside brick stove
- Using grey water around the homestead
Want this in a downloadable checklist?
Free downloadable checklist coming soon!