A homesteader is essentially a person who lives a self-sufficient lifestyle, free of reliance on the surrounding society. One thing is for sure, that a true homesteader would be well off in the case of an economic or societal collapse. This is one of many things a prepper might prepare for. So it lends to reason, that any prepper or survivalist can greatly benefit from learning a few homesteading skills.
Gardening - I can't stress enough how hard growing your own sustainable source of food actually is, especially for those with little or no experience. Even in good conditions, with healthy soil and ideal weather conditions, plant life can be sensitive. In some regards, raising a family of edible plants can be more difficult than raising a pet, but it is absolutely essential to be able to do. Long term food stocks and storage ultimately run out, but Mother Nature is forever fruitful, if we treat her well.
Hunting, trapping, and fishing - This is a pretty broad category, but it all fits in the food procurement skill set. The quest for food is the overriding factor of almost all wildlife, so it may be the same for us when the grid collapses and we're on our own. Passive methods such as trapping and fishing is probably more efficient than active hunting, although if you can score big game then the rewards are greater.
Raising livestock - There are a lot of great benefits from raising various livestock. Continuous supply of food is the main goal. Chickens can provide eggs regularly and are relatively easy to raise, cows can provide milk and can be butchered eventually, goats can also provide milk but also double as an effective lawnmower.
Skinning and gutting animals - If you're going to be hunting, you better learn this skill set. It's a true shame when an inexperienced hunter gets their first kill only to realize they don't have any idea how to prepare the kill.
4.5 *UPDATE!* (3/11/13) - So apparently we didn't mention First-Aid in the original post!.. As several readers have pointed out that having a basic knowledge of a few medical procedures and first aid skills can be extremely beneficial (see comments). We certainly agree. Some essential skills may include stitching, ability to make medications and utilize herbal remedies, CPR, and basic instructions on how to treat common illnesses like cold, flu and rashes.
Preserving food - So you learned to grow food, forage, hunt and prepare your foods, but now winter is coming and you have to stock up big time. You can't just stuff things in a tupperware container and hope it keeps. Learn how to properly can and jar foods, as well as utilize salts and acids for preservation purposes.
Basic carpentry - The ability to build a quality shelter, even a simple one such as an elaborate brush shelter, is an invaluable skill. You can also make repairs to current structures if they undergo detrimental damages from storms, bad weather conditions or accidents.
Sewing - When new supplies of clothing aren't readily available at the click of a button, you will soon realize how valuable good clothing is. Things tear and get thrown out all too often. Simple sewing skills can save years of use from many articles of clothing.
Knife sharpening - A knife is one of the most important survival tools, but they don't last forever. When your knife dulls it obviously becomes useless. Get that old whet stone out and start practicing.
Building a fire - Sure, anyone can start a fire using some gasoline and a lighter (not recommended) but what about when all you have is some tinder and an old fashioned flint and steel? Get that little fire starter out and start making sparks!
Filtering water - There are lots of ways to filter and disinfect water, but you'll want to be able to MASS filter. A big barrel filled with sand and although filter-like substances is a start. And it doesn't hurt to keep a portable filter device available, although they are not a long term solution.
Training a dog - I'm a big supporter of the symbiotic relationship between man and dog. We're practically best friends. Dogs can provide a whole lot of benefits for a homesteader. They can assist in hunting and provide a great deal of protection. Perhaps they can assist with #14 as well... Go watch Cesar Milan, dogs don't speak any of our verbal languages, but people don't seem to really get that. Please treat your pet with the respect and honor it deserves by taking the time to understand them better. As I always say, "Dogs are people too!"
Making candles - An important skill is to provide light in times of dark. You may not have electricity so get ready to seek alternative sources of luminosity.
Negotiating and bartering - People skills and the ability to effectively trade may make the difference between surviving and dying. I can't exactly tell you how to develop this skill... but at least understand that it would sure help to be able to effectively communicate with others in times of need and compromise.
Entertaining yourself - Without modern forms of entertainment like TV, computers, phones and so on, life can get pretty dim and boring rather quick. There are LOTS of ways to have fun however. You just have to test yourself, put down all those tech devices and see what you can come up with on your own or with a friend, in just your backyard.
Continuing to learn - The pursuit of knowledge and furthering your understanding is what's ultimately going to keep you developing and improving your quality of life and thus further enhancing your survival abilities.
There are of course many other skills that are very important. These are some of the ones we felt were most immediate or very useful in the long run. Feel free to add some in the comments section and we'll be sure to give recognition in the future update article!
"So I was trying to survive one day, and I realized something. Holy crap this is hard."
My Top 10 Homesteading Skills
01 Gardening and Food Preservation
03 Sewing and Knitting
04 Livestock and Animal Training
05 Carpentry and Tool Sharpening
06 Building Fire, Making Candles and Off-grid Heating
07 Negotiating and Free-trade Bartering
08 Homebirth and Homeschooling
09 Ongoing Education and Autodidact Learning
10 Family and Friends Fun-times or Entertaining
I was telling my son the other day ,what would happen if something happened and I ran out of medication,I probly w
ould die ,
The type of medication I'm on you cannot produce legally,even if I was to grow some meds I'm taking a chance for jail ,so its a loose ,lo. ose situation ,I'm on a high dose of oxycontin and oxycodone and neuroton and celebrex ,prednisone ,,,and a few more I can't pronounce
Sorry but you left out Emergency First Aide which should be way up there on the list in addition to some knowledge of herbal healing and general medical knowledge like what to do for an ear ache, cold, rash etc.
Devin PetersonDate 3/11/2013
Thanks guys, you are correct about the first aid, we have submitted an update between numbers 4 and 5 for future readers.
Charles TrombleyDate 3/16/2013
here is a nice free manual i came across, give alot of basics on homesteading/pioneering. from basic animal husbandry, crops, building basics, how to's (lacquer, grain fuel, pain) essentially all the basics for starting to rebuild life as you know it if there is a total SHTF and you can only rely on you.
with smartphones readily available and how often we upgrade now a days, having one to use as a media storage device for all your survival ap
Permaculture. A way to design systems to meet our human needs while protecting the environment...the source of all our material needs. Permaculture design creates resilience and abundance. It is not enough just to survive, we have to create a more stable culture. Many of the above diciplines are incorporated into permaculture design. It even extend to finances, community structure, etc.
Robin TDate 5/19/2013
I guess you could put this under preserving food,but learning how to make the staples-bread,butter,mayo.syrup,salad dressings,ketchup,etc...would improve quality of life.
Forget tec b/u ! You need hard copy readable library system of some major survival guides, how to do ! Study them and rate the ability to use them . . . I covet my copy of "Last Whole Earth Catalogue" , but marvel at the good stuff since in basic priority useful methods , not subject to buying up costly "elements" etc. , who says they will be available . . .
yes , you are responsible to your family but may need a larger alliance to actually survive . . .
Thank God I'm a "COUNTRY BOY", Cause' them city folks are going to be fucking lost! I was RAISED in the country, I choose to live in country, and "HELL I'M GONNA DIE FIGHTING FOR THIS FUCKING COUNTRY!!!!!- FLy navy! TAZZ1@aol.com
fred mDate 10/24/2016
love your replies to the Q&A, i would love it better in your suggestions when talking about making changes or adding advice to include the name of the books that have the important info your talking of , Homesteading great whats your reference, herbal meds,good whats your reference,share the wealth of survival info your using, open sourcing, we all need this it saves more that one!