Blog Update!
For those of you not following me on Facebook, as of the Summer of 2019 I've moved to Central WA, to a tiny mountain town of less than 1,000 people.

I will be covering my exploits here in the Cascades, as I try to further reduce my impact on the environment. With the same attitude, just at a higher altitude!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Homesteading Skills to Learn in 2014

Every year I like to ask what kind of new skills people are wanting to learn, either to be more self-sufficient or to finally pick up that hobby they've been wanting to try. As we head into fall, when the vegetable garden slows down, it's a good time to focus on new skills.

Last year we didn't do as much canning as we've done in the past, but the last two years we've had a huge increase in vegetable gardening! We are always doing a lot of cooking and baking, but I'd like to increase the baking we do to reduce the amount of bread and baked goods we buy. It's hard to squeeze into a busy work week, however. I'll also be focusing, as usual, on knitting and I've got a new quilting project I have my eyes on. I really need to get back into soapmaking as it's been a long time since I've made my own.

Which of the following skills do you wish you knew more about or would like to learn?
  • Food gardening and food storage (canning, dehydrating, pickling, fermentation, etc.)
  • Seed saving and/or fruit tree grafting
  • Foraging for wild foods, mushrooms, etc.
  • Composting
  • Animal husbandry (rabbits, chickens, goats or larger)
  • Beekeeping
  • Animal skinning, processing
  • Sheep or other animal shearing
  • Spinning wool
  • Knitting
  • Sewing
  • Cooking, baking
  • Making own cheese and/or yogurt
  • Making beer and/or wine
  • Solar cooking
  • Alternative medicine and/or first aid
  • Making soap (cold process from oils and lye)
  • Making candles
  • Carpentry
  • Plumbing or electrical
  • Bike maintenance and repair
  • Appliance repair

What is the biggest thing preventing you from learning to do these things? Time, money? What would make it easier?

Related books:
The Backyard Beekeeper: An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden
The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!
Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills
City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Makers, Bio-reyclers, and Local Food Producers
How to Brew: Everything You Need To Know To Brew Beer Right The First Time
Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses
The Soapmaker's Companion: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes, Techniques & Know-How
My Bread: The Revolutionary No-Work, No-Knead Method
Homegrown Whole Grains: Grow, Harvest, and Cook Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rice, Corn and More

Note: There are affiliate links in this post.


Jen said...

Good morning! You've made me feel pretty accomplished this morning with your list. As I read through it, I find that I can do most of the things you've listed. Of the few things I can't do, I would love to learn to spin and weave....I already crochet, but weaving to make cloth, that would be cool! Of course, then I would need to add some angora goats to my herd.

Anonymous said...

Time is the limiting factor for us. The only item on the list we have't done or don't do now is soap making, but this year the bees got neglected, however becuase of that the garden is better, and the fruit trees didn't get thinned, but most of our firewood is split, I think it's often a trade off.

Crunchy Chicken said...

@Jen - You're right, I feel the same way! Spinning sounds more achievable than weaving, but goats would be cool, too :)

Crunchy Chicken said...

@theadalynfarm - You are my hero. Really, you do all of it?

Aimee said...

Since moving to my little farm seven years ago, I have learned about vegetable gardening, orchard maintenance and pruning, fencing, pasture management, composting, goat husbandry and breeding, likewise chickens, cheemaking, butchery, canning, and other food preservation methods.... the reason that I don't learn about sausage making, carpentry, plumbing and electrical work, or any of the other things it would be useful to know is that my brain is already full. There's NO MORE ROOM.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Aimee - I know what you mean. For me, it's the feeling of already being overwhelmed with all the other stuff I do that I can't squeeze in another one.