None of us are going to master all of these modern homesteading skills… and we probably shouldn’t.
There is something to sticking with skills that you are good at and enjoy rather than spending your precious time trying to master something you hate.
That being said, I wanted to make this list because when I was just starting out I loved reading lists like this and dreaming of someday mastering (or at least trying) many of the skills.
Be sure to leave your additions in the comments!
Cooking and Nutrition
The easiest place to start for modern homesteading is in the kitchen. Whether you live in the city or country, cold or warm climate, we all have to eat!
Learning to cook healthy food in a variety of circumstances is a great first step towards a life of sself-reliance
- Cook from scratch
- Learn to identify and forage for edibles
- Render tallow or lard
- Cook without electricity
- Cook over an open fire
- Learn to harvest maple syrup (sugaring)
- Learn to hunt or fish
- Ferment your own foods
- Learn to waste nothing in the kitchen
- Use a smokehouse to smoke and cure meats and fish
- Learn to dehydrate and preserve food
- learn to cook with cast iron (even eggs!)
- Make bone broth from scratch
- Learn to make your own treats!
It’s smart to be prepared for an emergency. You never know when your power will be out for a few days or you get lost in the woods while on a hike.
You will still need to be able to take care of yourself and your family if help is not immediately available.
- Learn to build a fire
- Learn to make a lean-to or other wilderness shelter
- Learn how to properly handle, shoot, and clean a gun
- Learn to signal for help
- Learn to navigate the wilderness (desert, forest, inner city?) and find your way home
- Learn to find and purify water
- Learn to tie knots
- Learn to store water long term (in canning jars?)
- Learn to read a topography map
- Learn basic first aid
- Learn how to stock a first aid kit
Handcrafts aren’t just for hobbyists. Learning some of these skills can have real-life value as well as being fun and rewarding!
- Learn to mend clothes and extend their life
- Sew a baby blanket
- Learn to knit or crochet
- Make a throw rug from recycled material
- Make your own candles
- Make your own soap
- Learn to weld
- Learn to make your own weapons or fishing lures
- Learn to make natural dyes
- make your own -nonplastic- plastic wrap
When it comes to animals there’s a lot to learn! Stick with one beginner animal (chickens are good) and keep learning as you go and grow.
- Learn to keep bees (and harvest honey!)
- Build a chicken coop
- Keep chickens and harvest eggs
- Break a broody hen
- Manage a hen becoming a mama hen
- Learn to take care of milking animal
- Learn to milk and how to store the milk
- Learn to be a pseudo vet (it comes with being around animals!)
- Learn to recognize when you need a real vet
- Learn how to humanely slaughter an animal
- Learn how to butcher the animal properly
- Learn to shear a sheep
- Learn to spin the wool
- Learn to ride a horse
- Set up a chicken brooder
- Make your own chicken food
- Make your own pet food
- learn to protect your animals from predators
- Learn how to get rid of rodents naturally (without poison)
- Understand animal breeding basics
- Recognize chicken crop issues
Growing your own food is an excellent way to bring modern homesteading to your yard. Even if you live in a city and don’t have a yard you can grow food in windowsills, rooftops and community gardens.
- Learn how to start your own seeds
- Build your own raised beds
- Learn to deal with pests naturally (organically)
- Learn composting
- Learn crop rotation
- Learn to save seeds
- Grow an herb garden
- Learn to plan your garden to increase yields
- Plant enough to last the entire year
- Learn how to barter or sell your extra veggies
- Start a compost pile
- Learn how to garden using permaculture techniques
- learn how to grow food in tiny spaces
- Grow these easy vegetables
Health and Wellness
Our health is our wealth, right? learning to take care of your family naturally is an excellent way to avoid illness and reduce unnecessary doctor’s visits that may do more harm than good. (Of course, if you need medical help please go to the doctor!)
- Take care of cold and flu naturally with elderberry syrup
- Make your own personal care products like deodorant, toothpaste, face wash, shampoo, etc.
- Learn how to use essential oils safely
- Learn to bathe without a shower or hot water heater
- Make your own bug repellent and bug bite treatment
- Learn how to forage for herbal medicinals
- Learn aromatherapy
- Learn how to treat a UTI naturally
- Learn to make your own salves, lotions, etc.
- Learn how to recognize and avoid poison ivy, and how to treat it
- learn to make herbal tinctures or herb-infused oils
Around the Barnyard
Being outside and working is one of my favorite parts of modern homesteading. Here are some skills to make the homestead more self sufficient and may even save you some money.
- Learn to put up a fence, mend a fence, or makeshift a fence
- Learn to fell a tree safely
- Learn to split and stack firewood
- Mill your own lumber
- Learn to fix mechanical things such as your truck or tractor
- Learn to sharpen an ax or knife
- Enjoy being outside in all weather (proper clothing helps!)
Around the Home
Homemaking is no joke! It’s much more than cooking and cleaning. here are some skills that can make it go more smoothly:
- Learn to wash laundry without a machine
- Learn to live in a smaller house
- Learn to live below your means
- Learn to budget
- Learn how to source quality food
- Make your own cleaning supplies
- Learn to recycle and upcycle everything
- Learn to be organized and put things back in their home
- Begin delegating (you don’t have to do it all!)
Modern Homesteading Skills for Kids
Kids can do more than we usually give them credit for. Here are some of the thigns kids can join in on:
- Caring for chickens
- Collecting eggs
- Planting seedlings and seeds
- Harvesting fruit
- Cooking and preserving
- Digging holes (even when you don’t need one!)
- Feeding dogs and barn cats
- Watering animals
- Carrying harvest baskets
- Mulching gardens
Modern Homesteading Skills to Learn: Change Your Mindset
Learning the homesteader frame of mind is key to not only succeeded at homesteading but to enjoying it too.
- Learn the value of your time
- Learn to downsize your possessions
- Learn to build a community of like-minded people both IRL and online
- Learn to take care of you!
If you’re a beginner and wondering where to start, take a look at this post for homesteading beginners and look through my favorite resources for learning skills too.
What skills am I missing? Add them in the comments!
I need a solution to an ant problem.
Email me and I’ll see if I can find you an answer :) mindy
Mary L says
Have you tried putting corn mill on the mounds. It should kill them.
Baguette & Butter says
Love this! I believe the same to stand true in my life. Can’t wait to get my chickens one day!
What a great list!! One of the things southern homesteaders are experiencing right now is learning how to protect our plants and orchards and homes from the artic blast. We’re not used to temperatures this cold and don’t have the infrastructure to deal with this. It’s a learning curve for us to be in single digit temperatures.