Only a generation or two separates today’s life from the homestead life skills that our ancestors used on a regular basis. Yet, many of us don’t know how to make basic repairs, or food. With the advent of grocery stores, convenience in food became ever more progressive. The homestead life skills that were common knowledge two generations ago, started to fade away. As families moved to the suburbs and urban areas, more stores opened to cater to the demands of food and other necessities.
In this post, 6 Homesteading Skills to Learn First, I detailed the six homestead life skills I felt were essential. Here, I am adding 6 more homestead life skills to the list. In truth, there are probably at least 50 skills that we should still know how to do, even if we don’t need to or plan to. I don’t plan to build a house from scratch, but I do need to perform minor chicken coop and barn repairs from time to time.
If you are relying on always having a washing machine, the thought of washing clothes by hand can be downright scary! Especially for a family with young children. That’s a lot of laundry! Having a plan and performing a test run of your system will have you a step ahead of the game, should you need to wash the laundry by hand. Two plastic bins and the bath tub can combine for a system that washes your clothes, rinses and drains. Don’t forget the laundry detergent, clothes pins and hangers for a full line of preparedness, laundry style. Here’s how to make your own laundry detergent, too.
Butchering Meat Animals
If you decide to raise your own meat, or hunt regularly for fresh game, butchering is a skill that you need. Understanding how to butcher will allow you to use more of the animal. Knowing how to cut, where to cut and how to wrap and store the fresh meat are important points to learn. After you go to all the work of raising a meat animal, it would be a terrible waste to not utilize all that you can of the carcass.
As a society, we use a lot of cleaning products. Self care cleaning products are abundant and readily available. But many include questionable ingredients and irritating chemicals. Making your own soaps at home is one way to get pure, non irritating soap. Cold process, hot process, and liquid soaps are all possible ways to make soap at home. It’s not hard, although some care and precautions should be taken. Don’t forget that the lard and tallow from your own meat animals can be used to make soap.
If you are cooking meat for your family and tossing the scraps, and especially the bones, you are wasting a valuable source of vitamins, minerals, and nutritious food. Making bone broth is one of the easiest things to cook. Bones from beef animals, wild game, and poultry can all be used. Also, the poultry feet make an excellent bone broth. If you don’t have time right after using the meat, freeze the bones for later. Here’s the steps to an easy nutritious bone broth.
- Fill a large stock pot with water. Add a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar
- add the bones, any veggie scraps, celery, onion, garlic and savory herbs.
- bring to a boil and simmer for a few hours. If making poultry bone broth, the bones will become soft and breakable. That is good Mash them up a bit so that the good minerals inside the bones can leach out into the broth. Beef soup bones might take longer to become brittle but the marrow will release from the ends.
- When ready to strain the broth, pour the stock through a fine strainer. Allow to cool overnight in the refrigerator or on an enclosed porch.
- The fat will rise to the top and can be skimmed off from the broth.
- Use the broth plain as a hot, satisfying drink, or make a pot of soup, adding your favorite soup ingredients.
- I store my broth in zip lock bags in the freezer for quick additions to recipes or for making a pot of soup.
Making and storing bone broth is one of the most useful and easiest of the homestead life skills to practice. Good food,and nutrition helps keep us healthy so we can do what we have to do.
Spinning Thread and Making Fabric
Full confession, this is something I have resisted for way too long. I raise fiber animals. We have no shortage of raw material that can be spun into thread, or yarn. But I do not currently know how to get the raw fleece to the yarn stage without sending it to the fiber mill. I understand the process, I just haven’t taken the time to master even the basics of spinning wool.
This is changing currently, as I am signed up for spinning lessons. I will be glad to have this missing link in my skills. Soon, I will be able to take the raw fleece from shearing, through the sorting, skirting, and combing process, and on to spun yarn. This yarn can be knit, crocheted or woven into cloth. Now that’s some beautiful homestead life skills to have learned.
Using Hand Tools- Add This to Your Homestead Life Skills
Tools are only as useful as the person using them. If you have hand tools such as hammers, saw, drill, screwdrivers, and have no idea how they are used, now is the perfect time to learn! At the very least have someone show you the basics. Learn how to care for your tools, too. Do you know the difference between a phillips head and a flat head screwdriver? Why is it important to use the correct one? One tip I learned as a young mom regarding using a hammer was extremely helpful and kept me from hurting myself over and over. While hammering, keep your eye on the nail head, not the hammer. It prevents you from hitting your thumb with the hammer.
My feeling is we all need to continue to master skills from the past, in case we should need them in the future. It would be a shame for all that knowledge that was available before our time, faded away. Share your skills with others when you have the opportunity. Here are a few simple ways you can offer to share your skills with others.
Volunteer at a Youth Center
Volunteer to Work at a Senior Center, the knowledge shared would be a two way street!
Video yourself making things from scratch.
Reach out to younger folks in the neighborhood who may not know as much as you about home maintenance.
Check with local libraries, and community centers about the possibility of starting a learning class.
If you’d like to read more homestead skills related to the above topics try these blog posts: