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5 Homesteading Skills We All Need

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When I grew up, we didn’t live in a world of abundance and high technology. My dad was a construction worker, and my mom a legal secretary. Needless to say, life was not easy.

My dad was out of work a lot of the time while I was growing up due to the nature of construction work. Not to mention, my mom’s salary wasn’t enough really to support the whole family alone. We grew up struggling to make ends meet, like millions of other Americans, and folks all over the world.

This is not to say we didn’t have times of abundance and happiness, but most years, it was a struggle to make ends meet.

Christmas cabin

We lived for years with no phone (this was before cell phones) and even years with no electricity.

We lit our home with candles and oil lamps. We heated the house with our wood fireplace and slept with extra blankets in the winter months. In Florida, winter nights weren’t too bad, but some nights it would get down into the teens and sometimes single digits.

Those were nights we all curled up in the living room and kept the fire going. Splitting firewood was a yearly thing and making sure we had oil for the lamps and candles for light was an important part of our daily life. We cooked food and heated bath water with our propane stove.

As a child, and into my teenage and young adult life, my dad taught me the self-sufficiency skills I needed to survive and provide for my family.

Being raised by an ex-military, Airborne, Special Forces Green Beret Sergeant was not easy, but it certainly gave me important life skills that most people don’t have or are never exposed to. It was drilled into me from a very young age to be self-sufficient. To survive and provide for my family no matter what it took.

Some of those skills were simple, some complex, but all were related to survival, living, and living smart on your homestead. Here are 5 of the most important homesteading skills.

5 homesteading skills we all need

1. Locating, Harvesting & Treating Water

Finding water, storing it, and making it safe to drink is the most important thing next to shelter. In fact, you could probably do without a shelter for longer than you could without safe clean drinking water.

This part of the homesteading skills list is partly about picking the right property with a good water source and goes back to preparing to go off grid.

When you choose a good property in a good location with a good dependable source of fresh clean potable drinking water, everything else becomes much easier. You also become self-reliant in that you needn’t rely on municipal water sources in the event of a natural disaster or other scenario which could cut off your water supply.



2. Gathering & Splitting Firewood

Gathering firewood might seem like a simple concept, but it’s not. We had to have enough wood for the entire year. Fortunately living in Florida the winters were mild, but since we didn’t have electricity for a good portion of my younger childhood, we had to make sure we had a backup for when the electricity did go out.

That meant trips to the woods to cut down trees and gather old logs from slash piles in the clear-cut foresting areas. Then it was about cutting the logs into smaller pieces which could be split into smaller pieces and stacks. It was arduous work, but necessary.

Firewood pile


3. Hunting & Fishing For Food

Everyone, young and old alike, should at some point in their lives learn the basics of hunting and fishing. Not as a sport or for fun, but as a viable food source in case of hard times.

If you don’t have these skills, learn them. Even if you don’t believe you’ll ever need them, it’s better to be prepared than to scramble for food when you need it.




4. Growing Your Own Food

In addition to hunting and fishing to provide food, there must be a source of fresh organically-grown fruits and vegetables to feed your family.

I love to cook, and having fresh ingredients available (especially fresh fruits and veggies from my own garden) is not only highly satisfying and delicious, but it’s also healthier than the food from the store.



5. Canning & Preserving Food

Canning and preserving is what grandma used to do and something we should all learn.

I learned how to can food when I was still in elementary school. But sadly it’s a skill that without practice, you tend to lose over time. I’m sure I could wing it and relearn it fairly quickly, but it’s a vital skill that everyone who lives off grid needs to keep a supply of food available over winter and for emergencies. 



This list is not all-inclusive nor is it intended to be comprehensive in scope. However, these 5 skills will provide your family the basics needed to survive and even thrive in hard times.

These skills are what my generation’s grandparents knew, and skills that seem to have been lost, or that we’re losing over time. We cannot afford to rely on the government to provide…We all know how that works out in a crisis situation.

Winter cabin

All in all, these 5 skills will provide your family with a solid foundation of knowledge to draw from, which for all intents and purposes will provide abundance in times of scarcity.

While everyone else is scrambling to scrape together enough resources to keep their family alive, you will have everything you need to survive, and then some.

Abundance comes from knowledge, preparation, and hard work.