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The modern homesteading movement has been a popular topic in the last 10+ years. People from all walks of life are returning to ‘old ways’ to become more self-reliant. This post is meant to be a guide on “homesteading for beginners” for those who don’t understand the modern homesteading movement, and for those who would like to get started.
While we aren’t homesteaders in the ‘old’ sense of the word, this movement has created a new kind of homesteader. It is true that we haven’t been given land from the government to live on, develop, and settle like we were in 1862, and we may not even own land at all. But in an effort to become more self-reliant, modern homesteaders are taking to themselves much of what our predecessors did in the past.
The growing fears of our loss of individuality, our reliance on stores for everything we need, our failing health, and so many other things are what propel many of us forward to become more self-sufficient.
It seems we aren’t really allowed to be ourselves anymore, by society’s standards. That we must be what everyone else is hits some of us wrong, and we want to break free of it all.
It is a frightening thought how much we need the rest of society to even brush our teeth or, for that matter, take care of any of our own hygienic needs. And the products we are presented with using, some feel are full of all manner of ingredients that will harm our health. It just doesn’t feel sustainable.
Food doesn’t feel edible anymore because of genetically modified organisms in our food system. There are some laws being written and hashed through by lawmakers, but knowing that unmarked GMOs are in the food system doesn’t do anything to dissuade public fear. E
For others of us, the inherent need to connect with the land and be fed and healed by and through her speaks to us of a life of peace and connection with God. It speaks of the kind of self-sufficiency that shaped our ancestors’ fortitude and inner strength.
Whatever the reason you want to homestead doesn’t matter. It’s enough that you want to bootstrap a more self-sufficient life, and the good news is that it’s possible to be very good at it, regardless of where you live.
Homesteading for Beginners
Homesteading feels like a huge endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be. It may help if you think of it as a journey, rather than a huge all-at-once lifestyle change. Don’t get me wrong, homesteading WILL change your life in giant ways. There will be many things you need to do in order to make your homestead all you want it to be (and not suck). The more you master the homesteading skills that are most relevant to you, the more your life will change. And the more self-reliant you become.
How to Be a Boss at Homesteading
Those who own acreage aren’t the only homesteading bosses. You may be surprised to find out that there are many things you can master this year that don’t require you to move or buy land. You can master homesteading skills in your apartment or tract home, and never really need to move to a larger plot of land!
Here are a few lists of skills you can master in whatever living arrangement you find yourself:
- grow herbs on a windowsill
- grow sprouts to eat
- start seeds indoors
- garden in containers
- preserve foods that you find on sale at the store
- scratch cook
- make your own medicines
- knit/crochet clothing and household needs
- sew your own clothing and household needs
- go zero-waste
- make candles
- make natural cosmetics
- make jewelry
- have a craft business selling things you make
- forage (if you live in an area with forageable food)
- shop at a farmer’s market
- participate in a community garden
- solar cook
- learn first aid
- prepare for a natural disaster
- learn to make cheese and butter
- make homemade organic fertilizer
- make worm tea to fertilize your plants
- lacto-ferment vegetables
- brew your own apple cider vinegar
- make wine and beer
- make yogurt
- bake bread
- make a sourdough starter
- make natural cleaners for your home
- all of the above, plus
- start a garden in raised/in-ground beds
- keep chickens (see your city’s ordinances to make sure)
- start composting
- plant fruit trees
- start a flower garden
- learn to grow in terraced gardens (provided your property has them)
- build trellises for your garden and for outdoor decor
- save greywater
- grow food where your lawn is (check for association rules)
- propagate plants
- learn to mulch
- build a raised bed
- build self-watering containers for plants
- install drip irrigation
- grow potatoes
- test your soil
- set up a chicken brooder for poultry
- harvest rainwater (if your state allows it)
- cook over a fire (using a dutch oven)
- build a rocket stove
- hang your clothes out to dry
- all of the above, plus
- learn to put up various types of fencing
- heat your homestead with firewood
- start a nursery business
- learn premaculture/hugelkulter
- raise mealworms for extra protein for chickens
- build animal shelters
- grow grain
- grow a fruit and nut orchard
- keep bees
- raise poultry for meat
- raise goats for dairy
- breed livestock
- grow enough food for a year
- grow fodder for your small livestock
These are obviously not exhaustive lists, as there are many homestead-y things that we can learn depending on where we live. These lists are a fantastic start, and give all of you who would love to homestead (but think you can’t) a place to start.
But let me encourage you to be careful to only tackle one thing at a time! You don’t want to get too overwhelmed right out the gate! The key is to start slow and master your skills, and pretty soon, you’ll be getting it all done and homesteading like a BOSS!
If you need a place to keep all those goals, why not check out my “How to Conquer Your Goals with a Homestead Management Binder” post? It can help you get all of your homestead goals in order for maximum goal setting and achievement!
For information and a free worksheet that will help you get a jump start on homestead management, check out this post.