Self-sufficiency is a must if you're planning on homesteading. Becoming a full-fledged homesteader is a learning process. You must learn new skills and hone those you already have. Just like other major life decisions, the commitment to homestead might be a shock to new preppers in the beginning. But using the wisdom and knowledge of others who have done it before can help immensely. Read on for the skills needed to be self-sufficient!
Self Sufficiency Skills Every Prepper Should Learn
1. Canning Your Garden Produce
Preserve fruits and vegetables from your homestead naturally so you can eat holistically all year long.
2. How to Compost
Don't throw out all your biodegradable odds and ends. Put them in a compost and make your garden thrive with compost tea.
3. How to Bake Bread
Never rely again on grocery store bread with bleached flours or expensive healthy loaves. Bake your own bread at home!
4. Make Homemade Remedies
Do away with your dependence on the drugstore. Heal yourself naturally with these home remedies!
5. Make Homemade Laundry Detergent
Make your own chemical-free detergent in either liquid or powder form.
6. How to Make Playdough
Your kiddos will love making a homemade play dough. And if they eat it, it's made from organic ingredients so it's not a risk to their health.
7. How to Make Cheese from Scratch
Use your milk product to make your choice of fresh, delicious cheese. This is one of the most valuable homestead skills when you consider the cash you could earn.
8. Know How to Make a Compost Bin
Correctly storing your compost will save your backyard from smelling like a dumpster. Make your own homemade compost bin and make compost all year-round.
9. Grow Plants in Your Climate
Every climate has a different time period for planting various seeds. Find the best one for your homestead.
10. Know How to Save Seeds for Future Harvests
Create a never-ending supply of seeds for your garden by learning how to correctly save and store seeds. Also, a lot of seeds are excellent and long-storing food sources, like corn, beans, nuts, and grains.
11. Know First Aid and CPR
Just in case there is an accident on the homestead, you should always be prepared (especially if you live out in the boonies like I do). Learn the basics of first aid and CPR and find out how to build your own first aid kit.
12. Learn How to Operate a Tractor and Heavy Machinery
Operating a tractor can greatly decrease the amount of time you spend walking back and forth from various chores on the homestead. Learning to operate heavy machinery is a great help when you need to carry heavy loads of supplies from one place to another.
13. Know How to Ride a Horse
An alternative to the tractor and dirt bike (and much less of a gas hog) is the horse. Be sure you are conscious of weight limits for your breed if you are planning on using your horse to help carry supplies.
14. Train Dogs and Farm Animals
Believe me when I say this will save you loads of time in the future. If you have to stop gardening to discipline a dog that's using his digging skills in your garden and then replant the dissembled plants, you would have wasted more time than it takes to properly train him.
15. Learn How to Tie Knots
If you have a very stubborn dog or horse that you have to keep tied up to stay out of trouble, or if you just want to hang a line for your laundry, you will need to know a variety of knots.
16. Make Simple Booby Traps
Keep those pesky squirrels out of your cow's feed or simply trap them for a little extra protein. Learn to make simple booby tramps to deter pests and to catch food.
17. Change a Tire and Change Oil
18. Learn How to Forage for Wild Edible and Herbal Plants
Preparation for emergencies is key, but in the event of injury in a natural disaster, you may have to forage for plants with healing properties. Be very cautious when using herbs you did not plant yourself and do not use them unless you're 100% sure that you have the correct plant.
19. Make your Own Fire Starter
Many people in Ireland still make their own natural fire starters today. This saves time when needing instant warmth on those blistering cold winter days.
20. Know How to Start a Fire Without a Match
No one should ever rely completely on one method or another. Learn how to start a fire in a variety of ways in case you are ever without matches.
21. Know How to Properly Handle, Shoot, and Clean a Gun
Predators and threats on the homestead are inevitable. Don't let the lack of gun knowledge be the reason that your family doesn't get the protection they need. You will learn all about guns by searching for your favorite topics here on our sister site, guncarrier.com.
22. Store a Gun Safely and Properly
Part of knowing how to use a gun is learning to store it safely away from children and possible attackers. You'll sleep more soundly at night knowing it's in a safe place.
23. Know Basic Auto Mechanic Skills
Again, you wouldn't want to lose an entire day of work just because a switch needed to be flipped or a bolt needed tightening. Basic auto mechanic skills are essential whether you're a self-sufficient, a homesteader, a prepper, or just any regular practical Joe.
24. Know How to Hunt Wild Game
Make sure you have the proper licenses to hunt game and provide more protein for your family and keep your livestock's predators at bay.
25. Know the Laws and Regulations Regarding Hunting Wild Game in Your Area
It is only legal to hunt certain animals during specific seasons and knowing about these laws is important for your safety. The consequences for hunting game outside of its respective season can end in costly fines or the restriction/loss of your hunting license.
26. Make Your Own Meat Smokehouse
Whether you butcher your own livestock or hunt wild game you will need a way to preserve the meat properly. Smoke your meat in your own homemade smokehouse.
27. Using a Smokehouse to Smoke and Cure Meat
Learn which techniques work best for different types of meat. Whether you hunt or raise livestock, smoking and curing meat will allow you to keep your stock for longer.
28. Know How to Milk Cow and Goat
You may think that one is exactly like the other, but I assure you it is not. Learn the basics of milking your livestock. Every cow and goat is different and so you will have to learn to adjust your techniques accordingly, but the basics remain the same.
29. Learn How to Fish
Fish is packed with rich vitamins our bodies need (and love). Hopefully, your nearest waterbed is also packed full of fish. Make sure you check any rules or legislation regarding catching different breeds of fish as they can be seasonal as well.
30. Know How to Clean and Cook Fish
Catching fish for sport and food self-sufficiency are two different approaches. It can be tricky to clean a fish because of all the tiny bones. Learn the proper way to clean and cook fish so that you can avoid any sharp bones while eating your catch.
Gardening is probably the ultimate self-sufficiency skill. Watch this video from Self Sufficient Me for the top 5 easy-to-grow vegetables to get you started in gardening:
It is the independence from the supposed “conveniences” that makes homesteaders the ultimate preppers and survivalists. In any given SHTF scenario, they will be the ones who will have better chances of survival because they have been self-reliant all along. Keep in mind that learning these skills will take time, patience, and perseverance, and not all of these skills are applicable to certain situations. Hopefully, though, you'll be able to pick up some great ideas that will inspire you and get you started in self-sufficient living!
Click HERE for our A Quick Start Guide to Homesteading for Beginners
What self-sufficiency skill would you need to learn next? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 3, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.