homesteading skills?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Caitedid, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. Caitedid

    Caitedid The Prairie Plate Supporter

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    What skills would you like to learn to help with your homesteading? Wondering about animal husbandry, food preservation, construction, etc... What do you wish you had learned before you had to learn it the hard way? Caite
     
  2. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

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    How to butcher various animals.

    How to garden.

    How to can food and use a root cellar.

    Hmmm...

    Those are the big ones for me right now. I'm sure there's much more I need to learn though.

    :) RedTartan
     

  3. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    By the time we got the farm, both Paul and I had experienced most everything we do now. We just didn't have a place to do it at. Since we've been here, I've started weaving and making cheese. Paul got a milk cow (previously he raised beef).

    My advice is to experience what you can before you get started so you have a base knowledge. Then when you get your place, start slow.
     
  4. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    Hmm. I'm still new to this but I can add a few ideas! (great thread by the way!)

    I would have liked to have had some practical experience putting up fencing - my SO and I laugh about how it took two city slickers days to do what any real farmer could have done in a couple of hours, because we had to try out all sorts of different things before figuring out what would work (and in the end, posting *here* got me the key clues I needed to find a working strategy!).

    I had some experience with animals, but not the particular ones I ended up with - sheep - however, I'm looking forward to learning along with my son in 4H this fall.

    My dad taught me how to use power tools, and the basics of construction, but knowing a bit more about how to, say, put a roof on a building or how to test that something is square, or how to put in a foundation ... that sort of knowledge would be very handy. Fortunately for me, I still have people around to help and teach me. :)

    I always tell my son that if you can read, you can learn how to do anything else. You can always find a book or website that will explain how to do something - and then you just have to find the courage to go ahead and try it. I've learned a lot of things just by doing them - but it sure is scary. :)

    I think the very best thing anyone who wants to do homesteading can do before-hand is meet someone who has *done it*, who can take out some of the 'mystery' and help you feel more confident to just go on and try something. I met with an older man (okay, he is quite a lot older ... ) at lunch one day and he told me about growing up on the farm, and how he'd look at something and say to himself "well, God made someone else smart enough to build it, and he made me smart enough to figure out how they did it". He'd look at the granary or whatever it was, figure out how it was put together, and then just go ahead and try to replicate it. He told me it was a lot of common sense and being observant and just trying stuff ... and that encouraged me tremendously. I'm so glad I met him before embarking on this adventure, his words give me courage. :)

    Courage, an internet connection, and good books. Oh, and good tools. If you have all that and a pile of scrap lumber, you're good to go. :D
     
  5. Peacock

    Peacock writing some wrongs Supporter

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    DD and I visited a nearby "show farm"/farmer's market yesterday. They had a big chicken pen, and I welcomed the opportunity to see actual chickens up close, silly as that may sound. Down the road from our house, we often see them wandering about and we hear roosters crowing all day. So the idea of our actually owning chickens isn't that far-fetched, but it seems that way to me, because I wouldn't have the faintest idea what to do with them. It can't be that hard...can it?

    I would like to have that easy familiarity with the farm environment and its inhabitants. I'm nowhere near ready for the "heavy duty" animals like horses, cattle or pigs, but maybe chickens or goats would be all right.

    For me, it's all about attitude and habit. I'm a born and bred suburban girl. I love the rural life, it fascinates me, and you'll probably laugh your head off at the sheer naivete of my post. But if I were put into a real farm environment, I would have absolutely no clue what to do first. How to organize one's time? How to turn things around when they go wrong? How to budget?

    Growing various plant crops doesn't intimidate me so much - gardens are something with which I'm perfectly comfortable. But a large scale crop is different! All that huge machinery! Wow.

    Okay...the answer to the original question, clearly, is EVERYTHING. :)
     
  6. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I REALLY want to learn to tan hides....I'm pretty good at doing the children but I'm afraid it doesn't count as "experience" :p
     
  7. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    I wish I had learned more about food preservation from my grandparents before they passed on.
    It seems so much of the homesteading advice out there these days still
    requires making purchases of "stuff". I want to know how they did it when there was no store and no money.
     
  8. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

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    Turning things around when they go wrong seems to always require any or all of the following:

    A flashlight
    The wrong footwear
    A bucket of grain or cubes
    Rope
    A broomstick/flimsy tree branch/2x4
    Wire cutters
    Your worst [shortest]nightgown/pajamas
    Water/mud/rain
    The ability to keep always in the forefront of your mind that "You love this!"

    What would I like to know more about? Building animal-proof EVERYTHING!
     
  9. newatthis

    newatthis Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Edayna...EVERYTHING!!!! As my name New At This says I am new to this.
    I want chickens so bad but DH won't let me get them yet. right now I am in the process of getting plans for a Chicken coop. I do have a small garden but mostly just eat it right away, nothing to can.
    I would love to learn how to make Jam.

    this site is wonderful.
    I hope you all take me under your wing and teach me.
    New At This
     
  10. BillyGoat

    BillyGoat Well-Known Member

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    lol :p


    I will have alot to learn, it will be another year plus before we are on our homestead. We do have the house, well and a 10 x 12 shed.

    We will be adding a room and breezway(with the summer kitchen in that), large shop/garage and a root celler. Also solar. :shrug:

    I know basic gardening and chickens. We didn't have any large farm animals growing up so I know nothing about goats or pigs.

    My dad did teach us girls how to build small things, paint, strip wood, pour concrete, patch drywall, plant trees. These are nice to know and have helped me alot through my life. :)

    I want to learn more about solar, more drying and preserving food.


    If we would get cattle(which I don't care to have) I would want to learn to tan hide. I do collect leathers(which I have a trunk full) and have two hides. I want to do leather craft work one of these days. (some Indian type work) also beading along with that.

    I think it is important to read, read, read, practice. practice, practice. I have so many informative books and save them all.

    **Just try to start one or two things at a time.
     
  11. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    castrating roosters, I am tired of them eating like pigs and running and fighting it all off. solar, we know nothing of the practical aspects, we know little about the workings of the well.
     
  12. Dahc

    Dahc Don't Tase me, bro!?!

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    I agree with the whole post but this is something I ESPECIALLY would have been better off looking into earlier. That and plant ID. If you have a patch of woods around, you may have food and medicine that you don't know about.

    This forum has been a huge help with all of these things. Where I was born, no one talked about stocking-up, canning or making your own anything. You were supposed to buy everything. lol. I'm still unsure how I ever swallowed that mentality but that's the way it was. Get your medicine from the drug store, get your food from the grocery store... Stores, stores, stores... ...and the houses are all right next to each other, no yard for any animals bigger than cats... yeck..

    I wish I would have learned about all of these things earlier. If so, I would have had many of the tools I want now, like a grain grinder, a manual water pump and things like that. So much to learn in the world that can actually make us useful. lol. We just gotta find the knowledge. The older farmers are definitely an awesome source of knowledge.
     
  13. tinetine'sgoat

    tinetine'sgoat Luvin' my family in MO

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    Oh my, how I wish I had my grandparents back for just a little while. If for no other reason but to show them what we are learning to do. They would be so proud!! I hope that doesn't sound arrogant, but they would love this. My brother and I both went kinda "back to our roots" and they would love that. Now that's part of my wish list, cause my Grandma and Granny both were excellent canners and I wish they were here to show me the little time savers and tricks to it. I made some of Granny's recipe bread and butter pickles today. Gramps and Grandpa both knew how to run mule teams, and I would LOVE to learn that!! They were also very good at fixing things, and I wish they could tell me how to do things simply!! I'm not sure if I'm answering this well or not. I want to learn how to spin, and how to tie my fishing lines better. I wish I had known more of the medicinal part of animal keeping and also more herbal remedys for our family.

    ( :help: ramble ramble....)
     
  14. Caitedid

    Caitedid The Prairie Plate Supporter

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    See, I asked because I am making a list of skills I want to learn until I can get my own land. A lot of things I know well enough to help, but not well enough to feel totally comfortable doing it alone. Plus, as many of you have mentioned, people who've done these things longer have tips and shortcuts. Also, I am tossing around ideas for ways to share this information, so I want to know what kinds of things people would like to learn about. Caite
     
  15. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    I was raised in a part of the country, and in a time where rural living skills were commonplace. I learned a lot of that kind of stuff as a young'un.

    Several decades later, I'm still learning.

    I guess no matter how much, or how little we know, we never seem to know enough...
     
  16. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    Catch them before they get that big cornish games are good eating
     
  17. PyroDon

    PyroDon Well-Known Member

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    I wish I could learn half as much as my great grand parents forgot . Then Id be set. I do have part of the recipes with everything from leniment to cakes and coffee substitutes. even a few old time soap and soups but the best bread and butter pickle recipe is gone
     
  18. Dahc

    Dahc Don't Tase me, bro!?!

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    Learn to can, grow your own food and butcher poultry, goats and whatever else you want to eat. Also learn to raise these animals. If you like honey, learn to raise bees. My wife and I learned how to raise bees from a book and have done it successfully for 5 years.

    Shop used book stores and find old homesteader type books. You can learn tons of stuff you may not have thought of and things that may not get mentioned here.

    I learned how to can vegi's and meat on this forum. I read about it, i asked a few questions, then I did it and it worked very well.
     
  19. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    mostly I found that using 'skills' is by experience and repetition. For example, after putting in the first fence post and learning how to do that right, it makes the rest go 'routinely' more or less. Same for about any task. Laying interlocking bricks looks daunting when you see a finished drive or pathway, but it all begins with laying the first brick.
    'starting' is probably the most limiting factor to any skill development.
    I learned to drive my old tractor by the seat of my pants, as I did some other things.
    I learned use of my hightly mechanized (and potentially dangerous) rototiller, chain saw, etc. from those who sell and know the items.

    Gardening skills, foraging, husbandry all were a 'growth' pattern of skills learning since childhood, instinct, and intuitiveness with a good dose of book reference.
     
  20. BillyGoat

    BillyGoat Well-Known Member

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    I forgot cabin fever was your hubby, he has alot of knowledgable information.

    Anyway...have you done any work with leather yet??

    Iv'e made some leather pillows,with leather and hide in a sectioned front, boy talk about hard to sew!

    I have had two machines, but neither one would do the lightweight suedes well. I would like to do some work that doesn't need machine stitching. Like a peace pipe and such. I want to learn the representaion of the beading though.


    You can get homestead or other informative books more reasonable on
    www. amazon.com