Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Homesteading skills list

Canadian Doomer posted the original list on her site and others have added to it. Farm Gal did her link here
The ones in bold are the tasks and skills I have done/can do myself, with notes in red.

Safely use an ax and hand saws. (years of camping)
Split firewood and kindling.
Stack and age firewood.
Grow a vegetable plant.
Plan, plant and grow a vegetable garden. (every year!)
Sharpen any edge tool – knife, axe, hoe, chisel etc. (took a basic woodworking course which included sharpening techniques)
Basic firearm safety and gun proof your children and grandchildren. (no guns, never)
Raise a chicken.

Shovel snow without putting out your back.
Read the weather.
Spin wool, cotton or flax into thread or yarn on a spinning wheel or with a drop spindle.
Use a garden shovel, spade or hoe without hurting your back.
Light a fire indoors or outdoors. ( again with the camping/backpacking)
Go to a country auction and not get skinned.
Butcher small livestock like rabbits or chickens.
Hang clothes on a clothesline.
Basic tractor maintenance.
Know the difference between trees and the unique properties of various types of wood.
Cook 10 basic meals from scratch.
Pasteurize milk.
Divine/witch for water with a forked branch or a bent metal hanger. (not very successful but I've tried)
Distinguish healthy plants and animals from unhealthy plants or animals.
Basic sewing skills.
Set an ear tag or tattoo for animal identification.
Determine an animal’s age by its teeth.
Cut and glaze glass.
Drive a standard transmission vehicle.
Thaw out frozen pipes without busting them.
Know how and when to use hybrid seeds.

Sew your own clothes with simple patterns.
Hand thresh and winnow wheat or oats and other small grains.
Train a working cattle or sheep dog.
Read the moon and stars.
Make soft or hard cheeses.
Live beneath your financial means.
Fillet and clean a fish.
Use a wash tub, hand-wringer and washboard. (My grandmother used a wringer for years and I own a washboard)

A beeswax apple candle, the last piece of my tallow soap and a beautiful sheep milk soap sent to me from FarmGal!
Make soap from wood ashes and animal fat. (store bought lye with home rendered beef tallow)
Lay basic brick or build a stone wall.
Basic home canning and food preservation. (That's a given!)
Save open pollinated (non-hybrid) seeds.
De-horn livestock.
Use an awl and basic leather repair.
Make long-term plans for the future – plan an orchard, a livestock breeding program, or plan for stored energy sources.
Jury rig anything with duct tape, baling twine and whatever is on hand. (That's in my job description)

Be comfortable with emergency/home birth. (I've attended 47 births and even caught one impatient little thing!)
Read an almanac.
Euthanize large livestock.

Use flat cloth diapers and wool soakers. (my mom didn't believe in disposables)

Cook on a cook stove. (lived in a cabin without electricity, running water or a stove for 5 months - I can cook on anything!))
Entertain yourself and live without electronic media.
Shear a sheep.
Manage human urine and feces without plumbing. (no outhouses in the backwoods)
Swap, barter and network with like-minded people. (all the time!)

Generate electricity for home use.
dipped beeswax candles

Make a candle. From beeswax and other waxes
Dig and properly use a shallow well.
Refinish furniture. (pretty much everything in this house is a found item that we've refinished or modified)
Found wardrobe, refinished.

Drive a draft animal.
Realistically deal with life, death and failure.
Use non-electric lighting.
Butcher a pig or goat.
Restrain large livestock.

Slaughter livestock.
Use a treadle sewing machine.
Give an injection.
Use a handsaw, hammer & nails, screw driver, wire cutters, and measuring tape. (I own lots of tools, both power and hand and can use every one of them properly)
Know when to ask for help.
Know how and when to prune grapes and fruit trees.
Hatch out chicken, duck or other poultry eggs. (Quail, hundreds of them. I also once kept duck eggs in my bra for two days til they could get to an incubator)
Use a scythe.
Skin a furbearer and stretch the skin.
Tell the time of day by the sun.
Milk a goat, sheep or cow.

Use a smoke house.
Stomach tube a newborn animal.

Build basic homestead buildings (sheds, etc.) (I still need to post photos of our new addition!)
Break ground and plough.
Use a wood stove and bank a fire. (Cabin, winter, only heat source, nuff said)
Make butter.
Knit. ( lots of hats and scarves, more detailed projects are a challenge to finish)
Make and use a hot bed or cold frame.
Deliver a foal, calf, lamb or goat. (I haven't but I'm sure I could!)
Know how to tell when winter is over.
Plant a tree.
Brood day-old chicks.
Dye yarn or cloth from plants.
Haggle like a horse trader.
Bake bread.
Use a pressure tank garden sprayer.
Halter break a horse or cow.
Graft baby animals onto a foster-mother.

Weave cloth.
Grow everyday kitchen herbs.
Make sausage.
Set and bait traps for unwanted vermin and predators.
Grind wheat into flour.
Make paper.

Make ink.
Know when it is more economical to buy something ready-made or when to make it yourself.
Castrate livestock.
Choose a location for a vegetable garden or orchard.

Catch and care for wild yeast for bread making.
Weave a basket.
Use electric netting or fencing.
Make fire starters from corn cobs or pinecones.
Use a pressure cooker.

Use a pressure canner to preserve meat and vegetables.
Correctly attach 3 point hitch implements to a tractor.
Trim the hooves of goats or sheep.
Sew your own underwear.
Make your own wine and beer. (Honey wine, aka mead)

Darn knitted or crocheted items.
Know basic plumbing and how to sweat copper pipes and joints.

Keep bees. (don't have my own bees and I'm still learning)
Honey harvest 2012
Change a spark plug.
Cook on an open fire.
Make vinegar. (I have 3 types at the moment- red wine, apple cider and honey wine.)
Purify water.
Graft trees.
Make and use a bow and arrow.
Preserve meat by curing. ( Still learning but I've done some bacon)
Erect a fence.
Hang a gate.
Make and use herbal tinctures, infusions and other herbal remedies. (drinking one now!)
Replace electrolytes in a battery.
Charge a battery.
Change a car tire.
Repair a tire.
Do an oil change in any vehicle.
Build an effective compost pile.
Correctly set spark plug spacings.
Change all light bulbs – household and vehicle.
Prime a well pump.
Fix water troughs around the paddocks.
Suture both animals and humans. (can draw blood and give injections too)
Catch a fish without expensive fishing gear. 

Gather edible wild greens and prepare them.
Catch and keep a swarm of bees.
Render fat. ( all kinds in my fridge- chicken, duck, pork lard, beef tallow)
Use non-typical fats (lard, tallow, schmaltz, bear fat, etc) in cooking. ( see above)
Back up a vehicle accurately.
Drive with a trailer attached to a vehicle.
Make whitewash.
Weatherstrip a home.
Set a snare or other simple animal trap.
Set up a gravity fed water system.

And my own additions:
Tap trees and make syrup (maple, birch)
Clean beeswax (a lot harder than you'd think!)

I'm surprised at a few of the skills I hadn't thought of in years but I guess it's one advantage to being a bit older. Some of these things (wells with hand pumps, wringers, wood stoves,) were still around when I was a child and I think this means I could survive for a while, although sources of meat would be a problem.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't look at the links but that's a HUGEly long list. Your personal checklist is very impressive (can't you get half a point for tending bees?) but who would do ALL that in one lifetime? I know, our pioneering ancestors, right?