I know many of you are where I was a few years ago. You have this drive, this desire to be more self sufficient. You want to provide more for yourself, have more control over your life. You want to spend your hours working for yourself, not working for someone else to get the money to buy what you need. Your soul howls each day you are stuck in the city or urban area, wanting to be free. You dream of the day you can move ‘away from it all’ and take charge of your path.
OH yes, I know exactly where you’re at. The question is, are you sure you want that life? The media has largely romanticized homesteading and doesn’t give you so much as a realistic hint of how much work it will really be. Do you have the skills you need already for that life? If you only dream and do nothing to learn and practice the skills you need before you move to your utopia, you are setting yourself up for failure. You will get overwhelmed and give up, moving right back to the city or urban area you came from.
To answer the first and most important question, “Are you sure you want to live that kind of life?” there are things you can do that will help you decide if you really want the whole package or just parts of it. The best part? You’ll be kick starting your skills for homesteading at the same time! First, we need to identify the skills you are lacking in, and then choose 2 or 3 to start learning about. Then, you start to actually practice the skills.
Which Skills Should I Focus On?
There is no one “right” answer to this question, only the right answer for you. When you think of homesteading, what comes to mind? Gardening, preserving the harvest, chopping wood for the stove, cooking from scratch? Maybe your big thing is raising some livestock.
Once you’ve identified some of the things you most want to do, pick two or three of them to start. Look at them individually – do you know how to grow a food garden? Sure, everyone understands the basic concepts of putting seeds into soil, watering it, and watching it grow. Just because you get sprouts doesn’t mean you’ve successfully gardened. It means you can sprout seeds. A successful food garden happens when you’re harvesting, and preserving, the bounty for your family to eat over winter.
How Do I Learn About The Skills I am Lacking?
Hooray for the information age! Being a homesteader doesn’t mean you toss out modern technology; that would be silly! You don’t toss out a good resource just because it wasn’t traditionally available before! Thanks to the internet and YouTube videos, I have personally learned many skills that I will need for the homestead (and use in my everyday life now of course) that I couldn’t imagine how difficult it would be for someone just starting out without it. Imagine you manage to grow a garden but then have to scramble to learn how to preserve it! Do you even know all the food preservation methods, let alone how to do them?
Hooray, once again, for the internet! Not only can you read all about whatever it is you’re studying, you can also watch videos of people, just like you, who are new and trying to learn. I find that many times, I learn tips and tricks from these videos and avoid a lot of newbie mistakes. I’ve even gone so far as to email the creators and ask questions. We homesteading folk are a friendly bunch and generally very happy to help people however we can. If you think about it, the smarter and stronger your neighbors are, the better off the overall community is, too!
To summarize, your resources to learn skills for homesteading include:
- YouTube (My personal favorite channels are Pure Living for Life and An American Homestead)
- Articles from fellow homesteaders
- Local Cooperative Extension office (mostly for food gardening, soil, and all that goes with that)
- People locally – Farmer’s Markets, hobby farmers, even your local grain and feed store (yes, they have them in large cities, too!)
Not Sure Where to Start? Consider this:
Homesteading is about self reliance, providing as much for you and your family on your own and within reason. If you’re just not sure where to start, consider the things that every human needs to survive: water, food, shelter, warmth, comfort. Well, and oxygen but you get the idea. 🙂 Learn the skills that will meet those needs and practice them now. For example, I learned how to make a water filter with charcoal and sand. I learned about distilling saltwater to get both the salt and water out of the deal. I learned about water catch systems and different emergency water filtering options.
It All Starts With One Skill
Many people are desperate to homestead – their souls cry out for it! I imagine people stuck in the city, feeling like they live in an area where no possible “homesteading” can be done. WRONG! There are many people out there who have a fully functioning homestead on 1/10th of an acre! There are people who grow all of their greens, year round, in their apartments! Homesteading is more than chickens and canning. It’s an attitude and outlook on life. Instead of giving up because there’s a roadblock, homesteaders look around at what they have to work with and then adjust and adapt to get what they want~YOU CAN TOO!