Thursday, October 6, 2016

What Are Homesteading Skills?

I saw an ad on a permaculture forum offering a live-in situation for a person or a couple with homesteading skills. Got me wondering about what people think homesteading skills are. Looking at my own situation, I think I've acquired a number of skills that are suited for my own homestead, but I'm still lacking in some important departments.

Skills I have... 
...animal husbandry. I can pretty much care for my livestock totally myself. Feeding. Tending. Handling. Health care. 
...vegetable and fruit production. While I'm not always successful, I can grow enough for the two of us to eat, plus extra to trade with and give away. I've been acquiring the knowledge that goes along with this task : composting, soil building, container gardening, seed saving, plant propagation, etc. 
...meat & egg production. I've acquired knowledge to produce enough eggs and meat animals. And I learned humane slaughter, and butchering skills. 
...building. By far I'm not a carpenter, plumber, or electrician, but I get by. Between the two of us, we've learned a lot about house building, cement work, painting, roofing, solar electric, catchment water. I can wield a level and a square, use a nail gun without shooting myself, and competently use a variety of saws and drills. I've even figured out what most of those weird metal construction connectors are for. 
...fencing. I can pound a mean post into this rocky ground and string field fence. Might not be as straight as somebody using a drill or hammer, but it's still a good farm fence. I've learned to string electric fencing too. storage. While I don't bother to can food, I have learned to pickle, dehydrate, and freeze foods. Plus I prepare our meals from scratch. I suppose that's a good homestead skill too. No popping a frozen pizza into the oven for dinner...not here! 

Skills I'm lacking...
...small engine repair. I struggle to keep my machines fixed and working. 
...welding. Knowing how to weld would be a big benefit. Just think of all the crazy yard art I could be making out of discarded metal. Yikes...hubby is glad I can't weld. 
...large equipment operation and maintenance. I actually see it as a benefit that I don't have this skill. Otherwise I'd be sorely tempted to buy a skid steer or a tractor. maintenance and repair. Once upon a time, before vehicles had computers, I used to be able to do basic automobile care. Took a number of adult courses in DIY auto repair. Could do oil changes, check fluids, engine tune ups, set timing, rebuild carburetors, replace starters/alternators/pumps/etc. Install new piston rings, replace belts & timing belts, gap spark plugs and replace wires, rewire the engine, make new gaskets. Over the years I've replaced windshields, fuel pumps, springs, clutch assemblies, and fixed numerous broken down junkers having assorted ailments.  But then along came computers, pollution equipment, interconnected electrical systems. Blag. I'm afraid to touch the buggahs nowadays for fear I'd completely bust them. 

I pretty much have the skills now to build and maintain a small homestead. Wow, I'm actually doing it. Amazing. When I started out many years ago, I wasn't sure I'd ever learn or succeed. It was something I wanted to do in my lifetime, but it seemed to be such a daunting challenge. I wasn't all that optimistic that I'd be able to do it. But along the way I've gained "homesteading skills". Pretty nifty, even if I say so myself. 

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