Something that I may (or may not have) shared before on my social media is that in (hopefully) 3-4 years Cyle and I will be kicking back (and not relaxing) on a 20+ acre farm in the middle of nowhere (ok, like 5-10 minutes from town).
We’ve both had this dream since before we met, and I’m so lucky to be married to a man who doesn’t think I’m crazy for checking on this specific property at least once a week (we check the Zillow listing all of the time to see if it is for sale or if they took it off the market, or if they lowered the price #stalkerstatus). I mean, I’m not saying he doesn’t think I’m crazy, because he totally does, but he also asks me for a status update on it.
During the spring and summer my IG and Facebook feed is full of outdoor projects we’re working on, photos on the progress on our giant (for in the city) garden, and other skills we’re learning.
Since the homesteading lifestyle is what we are aiming for, we decided to compile a list of skills we (and others) need to brush up on before we are actually standing on our farm going “uhhh, so how do I do this stuff?” 😉
- Gardening– Ok, we’ve got this skill figured out fairly well, but we’re by no means perfect (although we can grow an entire forest of tomatoes with no issue). Currently, I’ve made the goal to plant at least one new veggie/fruit each year to learn more about how well it does in the conditions in our area. Plus, I want to learn how to indoor garden with smaller things such as herbs (I’ve always had trouble with some, but we had a good size successful herb garden last year), garlic, onions, and lettuce year round.
- Canning/Dehydrating/Freezing Food– I’ve got this down pat, I believe. We have a water boiling canner as well as a pressure canner, and we’ve canned a variety of items (fruit, veggies, and soups) so I’m confident in our skills, but, of course, there are other items we may need to learn to can, and different ways to can them (tomatoes in water VS oil and herbs VS without any liquid). We also freeze some fruit and veggies, but this past year we received a vacuum sealer as a gift, and I’m excited to see if this helps the quality of our frozen food.
- Making Butter, Cheese & Milk– My plan, although Cyle isn’t a fan of it, is to get goats for fresh goat milk and cheese. Besides the whole learning how to take care of goats and milk them, I need to learn how to successfully make butter, milk, and cheese. I’ve found a few recipes on Pinterest for easy cheeses (and even almond milk!) and I’m excited to give them a try when we have some extra cash (in case it doesn’t work out and we have to pitch it)
- Stop using ceramic cookware and switch solely to cast iron– We’ve have our ceramic cookware from JCP for about 2 years and the already need replaced and are not non-stick anymore. Meanwhile our cast iron skillets are doing amazingly. We love our cast iron, know how to care for it, and know how to cook in it, so right now our goal is to save up and get more. Plus, cleaning them is so much easier and won’t end up filling our sink with more dishes.
- Master composting– We are starting our own compost pile (FINALLY!) and it is going to be a big trial and error this first year while we figure out what methods work best and what size our family of two will need. I can’t wait to figure out more about composting. This skill not only saves us room in the trash bin, but it reduces waste, and helps create GREAT soil for the garden.
- Sewing– Fun fact, I know how to sew, but I hate it. I don’t know why, but I just don’t enjoy it anymore, but I think part of that frustration is because I stopped for years and was angry that the skills kind of went away. My mom and grandmother both love to sew, so I plan on spending some more time with both of them soon to relearn the skill. Not only will we then be able to mend clothes that need repaired, but this skill can translate to altering clothes for our kids when they need it, and doing custom home décor.
- Blacksmithing– If you’ve been peeking around my IG feed, you’ve seen that my handsome hubby blacksmiths in his spare time. He is completely self-taught and has caught on so quickly on how to do it, but we both know he needs more practice on this skill so we can build more projects and items we would need on the farm. Plus, it is a good side income to have (which we actually did turn into a small business for when we have time). He also has been dying to teach me how to blacksmith, which I’m terrified/excited about!
- Brew our own booze– You bet your sweet buns we’re gonna learn how to make our own hooch! Haha 😉 Side note, if some sort of “apocalypse”/economical breakdown occurs, alcohol is an amazing item that is highly valued in trading (I mean, if it all hits the fan, I’m gonna need quite a few drinks to make it through!). Plus, how fun would it be to make your own wine and serve it at parties?!
- Learn more about homeopathy and essential oils– We already aren’t a fan of going to the drugstore or the doctor at the slightest sight of a cough, but when living in the country, there is an abundance of resources around you. Different plants hold different therapeutic benefits and are much cheaper than a trip to the doctor (Note: I’m not dishonoring or discrediting doctors, but nothing major, I fully believe in taking care of the issue naturally). Did you know that lambs ear (the plant, not the body part! 😉 ) was actually used as an antibacterial bandage during revolutionary and pre-American times? It’s a good thing I planned on growing this anyway for the house!
- Filtering water and tapping trees-Living far out in the country means living on a well, this also means that sometimes you might not have water. Our current plan is to learn more about water filtration and purchase/build a water barrel to water our garden in our backyard so we can test our how purified we can get it without risking contamination or other issues with drinking water. The ultimate goal? To have several barrels of water full at the farm for emergency situations.
- Saving seeds for future gardening– We have had issues with our seedling starters the past few years, which resulted in us having to buy already started plants at the farmers market. This year we figured out the issue ( we weren’t getting the plants big enough before transplanting, and we weren’t hardening them to the outdoor conditions well enough) and we are planning on keeping seeds throughout the years so we can have a decent stockpile of successful fruits and veggies (and herbs/other plants) for a few years.
- Learning CPR and First Aid– Ambulances can’t make it out to a country farm as quickly as they can a home in the city, so learning basic CPR and first aid is detrimental to homesteading (or just living in general). Luckily, we are good friends with an EMT who can help us learn basic skills!
- Improve firearms handling– We already own several weapons, Cyle has excellent skills from the military, and I, well, I’ve got some work to do. While I personally do not hunt, being able to handle a weapon for safety (protection from intruders or dangerous wildlife) is very important. In fact, this is a skill I believe every law abiding, mentally stable, citizen needs to know.
- Turning off the screens– Not only is constantly being in front of a computer, TV, or phone screen sucking up precious time, but it also takes money. Want to watch the news? If you don’t have an antennae you’re either paying for streaming services (and internet) or cable. While, as a blogger, I have to spend time in front of the computer and online in order to maintain the blog, being less dependent now on electronics for entertainment (and time suckers) will make the transition to a life full of hard work, outdoor chores, and early mornings and late nights, much easier.