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You can learn homestead skills even if you live in the city! No matter where you are, you can become more self-sufficient. Here are some great homestead skills to learn while you’re still dreaming about your own piece of land. 

Hi there! Chantal from Ironwild Fitness here. I’m the mama, writer, and dreamer behind this site! 

Today I want to talk about that hard part we all have to deal with when dreaming – the waiting.

While ranching is our ultimate goal overall, I have always wanted to be a farmer of sorts. I have always loved to grow things, and I am naturally drawn to country living, homesteading, and everything related to self-sufficiency. 

In fact, my first-ever blog (back in 2014) was a homesteading blog.

However, I got discouraged for a few years because of one major thing. A thing that I thought defined me as a, “homesteader.” That was, of course, land. 

While we have never lived in the big city, both Jake and I grew up in semi-suburban areas surrounded by farmland and forest. We both experienced the farm life through extended family and personal choices, though neither of us grew up with farmer parents. 

So, when I started my first blog, a homesteading blog, I felt a bit fraudulent writing about self-sufficiency. At that time, Jake and I were pretty much still newlyweds, and we had a new baby. We lived on the edge of town in a cul-de-sac. While we had a large lot, I just felt that I wasn’t a true homesteader, despite hobby farming and homesteading being huge goals of mine. 

And, although we had chickens and a garden, plus deer right on the other side of our fence, I eventually gave up on my dream. 

homestead skills you can learn anywhere

(For a few years, that is.)

You see, I had this limiting belief that my circumstances were bigger than my dreams.

I was letting my current circumstances define me a little too much. So I stopped working towards my dream life – homesteading, hobby farming, growing all the things, and ranching. 

It wasn’t until recently, since starting our future farm, Steele Family Ranch, that I have begun to lean into it more. While I never gave up on my dream, I felt just discouraged enough to quit working on it with intention. 

When the year 2020 happened, it’s like I woke up all over again. 

I had always felt that our society has major issues with food security, instant gratification, digital everything, and more. But 2020 made me even more disenchanted with the ways of the world, and I KNEW that I needed to get Jake on board with a major lifestyle change. 

When we got married, both of us knew that we eventually wanted to own a piece of land. But it was never really clear what that meant, let alone how it would happen. If anything, the year of the pandemic clarified a lot of things for us. 

But we could dream forever without taking any action.

Right? It’s easy to do. 

Of course, coming by land and becoming farmers overnight wasn’t going to happen. It’s especially hard to get into farming in Oregon without having large amounts of money. I had the dream to become much more self-sufficient, and remove ourselves from society to some degree, but I certainly couldn’t do it without Jake. 

He wasn’t willing to leave his well-paying job just to have a little homestead, and ranching had always been interesting to him. So, we reached a compromise. We’d work towards a family business in which he’d run the ranch, and I’d run the marketing side along with a food garden, chickens, and all of the hobby-farm dreams. 

However, it wasn’t something that we could just jump into right away. We had loose ends. We still do. But we had reached a point where we couldn’t just sit back and watch the world crumble. We had to make moves. 

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So, we brainstormed. We formed our business legally, and we started a website. Then, we paid some great graphic designers to create a timeless logo that we felt would really represent who we are. And, since I had been blogging for awhile, I knew I wanted to start creating content for our site and growing an Instagram page. 

During this time, we also started looking for the right piece of land. Jake started hanging out with his Army buddy and rancher friend to learn more about cattle. We figured out that to make enough money for Jake to be able to quit his job as an Ironworker, we’d have to have a pretty large piece of land. 

So, we ruled out small parcels. We made a big trip to Eastern Oregon to look at a few properties. We continued to brainstorm. 

Then, we started investing in a bit of literature and a few courses about cattle ranching. (Starting with the free courses offered by our local university extension office.) We also started exploring ways to diversify our income by taking note of what other ranchers were doing. 

There’s more, but the point is this – we stopped sitting around waiting for our dreams to come true. We had homestead skills to learn!

I knew that I still wanted to homestead on top of ranching. It’s almost necessary. We quickly realized that any affordable, sizable piece of property would likely be a good drive away from any significant town. As such, it became more important than ever for me to learn how to do more things on my own. 

I knew that I’d need to be able to do way more in the way of gardening, cooking, building, and many other self-sufficiency skills if I wanted this dream to come true. So, I made a huge list of skills that would be helpful for me to learn on my own. From learning how to buy things in bulk and make them stretch, to sourdough baking, cheese making, home butchering, lard rendering – you name it.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t start to learn some new skills. 

So, I started down my list of homestead skills to learn. 

And although we came to realize that it might take a bit longer than we wanted to get just the right piece of land, we haven’t stopped learning. 

We’re growing a little bit more each day, despite not being able to call ourselves ranchers just yet. 

I want to encourage you to do the same. Even if you’re still homestead dreaming, there are MANY things you can do. So many homestead skills can be learned right now. Even if you’re in the city. So, here are some great things to start with. (Just don’t overwhelm yourself. It’s better to do a few things well than many things poorly!)

41 Homestead Skills To Learn While You’re Still Dreaming

  1. Cheese Making 
  2. Sourdough Baking 
  3. Home Butchering 
  4. Curing/Dehydrating 
  5. Pressure Canning 
  6. Water Bath Canning 
  7. Container Gardening 
  8. Foraging 
  9. Yogurt Making 
  10. Fire Starting 
  11. Wood Chopping 
  12. Soap Making 
  13. Sewing 
  14. Candle Making 
  15. How to Make Sauerkraut/Fermentation 
  16. Meat Smoking 
  17. Crotchet or Knitting 
  18. Herbalism 
  19. Basic First Aid 
  20. From-Scratch Cooking 
  21. How To Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies 
  22. DIY Personal Care Products/Skincare 
  23. Budgeting 
  24. Pantry Organization 
  25. Meal Planning 
  26. Frugal Living & Thrifting 
  27. DIY & Repurposing  
  28. Hunting & Fishing 
  29. Composting 
  30. Seed Saving 
  31. Rendering Lard or Tallow 
  32. General Carpentry 
  33. Firearm Safety 
  34. Transplanting 
  35. Cooking with Cast Iron 
  36. Gutting a Fish or Big Game 
  37. Alternative Energy 
  38. Churn Your Own Butter 
  39. Making Freezer Jam 
  40. Learn to Make Your Own Vinegar 
  41. Start Line-Drying Your Laundry 

So there you have it. No more excuses about why you can or can’t learn to become more self-sufficient. Hey, we didn’t grow up as farmers, homesteaders, or ranchers…

But we are still working on our homestead skills while we dream! Because inaction won’t get us any closer to our dreams. So, are you going to keep dreaming, or start doing? 

– Chantal