Day 12: Your Custom Homestead

Well, I’m behind if I’m trying to do my 21 day journey to a custom homestead in 21 days.  But alas, I knew when I started that I had some travel coming up and other things that might take priority, so I’m trying to faithfully plod through the process as my schedule allows.  The next few days should be pretty consistent.  At least that is what I am hoping.

Day 12 is about the modern day homesteader expanding their skill set.  Although this may sound like something that is not necessarily needed and is more like a hobby, I assure you that especially if you are living in a rural area, having a variety of skill sets is very important.  John has always been handy and by the time we moved here I did know my way around the kitchen quite well, but I assure you our sklil set has expanded and deepened over the past few years.

Here are some areas that Jill Winger lists and what we have done in them so far:

1.  Carpentry and welding

John has always been handy but this was taken to an entirely new level when he built our first barn, followed by chicken coops.  He obtained plans, did his research, and built a great barn at our first property.

2. Home Butchery…..nope, not for us yet!

3.  Home dairying and cheese making!

Yes! We started this with the birth of the baby goat last year.  I have learned how to milk, pasteurize, make cheese and more.  I LOVE that.  There is nothing like the taste of fresh food that you have been responsible in creating.

4.  Bread baking….

This was a skill that I had perfected before we left Atlanta.  However, living at 9500 feet, I feel like I have had to redo every recipe I have ever used in the past.  Baking at a high altitude is tricky but I’ve gotten it down for all my basic bread recipes.

5.  Beekeeping…..Nope..not for us!

6.  Sewing/knitting/quilting/fiber arts

I crochet and at times I crochet ALOT.  I have learned to felt since we have been here and at one time I had big plans to grow our own fiber with Angora rabbits……suffice it to say….YUK!  Nope, not for us.  If I need fiber, I will need to get it on one of our trips to town.

7.  Advanced gardening

This is the area of skill development that I’m focusing on this year.  It is difficult to grow things at this altitude with such poor soil and such a short growing season.  This year we are putting in raised beds and I’m starting seeds inside and buying already established plants in hopes of having a real garden.  I’m also focusing on winter or cold weather veggies vs. the traditional garden vegetables seen in most gardens.

8.  Animal husbandry

Yep…..I have studied all about goat breeding and birthing and thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of Tallulah giving birth to Cuddles last March.  This year all five of our does are expecting so we will have an exciting time.  I NEVER would have thought I could learn this type of stuff and remember it when needed before walking through it myself.

9.  Mechanics…..John yes…me….Impossible.

10.  Home food preservation/canning

This is a HUGE yes.  Since moving here I’ve learned to can and freeze.  Something I had never done before.   I have canned peaches, tomatoes, salsa and more.  I have made jams and jellies and frozen every type of fruit and veggie I could get my hands on.  I LOVE having the fresh taste of frozen produce all through the winter.

11.  Soap making

This is another area I want to work on this summer once we have goat milk to use in the soaps.

12.  First aid/vet skills

This is one of the first areas that we felt compelled to become somewhat skilled at.  Since we live far away from medical services or vet services we immediately got books and began reading about treating our own animals if needed and boy, it has been needed several times.

There is something very satisfying about learning these things and feeling less dependent and more self-sufficient.  Something very satisfying indeed!

Faith and Courage,



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