95 Skills for the Urban Homesteader


If only we had room for piggies …(image source)

Over the past few years, I have fallen in love with a number of homesteader blogs where people from all over the world share their stories of living off the land, whether as urban backyard farmers maximizing their city spaces or as good old fashioned homesteaders enjoying (and working their bums off in) some acreage in the country. As one on the backyard side of things who occasionally has those grass-is-greener moments thinking wistfully about homesteading a la Ashley English‘s clan in North Carolina (yet not having a clue how we’d get by without a cafe within walking distance nor being able to imagine saying goodbye to the gorgeous diversity of our neighborhood), there are many things I’m realizing I can still do and learn right here in the city. The Tattooed Homesteader did a great post about the 165 homesteading skills she and her husband would like to gain, highlighting what they’ve learned so far – a bucket list of sorts.

I went through the list and there were a bunch of cool things that on our city lot of 0.10 acre (50×100′) however aren’t exactly realistic,  so I removed those and put together a modified version for the Urban Homesteader and answer the questions myself with a “√”. For those diggin’ this kind of thing (or wanting to…?), I’d love to hear what’s on your bucket list or a recent thing you’ve learned that’s made your life more sustainable!

95 Homesteading Skills for the Urban Homesteader

  1. Bake bread from scratch

  2. Cook a whole chicken in a cast iron skillet

  3. Cook beans from scratch

  4. Make a Quilt √  (well, I did all the knot-ties and then paid a seamstress to sew up the borders since I don’t know how to use a sewing machine)

  5. Crochet a blanket

  6. Crochet a beanie/hat

  7. Darn a sock

  8. Mend a rip in a shirt

  9. Build a beehive & keep bees

  10. Catch a swarm

  11. De-bone a chicken

  12. Dehydrate Foods

  13. Dehydrate Herbs

  14. Use scrap wood to build a structure

  15. Harvest Honey our hive started a bit late so we’ve decided to wait til next year to harvest honey and leave the existing comb for the bees to have over winter – their health first, our honey second!

  16. Knit a scarf

  17. Make a beeswax candle

  18. Build & use a compost Bin

  19. Compost meat with black soldier flies

  20. Make broth in a crockpot

  21. Make Marmalade / Jam / Jelly / Preserves

  22. Cure & store garlic

  23. Roast a pumpkin for freezing

  24. Make english muffins

  25. Make soap in a crockpot

  26. Make sourdough bread and maintain a starter we have tried, unsuccessfully, twice to make our own starter…any tips out there?

  27. Make your own laundry soap

  28. Use a sun oven

  29. Raise & milk a goat

  30. Render lard or tallow

  31. Give birth at home let’s hope this 5th round of DEIVF works…

  32. Preserve using a pressure cooker

  33. Learn to make the perfect pie crust 

  34. Use cloth diapers on our baby tbd…

  35. Learn basic First-Aid and CPR

  36. Learn home canning

  37. Set up a pantry

  38. Learn basic metalworking skills

  39. Learn basic plumbing maintenance skills

  40. Learn how to use a sewing machine

  41. Build an Earthquake Preparedness Kit I have a shopping list for this to keep, that’s it so far. However we did purchase earthquake insurance in 2016 since it’s cheaper than getting the house reinforced and heh, if the big Cascadia one hits we decided we’d rather rebuild than repair!

  42. Make homemade cough remedies

  43. Barter and trade

  44. Brood day-old chicks

  45. Build a greenhouse nursery I built a cold frame from windows but want a real one!

  46. Build a small fence

  47. Host a yard sale

  48. Roast a whole pig

  49. Butcher a chicken

  50. Change a tire

  51. Cook over an open fire

  52. Dye yarn or clothes from plants

  53. Forage locally for wild edibles

  54. Give an injection  Being a multiple IVFer, this is my husband’s job.

  55. Grind wheat into flour for baking

  56. Split and stack firewood

  57. Pay off credit cards and student loans

  58. Pay off mortgage

  59. Make butter

  60. Make cheese I tried unsuccessfully a few years ago not realizing I was using ultra-pasteurized goat’s milk. Pretty funny watching NOTHING happen after 10 hours on the stove (not).

  61. Make herbal extracts, infusions, poultices, and tinctures

  62. Brew cider

  63. Brew beer

  64. Grow hops

  65. Make beeswax & herb salves

  66. Make lotions

  67. Make sausage

  68. Make deodorant

  69. Make bacon and other cured meats Husband has charcuterie class on his Xmas list 🙂

  70. Make vinegar

  71. Plan and grow a vegetable garden

  72. Plan and grow a kitchen herb garden

  73. Properly handle and shoot a gun

  74. Prune and graft a fruit tree

  75. Save seeds

  76. Know crop planting times, season length, and when to harvest

  77. Season a cast iron skillet

  78. Sharpen a knife

  79. Sharpen a saw, mower blade, & other tools

  80. Build and use an outdoor clothesline for laundry 

  81. Propagate plants from cuttings

  82. Build a coop with nesting box and feeder

  83. Keep chickens or ducks for eggs

  84. Set up & use rain barrels

  85. Set up a gray water management system

  86. Store root vegetables (successfully) through an entire winter

  87. Home-school our children obviously this is a future goal

  88. Grow mushrooms

  89. Install solar panels on the house to get off the grid

  90. Build a smoker (DIY)

  91. Use lacto-fermentation to preserve foods

  92. Weave baskets

  93. Make organic pesticide

  94. Catch, prepare and cook that caught fish

  95. Build a Solar Dehydrator I put herbs on a cookie sheet on the back shelf of our hatchback Ford Focus, but I can’t really do this for everything 🙂



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