Homestead Skills

“See that you learn, my darlin’, hard times will come again.”

Granny, everyday of our lives
our grandparents when they were in their forties, circa the 1950s-60s

I didn’t understand that the homestead skills being taught to me every day of my life would be the skills required to thrive amidst the chaos of pandemic, food shortages, bank failures, and more. I did not know exactly what she meant by “hard times”.

What did I know? Granny was serious and she meant for me to attend to her words. Granny was a child of The Great Depression, she understood hard times and the necessity of homestead skills in ways that I likely never will. Her age wizened eyes could see over the horizon that in my childhood innocence I could not. She knew that the homestead skills of the past would become the way of the future.

It was these needful things, the urgency of teaching us all of the homestead skills, that pressed on her mind and everyone else’s as they poured them into us. As we walked, talked, sat by the way, worked, and communed they poured into us. Every lesson they had learned and every family tradition that had passed down were written upon the tables of our hearts. Granny’s words echo through my mind louder with each passing day as we see the need for a renaissance of this old fashioned family education. The time is fast approaching that this way of life and these homestead skills will become a survival necessity, so here we stand heralding the call.

See that you learn, my friends, hard times are here and soon comes the day when the days of education will be left off and every student will sink or swim.

The Appalachian Homestead, 2023

Homestead Skill Sets To Learn In 2023

  • Seed Starting/Gardening
  • Hunting/Fishing/Processing Meats
  • Foraging Food & Medicine
Homestead Skill 1:  Gardening.   Rows of beautiful green leafy vegetables

Homestead Skill 1: Seed Starting and Gardening

It’s so easy to think that seed starting and gardening is as simple as tossing some seeds into the soil. Well, it is and it isn’t. These are arts which can be learned and cultivated quite easily by simply finding a trusted resource. Flying by the seat of your pants is fun for social media and it’s fantastic to wing it at times. In this instance, though, we are speaking of life sustaining self sufficiency. Choose someone who can teach you tried and true methods across many years. We offer this, of course, but we are not the only ones in town with gardening experience. There are plenty of fantastic free instagram resources, so be sure to make use of them, such as:


We, within our Compound Club membership, offer one on one support as well as the hundreds of pages of written instruction on every garden topic from seed starting to pest problems. These resources have been published across the last 19 months and continue to grow in number there monthly.

Homestead Skill 2: Meat Processing & Food Preservation (Canning)

While we are glad to advise direct questions regarding animal care and husbandry, this is not the focus of our account. Rather, we focus on teaching you to process and preserve both animals and garden produce. Many people are terrified of “poisoning or killing” their families. We understand that food preservation is serious business, and there should be a certain amount of caution applied. Be sure you learn from a trusted source and follow the proper steps for safe processing and canning and you’ll do just fine. Learning the art of food preservation also ensures that your family will not be hungry in the event that supply chains further deteriorate.

Homestead Skill 3: Foraging Food and Medicine

Homestead Skill 3:  Foraging Food and Medicine.  Wooden mortar and pestle surrounded by glass jars filled with a wide variety of beautiful green wild herbs

Foraging is a skill that must be developed carefully and across time, learning each plant well. Great attention must given to every detail of a plant as this is one instance when “close enough” could literally prove deadly. Ironically far fewer people are afraid to forage than they are to preserve food. Your foraging teacher should be a person you know to be very experienced and careful. As you learn about each plant friend and its food/medicinal use we encourage you to take careful notes. Create your very own Materia Medica. We’ve included a free printable, here, which you can print and fill in for each plant as you learn them. We also offer a basic herbal course which teaches basic foraging safety. Other trusted friends such as Allison Tuell @frogcreekfarm_apothecarian and Jen @firebranchfarms on Instagram also offer these.

See That You Learn

Friend, the resources are available. You simply need to put them to use. Knowing who to trust can be a challenge, so our best advice is to ask where the teacher learned. Lineage is often a topic that leads to social media rioting, yet time after time we see the importance of lineage displayed throughout history and even in the Bible. Being new is not a bad thing but your teacher should be experienced. Just as you would seek out the most experienced electrician when you build your home, you should also seek out an experienced teacher for all the new skills you’re setting out to acquire.

For more articles like this one see some of our other homestead posts