If you're thinking about starting to homestead, these 16 skills are the most important to learn now.
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Moving to a 40-acre homestead before acquiring the skills we've learned over the past 20 years (first in an apartment, then in a home on 1/4 acre, to 5-acres, etc.) would have been a dire mistake.

Here are 16 homesteading skills we think are imperative to learn BEFORE moving to a large homestead… and many can be learned right where you are, even if that means an apartment in the city!

Time Stamps:
1:57 – Chit Chat
6:24 – Question of the week: Why don't we see Josh without a hat any more?
9:40 – Cooking from Scratch
11:12 – Bulk Buying
13:13 – Pantry Management
14:41 – Food preservation
16:43 – Learning to work together
19:20 – Gardening
20:42 – Fixing things yourself
22:18 – Working with power tools
22:57 – Bread baking
24:00 – Keeping animals
25:36 – Natural medicine
28:15 -Hauling trailers and moving things around
29:09 – Natural cleaning
30:29 – Practicing off-grid scenarios
32:16 – Hospitality
34:33 – Entertainment

WELCOME! We're so glad you're here! We are Josh and Carolyn Thomas. Together with our nine children, we are The Homesteading Family where we’re living a self-sustainable life in beautiful North Idaho. Let us welcome you and show you a bit about us here:

Grow, Preserve & Thrive with us!
Visit us at and on Facebook at

A few highlights you don't want to miss are our FREEBIES!!

Click any of the links below for instant access to free video training resources:

– Healthy Healing at Home- Free 4 video workshop on our herb course Herbal Medicine Cabinet: Colds
– Bread Making workshop- Free 4 video workshop on our masterclass, The Art of Homemade Bread
– Meals on Your Shelf- Free 4 video workshop on canning. The Abundant Pantry: Canning

Click any of the links below for instant access to these free downloadable PDFs:

– Homesteading Family's Favorite Holiday Recipes – A PDF download filled with our family’s favorite holiday recipe.
– 5 Steps to a More Self Sufficient Life- Simple PDF download on 5 steps anyone can take wherever they are to start a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
– Thrive Wellness Checklist- A simple PDF download for healthy living.
– Permaculture for Your Homestead- PDF download that is an introduction to permaculture with some strategies for applying it to one’s homestead and garden.
– Carolyn’s Cottage Garden herb list- PDF with Carolyn’s favorite herbs for growing at home.
– Carolyn’s Make-Ahead Breakfast Casseroles- Carolyn’s favorite make-ahead breakfast casseroles.
– Your FREE Guide to Preserving Eggs- PDF download with multiple ways to preserve eggs.
– 5 Steps to a Healthy Garden- PDF download with an explanation of what makes healthy soil and 5 steps you can take to improve your garden
– Save the Crumbs- Several Recipes for using bread leftovers, a less committal entry to bread than the workshop.
– Fearless Fermenting- A PDF on basic lacto-ferments.
– Fermenting Tomatoes- PDF download on fermenting tomatoes
– Preserving Culinary Herbs- Downloadable, step by step directions to drying, freezing and salting culinary herbs.
– Render Your Own Lard- PDF with instructions on how to render your own lard.
#PantryChat #Homesteading #Homesteadskills



  • Michael Dunwoody

    Excellent counsel! Skills are at the core of any successful Homestead. We started a homestead 8 years ago. At that point, our only skill was our ambition to make it work. I spent a fortune buying all kinds of stuff to make it work better, smoother, and easier. It took me about five years to realize that it will never get smoother or easier. And that’s okay because the work you put into it is the most rewarding part of homesteading.

    I kind of think of it as a formula: knowledge + skills + tools + energy + time = a homestead. A little seed and some good soil never hurts.

  • Erica Winter

    Great advice generally. But you cant say one cannot do something similar to what you’re achieving as a family perhaps on a smaller scale! God says we can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens us. Either God’s words are true or they aren’t. Some folk do not have a help mate and I think God will enable those who call on Him. As I say – great advice about needing to help each other and learning to work together IF there is another person to help! If not – GOD can do anything in us if/when we realise our need of Him for everything! I don’t think most of us fully realise that we wouldn’t even be able to lift our wrist if God did not give us strength to do that every second of every day.

    • Coco Lint

      I like your point of view…I also think that people have a tendency to think that being self sufficient means doing everything for your self, but in the bible, the term is used to mean being content with what we have and like you said, relying on God to help us and give what we need to accomplish what we need to do.

    • Radically Prepared

      He has a plan for all of us.

  • Sue

    If only I could only find another human to partner with. Until then, I just keep plugging away alone. Kitchen skills, gardening and preserving all under control. The rest of the yard… ugh. Lol 😂

    • uk_prepper

      Yep, I feel your pain

    • gettin' there Janice

      I am divorced and I think marriage can be great and makes your life great and I am somewhat open to a future with a partner. But I refuse to believe I can’t have this dream without a man. The man I had felt more like a liability than an asset. They use the examp!e of husband and wife already. Married dreaming together learning to work together but it goes way beyond when I was a teen and in my twenties my closest friend who I spent the most time with was four years my senior and her friends and we canned and dehydrated and it was very much a social affair. It was mostly women but some men I moved away and don’t have it now but I had community. It is tricky right now building that community right this minute but build friendship with like minded people and with complentry skill sets. Think community. And support network and people to bless

    • jaees michelle

      i plan to start alone. once i have land i think it’ll be easier to convince others to come and help 😅

    • uk_prepper

      @jaees michelle that’s exactly what I have done, I’m currently installing a rain water harvesting system, I have been growing a garden, and did some canning for the first time last week

    • White Acres

      Same here. Having another adult human would be great but doing it alone is possible just know upfront that it is tough.

  • Krystyna

    Haircuts are costly and such a great skill to have especially on homestead.

    • Alisha James

      Just let it grow 🙂

    • zritamoe

      Definitely. I have naturally curly hair, so I gave up on outside help many years ago. Didn’t want to keep paying for bad haircuts. I’ve been cutting my own hair for a long time. I’d encourage anyone who needs to save money to start by practicing in small increments – don’t cut too many inches your first time – and before you know it, it will become second-nature. 🙂 There’s also a ton of tutorials on this platform, obviously. Lol

  • Linda Steckman

    Loved this chat… Re: Hospitality and simple pleasures – There’s something to be said about sitting on the porch, after a long day with a glass of ice cold tea, sharing your day with a friend… Watching the chickens is an added bonus!!! 😁

  • Empty Nester Homestead

    while I guess I passed the test on all of them. ok it time to move to the country.

  • Terri Brown

    Being a city girl, raised by a family that didn’t need me for anything, (housecleaning, landscape services…), I felt like I was never much more than a person who was related to my parents. (Born in the 40’s, I think my parents thought they were doing me a favor.) Now that I have my own family, not for lack of money, I’ve chosen to expect everyone to do chores, and decided to teach my young kids how much we needed their help doing this for the collective benefit of our family. Until recently, vegetable gardening in my small urban back yard had always been a private personal hobby. My place to escape. But with every piece of bad news lately I decided to get serious and to expand the pantry and garden, at this point, to 4 times the size it was before. I was concerned about asking for help to accomplish this initially, but instead my computer gaming, (now), teens and computer pro husband have joyfully worked with me in the garden, as well as to help organize our pantry. It’s a happy thing for me to watch in action. Everyone knows how valuable they are to the well being of our family! The concept that all it takes to keep a family together is to eat dinner together, is only half the story. My motto is that the family who cleans toilets together, stays together. (Just be sure to crank the volume up on the music while you do it!) Thanks for all of the great tips here! Best wishes to you and your family. 🙂

  • Buhle Mabutyana

    I am from South Africa 🇿🇦 and all of these skills we taught as schools but they don’t anymore, my mother was a home economics teacher and this is what she taught. Thank you for the great video.

  • Alastor

    I’ve found that I actually save money by selling the homegrown food that I grow, and buying supermarket stuff for myself. If anything goes wrong I’ll start eating my own food, but I’ll go with what’s more profitable while I can.

  • Cathleen Caratan Moses

    My motto is that your skills will be your greatest preps. They are foundational to problem solving in situations under pressure.

  • Salem Thorup

    Josh: my hair is a bit shaggy.

    *lifts his hat to reveal silky, wavy silver locks of abundant hair*

    Dude, don’t hide that. You’re hair is amazing!

  • The Adhd Gardener

    I dream of a homestead but until then ive been just urban homesteadin for now. Small scale but better than nothing! Push forward people..aquire them skills

    • Margot Cavanaugh

      That’s what we’re doing! Figured we may as well bloom where planted; we can always transplant later. Best wishes on your farming journey! 😀

  • Mary Coffin

    Thanks for answering my curiosity question! And thanks for pointing out the need for developing hospitality! It is a concept sorely lacking in this day and age. It is foundational in the Rule of St. Benedict (which tells me in part, why you enjoy Brother Cadfael stories!).

  • Nichole Hillabush

    So, I’m super curious to hear more about recognizing diseases in your trees, and what to do about it!

  • Jennifer R

    Yes! The one I work to convey it’s cooking, from ingredients, using what I need to use up next. Feeds us and reduced waste. So different than the “American way”!

    • fiona fiona

      That part remained trough to me but returning to local, seasonal (bulk?) ingredients and reducing meat (from 8-12 meals out of 21! including something) still looked daunting.

  • Sam P

    Yes ma’am we call it chicken tv! Who needs cable tv in the mntns- country unless ur tryn to “escape” the beloved lifestyle as u choose to live it. Waste of time, much like the interweb, fb, etc lol. Love it & all the skills come after practice & are so great to start hands on learning wherever u are soon as u can & once u need them there is no panic & worry. Now to get back to baking bread, fermenting, harvesting, etc. TFS God Bless

  • Alexandra Aalto

    As always, loaded with tons of relevant and useful information, and so pleasantly presented. Thank you. Please might I ask if you have any tips to offer on Home Curing of meats / Charcuterie..? I have been experimenting over the years and always, with great success. I honestly do believe if people tried it, they might be pleasantly surprised ! I look forward to hearing from you at a time of your convenience and prat that God Bless you in all you set your hands to. Warm greetings from France.

  • Christopher Cook

    Yeah!! I cannot sell my existing home fast enough and move to the hills!!!

  • Scot McDougal

    I’d add some medical training, such as simple first aid and CPR, up to perhaps an EMT certification class. I was certified in 2001 and have used those skills many times since. You can certainly take the class without taking the State certification test.

  • Metella44

    So good a point on self-sufficiency — I see these guys bragging about being off grid and using a chainsaw – so ? who got the oil? refined the oil? made the chainsaw? Mined the materials? Shipped it to your area 🙂 We have to make sure we are taking care of ourselves – but we are ALL INTERCONNECTED and need to care about each other 🙂

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