If the recent pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can never be too prepared for a disaster. However, while everyone else is stocking up on toilet paper and canned foods, true preppers know the value of high-quality homesteading skills that will serve them well long after the consumable products are used up and gone.
These six homesteading skills could very well save your life and your future.
When you can’t just drive to the store and buy your food, you have to know how to grow it or otherwise obtain it yourself, or you’ll starve. It’s really that simple. We’ll cover hunting in a little bit, but gardening is probably the best skill you can learn if you want to be prepared for a disaster.
While hunting depends on the abundance of wildlife in your area, and you may or may not be able to land an animal on any given day, gardening can produce healthy, nutrient-rich food again and again.
To learn this skill, begin studying what grows best in which climates. You may be able to stay where you are, but you also could have to move to another area, depending on the nature of the disaster. So, just learning what grows well in your environment is not enough to be truly prepared.
Create or obtain a guide that offers tips on what to grow in various types of soil, weather, and environmental conditions. This knowledge will serve you well no matter where you end up living.
You can even grow your own high quality plant medicine. If you have the means, stock up on seeds that will grow well in various environments, so you have a jump start. However, even without seeds, you should be able to know how to begin a basic food garden.
If you’re like most preppers, you have a significant store of water available in case something happens that renders local water sources non-potable or you’re not able to obtain water for some reason. However, those stores can only last so long before you’ll need to replenish them.
Remember that you can’t live longer than three days without water, so it’s absolutely vital that you know how to find and use water in your environment. For instance, knowing that trees grow near water sources is important for helping you find a river or creek that can provide you with water, even if it’s not clean.
Make sure you have a way to treat or boil water that you find in nature. This is because you don’t want to make yourself sick from bacteria, which could make your situation worse. Also, keep in mind that you should never eat snow since it can dangerously lower your body temperature. Instead, let the snowmelt in a metal pot over a heating source and drink the resulting water.
Hunting is another critical skill that you should have before you’re faced with a situation that requires it. If you’re not able to visit a grocery store or butcher to get your meat, you’ll have to get it somewhere else if you want to remain an omnivore. You don’t have to make your weapons out of stone or anything like that, though.
Simply have traps and weapons available and operational in a place where you can get to them if something happens. Fishing is also a form of hunting, so stock up on fishing line and research the best bait for the fish in your area (and in other areas) to give yourself the best chance at catching enough to sustain yourself.
Learning how to hunt takes some time, so if you’re set on procuring your own meat, you’ll want to start your education as soon as possible. Begin with a hunter’s safety course to learn how to properly handle your weapons. Then, move into more advanced skills such as tracking and identifying animals, understanding animals’ habits, navigation, and more. The better you are at finding animals and predicting their movements, the more success you’ll have as a hunter.
Carpentry and Other Maintenance Skills
Chances are, in the event of a disaster, you’re not going to be able to call up a carpenter to repair your shelter or fence when it becomes damaged. You’re going to have to learn how to do these repairs yourself. This actually applies to any type of general maintenance skills that you will need around your living area. For example, you may need to know how to weatherproof your structure or how to repair a door that’s knocked off its hinges.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to be an expert, and it doesn’t really matter what your repair looks like as long as it’s functional. You’re not building the world’s largest survival bunker, after all. Learning the basics can go a long way in what you’ll be able to accomplish in a survival situation. By obtaining some simple carpentry and maintenance skills, you’ll be able to patch things up, build rudimentary furniture, and protect yourself from the elements.
Once you take care of your fundamental needs in a time of survival, you’ll want to add additional ways to produce food and other products. Raising animals can help you get through the lean times when hunting isn’t paying off, and your garden isn’t growing. Chickens will make sure you have eggs, cows can give you milk and meat, and sheep can give you wool. Of course, not only will you have to know how to care for these animals and have the means to care for them, but that can be learned fairly easily through research.
Additionally, you’ll want to use every part of the animal you can if you’re facing circumstances that offer minimal resources. Learn how to cure a cow’s skin and to spin wool. These are more difficult skills to obtain, so you’ll need to spend more time learning them.
However, if you ever find yourself in a survival scenario, you’ll be glad you took that time. Since you can’t predict what the world will look like or what types of products will be readily available in the event of a disaster, it’s a good idea to know how to make the products you need.
Aside from taking care of your basic needs of food, water, and shelter, you’ll also need to know first aid. No one can predict when an injury or illness will occur, and it’s very likely that someone will become injured or sick during or after an emergency.
Of course, you should have a well-stocked first aid kit available to use wherever you’re hunkering down, but you also need to know how to use those supplies to treat injuries and illnesses. You can take a basic first aid course from most junior colleges, hospitals, and other community-based organizations, and they’re excellent skills to have even if you’re not in a survival situation.
At the minimum, know how to stop the flow of blood, splint a broken limb, and treat someone for shock. These are the most dangerous medical emergencies facing anyone who is trying to survive in a harsh environment. You should also learn to recognize the signs of hypothermia, sunstroke, and heat exhaustion and know how to treat these conditions without professional medical assistance. Who knows? The life you save might just be your own.
At one time, preppers were dismissed as over-cautious, paranoid, or even a little crazy. However, as we’ve all learned in the past year, you can never be too prepared for an emergency or disaster. There will always be some people who panic and snap up all the available supplies, leaving others without much-needed products that could have disastrous results.
For this reason, and many others, learning how to be self-sufficient is no longer just about living off the grid or leaving a smaller environmental footprint. It’s about survival and having the skills that will allow you to take advantage of your surroundings to create a thriving life.
Suggested resources for preppers:
The #1 food of Americans during the Great Depression
If you see this plant, don’t touch it!