Homesteading for Beginners

Homesteading is about making small steps towards self-sufficiency until you have the life you want. You do not have to give up all modern luxuries and move to a big isolated hunk of land to become a homesteader. Instead, you can start where you’re at. Even people living in a tiny apartment in the middle of the big city can become more self-sufficient by simply planting some herbs in a container. In fact, that is exactly how my homesteading journey began. Here are some simple skills I would encourage a want-to-be homesteader to practice:

Start Composting

Seedling emerging from composted soil

Composting is a great step for someone that has some space and wants to begin gardening within the next year or so. Without good compost, your crops can experience nutritional deficiencies. Composting will help you get connected to your soil and it will provide essential nutrients for your future plants. To learn how we started our composting method click here.

Learn how to Preserve Food

Knife slicing a fresh tomato

Knowing how to preserve food is an important skill to have when your backyard is bursting with vegetables. This also comes in handy when your favorite fruits and vegetables go on sale or when something is about to spoil in your refrigerator. Food preservation can include:

  • Drying
  • Salting
  • Canning
  • Pickling/Fermenting
  • Freezing

Food preservation takes practice, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work out the first (or second time.)

Get Familiar with Wood

Man finishing wooden butcher block

Woodworking is an important skill to have on the homestead. This skill will save you loads of cash and will allow you to build important things like gardening boxes, animal hutches, and furniture. Prior to trying out your building skills, start getting familiar with wood. Learn where to buy it, what qualities you need to look for, and what tools or skills you will need if your plan is to reuse free wood. Getting familiar with wood will save you a lot of headaches once you are ready to begin woodworking.

Investigate Protein Sources

Child standing in Free Range Rabbit Tractor

Raising some type of meat or protein is often when people begin identifying as homesteaders. While you don’t need a backyard to start raising a protein source, I do recommend you take at least 6 months to learn the ins-and-outs of your specific protein prior to purchasing. Join groups on Facebook, learn about the different breeders and suppliers in your area, head to the library and read up on their needs and common illnesses. Here is a list of “alternative” protein sources to get you started:

Infographic of livestock options for people living in apartments, HOA's, & cities

If you are just beginning your homesteading journey, know that all of these skills take time and dedication to master. Failure is part of the homesteading process. Don’t let that stop you from achieving your self-sufficient dreams!

Reasons You Shouldn’t Raise Rabbits

Typically this is the part of the blog post where I’m supposed to introduce you to reasons you shouldn’t be raising rabbits, but we don’t have time for that. There are plenty of normal humans just wandering around the internet, falling in love with the idea of having their own sustainable meat right in their backyard, and I need to help those poor lost souls before they get in so deep they cannot be rescued.

Reasons You Shouldn't Raise Rabbits with graphic of gray rabbit

Perfectly good meat appears in the back of grocery stores that doesn’t require an animal being murdered.

Have you ever seen a pork or a beef out in the wild? No, you haven’t. Because they don’t exist. It’s not science. It’s magic.

Knowing what food your meal has eaten is just plain wrong. 

Why feed your animal organic plants from your garden when it could instead be eating phytoestrogens and genetically modified organisms? That old saying, “you are what you eat” doesn’t apply to food because scientists created a filtration system from styrofoam wrappers and ignorance to just pull away all of the bad stuff. I’m really concerned about how you will filter your meat if you have neither styrofoam nor ignorance.

An angel loses its wings every time you pay less than $0.50 for “free-range,” “organic,” or “grass-fed” meat.

Don’t you dare get me started on those that eat gourmet meals for free because they grow their rabbit’s food. I may not know what the angel loses at that point, but I do know one thing, there will be severe consequences for those types of actions.

No one should love something they will one day consume.

Honestly, I’m ashamed that you would even consider caring about something you will one day eat. And praying or thanking the soul before it is harvested? What are you? A monster? Be a decent human and grow your meals in pens where they cannot turn around and get to stand in their own poo for their entire life. That is the very least you could do for an animal that will one day sacrifice it’s life for you.

You should only consume ugly animals. 

adorable photo of baby animals traditionally raised as livestock

I’m sure you heathen rabbit raisers and homesteaders can give our readers a few more reasons why you shouldn’t be raising rabbits. Go on. Don’t be shy. Tell them.