It’s 2020 and everyone’s world seems to be getting a lot smaller, with schools, restaurants, stores, and many of the activities & events we love to frequent closing down. Many people are out of work, working part-time, or telecommuting. We are told to stay in our homes as much as possible.
This slowdown in daily life is the perfect time to practice or try out new homesteading skills that you previously didn’t have time for! Many people are also concerned about the supply chain issues many stores are having. Homesteading is all about self-sufficiency & community.
Learning some skills to make your home more self-sufficient will not only help fill your days but can help ease some anxieties (even if just in a small way). Here are some great ideas perfect for helping you along your journey!
Make plans to start a vegetable garden
Gardening is a wonderful way to help feed your family. Studies have also proven that spending time in contact with soil is good for your mental health, helping relieve anxiety & depression.
Spring is the perfect time to plan a new garden! Start by making a list of the veggies your family eats most. Aim for 3-4 varieties. If you are new to gardening, it’s best not to overwhelm yourself with a huge garden right off the bat. Seeds & seed starting equipment (you will need seeds, pots or trays, & seed starting soil) can be ordered online so you won’t have to leave the house. I love Amazon, Gurney’s Seeds, and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Already have a vegetable garden? Make some plans to expand this year, or perhaps add some fruit trees, bushes or vines. If you don’t have room for an orchard, order some blueberry bushes, bare root strawberries, or some berry canes. They might not yield fruit this season if you buy young plants, but in a year or two you will be glad you added them! To get you started, you might like to check out some of my best gardening articles:
7 Beginner Gardener Mistakes to Avoid
Composting for Beginners
9 Essential Herbs for your Homestead Garden
Spring Garden Prep & Planting Timeline
Square Foot Gardening for Beginners
Starting Seeds Indoors
Try out some new scratch cooking recipes
The internet is a treasure trove for recipes, all at the tip of your fingers. Many of us are cooking a little more creatively thanks to shortages of many of our standard purchases at the grocery store.
Home cooking is not only better for you, but saves so much money over prepared foods or eating out. It is likely that we will all be experiencing some financial hardships as the economy recovers from this virus. Think basics like soups, homemade bread, casseroles, and crock pot recipes.
Now is the perfect time to brush up on your cooking skills and perhaps try out some new ingredients. If your kids are out of school, cooking involves lots of opportunities for learning measurements, conversions, science, and nutrition – on top of teaching a valuable life skill. These are some of my favorite homesteading home cooking blogs:
A Modern Homestead
A Farmish Kind of Life
Simple Life Mom
The Spruce Eats
The Prairie Homestead
Research adding chickens to your yard
Chickens really are for everyone! Just a few hens in your yard can provide your family with eggs for years, natural tick & bug control, organic fertilizer for your garden or lawn, and good old fashion entertainment! Spring is the ideal time to add chicks to your life.
Many feed stores have chick days February-April, but if you are avoiding stores, you can order day old chicks online! My favorite online hatcheries are My Pet Chicken and Meyer Hatchery. As long as your town & HOA allows chickens, there is no time like the present! Get your research started here:
Researching Chicken Keeping By Laws
Best Chicken Breeds for Pets
How Much Space Do Chickens Need?
How Much Time Do Chickens Require?
How Much Do Chickens Cost?
Basic Chick Care
A large part of modern homesteading is making things yourself instead of relying on stores. Homestead crafting is all about finding an enjoyable past time that yields a useful end product. The possibilities here are endless! During this home-bound time, there is no better time to learn a new skill.
YouTube is packed full of how to videos on everything from knitting to soap making, welding to cheese making. Many of these skills don’t require extensive equipment or supplies and most can be easily ordered online so you don’t need to leave your home.
While you are waiting for your supplies to come in the mail, spend that time watching how to videos or researching helpful tips so you can get a head start. Check out my blog post “Homesteading for Beginners” for more suggestions but the following is a short list to get you thinking:
basic sewing skills like hems or repairs
needle felting (cute cat needle felt complete kit)
spinning wool (check out this great raw wool & drop spindle kit!)
soap making (full beginner soap making kit)
cheese making (beginner cheese making kit)
canning – water bath or pressure canning
research using essential oils around the house (start here)
Family Time/Home Improvements
One of the very best parts of this self-isolation is all the additional family time! Without the outside world intruding on our time together, this is a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with the humans that live in the same house as us. Encourage the kids to put down the screens for a bit and try out some of these:
nature walk to observe signs of spring
make cards for your neighbors & leave them on doorsteps to spread cheer
make & mail cards for relatives, friends, or those in nursing homes
break out the board games & puzzles
explore your local bike paths or hiking trails
learn a new craft or skill as a family
do some nighttime stargazing – there are lots of apps to help you ID stars
Skype or Facetime with grandparents or other relatives
check out libraries, museums, & zoos online, many are offering free online content
and of course there are always things to be done around the house!
clean out a closet or two
organize your basement or attic
try a new paint color in a tired room
rake the yard
plant some bulbs
tackle that minor home repair you have been putting off forever
plan a trip online for later (the travel industry will need our help!)
draw up a new budget to include saving for travel or paying off debts
What have you been doing to keep busy?