Homesteading – What the Modern Homesteader Needs to Know

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Why homesteading? Some people choose to raise their own food or use home remedies to avoid questionable commercial products. Other focus on taking steps to stock up on food or prepare for everyday emergencies for peace of mind. Some enjoy the challenge of learning new skills and getting more exercise and time outside. Whatever your reason, you’ll find a wide range of resources on the site to help you along.

collage of homesteading photos

What is Homesteading?

Modern homesteading is all about living a more self-reliant lifestyle. Your homestead can be big or small, rural or urban – some folks even homestead in apartments or on rented land.

Common Sense Home focuses on seven main categories of homesteading skills:

  1. Recipes and Kitchen Tips, including Food Storage
  2. Gardening
  3. Preparedness
  4. Home Remedies and Natural Health
  5. Herbs and Wildcrafting
  6. Homesteading, including Homestead Animals and Tips for Country Living
  7. Green Home and Sustainable Living

We also have an e-book titled, “Common Sense Home 101: 7 Steps to Become more Self-Reliant Now” that's available for download FREE to subscribers.

 

Just sign up above or on the subscription page.

Recipe collage featuring homemade food with text "Common Sense Home Recipes and Kitchen Tips"

Recipes and Kitchen Tips

The kitchen is great place to start your homesteading journey, as we all need to eat. Home cooked meals help you to save money and choose good quality ingredients for your table. Along with food, we also have some recipes for personal care items like salve and deodorant, and ferments such as dandelion wine. To make your kitchen work a little easier, I also share some of my favorite kitchen tips, such as handy substitutions and natural stove cleaners.

Click here to visit the recipes and kitchen tips page.

Food Storage

Once the harvest starts coming in, you’ll want to preserve your bounty to enjoy year round. Even if you don’t have a garden, buying bulk seasonal produce and preserving it at home can be a great option for stocking your homestead pantry.

Home Food Preservation – 10 Ways to Preserve Food at Home

How to Can Food at Home – 8 Steps for Safe Canning

Home Food Drying – 6 Things You Need to Know to Dehydrate Food at Home

Home Freeze Drying – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Root Cellars 101- Root Cellar Design, Use and Mistakes to Avoid

Above Ground Root Cellars

Build Your Own Walk In Cooler with a CoolBot Controller and A/C Unit

Home Grain Mills – Comparison of Manual Grain Grinders for the Home

View Full List of over 30 Food Storage Recipes

Want to learn how to start a garden? We'll take you through gardening for beginners, from planning your garden to harvest, for stress free gardening.

Gardening

The homestead garden is a keystone of many homesteading efforts. Whether you’re growing herbs on a windowsill or maintaining a large garden with perennial trees and shrubs, there’s nothing quite like the taste of your home grown produce.

Gardening is a HUGE part of our homestead. We have an assortment of annual gardens, as well as fruit and nut trees, brambles, shrubs and vines. The garden related posts can be viewed on the Gardening page, and are sorted into the following categories:

Visit the Gardening Page for the Full List of Over 70 Gardening Posts

Preparedness

What’s now called “prepping” used to be normal life for many homesteaders of the past (and present). It’s common sense to take steps to prepare your home and family for likely emergencies such as power grid failure, job loss, storms, water contamination and more.

View our full list of preparedness posts.

Home Remedies and Natural Health

Home Remedies and Natural Health

Live is full of bumps and bruises, tummy aches and other minor illnesses. With a little know-how, you can treat many common ailments with items from your garden or pantry. There are also many daily wellness choices that improve your quality of life. The Home Remedies and Natural Health posts are grouped into the following topic areas:

Herbs and Wildcrafting

Herbs and Wildcrafting

I was introduced to the herb featured in my logo (Common Plantain) by my grandmother, many years ago. Unfortunately, grandma didn’t know about the wonderful healing powers of the plant, only that it was called “medicine leaf” by some Native Americans. Thankfully, I eventually met some great mentors who helped me learn how to use wild plants for food and medicine (wildcrafting). It’s amazing to find out what’s waiting right in your backyard. You can read about how to identify and use over 40 common weeds in the Weekly Weeder series.

homestead with outbuilding and greenhouse and pond in foreground

Homesteading

Common Sense Home is all about using sound judgment to be more self-reliant. There is always more to learn. Even after all these years, I’m only scratching the surface of my wish list of homesteading skills. I look forward to learning and growing together. Leave a comment and let me know if there's a topic you'd like covered, or share your homesteading story.

How to Homestead (Not Quite) Like Grandma Used to Do

Homesteading Resources – my favorite resources from my site and around the internet, including bulk food suppliers and online nurseries featuring cold hardy plants

Future Food – Not One Solution, But Many, for How to Feed the World

Become More Self-Reliant – Start Here

How to Make Maple Syrup

Kevin’s Quality Clothespins -The Best Clothespins You’ve Ever Used

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Buy a Wood Burning Stove

How to Build a Burn Barrel – Burn Trash Safely

vintage cast iron before and after restoration

Cast Iron

Tips for Cooking With Cast Iron

How to Season Cast Iron Cookware

Restore Old or Damaged Cast Iron

Home Business and Home Computer Safety

Sole Proprietorship vs LLC – Are all Your Eggs in One Basket?

Rural Internet Options – A Comparison of Rural Internet Services

Why is my Internet Slow? 10 Troubleshooting Tips for Faster Internet

Internet Security – 12 Steps to Avoid Computer Viruses and Identity Theft

How to Protect Yourself from Unemployment Scams

What to do About Spectre and Meltdown CPU Vulnerabilities

Homestead Laws, Taxes and Exemptions and the end of the Homestead Act

Thoughts on Success and Leadership

homestead with outbuilding and greenhouse with pond in foreground

Homestead Animals

There’s a running joke that says chickens are the “gateway animal” for homesteaders, and there’s no denying the excitement of picking your first home raised egg. For those who have smaller spaces or need quieter critters, aquaponics or rabbits may be a better choice. With a little more space, you may want to add larger poultry and ruminants like goats.

Introduction to Aquaponics: Growing Fish and Vegetables Together

7 Reasons You Need Homestead Bees

Start Beekeeping – Basic Supplies and Getting Bees

Vermicomposting – How to Start an Earthworm Bin for Composting

Ducks and Geese

Introduction to our Runner Duck Crew at Ice Station Duck Patrol

Duck Pest Control – Working with Ducks in the Garden

Ascites in Ducks – Treating Miss Emerald for Water Belly

Homestead Geese – Easy to Care for Barnyard Protectors and Weed Eaters

What to feed chickens and what not to feed chickens to keep your flock happy and healthy. Includes favorite healthy chicken treats and high risk foods.

Chickens

What to Feed Chickens – Do’s and Don’ts for a Healthy Chicken Diet

Quick Lock Chicken Door – Predator Resistant, Easy Latch Open or Closed

Best Laying Hens – For Beginners, White Eggs, Brown Eggs

Chicken Nesting Boxes – What You Need for Happy Hens

Bird Flu Busters – 5 Strategies for a Healthier Flock

Chickenpalooza! An Awesome List of Homestead Chicken Resources

Getting Started with Meat Chickens

Top 7 Tips for First time Chicken Owners

How to Raise Chickens Cheaply – Tips for Raising Chickens on a Budget

Hen House Plans and Best Chicken Breeds for the Small Homestead

Why We Won’t be Raising Heritage Meat Chickens Next Year

Goats for Sale - 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying GoatsGoats

Getting Started with Homestead Goats – choosing the right breed, basic goat care (food, water, shelter and fencing), additional goat resources

Keeping Homestead Dairy Goats – What age dairy goat should you get? Breeding your dairy goat, Basic pregnancy Care, Kids and Weaning, Basic milking procedures and milk handling.

Goats for Sale – 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Goats

Rabbits

Rabbit Breeds, Basic Rabbit Care and Interesting Rabbit Facts

Meat Rabbits – What You Need to Know About Raising Rabbits for Meat

Common Sense Homestead Open House - Learn about green building, energy efficiency, universally accessible design, food storage options, lighting and more.

Green Home and Sustainable Living

Many people equate homesteading with off grid living and solar power. Being completely off grid may be a great option for some, but you don’t have to go completely off grid to start using some solar options in your home. You can also choose less toxic cleaners and other products to reduce your environmental impact. “Green” topic areas on the site include:

Collage of homesteading image with text overlay, "Homesteading - What the Modern Homesteader Needs to Know"

Originally published in 2012, last updated in 2019.