Homesteading – What the Modern Homesteader Needs to Know

Why choose homesteading activities? Some people choose to feed their family 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 and home baked bread 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

Long Shelf Life Foods – What Lasts Best (with Chart)

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.

Growing your own food is a completely different experience. It puts you in touch with how fragile and wonderful life is.

Growing vegetables 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

A Homestead Night Before Christmas

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

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

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

Do Ducks Need a Pond?

What do Ducks Eat? (and What They Shouldn't Eat)

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

When Do Chickens Start Laying Eggs? (and Why They Stop)

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

Meat Chickens – Best Breeds, Care, and Troubleshooting Tips

Top 7 Tips for First time Chicken Owners

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

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

50 Do-It-Yourself Projects for Keeping Chickens

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

What do Rabbits eat? (Includes Printable List)

Raising Pastured Rabbits – Book Review and Recommendations

Homestead Open House

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.

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102 Comments

  1. Do you have a “Classifieds” section that I missed. It could be a great resource for newbies and old hands alike.

  2. Hello,

    I am writing to you for two reasons… First I am loving your site. I am finding such great content and I am so glad you are inspiring people toward learning real life skills! Secondly, I would love to feature you as an expert on my online interview series called Living off the land.

    You will be promoted to a minimum of 100,000K people who desire learning more of these types of skills without needing to move into the bush! I am focusing on helping people feel empowered to source out more of their own food. I think you would be an obvious great fit!

    In addition to helping so many people, growing your reach and building your list, you will also have the opportunity to promote your complimentary gift.

    This summit will be short 30 minute video interview launching November 5th 2018.

    I love your vision and think your insight would be of great value.

    Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in.

    All the best,

    Nichole

  3. Hello, thanks for accepting my subscription . Am in Kenya . Have a farm of size 0.6 ha . Am planning setting up a homestead. please sent me e-book on homesteading .
    Thanks

  4. Wow! I can’t believe all the resources and information in this post. I like to browse for new homesteading ideas that I can start for my next project and I just spent like an hour clicking on links and reading about things I would like to start doing. Thanks for putting this together, I can see it’s an older article and I’ve been to your site before but I guess I never ran across this post before. Good Stuff!

  5. Thank you for this article. We’re just starting on our homesteading and gardening journey. Lots of useful info here

  6. What is the best way to cook/prepare a 3-4 year old chicken.
    I’ve pressure cooked, but was wondering if slow cooking for 10 hours would make it a bit more tender. I use it in soups, stews, and casseroles.

    1. Some feedback from the Facebook page:

      Rebekah R.: “I have tried boiling, roasting in the oven, and finally pressure cooked mine. The best results was pressure cooking. I then packed it in jars and pressure canned it.”

      Amanda W.: “Slow cooker is the only way I have had good results. I only can things in my pressure canner and haven’t tried that, but the crock pot will make it fall off the bone delicious. A tiny bit of water and seasoning. It will make the best broth and shredded meat.”

      Arnold B: “Low and slow will tenderize the old gal and make some great flavored soup . You have to watch the simmering pot doesn’t get low on water . the pressure cooker will get them good and tender as well in much less time. This would be my preferred method.”

      Tosha L: “Try brining and then cook at 250 overnight. There are more concise directions online, but I’ve done it to turkey, and it was really good.”

  7. I am so sad that I just discovered Weekly Weeder, will you re-run next year?

    Is there any way to get a pdf of all 49 of them?

    You have done an amazing job of researching all the growing, culinary, and medicinal benefits. A great summary, thank you!

    1. Hi Dee.

      The goal for next season is to update all of them (I’ve learned a lot since I first started writing) and compile them into pdf and ebook formats. I just struggle to find time in the day to get everything done, but I’m working on it.

  8. I would like to take the course of Permaculture Student but find I cannot get the audio part of the video. I don’t want to pay for something I can’t hear. Can you give me some direction? Thanks=

  9. Hi, Laurie…I’m subscribed [Yeah!] but can’t find how to download the 7 steps e-book to get started. Can you point me to where I need to go? Thx…

  10. I subscribed to weekly newsletter but cannot find link to e book. Please help. I am so delighted to find your site.

  11. I subscribed to the weekly newsletter and got the link to download the free eBook (Common Sense Homesteading) but there was an error in download! As you can probably tell I’m not so “tech savvy” lol. I’ve tried to find it and can’t! Plz help lol

  12. I am loving this site and all the info here. Thanks for sharing it! I subscribed so I could get the book but I can’t figure out where or how to download it.

  13. Love this site as we are starting to build a “tiny house” and are getting geared up to be more self sufficient, off the grid, and homesteading. We are getting our food sources and storage going and building our own solar and wind power. How do I get the free copy of your e-book on homesteading. I signed up on your site. (At least it said I did) and can’t see how to get the book so that I can eventually print it on my computer and put it in a note book for when we wont have the computers. Many thanks and awaiting your reply.
    Sincerely,
    Marci

  14. Oh My…You have so much wonderful information here. I am going to be here for days and days reading and absorbing all of it. Thank You. We should never stop learning.

  15. Feel lucky found your site from the Epic DIY Kitchen Giveaway on Delicious Obsession site and it is great. So is this giveaway thanks.

  16. You have a new follower. Love the content… high quality and I will refer your site to friends. Thanks for doing a great job.

    1. Welcome, Frankie, and thank you. With facebook showing our content to so few people, it makes it tougher than ever to let people know about the website, so I appreciate your referrals.