Tips for a More Self-Sufficient with your Homestead

Tips for a More Self-Sufficient with your Homestead

Homesteading needs storing and preserving items other than food. This included the storage of fuels, hay, and water for your homestead. In addition, this post seeks to think of other methods you can employ to become more self-sufficient in your homestead lifestyle.


Hunting is a widely practiced activity as it allows families that may not be interested in raising their livestock to have access to meat. Hunting is great for people who want to be either on or off the grid. Hunting provides a variety and a nutritional boost to one’s diet as there are a plethora of species to hunt in the world. It is also a physical task that provides added benefits to the hunter and increases one’s connection with nature.

Hunting also controls the animal population in certain areas. However, there are some downsides to consider, such as the dangers that come with the use of certain weapons. In some cases, the animals being hunted are not the ones who are threatening to overpopulate the area, which may then have the opposite effect and drive certain species to the brink of extinction. Therefore, it is important to hunt ethically and responsibly.

If you are new to hunting, you may wonder what animals you can start hunting for meat. There are generally two categories of meat you can go for: large game and small game.

  • Large game is composed of animals such as deer (the most hunted animal in over 40 states).
    • Deer have natural predators, including wolves.
    • Therefore, hunting them allows people to keep the deer population under control which, in turn, keeps the resources that they would’ve consumed plentiful for other animals to feed on.
    • Elk and antelopes are also extremely popular animals hunted for meat.
  • Small game includes animals like squirrels and rabbits.
    • These animals provide hunters with a meat source that is plentiful and easier to hunt.
    • Hunting birds is another way to obtain meat in the wild, with geese and ducks being the most hunted species.
    • If you decide to hunt for food, run through your respective state laws to obtain the list of animals you should hunt and educate yourself on the animals’ respective hunting seasons and local laws.

Trapping for animals

If you are new to hunting and are afraid of using the weapons required, you may want to experiment with trapping. Hunting can be dangerous and tedious with long waiting hours and no action. However, that is one of the opportunity costs of hunting that trapping can overcome.

All you must do is ensure that your traps are adequately set up, and then you can go about your other homestead chores while your food delivers itself to you. You can begin by setting up strategic traps and snares along streams, trails, rivers, and creeks, as these are areas where animals come for a drink of water.

  • For example, you can set up a rabbit snare that would trap this small game.
  • The same goes for trotlines and fish yoyos that capture fish in your absence.
  • Another great trapping method is the drag noose. It is cordage-based and lures the prey into a loop that grabs them by the neck. The animal’s movement makes the noose tighten further.
    • This trapping method is effective as it can capture larger animals like coyotes.
    • The downsides are that the animal could break free if they chew through the snare, or they could simply get caught by another animal while in the trap.

Once you capture your animals, you can begin the butchering process.

  • The advantages of butchering your meat are the savings, peace of mind, sense of control, and education you obtain from the practice.
  • An overall sense of satisfaction comes from working hard for your food, even after the hunt has occurred.
  • An initial investment needs to be made for butchering supplies that can total up to $1500, but the benefits of butchering your own game far outweigh the disadvantages.
  • You will need to purchase a grinder, butchering tools like Victorinox knives, a meat mixer, a butcher table, a vacuum sealer, and bags for your butchering processes.

Foraging in Nature

Most homesteaders do not place foraging on the top of their list, but it can still prove to be an incredible asset. Foraging allows you to comprehend the natural resources that surround you and can help you provide sustenance for your family while simultaneously taming your fears.

  • If you have a lot of land on your homestead or can be choosy about the land you purchase, then try to get a land plot that is close to the woods or has woods on your own property.
  • So, you would be able to commence a foraging practice with your family. Foraging can be intimidating due to our innate fear of the unknown.
  • Therefore, research before starting will help clarify some of your doubts and fears.
  • You want to be as safe as possible and be able to identify products that may be toxic or look-alikes. It is also important to maintain a level of respect when you go foraging, as you may come across hunters or other foragers if you’re not on your own property.
  • This will allow you to continue to return to these areas and forage more often with the knowledge that your neighbors are doing the same.
  • Finally, if you choosing land that is not yours, make sure you know whose land you may be on and if it is permissible for you to forage in those areas.

One of the most popular forage goods is mushrooms, and they have been unfairly demonized. Some mushrooms can be toxic and, in certain cases, even deadly, but others are not. Learning about mushroom identification becomes a key feature of successful foraging habits. Foraging can help you gain access to products you may not have access to on your homestead, making it a viable source of nutritional acquisition.

Trading With Other Homesteaders

Trading has been a common human practice since the conception of locales and civilizations, and it is not reserved only for businesses and corporations. If you have a homestead, you are likely producing something of great value from it. Those goods can be traded with other homesteaders. This is where fostering excellent neighbor relations comes into play. If you cannot house a specific animal or plant in your garden, then you may be able to trade some goods that your fellow homesteader lacks in exchange for the ones you need.

  • Trading can be an enjoyable practice to engage in. No money is involved, and an item’s value is solely determined by how much you need it.
  • This makes it a more intimate exchange and can truly facilitate the fortification of the relationships you forge with those you trade your goods with (farms, friends, homesteads, and neighbors).
  • Trading goods is almost like doing a favor for one another (which is lost when money is involved), and it can help you foster deeper connections.
  • Trading is also a great way to allow you to fulfill your household needs without requiring money to make that happen.

You may be wondering what the best things are to trade with others, and the answer is anything that you need and is appropriate.

  • For example, if your neighbor asks for you to raise their chicken for about three weeks, you may be able to come to a trade agreement where you do them that favor, and they thank you by purchasing six chicks for you.
  • You can also trade with the one-to-one swapping method. An example of this would be swapping rabbits for chickens, jam for chicks, honey for chicken eggs, and so forth. This is great if you have extras as you can use them at a higher value by exchanging them for products you don’t have and need. Trade can extend to animal breeding and labor.
  • You may get people offering to breed your females, and you can negotiate a trade agreement. Your friend or neighbor may require assistance as they fix their house or fence. You can trade by requesting that the next time you need a technical favor, they help too.
  • Trading can be an effective way to help one another with your homestead goals.

Note that borrowing something from a fellow homesteader does not classify as trading. Try not to borrow anything unless it has been stipulated that it is okay for you to do so. Borrowing should be done with the knowledge and consent of both parties and correctly labeled as such.

The last thing you want is to enter a situation where you borrow and, worst-case scenario, break something that belongs to another homesteader. This could end up transforming a budding relationship into a sour affair. You and the person you are asking are allowed to say no to a trade if it is not something that you or they want to do.

  • The fundamental premise of a trade is that it should be a win-win for both parties involved. If you feel like a particular trade does not benefit you, you are more than entitled to decline the offer and offer a different trade.
    • For example, your neighbor asks for help and offers eggs to you for that help. But you don’t need eggs, so you decline and tell them you would help for a vegetable that they have but you don’t.
    • This should be extended to friends as well. Trading can occur in the short term for immediate purposes, but it can also be a long-term arrangement.

There are no temporal rules to the trading system.

  • You only need to ensure that you are satisfied with every trade conducted, and so is the person you are trading with since it is a two-way street. If you begin the trading process, then ensure that you are reciprocal.
  • Make sure to communicate that it’s a trade. Some people may think it was you being nice or just offering help. That they don’t need to reciprocate.
  • No matter if it’s a trade or lending a helping hand, make sure you communicate. Not communicating can also damage a relationship for future trading or even helping.
  • If you request something, then offer something else in return and stick to the agreement no matter what. If you trade with someone, and the other person simply does not reciprocate (yet keeps asking to trade), then that is not a trade relationship you want to maintain in the long term.
  • Ultimately, aim to have as much fun as possible during the process, acquire items of value to you, and build solid and stable trade-based relationships that could be immensely valuable for the functionality of your homestead.

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