Andy Fleming writing on self-reliance

Outdoor skills…homestead living…DIY activities…they all give you a sense of satisfaction and independence. Folks who live off-the-grid enjoy a real sense of confidence in their own abilities. So roll up your sleeves and start learning homesteading skills from the comfort of your on-grid home.

Remember, anyone can excel at self-sufficiency and survival. It’s about skills, as opposed to talents. All it takes is time, effort, and the desire to learn.

Here’s a checklist of some simple items that every homesteader, DIY enthusiast, and nature lover should own:

1. A Pocketknife

Independent people

©iStock.com/Bernardojbp

First, get yourself a good pocketknife or utility knife and start carrying it around with you at all times. Any style and size will do; the important thing is that you choose one you’re comfortable using. At any given time, you might need to quickly open or modify any number of things. You don’t want to be stuck in a storm, trying to rip duct tape with your teeth in order to patch a leak because you neglected to carry your knife. It’s a good idea to buy a few and keep them in areas they’re commonly needed. Some knives will even do the job of a screwdriver in a pinch.

2. Flashlights

Flashlight

You’ll also want several flashlights. If you’ve ever been camping you probably know how hard it is to navigate in nature once the sun goes down. A cell phone is no replacement either, trying to do work with a tiny phone flashlight is frustrating and will make things much harder for you. Remember, things go wrong in the middle of the night and you need to be ready to tackle issues in the pitch darkness. It’s a good idea to get a hand powered flashlight just in case, and a headlamp will make jobs requiring both hands much easier.

3. Boots

Independent people

©iStock.com/francisblack

Get yourself a good pair of boots. You want something sturdy and also easy to put on at a moment’s notice. If you look out the window during a snow storm and see a fox trying to burrow under the chicken pen you might only have moments to pull on your shoes before he makes off with a prize hen.

4. A Pair of Gloves

Independent people

©iStock.com/jaker5000

On that note, you should also invest in a good pair of gloves. It’s more important that the gloves are tough, rather than easy to work in (although both is ideal). At some point you’ll likely have to deal with thorns, insulation, rusty metal, chemicals, and a host of other potentially dangerous materials. Even just carrying hay bales can tear up your hands if you spend a decent amount of time doing it. A good pair of gloves will literally save your skin.

5. A Pet Carrier

Pet carrier, Independent people

©iStock.com/AnthonyRosenberg

Before you get any animals, domestic or livestock, make sure you buy a pet carrier. These aren’t just for dogs and cats, they can be used to transport chickens, rabbits, baby goats…pretty much anything you can think of as long as it’s small enough to fit. If you wake up one morning to a sick chicken, you don’t want to run around trying to figure out a way to get it to the vet. There’s always going to be situations where you need to move livestock around. Maybe you built a new pen, or need to do maintenance on your fence. Having a carrier or two ready to go will ensure you’re prepared to deal with your animals on short notice.

6. A Connection to the Community

Homesteading today

The last thing you need can’t be bought, but it’s not hard to come by. A connection to the community is invaluable. Being independent doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Having connections to people who work at food co-ops, farmer’s markets, and hardware stores can be invaluable when you need advice or want a good deal buying or trading for goods and services. If you live near other homesteaders, make sure you connect with them. It’s not hard to bond with those who are living by the same principals.

Even if there’s not a strong local community, you’re always connected to the global homesteading community via the internet. Forums like the ones at HomesteadingToday allow you to quickly reach out to thousands of people to ask questions or request advice. You could spend 10 years researching and preparing to homestead and you’d still encounter problems you need a little help figuring out. With a good connection to your community, there’s always help to be found.

Image: ©iStock.com/MelissaAnneGalleries

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