During the summer, we are typically busy with gardens, yard work and other projects around the house.
Wintertime, while we can be busy doing other things, we tend to have some extra time on our hands. Time, I like to use to learn something new and something that can help me further my knowledge.
I’ve put together a list of things that you can choose from to learn this winter. Whether you’re a fulltime homesteader, a soft homesteader, someone just wanting to learn how to do more for themselves, a wannabe homesteader or whatever your reason (you should let me know below! Or find me on social media and tell me!) I feel like there is always something new to learn or something that needs adjusting.
For me, this is by far the #1 thing everyone should know, regardless of living on a homestead or not. Baking bread is a skill, and one that’s pretty easy to master. When you bake bread, your own bread, you’ll learn to manage the ingredients in your home and know just how much you use, it makes the house smell delicious and you also know what ingredients are in the food you eat.
It’s all a total win in my book. Here’s how the bread I make (after trying a few recipes and settling on this one).
Learning to cook
If you weren’t taught how to cook, there are ways to learn. YouTube, TikTok or even just reading some blogs. 🙂
But having the knowledge of how to cook your own food, and a variety of foods, will always be beneficial. And cheaper for you as well.
Making your own butter
This is something that I’ve just learned this year! It’s fun to make it your own, add things to butter and again, control what exactly is in the food you are putting into your body.
Keeping a Sour Dough Starter
This is something I just started. After the last few years of food shortages (bread and then yeast), when I learned that sourdough bread didn’t need yeast, I knew it was something I had to learn.
You can go here to see my progress and what I’ve learned so far. One great thing about having a sourdough starter is when you don’t use it, stick it in the fridge (I’ve left mine in for up to 6 months) and then revive it and it’s good to go the next day! It’s awesome and such a great thing to have.
This is on my “to learn” list this winter. I’ve read so much about them and have been wanting to try my hand at them, but this summer just got away from me. I learned a lot about my garden this year and I grew things I’ve never grown before. Making it so that’s where most of my energy went this summer (besides my family).
There are a variety of extracts you can make such as: vanilla, almond, mint, lemon, orange and more! Keep an eye on my YouTube, TikTok or Instagram pages this fall and I’ll show you what I learn because is it on my list and I am bound and determined to make some.
Making your own Broth
THIS! I cannot believe the difference in homemade broth and store bought. Homemade has so much depth and flavor! I will never, as long as I’m able, go back to using store bought broth. It’s super simple and I go through how I make my own here. Trust me when I say, you won’t regret making your own.
Now, I know that people are going to say “don’t you can the food you grow in your garden? That season is over. . .”
While that is true, if you’ve never canned anything before, the winter is a good time to practice! Not when you are overwhelmed with your produce from your garden.
I started with salsa, strawberry jam and oranges. They all can be water bathed canned and are super simple. I haven’t been able to grow enough strawberries for jam, so I buy them from the store. Also, I can’t grow oranges where I live so those are also store bought.
Not to mention that stocking up on some flour and other dry goods and vacuum sealing them in half gallon mason jars is also a good idea.
Learn to make soap
This is one that is on my list to learn for this winter. To go along with it, is making homemade shampoo bars. I’m sure you could find some good YouTube videos on how to do this.
Stay tuned and I’ll share what I learn.
Making candles is fun but also so much more economical. Plus, you don’t have all the extra crap in the candles that you’re burning in your home.
Start a compost pile
I don’t have the space for this, but learning how to and what you can put in a compost pile would be an amazing thing to know. I know that in 2023 there was a fertilizer shortage so having your own compost to use in your garden would be so beneficial.
Learn the basics of Sewing
Do you know how to sew on a button? Fix a hole in the knee of jeans? Do you have a needle and some thread? Can you hem a pair of jeans?
There are some awesome channels on YouTube that will show you these very basic skills.
Knit or Crochet
This is a skill I don’t have but it is on my “To Learn” this for this winter. Knowing how to make blankets, scarves, hats and basically everything else is a dream of mine. Plus, I want to be able to make any future babies in my family their own little blankets.
Make Laundry detergent
This has been a huge game changer for me. My daughter has sensitive skin and when I finally made my own detergent, there was a huge improvement in her skin. I am a firm believer that there is so much extra crap in detergents (and mostly everything else) and when we put it on our skin, which is our biggest organ, is a major problem.
I go through my recipe here and how much I use per load.
I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember. I love reading and now that I’m older, I also read things to help me further my knowledge in various things.
I think it’s important to have books on topics you want to learn about. There’s just something about holding a book that contains so much information. Plus, you can write in it any notes or questions you have.
Non Skills that you should also be doing this winter
Skills are a great thing to do and learn. Knowledge is power and it can also be fulfilling.
However, there are a few other things I believe you should do or have ready for the spring.
Plan your garden
Sometimes it seems like winter will drag on forever, but before you know it, it’s time to plant your garden. Take the time in winter to plan your garden.
Where are you planting what? Are you increasing your garden? What changes do you need to do in the garden?
If you don’t save your heirloom seeds, or don’t have any, then take the time to buy your seeds now. Take your time checking various places for seeds. You could even buy seeds from various places and see which ones you prefer for your area.
Sharpen your tools
Not only sharpen, but make sure all of your tools are in good working order. This can be your garden tools, your kitchen tools, anything for hunting, mechanical and whatever else you use around the home.
Buy your canning supplies
When it comes to canning season, it can feel like there is a major shortage on certain items. However, it happens every year. Meaning there is just more demand for canning supplies at certain times of the year. Lessen the stress and start buying your supplies throughout the year.
From canning jars, lids, pectin, cream of tartar, vinegar, sugar, pickling salt and whatever else you use.
Take time to relax
I could make a list a mile long of all the skills and things we could be doing in the winter. These are just some of my personal favorites.
But don’t forget that it’s also important to take breaks and relax as well. You need it and you don’t want to get burnt out.
Thanks for being here, in this space with me. It brings me so much joy providing for my family (even though I hate cooking) and to be able to help others do the same just fills me with joy.