You’ve made the decision to settle for a simpler, quieter life. Maybe you’re in retirement like my parents. Maybe you’re really just now getting to start out in life, like my husband and I. Whatever your phase of life, you’ve chosen something different, something older. Some might even call it a vintage lifestyle, complete with old farm tools and sepia-colored photographs. 

Vintage values and vintage skills are all part of the homestead experience. Vintage skills include everything from learning to cook at home to sewing your own clothing. Depending on the level of self-sufficiency you want to achieve, these skills can even include learning how to hunt, clean and butcher your own game, and clean and butcher your own livestock. 

Family is also an important part of the homestead, and figuring out each person’s place is a critical part of making things run smoothly. Families with children may want to learn about homeschooling options. Internet access can both expand and limit those options depending on the quality of your connection. Extra-curricular activities may be chosen based on how much they’ll provide help around the homestead such as FFA or 4H, or Scouts. 

We will have two homesteads, Big Jim and Grammie’s and then ours, and no school-aged kids to help out. This has forced us to make adjustments to how things are done on a daily basis. However, I am fully intending to reach out to the above programs to see if there are any kids that would like to work with larger animals but lack the space. Maybe we can trade space for a little bit of help around the barns. All we can do is see! 

Whether your call them pioneer skills, vintage skills, or homesteading skills they can help to round out your homesteading experience. Some of the skills that we’ll cover in this blog include: 

  • Sewing
  • Quilting
  • Canning
  • Food Preservation

The ability to make your own clothes, to sew your own bedding, and go paper-free in your kitchen is surprisingly freeing, but remember homesteading isn’t about ‘keeping up with the Jone’s’. Everyone has their own comfort and willingness level. For example, I think it’s wonderful not having to worry about buying paper towels. I very much enjoy the look of my basket of reusable ‘paper’ towels and I know a quick run in the washing machine with a bit of bleach will bring them out nice and clean. Still, you would never catch me willingly using re-useable toilet paper. There’s just something about it that I really can’t get comfortable with. Other families, however, have no problem. Vintage skills and values when homesteading are one small part what you learn, and one big part what you’re comfortable with. 

Avoid the urge to compete! Don’t let yourself feel judged! What works for one family is not guaranteed to work for another. We’re all on this journey. Sharing information is important, but feelings of superiority, of being the ‘better homesteader’ are a bit misplaced. After all, what use does a gluten-free family have of growing fields of wheat to grind into flour? Or a vegetarian homestead of growing pigs for bacon? I like to think of the homesteading experience as a magnifying glass of our souls. God made each of us unique and different, with our own skills and talents.