We want to help you learn inexpensive, do-it-yourself skills that every homesteader needs.
And don’t forget, we are also here to help you purchase the perfect tractor when the time comes.
Let’s get started discussing the skills.
When it comes to being a homesteader, there are certain aspects of life that no fancy computer, advanced education, or piece of machinery can solve.
Let’s face it --- water lines freeze --- farm animals get preyed upon --- things break --- and droughts kill crops.
Any way you slice it, there are many challenges that farmers and homesteaders deal with.
One is repairs.
And many homesteaders cannot afford to leave their repair work to someone else. Besides the high costs of hiring carpenters, electricians, and plumbers --- there are scheduling delays and a lack of qualified technicians. Some issues just cannot wait.
The following are some critical DIY skills you will need to keep your homestead running smoothly.
Fixing a Leaky/Clogged Faucet
One of the most common problems is a broken faucet.
Some freeze, some drip, some have poor water pressure, some leak, the list is endless. One flood can wreck your entire home.
To fix a faucet you’ll need these tools:
Latex or dishwashing gloves
To fix a faucet:
1. Shut off the main water valve.
2. Make sure the water hose connecting to your faucet is seated in the grooves and twisted tightly. If not, tighten with your hands or an adjustable wrench.
3. If the line connector is already firm, check for rust, cracks, or breaks. If this is bad enough, you’ll need to replace the hose. If not, remove it with your adjustable wrench. Clean off any excess rust and then reconnect the hose.
4. If water is draining slowly, or pooling in the sink --- pour half the bottle of your clog remover into the drain. After 30 minutes, flush it with hot water.
5. If that doesn’t fix the problem, put on your latex gloves, and place towels below the PVC piping to catch excess water and filth.
6. Remove the PVC piping connecting to your drain using your adjustable wrench, and lightly tap it with a hammer. Loosen the connector if need be.
7. Using your pipe brush and fingers, remove as much gunk, filth, and stoppage as you can.
8. Repeat step 4, and ensure the water is draining normally.
Repairing a Strand of Barbed Wire
You may have livestock.
Even if you don’t, homesteaders are often easy prey for rodents and critters that target your garbage and crops. It’s essential that you keep some sort of fencing up to keep them at bay, as well as keep your herd contained.
Sooner or later, you're going to have a wire break. A cow or horse may run through it. Or it may become rusty and snap.
When this happens, you need to detect and fix it right away.
To fix a fence you’ll need these tools:
Thick leather gloves/wiring handling gloves
Eye protective safety goggles
Strand of barbed wire
Heavy-duty pliers with cutter
Tractor (if applicable)
To fix a fence:
1. If electric --- shut off the breaker.
2. Put on gloves and goggles and remove all barbs about 6-8” past both sides of the break.
3. Measure out enough wire to extend about 6” past both sides of the break.
4. While keeping the wire taut, use fencing sleeves to crimp the replacement strand to the broken strand. Crimp the sleeve down, leaving about 1” of loose strand on each end.
5. If the entire strand needs replacing, find the fencing staple connecting the broken strand to the fence post. Cut the strand with your pliers, leaving about 3-4”. Staple the excess back into the fence post using your hammer and fencing staples.
6. Measure out a new strand. Enough to wrap about halfway around the fence post when pulled taut.
7. Cut the new strand with your pliers. Then connect it to the fence post using two fencing staples on each post.
8. In either type of break, check the tension when you’re finished. The new strand should move no more than about a ½” under steady pressure.
9. If electric, turn your breaker on. Test the current by either using a multimeter or by taking a blade of long grass with your bare hands and touching it to the tip of the new strand. You’ll receive a slight shock if the current is live.
Install a New Fence
You will need fencing of some kind.
Fencing is one of the most basic skills you need to know.
To install a fence you’ll need these tools:
Wooden planks (3/4’ to 5/8‘ thick)
Wood nails or staples
Ink or paint pen
To install a fence:
1. Measure out the area where you’re going to install your fence. The distance between fence posts can vary. We recommend that you go no more than 15-20’ between posts. You also need to know how high you want your fence to be, as well as the gap you want to leave in between each board. Common livestock fences are usually between 5-7’ high. For horses, they would be higher.
2. Measure out the distance between your fence posts. Mark the position using a rock or flag.