As most of you know, we live 100% off-grid with solar power. Our mindset may be a bit more frugal than the average Joe, BUT we feel there are definitely essentials necessary for homesteading and off-grid living.
We live very traditionally by choice and feel that regardless where you live, how you live and how prepared you are it is important to have tools that you can utilize regardless if their is power.
When we embraced our off-grid lifestyle we gifted 98% of our power appliances by choice to friend's and family and replaced them with their antique counter parts. These antiques line our walls as decorations in their down time, but are utilized often and returned to their place on the wall.
While using these tools we are taken back in time and often wish we knew the stories of these tools and where they have traveled. Some of these tools have been handed down from our ancestors from several generations and it is a true blessing to own them.
Our house warming gift to ourselves was an Arcade cast iron and glass antique coffee grinder. It was one of the first things we installed in the house so we could use percolator coffee maker on the wood stove. There are necessities too… 🙂
So beyond your common tools such as measuring cups, baking dishes , silverware, toilet plunger, hammer and screwdrivers just to name a few, there are specific tools that you need to get the extremely important jobs done in each area of your home or homestead. These are the tools that you could not get by without.
Electric and fuel could very quickly become a luxury item or completely unavailable due to natural disaster, EMP, etc. and we feel thinking out of the box in a preparedness mindset in regard to our tools is just as important as being sure that you have the food, heirloom seeds, etc.
Homesteading today with the modern conveniences can make things a lot more efficient and less laborious, but we encourage you to also be sure to own some of the important non-electric counter parts so they are available if you need them. By using the tools from our past we eliminate the need for a gym and stay very physically fit and can endure a lot more heavy labor than most.
We are also asked very often on where we find all our antiques, old tools and even if there is a place to get replicas or reproductions. My favorite places to find these treasures is antique stores, yard sales, thrift stores, eBay, Craigslist, etc. I also shop around because antique stores can be pricey depending where they are located. I create a list of items that I am looking for and price around. It may not hurt to do a little research to see what things are selling for on eBay, but I am frugal and prefer to spend as little as I possibly can on things. It is also very important that you check these items you find very carefully to be sure that they are in 100% working order (most times they are) and be sure to read the descriptions well on eBay and Craigslist because there is a part of the population that uses such items as decorative items in there houses vs using them (I have NEVER been guilty of this sarcasm).
I also have some wonderful friend's who enjoy treasure troving as much as I do so I may recruit them to do some looking as well.
We are asked ALL the time by our audience on where we find our tools and also what we have so I thought I would take this time to break it down for everyone.
Now there are some stores that carry reproduction items such as Lehman's Catalog, but they can be very pricey. I honestly prefer the antiques, but I have found a thing or two at Lehman's.
Let's start in the kitchen and work our way from the inside out… I feel the kitchen tools are important because eating and preserving is your life line to living.
A lot of thought goes into my kitchen tools. I purchase pottery and cast iron because these two pieces hold the heat, cook and bake efficiently, they both can be used in my Sun Oven and the cast iron can be moved outside over the open flame which is something we do regularly anyway and that may at some point be a necessity.
Hand Mixer / Electric Mixer
Hand Blender / Electric Blender
Hand Crank Coffee Grinder – (I have an Arcade Cast Iron and Glass antique hanging on my wall that I found especially cheap on eBay)
Cast Iron (As many pieces as you can find) 🙂
Cast Iron Dutch Oven(s) **
Large Steel Pots (Steel will hold up longer and it is said that aluminum will seep into your food)
Canning Jar (Note: If buying used jars, just check them very carefully for cracks and if you purchase cases of jars with lids and rings, be sure to discard the lids if they have indents on them. We also prefer wide mouth jars because they are easier to fill and easier to clean.)
Tattler Seals (able to be used endless amount of applications)
Rings for your jars
Containers such as crocks and canning jars
Air locks and weights
Note: My resource for fermenting supplies besides the antique/thrift outlet is FermentTools.com
Tea Kettles(2) ***
** Dutch Ovens are my most favorite piece of cast iron for making just about anything on my woodstove, stove and oven, open fire and Sun Ovens
*** Over time these items will form small pin holes (this could take years) and it is best to have a couple on hand.
Knives and Sharpening Stone
When purchasing used kitchen tools from yard sales, thrift stores etc. cleaning such items can be a concern.
Here are a couple of tricks:
- I always Clorox or bleach – you can also use vinegar
- With anything wooden – I do the above, but I also then let it soak in baking soda to remove the Clorox or bleach residue
- Cast Iron – I was them with soap (yes the ONLY time ever), scrub it with coarse salt and add water and boil. I then re-season and I am good to go.
There may come a time when medical care may not be an option and we will need to lean on our own knowledge and skill. I have been involved with natural medicine since I was 14 and have a great passion for sharing my knowledge. I share my knowledge in monthly webinars, posts, and videos to help others improve the health of themselves and that of their families. Not only will the natural health be beneficial to your family, but it will also be helpful with your homestead animals.
100 proof Vodka
Knowing how to make everything you will need could become an important task. Knowing how to utilize the equipment and tools you have as well as making the necessary items you will need will be important skills to have. Teaching our children such skills as simple sewing are a great way to get them involved and continuing to increase their knowledge will never hurt them.
Treadle Sewing Machine / Electric Sewing Machine
Extra Fabric, Leather, Old Coats, Old Sweaters all of which can be repurposed
Awl for Leather Work
Cast Iron Iron
Glass / Metal Lanterns with extra lantern fuel
Candles (candle making supplies)
Personal Hygiene products that fit your needs
Materials to make your own homemade products (see natural health also)
Personal hygiene is extremely important normally, but in the event that certain things are no longer available, making our own products will be important. I currently make our toothpaste, deodorants, soaps, shampoos, etc.
Gardening is one of our main sources of fresh whole foods. We have a 40′ x 40′ fenced garden (7′ 5″ fencing to keep deer, elk and moose out) housing 5 raised beds (4′ wide x 30′ in length) and a 20′ x 20′ greenhouse that we are finishing this spring. Our honey bees reside in our garden for added protection and a there are a lot of medicinal plants for them to feed on. Heirloom seeds are heavily conditioned seeds that can be saved each year and reused so their benefits are endless and extremely useful. We also forage a lot from our surroundings.
Seed Starter Containers
Old Canning Lids for plant markers
Empty Spray Bottles
Rolls of clear and black plastic (we have a very short growing season so we have to keep our raised beds covered)
Hose(s) and nozzle(s) (These often spring leaks or no longer work so it is always good to have a spare)
We have a hand drill hanging on our wall, a wood planer sitting on our windowsill and our two man saw hangs on a rafter. They are all ready to to be used at any minute. Having the essential tools for any project can be a life savor possibly in our future. I did not provide resources below, but I feel that how-to books for those less mechanical minded could be a great aid. The Mountain Man grew up building and repairing and is quite the MacQyver so be sure to be prepared with the essential guides that you would need to get you by with tasks you are less familiar with.
Chisels & Carving Tools (Bowls, Dishes, Wooden Spoons)
Blacksmith Tools including Anvil and Forge (Endless uses, but tool making, nail making, hinges, hooks, etc)
Firewood Cutting & Chopping
Two Man Saw
Knives & Blades
Books or Library
Gluten Free On A Shoe String (any of these)
Natural Health References
Herbs & Essential Oils
Herbal Academy of New England (online classes)
Bushcraft & Wilderness Survival
We will be covering your butchering, hunting, trapping and fishing tools and needs in another post upcoming to provide you with all the detailed tools as well as how-to's so please check back.
I hope you gained some resources and knowledge from this post. As I stated above, we live a much more traditional life than most and enjoy the rewards of such life. You may choose to utilize the modern day conveniences, but we encourage you to start gathering some of your more traditional tools to have on hand for those unexpected times.
The Prepared Bloggers Network is at it again! We're glad you've found us, because the month of April is all about homesteading.
Homesteading is a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. It is characterized by growing your own food, home preservation of foodstuffs, and it may even involve the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale. Most importantly homesteading is not defined by where someone lives, such as the city or the country, but by the lifestyle choices they make.
The Prepared Bloggers are passionate about what they do and they each have their own way of achieving self-sufficiency. Grab your favorite drink and enjoy reading about the 30 Ways of Homesteading!
Crops on the Homestead
Straw Bale Gardening from PreparednessMama
Crop Rotation for the Backyard Homesteader from Imperfectly Happy
Benefits of Growing Fruit from SchneiderPeeps
Succession Planting: More Food in the Same Space from 104 Homestead
Crops to Grow for Food Storage from Grow A Good Life
Winter Gardening Series from Our Stoney Acres
How To Build a Raised Garden Bed For Under $12 from Frugal Mama and The Sprout
How to Save Carrot Seeds from Food Storage and Survival
Animals on the Homestead
Getting Your Bees Started from Game and Garden
Homesteading How-To: Bees from Tennessee Homestead
How to Get Ready for Chicks from The Homesteading Hippy
Selecting a Goat Breed for Your Homestead from Chickens Are a Gateway Animal
Adding New Poultry and Livestock from Timber Creek Farm
Beekeeping 101: 5 Things To Do Before Your Bees Arrive from Home Ready Home
How to Prepare for Baby Goats from Homestead Lady
How to Prevent and Naturally Treat Mastitis in the Family Milk Cow from North Country Farmer
Tips to Raising Livestock from Melissa K. Norris
Raising Baby Chicks – Top 5 Chicken Supplies from Easy Homestead
Making the Homestead Work for You – Infrastructure
Ways to Homestead in a Deed Restricted Community from Blue Jean Mama
Building a Homestead from the Ground Up from Beyond Off Grid
DIY Rainwater Catchment System from Survival Prepper Joe
Finding Our Homestead Land from Simply Living Simply
I Wish I Was A Real Homesteader by Little Blog on the Homestead
Endless Fencing Projects from Pasture Deficit Disorder
Essential Homesteading Tools: From Kitchen To Field from Trayer Wilderness
Homesteading Legal Issues from The 7 P's Blog
Why We Love Small Space Homesteading In Suburbia from Lil' Suburban Homestead
Homesteading 101 from Morning Chores
Preserving and Using the Bounty from the Homestead
How to Dehydrate Corn & Frozen Vegetables from Mom With a Prep
How to Make Soap from Blue Yonder Urban Farms
How to Render Pig Fat from Mama Kautz
How to Make Your Own Stew Starter from Homestead Dreamer
Why You Should Grow and Preserve Rhubarb! from Living Life in Rural Iowa
It’s a Matter of Having A Root Cellar…When You Don’t Have One from A Matter of Preparedness