100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 31 – How to Grow Plants from Cuttings

Grape_Vine_CuttingsPlants can be grown from cuttings as well as seeds. Some plants do even better this way. Grapes, for example, are far easier to grow from a cutting than from a seed. Blackberries are also easier to grow from a cutting than from a seed.

Propagation by stem cuttings is the most commonly used to propagate woody shrubs and vines. Maintaining high humidity around the cutting is critical. This can be accomplished in a greenhouse or by placing plastic or glass over the pot.

There are four main types of stem cuttings are herbaceous, softwood, semi-hardwood, and hardwood. These types refer to the growth stage of the parent (stock) plant, not the plant type itself. Different plants will have different optimal times for taking cuttings.

Let’s discuss the four types of stem cuttings in detail.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 30 – How to Bake Without Power

e36acbd9e6ca0db91c099850bf2f26a0_bestWhen you live in the country, the power sometimes goes out. This almost always happens when it has been raining in the winter, it is cold, and you have a million things to do. You certainly don’t have time to figure out how to bake bread without an oven or electricity.

There are several different ways to bake bread without an oven. Solar ovens, flatbread in a pan over a fire, baking in a tin can over coals, and baking in a dutch oven are just some of the ways you can make your bread when you have no working oven.

Our favorite way is baking in a dutch oven. It is actually very simple and once you’ve done it you might wonder why you didn’t do it this way before.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 29 – Shoot Predators and Trap Nuisance Animals

wildlife-mammal-crack-wolf-fox-predator-549257-pxhere.comPredators and nuisance animals are the bane of the homesteader. They literally eat our hard labor and profits. In many states, it is perfectly legal to shoot or trap an animal that is harassing your livestock or eating your fruits and vegetables.

In California, where we live, these laws get sticky, but it is still possible.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 28 – Hunt Wild Game

bird-river-wildlife-brown-fauna-thanksgiving-884277-pxhere.comHunting can be a great source of meat for your homesteading family. This can be especially true if your flock has suffered losses due to predation, but it can also provide you with variety in your diet.

For many in this country, hunting could be a solution to a very real problem, hunger. For some, it is.

Hunting and trapping was something we did when I was a child. It wasn’t just for fun, it was needful. I’m glad that I can share this skill with my children. One day they might need it as much as we did.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 27 – Perform 1st Aid and CPR

care-box-cross-medicine-brand-product-862278-pxhere.comHere’s another skill you can learn now, even if you aren’t on the homestead yet.

First Aid and CPR are necessary skills when you live in the middle of nowhere. It can take over an hour for the ambulance to get to us, we’ve timed it, then we have another hour to get to the hospital. That is time that we can’t waste. Not only are we familiar with basic First Aid and CPR we also have taken advanced classes in wilderness survival, wilderness first aid, and water safety.

You can do this too.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 26 – How to Humanely Kill, Gut, and Clean an Animal

beef-2027065_1280Occasionally, we have to cull an animal that we weren’t prepared to cull. We always try to have a refrigerator in the garage for aging meats. This is needed for this eventuality too.

If an animal is in too much pain from an injury, we won’t let it suffer but we need it to die as quickly and painlessly as possible. A sharp knife across the jugular is the cleanest, quickest way to do this for most animals (except for pigs). They will bleed out in seconds and the pain is minimal.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 25 – Basic Mechanic Skills

car-truck-vehicle-motor-vehicle-vintage-car-ford-1057728-pxhere.comA few weeks ago, I wrote about knowing how to change a tire and change your oil but that isn’t all the mechanical knowledge you might need on a homestead. It really helps if you also have a basic understanding of how an engine works.

You could just call up a mechanic or get a tow truck to haul your vehicle, truck, tractor, etc. down to the shop. If you know how to do some basic repairs, you won’t have to spend the money on the mechanic or the tow truck and you’ll save yourself the downtime too.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 24 – How to Handle, Shoot, Clean, and Store a Gun

wood-oar-brown-weapon-logs-weapons-592186-pxhere.com If you are going to be living in the country, there are going to be predators and varmints. Occasionally, you may even have trespassers. Knowing how to safely handle, shoot, clean and store a gun is a necessity.

Some states, like CA, have online gun safety courses available. Here, you take your certificate to a gun shop, take a short quiz, present your ID and a small fee and they issue you a card which allows you to make purchases of long guns like shotguns or rifles, provided you pass a background check. Purchasing handguns is a different process. Continue reading

100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 23 – Make Candles

light-glowing-group-night-dark-celebration-1002115-pxhere.comCandles are easy to make. They can save you money and you can make use of old, odd bits of candles that you would have otherwise thrown away. They also make great gifts for your family and friends.

One of my favorite things to do is pick up candles from thrift stores and yard sales for very little money and refashion them into something more attractive. Just make sure you don’t mind the smell of the candle you buy because that can rarely be masked.

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100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 22 – Make Fire Starters

flame-fire-campfire-bonfire-brand-hearth-1001091-pxhere.comWhen it’s cold and you want a fire to warm your home, nothing works better than fatwood or a firestarter. Fatwood isn’t always easy to come by and buying it isn’t an inexpensive option.

We make our firestarters with leftover ends of candles, paper scraps, wood chips, pine cones, and even dried orange peels. A lot of folks use dryer lint as the combustible material but we live on a farm, so dryer lint is full of animal hair which smells horrible when burned. Continue reading