5 Qualities You Need to be a Successful Homesteader

A red barn in a green field

Don't be discourage if your list of homestead skills isn't long. These skills and qualities are very important, and you can develop them easily, no matter where you live.

Homestead Traits and Qualities You Need to be Successful

Many homestead gurus suggest taking an inventory of your skills before beginning your homestead adventure. It's good advice, but I don't want you to be discouraged if your list isn't very long.

The "accepted" list of skills might contain such things as construction, knowledge of firearms and mechanical expertise. 

You might think you need to be a master gardener, a goat whisperer, able to cook all meals from scratch, and a food preservation expert. 

But I have a secret for you: you can learn those things. In my mind, the five most important skills in homesteading are actually traits and qualities, the values that your life is founded upon. 

If you have these qualities, you can learn the other skills you need to be a successful homesteader.

The homesteading qualities and traits you need

These five qualities are the ones I think are the most important. There are others, but this is a good starting point.

How many of these traits do you have?


"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again" was my father's favorite saying. He taught me that persistence is everything. 

If you try to make yogurt or vinegar or soap and you fail, do you quit or do you keep trying until you're successful? 

Yes, my father's second favorite saying was "practice makes perfect." Keep trying. Keep learning. Don't give up. 

If you have the persistence to keep going, you'll eventually figure it out. Or maybe we should call it stubbornness.

A newly-cut hayfield dotted with round bales of hay.

Be a self-starter

No one is going to push you out the door to feed your livestock, or tell you to get yourself out into the garden to pull weeds. You're on your own here! 

On the other hand, homesteading gives you the freedom to focus on projects that interest you, and no one will tell you that you can't stop to smell the roses, or eat the first red tomato right there in the garden. 

The perks of homesteading are outstanding!

Be willing to learn

You can learn anything you put your mind to! Information is everywhere and is easily accessed and learned.

You might think you're not good at math, but it's so much easier to solve a real-life problem than one in a textbook. 

Do you remember asking your algebra teacher "when will I ever need this in real life?" Well, here are the "word problems" you might need to solve, and I bet you can figure them out:

  • How much medication do you give an 87-pound goat at a rate of 1 cc per 2.5 lbs?
  • How many tons of hay do you need to get 2 horses, 4 sheep and 10 goats through an average winter in your area?
  • If a single broccoli plant produces an average of x servings, how many seedlings do you need to transplant into your garden so that your family of four can eat broccoli with dinner once a week? 

You can figure it out, believe me. It makes so much more sense in real life.

You can learn whatever you need to know - how to raise chickens, how to milk a goat, the best variety of green beans to plant in your area - even, yep, how to bale hay by hand. You can do it.

A large cloud formation in the sky behind the woods

Be a good observer

Pay attention to the details and you'll never go wrong. 

Are your goats acting a bit "off"? What sort of clouds are those on the horizon, and what kind of weather can you expect from them? Do you remember where the plantain grows? How do you predict a frost

Good observation skills are important (and you can impress your friends by knowing the difference between Indian blanket and Indian paintbrush).

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Have a good memory

Or at least remember to write everything down. 

When you learn something, write it down. When you do something, write it down.

Not only will you have a record of it, but it's a proven fact that the act of writing something down helps to cement it in your memory. [Source]

Write down when you planted the lettuce and what variety you planted, when you noticed the goats were in heat, the date you put eggs in the incubator. It will make your life much easier. You might want to read my Homestead Recordkeeping post for more ideas. 

With these five traits and a good attitude, you've got it covered! You'll be a great homesteader.

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5 homestead skills you need that will surprise you.

A newly-mown hayfield dotted with round bales of hay.

Related Posts:
Lessons from the Blackberry Patch
10 Things I've Learned Living in the Country
How to Choose Homestead Land


My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a
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