Homestead and Self-Reliant Resources

A resource of homestead and self-sufficient information from Oak Hill Homestead.

More than ever, folks are wanting to be more self-reliant. Building an emergency pantry, preserving food, and gardening to produce that food are today's hot internet searches.

The Oak Hill Homestead blog has always been about helping you achieve your self-reliant goals on a budget. Over the years it has grown into a very large "library" of sorts and sometimes it can be hard to find a post on a particular topic.

You'll find links to various topics and posts below that I hope will help you in these uncertain times.

Let's begin with kitchen skills, because everyone needs to eat!

Kitchen skills

Cooking really isn't hard, and recipes are more like "suggestions" than hard-and-fast rules (except baked goods; those recipes need to be followed more closely). You can make substitutions if you don't have something in your cupboards, or omit certain things if you don't like that particular ingredient or don't have it on hand.

Kitchen skills are one of the homesteading and self-reliant resources presented by Oak Hill Homestead.

To prove that anyone can learn to cook, you might enjoy my confession in this post about making macaroni and cheese from scratch. (Ouch!)

If the grocery store is out of canned soup, you can make your own. Soup is soup-er simple: it's liquid (stock, broth or even water) with vegetables and maybe meat added if you have some. It's great for using up leftovers and for stretching the food you do have.

You can add some instant potato flakes to soup to thicken it up a bit. Or make a "cream soup" with a roux of butter and flour (see the Chief's favorite broccoli and cheddar soup as an example).

Here's how I make chicken stock from scratch. I try to make a large batch so I can freeze some in quart-sized amounts, or pressure-can it.

Bean soup is another easy-to-make meal that's very filling and delicious. You can use any beans or combination of beans. Soak dry beans overnight before cooking, and add salt at the end of the cooking time. Making bean soup with a leftover ham bone is one of our family traditions, but you can make bean soup without ham too.

Making something at home from scratch is almost always less expensive and better for you. I have a PDF you can download for free that will teach you how to make yogurt from milk, or you can read the original yogurt-making post here with step-by-step pictures.

Another delicious dairy product you can make yourself at home is ricotta cheese. Soft cheese are easy to make! You can learn how to make ricotta cheese here.

Self reliance

Being self-reliant doesn't mean you have to live off-grid and grow all of your own food and meat. It simply means that you are able to rely on yourself instead of expecting others to come to your rescue or bail you out, that you have plans and systems in place just in case of... whatever.

Self-sufficient and homesteading resources from Oak Hill Homestead.

A self-reliant family plans to have several weeks' worth of food on hand. If you'd like to build a deep pantry for unexpected emergencies, plan to do so over several months or longer for the least impact on your budget.

Buying a few more cans of food every time you shop is the simplest way to stock up. We've shopped this way for years, and that emergency cupboard has seen us through snowstorms, short- and long-term power outages, and job loss. Don't forget to have extra pet food on hand, and to rotate your emergency food ("last in, first out" as the saying goes: eat the oldest can first).

Of course you can substitute home-canned jars of vegetables, fruits and meat for those store-bought cans too.

How much water should you store for your family's emergency needs? The free printable worksheet in this water storage post will help you figure it out.

We keep our important paperwork in a "grab and go" binder just in case we need to leave the house quickly. It's come in very handy on a few occasions when we were threatened by wildfire or had to go to our storm shelter (after all, we live in Oklahoma!).

Gardening resources

Raising your own food on a budget is an important skill. You can grow food in as little as 3-4 weeks if you know what and when to plant.

Gardening and self-sufficient resources from Oak Hill Homestead.

Starting a kitchen garden - or a victory garden if you prefer that name - is the best way to increase your food security. This post includes growing guides for some of the vegetables I grow here at Oak Hill.

Learn how you can grow vegetables in a tiny garden in this post... and which vegetables will grow best in containers if you only have a patio or balcony to devote to growing food.

A garden doesn't have to cost a bazillion dollars to get started. Here is one way to build a raised bed garden on a budget.

Subscribe to The Acorn, Oak Hill Homestead's weekly-ish newsletter and get my ebook "How to Make Vinegar at Home for Pennies" for free.


Here in Oklahoma we are blessed with many food and other usable plants growing wild, but most areas have native plants of some kind that are edible. Do some research online or invest in a regional book or two to identify edible plants.

Self-sufficient and homesteading resources from Oak Hill Homestead.

Please be sure of a plant's identity before consuming it. A good rule of thumb is to taste a tiny bit and wait at least 15 minutes to check for any reaction before consuming any more.

I can't tell you how excited I was to realize we had blackberries growing wild on our land! Years later, we had to reclaim that land from the blackberry thickets that threatened to take it over, but hey, the berries are delicious.

How to eat your weeds
How to identify and use woolly mullein

Preserving the food you grow or buy

You can preserve food even if you didn't grow it yourself. Farmers markets, neighbors, friends and you-pick orchards can all provide fruit and vegetables you can freeze, dehydrate or can. Take advantage of whatever is in season to stock your pantry.

Food preservation is one of the self-sufficient and homesteading resources presented in this post from Oak Hill Homestead.

I have a comprehensive guide to preserving and using apples here, and another on preserving carrots here. Both apples and carrots are good "first time" preserving projects.

Learn how to can food with my how-to guides to using a water bath canner and a pressure-canner - and some canning tips and tricks, and thoughts on buying used canning jars too.

And if you're wanting to preserve dry staples such as noodles, rice, flour, and so on, this post will show you how to vacuum seal almost any jar in your kitchen.

Wild or purchased berries can be frozen, dehydrated, canned or turned into jelly and jam. You can make juice and freeze it to make jelly later. (I share my favorite jelly and jam recipes in that post too.)

Chickens for eggs and meat

This morning at the feed store I was talking with the clerk about how fast they sold out of their weekly chick order. They ordered extra this week and most of them are already pre-sold.

Are you interested in a more self-sufficient lifestyle? You'll find a wealth of information and resources here from Oak Hill Homestead.

If you are interested in raising your own hens for eggs, or raising chicks for the freezer, take a look at these posts:

How to order chicks from an online hatchery
Start your new chicks off right for happy, healthy hens
Ways to save money on chicken feed
Must-haves for your chicken coop

Raising chicks for the freezer:
Comparing heritage breeds to Cornish Cross
Our experiences raising Cornish Cross chicks 

Homestead Goats

I've written a lot about dairy goats over the years; you'll find just about everything you want to know about goats here, including some free printables to download.

Self-sufficient and homesteading resources from Oak Hill Homestead.

Are you looking for more resources for living a self-reliant, simple life? If so, subscribe to my weekly-ish newsletter "The Acorn", become a member of our Homesteading Community Facebook group, and join me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest. I'd love to see you there!

Are you interested in living a more sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle? You'll appreciate this round-up of homesteading and self-reliant information: Self-reliance, food preservation, gardening, foraging, chickens, kitchen skills and more!

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1 comment

  1. Lots of great information in these posts! Thank you.


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