Life on a farm isn’t all chores. Part of a balanced lifestyle is enjoyment, and a small farm or homestead provides unequaled opportunities for productive and fulfilling recreation.
Here are some new projects and hobbies you can tackle on those rainy days, snowy days, and Sundays. Some are popular with homesteaders across the country, while others are personal favorites.
- Reading. This one is at the top of the list because it is arguably one of the most useful hobbies that you can engage in on a homestead. Reading broadly, but thoughtfully, can provide no end of new ideas and solutions to try. It can help you refine your philosophy and improve your methods. (Looking for your next good read? Check the Homestead Bookshelf.)
- Cooking & baking. You will need something to do with all of that homegrown produce, right? For a rainy-day hobby project, try something you don’t normally make, such as a pie or homemade candy.
- Sewing & needlework. Not just mending. Take the time to make something artistic to enhance your living quarters, such as a quilt or a framed cross-stitch.
- Knitting & crocheting. These two easy-to-learn hobbies open up many useful and interesting possibilities. Dishcloths and socks may sound simple and unoriginal, but there are always new stitches, patterns, and yarns to try, making these crafts a never-ending treat.
- Jewelry making. You will never buy uninspired commercial pieces again!
- Candlemaking. This can be either simple or elaborate, depending on your tastes. A packaged kit is an easy entry point. Later, you may want to get more creative by incorporating pressed flowers and leaves from your garden or backyard.
- Soapmaking. Another craft that be simple or elaborate. Again, consider starting with a kit.
- Upcycling. Upcycling may sound like an ephemeral buzz word, but the concept itself is satisfyingly timeless. All it means is taking what might otherwise be regarded as trash and transforming it into treasure. Crafty DIYers everywhere have built birdhouses out of license plates, plant markers out of sticks, and small tables out of pallets. Create your own masterpiece!
- Drawing & painting. This is a particularly enjoyable project if you live in the country, as you will have no end of inspiration.
- Photography. The tools of the trade are readily available. The only secrets are an artist’s eye and the patience to try and try again.
- Music. Learning to play an instrument is a fun challenge, and resources to help abound.
- Making greeting cards. Collect quotes and materials wherever you find them, then mix and match to create a custom card that will mean a great deal to the recipient. (Read Homemade Cards for a little help and inspiration.)
- Journaling. Even if a personal journal is not your interest, there are plenty of other options. Consider a farm journal, nature journal, or weather journal.
- Writing. Everyone has something that they can give to benefit others. Write about a skill that you are good at, share a lesson you have learned along the way, or just make up a story to entertain the children.
- Home improvement. While knowing how to make basic repairs is a useful skill, go beyond the bare minimum and create something. How about a bookshelf or a new set of curtains?
- Landscaping. Or take your improvement project outdoors. A simple search can provide no end of thrifty ideas. Better yet, edible landscaping makes for practical art!
- Woodworking. Many a weekend woodworker has delighted their relatives with one-of-a-kind gifts. And quite a few of those have even gone on to turn their hobby into a side hustle.
- Blacksmithing. Few things are as amazing as watching a solid bar of metal transform into something pliable. Don’t need horseshoes? Blacksmithing can also be used to create tools, yard art, and more.
- Masonry. For those who want to create art with hammers but without the fire, masonry offers another option. You can create anything from paths to rock walls—or even a stone arch bridge!
- Beekeeping. Many beekeepers are more interested in raising bees as a hobby than as a business. This pastime combines the seasonal tasks of tending a hive with opportunities to find new uses for honey and beeswax.
- Foraging. Also known as rummaging through woods, pastures, and backyards for edible plants. Once considered a survival skill in the homesteading community, foraging has now emerged as a hobby, with foragers across the country celebrating the arrival of spring each year by harvesting the earliest greens. However, this hobby can be a little dangerous for beginners, so wait to hit the trail until you have read up on plant identification.
- Hiking. This simple, healthy hobby will provide you with opportunities to observe nature. While many state parks offer enjoyable trails, you can also mow your own hiking trail on your property, even if you own a fairly small acreage.
- Horseback riding. Many who enjoy country living also enjoy spending time with horses. Horseback riding can be as simple as going for a trail ride on the weekends, or it can provide the challenge of mastering skills such as reining and roping.
- Dog training. A sufficiently food-motivated dog can learn no end of amusing and even useful tricks, from wiping his paws on a rug to carrying in the mail. Ready to get more advanced? Train your own herding dog!
- Birdwatching & birding. What is the difference? Birdwatching is the leisurely enjoyment of backyard birds from a convenient window or porch. Birding is the serious quest to located and identify as many species as possible, wherever they may be found. Either one is a great homestead hobby.
Top 10 Skill-Building Resources
Need some help starting your new hobby? Here are a few of our readers’ favorite posts, books, and more.