Step 4: Practice Country Skills

Step 4: Learn Country Skills

Part of the country lifestyle is becoming more self-reliant. Not necessarily self-sufficient, but able to meet a portion of your own needs. Trips to town cost time and gasoline, so see if you can do it yourself when it makes sense. Learn how to do at least some of your own building, cooking, vehicle repairs, animal care, and, particularly, entertainment. These country living skills will enrich your life.


Choosing Country Living Skills to Learn

Unfortunately, we can’t learn everything all at once. There are more country living skills that we could learn than we will ever have time for in our lifetime. Furthermore, when already tackling the new world of country living, trying to learn too many skills will lead to overwhelm and burnout.

For that reason, it is best to tackle only one or two new projects at a time. If you are already starting a garden and a flock of laying hens, maybe wait until you have settled into a comfortable routine before adding food preservation.

But then how do you choose which skills to learn first? Let your vision guide you. What best fits in with the milestones you have already set?

For example, if you have already decided that dairy goats are your top priority, consider learning basic carpentry and build your own goat housing, as well. Later on, you might consider adding cheesemaking. However, learning to train horses can probably wait, in keeping with your vision.

Now let’s change the scenario and show how it would look differently if your ultimate dream was to run a market garden with draft horses. Obviously in this case, gardening is the first skill you will need. But more importantly, notice that, in this scenario, working with horses suddenly becomes a high-priority skill to obtain, while cheesemaking becomes a distraction.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. That is exactly why the country living adventure starts with planning a vision. Now let it guide you.

But What About Hobbies?

Hobbies are those skills we learn simply for pleasure. They are expressions of our uniqueness, and we pursue them to stay well rounded.

For this reason, it is important to learn skills that are enjoyable, even if they are not tremendously important. Hopefully your work is fulfilling and brings you pleasure. But hopefully your vision also includes a few projects for enjoyment. For the sake of staying balanced, please allow yourself to do something just for fun, whether that is hunting for fossils or learning a musical instrument.

The key is to manage your time wisely. Maybe tuck in half an hour in the evening when the work is done to devote to your hobby. Maybe allow yourself a little extra time one day a week to indulge your avocation. This time will pay off by increasing your enjoyment, leaving you refreshed and more productive overall.

Tips for Learning Skills

Much of the advice we have shared about embarking on a country living adventure in general applies to specific skills. In particular, you will want to do some learning in advance, and then dig in, perhaps with the aid of a handy checklist.

A Sampling of Country Living Skills

So what are some of the most important skills to learn? Obviously those that fit your vision, as already mentioned.

However, a few country living skills stand out as applying to nearly every situation:

  • Time management.
  • Budgeting.
  • Research.
  • Gardening.
  • Pet care.
  • Keeping chickens.
  • Fence construction and maintenance.
  • Machine operation.
  • Vehicle repairs.
  • Housekeeping.
  • Home repairs.
  • Cooking and baking.
  • Emergency preparedness.
  • Basic food preservation.
  • Basic sewing.
  • Crafts.
  • Identification of common plants and animals.
  • Entrepreneurship.

Helpful Resources

Step 5: Harvest Nutrient-Rich Food »