Learn a New Homesteading Skill (or 52) this Year!

Reader Contribution by Carrie Williams Howe
article image

What is on your list to learn this year?  Are you thinking about raising bees?  Wanting to make your own laundry detergent?  Planting new fruit trees?  When you are a homesteader there seem to be a million new things you could learn, but what if someone challenged you to learn a new skill every week this year?

That’s the challenge that Kimberlee Bastien and her family took on when they agreed to write52 Homestead Skills: a self-taught homesteader’s one-year journey to learning a skill a week in collaboration with Mother Earth News. 

Bastien’s book is the chosen read for the Winter edition of the Homesteaders’ Book Club sponsored by The Happy Hive Homestead and Homestead How-to.  We’ll be diving into Bastien’s adventures and trying some of them ourselves through an online learning community – our Facebook Group.  We’d love to have you join us in February 2019!

So why did we choose this book?

Sectioned into months of the year with an introduction to life on their homestead each month, Bastien’s book includes descriptions, educational information, and vibrant photos of each of the skills that Bastien, along with her husband and children, undertook. 

As you read about her adventures, you get to know Bastien through her frank and funny narrative.  And frankly, that’s what makes this book fun.  Bastien is down-to-earth about her adventures, not claiming any level of skill or knowledge that is superior to her reader.  She admits that her cheese is not perfect, but that she was still “incredibly, immensely, positively proud” of herself.  She shares her frustration with having a hive smoker fizzle out half-way through a beekeeping project.  Moments many of us can relate to.

Bastien is not perfect and she’s learning as she goes, just as we all are.  But the reader gets to benefit from her trial and error in an accessible and valuable way.  The brilliant photos of her homestead and her family show just how much they are willing to share their lives with us, and for that we can’t help but be thankful!

This book is a great read for those who are just getting into homesteading or want to add additional skills to their repertoire.  It would also make a great gift for an aspiring homesteader who wants to know what the homesteading life is like.  While not many of us would have the capacity to take on a new skill each week, we might want to try many of these things over the course of our careers as homesteaders, and that makes this book a valuable reference for anyone’s library.

A copy of this book was provided for review by Mother Earth News and Ogden Publications, sponsors of the Winter 2019 Homesteaders Book Club.

Carrie Williams Howe is a blogger at The Happy Hive Homestead and an Editor at Homestead How-To.  She is the Executive Director of an educational nonprofit by day, and parent and aspiring homesteader by night and on weekends. She lives in Williston,Vermont, with her husband, two young children, and a rambunctious border collie. Carrie has a PhD in educational leadership and is passionate about learning collaboratively. Connect with Carrie on The Happy Hive Facebook page. Read all of Carrie’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.

Need Help? Call 1-800-234-3368