Pioneering Skills for Everyone: Modern Homesteading

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Recommend Presenter was very knowledgeable and explained things well (Note: This is not a know all - do all. If serious about homesteading, you need more research than 1 video). A great entry level course that explains things in a down to earth presentation and the priorities of a homestead. Must have the video along with the audio, it makes the course easier to understand. The course book could be better. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2021-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it, learned a lot and very entertaining. Loved it, learned a lot and very entertaining. We live on 10 acres with a large garden and have thought of expanding. Lots of very practical ideas that likely took years of trial and error to learn. Loved some of the simple projects down to the nice recipe ideas.
Date published: 2021-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic set of practical presentations. This was so entertaining and informative and useful from the basics in cheesemaking, taking care of goats to making wine and building a chicken tractor. Thank you so much for all the great ideas and the lively cheerful presentation. My husband and I learned quite a few new useful skills and some ways to fine tune our own homesteading pool of knowledge. Great job.
Date published: 2021-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent overview of everthing; fabulous proff I went through this course, and have returned several times to go back over making Kimchi, cheese, and other specifics. It is an overview and covers everything you need except perhaps woodcutting; probably for safety reasons. Doesn't say how to clean chicken roosts though. I believe they need to be cleaned regularly to avoid salmonella. I was not a novice, I knew nothing about these skills. Beekeeping was fascinating.
Date published: 2021-03-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from More show and tell than how-to I was disappointed in the delta between promise and delivery on this course. While the presenter covers the basics, they are just that: very, very basic. I grew up in an urban setting, and even I can't say I learned anything new from this course. It was interesting to see how a goat is slaughtered since I've never seen the inside of a ruminant animal before, but even that episode left out a lot of what I would consider critical information about rudimentary safety and sanitation or how to best cut/trim which primes of meat for which uses. It wasn't "how to butcher a goat" so much as "Watch me butcher a goat." Every demonstration basically gave about the same content as a magazine article or brochure from the local farm supply store and then "Check on the internet for more information." (And, sir, given how dull most of your tools appeared to be, perhaps blade sharpening is a skill you should add to your set?) Telling me that sand is more porous than clay? Well, thanks, but we covered that in third grade science. It was about the same time we learned the difference between acid and alkaline. I'm a little suspicious that the presenter's claim that he's "never had a problem" with all these projects, a claim he repeats in nearly every demonstration. It seems we could learn more from someone who has experienced what can go wrong than from someone who either hasn't had things go wrong or maybe doesn't recognize when they do. After a half dozen episodes, we started skipping around to the ones that we thought might have more advanced or detailed content, but even the soap and candle making episodes were less informative than what one can find on the average blog or soap making supply site. My spouse gave up before I did when the terrible puns became too much to bear without any payoff of new information. When the household pre-teen commented about the gardening episodes, "This isn't very informative," that pretty much summed it up. I'm glad this was on streaming. Had I paid for it individually, I'd be asking for a refund. It seems that The Great Courses is abandoning its original concept of providing higher level content and material. It's disappointing because we watch Great Courses to be challenged, not so we can say "I already knew that." If I want to skim the surface of a topic, there's plenty of free material on You Tube and millions of blogs for that. I'm finding the older courses, while some are dated, are far more interesting and challenging than most of the new ones.
Date published: 2021-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific! I really enjoyed it and learned a lot. I was sorry to see it end and am eager to learn more. I hope the Great Courses keeps these kind of courses coming.
Date published: 2021-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another superb course He does a great job balancing use of appropriate technology vwiyhout being a Luddite!
Date published: 2021-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from answers all the right questions! I watched this and watched it in a couple of days. This is great for anyone who is thinking about getting into modern homesteading. I do some of the materials listed in this course and found the information very helpful. I also learned some new skills to take me further into my homesteading journey.
Date published: 2021-03-10
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Pioneering Skills for Everyone: Modern Homesteading
Course Trailer
What Is Modern Homesteading?
1: What Is Modern Homesteading?

Explore the many ways modern homesteading can bring some of the spirit and benefits of traditional homesteading into your life. Once you identify your own goals and skills—both the skills you bring and the ones you want to learn—you’re ready to get started. Even with a tiny garden, you can begin your own version of modern homesteading.

27 min
Keeping Bees and Harvesting Honey
2: Keeping Bees and Harvesting Honey

There are many benefits of apiculture, but you’ll have a bit to learn if you want to stay safe. Discover your options for building or buying the hive itself, how to recognize bees in various stages of development, and see the best way to harvest the honey. With just a few hives, you’ll have plenty of honey for yourself, family, and friends, and your garden will be pollinated.

25 min
Raising Goats on Your Homestead
3: Raising Goats on Your Homestead

Goats are relatively easy and inexpensive to maintain as livestock. But you’ll need to build your goat shelter before the animals arrive! With step-by-step directions, you’ll learn how to shelter, feed, and breed your goats to develop a healthy herd that’s the appropriate size for your homestead.

23 min
Milking Goats and Making Cheese
4: Milking Goats and Making Cheese

Examine the nutritional relationship between nannies and their kids, and learn the “when, why, and how” of milking goats. Discover how to make paneer, chevre, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese, fresh from the milk of your own livestock.

24 min
Processing and Butchering Goats for Meat
5: Processing and Butchering Goats for Meat

If you do keep goats and want to use some for meat, you’ll need to know the most humane and the safest ways to kill and butcher the animals. Following this detailed visual guide, you could produce about many pounds of meat from each goat, including loins, roasts, stew meat, and burgers.

22 min
Raising Chickens on Your Homestead
6: Raising Chickens on Your Homestead

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to choose the variety of chickens that best meet your specific needs. With detailed guidance, you’ll discover how to build the appropriate housing for chicks and older chickens, as well as nest boxes and perches. And should you decide to eat your chickens, this lesson will also teach you how to kill and butcher them.

25 min
Fencing for Livestock and Gardens
7: Fencing for Livestock and Gardens

Inadequate fencing can cause the loss of plants and animals and make it impossible to regulate the growth of your livestock herd. With step-by-step guidance, you’ll discover how to build the most effective fencing to keep female goats, male goats, and chickens in (and separate from each other), and deer and rabbits out.

33 min
Grapevines and Small Vineyards
8: Grapevines and Small Vineyards

Learn how to start from the ground up to grow grapevines that produce a maximum yield of large sugary fruit. With these easy-to-learn planting, trellising, pruning, and harvesting techniques, each of your homestead grapevines could produce 100 pounds of fruit per year, possibly for decades.

21 min
How to Make Homemade Wine
9: How to Make Homemade Wine

If you do plant a vineyard on your homestead, you can easily make your own basic wine following these step-by-step instructions. You can also take your process to the next level to create a consistent, high-quality wine by using a hydrometer and understanding specific gravity. With those tools, you can develop just the taste you’re looking for.

23 min
Fundamentals of Gardening and Soil
10: Fundamentals of Gardening and Soil

Compare the pros and cons of various types of gardening—tillage, mulch, container, and raised bed—to determine which is best for your homestead. You’ll also learn about the five main components of soil, how to determine which macro- and micronutrients your plants need, and how to supply those with the appropriate fertilizer.

30 min
Vegetable Gardening Made Easy
11: Vegetable Gardening Made Easy

Homegrown tomatoes are as delicious as they come. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to plant, physically support, and protect your tomato plants throughout their life cycle. And while cultivating other vegetables can be a bit more involved, with this step-by-step guide, you should be able to enjoy eating many different vegetables straight from the homestead garden.

35 min
Greenhouse and Hoop House Gardening
12: Greenhouse and Hoop House Gardening

While greenhouses can be time-consuming and expensive, they have maintained their allure throughout the ages. Learn how to build a greenhouse and why a hoop house might be a much better option for you. And discover the biochemical processes that make compost a reasonable winter heat source for your plants.

25 min
Seeds, Seedlings, and Transplants
13: Seeds, Seedlings, and Transplants

Discover which plants work best as transplants from seedlings and which are best grown by sowing seeds directly into your garden at just the right time. For transplanting vegetables, learn to propagate from cuttings and crown division, and the best way to plant the seedlings for successful growth.

22 min
Generators, Solar Power, and Water Wells
14: Generators, Solar Power, and Water Wells

While you might have considered taking your homestead completely off the grid, that’s just not practical in most instances. Instead, with a much smaller investment, you can learn how to prepare for occasional power outages. Consider a wide variety of alternatives, including solar power and hand pumps for your well.

28 min
Preserving Food by Canning
15: Preserving Food by Canning

The process of canning uses heat to kill the microbes that cause food to spoil—and it is safe and easy when you follow the guidelines presented in this lesson. Learn how to can some common fruits and vegetables with both a pressure canner and a boiling-water canner.

26 min
Preserving Food by Dehydrating and Freezing
16: Preserving Food by Dehydrating and Freezing

In addition to canning, your harvest can be preserved via dehydration or freezing. Discover how to use an electric food dehydrator and a DIY solar dehydrator for preserving fruits and vegetables, and the step-by-step process for creating beef, goat, or deer jerky, and biltong.

28 min
Preserving Food by Pickling and Fermenting
17: Preserving Food by Pickling and Fermenting

Acids preserve foods by killing the pathogenic bacteria that can cause illness. Pickling uses vinegar to provide that acidic environment, and in fermentation, specific bacteria produce acids as a metabolic waste product. In this lesson, you’ll learn to use both pickling and fermentation to preserve food, as well as how to make kimchi and kombucha.

31 min
How to Make Homemade Soap
18: How to Make Homemade Soap

Soap has always been made from two basic components—fat and lye—although neither end up in the finished product. In this lesson, you’ll learn how to make a simple homestead soap with lard, lye, and water, and also a softer soap that lathers well and smells good by experimenting with the addition of eggs yolks, olive oil, dried herbs, and more.

22 min
How to Make Homemade Candles
19: How to Make Homemade Candles

Master how to make candles by processing wax collected from bayberry plants and bees on the homestead. Learn how to make rush candles—the simplest type of candle—as well as using molds for tea lights, votives, tapers, and larger designer candles using specialty molds and additives.

24 min
Processing and Butchering Animals for Food
20: Processing and Butchering Animals for Food

If you want to raise all your food on the homestead, and if you’re not a vegetarian, that means not only learning how to safely nourish, shelter, and breed your animals, but also how to kill and butcher them. With step-by-step instructions and in-the-field video, this lesson will teach you how to process small and large game mammals, birds, and fish.

23 min
Laborsaving Power Tools on the Homestead
21: Laborsaving Power Tools on the Homestead

To manage a modern homestead, you’ll need a few basic power tools. Discover the benefits of rototillers, chainsaws, walk-behind brush mowers, motorized pruning saws, and stump grinders. Although these implements are more expensive than hand tools, they will save an enormous amount of time—and your own health, too.

26 min
Some Favorite Hand Tools on the Homestead
22: Some Favorite Hand Tools on the Homestead

While you will need a few power tools to run the homestead, you’ll need some high-quality hand tools. Explore the various types of tools that run only on elbow grease and learn how to purchase and care for them. From the mortar hoe to the axe, mattock, and auger-type post hole digger, you’ll learn the pros and cons of many options you hadn’t known existed.

18 min
Basics of Homestead Construction
23: Basics of Homestead Construction

You don’t have to build your own home from the ground up, but you will need basic construction knowledge to manage your modern homestead. Learn the construction techniques and tools—from your basic hammer to a cordless drill to the many options for saws—you’ll need to build your garden shed, chicken coop, and many other small projects.

25 min
Homestead Cooking from Everyday to Gourmet
24: Homestead Cooking from Everyday to Gourmet

Once you have your bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, and eggs, you’ll want to cook delicious and nutritious meals. Discover how to cook some homestead entrees from scratch—pasta and tomato sauce, baked panko-encrusted squash, chicken and dumplings, goat curry, and even wild pig puerco pibil.

30 min
Greg Pryor

Modern homesteading is a lifestyle that’s all about learning to become more self-sufficient and living in tune with nature.


University of Florida


Francis Marion University

About Greg Pryor

Greg Pryor is a Professor of Biology at Francis Marion University. He earned baccalaureate degrees in Biology and Art at the State University of New York at Oswego and master’s and doctorate degrees in Zoology at the University of Florida. He later taught at the University of Florida and received the Teacher of the Year Award in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

Greg specializes in zoology and microbiology. His publications include peer-reviewed research articles, textbook contributions, and newspaper and magazine articles, and he is a coauthor of the second edition of Microbiology: A Clinical Approach. He also writes a monthly newspaper column and maintains a popular YouTube channel that has more than 5 million views.

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