How to Become a Homesteader-Part 3-Old Fashioned Items


There was good reason for many of the items that we now view as quaint or wonder what they were for in antique shops.  There are some items that will make your life much easier in your homestead.  Some new, some not so new.


1. Oil Lamps– Oil lamps are functional and beautiful.  In our effort to dramatically decrease our electricity use, we enjoy reading by these light sources.  We have one large one on each end table and Doug bought me two that hang on the wall, one either side of our pillows.  We have one on each table in the house and a few smaller ones that can be moved about.  Lamp oil is fairly inexpensive and the lights give a soft glow to the homestead.

There was one evening when the electricity went out in the entire neighborhood at our last house.  Doug and I did not even know until we got up and realized how dark it was outside!  We just kept on reading.

The softer light also signals the body that it is time to settle down.  Bright lights, LED lights, and blinking lights all act as stimulants for the body.  It’s no wonder there are so many sleeping issues out there!

You can pick up oil lamps at Walmart, at thrift stores, or new at


2. Aprons– I may have about thirty-two of them but I am always on the hunt for more and love receiving them as gifts.  I also make them but it is more fun to wear one that a nice great-grandma would have worn at one time.  It honors those that came before us to wear something used with love.

The reason for aprons was simple.  The girls had a only a few dresses and rather than mess them up every day and have ever more laundry (some chores never change) they wore an apron over the dress.  This kept the dress clean and it was easier to wash an apron then a long dress.  I wear my aprons out.  I wear them cooking, cleaning, doing farm chores, gardening, at farmer’s markets, and sometimes just out.  I like to keep a tissue, a bit of cash, my phone, and a pocket knife in the pocket.  I don’t have to lug around the suitcase of a purse I have!


3. Pocket Knife– Doug and I got each other lovely turquoise knives.  But a good old fashioned Swiss would do nicely as well.  I have walked around with a steak knife in my pocket before getting a pocket knife.  A pocket knife folds up, y’all.  Just get one.  You can easily cut fresh greens, snip the twine off a bale of hay, or any number of other things that come up.  Cut open an apple, get one with a wine cork on it…instant picnic!  But really, yesterday I went to feed the goats forgetting that it was a new bale and pulling and pushing around the hay bale doesn’t get it undone.  I forgot my knife in the house.  Back in my apron pocket it goes.


4. Work Gloves– It took us awhile but it wasn’t long before we figured out that we needed some work gloves.  We had several lying around but we keep them by the door now.  From mending fences, to digging fresh soil, from picking up a sick chicken, to bringing in firewood, gloves are imperative.

Even Maryjane has her own pair thanks to her Grandma Dawn!


5. Cast Iron Pans– I spent a good many years buying those cheap Teflon pans in lovely colors only to get Teflon in my eggs and needing new pans.  We have a nice collection of cast iron now (always on the lookout for a new piece) and they will be passed down to our children’s children’s children!  They stay in great shape, can be whipped into shape if they have been neglected too long, can go from fire to stovetop, and are great for cooking.


6. Cuckoo Clocks and Wind Up Clocks– Same reason as the oil lamps, should the power go out you wouldn’t even know!  We keep our clocks wound and love the gentle ticking.  The bird that appears thrills our granddaughter and visiting children (and many adults).  We don’t have any clocks with that dreadful LED light up display.  The last one was discretely placed in the giveaway pile.  I like the feel of a vacation home.  That I live in a vacation home.  Plenty of things to read and do, not a lot of electric stimulation, just gentle lighting and sounds.


There are many nice things to have on a homestead; seeds, tools, books, board games, matches, coffee, a man…but these six things will get you started!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. bibprofessor says:

    how could you forget the overalls 🙂

    1. Farmgirl says:

      How could I forget the overalls! I love wearing them too.

  2. juliepullum says:

    We agree on all of the above even down to the cuckoo clock (we have two one Nick’s mums and one my grandma’s) but sadly neither are on the walls instead we have my dad’s uncles pendulum wind up clock he brought home from WW1. I have so many aprons (we call them pinnies short for pinafores probably) one from my 21 birthday it’s a bit raggedy. Kept my dads pen knife, so useful. Work gloves, they are essential, and although a fairly recent addition I have a cast iron frying pan. I had previously bought the coated cast iron and although it’s pretty it’s not as good as the basic cast iron! Another great read, thanks

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Wow, what treasures! I would love to see that clock! 🙂

  3. Danean Causby says:

    I agree with pp, great read! You have inspired me to get rid of my toxic teflan pans and get out the cast iron from the basement.
    I will also check out Lehman’s for a lamp.
    My husband thinks you guys are very inspiring also,by the way 🙂 he told me that I needed to think more like Farmgirl (I spend too much $ I think!)

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I pry spend too much too! But, I do like living simply so that keeps me in check! 🙂

  4. farmerkhaiti says:

    Your mention of the cukoo clock reminded me that both of my grandparents had them in their houses, I wonder where they ended up. Such a fun memory to recall that “start” I’d get as a kid, from that noise on the quarter hour! I also adore cast iron, I inherited my mom’s gorgeous deep “chicken fryer” cast iron, which works amazingly for that and other uses, but my day to day cast iron pans are probably someone else’s relatives’ discards, which I’ve picked up all over the place. Cast iron pans are such treasures! I look forward to reading more of your experiences and thoughts, always fun to find a kindred spirit!

    1. Farmgirl says:

      A dear friend gave me that clock as well as a wind up one I use in the kitchen so they will always be dear to me. We stayed at a couple’s home when we were crewing a hot air balloon in Kansas one weekend long ago and the couple had cuckoo clocks everywhere! I found it so magical to be there. I hope my granddaughter will hear these neat clocks and think of Grammie and Papa’s house!

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