Common Sense Home with Laurie Neverman
Doctor Prepper‘s show guest today is Laurie Neverman, creator of Common Sense Home, one of the most popular homesteading sites on the Internet.
Laurie Neverman is a professional engineer, author, preparedness expert, and an accomplished ex-urban homesteader. Laurie mixes her skills and talents on subjects from green building to wildcrafting, with the best of traditional and modern tech with a twist of humor to present self-reliance information in a way that makes sense to everyone.
I asked her these questions during the show:
- Why did you choose a more self-reliant lifestyle?
- Safer food
- Healthier lifestyle – more active, natural health alternatives for self-care
- Be better prepared for emergencies
- Save money
- Reconnect with traditional skills and pass them on to our children
- Create community by working together with neighbors
- Lower environmental impact
- What were/are your homesteading priorities?
- Building site with good soil and water within driving distance to cities of likely employment
- Build Energy Efficient, Environmentally Friendly Home with a focus on durability and functionality, including handicap accessibility. Home includes root cellar, attached greenhouse and extensive pantry areas for home food production and storage.
- Plant a windbreak tree line to start creating a microclimate for our home and yard
- Start growing our own food and sourcing as much food locally as possible
- Switch management of the balance of our land to an organic farm instead of the conventional farm that we started. (We have 35 acres in the country. The house sits in ten that was old pasture, and the balance is farmland.)
- Build permaculture guilds with perennial crops; add greenhouse and chicken coop to expand our food production resources.
- Long-term: homestead pond, solar electric power, extended emergency preps such as hand pump well and more fuel storage.
- What are some of the things you’ve accomplished?
Actually, we’ve done most of the things we planned, as well as the following:
- Built our current home in 2004-2005––an Energy Star, certified Green-Built home, with passive solar heating and active solar water and space heating.
- The tree line is established and doing well. Many of the oldest trees are taller than I am.
- The annual food production gardens cover close to an acre with nine different beds for veggies, fruits, herbs and flowers.
- We remodeled the shelving in the root cellar last year to include more canning storage and wine racks.
- The perennial plantings are growing, and will increase even more this season. We have apples, cherries, apricots, plums, blueberries, raspberries, juneberries, elderberries, hazelnuts, chestnuts and a butternut, along with various wild edibles for foraging.
- We’ve developed a great network of local sources (and friends) for much of the foods we don’t produce ourselves.
- Our kids have grown from little boys to productive young men.
CommonSense Home is about using sound judgment to be more self-reliant. It means doing:
- what you can
- where you are
- with what you have.
The CommonSense Home website features topics such as:
- Food storage
- Natural health
- Wildcrafting (Using wild plants for food and medicine)
- Home remedies
- “Getting Started” with homesteading basics, such as raising chickens
- Green home building and remodeling
- Book and product reviews
- Recipes and much more
Laurie writes from her Green-Built, Energy Star-certified “concrete bunker” in northeast Wisconsin, where she and her family work to stock their canning pantry and root cellar from their extensive garden and local suppliers whenever possible.
The home features passive and active solar, a masonry stove, ICF (Insulate Concrete Form) construction, wheatboard cabinetry, handicap accessibility, two 50-gallon rain barrels, a small attached greenhouse, and many other energy and water saving features.
Laurie and her husband rent out a portion of their acreage to a nearly organic farmer. The balance is a combination of wild areas (used for foraging), annual and perennial gardens, orchards, and a small but growing assortment of permaculture crops. They are in the process of constructing a larger greenhouse to expand their food production options.
Raised on a small dairy farm in NW Wisconsin, Laurie has many years of experience with producing her own food. This comes together with her college training in math and engineering, plus years of personal studies in health, herbalism, and preparedness to give readers a “hands-on homesteading” experience. This family lives what they write about, and they can teach you to be more self-reliant, too.
James Talmage Stevens, Author
James Talmage Stevens (aka Doctor Prepper™) began his career in the preparedness industry from the days of his youth. His family lived with his Grandparents immediately following the end of WWII. He learned the basics on the Pace farm in rural Guilford County (NC). Farm chores and gardening were standard fare––plowing the back 40 behind a stubborn mule was substandard! In 1974, upon finishing graduate school with 4 young children and no prospects for a job due to economic conditions during a national economic slump, James reverted to his past experiences on the farm and chronicled in his notebook, along with some hand-me-down recipes from his mother and grandmother. Noting there were no viable books that dealt with all the basics, i.e.: a broad range of food products, he began to utilize his analytical skills, organizing handwritten notes, recipes, and food lore into one volume of information. He spent his spare time while job-hunting, and Making the Best of Basics was created. Before going to press, the subtitle Family Preparedness Handbook was added to distinguish Basics… from the emergency preparedness genre of the existing Civil Defense and governmental agency information.