Today’s round of 20 Questions with Laurie at Common Sense Home is going to charm you, especially if you are a duck fan! Laurie shares some great things about homesteading I think you are going to love!
Be sure you check out the links she provides because they go to some great information!
20 Questions Homesteading Style – Laurie @ Common Sense Home
Please introduce yourself & your blog.
I’m Laurie Neverman from Common Sense Home, formerly Common Sense Homesteading. The blog is for the thinkers and doers who want quality information and recommendations they can trust on topics such as recipes and kitchen tips, gardening, preparedness, home remedies and natural health, herbs and wildcrafting, sustainable living and homesteading.
How did you start your homesteading journey? How long ago was that?
I was raised on a small dairy farm in northwest Wisconsin, went off to school and got degrees in math and engineering. My husband and I started out in the suburbs, but moved back out to the country when our boys were small, back in 2005. You could say I’ve come full circle.
How big of a property do you currently have for your homestead? Do you think that is ideal for you or do you dream of changing that one day? Why?
We have 35 acres. We rent 25 to a nearby organic farmer, and work on our stuff in the remaining 10. We wouldn’t mind adding more to take more of the surrounding area under our care, but the 10 keeps us busy.
What is your favorite thing about the homesteading lifestyle?
It’s not just one thing, it’s everything – the food, the time outdoors, the connection to nature, focusing on meaningful activities instead of the bread and circuses of the mainstream media.
What is your least favorite thing about the homesteading lifestyle?
The never ending to do list. Perhaps I could be better with time management, but my “would like to do” list is always longer than my “done” list.
What does a typical day on your homestead look like?
It’s very seasonal. Ducks and chickens are cared for first thing and last thing of the day.
In spring there’s planting, summer is tending and the beginning of harvesting, fall is always hopping with food preservation and prepping for our annual open house in early October.
Food preservation runs over into winter, as items that were shelf stable for time need more processing. For instance, we processed the last of the fresh tomatillos into salsa in December.
In late winter, we start seeds and garden planning, and do pruning in the orchards. Through all of it, the website require some attention almost every day.
What animals do you have on your homestead, and what is their purpose?
We raise meat chickens each year, and now have a couple laying hens. We also have a flock of five runner ducks. They lay eggs, but their primary purpose is pest control in the garden.
Learn more about the ducks HERE
What is your favorite thing to grow? Why?
We grow a ton of tomatoes each year because we process them into so many things, like soup, salsa and marinara sauce.
Recipes found HERE.
Are you a seed saver, do you order seeds or a combination of both?
I save seeds from a few things, but order most of my seeds, because I raise a number of varieties of specific crops (like over 20 different types of tomatoes) and it’s best if you have a gene pool of at least 30 plants each year for each variety.
I also think it’s important to support small seed companies with sustainable practices.
Are there any animals or plants you don’t have currently, but hope to one day?
Someday this place will grow into a full blown permaculture food forest, with expanded orchards and nut growing areas, so we may need to bring in pigs or grazers at least part of the season for cleanup duty.
What are some of your favorite things to make?
Plantain salve. Plantain was the first wild plant I learned to use, and the salve is a miracle cream. Nothing works as well as plantain on mosquito bites and other itching skin.
What is the hardest lesson you have learned on your homestead?
Some people are jerks – but thankfully not all people. There are some people who will never be satisfied no matter how much you do. Protect yourself from the “jerk factor”.
What is your favorite recipe to cook from scratch?
Homemade bread? Heck, anything is good if you make it with quality ingredients and care.
What homesteading skills are you thankful for learning?
Everything is useful at one point or another. Gardening, food storage, preparedness, wildcrafting, cooking from scratch, animal care – it’s all helpful.
What homesteading skills are still on your list to learn?
I want to do more with permaculture, herbalism and healing.
What is the funniest thing that has happened on your homestead?
In spring of 2017, we ran into trouble with one of our ducks, Miss Blue. We had to do surgery on her foot, and as part of her recovery, she soaked each morning. When she was done, we’d reunite her with the other ducks.
One morning, we brought her out and were looking around for the ducks. I went south to one set of gardens, my son went up the hill to the north gardens, where he found the crew. He was walking back towards Blue with the drake (Buff) when they reached the steep dropoff near the retaining walls. He started to lead Buff around the walls to a gentler slope, when Buff launched himself off the top of the hill. He couldn’t wait to get to Miss Blue, and flew around 20 yards from the top of the hill to the garden to reach her as fast as he could. It was so sweet and surprising.
When you are having a hard day/week, how do you keep yourself motivated?
Duck therapy. They are very soothing to watch.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start their homesteading journey?
Choose one thing to work on and start there. Don’t try and tackle everything at once.
When it comes to resources, what are some of your favorites?
We have a massive library of over 1000 books. I also connect with like minded people online and offline.
What are you most excited for in 2019 on the homestead and for your community?
Mainly I’m hoping that 2019 goes more smoothly than 2018. I’d love to have a cooperative growing season for a change, as we hope to record a gardening course. It might end up being about how to keep your garden alive in crazy growing conditions, but I hope not. We also want to finish work around the pond and add more perennial plantings.
Are you wanting to add ducks to your homestead after reading through Laurie’s responses? I know I want a few of them! Be sure to check out Laurie’s blog, Common Sense Home, for more!