About Common Sense Home – Who We Are and What We Do

Common Sense Home is about using sound judgment to be more self-reliant. It means doing what you can, where you are, with what you have.

We'll cover topics such as:

Being self-reliant isn't about trying to tackle everything on your own, it's about building community and helping out each other. We look forward to growing and learning with you!

Laurie Neverman

Laurie Neverman

Laurie Neverman is the creator of Common Sense Home (formerly Common Sense Homesteading). She was raised on a small dairy farm in northwest Wisconsin, and worked in the family catering business as her summer job through high school and college. She has a BS in Math/ Physics and an MS in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in renewable energy.

Her gardening adventures include companion planting, wildcrafting (using weeds for food and medicine), vertical gardening, herbalism and permaculture. Her family’s Green Built certified home includes an attached greenhouse, root cellar and canning pantry, which extend the growing season and allow them to store food for year round use. She hasn’t found a wild edible she wouldn’t try (including quackgrass wine), and grows over 100 varieties of fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers in her garden each year.

Laurie was a professional caterer during the summer months of high school and college, and earned her bachelors degree in math/physics and her masters in mechanical engineering with an emphasis in renewable energy. Before coming home to raise her family, she operated the world's largest solar water heating system. Learn More About Laurie Neverman.

August Neverman

August Neverman

August Neverman is the Broadband and BCCAN Director for Brown County, WI.

August has experience with: emergency preparedness, all things I/T releated, cyber security, and building design and architecture.

August designed both our homes and has assisted on the design of other homes. August was the CIO for Brown County for 7 years, the I/T Director for the Medical College of Wisconsin for 5 years, and 16 years in I/T with Hospital Sisters Health System. He served 9 years in the Minnesota Air National Guard, which included emergency response training and cyber security work. He has a bachelors in Management Information Systems and a minor in Physics from the University of Wisconsin Superior.

August and Laurie live with their two sons in a Green Built, Energy Star certified home with a permaculture twist in Northeast Wisconsin.

Laurie and August Neverman

Contact Us

You can reach us via email at laurie at commonsensehome dot com. We do not accept unsolicited guest posts. Visit here for advertising inquiries.

Learn More About Our Homestead

Our Homestead – Then and Now – How Things Have Changed

Just in case you're wondering what that plant is at the left of the new Common Sense Home logo, it's common plantain, Plantago major.

My grandmother used to call it medicine leaf, and it was one of the first wild plants (weeds) that I learned to use. I chose as a reminder that the help you need might be found where you least expect it, and that although everyone may not be able to grow a huge garden, almost everyone can grow weeds – or find them in the wild – and put them to good use. 🙂  Self-reliance is about using what you have, wherever you are.

Common Sense Home Logo

Other Common Sense Home Writers

Richard Poplawski

Laurie Neverman's brother, Richard Poplawski. Since his service in the Marines, Rich has been a mechanic, fabricator and “fix just about anything” guy for over 20 years. He lives in northwest Wisconsin in the farmhouse that was owned by his grandparents, and maintains a large orchard and perennial plantings, as well as a vegetable garden. He loves spending time with his grandkids, introducing them to gardening or getting in some fishing with “Papa Rich”.

Debra Ahrens

Debra Ahrens lives with her family on a five acre hobby farm in northeastern Wisconsin which she often describes as ‘short on hobby, long on farm'. Besides the School of Hard Knocks (Life), she attended UW-River Falls, majoring in Dairy Science. Along with her husband Jerry and their three youngest daughters, they raise every kind of domestic poultry known to man, and maybe a few that shouldn't be known. Their furry animal family includes a flock of Suffolk sheep, dairy goats, a few rabbits, their dog and a lone beef heifer, Thelma. In her spare time, Debra is a poultry and sheep project leader for Kewaunee County 4-H.

Amber Bradshaw

Amber Bradshaw of My Homestead Life.

Amber and her family moved from their tiny homestead by the ocean in South Carolina to forty-six acres in the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.
While building their off-the-grid homestead, they live like the days of old – cooking without electricity, collecting water from the creek and raising chickens, goats, pigs, turkeys, bees, and guineas. They've recently filmed their journey for a TV show on the Discovery Channel and the DIY Network/HGTV called Building Off The Grid: The Smokey Mountain Homestead.

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  1. Hi Laurie
    I signed up and your links in the first email don’t work. I would also like the printable templates but can’t find them. I’m just learning how to start gardens indoor and move them outside. I bought a green house and am so excited to be gardening. I do really need the printable stuff, I’m a stroke survivor and my memory is not so good. I don’t want to mess this up. It’s my therapy suggestion from my neurologist.

  2. Hello Laurie,
    You do a wonderful job on your newsletters and your website. It is a welcome sight to see your newest newsletters in my email! About your affiliate links, are you able to get one for a website called Vitacost.com? Their prices are usually lower than amazon and iherb for what I shop for. Iherb is also a good site though. I would love to support you by purchasing through a link on your website, or a link in your newsletter. Just a thought. Thank you for your hard work on your blog and newsletters.

  3. Dear Laurie,

    I just read your great review about the home freeze dryer. I am thinking of buying one but as I am living in Germany the shipping costs are quite high. Do you happen to know if Harvest Right has something like “kitchen lab” where they offer to test the freeze dryer in advance ? I would prefer to fly over and test it before buying. I have tried to contact Harvest Right (Tristan Tesch) but didn’t get a response. I am grateful for every hint. Thank you so much! Best wishes from Berlin, Cecilia (my blog – just in german – http://www.beanbeat.de)

  4. Good morning,

    I discovered your site through FB and signed up for email newsletters. I love all of them. You are very informative and STI maintain the person touch. Thank you.

    I read an article recently I would like to share with my man but am unable to find a place to search for it. Not sure if I was reading newsletter and linked off it or what. But it was regarding choosing solar options pros and cons.

    If you can help me find it I would appreciate it.

    Thank you for your time. Have a great weekend.


  5. Hi Laurie, I grew sesame seeds again this year and I’m just getting around to cleaning them I let them dry and drop into paper bags now I can’t seem to get all the junk out of the seeds. Do you or your readers have any hints

    1. The professionals use specialized seed cleaners. For home use, there are a few different techniques you can try. First, you may want to make sure that the seeds themselves don’t have anything sticking to them by rubbing gently. Once the seeds and debris are no longer stuck together, you can winnow by gently tossing up into the air when there is a a very light breeze, or pouring between two containers when there is a light breeze. This should get rid of the majority of the chaff, but is likely to be time consuming. (This is why a don’t grow more amaranth for its seed. It’s a bear to clean.) When ready to use, you can soak the seeds, and more debris will float to the surface of the water and can be skimmed off. The seeds can then be rinsed and dried or toasted, or used however you like.

  6. I downloaded a copy of seed-starting-dates but would really love to have an excel version so I could make some changes as well as use an online version of the chart. I tried building my own chart in excel but my skills are so rusty I just could not manage it. Any chance you can send me the excel file so I can tweek it to my needs.

  7. I used your bread recipe and the results are less than desirable. The bread and rolls are wayyyy too crumbly to even cut. In fact, it sort of resembles corn bread when done. I am looking for it to be more doughy and stretchy when baked. Am I doing something wrong or is there a step I am missing?



    1. I don’t know what you did or didn’t do or didn’t add, but that doesn’t sound like any of my recipes done correctly. You can see a video of the basic sandwich bread on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/p/BMZboZ8BacS/?taken-by=commonsensehome . I’d guess that you didn’t add enough liquid somehow. There is one whole cup of water, then I break an egg into the empty measuring cup and add enough water to reach 1/3 cup. The only other liquid is the melted butter. You should use one entire stick of butter.

  8. Hi. I need information about grains in bulks, price for package at 50 lbs or more. I need black beans, red beans, lentils and peas.

    1. Jane, for next years tomatoes there is a great recipe on Wegmans.com for tomato basil orzo soup. You’ll have to adapt it a little to do fresh tomatoes but it is a great soup

  9. Dear I want make nata de coco.
    Can i buy nata de coco mother starter culture dehydrated live ACETOBACTOR XYLINUM
    and or
    The making process of aceto bactor xylinum bacteria from pineapple dregs
    I am from Sri Lanka

  10. Laurie,
    Please help.
    I want to purchase a manual grinder that will grind oats into flour, and do a GOOD job of it without getting mushy or binding. Which grinder is the best for this purpose? I purchased a unit from Country Living, but it doesn’t work well for oats. I trust what you have to say because you have the experience and knowledge, about these things.
    I appreciate your help with this issue.

  11. Hi Laurie,

    Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom about bread baking. I was one of those, “you never knew what you were going to get”. : / Very frustrated! But thankfully, your hints have afforded me to make six loaves perfectly! Oh how I thank you!!!!!!! What clued me in was the 90 degree water instead of the 110 degree & how to check the consistency of the dough. I’ve searched online for recipes, watched countless videos but never how the details given click with me. Until now! I can’t tell you how thankful me and my husband are for your sharing with us the true “how to” bake the perfect loaf every time! PRICELESS!

    Was looking for a yeast dinner roll recipe, any available?

    Goodness, I can’t thank you enough so I’ll say a prayer that you be blessed beyond measure!

    Have a great day!

    1. Both the potato bread – https://commonsensehome.com/leftover-mashed-potatoes-make-potato-bread/ and the basic sandwich bread – https://commonsensehome.com/sloppy-joes-with-homemade-buns/ make excellent dinner rolls. (I’ll be making a batch up myself for Thanksgiving.) Just roll them quite small – an inch to 1.5 inches across – and pack them fairly tightly on your baking sheet (touching is fine). Let them rise until double in size, then bake at 375 for around 13-15 minutes, until tops and bottoms are lightly browned. You can use an egg wash to give them a shine if you like (just brush with a beaten egg before baking). This technique will give soft sided “pull apart” dinner rolls. These can be made ahead and frozen, or made a day in advance and they will keep well.

      If you like a “crackly crust” type roll, use the French bread recipe and shape into elongated rolls or breadsticks. Brush with salt water before baking as with bread, and bake 13-15 minutes, until lightly browned. These are best made the day of the event to preserve the crispy crust, although you could make up and shape the dough ahead of time, freeze, thaw and bake that day of – but that would be more fussing.

      Glad you enjoyed the bread baking tips and the site, and thank you for your kind words.

  12. Hello there,

    Hope you’re well! I am so happy to have stumbled upon you’re commonsensehome.com and I would love to discuss the possibility of collaborating with you.

    As a part of our digital marketing strategy, we are searching for blogs that capture a specific target market and we believe that your blog would be a huge asset to our marketing strategy.

    I will provide you with an original article, written around a subject that is featured on your website. The article will reference my business as an authority on the subject and will incorporate a link to my website. I can assure you that the content written will be unique and relevant and thus beneficial to your website.

    This proposition is mutually beneficial and if you are willing to collaborate, we can discuss how to proceed from here.

    Looking forward to working with you!

    Kind Regards

  13. Hi Laurie, Just trying to get the apple leather article to come up. I could make some this weekend. It doesn’t seem to go to the correct area. Thanks!!

  14. Hello,
    I was happy to discover your website. I like what you do. It is great Just one criticism if I may.
    On your site it took me some time to find where you are on the planet. I mean, in which country and climate you live. I think this is important info, because some garden techniques are very climate specific.
    Take care

    1. I don’t broadcast the details of our place to the casual reader, but anyone who digs a little, subscribes or reads a few articles should find it pretty obvious where we are located, since I don’t attempt to make a secret of it, either. While some things are site specific, many are universal, or at least easily adjusted to different locations.

  15. I can’t find your contact info, only this place for replies. Hence, I shall inquire here how to download “Common Sense Homesteading 101”.

    1. That info would be right under where it says, “Contact Us”:

      “You can reach me via email at laurie at commonsensehome dot com.”

      It’s written that way to reduce the junk mail I get from spambots.

      There were links in your confirmation emails to the ebook download, but I’ll just email you a copy directly to keep it simple.

  16. Hi I am new to this website and wanted to learn more about oils. I have lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Which oils would you suggest to help with these disease process. I just recently had brain surgery and continuing to have nerve pain. I would like to not have to take medicine for ever.
    Any suggestions?? Thanks Vicki

    1. The FDA has made it illegal for bloggers to offer specific advice on medical conditions, especially regarding the use of essential oils. The have shut down websites that provided this type of information. Even if it wasn’t illegal, it would be irresponsible and dangerous of me to offer medical advice without medical training and a full examination/understanding of your specific conditions. Anything strong enough to act as medicine should be treated with respect and caution. Essential oils concentrate the medicinal effects of an extremely large amount of plant matter, and can be dangerous if used incorrectly. See “Top Ten Worst Injuries from Essential Oils of 2014—Part 2“.

      Please work with a professional to get help with your health challenges, not random internet folks. Peace and healing to you.

  17. Have 30 acres in North Country New York, 1mi. from Quebec, 13mi. from Vermont. I was raised on a farm in Indiana. When kids were little had a Jersey milk cow, 20 Barred Rock & Rhode Isl. red chickens-got a lot of double yolks. Two horses eventually, one would “neck rein” for work (pulling logs out of the woods for firewood) the other for dressage for our daughter. My wife has a teaching license and her masters, but opted to stay at home with our four children which varied in age by 13 yrs. Eventually went to small free range chickens. Burned firewood as primary Winter heat source although we have an oil fired hot air furnace in the basement for backup and when gone in our 110 yr old post and beam farmhouse. Insulated attack, put new airtight windows in house, helped heat. We have a four hundred year old Maple tree on the property (estimated by arborist). We had at the time 7 acres tillable (planted in crops for the horses- we would have a neighbor bail it for us and then another neighbor with horses and a big barn stored our hay. Now the kids have spread to the four winds (closest 300mi. & 3 states away, and furthest, 3,000mi. in France). So the woods are encrouching ever closer to the house. Would not trade our existence with anyone. Winters are very cold, but the rest is near perfect, and the Fall colors are spectacular- we are 13 mi. to the Adirondack Park (110mi long, 100mi wide with the forever Wilderness law preventing building. We are 13 mi. to Lake Champlain (5mi. wide, 100mi. long, a sailor and fisherman’s paradise-I sail. On a clear day from Whiteface Mtn, peak in the Adirondacks, you can see Mt. Washington in the White Mtns. of New Hampshire- 100mi. away. Many people here migrated over here from Quebec. Many older folks say they learned English when they went to school. We have two Thanksgivings here, the Canadian one in Oct. and ours in Nov. We often hear more French than English in our shopping areas in Plattsburgh, NY since we are invaded by Montrealers on the weekends and most of the Summer.