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Recorded March 2nd, 2022

[The following transcript was auto-generated using Otter.ai. If there’s a discrepancy between the audio and text, please reach out to me and I will correct it. Thank you.]

Ashley Schnese 0:00
In my area in our area we live in an affluent part of Wisconsin, the most of the clients that I see are they have a lot of disposable income. And we, when you have a good amount of disposable income and you choose not to prioritize something, then call that what it is, which is health is not my priority right now. My priority is these vacations for my family or this extra vehicle or whatever. I’m not demonizing any of that, but it’s just health is not the priority

Matt Derosier 1:05
This is the FarmHopLife podcast, I’m Matt Derosier .Today we’re talking with Dylan and Ashley Schnese of Steady Presence in Black Creek, Wisconsin. Ashley is a birth doula and a registered holistic dietitian. And Dylan is just some grunt work cheese head she’s married to. How’s it going, guys?

Ashley Schnese 1:05
Great. Thanks for having us.

Dylan Schnese 1:05
Yes. Yeah. It’s good to finally connect.

Matt Derosier 1:18
Yes, yes. I’m happy that you guys are here. Dylan, I’m just giving you a little bit of crap. I was born in Wisconsin, so

Dylan Schnese 1:25
Oh, really? Oh,

Matt Derosier 1:27
yeah. Yeah, LaCcrosse. Okay. Great. Yeah, I looked up. I was like, oh, Black Creek. I wonder where that where that’s at. And like, all the little cities around you guys are just like made up words. I swear. Like those little towns like no one could ever say like that speaks English. Could say any of those. Any those little town names and like that’s made up that’s made up that doesn’t make any sense. And then you go like, a little bit further out, like, oh, Appleton that makes sense. Like,

Ashley Schnese 1:56
yeah, so many consonants.

Matt Derosier 1:59
Yeah, that is true. who needs vowels, whatever. So you guys moved into a new house? When did you make that move? And why did you make that move?

Dylan Schnese 2:12
Yeah, so, um, yeah, during 2020. We’ve just we made the decision in 2020. To look for a piece of property. We’ve been wanting to do it for some time. And we always thought that it was going to be this future thing, where we’ll have the money in the future. We’ll be ready for this in the future, like way,

Ashley Schnese 2:42
way down the road? Yeah, 40s in our 40s, that’s when all of our ducks will be in a row. And that’s when we’ll be ready to do it.

Dylan Schnese 2:51
Yep. Um, um, so? Yeah. The events in like, 2020 just kind of pushed that roadmap up a bit. And

Ashley Schnese 3:07
we couldn’t stand to be in the city anymore for a multitude of reasons like we didn’t have. So we were living in a 700 square foot house on a cement slab with a single car garage, and a quarter acre of land with our two boys, who at the time, so the day we found out we were pregnant with Vinny was the day we moved into that little house. So we went from, like, we moved in already too big for that house. But we knew we needed to use it as a stepping stone financially. And that was the closest that we could get to like tiny living in a city because we had lived through all of the regulations for like actually buying a tiny house or living in a camper, and it wasn’t legal anywhere around here. So we got this little 1950s house that was redone. And we aggressively garden that we had for the four chickens that we were allowed. And then the police were called when we had seven one time, so we’re back to four. And during 2020 like April of 2020, we started raising rabbits for meat in our backyard because we saw the food shortages and that was like the most terrified we’ve ever been about anything especially looking our two little boys in the face and being like, Okay, we don’t have enough food on hand for anything because we live in this tiny house. So we started raising rabbits for meat. We turned like a whole wall of our of our family room into a pantry and just like put curtains over it. Like it looks nice. The aesthetic was fine, but you pulled it back and it was like A month worth of food. So we just started casually looking for land and feeling like we were never gonna find anything, never gonna find anything. Because we wanted to stay relatively close because both of our parents live in the area and are a huge help with the boys. And obviously, we love them, and we want to be by them. So this piece of property came up, and my friend had sent it to me on a Friday morning, and she said, Look at this, it’s really cute. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, it’s adorable. The house is beautiful. It’s on five acres, which is plenty for us. I sent it to Dylan, and he says, pull the trigger. And I’m like, What, uh, what does that even mean? Like we, we haven’t gone to a single open house like, we are not looking aggressively for a home. And I said, Okay, I’ll pull the trigger if you can get a pre approval letter. And I thought that would be the end of it. How is he going to get an approval pre approval letter. Four o’clock in the afternoon on that Friday. He’s like, Well, the pre approval is in your inbox. Can you talk to a realtor and get us a showing? So we went the next morning put in an offer on Sunday, not really knowing where all of the money was coming from just like trusting that this was will sell everything we have will. I don’t know. We had no plan, like, Okay, we had some plan, but like, we really didn’t know where the money was coming from. And God just like, moved a bunch of mountains for us. And everything worked out perfectly. We are offered shouldn’t have been accepted. But it was because the people liked us. So it was a total whirlwind. And my sister ended up buying our house. So that worked out really well. And so we our first day here was August 19. I think so it’s it’s still really new. We are always feeling like we should be doing more. And then we remember that we moved at the end of August and it’s like, yeah, we’re probably doing enough now. Like, we’re good.

Dylan Schnese 7:25
Yeah, yeah, it was six months. Wow. Yeah. Yeah.

Matt Derosier 7:30
Yeah. I’ve seen like little like snippets or whatever from your videos and whatnot. And it looks like a cool place. It’s beautifies big barn.

Dylan Schnese 7:40
Yeah. Oh, yeah. We plan on having barn dances in there. So we just got a bunch of lights. And the past couple of weeks I’ve been listening to various songs on Pandora and shuffling them over to a playlist just for the farm dances and there you go. Yeah, we’re looking forward to

Matt Derosier 8:01
my wife and I actually got married in a barn in Wisconsin, so

Dylan Schnese 8:05
Oh, that’s awesome.

Ashley Schnese 8:06
The perfect yes to be

Matt Derosier 8:09
absolutely. Yeah, you guys could could probably go visit and rip off a bunch of their ideas. It’s enchanted barn in borough, Wisconsin. Bear. I don’t remember I’ve heard Barron County I think is what the but yeah, anyway, so you mentioned your you mentioned your boys and your parents are nearby. Or your and you homeschool your kids. That’s awesome. How’s that going? Are you Are your parents involved in that?

Dylan Schnese 8:41
Very much so and so. Our kids go to my parents every Tuesday and Thursday. Except for this month because they’re in Alabama.

Ashley Schnese 8:52
They Snowbird Yeah, they Snowbird,

Matt Derosier 8:55

Dylan Schnese 8:58
Well, the beach. I yeah, I went to visit in this past November and it’s almost like being in Florida. I mean, just a couple of miles down the road from where they’re staying is the Florida coast of the Panhandle. Okay. So, yeah, it’s a nice area. Um, so, yeah,

Matt Derosier 9:25
so they’re staying with family or you. Just like, go have fun in Alabama. Hope you make it back.

Dylan Schnese 9:31
No, they have a condo they like timeshare.

Matt Derosier 9:35
Oh, I see. Your parents are there with your kids. Know what your parents

Ashley Schnese 9:42
are? They’re just parents. Yeah. Going over. Their house become a little slow. It’s excuse my reach here.

Matt Derosier 9:51
It’s because I was born in Wisconsin. But yeah, right.

Dylan Schnese 9:54
Well, same here. Um, yeah, so they are kids go to grandparents every Tuesday and Thursday. And so they’re like, every week, they like pick a new letter. And or is it a month? I don’t

Ashley Schnese 10:14
know, it’s just like after mastery, they’re in no hurry to do anything, which is so perfect for our approach of like, unschooling and following. It’s like totally child LED. I, every once in a while, I get swept up in the, like homeschooling Facebook groups that are like, what curriculum are you? Are you using for this, this and this, which is, like, I want everybody to have the freedom to homeschool the way that they want. And that works really, really awesome for some people, but it’s not the right path for us. So we’ve been doing unschooling and then books that are called Fun schooling books, and they are very child LED. It’s basically like guided journals for all different stages of learning and development and stuff. And it guides research about things that kids are interested in. So we, we were really worried about telling our parents both sets of our parents that we were homeschooling. Because we were expecting the but what about socialization, conversation, and they’re going to turn out weird, and all of the stereotypes about homeschooled kids. And we’ve gotten nothing but support from both sides of our family. And like, your parents are the first ones to tell us every time this is such a great fit for you guys. I’m so glad you can do this. So and especially in the context of the farm, like there’s infinite opportunities to learn.

Matt Derosier 12:08
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. That’s great. The socialization thing like that must have been like a marketing thing put on like, by like, public schools or whatever, because like, I don’t know, like, I thought about it the other day, like, How did that even get started, like the socialization, the socialization, and I saw somebody’s response, like, Well, I’m not raising socialists, so I don’t really

Ashley Schnese 12:35
I was always told in public school that I was not there to socialize, and that I was there to be trouble. I’m doing my work. So like in those exact words, you’re not here to socialize, please turn around. You’re not supposed to be talking right now. You get 20 minutes for recess, or whatever, where you can be with your friends. So I think we’re doing just fine.

Matt Derosier 12:59
That is a great point. Great point. Um, so speaking about, like learning on the farm, what do you guys growing this year? Are you starting anything new?

Dylan Schnese 13:12
Um, so this past year, we we got more ln chickens. And we already had the rabbits. Okay. The new thing that we had, oh, yeah, sorry. Yeah, the new thing that we had last year were ducks. And they weren’t hard to integrate into our life, they basically take care of themselves. And you just go out and fill a pond every day and flip it over at night, and you’re good.

Ashley Schnese 13:46
would bring so much personality. That’s my favorite part of the whole farm. Like, even if they, I mean, they do produce stuff for us. But even if they didn’t, I would just want to have them because to go outside and here. You see them all coming for you with their little weird waddle. It’s so fun. So fun. Ted can put them away and get them out in the morning by himself. And that’s like his fun thing When Dylan had to take a couple business trips in the fall. And he’s like, Mom, no, you don’t have to come out here right now. I’ll let the ducks out myself. And I just watch his little body walk out there in no hurry. He’d get like, distracted by a puddle. And then he’d go 1520 more feet and then he’d pick up his shovel and drag that around with him. And then he come around the corner. I can’t see him as he’s going the hallway. He come back around the corner. I’ll be like, did you do it? He’s like, Yeah, I took care of everything. It’s fine. So the ducks are super fun. Sorry. I didn’t mean to trip.

Dylan Schnese 14:48
No, no, I’m okay. Just a little side note. I about a month ago I did an interview with Tim and Tim. I listened. It was a great interview. I enjoy Uh, but like halfway during the interview, I would like kind of turn my head and an ash would be interjecting, like, okay, in future interviews, we just got to do this together because we kind of fill each other’s awkward pauses.

Ashley Schnese 15:18
Sure, Tim asked him. So like, Where can people find you? Or what are you doing like to lead people to our business or whatever? And I don’t remember what you said. But I was like, I held up a card that was like, What about doula? What about nutrition? What about farm? I don’t remember what you went with. But like, I did an interview with Jack and I felt the same way where like, if I had somebody else to, if I had you to fill in the gaps that it would have worked out better. Yeah, yeah. Anyway, anyway, what are we growing new this year?

Dylan Schnese 16:01
Um, what are we growing new? What Um, okay, so we’re, we’re not really doing a lot new. I mean, we’re expanding the ducks. Um, we’re having less chickens. And we’ll we’ll talk about that later. Okay. But the gardens?

Ashley Schnese 16:22
I think that that’s new. Yeah, I think that qualifies us. Okay, good.

Dylan Schnese 16:26
Okay, we’re having a big garden this year. So

Ashley Schnese 16:30
to 1500 square feet. 2000. Wow. Yeah. I don’t check in later. Check in later and see

Matt Derosier 16:41
how Okay, so let’s talk about that for a second. Because I’m curious. Your, your, your pencil plan plans, I guess is a 1500 to maybe 2000 square foot garden. Are you doing like straw bale gardening? Square foot gardening row gardening? Like kind of walk me raise beds, like what do you what’s kind of like the plan there.

Ashley Schnese 17:04
It’ll be mostly rose. And we’re going to do sheet mulching lasagna gardens. So we’re not telling anything we tilled for garlic in the fall, because we didn’t have enough time to even put anything down or do anything. We’re like, we need garlic for the upcoming season. We have a friend who raises goats that uses I think a clove per goat per day. She was like, if you can grow any of that. I’ll buy it from you. Okay, as a preventative and like D warmer.

Matt Derosier 17:44
Okay. I think I’ve heard that before. That’s cool.

Ashley Schnese 17:46
Yeah. So we got that in the ground and tilled that, but the rest of it will be lasagna gardening, we have a neighbor that brought over really an obscene amount of cardboard. Yeah, like giant cardboard boxes that were famous for. Yeah, but like, a lot of a lot of our whole wealth filled with cardboard boxes. So we’re gonna do that. We’re gonna do rabbit manure, because that’s cold fertilizer. And we’re drowning in it at all times. And what else are we gonna put on top?

Dylan Schnese 18:32
Um, I mean, just wood chips. Maybe. Maybe my dad can get a few passes of the lawnmower so we can put grass on it.

Yeah, really any green material that we can get our hands on. So

Ashley Schnese 18:49
then it’ll be row gardens of we’re starting tomatoes and peppers indoors from seed here shortly if we can get the basement cleaned up, which is I’ll do anything in this house except for this basement and I can’t stand it. It’ll get done. And then but we’re not going to start anything else. We did winter sewing last year and we’re just going to direct so all of that stuff this year. And we have stock tank gardens that the boys manage for four foot by two foot stock tank gardens and those were like so prolific last year.

Matt Derosier 19:37
Was that like a raised bed style? Just in a stock tank? Yeah, okay. I didn’t know if it was like aquaculture type or just using a stock tank for a race but okay,

Ashley Schnese 19:45
yeah, we had him at the last house because my most of our son was on our driveway. So we did the stock tanks to utilize that and we had a super long driveway that went into the garage like towards The back of the property, but the garage was filled with rabbits. So we didn’t have to bring our car back there. So then we put the stock tanks in front of the guard or in front of the garage. And they just did

Matt Derosier 20:16
super to get in trouble for that to

Ashley Schnese 20:19
know. So the police officer that came out to risk. Yeah, he said that was kind of like it was all dramatic. We knew exactly which neighbor it was. He is super retired and has too much time on his hands. Super grumpy stands on his deck. And just like you can hear him from his deck. And so my boys see a police officer come up. Dylan’s all talk, he’s like, Oh, well, I don’t care, have them call the police. The police come and he turns white as a sheet. And he’s like, I’m like, Okay, you need to go. I’m gonna go get the door and take care of this. And it’ll be fine. I’m like, hi, officer. Yeah, I understand. It was really a situation. We had seven chickens, because we were giving. We were getting new ones and then giving some other ones to farmer friend that we had. So it was transient. And so I explained the situation. He’s like, Yeah, that totally makes sense. He’s like, can I see your setup? In the backyard? Oh, sure. Come on back. So then he talked for like 25 minutes about how much he loves chickens, and how his sister has like 25 chickens out in the country, and all of them are pets, and they have names and he just thinks it’s so neat that you can do this in the, in the city, and that that’s totally fine. Just let us know when the other ones go. And then I have he’s like, and then I have to come back out to close this complaint. So then he came back out and gave us a free rain barrel that he him and his wife weren’t using anymore. The officer gave us a free rain barrel. So we felt a lot of support from from the city. And then since that didn’t work out he called the city ordinance guy. The because he thought we were breaking like visual ordinances. The neighbor call the neighbor called the ordinance guy.

Matt Derosier 22:37
I follow that one. That one I did understand.

Ashley Schnese 22:40
So he came out and he is a part of the town Sustainability Committee. And so he was really jazzed about what we were doing. And he’s like, oh, yeah, the compost is awesome. Yeah, you don’t there’s no limit on rabbit. So have as many as you want. Yeah, this rain catchment looks really cool. So yeah, it was actually a really neat experience. Overall. We don’t miss that neighbor, or any of the neighbors. We had a lot of nice neighbors, but we were in such close quarters in the last house. And the breathing space out here is just

Matt Derosier 23:22
Oh, yeah. can’t be beat. can’t be

Ashley Schnese 23:25
beat. Yep.

Matt Derosier 23:26
One bad neighbor can completely tear away like 10 good ones. Like it’s crazy. How like, the there is no balance in like, yeah. Um, so it sounds like you’re doing like some lasagna gardening. And I’m curious about your setup with the, the ducks and the chickens and the rabbits so. So you’ve got your rabbits over the chickens, which makes sense. They let the manure like drop through and the chickens pick it up. But like, so where do your ducks fit in with that picture?

Dylan Schnese 24:06
Yeah, so yeah, so a little a little background, the rabbits and the chickens together. Like I I didn’t come up with that idea that rise from Joel Salatin and he calls it a racking house. Okay. So like when I when I saw this outbuilding, and it didn’t really have a use and like, like, okay, so you go to the outbuilding the obvious use is to use it for animals. And it had a door where the chickens go while and then to get into the outbuilding ash rigged up a old farm door that was in the barn. So she had had working hinges on it so she does tack that up and really cool outbuilding The okay so with the amount of waste that the chickens and the rabbits produce, you need a good amount of wood chips to offset all of that waste to be able to make our outbuilding or a bigger outcome than so that said you have enough wood chips where every week or every two weeks you can go in there and completely cover it. Make it smooth Tron true deep litter method. Yes. Because what we did this winter didn’t work because we didn’t have enough woodchips. So all the poop just kept piling on top of each other. Which

Ashley Schnese 25:44
is fine and Wisconsin winter because everything is frozen. So it’s not like they’re like, getting all gross in.

Matt Derosier 25:53
Right? Rest.

Ashley Schnese 25:55
Yeah, like I don’t want people to feel like yeah, totally mismanaging or animal. Yeah, yeah, it didn’t work out. Just from

Dylan Schnese 26:05
a functionality standpoint, I know that all this waste on top of each other. I’m like, Okay, I’m not creating good compost here that yeah,

Matt Derosier 26:12
that’s what it was. We’re too much of one thing and not have enough of another.

Dylan Schnese 26:16
That’s right. And then while I was out of town for work, Ash had to do the chores. And so all the stuff that I like put up with during chores, she has to deal with

Ashley Schnese 26:35
that today, Satan no thing. So very passionate about efficiency, and not repeating steps and the redundancy of chores, when I had to take over was like, I was just, I wasn’t furious with you. I was just furious with the situation. Like I was stomping around in my bogs. Like, I cannot believe he goes all the way over here to back as a property and then stops himself all the way back with buckets of water. Can you believe then we go in the barn like I was fuming just with the situation on day one. And then I get on Amazon and I’m like, Okay, I’m let door because I don’t want to have to go out and do sure open the chickens up. Heated waters.

Matt Derosier 27:31
I want to do you want to tell people what an omelet door is? I know because I’ve looked into it.

Ashley Schnese 27:37
But oh yeah. It is a door chicken door motorized chicken door on a timer, or on a sunrise sunset light sensor. Because Okay, so our boys are almost five and almost three and doing chores with the boys with just one adult is not anybody’s idea of a fun time. While he was gone, I put them in the double stroller and I rigged. I put like I macro may so I have cotton cord everywhere. I punched holes in the visors of the stroller, put these little cords that came down, tied my phone to the cords and was like, Do you want to watch Doc McStuffins while we do the chores, let’s go. And so you have to get really creative. We butchered chickens like a month ago we brought so the boys were outside for like two hours doing their very best playing. And that got us through like prepping everything to butcher getting the water up to boil or up to temp doing all the preparation stuff. But we hadn’t actually touched a chicken yet by the time the two hours had elapsed. And that was how much time we had with toddlers before. Things were melting down. So we did a fire we got the marshmallows because that’s the best thing in life. And then I brought train tracks out in the garage and

my laptop and put on Puffin rock and was like there we go and we got more time out of it. So

yeah, guys, I’m advocating for calculated screen time. If you’re going to farm with toddlers, they get a ton of outside time they do their best and then you need Doc McStuffins but chores were terribly inefficient, so I overhauled everything while Dylan was gone. And I put so chicks had grown out of their brooder area so I built a

Dylan Schnese 30:12
chicken rockin chicken enclosure

Ashley Schnese 30:15
enclosure in the barn, kind of like a stall system thing with just a bunch of fencing that we had laying around. And so then we had to split the chickens up. Because we bought ones that we didn’t realize this, but they were very aggressively de beaked. So Oh, like over half of them. Their beaks didn’t meet in the front. They’re like, where am I? They’re like this, or they’re crossed over one or the other. And we had a big lice and mites problem. Oh, no winter, because they can’t prune themselves effectively. So we moved them. So right now all of our chickens are in the barn, that have functioning beaks. And then in the rack and house, our chickens are without good beaks are in there. We wanted to isolate so that we didn’t have to fight lice in the entire population. And then our ducks are in there with them right now. So it’s a duck chicken and rabbit house for the winter.

Dylan Schnese 31:27
Dragon house. Hey, go.

Ashley Schnese 31:32
Yeah. So Dylan’s issue with the rack in house is that he didn’t have enough wood chips. And like wood chips sourcing was an issue. on his side, my side for when I was doing chores, I hated going in the rack and house because they do such a good job at burying themselves places and going through everything that it’s like climbing mountains, like you, your foot gets stuck in a hole. I almost felt like a whole bunch of times. I’m a very young person. So I didn’t like to spend time in the rack in house. So if you’re going to plan on doing something like that, then I would plan to like rake it on a regular basis so that it’s relatively flat, or just don’t be clumsy. The bog boots are so beautiful. But there’s so there’s such a trip hazard for me. Yeah, well, I can’t wait. I’m heavy.

Dylan Schnese 32:33
I can’t wait until the spring where I can just wear regular steel toes. Funky, they’re nice for the snow, but they’re clunky. But we did we did talk. We talked about the ranking house prior to getting on here that the raking will be a big

Ashley Schnese 32:53
improvement that was like the other source of my cussing during these chickens. It was like a foot difference disparity from one pile and areas one light bulb in the rack and house. And it gets dark here in the winter at 430. So you’re always doing chores in total darkness, which was the other thing I was like how does he do this without a headlamp without a flashlight? Like, so I went on and got that stuff, too. I’m the purchasing manager. So he just didn’t come to me because he doesn’t like to buy new things. And I’m like, No, we’re doing this. We’re doing this we’re doing this. So that was a roundabout answer to the recognize.

Matt Derosier 33:43
Yes. That’s okay. I liked it a couple follow up. Did you buy your omelet door directly from omelet? Us? Whatever. How much did they cost because I Okay.

Ashley Schnese 34:00
Yes, yes, I

Matt Derosier 34:01
did. Okay, I saw a lot of like, knockoffs on like Instagram ads or whatever, like 20 bucks. No, no way. Yeah. When he talks for a motorized thing when the original is like 150 or whatever it was. I don’t remember.

Ashley Schnese 34:15
I think that we Yeah, I think that we paid 160

Matt Derosier 34:24
Okay. Yes. Okay.

Ashley Schnese 34:27
And it was easy to install. I was happy with that. It would have been easier to install had you been able to cut whatever hole you wanted. Like we had an existing spot that we wanted to use it so we had to like I had to patch the hole was too big, so I had to add wood around it. But yeah, overall, we’ve been really pleased.

Matt Derosier 34:56
Okay, cool. I just, I couldn’t justify Spending 150 bucks just to, like, make it make it easier for me personally, I was just like, I’ll just go do it, whatever. I’ll just Yeah, it’s fine. Um, so you have how many? How many laying? Laying? Hands Do you have?

Ashley Schnese 35:19
There’s no way of knowing. Um, we have a batch of chicks that we still call the chicks, but they’re definitely not chicks. We got them. I went, I went to a swap meet an animal swap me in. It was the end of August. We had been here two weeks, and I went to a swap meet. It was the first time I had ever gone to anything like that neither of us grew up in agriculture whatsoever. My other farming friend took me to a swap meet and I was like, this is the coolest ever just like a million trucks, making an aisle with tailgates and just like letting the favorite ever so we were there towards the end, it ended at noon. And people were like, it reminded me of cat calling. Like, hey, you do you want some checks? I’m not taking these home with me. Do you want them for free? And I was like, Okay, we already have a brooder that we like inherited with our property. So I was like, I’ll take it was like 11 Chicks brought him home. I’m like, surprise, Dylan. It’s chicks. We’ve never done chicks before. And he was like, okay, cool. Let’s go put them in the, in the little router spots. We had a lamp and everything set. And I said, Okay, I have to go to Tractor Supply and get chick crumbles, and I’ll be right back. So then I went to Tractor Supply, and their chicks were half off, which meant that they were like, 50 cents apiece. So obviously, I got 35. Because chicken math, if I’m gonna raise 11, then I might as well raise like 40 Some or whatever. Pretty much. Yeah, so we have the batch of checks, which is like the of the ones that made it is like 2530. And they’re straight run. So we have some really pretty roosters in that batch. And those ones will start laying. Like April May. And then we have the batch with the good beaks, which is like 13 hens. And then there’s like 10 with messed up beaks in The Witcher doing fine for themselves, like, but he’s doing great. So actively, actively laying, I’m gonna say are like 25. But we’re getting still only like two or three eggs a day for slash coldness winter issues, so and it’s too much for us, we’re going to focus more on ducks and minimise chickens, because it’s been really hard to feed them through the winter and not get anything. Like I know that that’s a very common thing that people do. We don’t love to do it, especially with how high feed costs are right now. And they’re just more drama. Yep. They’re more health issues. Overall, and it’s not like we’ve had tons and tons of issues with them. But compared to the ducks that are like completely 100% self sufficient, a forage so well. They are up and about, like, actively looking for bugs and stuff like every second of every day. They put themselves to bed at night. Like we just want to focus more on those versus the chickens. Yeah,

Dylan Schnese 39:19
definitely. Yeah, I mean, something that eats a majority of its diet and grass and bugs and takes care of its own young.

Ashley Schnese 39:29
Yeah, that’s the other thing. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Because we didn’t love the chicks process. We could do it. It’s a skill that both of us wanted to have. But if a mom duck is going to take care of 15 babies, more power to you, like, I want to facilitate that and I don’t want to do the incubating and hatching that’ll be like a cool homeschool thing that we do. But not like scale production. And Archer. Well, but we lost like a third. Oh, wow. To a third. Yeah. Which we heard was super normal for. I don’t know if it’s for our area or,

Dylan Schnese 40:23
or for new people doing this.

Ashley Schnese 40:25
No, there have been like five or six people that I’ve talked to that were like, oh, yeah, that’s right on the money. And I’m like, I don’t want to do that. That was sad.

Matt Derosier 40:34
That is sad. Yeah, I was hard. I ran 25 Meat birds last year, last one, like, a day or two after I got it. And then the other one got, like, wet and I never like dried it off properly. And I think it got too cold. And that’s why it died. But two out of 20 fives pretty good. Yeah. And so and then I’ve also never had like a mite problem, either. And so I just I don’t know what that looks like. I don’t know how you treat that other than, like, diatomaceous earth, I guess. And

Ashley Schnese 41:12
that’s what we ended up doing. Because the there were a bunch of natural sprays that you could put together to take care of it. But we had our issue in the winter. And so we can’t get them wet for freezing. So we did the D E. And like, just a really large it’s like a six foot in diameter kiddie pool, dust bath that they have no sure took care of things. Pretty well. But we because also we had never had mites in our other flocks. We didn’t know what it looked like. I don’t get out in the winter to do chores as much. And obviously Dylan’s out there every day. But he was like everybody’s molting. Everybody’s molting. And he didn’t realize that there was something else going on. So then when I went out, I picked him up and looked under their feathers. And there’s all kinds of red. Tiny, really gross. Yeah, like so you can see I’m with your eyes.

Matt Derosier 42:22
So you, you can actually see like the little mites in the bugs and whatnot. Okay.

Ashley Schnese 42:30
The nets, the groups of eggs at the end, like towards the base of the feather shaft. And they were so infested that you could see things running on them. Yeah, and so it was molting season like I don’t blame you or anything. But I watched I stood out and watch them for a while and you could tell that they were uncomfortable like it. And I was able to catch one of the worst looking ones and found the mites so then yeah, it was stressful to know what was wrong and then be like, well, what are we going to do about it in the winter? That was a that was an unfortunate,

Matt Derosier 43:18
right? We didn’t bad yeah,

Ashley Schnese 43:22
yeah, timing was bad. So we have a lot of obviously, we’ve already learned a lot about what we’re going to look for when we

buy adult chickens in the future. Like the beak thing. I had never heard of that being an issue for anybody. And then I looked it up and people have had problems. So that would be something that we would look for but we have Rhode Island reds and we really liked them for it. And then some pretty roosters we have a Brahma rooster that does a really good job.

Dylan Schnese 44:07
Yeah, he was gifted to us as a housewarming gift. Okay,

Ashley Schnese 44:11
one, we moved. We were in the process of moving our stuff and it’s she’s now a neighbor that lives two streets over she’s like, here have this booster. And she just like brought it out of her sedan. And like these are your lady now. Goodbye. Thank you. Yeah.

Matt Derosier 44:38
So you guys have like, I saw you guys posted like a egg carton collage. Like, is that how you sell your eggs? Like is that like a marketing marketing thing? I’m like so yeah, so

Dylan Schnese 44:51
we have a thing in the Fox Cities called Fox Valley hidden rocks. Okay. And so this concept Do is people paint rocks and hide them around the city. And if you find a rock, let’s say it’s like in the landscaping of a restaurant or at a park, you’re supposed to take a picture of it where you found it and and then rehired it somewhere else. And so I got this idea of doing that with egg cartons, where you color on them or, you know, right on the inside of them, like a little quote or a phrase that you want to see. Then sitting down with my kids doing doing art stuff, we, you know, I, one of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was make make collages. So I had, like my permaculture mind started going like, Okay, I could do a collage on paper. But if I do a collage on an egg carton, while I’m already sitting here, spending time with the kids doing art, you know, there’s so many yields that I’m getting out of. Plus, when someone gets that carton of eggs from us, you know, they’re getting a piece of art, whether it’s done by me or my kids, or if we do homeschool events in the future. You know, I’ll bring out a bunch of egg cartons a bunch of old magazines and kids just go to town, maybe sign your, your first name on the inside of the

Ashley Schnese 46:49
church. We’ve gotten a whole bunch of people that have donated magazines to us. And you love it. Like you your soul loves it.

Dylan Schnese 47:02
Yeah, it’s just it’s just fun to do. And then knowing that that’s going to brighten one of our customers days. It’s it’s, I’m looking, we haven’t okay, we haven’t sold a carton of eggs with the collages yet, because I started doing winter.

Ashley Schnese 47:24
We haven’t sold a carton of eggs. Yeah, let’s say that. Yeah. So we were in the process of buying the house, we were five days to closing, closing on the same day, the sale of our house and the purchasing of this house. And the lengths that I had to go administratively to get that process done was just like so taxing, like to have all the paperwork where it needed to be like managing inspections, and all this other stuff. Five days to closing. We’re so close, we can taste it. And I can’t get anybody to insure our house because we are planning to sell eggs. So they weren’t going to homeowners insurance asks about this. Yeah.

Matt Derosier 48:25
And I did not know that. They

Ashley Schnese 48:28
I went through one. I don’t remember. It was like an ag related insurance company. And they were like, Yeah, we’re gonna have to pass and I was like, Well, who else do I go to? They’re like, well, we don’t know. But we checked with 200. Not lenders, but 200 insurance providers. And everybody said no, because you’re gonna sell eggs. That kind

Matt Derosier 48:53
of agriculture. You know, they combine kind of agriculture. Yes. Yeah. Correct. Yeah. We want to ensure

Ashley Schnese 49:02
Yes. So I said, Well, what if I like we won’t sell eggs then? Because obviously, I need my house insured. And they were like, they kind of laughed at me like, well, that’s just what you’re going to say. And then you’re going to do it anyway. And I’m like, Well, what is even happening right now. So I went to State Farm and talk to an agent there and say, Let’s go farm right in the title. Yeah, same thing. I said, okay, then I am telling you right now that I’m not going to sell eggs, and she’s like, Oh, well, then that’s totally fine. Let’s get this moving. And she like took me at my word. And I’m like, thank you. That’s what everybody else should have done. But so we sell business cards for $50 and you receive 10 dozen free eggs. Okay, so you purchase a piece of paper, and you get free eggs. I gotcha. I’m falling. And so that’s what we’re planning on doing in the summer, if we have enough surplus because we had a bunch of surplus during the summer months? Well, I mean, we’ve only been here since the end of August. So we had surplus, late summer, early fall. And we wanted to fulfill some CSA members. So we gave them a bunch of eggs. And then we haven’t had a farm fresh egg in a million years through the winter. So we’ll be doing the obviously just keeping a bunch unwashed. But then we also want to try the lime.

Dylan Schnese 50:57
Oh, yeah. for irrigation. Yeah, for preserving eggs

Ashley Schnese 51:01
to get us through the winter, because there’s nothing worse than feeding your chickens to time or every day and caring for your chickens all day and then having to go to the grocery store and buy pasture raised eggs. Like that’s a no, from me. So, yeah, we’ll see. But that’s our little workaround for insurance. Oh,

Dylan Schnese 51:30
yeah. So we’re hoping that the rug food conference comes to Wisconsin. We were planning on going last year, but it just didn’t work out. So I’m hoping to meet, you know, people in the space. If that comes to Wisconsin, because I was listening to a interview that Joel Salatin did with Curtis Stone, any he dropped the hint that that they’re going to be doing one in Wisconsin, so looking forward to

Matt Derosier 52:00
that. Isn’t Curtis Stone up in Canada, though? Yeah,

Dylan Schnese 52:04
he’s in Canada. And so the people that put the robe food conference on are Joel Salatin and John moody.

Matt Derosier 52:13
Okay. Yep. Okay. Gotcha.

Dylan Schnese 52:19
Yeah, so then, maybe I can bring a couple of my collage egg cartons along. Yeah,

Matt Derosier 52:24
good, good, good. Joel Salatin to sign one. Oh my gosh, yeah. So there you go.

Ashley Schnese 52:34
I would love to see Dylan, meet Joel Salatin because your brain would explode. Yeah. Some people get, like, nervous around big CEOs of stuff or like politicians or celebrities. Whatever people normally fun over. That would be it for you. He was okay. Yeah, that’s perfect. I think that’s the perfect kind of person. No, I’m biased, but

Matt Derosier 53:10
that’s totally fine. Are you guys selling rabbit manure? Did I see that? Yes. Or was it just the one sale or are you continuously selling it?

Dylan Schnese 53:21
Yeah, so I mean, we have plenty of rabbit manure. So

Ashley Schnese 53:26
I list gardeners best friend or rose gardeners dream, whatever they call it. Yeah.

Dylan Schnese 53:31
Yeah. Um, so you know, listening, listening to Jack spiracles podcast selling. You know, just just go out there and see, see what sells. So I post rabbit manure on Facebook market. I don’t get a lot of hits.

Ashley Schnese 53:54
Why? What do you mean? Yeah.

Dylan Schnese 53:59
So I get home Cocoa Puffs. Yeah, Cocoa Puffs? Yeah, they’re probably healthier. Huh?

Ashley Schnese 54:06
You know how people do those jokes on Facebook market where they’re like, brand new pencil eraser $30 And people are like, ha ha, I’ll take it or like, when the lumber prices were through the roof, people would be like, one new piece of lumber and they would be like selling a pencil and it would be like $200 That’s what I feel like people thought your thing was like he couldn’t possibly I hope that’s how people interpreted it and that it made their day. Yeah, because that’s how I would have felt not being in agriculture. Oh, yeah.

Dylan Schnese 54:48
Oh, rabbit manure. That’s weird. Yeah. But I didn’t get a notification and some guy wanted to buy for four pounds of Yeah, I think it was four pounds of manure.

Matt Derosier 55:03
And I saw it not five or like, four by four. Yeah, that’s specific.

Dylan Schnese 55:11
You know, it may have been five. But when I, when I filled up the bags that came on to like 10 pounds, and because it’s in the winter and the the manure is heavier, because it’s it’s not dried out. I’m like, whatever I’m, I collect buckets of this stuff anyway, so I’m just going to be pitching it into the garden anyway. So

Ashley Schnese 55:34
where did that person live? Yeah, manure.

Dylan Schnese 55:37
So I saw I said, you know, I can just stop by the farm and pick it up. And he said, Well, where are where are you? And I’m like, I’m in Appleton, Wisconsin. They said, Oh, no, I’m in South Carolina.

Ashley Schnese 55:51
So he did a Facebook market with shipping posts for manure. Alright. And then what happened?

Dylan Schnese 56:01
So I were I work from home during the day. So ash does all the running kids and errands stick. And so I said, Okay, you have to take this rabbit manure to the

Ashley Schnese 56:15
I’m going to target I’m going to drop off the boys at grandma and grandpa’s, and I have like two other work related tasks. And Dylan says, Yeah, and just grab that bag of manure and bring it to the post office, here’s the address, and you can send this to this guy. And I was like, okay, whatever. Like, I’m used to this, and I get it. But like, the average person is not used to this, and I don’t, if you’re gonna be the weirdo that sells manure, then you gotta go to the post office. Like, that’s it. I’m like, Okay, I’m gonna bring it, it’ll be fine. I get to the post office and how had you packaged it?

Dylan Schnese 57:03
I don’t remember,

Ashley Schnese 57:05
you packaged it in clear plastic bags. So you can clearly tell that it’s a bag of poop. And there was nothing holding it. So I, I didn’t know that that was the way it was packaged. So I would have had to gone into the post office being like, hey, here’s some who got to ship it. And then put it onto the scale. Like, just

Matt Derosier 57:37
almost like raw. Yeah, yeah.

Ashley Schnese 57:41
And the post office is packed all the time, there was a line out the door. I spent like a really good amount of time looking through the the agricultural vehicle, which is our mini van to figure out. If I had a bag, if I had a box we had just cleaned. Normally I’d have like 100 things to put poop in to bring into the post office. They just cleaned the van out. There was nothing. And I spent like 15 minutes on it. And I’m like, I am not. I am not going to be this person. We have to do it another time.

Dylan Schnese 58:14
Yeah. Well, we ended up getting Flat Rate Boxes. Oh, yeah. Yeah. So she brought that yeah, she brought the boxes home. I packaged it up and then they thought

Ashley Schnese 58:25
they picked it up from our porch. Yeah.

Matt Derosier 58:29
Perfect. Yeah. So we would do

Ashley Schnese 58:31
that again. But yeah, so the guy bring the poop to the

Dylan Schnese 58:34
Yeah. Yeah, so the guy like bought 25 bucks worth of rabbit manure and shipping was 1625. And he was like, Cool. Love it. Let’s do it. Okay, so that was my first official rabbit manure sale.

Ashley Schnese 58:51
We barter it with people around here though. Yeah, others? Yeah.

Matt Derosier 58:57
What uh, what uh, what do you get? What is poop? Get you? I guess.

Ashley Schnese 59:02
Um, last year, just curious was who did We barter with? Carrie for plants? Yep. So our friend carry as an herbalist. Nice. We moved out here. We wanted to be in Black Creek for the community because we knew people that lived out here already. So for this house to come available and be in like the country neighborhood that we were hoping for was like an extra bonus. So we have quite a few friends in the Black Creek area, one of which is an herbalist and she does. She does winter sewing but she she lives on the property that she grew up in and has been planting stuff there for 20 years. 30 years, so she pots up little paren meals that come up in the spring. And what have we gotten from her? Um, elderberry, elderberry, medicinal stage, Yarrow, Yarrow blood root. Yeah, all kinds of cool stuff from her. Nice. Yeah. And then we’re gonna barter. rabbit manure for maple syrup this year, it’ll be a multi faceted, not just rabbit manure, but and then people want to barter plant starts, which is cool like our plant starts. For other things, we’re getting shelving from another farmer to put our girl lights on and start our plants on. In exchange for growing all of her starts for her, because she’s seven months pregnant with her third baby, she’s like, I’m not starting plants from seed this year. So you can have as many shelves from our barn as you want, if you can start our tomatoes and our peppers. So bartering has been really lucrative already for us. And we’re just at the very beginning of exploring all of those networks around us.

Dylan Schnese 1:01:21
Yeah. We’ve only been here for six months. So I’m excited for the many more months to follow. What comes out of this lifestyle?

Matt Derosier 1:01:33
You guys talk a lot about community and networking. Tell me about these, these food networks that you’re trying to establish?

Dylan Schnese 1:01:40
Yeah, so last year, last year, the year before. I listened to or I watched a few videos from a guy named Kristen Westbrook. And one video that he shared really got my attention of how you know, we I mean, in Wisconsin, we haven’t really seen this, but food shortages, not not from an actual Lack of food, but from a kink in the processing of that food. That’s, that’s an important thing that people need to know that it’s a kink in the processing of food that is causing the food shortages. But he was talking about how in the wake of these food shortages, this this grassroots food system is it’s just going to emerge. As you know, people have surpluses from their gardens as the homesteading trend that was set off in 2020. As that continues to mature over the next 10 years, that this, this grassroots food system is just going to grow into its own. So what I what I envision is so when you when you grow your own food, you know, you’re responsible for starting the plants, you’re responsible for putting them in the ground, caring for them through their lifecycle. And then the end of summer hits are wiped out from gardening. But now you’re expected to preserve all of it, and wear all the hats if we’re all the hats. And what I imagine is, let’s say in this in this food system that I envision, let’s say someone isn’t going to be out there weeding, watering, putting stuff in the garden, weighing fresh compost, you know, all the heavy lifting and the physically taxing stuff. But someone can raise their hand and say, Hey, I will start all the plants that that these households need

Ashley Schnese 1:04:27
strength of mine and I can do that.

Dylan Schnese 1:04:28
Yeah. Or they have the efficiencies were. Yeah, that’s their strong suit. Okay. So that that person starting now, they’re going to feed the chain. They supply all the seedlings to, let’s say the producers, and they’re they’re the ones growing the bulk of the food. But like I just said, where’s the where’s the bottleneck? It’s in processing preservation. Preservation. So for every one producer of let’s say tomatoes, you’re going to have three or four households, that will take the product, preserve it, and then redistribute that to everyone else up the food chain that helped make that product. Now something like this doesn’t happen overnight, it happens through relationships that that are formed. And people, people have to see value out of it.

Ashley Schnese 1:05:43
The thing that we have come across the most when we say we live on a five acre regenerative farm is, oh my gosh, that’s my dream. I would love to be able to do what you do, but I can’t because X amount of reasons, some are more valid than others. I don’t want to get on a soapbox about what you can and can’t afford. That’s like it’s a common thing that I hear as a dietitian and a doula I would love to focus on my health, but I can’t afford that. I think that like as a whole society, we need to, okay. In my area, in our area we live in an affluent part of Wisconsin, the most of the clients that I see are, they have a lot of disposable income. And we, when you have a good amount of disposable income, and you choose not to prioritize something, then call that what it is, which is health is not my priority, right now. My priority is these vacations for my family or this extra vehicle or whatever. I’m not demonizing any of that. But it’s just health is not the priority. That’s so a lot of people say, Oh, my gosh, that’s my dream, but we can’t because this, this, this and this. So how do we work together to bring those people that can’t do what we do? And love it and want to be a part of it into our farming journey? And how do we make it a symbiotic relationship so that we can get help from people because we can’t do it on our own? And what do they get out of it? So we’re trying to, with like the events that we have going through, it’ll be May through October, we’re going to have the barn dances once a month. Movie Night, at the farm once a month, we got a big like conference, gigantic conference projector that we’re going to throw a movie up once a month, we’re going to have an overnight camp out where we teach outdoor cooking on the rocket stove. Some like basic preparedness survivalism, outdoor stuff, and it’ll be a family camp out and then we’ll have a crunchy moms get together once a month for people that are interested in naturally minded stuff, moms that are interested in nationally minded stuff. So we’re trying to build community in those like non agricultural ways to get people excited to get people out here to say, oh my gosh, your six apple trees are so beautiful. I want to come out and help you pick. That’s what we got.

Matt Derosier 1:09:13
I see. So you get them, you get them hooked through other means. So like it’s a movie or it’s an Easter egg hunt, like I saw you guys post or a number of other things. That’s cool. Because I was curious, like, how did you get in? Like, how did you get into like, hosting community events in your farm? Because like, again, you’ve only been there six months and feel like you’ve built it up like, rather rather quickly.

Ashley Schnese 1:09:39
Yeah, we knew when we got this place that we had to hit the ground running from a financial standpoint, but also we want to bring Dylan home to farm full time and to we’re not going to write to arrive all of our income from farming. And actually, we’re probably not going to derive much income from the actual farm products. But we can monetize our lifestyle 10 other different ways, so that we can work as a family so that he doesn’t have to be in a corporate job. And like our five year old, Ted already knows that. That’s the trajectory and we’ll be like in a store, we’ll be in target. And he’ll be like, Well, I don’t really think we need that. Because if we don’t spend that money, then dad can come home and he doesn’t have to work on his computer. And I’m like, Yeah, that’s far away. But like, you got it, dude. Like we have to. That’s the whole family goal. We want to educate our kids together. And so how do we, yeah, monetize in different ways. So like, I have my virtual and in person nutrition services and virtual in person, doula services. And then we have the farm community events, which we’re offering a farm membership that we’re rolling out in the next few weeks here, that’ll be like, a yearly membership fee to that would include all the events for the entire year. Plus, we have a like, indoor outdoor classroom in our barn that’s gonna have a library in it and all kinds of like, sensory bin activities and laminated scavenger hunts for every season, and just all kinds of nature based resources for homeschooling. Because homeschooling has just exploded over the last two years, we have a huge community of homeschoolers in our area, and people are just chomping at the bit to learn in a farm setting. We do in home childcare, over the summer for kids that need care that are normally in school. That’s another income generation for us. I posted on Facebook in a crunchy mom’s group about if anybody would like,

Matt Derosier 1:12:28
what is that? What is crunchy? So like, I don’t know.

Ashley Schnese 1:12:35
It is. So crunchy is a synonym for Well, it used to be for like hippie kind of stuff. Like, oh, you’re a crunchy person. Your

Matt Derosier 1:12:48
granola? Sure, okay. Yeah.

Ashley Schnese 1:12:49
So I posted in a crunchy mom’s group. If so I’m a doula and a dietitian, we farm in Black Creek. We tried to responsive parent, we’re homeschooling our kids. Would anybody like part time childcare? And as far as engagement goes, and like likes and comments, it’s like, when me and Dylan got engaged is like up here, when we got married is like up here. And then this post is like, right here, like it was 100. And some comments from our own local community and a bunch of moms that were like, Yeah, I don’t have any kids that need care. But can I come over and you just like babysit me, and I’ll just frolic around your farm all day. And I’m like, Well, yeah, so that’s where the crunchy mom’s monthly get together came from was all these moms wanted to just come and be so like, for crunchy mom’s event. And I’m gonna plan it this way. We’ll like harvest all summer. So like, they’ll come over from six to eight, we’ll have like hummus and kombucha and all kinds of yummy stuff, everybody bring something. And then we’ll harvest and I’ll teach you how to grow peas. Like where they grow best and how I started them or how I sold them and all of this stuff, because it’s all want to learn skills. And we have the ability to do that. So it’s going to be less of for monetization for us. It’s going to be less of selling our food, and more of just us being able to produce our own food. And our monetization is building community and teaching skills.

Matt Derosier 1:14:52
Yeah, that’s very cool. Yeah.

Dylan Schnese 1:14:55
It’ll be really awesome. Yeah. And you You brought up a good, good point about Um, yeah, kind of expanding on the value for value. I don’t want to say the word transaction, but exchange, um, I used to work at a garden. locally. It was when I first started getting into, like, organic gardening and understanding that lifestyle and like, Okay, I need to get my hands on this and experience it. So I started volunteering at this, this garden. But what I noticed as I’m putting in, it was four hours on a Saturday during the summer, and I would I would lead various groups to do to do tasks on the farm. And what I’m noticing is that I, I’m think you’re supposed to, you’re supposed to feel that you need something from that experience. And if you try to explain that to someone, for being not for profit, it was a not for profit. It was volunteering. But if you told someone that’s and said, You know, I kind of wanted to, like, leave there with like, a couple peppers and a bag of carrots. You know, that’s selfish. That’s selfish. That’s greedy. Why? Why would you expect that from a nonprofit? And I’m like, Well, I have stopped doing it. I stopped volunteering, like life happened, if there would have been value for value exchange, you know, maybe I, I prioritize that and make it a part of my life.

Ashley Schnese 1:16:54
We want to build sustainability and we want sustainability so that we’re not like asking for free labor from people. Exactly. Without anything in return. And

so that they feel motivated that they would like to come back.

Dylan Schnese 1:17:15
Right. Exactly. Yeah. Not saying that. Volunteering is like okay, it’s great. It’s great.

Ashley Schnese 1:17:25
It’s not okay, so I worked for a not for profit for forever and for like, since I was 14 Until I was 25. And the turnover rate in a not for profit is crazy. Like the employee turnover rate. Because you’re they’re doing a job for not the money that it’s worth. And that’s okay for a little while, and then it’s not and you go somewhere where you get what you should be getting or not for profit, they and I’m speaking in generalities this was my personal experience with this one. Everybody that wanted to be there for the good of the cause was just like blood dry all of their resources all of the world can you just stay late

Matt Derosier 1:18:29
and do taking advantage of and

Ashley Schnese 1:18:30
yeah, yeah, and then they go somewhere else where they feel more appreciated and like they’re getting something in return and like from a nature i We always talk just in our conversations while we’re doing dishes or whatever like would this occur in in nature where some somebody would do something for someone without receiving anything in return? And that’s really not the case because in village living yes, you’re going to do something nice or extra are out of your way for somebody knowing that they’ll have your back at a later time like the same way that country neighbors are like it’s with our friends across the street. They we got this huge heavy snowfall and we have no equipment to deal with it. Except for a shovel. So Dylan was out that day with his shovel just trying. While he was super, super ill with a cold and Hailey across the street goes tell him to stop Josh is on his way. Please tell him to stop. So he brought me His whole tractor over and plowed us all out that we didn’t give them anything in return. And that feels really weird for me as not entry neighbor person not being raised in that. And Haley always says, I know you guys would do the same for us. I know that we have each other’s backs and that you’re, we’ve got each other, like, that’s what village living would be. So there really isn’t a even though, like you were saying transactions, even though it’s not a, I’m going to give you this and then you are going to give me this and it’s going to be of equal value. And then we both feel good. There is a given tape. In most relationships, and when you are in a not for profit, there is not give or take, you are always giving. And that’s nice of you.

Dylan Schnese 1:20:57
Yeah, exactly.

Ashley Schnese 1:21:00
So we want value for value exchange. And in our market around here, people are super excited to learn. And they’re very overwhelmed by like, which we’re new to gardening, relatively. We just started our own seeds last year, but the year before, I wasn’t involved in the gardening process at all, it was too scary. What do you mean plant a seed, like, that’s abstract, and I don’t know what you’re saying. So I’m not going to do it. Like, we were just talking recently about how people around here are terrified of seeds. They want plants to start with. Sure. And Maggie said one time one of our friends was like, that’s the most backwards thing ever, because you pay three or $4 for the tomato plant, and you paid like five cents for the seeds, like what are you going to lose? If you just Oh, the seed and see what happens? Or do your best research and then pray over it. And that’s it. But people want to learn, adults want to learn their kids want to learn and people are really passionate and excited about the farm setting as the facilitator for that.

Matt Derosier 1:22:28
Very cool. You guys. Are you guys in a CSA? Or did you start a CSA or something like that?

Ashley Schnese 1:22:36
We started a CSA to get our farm off the ground. So we used the CSA, money for purchasing the farm and then like beginning infrastructure, fencing and stuff. So we have five CSA members right now. And that’s the most that we’re going to take. Probably for this year. We had people were really generous, we were like, We don’t have anything to give you right now. But if you contribute to us, if you feel passionate about what we’re doing, now, we will provide you with food as soon as we are able to and people are like, yes, let’s do that. So we are still providing our five CSA members. It was a CSA card. So you got to choose the value and then you would get a 10% more than what you paid in actual. Good. Yeah. So it was really good for the purpose that it

that we that it’s provided. Yeah.

It’s really hard for cash flow purposes, because by definition, you get the money up front and then you for however long you need to produce after that. So we’re hoping for a farm stand we have a well house that would turn into a farm stand really nicely. And Ted, our oldest his goal is to be a grocery store. So we’re working on that. He doesn’t want people to have to ever go to the grocery, they can just shop at the farm for everything that they need. And I’m like, I agree, dude, I don’t think that’s ever going to be what this looks like. But I love you for

Matt Derosier 1:24:47
those. Yeah, and if I mean like he could, I don’t know, outsource. A couple of things to like nearby farms or whatever. Yeah. You know, that’s part of like your community thing. You could learn about that. That’d be cool.

Ashley Schnese 1:25:04
Yeah. Yeah. So he wants to do a farm stand trailer this year. And he he stayed up one night, like in November and was like, chatty wanted to talk about everything. As we were laying in bed, and I was like, but do you really need to go to bed? And he’s like, I know. But what about gardening? And I was like, okay, about gardening. And he was like, what kind of seeds are we planning this year? And I said, we’re probably going to do the same. He loves to grow. Kale in his stock tank gardens and radishes are his two favorites.

Matt Derosier 1:25:48
That is so weird for a five year old. Yeah, I know. He’s gonna say, it’s so weird.

Ashley Schnese 1:25:55
I know. He’s like, Well, I want to grow corn this year. I’m like, Okay, do you want to grow sweet corn or popcorn? Both? Okay, sounds great. Do you think Mom, do you think that they have black popcorn? I don’t know. Let’s find out. So in his stocking, he got black popcorn seeds that Kool Aid corn and all this other stuff. So it’s been really rewarding because even though so like all of us adults that didn’t grow up in this are like, What do you mean a seed, but 10 will be five in April, and he knows exactly what to do. Vinnie, who is almost three. Last year, he was planting squash seeds. And Dylan just keeps every squash seed ever and like has big bags of squash seeds that he gives out to kids when they come by and teaches them how to plant. And so Vinnie, what did he do? Okay,

Dylan Schnese 1:26:54
so to plant the squash seed, we dug the hole. I gave him the squash seed, he threw it in the hole. And then I covered it up. And then I told them to pat the dirt. So he goes to bat, bat bat, and then give it a kiss. And then he goes, he like gets really sarcastically close to the ground and he goes my mouth. But he still does that with everything like we’re baking. Like, we’re baking keto desserts, and we put the flour in. And then his hand immediately goes into the bowl and starts patting patpat has had Pat

Matt Derosier 1:27:39
like what’s essentially like is like batter or whatever. What’s wet, I’m assuming Oh, anything? Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Ashley Schnese 1:27:46
Well apart. It’s not for the faint of heart as a as a person who likes type a control over situations, Dylan is the Baker with the kids. I can do a lot of other things. But that is not. That is not my area. But yeah, so he was like to last year, and he was planting all of his seeds. And those little baby hands. Yeah, the seeds. And he’d have him in his pockets and just like pull them out every once in a while. And but we’re already making a difference. And we’re seeing it because our kids know how to plant seeds. And they know what grows in season. Like, literally, I did not know that until four years ago. Yeah. Like, I grew up in a household of strawberries in January, and not even really knowing what something should taste like because I only ever experienced it from the grocery store. My beautiful mother is like, we grew strawberries at our last house. And she was like, I don’t know about like, I just don’t like the taste of these. I prefer the grocery store when they have some white on them. And I was like rose. Yeah. Who are you? So we didn’t, we didn’t know where things came from. I didn’t know where things came from at all. I didn’t understand seasonality and Ted knows all kinds of all kinds of stuff. He’s so incredible. And we’re doing it. Yeah.

Dylan Schnese 1:29:25
Oh, so another quick story about like kids like, following the things that you do. So we have a pantry in the basement. It was all like lined with shelving. So it’s like okay, it sounds like a root cellar. So 2020 was the year that we stopped being fake preparedness minded people and became actual preparedness minded people because in March of 2020, unlike ash go to Costco, you know the things that we like, go balls to the wall, buy as much as we need for the next four months. And so we came back with tuna mail. We one other cashews, cashews, high milk, coconut milk, high calorie things. And so 2020 was the year that we got into pantry management. So to go to a house that, you know, has a dedicated room for a pantry. Yeah, we

Ashley Schnese 1:30:40
have a dedicated room for a pantry and our kitchen has a regular sized pantry. Yes. Which was not the case at our other house. Yeah, it was like four cabinets. And that’s all you get. So we’re just like, in luxury now.

Dylan Schnese 1:30:55
Yeah. Yeah. Well, one day I see. Ted is filling up a little peanut butter jar full of roasted pumpkin seeds. And then he just put them in the cabinet that read over here that we store all of the diapers in

Ashley Schnese 1:31:11
and slippers is a diaper and slippers cabinet.

Dylan Schnese 1:31:14
And then he just put a thing of pumpkin seeds in there like in case I get hungry.

Ashley Schnese 1:31:20
He said to be prepared to be prepared

Dylan Schnese 1:31:24
that so then it started growing from there. He would put like a bottle of water in there, you know in case I get thirsty to be prepared. And then he just started taking cans from our pantry downstairs and putting them into his pantry.

Ashley Schnese 1:31:45
This is my pantry, ma’am.

Dylan Schnese 1:31:46
Yeah, this is funny. And now now we have an actual like stand over here a cabinet.

Ashley Schnese 1:31:54
So he filled his pantry filled and then every time I come home from the grocery store, he puts he says Can I have one of those for my pantry? I don’t have that in mind. And I say Sure you can have that. So then I had a cabinet full of macro may stuff. And one day, he said I came in and all my macro my stuff was strewn all over the place. I’m like, dude, what’s going on? Well, it’s really cool. Actually, Mom, I ran out of space in my first pantry. So this is my second pantry. This. This is our food if we can’t get to the basement pantry, or my first pantry. If something happens that we can’t get to both of those things, then all of this food is in here. And so I’ll be making a recipe and I’ll be like, hey, Ted, can you check your pantry for this? This and this? Oh, I would love to. And he comes in here. Well, what shaped pasta Do you want? Do you want this shape? No, I don’t need I don’t need spaghetti. I need this swirly ones. No, I don’t have any of that in there. I’m gonna have to go downstairs. It’s the cutest.

Dylan Schnese 1:33:05
Yeah. And it’s actually really helpful, because super helpful. 50% of the time, he comes back with what you need, and you don’t have to go to the base.

Matt Derosier 1:33:15
Nice. You should do a TED talk. Yeah, all

Dylan Schnese 1:33:18
right. Well, who’s it? Yeah. Okay. Yeah, we discussed that.

Matt Derosier 1:33:23
So what motivates you to grow your own food, then?

Dylan Schnese 1:33:27
Gosh, God, take that one.

Ashley Schnese 1:33:32
Honestly, at the beginning, it was like overwhelming anxiety. about not being able to feed our family, like the it always seemed like optional, up until 2020. Like, oh, it would be really nice to grow this or that or provide this for ourselves. But we can’t do that we live in a neighborhood. We can’t do that. Because the list of things of like, not taking that plunge into like, truly trying to be self sufficient or like community sufficient. And then 2020 came and it was like paralyzing fear that we were not going to be able to should something happen because I didn’t think something could happen up until 2020. Should something happen. We need to be prepared. That’s it. So that’s where it started. And then you can’t live in fear, because it’ll kill you. And that’s like another theme of 2020 for us was like it started in fear. And then you get more and more info Automation, you get more and more information. And then you whittle that down to what you can actually apply to your life and then kind of tune everything else out.

Dylan Schnese 1:35:09
Yeah. And that has been a long journey. A lot of what happened in 2020. Like, I internalized and, like, followed it. Like, I follow all the news stories, I want no problem. I wasn’t watching a lot of news, but I was, you know, I was listening to my podcasts and really, like keeping

track of what was going on. And you know, you just got to, you have to relinquish that fear.

And, and so really, just recently, I’ve broken that cycle of even caring what the news has to say. So like, this whole Ukraine thing? I don’t, I don’t even I don’t even follow it. Like, I can’t do anything about it. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just I can not change that course. So like, why even put any energy into it. But going back to growing our own food. Like we were, we were on, like, standard American diet, up until, like, 2014. I mean, with her being a dietitian, and then me, I started eating healthier. In high school, because I was a powerlifter. And I knew that if I was eating better, I would get better results in the gym. Games. Yeah. Yeah. And, and I did. But, you know, the quality of our food. That didn’t happen until, like, 2016. And then it really ramped up in I would say, 2019. That’s when we, when we switched to grass fed meat. That’s what you know, pushed us over the edge. And then how can we how can we? How can we grow our own grass fed meat? Which right now it’s just rabbits, but it’s a start?

Matt Derosier 1:37:45
Sure. So then, what would you say the biggest challenge in homesteading is this is that you’ve faced?

Dylan Schnese 1:37:55
Yeah. Right now, the biggest challenge is homesteading with kids. Now, if you’re if your goal is to, if your goal is production, then homesteading and kids don’t mix. But if your goal is to learn how to grow food as a family and get what you can off the land, then then you’re golden cure. But that’s, that’s really where the community comes from, is if you can get three to four families together. And let’s say three of the adults are going to supervise all the kids, and then that frees up the rest of the adults to go do various projects.

Matt Derosier 1:38:46
I could see that, that would that would alleviate

Dylan Schnese 1:38:49
that. It’s not a problem. It’s just what is that? The kids are an underutilized resource. Sure. That’s that’s how you got to look at it.

Matt Derosier 1:39:03
There you go. Yeah. It’s it’s just something that you need to take into consideration.

Dylan Schnese 1:39:08
That’s right. Yeah. Yeah. Within your the design of your, of your life.

Matt Derosier 1:39:13

Dylan Schnese 1:39:16
Yeah. And then I would say the second thing is communication. You know, I might have one idea for a project and I might even start, I just have cuting on that project, but it’s not what ash had in mind. So really, communicating what, what the goals of the project are before we start them. is the key to making everyone happy.

Matt Derosier 1:39:42
Sure. Yeah. I absolutely agree. Like, hey, this is kind of what I was thinking about, like, what were you thinking like, Oh, I was thinking you put that over here, or I thought it would look more like this or whatever. And like, oh, you know, that is a good idea and like, well, or, you know, We can’t do it that way. Because what about this? Like, oh, I didn’t think about that. And so like, you get that little bit of back and forth, have more of a conversation instead of like, just you yourself just going through it in your own head. And then you don’t, there’s a lot that you don’t consider yourself.

Dylan Schnese 1:40:20
Right. And if you if you storm ahead with an idea that you have and you complete it, but you didn’t get the input of the other person. It’s just not going to be a sustainable way to go forward with your homestead. Because they’re not they’re not providing their input. They’re just stepping on toes and you need that input. It makes everyone feel like they’re heard on the on the farm.

Matt Derosier 1:40:53
Yeah. And the they need to feel like they’re a part of it, too. Like, this is where they live. Also, it’s not just like, oh, that’s Dylan’s garden, or that. That’s Matt’s garden like, No, this is our thing that we do. Yeah, yep. No, absolutely.

Dylan Schnese 1:41:15
Yeah. We’ve definitely made improvements in the six months that we’ve been here in communication.

Matt Derosier 1:41:25
Yeah, yeah, I bet. I mean, that’s a that’s a big move. Cuz you’re saying like all the projects that you want to? That you want to take on? Absolutely need communication? That’s a That’s a new one. I haven’t heard that one before. And I like it. That’s good.

Dylan Schnese 1:41:39
Yeah, I mean, it’s one thing to grow the grow the plants and grow the animals. But it’s, it’s managing how the people work together, that then everything else happens. Without us none of that other stuff.

Matt Derosier 1:41:59
Right. So what would you tell someone that wanted to get started?

Dylan Schnese 1:42:06
Um, I would say start small. You know, master one skill at a time. And if, if moving on to a homestead was your goal.

Um, you know, visit, visit some local homesteads, local farms, get your hands dirty. You know, really understand if that’s, that’s something that you want to do. Yeah, and starting to put those skills into practice before you actually move on to the homestead. You know, you can still have that homesteading mindset without being on on land.

Matt Derosier 1:43:01
Sure, yeah. And make those make those connections to, I mean, I don’t know anybody that couldn’t use a hand, like in doing anything. Right, prepping for the upcoming season harvesting for the currencies that like, you know, just literally anything like, Hey, by the way, we’re going to start seeds. Would you mind helping or whatever, like, it’s, it’s even people that just backyard garden and don’t sell anything that they keep it all and then whatever they have left, they just throw to the chickens. And, like, seriously, everybody could use a hand. So Right?

Dylan Schnese 1:43:43
Um, and it’s funny, um, we have a friend. She was inquiring about what kind of are where we get our checks. And that kind of led down a conversation of well, why don’t you come to a swap meet with us? And she said that she would, she was kind of nervous about going to the swap meet. And so that I just started thinking about like, well, this person, this person is a successful professional in their own right. They’re a chiropractor. Why would they be nervous about going go into a swap me to get right to get chickens? And I have to remember where I was. Like in 2016. I was intimidated about getting four chickens to have in the backyard. Oh, yeah. So understanding where people are in their journey and trying to help them along. Yeah, it’s kind of neat to to be you know that kind of, I don’t know if Trailblazer is the right word, but

Matt Derosier 1:45:04
it kind of like their lifeline to this whole other world kind of like, like, I’ll just just walk with me like, no one’s gonna know that you’ve never done this before. Like, you were just walking around looking at stuff like it’s gonna be okay. Like,

Dylan Schnese 1:45:18
right, right? Yeah, kinda like and 2015 2017 ish. I started following I’d say the two people that had the most impact on what I’m doing right now is Jack spirit go and Justin Rhodes. So, you know, they, they are those guys earlier in their life. They, they found the path that was right for them. They got situated in their lifestyles, and then they started bringing people over over to their lifestyle by showing the people what they do. So now, now I’m influenced by them. And I get situated in my area and show people what I’m doing, you know, with the videos that I’m creating. Yeah. And now it’s kind of cool to be like, I’m that next stepping stone for other people.

Matt Derosier 1:46:25
Yeah. For somebody else. Yeah.

Dylan Schnese 1:46:27
Yeah. That’s cool. Yeah, that’s kind of, I’d say the biggest reward out of all this is who’s who’s in the wake of of our footsteps? It’s cool.

Matt Derosier 1:46:39
Yeah, it’s kind of a cool feeling. At least, that it’s a possibility that someone could be like, Oh, wow, look at Dylan. Like that. You’re like, You’re somebody to somebody, I guess. I don’t know how else to describe it. But like, I don’t know. Could be

Dylan Schnese 1:46:57
Yeah, and I would say the once, once kids, and children start saying, Hey, I learned I learned these things from the snazzy family. Oh, yes, that’s, that’s gonna be cool. Like, all the kids that are like, seven or eight right now. And then they come and do homeschool and stuff with us. You know, in just 10 years, those kids are going to be adults. And to say that, that our journey was a part of their journey.

Matt Derosier 1:47:34
Is that absolutely, really cool. Like, my very first interview? I did. He’s from the West Coast. And he remembers, like, he’s like in his mid 50s. Now, and he still remembers going over to his friend’s house in Oregon, and his family did like gardening and like, had a few chickens and hunting and fishing. And so like, that was like a huge impact on his, on his life. Now, he went on to have like, a more like corporate job, and then came back and is now like, a full time farmer. But, you know, that was something that he always carried with him for the next 4050 years. So Right. Yeah. Yeah. So you just never know. Never know. Yeah, yeah. The impact.

Dylan Schnese 1:48:31
Yeah, and there’s like astral saying, you know, just you just have to plant the seed. Whether it’d be a tomato seed or the seed of a relationship, but tended to or a jar of soup given to a neighbor and what that could turn into. Yeah, just, I’m, I’m looking forward to all those, those opportunities that that open up.

Matt Derosier 1:49:01
My Absolutely. Well, hey, as we wrap up here, is there anything that you wanted to touch on that? We didn’t? That we didn’t cover already?

Dylan Schnese 1:49:12
Um, no, I think that pretty good. Maybe. You know, a year from now, we could give like a little update on where we are at now. Or we could even you know, I talk more about her doula work. And, like, our thoughts on birth freedom and supporting women through birth. So we could we could do an interview on on that as well. Yeah, if

Matt Derosier 1:49:49
she comes back in or whatever. I’d like to talk a little bit about that. Post show. Okay, very good. And we it can be a separate thing too, because Um, my wife couldn’t make it tonight. And she’s like, I listened to her podcast and it’s so awesome. Oh, yeah, that’s all. Yeah. So hey, what what would you like to? What would you like to plug at the end here?

Dylan Schnese 1:50:13
Yeah. Um, so again, our businesses study presents. And just to explain what, what steady presence means it’s we want to, we want to be the village for young families, just getting into parenthood. So someone to lean on. So that’s kind of for the name study presents comes from. So you can find us on Facebook, Instagram. We’re also on float. That’s the center free version of something like Facebook for people that don’t know. And then I also do farm updates on YouTube. I haven’t been doing them frequently during the winter. But as we started ramping up here, I should be uploading more videos. And then you

Matt Derosier 1:51:14
can always talk when there’s nothing going on.

Dylan Schnese 1:51:16
Yes. And how do I stretch this? No kidding. But I hope that I’m putting enough content on on Instagram that you at least get a flavor from, but then I’ll start those videos up again. But you can also catch us on our website, www dot steady presence. Slash or. Yeah, residence dash, dash. That’s what I was looking for.

Matt Derosier 1:51:49
Study dash presidents aka. I gotcha. Yes. Yes, I will. I will put that all in the show notes for you. Okay, very good. So hey, I appreciate you. And you and Ashley being here today.

Dylan Schnese 1:52:03
Yeah, yeah. Thanks for reaching out to us a couple months ago, and yeah, it was good. Good being on the show.

Matt Derosier 1:52:11
Yeah, thank you. Alright, see ya. Everybody. Sorry about that little bit of background noise towards the end there. Ashley went and checked in their new Airbnb guests. And, I mean, the listing was only up for like 16 hours, she said, and she already had somebody booked the whole month of March for way more than what Airbnb suggested her prices and I’ll have a video in the next couple of days. Her and Dylan talking about Airbnb. So if you have any comments or anything, I’d love to hear him. You can also send us an email FarmHop life@gmail.com It’d be great if you could share this video with other people. Just getting started homesteading or farming or even thinking about it or people just wanting to eat better food, local food, get in touch with their neighbors, you know, Ashley Dillon are really you know, trying to build build up their own community and that’s what we need a lot more of. So appreciate you watching. See you next time.