How to start a chicken retirement community

...nwhile, Erik went all Buddha on me. He developed relationships with our four hens and would not consider culling them. That meant we had a chicken retirement home on our hands–and a distinct lack of eggs coming in–and no hope on the horizon, unless it came in the form of a convenient hawk. But now that the bell has tolled for two of our hens (and no, I am not jigging when Erik is not looking) we’re making decisions on how to han...

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Advances in Gardening Series: Thoughts on The Fan, and the problems of overabudance

...lso collects seed, to keep it from spreading everywhere. Despite my efforts, I know a ton of seed fell, and when the rains come next year, I’ll be pulling Calendula and chamomile volunteers. Moral is, know what you need, and plant no more than that. Unless you’ve got the time and energy to maintain larger, more flashy beds. I’m all about making it easy on myself, so next year I’ll plant less. Of course, it takes experience...

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Why We Travel By Train

Amtrak ain’t this grand, but it’s a lot better than flying! Photo via the Library of Congress. We’re headed up to Northern California, Oregon and Washington to promote our new book Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World . And, with the exception of the San Francisco to Seattle leg, we’re traveling by train. Why do this when it’s more expensive, time consuming and probably makes our dear publis...

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Return of Bean Friday: Bean Broth or “Tuscan Crazy Water”

Yep, Bean Friday rears its head again–or is it Frugal Friday? Whatever it is, I’ve got this thrifty idea for you. I read about in The Italian Country Table , by Lynn Rossetto Casper. We’ve had this book for years and years, and it has some really good recipes in it that have become standards in our house, along just with a couple of duds. I’d not paid attention to her entry on “Crazy Water” before, but by her...

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Oatmeal: It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore

...rd.  I’ll tell you right off that Erik won’t eat this stuff (it just seems wrong to him), but I love it. I’m exploring the world of savory oatmeal. I’m sure there are savory oatmeal recipes on the web, but I haven’t looked because I’m enjoying working without a map. What I’m doing right now is making oatmeal with seaweed in it, inspired by both my love of Japanese style breakfasts, and half remembered thi...

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Our Happy Foot/Sad Foot Sign

Mrs. Homegrown here: Nothing about growing or making today–sorry to go off topic (Erik is wincing a bit as I post this), but I want to talk about our Foot.  It’s a very local sort of story, but isn’t localism what it’s all about? The podiatrist’s sign above marks the entrance to our neighborhood. It charmed us the first time we saw it: It’s a foot–with feet!  And we immediately named it the Happy Foot/S...

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Happy Halloween!

Turnip lantern by Nathan deGargoyle.  Follow the link to read his thoughts on the Manx version of Halloween Mrs. Homegrown here: I’ve always been intrigued with Samhain, and the idea that a new year should begin in growing darkness, working its way slowly through the deep of winter into the light. For this reason, Halloween has become my personal New Year (since by Jan. 1st, I’m always tired out disillusioned, and overstuff...

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Another way to deal with prickly pear stickers

...ing stickers thanks to Norman of Silver City New Mexico who writes, “Just a note to tell you how I harvest the pears.  We live in the arid SW and have a lot of native cacti.  The pears were very good this year because of the extra wet summer.  In dry times we burn the stickers off the prickly pear so the cows will eat the leaves.  It saves the cattle in some years.  I take a propane torch and burn the stickers of the pears before I pick the...

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Bean Fest, Episode 6: Walton’s Serbian Lima Beans

...ell on a holiday table. And best of all, they’re easy to make. They don’t have many ingredients, and there’s nothing complex about their cooking. They just take a little longer than most beans because of the time in the oven. This is the recipe as he sent it: Serbian Lima Beans     * 1 lb small lima beans     * 1 1/4 cups oil     * 1 1/4 lbs sliced or chopped onions     * 1 tspn pepper     * 2 tspn salt     * 2 tspn paprika    ...

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Least Farvorite Plant:–Heavenly Bamboo–Neither Heavenly nor Bamboo

...e lesson here, in addition to listening to your wife, is that gardens change and you’ve got to change with them. As Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Gardens, especially, should celebrate that impermanence. Now I have the beginnings of a big compost pile where it once stood. We’ll detail some of the other changes we’re mak...

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