Your Questions Answered

...d experience with our first flock of four hens, they definitely are happier when they have space to run around. I guess it depends on the disposition of the flock.  I had to enlarge their run when I found them pecking at each other. Our backyard landscaping is not open enough to use a chicken tractor, but that might be an option, though I’d worry about predator proofing it. We have a wicked raccoon problem here. As for keeping smells down,...

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My mental glitch: hay vs. straw

Photo by David Shankbone Mrs. Homegrown here: So I went to the feed store to get some stuff for the chickens and at the counter I made a mistake. When the clerk said, “Anything else?” I said, “Oh yes. One bale of hay, please.”  She rang me up. The bill seemed more than usual, but being in my usual fog, I didn’t pay that much attention. The heavy lifting guys bring the hay bale to my car. It’s green an...

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How To Design a Garden Step I: Identifying Goals

...often visited  space for the composting Think and meditate on your goals before drawing up a plan.  And for those of us in the urban homesteading movement, I think it’s important to measure productivity in more ways than just the amount of food you get from your yard.  How will the garden provide peace and well being? Educational opportunities? Ways to commune with nature? Some goals aren’t obvious at first. As authors we have a l...

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Cheap and Natural Handsoap–and a rant

...is that it’s super-diluted. It has to to diluted because full strength soap clogs the pump.  It’s kind of a scam, when you think about it, that when you buy a foaming pump you pay as much or more for diluted soap than regular liquid soap. However, the dilution factor works perfectly with castile soap. As Dr. Bronner says:  Dilute! Dilute! Dilute! Dilute your castile soap quite a bit for use in a foam pump. Start by filling the dispe...

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Nominate Your Favorite Complainer

At least once every other month there’s some municipality that sees fit to bust a front yard vegetable garden. Last month some Quebec officials ordered the immaculate kitchen garden, pictured above, removed. You can sign a petition to save this garden here. So what sane city official or neighbor would complain about this beautiful garden? It’s a complaint so outrageous, that it attains a kind of athleticism. Joking with some friend...

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The Ecology Center of San Juan Capistrano

Kelly and I had the privilege of doing a short talk this weekend at the Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. If you’re interested in Southern California food forestry, greywater, chickens, you name it, this is the place to visit. They have an amazing garden, classes and a well curated gift store. When people ask us how to design garden and house systems in SoCal, we’re going to send them to the Ecology Center....

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Doomsday Preppers: Exploitative, Uninteresting, Unreal “Reality”

ker Werner Herzog often plays loose with the details of his documentaries. He calls the practice the “ecstatic truth.” He deploys the ecstatic truth when he thinks he needs to tell a story in a more compelling way than the actual facts of the situation allow. As a journalist, Mark Twain was also a fan of the ecstatic truth. McClung’s swimming pool aquaponics setup. Doomsday Preppers is a kind of unecstatic truth. It be...

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Saturday Linkages: Making Things and Herding Ducks

...reats by Chris Rochelle: Chocolate Cake Baked in an Orange http://www. chow.com/galleries/315/ step-up-the-smore-7-ideas-for-campfire-treats-by-chris-rochelle/7324/chocolate-cake-baked-in-an-orange  …   Fowl How to Herd Your Chickens (or ducks) http:// shar.es/v87HU   For these links and more, follow Root Simple on Twitter:  Follow @rootsimple...

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What Are Your Favorite Compost Materials?

Root Simple’s new composting game for your Xbox! I wish I could source compost pile materials from our yard. But lead and zinc contamination in our soil make that a dodgy proposition without doing a lot of expensive lab tests. And I never seem to have enough materials even for our modest vegetable garden. So in the past I’ve used: horse bedding chicken manure from our own chickens alfalfa hay (kinda spendy these days) str...

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