The Hen: An Appreciation

Reading the fine book, On Writing Well, I came across this passage by E.B. White (Charlotte’s Web) about chickens, proving that nothing ever really changes: From “The Hen: An Appreciation,” which is found in the book of essays, The Second Tree from the Corner, by E.B. White, 1944: Chickens do not always enjoy an honorable position among city-bred people, although the egg, I notice, goes on and on. Right now the hen is in favor...

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The Perfect Chicken Coop?

your chickens dry. It’s the basic form I used for our coop with a few refinements–I ran hardware cloth under run to keep out burrowing predators. I also extended the run to keep the chickens from pecking at each other (the more room they have the better). To paraphrase Nassim Taleb for the second time in a week, if a given design has been around for at least a hundred years, the odds are it will be around for many more years. While...

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Mistakes we have made . . .

There’s a kind of boastful blogging style that, I’m afraid, we here at Homegrown Evolution have been guilty of. Simply put, we’ve failed to detail all our blunders. These mistakes and accidents, some funny, others painfully disappointing, have more instructional value than our successes. And oh, how many blunders there have been in the past ten years. It’s about time to round up the top 6. I’m sure there are many mo...

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It Quacks Like a Duck

....I.C.L.E. and our bike safety instructor Chris Ziegler. A surprise phone call we received this week, after some musings of our appeared in Ripples Magazine, added one more bike/poultry fetishist to the list. The voice at the other end of the line was an old comrade of ours, one of the proprietors of Petaluma Urban Homestead, who we know from Mr. Homegrown Revolution’s post grad school sojourn in the dull city of San Diego. In the ten years...

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Simple Tech

At the intersection of third world need and our first world’s gadget obsession lies a number of non-profit organizations attempting to help poor folks through the development of clever low-tech interventions. The rocket stove we featured earlier exemplifies this approach. With a rocket stove, which is made out of simple, easy to repair materials, you can burn twigs, newspaper and scrap wood rather than cutting down whole trees to make char...

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Chicken Cannibalism!

ent opportunity to forage. Simply letting our flock out of their run to free-range throughout the backyard seems to have taken care of the problem. Sure we may lose a hen or two to hawks and cats, but that seems a better fate than being eaten alive by one of your own kind. We’ve also switched to a higher protein feed to see if that will help as there is a minority opinion in poultry farming that chickens resort to cannibalism as a result of...

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Slaughtering Turkeys for Thanksgiving

A noble Royal Palm tom. This photo by Kevin Saff. The rest are ours. This post is not for everyone, so we’ve concealed most of it behind the jump. This week we helped our friend, Steve, slaughter and dress four turkeys for Thanksgiving. There will be pictures, so those of you who are interested can get some idea of what the process involves. Steve is an especially conscious carnivore, because he raises and slaughters all the m...

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The Barrier Method

...of some of the possibilities: Our seedling trays are now contained within The Germinator ™: a large screened box. Prior to this invention, we arched chicken wire over our seedling trays to keep squirrels and loose chickens out. All of our beds, whether raised or in the ground, are spanned with arches of wire which hold up aviary netting. The netting is held down around the edges with a variety of anchors, anything from brick...

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Vital Farms: Pasture Raised, Organic Eggs at Whole Foods

...llucinations induced by downing hundreds of free samples of things like pro-biotic frozen pizza (I’m not making this up) and caveman power bars. Perhaps a pasture raised egg omelet will wipe away my açaí berry hangover. Thanks to Dale Benson for suggesting attending this event and for driving, spending a half hour finding a parking space and pointing out Ziggy Marley or someone who resembled Ziggy Marley packing up those bottles of coconut...

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Goat Worship: A Halloween Exclusive!

...lk texture is off–a sign of trouble. How much does it cost?  You don’t keep goats in the city/suburbs to save money. Just as it is with eggs, you’re always going to be able to buy milk at the store for less than it costs to raise it at home. However, if you’re committed to high quality, fresh, raw dairy and gourmet cheese, you know how hard it is to find, and if you can find it, how expensive it can be.  I think you can g...

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