Back on the Yogurt Train: How to Make Yogurt

...Your last store bought container of yogurt. You need live yogurt to start the culture, only a few spoonfuls. The label should say something about containing live, active cultures. You’ll need 1 Tablespoon of live yogurt for every quart of milk you’re transforming. Milk, of course. Make sure your milk doesn’t say “Ultra Pasturized” or UP on the label. That stuff is just nasty. Otherwise, you can use whole, 2%, 1% R...

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Are Pallets Safe to Reuse?

...ticides. A certified applicator license is required to purchase and use these products and strict adherence to label directions/requirements is mandatory. Under normal fumigation conditions methyl bromide is a gas and when the pallets are properly aerated according to label instructions, virtually no methyl bromide residue remains on the pallets and wood materials. Now I’m not a methyl bromide fan and I find it’s use as a soil fum...

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How to make a Calendula oil infusion

...en press the dried matter to squeeze out the remaining oil as best you can. You’ll never get it all back. Label it  Make sure you label it with the type of oil and the date it was made. Believe me, even if you only make one jar, you’ll forget what it is and when you made it, and a year later you’ll be standing at your cupboard, puzzling over it. Store Store the oil in a dark place. Use it up within a year, the sooner the be...

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Playin’ Possum

Since it happened too fast to take a picture I offer, thanks to the interwebs, this image of former Secretary of State of Florida Katherine Harris holding an opossum. When I stepped out into the backyard early this morning to let the chickens out, I found an opossum just outside the coop eyin’ my ladies. It ran off well before I got anywhere near the coop. Since our dog passed on I’ve noticed an uptick in backyard critters....

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In Praise of Disorder

Loose chickens in Houston A neighborhood whose demographics fall somewhere between the extremes of the crack den and the country club presents just the right level of civic inattention to allow the urban homesteader to get away with many of the illegal projects profiled in this blog: greywater, backyard poultry, and front yard vegetable gardening, to mention just a few. Ideally you have a balance between order and disorder–neither gunfir...

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The glass is half full–even if it’s full of greywater

...r front yard bed with amaranth seeds, and a stray dog dug them all up. We planted a back bed with beans, and the chickens got loose and dug those all up as well. But the other day I was looking at the photos stored on our camera, and realized that for all this, there were successes this year, and moments of plenty, beauty and grace. It’s far too easy to focus on the failures and forget what goes right. So from now on we’re going to do...

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Chicken Coop Architecture

...Architect meet your client: the chicken. You’re about to become a coop buildin’ Frank Gehry. Keeping chickens is mostly about figuring out their housing arrangement. The rest is easy—chickens are a lot less trouble than a dog. Now I wish I could offer a one-size-fits-all chicken coop plan, but living situations and climates vary. Instead, I’ll offer what the gifted architect Christopher Alexander calls a “pattern language,...

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Resources

...Mikey Wally Westside BIKEside! Bike Snob NYC Bike Tech Info No whip Illuminate LA Bicycle Kitchen Soap Box LA Chickens Poultry Bookstore Blog Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens  Backyard Poultry Magazine  Hen Cam Composting/Soil The Humanure Handbook (This is our favorite composting book–no matter what material we’re composting.) Humanure Handbook in free pdfs Rodale Book of Composting Worms Eat My Garbage Culture an...

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Hay Hooks–The New Hipster Accessory?

With so many city chickens I predict that hay hooks will become just as indispensable to the urban hipster as is the fixed gear bicycle. After years of hauling staw bales up the 30 steps to our house (to use as bedding for the chickens) I just broke down and bought a pair. A vaquero at the feed store intervened with a neat tip when he saw me struggling to use my new hay hooks to load some bales into a frie...

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Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer

Andy Schneider, a.k.a. the “Chicken Whisperer”, explains that his Internet radio show is “fair and balanced” since, “chickens have both a right and left wing.” The Backyard Poultry show covers everything from bantams to the controversial National Animal Identification System. You can listen live on Sandy Springs Radio or download past shows here. Thanks to Christine Heinrichs, author of How To Raise Chickens a...

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