The Perfect Chicken Coop?

Do a Google image search for “chicken coop” and a solid majority of the results will look very much like this nearly 100 year old coop featured in The Gardener’s and Poultry Keeper’s Guide and Illustrated Catalog. Why is this basic design still with us? The attached run gives chickens some space to scratch around in while keeping them safe from predators if you can’t make it home by dark. You can hang a feeder in...

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How to Bake a Traditional German Rye Bread

espoon of rye starter (see our video on how to make a starter) and mix it in with 125 grams of dark rye flour and 125 grams of bottled water. 2. In the morning I mix all the ingredients together. Ideally, let the mixture rest for a half hour to an hour before shaping it, but I’ve skipped the rest period and the loaf has turned out just fine. 3. Form into a boule (round) and dust heavily with rye flour. Place the boule in a 9-inch wooden pro...

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Sunday Spam: Automatic Chicken Cage

We interrupt the usual picture Sunday feature to bring you the best and most misdirected spam email that has ever graced the Root Simple in-box: Dear Sir or Madam, Liaocheng Dongying Hengtong Metal Manufacturing Co.,Ltd here. Glad to hear that you are on the market for Automatic chicken cage. We are a professional producer of the complete sets of equipment for raising birds. At present, it is an enterprise which has the import-export license an...

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What’s Your Personal Food Policy?

...gs. It’s like a day that’s cold and snowy, and your clothes are wet too! One issue, however, that over the years I’ve come to feel strongly about is factory raised meat. I just can’t eat it anymore. It used to be that, out of courtesy, I’d eat anything served to me when I’m a guest at another person’s house. I’m not sure I can still do this. As Michael Pollan says, “Were the walls of our meat...

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How to Cook Broadleaf Plantain

The last plantain in our yard–the only one which survived the long, brutal summer without water. The winter rains, which are just beginning, will have plantain sprouting all over Southern California soon. We’re big fans of foraging teacher Pascal Baudar. He approaches wild foods like no one else we know–as a gourmet experience. Combining Old World traditions, Native wisdom and a good deal of culinary invention, Pascal and his p...

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Chairs, are they killing us?

...ears ago. We spent a few minutes in a typical suburban living room. The rest of the evening, however, took place in a room of the house that had only an Afghan rug and some pillows–no chairs or tables–where we sat for several hours listening to a concert of classical Afghan music. It was a lot like the picture above. Everyone, young and old, sat on the floor, cross-legged for the entirety of the concert. Imagine a group of Americans s...

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Root Simple Video Podcast Episode 1: How To Make a Sourdough Starter

Here’s the first in a series of Root Simple how-to videos. Look for them on the blog and, soon, on your mobile thingies. I started with a little edit on how to make a sourdough starter. And I take requests–if there’s a topic for a video you’d like to see just leave a comment.  Making a sourdough starter is as simple as mixing flour and water. There’s no need for all the crazy things I’ve heard suggested: ad...

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How To Make Hoshigaki (Dried Persimmons)

...eir stems together with the string: A 2 inch diameter bamboo pole is just about right to keep the persimmons separated. A sunny window is a good place to hang the persimmons. The curtain, in the photo above, was only closed for the sake of the class. It’s best, actually, if the fruit gets sun. I’ve got mine hanging in our living room in a sunny window. And you want good air flow–either a fan or an open window (if it isn’...

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Bird Netting as a Cabbage Leaf Caterpillar Barrier

...;ve got others.” Specifically, bird netting. I’ve got an untested theory that bird netting is enough to keep out the white butterflies that give birth to the dreaded cabbage leaf caterpillar, the only serious pest for us at this time of year. So far the bird netting seems to be working. I’ll note that it would be important to keep the leaves of plants well away from the netting so that butterflies can’t lay eggs through it...

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