004 Egg Ethics, Solar Food Dryers and a Question about Earth Ovens


On episode four of the Root Simple Podcast Kelly and Erik discuss the tricky ethics of eggs and mayonnaise, what kind of solar food dryer is the best and we answer a question from Ed about earth ovens.

Plans for the Appalachian Solar Food Dryer can be found in an article on Mother Earth News.

We have a detailed post on how we built our adobe oven here.

If you want to leave a question you can call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected].

The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho.

A downloadable version of this podcast is here. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store. Note that it takes a few hours for the new episode to show up in iTunes.

Leave a comment


  1. If you are looking for eggs, there are meetups for backyard poultry enthusiasts! Large cities should have some online presences. For smaller places, check for 4H or Future Farmers groups. Or check with a feed store, they could help hook you up with backyard chickenkeepers.

    Here’s one link for the LA area, it has over 1,500 members:


  2. I’m really enjoying the podcast! I know you’re planning to bring on guests, but you’re a great team on your own. I learn a lot and like the banter.

  3. Male chicks go into a machine with blades that slices o macerates them. They have a swift death. The male chicks are used in dog food or fertilizer. I would think they would be good in chicken food, too. As far as I know, the male chicks are humanely killed and used.

    I watched as a friend held a tiny chick by its neck and killed it by squeezing. The chick was going to die. There was no hope. I am a pragmatist about these things. It did bother both of us, but it would have died slowly otherwise.

    I can no longer eat an egg from the grocery store. In 2012 I was faced with no eggs at Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I bought a dozen at each holiday. I never used them and did not bake. I finally had to throw out both cartoons.

    Kelly, if you were horrified at the moths in your jar, imagine how I felt when I had eaten dried apples from the quart bag all one day and then an hour the next day, and then I looked in and found as many maggots in the bag as dried apples. I threw up in my mouth a little typing that. When I tell friends, we all have the dry heaves.

    I have never frozen any food I dehydrated and never had an insect problem in the jars. However, now I probably will. So, from now on it all goes into the freezer once in the canning jars.

    As you were talking pizza party and went on to bread baking with your oven you built, Erik, I was happy thinking “bread party.” I love focaccia bread and could happily sit with a little bowl of olive oil all evening long. I would eat a few vegetables just for the appearance, but a bread party would be so delicious. If people have salt parties, why not a bread baking party?

  4. I plugged in my 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator to see how loud it was. It is almost silent. I do use a room ac in two other rooms and a fan at times. I love white noise, but I still wonder if you did not use an extra noisy machine. I use a sound machine to sleep. I suppose it is all a matter of preference.

  5. Aw, such a bummer that you didn’t check the comments on the solar dehydrator post before making this podcast… I had a question that wasn’t addressed there or here!

    I know, I know, you don’t cater to my whims, but I was hopeful. đŸ™‚

  6. I am really enjoying your pod casts and the banter between the two of you. So glad you are doing these.
    I have to laugh because I suspect that the organization that sent you the mayo and dead chicks rant did not expect you to come out speaking like you have. Bravo! They probably thought they could hook you into being a voice for them. Many years I went to a festival in the park to hear the young John Robbins speak. It was sponsored by PETA. Sitting on the grass I was talking to a couple of PETA followers when they informed me that I was a chicken murderer because I ate eggs. They refused to believe that chickens lay eggs without a male around. I told them I raised chickens and did not have a rooster but they insisted that there was a rooster SOMEWHERE. Hopefully people are more informed now.

    • I have been a vegan and now only eat eggs from my chickens, but I too was appalled at people’s ignorance about how eggs work. I think a majority of people, vegan or not, have no idea about an infertile egg or that even a fertile egg will most likely not have a baby chick in it because hens aren’t broody year round.

      I am not sure which ignorance is worse… the vegan who thinks I murder baby chicks by eating infertile eggs or the person who never thinks about their eggs and gives their money to the torturers at the factory farms.

    • Please don’t take this the wrong way. I agree with you about raising your own chickens (still in the future for me, but I have an arrangement with a neighbor with chooks for now), and I know the biology of egg production as well. However, as Erik and Kelly point out, the laying hens come from somewhere, and for every female chick that is hatched, an equal number of male chicks are hatched. Unless we know the husbandry practices of the folks we get our pullets from, we may well be participating–all unknowing–in the pointless death of those male chicks. Best case scenario is that they are allowed to grow to culling age, then taken as meat birds.

    • I made the mistake of buying hatchery eggs when I got my chickens. It was my first time with chickens, and I bought them from a feed store. The feed store sells both hatchery chicks and chicks from backyard breeders, and I didn’t know the difference.

      I’ve seen other first time chicken keepers make the same mistake. But what I usually don’t see is that mistake happening twice. With more experience, a backyard chicken keeper is more like to raise their own chicks or to buy from someone locally who does. It is more than just an animal welfare issue… the quality of the birds can be better from a reputable breeder than a hatchery, and backyard enthusiasts are more likely to raise interesting heritage breeds.

      So, from my own experience and as part of a city with thousands chicken keepers, I would say that hatchery birds in backyard flocks is a very small and self-correcting problem.

  7. Hi Folks,
    I started reading your blog way back when I lived in LA and it’s followed me around the country for several years! I’m really enjoying the podcasts as well. I just wanted to pick one nit, to wit: while pronounced in different ways in different parts of its length, the pronunciation of the “Appalachian” in Appalachian State University is with short “a”s in the first three occurrences, so it sounds like apple At chun, rather than apple Ate chun, for the university and in that part of the chain. I’m a North Carolinian and former student at ASU, if that lends any weight to my assertion.

Comments are closed.