How we keep our home rodent free

Rodents can be cute, but it's no secret that they carry and transmit some pretty bad stuff. That's why we're serious about keeping them out of our home, and keeping their numbers down around the property. There's no shortage of barn cats, foxes, owls, and snakes in our neighborhood, which all should help in controlling rodent population, but every year in the fall we g...
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Food for food: our hydroponic fodder system

In an effort to improve the feed for our chickens and turkeys, and cut feed costs, we've decided to grow hydroponic fodder. Fodder is basically sprouted grains, and we're growing ours in irrigated trays without soil. In addition to increasing in weight by simply adding water, the activity of sprouting makes more of the nutrients within the seed available, so it seemed like ...
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Getting started canning

Before this year, I had never canned anything. The process seemed complex, and like a lot of work. That, and we didn't have any food to put in a can, until our hard work in the garden started to pay off. Once it was harvest time though, the kitchen was quickly flooded with much more fresh produce than we can eat, and we had to do something quick. We started preserving our c...
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How I keep on top of the cleaning around here.

Last year, we moved an hour north from beautiful Bernal Heights in San Francisco. We went from a fantastic one bedroom, first floor flat with a great backyard in a perfect neighborhood. The apartment was about 600 square feet. I was able to take all of the laundry to the laundry mat (I don't miss that), clean the house top to bottom and do the grocery shopping all in one da...
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Hatching Eggs At Home

In addition to being a cheaper way to stock your flock, hatching eggs yourself is pretty easy and a lot of fun. We hatched heritage Bourbon Red turkeys and French Pearl Guinea fowl. After our 3 guinea fowl were taken by predators (in one fell swoop!), we were eager to learn from our mistakes and try again. However, being so late in the season no feed stores near us would b...
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Simple, Incredible Spicy IPA Pickles

If you like pickles, you need to try this recipe. Our cucumber plants are producing like crazy right now, leaving us with tons of cucumbers to eat or store. I just happened across Imgur user usernameisslreadytaken's post, here, and since the timing couldn't be better, decided to give these spicy IPA pickles a try. The brine mixture will fill about 6 pint-s...
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Building simple raised planter beds

Once we got everything going in the large planter beds, we realized quickly that we were going to need more space for vining things. The cucumbers, squash, pumpkins and the like were all going to need way more space. Since we built the initial beds with a good amount of space in between, we were able to add the lower beds right in between. They are a more simple design and buil...
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Keepin’ it real about Pinterest worthy outdoor spaces!

You've seen these perfectly staged outdoor spaces on Pinterest. You Pin them and drool and dream. The funny thing is, what none of those pictures show, is that you have to WORK to maintain that perfection. At the very least, teak furniture needs to be oiled twice a year and should be vacuumed and wiped down every season. The photo to the left shows what happens to teak if left ...
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Processing roosters for meat

When we bought chicks this spring, to start our flock, we got quite a few. They were extremely young, and being that this was our first time raising birds, I considered that some of them might not live to maturity. We must have some luck, because all of them made it! So, it was no surprise when a few of them started crowing. Out of our 12 chicks, we ended up with 4 roosters...
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Cheap and easy: Hog panel trellises

We constructed our lower beds with the intention of growing our plants vertically, to make better use of the space and to fit more varieties of plants. After the effort of threading 1/4" wire for trellis on the upper beds, I decided the lower trellis would need something simple and fool-proof. It would have to be strong to support heavy fruit, but easy to dismantle and remo...
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