Organic Pest Control

People gardened long before pesticides existed, so how did they deal with pests? By working with nature, instead of against it. Here’s a look at some of the organic pest control measures that I have in place in my garden.

Foraging Chicken

Our chickens provide us with eggs and fertilizer, but they also provide us with pest control. They eat our grubs, slugs and other undesirable bugs before they have a chance to wreak havoc on our garden. I can honestly say that we’ve had fewer pest problems since we got them.

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How to Handle a Broody Hen

How to Handle a Broody Hen

The hormones have hit the hen house, folks. Last week, when we went out to collect eggs, we were met by a broody hen. See the crazy stand-up feathers? That’s her puffing up to protect the eggs that she’s sitting on. That lovely look also came with a not-so-lovely screech.

Feathered Nest

Upon closer inspection, we discovered that she’d also been pulling out feathers to feather her nest for the chicks that she thought she was going to have. Quite the optimist, considering that she’s never so much as laid eyes on a rooster.

Since this was our first broody, I did some research to decide how we wanted to handle the situation. [Read more...]

How Long Can I Keep Holiday Leftovers?

Holiday Leftovers Storage Times

Holiday leftovers provide a welcome break from cooking, but how long do you have to eat everything? Print a copy of my holiday leftovers chart, and use it as your guide. Then, add it to your recipe book, so you can refer to it again, the next time a holiday takes over your fridge.

See Also:

Pan Substitutions

Have a recipe that calls for a pan size you don’t have? No problem. Just use these charts to find other pans that you can use instead:

Pan Substitutions - Rectangular Pans

Print Rectangular Pan Substitutions Chart

Pan Substitutions - Round

Print Round Pan Substitutions Chart

Pan Conversion - Square

Print Square Pan Substitutions Chart

Baking Times:

If the substituted pan is the same depth as the one called for in the recipe, you shouldn’t have to adjust the baking time. However, if the substituted pan depth is shallower, (a 1″ pan, instead of a 2″), you’ll need to shorten the baking time. If the substituted pan depth is deeper (a 2″ pan, instead of a 1″, you’ll need to increase the baking time.

It’s also worth noting that foods cooked in a glass pan may take 5-10 minutes longer than those cooked in a metal pan.

Get Hens to Lay in Their Nest Boxes

Fake Egg

Easter egg hunts are fun, but you probably don’t want to hunt for eggs every day. Show your hens that you want them to lay in their nest boxes by sticking a fake egg in each nest box.

When our chickens were approaching laying age (5-6 months), I picked up two marble eggs from a flea market, and stuck one in each nest box. It worked like a charm. When we go out to collect eggs, they’re right where they should be.

And don’t feel like you have to have marble eggs. Use a ceramic egg, a wooden egg or even a golf ball. Anything remotely egg shaped should do the trick.

More Tips to Get Hens to Use Their Nest Boxes:

  • Make them private – Position your nest boxes in a dark, quiet spot in the coop
  • Make sure you have enough nest boxes – One box for every five hens is about right.
  • Make them cozy – Fill your nest boxes with a good amount of shavings or straw. Replenish them whenever they get low
  • Keep your hens inside until they lay – If you let your hens free range, wait until after they’ve laid to let them out for the day. Once they understand that eggs go in their nest boxes, you can go back to letting them out first thing in the morning. Ours are good about heading back to the coop to lay