Give the Nasty Woman in your life the gift of cleanliness. Our new soap is made with Cinnamon essential oil and nerves of steel. Stop by the store to pick it up, or order online here
. Warning, this soap is not appropriate for small hands.
Woohoo! Look what the cat dragged in! Just in, we now carry these beautiful walnut Komo Mills. Not every model is available in this color, check the webstore
for more details or drop me a line at the shop if you're interested.
I had a scheduling conflict, so had to split my Nov 20th bread class in two. There are now TWO November bread classes coming up , one on Sunday Nov 13th from 9am to noon, and the second one is Sunday Nov 27th. Click here
to check out the dates and times and register if you're interested.
Don't Forget that next weekend, Sunday Nov 6th is the quick pickling class
, and Sunday Nov 13th is my cold process soap class
. This is the link
to the main store where all the classes are listed at the top.
It's still early to be thinking about the holidays, but I have a few classes coming up that are not only super fun and useful, but can help you stock up on those last minute gifts that everyone loves: soaps and candles!
Learn to make incredible organic soaps, and delicious-smelling natural candles that you can use yourself or stock up on for those last minute gifts.
There is space tomorrow (Sunday Oct 16th, 1-3pm) in my natural soy candle class, where we'll be making pumpkin spice candles, and then on Sunday Nov 13th, it's the organic soap making class from 1-3pm . Click here
In bread news, I just came back from the First Annual Grain Conference at The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica. I connected with some local farmers so that I can bring more LOCALLY GROWN grains to The King's Roost. I am very excited about supporting local farmers and bringing back some heritage grains we can all bake with!
In the meantime, I have added my next 100% whole wheat bread class
which will be on Sunday Nov 20th from 1-4pm. If you don't know what it's about, I teach you the old fashioned way to make delicious, 100% organic, freshly-milled, long-ferment, sourdough bread with nothing but wheat berries and salt water. It's about the healthiest bread you can make. This class is aimed at the home baker
that doesn't have a lot of time or money to invest in baking bread. It's simpler, cheaper, and much healthier than you might think! The class registration page is up on my site and spots are already selling. Click here
to sign up online. This usually sells out pretty quicklyi, so if you can't get in, call the store at 323-426-9769 to get on the waitlist. If the waitlist gets long enough, I will add another class.
This is a picture of our favorite chicken, Ruby, reacting to the weather forecast. Keep your chickens cool during this heat wave - we've lost a one or two in over the years due to overheating. These girls work hard to give us eggs and they can't take their downy coats off when it's hot, so keep them safe and cool when it's hot out.
We've tried lots of ways to keep them cool and have finally settled on a crazy solution: we rolled the portable A/C unit from our garage office to the coop. They sit all day in front of the vent and stay nice and cool on these triple digit days. No A/C unit lying around? Here's a few ideas that have worked for us:
- Ice their water (a lot)
- Freeze a few one-gallon jugs and set them in the coops. Just sitting next to them will help a lot
- Drop half a frozen watermelon in the coop. It's food, it's a treat, it's water, and it's cooling, all in one!
New Classes and some kids classes
Due to the incredible demand for real homemade bread, I've just added two new bread classes (one in October and one in November), along with the usual soap, candles, sauerkraut and more. Click here
or head over to the online shop to browse the upcoming classes - they are all on Sundays and they're scheduled through mid November. Come make your holiday candles or holiday soaps and knock out a ton of your gift list with one-of-a-kind hand made items and have a great time doing it too!
HEAD'S UP! Kids Classes
- take note, next Monday, October 3rd, LAUSD is out, so Sandi Picazo, who runs the after school program at Franklin Ave Elementary is running a small workshop for kids here at The King's Roost - the morning session is a 3-hour "spooky crafts" class, then I'm teaching a melt and pour halloween-themed soap class after lunch. There are a couple spots left (it's $45 for the morning session, $25 for my class, and $70 for both together), email sandi directly at email@example.com to get more info and to register. If you're not sure what to do with your little ones on monday, this might be a great enrichment option.
See you in Class!
It's that time of year again! The kids are getting ready to head back to school, why not take a few courses yourself?
I've just added a whole bunch of classes
. In addition to the usual ones-- like handmade soap, soy candles, sauerkraut, pickling and kombucha-- I've added 2 brand new courses
that you've been asking for:
First, there's Sprouted Grain Bread
. Experienced whole meal bread bakers who want to go to the next level will love this class. If you haven't yet taken my 100% Whole Wheat Bread class, I highly recommend taking that one as an introduction before trying your hand at sprouted grains. I am teaching that intro class two times before the sprouted grain class happens on Sunday, Sept 18th.
Second, there's my new Vegan Yogurt Making class
. I've been experimenting with a few recipes to develop a yummy dairy-free yogurt. We'll try a couple in class, and we'll even make some home made muesli using fresh oats you'll roll in class.
for course descriptions, dates, times and registration.
to see the classes in a calendar format.
See you in class!
I recently read an article claiming that we've just had an outbreak of Salmonella from backyard chickens. Apparently, in the first half of this year, 611 people got sick, and one person even died, from Salmonella linked to backyard chicken flocks.
Of course, when I hear this, I have to wonder: Is it a horrible idea that we’re keeping chickens? Are we putting our kids at risk? Is it a bad idea to encourage my customers to get a flock at home? The more I think about it, the more questions I have... Are these “outbreaks” localized? Are they becoming more prevalent? Can I do anything to avoid or reduce my chances of getting salmonella from my chickens if they do have it? If we haven't caught it from them in the last 8 years, can we assume we won’t in the future?
The tempting conclusion to draw from this news is that we should get rid of our backyard flocks right away (and if you were considering getting chickens, it’s easy to read this and decide to take a pass on the whole thing).
But before we made any rash decisions in our house, I chose to get more information. I need to know: How risky is it to keep backyard chickens compared to, say, preparing raw chicken at home, eating at a salad bar at a restaurant, or otherwise going about my regular business? While the news is interesting, a little alarming, and even dramatic, the information provided is woefully inadequate for the purpose of making an intelligent decision as to whether urban chicken-keeping is a relatively safe activity.
So I did a bit of research, and I want to share my basic analysis with you. I’ve taken some analytical liberties here and there, but I think my conclusions are sound, given the data that’s readily available. I’ve put links at the bottom of this post, if you want to look at my sources in more detail. Hopefully, this gives enough solid information to help you decide if the salmonella risk associated with keeping backyard chickens is worth it for you and your family.
First, what is an outbreak? When I think of an outbreak, I think of that terrifying movie: an army of doctors in hazmat suits tending to people quarantined under military guard.
Turns out, an outbreak occurs when the CDC concludes that 2 or more people got an illness from the same source.
So yes, they can report on “outbreaks” of Salmonella as small as 2 people. One particular outbreak I found involved only 5 people.
I started by reviewing the CDC reports of outbreaks for the last few years and found that there seems to be a “live poultry” or “backyard chicken” outbreak of some kind every year. When they can, the CDC specifies the likely source of the outbreak-- a hatchery in this or that state, etc.
In 2015, there were 252 cases; 363 cases in 2014; 990 cases in 2013; and 334 cases in 2012. That’s an average of 485 cases per year, using just the last 4 complete years. (While the 2016 outbreak is now considered over, the calendar year obviously isn’t.) For the sake of a broad analysis, let’s just use an average of 500 cases per year.
How does that compare to some other outbreaks?
In 2015, 907 people got Salmonella from Mexican cucumbers (the biggest one in the last 5 years), 192 got it from pork, and 133 got it from “small turtles.” There were many other smaller outbreaks caused, for example, by prepared products, like breaded chicken, pistachios, raw scraped ground tuna product (what on earth is that?), ground beef or protein shake powder, as well as from household pets, like crested geckos, bearded dragons and hedgehogs. So, does that mean backyard flocks are more dangerous than pork or tiny turtles, but safer than Mexican produce? Don’t answer that yet, because we still don’t have enough information.
While it’s somewhat reassuring that this outbreak isn’t hugely bigger (in terms of total numbers) than other outbreaks, it is among the larger of the typical “outbreaks.” Should that frighten us?
To answer, it’s helpful to know how many people are engaging in the questionable activity in order to determine the rate at which people get sick from any given source.
Even though 133 people got Salmonella from tiny turtles, it matters if only 133 people owned tiny turtles in the first place... that would mean that 100% of tiny turtle owners got sick. That’s obviously not the case, but the fictional example makes a point about the relative riskiness of any given activity.
Since it’s not possible to determine how many people keep tiny turtles (they’re illegal because they can carry Salmonella!) or how many people eat pistachios or bought a particular brand of vegetable, I decided to take a look at national numbers to get an idea of the relative rates of infection.
So, off I went to get some information on chicken ownership, as well as overall Salmonella cases throughout the US, to see if the rate of Salmonella infection could help me answer my question. Here’s what I found out:
One FDA study of 4 cities put average chicken ownership at 0.8%. But that includes New York, where, big surprise, it’s pretty close to zero, while Miami came in at 1.7%. Los Angeles was 1.2%. Homes across the US that have more than an acre are around 4%.
So ownership is clearly going to be higher in suburban and rural areas, compared to densely populated cities. But for the sake of this discussion, let’s assume, conservatively, that ownership is only about 1% of households, even though it’s likely to be quite a bit higher.
There are 124 million households in the US, so if 1% of them have chickens, that’s about 1.24 million chicken-owning households who are playing Russian backyard-chicken roulette. So, from our average case number above, if roughly 500 of them get Salmonella per year, that’s.... drumroll please.... 500 divided by 1.24 million = .0004 or 4/100ths of 1 percent or 0.04%.
Put another way, that’s one case for every 2500 households in any given year.
Now, I still don’t know how that stacks up against my likelihood of getting Salmonella from all other sources. Is owning chickens wildly more dangerous than, say, just going about my daily routine? So to compare, I looked up overall infection rates for Salmonella each year in the US.
Turns out there are 1,000,000 reported cases per year nationwide. Given there are 318,000,000 people in the US, that’s 1,000,000/318,000,000= .3% or one American in 318 that gets salmonella each year. That’s quite a bit more.
It looks like I’m between 7 and 8 times more likely to get Salmonella from something other than backyard chickens, just by living in the US. Put another way, my chance of getting Salmonella if I don’t have backyard chickens is 0.3% and my chance of getting it from my chickens alone is 0.04%.
Therefore, owning chickens increases that risk from .3% to .34% (which still rounds down to .3% by the way). Math-minded folks out there may point out that I’m double-counting here: Those 1 million reported Salmonella cases include backyard poultry outbreaks, but 500 out of 1,000,000 is too small to have a meaningful effect on the answer.
Keep in mind, I think this is a very conservative number.
Why? First, I assumed 1% chicken ownership. If that number were closer to 2%, that extra .04% turns into .02%. Second, the CDC sometimes indicates how many of the cases were kids under 5, and it’s usually around one third. So if you’re a backyard chicken owner and you’re 5 or older, that 0.02% risk drops to 0.013%. That’s pretty small.
Conclusion: I’m keeping my chickens, though I am going to continue to be careful with them. We’ve had our chickens for years now. They're part of the family. While it's possible to get salmonella from backyard flocks, outbreaks are frequently linked to specific hatcheries. It’s also possible for your hens to acquire and/or carry Salmonella without showing signs of being sick – and if that is the case, it doesn’t automatically mean they'll pass it along to humans.
So here’s what you can do to minimize your risk of getting anything from your flock:
Don’t kiss your chickens! (If you already keep chickens, you understand why this one actually isn't as crazy as it sounds-- lovable birds can be very tempting to kiss!)
Use separate shoes/crocs/flip flops for walking in the coop, and keep those shoes outside so you don’t track poop in the house.
Keep your chickens outside. Agains, sounds bananas at first. But yes, some people have house chickens... and yes, there is such a thing as a chicken diaper.
ALWAYS wash hands after handling the chickens and/or cleaning the coop.
Don’t let kids under 5 handle them.
Be careful and wash hands and clothes thoroughly when visiting other chicken owners, flocks, or farms.
Keep rodents out of the chicken coop. Rats and other vermin can carry Salmonella.
If you’ve been considering getting backyard chickens, I hope you don’t let scary news like this change your mind.
For us, the benefits far outweigh the minuscule Salmonella risk. This wonderful, rewarding hobby is teaching our kids about keeping animals... enjoying fresh eggs that have not been washed in chemicals and were collected from happy chickens that live healthy, happy lives.
The other chicken owners we know feel the same way. Hopefully you will, too.
Kids wanna garden, cook, and make stuff, too! That's why we're bringing a slew of new workshops just for them.
The holiday season is madness... but instead of adding to your load, we can help! The youngsters need gifts for teachers, and friends. Drop them at The Roost to make clever, creative presents from upcycled materials while you take care of all the other stuff on your list. When you come back for pick-up, your young ones will be happy and inspired, plus we'll knock out some charming homemade gifts with them in the meantime.
Kids Holiday Gifts and Crafts:
Saturday, December 12th: 2-4pm
Wednesday, December 16th: 4-6pm
And then, beginning in January, we offer an ongoing slate of kids workshops in gardening, cooking, and DIY projects. Soapmaking! Succulent gardening! Button art! Wholegrain baking!
We've scheduled at least one class per week after school, rotating which day every week (Tuesday through Friday) so that even if your child has soccer or ballet or karate at the same time each week, there are sure to be some workshops he or she can attend.
Check out our calendar here
to see the offerings for December and beyond. Registration is available in the online store
or by visiting in our retail shop.
Please help us spread the word, so we can build a robust community of creative and engaged children making, growing and cooking stuff.
Countless workshops, classes, and more!
We're finally installed in our new roost on Sunset Blvd, near Sunset Junction in the heart of Silver Lake. It's a terrific spot-- a warm and welcoming environment with a teaching kitchen and creative workshop space. Please come visit! We stock homesteading supplies and the inspiration for D.I.Y. adventures of all sorts; plus we're thrilled to announce a mouth-watering schedule of new classes and workshops.
Ever get the urge to make your own candles, soap, lip balm, body butter, or bath bombs ? How about ferment your own root beer, cider, ginger ale, kombucha, yogurt, vinegar, kefir, or home-brewed beer? Grow your own sprouts or mushrooms or sourdough starter? Pickle stuff? Make cheese? Tofu? Truffles? Keep bees, aquaponic gardens, or chickens in your yard? Mill, bake, and cook with whole grains? Design with succulent plants? Concoct fancy cocktails? Upcycle old junk in creative ways?
We're now offering classes in all these luscious subjects... and more!
Classes for adults meet on weekends and sometimes evenings during the week.
Our kids' workshop calendar has greatly expanded, as well! We now provide after-school classes every week on a rotating schedule to make time for each kid's busy schedule. Young folks can learn to cook (including lots of no-bake recipes), garden, and recycle things to make cool new stuff and creative gifts. Most classes are for children aged 6 and up, and parents are encouraged to drop off their kids, although sticking around to watch is always fine, too.
Visit our shop to pick up a calendar, or check out the listings here
. We're always adding more, so check back regularly to see what's new.
We encourage pre-registration, as some classes fill up fast. Pop into the Roost to register. Tickets to all events and full course descriptions are also available in our online store right here
Don't forget! The gift of DIY makes a terrific present! We offer gift certificates for single workshops, series of classes, any item in our store, or cash-value in any amount.
Thanks for your continued support, and see you soon at The Roost!
The food truck festivities were fun while they lasted, and we're thankful to all the delicious trucks who fed us and all who came out to eat and enjoy them with us.
Because of our move to the new location on Sunset Blvd, we will no longer be able to continue Food Truck Wednesdays, effective immediately. Don't worry-- exciting new events will take their place, but we'll miss seeing you on the patio each Wednesday for lunch.
Thanks for understanding and for your continued support of The King's Roost!
Do you make stuff? Grow things? Create, build, cook, or stitch? Wanna share your skills and knowledge with others in a down-to-earth, fun, comfortable, and supportive environment?
The King's Roost is moving to a spacious new location, complete with work tables and a full kitchen. We're thrilled to expand our workshop and class schedule so people of all stripes can embark upon countless new hobbies and projects.
If you have a special area of expertise that suits The King's Roost, please join us for a festive open house on Sunday, October 11. We'll serve wine and cheese, show off our new digs, and explain the teaching philosophy and procedures of The King's Roost.
Reservations are required, so please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org, and feel free to contact us with any questions. Plus, we encourage you to share this posting with anyone you think may be interested in joining The King's Roost teaching family.
Thanks for your continued support and interest in The King's Roost!
We're thrilled to announce some huge news... The Roost is expanding and moving to a new location!
In October, we'll relocate to Sunset & Lucile in the heart of Silver Lake. Our new digs will allow us to broaden and enrich the workshop and event schedule, as well as giving us MORE SPACE FOR MORE COOL STUFF.
Doors stay open at the current shop through September; after that, we invite you to check out the dreamy new King's Roost emporium at 3732 Sunset Blvd.
A mouth-watering list of classes, courses, workshops, even lectures and social events will be online soon. In the meantime, we welcome any and all requests for subject matter and material that interests YOU. Know terrific instructors? Please send them our way.
We couldn't have done this without you. A GIANT THANK-YOU FOR ALL YOU DO TO MAKE THE KING'S ROOST LA'S HOMESTEADING AND HOBBY D.I.Y. HEADQUARTERS!