Custom Merry-Go-Rounds for Chickens: A Whirlwind of Fun and Exercise!

Hey there, homesteaders and chicken enthusiasts! Are you looking for a way to bring joy and excitement to your feathered friends? Well, you’re in luck! The brilliant minds over at My Positive Outlooks have shared an incredible idea—creating custom merry-go-rounds for chickens using old bike tires!

Why Chickens Need Entertainment

  • Mental Stimulation: Chickens, like humans and other pets, need mental stimulation. A bored chicken is a problematic chicken. They can start pecking at each other or even pulling out each other’s feathers.
  • Physical Exercise: Chickens need to move around to stay healthy. Exercise helps them maintain their weight and keeps their muscles in good shape.
  • Behavioral Benefits: Engaging activities can help mitigate problematic behaviors. Chickens that are occupied are less likely to engage in aggressive or destructive actions.

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The Basics of Building a Chicken Merry-Go-Round

  • Materials Needed: All you need is an old bicycle wheel and something to attach it to that allows it to spin.
  • Location: Place it in your farm or coop where the chickens like to roam.
  • Cost: This is a budget-friendly project. You might not even have to spend a dime if you have the materials lying around.

Expanding the Idea: More Than Just a Wheel

  • Treat-Dispensing Merry-Go-Round: Attach some of your chickens’ favorite treats to the wheel. As they peck at the treats, the wheel spins, providing both food and fun!
  • Alternative Materials: Run out of bicycle wheels? No worries! You can use an old side table with the top removed and something that can spin.
  • Hanging Chicken Treats: Think of it as a piñata for your chickens. Hang a cabbage or another treat from a rope and let your chickens peck at it.

DIY Duck and Chicken Run

Health Benefits for Chickens

  • Reduced Stress: Engaging in play and having a variety of activities can significantly reduce stress in chickens.
  • Improved Social Skills: Activities like these can help improve the social skills of your chickens, making them more amicable companions.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: Ultimately, these activities can significantly improve the quality of life for your chickens, making them happier and healthier.

Community Involvement

If you’ve already built a merry-go-round for your chickens, we’d love to see them! Share your photos and experiences. Also, if you know friends and family who have pet chickens, don’t forget to share this article with them. Let’s spread the joy and make life better for our feathered friends!

Final Thoughts

Just like cats and dogs, chickens deserve our love and attention. Spoiling them with fun gadgets like these will surely bring variety to their days. So why wait? Start building your chicken merry-go-round today and let the fun begin!

Isn’t this just the most exciting thing you’ve heard all day? A big shoutout to My Positive Outlooks for this fantastic idea!

So, what are you waiting for? Grab those old bike tires and let’s give our chickens the time of their lives!

DHS OIG: CBP, ICE, and Secret Service Violated Privacy Policies, Failed to Develop Sufficient Policies Before Purchasing and Using Commercial Geolocation Data

report by the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General (DHS OIG) revealed that CBP, ICE, and the Secret Service purchased and used commercial geolocation data in violation of their privacy policies, and that DHS components have failed to develop policies governing the purchase and use of location data. According to DHS OIG these failures “occurred because the components did not have sufficient internal controls to ensure compliance with DHS privacy policies, and because the DHS Privacy Office did not follow or enforce its own privacy policies.”  The report recommended that CBP and ICE discontinue use of commercial geolocation until they have developed and implemented sufficient policies, including conducting a privacy impact assessment. Just weeks ago, CBP promised Sen. Ron Wyden that it would stop purchasing location data by the end of the month.

EPIC and a bipartisan coalition of privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights groups have launched a campaign to significantly reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and related surveillance authoritiesincluding prohibiting the government from simply buying Americans’ data to avoid constitutional privacy protections.

Harvesting, Drying, and Using Black Walnuts: A Comprehensive Guide

Hey, homesteaders and foraging enthusiasts! We’ve stumbled upon an incredible resource that you’ll absolutely love. Jan Berry, the talented writer and herbalist behind Unruly Gardening, has penned an exhaustive guide on harvesting and using black walnuts. From identification tips to harvesting and even medicinal uses, this blog post is a treasure trove of information. Let’s dive in!

Identification Tips

  • Leaves: Compound leaves with ovate-oblong leaflets arranged alternately along a shared stem.
  • Bark: Dark grayish-brown with deep furrowing and ridges.
  • Nuts: Round with rough green hulls that turn brown/black when left on the ground.


When to Harvest

  • Season: September or October.
  • Quality Check: Press your thumb into the hull. If it leaves a dent, the nut is ready for harvest.

Removing the Hulls

  • Staining: Black walnuts stain everything! Wear gloves and old clothing.
  • Small Quantity: Use a hammer or rock to smash the hulls.
  • Large Quantity: Spread the nuts on a tarp and use a digging bar to smash them.

Washing and Float Testing

  • Washing: Use a corded drill with a paint stirrer attachment in a bucket of water.
  • Float Test: Place the cleaned nuts in a bucket of water. Discard any that float.

Curing and Drying

  • Why Cure: Curing makes it easier to harvest the nuts and improves the flavor.
  • Duration: 2-3 weeks.

Cracking and Storing

  • Tools: Use a hammer or the back of a hatchet.
  • Storage: Best stored in the freezer.

Medicinal Uses

  • Black Walnut Hulls: Antifungal and antibacterial properties.
  • Black Walnut Oil & Salve: Useful for skin ailments like athlete’s foot and ringworm.
  • Black Walnut Tincture: Used externally for warts, psoriasis, and fungal infections.

Additional Uses

  • Black Walnut Leaf Infusion: Can be used as a wound wash.
  • Poultice from Fresh Leaves: Useful for bug bites and minor bleeding.

Allergies and Precautions

  • If you’re allergic to tree nuts, avoid using black walnut hulls internally or externally.

Final Thoughts

The original blog post is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in foraging or natural remedies. Jan Berry has done an exceptional job in covering all the bases. For the full experience and to give credit to this amazing author, make sure to read the original post.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start foraging for some black walnuts!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Harvesting, Drying, and Using Black Walnuts

What is the best time to harvest black walnuts?

The best time to harvest black walnuts is during September or October. You can check the readiness of the nut by pressing your thumb into the hull; if it leaves a dent, it’s ready for harvest.

How can I remove the hulls from black walnuts?

You can remove the hulls using a hammer or rock for small quantities. For larger quantities, spread the nuts on a tarp and use a digging bar to smash them. Remember, black walnuts stain, so wear gloves and old clothing.

What is the float test for black walnuts?

After washing the hulled nuts, place them in a bucket of water. Any nuts that float should be discarded as they are likely to be bad.

How long should I cure and dry black walnuts?

Curing and drying should take about 2-3 weeks. This…

PCLOB Recommends Individualized Judicial Approval for Accessing Americans’ Communications under Section 702

Today, as part of its new oversight report on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the majority of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) recommended that agencies be required to obtain individualized judicial approval before accessing the results of searches of Americans’ communications, otherwise known as “backdoor searches,” except with the consent of that person or under exigent circumstances. The PCLOB majority also recommends that Congress, as part of any reauthorization of Section 702, undertake significant reforms including: (1) codifying President Biden’s Executive Order specifying the legitimate objectives of surveillance; (2) strengthening the FISA Court system; (3) prohibiting the government from resuming “abouts” collection; and (4) requiring the government to publish an estimate of how many Americans’ communications are collected pursuant to Section 702.

EPIC and a bipartisan coalition of civil society groups have previously called for broad reform to Section 702 and related surveillance authorities. Following the PCLOB report’s release, privacy, civil liberties, and civil liberties groups released a joint statement reiterating the need for these reforms.

Jeramie Scott, EPIC Senior Counsel & Director of the Project on Surveillance Oversight, released the following statement regarding the PCLOB’s report:

“The PCLOB’s report puts to rest any debate over requiring individualized judicial approval before accessing Americans’ communications acquired without a warrant. However, as our bipartisan coalition has made clear for months, reforming Section 702 alone will not address the broader warrantless surveillance ecosystem that affects Americans and their communities every day. Congress must rise to the occasion and prohibit the government from relying on proclaimed executive authority or data brokers to skirt its constitutional and statutory obligations to Americans.”

13 Winter Survival Methods To Keep You Warm

Knowing a few winter survival secrets never hurt anyone. That’s why, we’ve outlined 13 in this article to help you when a winter storm brings in snowstorms, freezing rain, snow pellets, graupel, and rime.

They can also minimize your winter problems like having to keep the heat in check at home, blackouts, and frozen water pipes.

Winter Survival Methods: Keeping The Heat In Check

1. Preparing for the Cold Months

It is vital that people prepare for the different seasons of the year, most especially for winter.

Winter Survival Methods

This article will show you what you need to prepare for your winter survival kit.

2. Winter Storm Guide

Preparing for the ordinary winter months is good. Preparing for a winter storm is even better.

Winter Survival Methods

This guide will help you get through freezing rain, snow or sleet. Learn more about the ultimate guide winter storm.

3. 5 Steps To Prepare Your Car For The Winter

We can’t stress enough that preparation is always the key to surviving extreme weather conditions. These winter weather tips will show you how to get ready for a major blizzard:

Winter Storm Survival Tips

  • Put a winter supply box in your car.
  • Check your engine coolant and antifreeze level.
  • Check your tire pressure and tread depth.
  • Use winter windshield wiper fluid.
  • Switch to winter grade oil at your next oil change.

4. Learn How to Roll West Virginia Style

Are you tired of shoveling snow at home just to clear a path for you and your family? Well, this guy down south will show you how to do it in a jiffy.

If the snow falling in your area is wet and sticky, you can say goodbye to those backbreaking lifting and scooping chores for good.

5. Cover The Gaps

There are several life hacks to help you make it through the cold without having to go through little winter inconveniences.

  • You can warm up your home faster by putting a frozen bag of vegetables on top of your thermostat.
  • Place an electric blanket on top of the clothes you want to use for the day before taking a shower.
  • Keep your house humid and retain the heat by not draining the hot water in your bathtub after a bath.
  • Economize on your electric and heating expenses by covering the gaps under your doors with pipe insulation. This keeps cold drafts from entering the room.
  • Give your wheels more traction during the winter by placing kitty litter.

6. Tips on Survival for your Homestead

This article will show you how to protect your livestock, chickens and outdoor pets from freezing to death.

Winter Storm Survival Tips

There are also other methods to protect or at least minimize the damages for your gardens, farm equipment and other parts of your property.

These are

How To Make Homemade Canned Cherries

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Simplify Planting Heavy Trees With A Wooden Ramp

Potted trees can be purchased in many sizes. Tiny trees might come in a pot as small as 1 gallon in size. I commonly plant fruit trees from 7- and 10-gallon pots. Much larger sizes are also available, and the larger the tree, the closer you are to having a magnificent specimen in your yard or orchard.

But here’s the problem: While large pots support older and larger trees, they’re also heavy and can be difficult to move around. As pots increase in size, the volume of soil they hold follows suit, and soil can be very, very heavy. Planting trees from large pots can be difficult … but it need not be an insurmountable challenge. In fact, it can be surprisingly simple. And you don’t necessarily need much machinery to help.

Dealing with Large Fruit Trees

This spring, I was shopping at my favorite nursery when a couple of impressive apple trees caught my attention. They were every bit of 12 feet tall, and one was loaded with just-forming apples. They were gorgeous specimens at very reasonable prices given their size, and I decided they had to come home with me.

The problem was, the trees were growing in 25-gallon pots. The soil in a 25-gallon pot probably weighs close to 300 pounds, and when combined with the weight of a tree (with lush leaves and apples) … I knew moving and planting those potted trees wouldn’t be easy.

Shipping the trees home was the easy part. I paid for delivery, and the nursery kindly brought the trees to my front yard, where a strong deliveryman used a dolly to roll the heavy trees down a ramp and drop them off. The tricky part would be getting the trees from the yard to my orchard, about 800 feet away.

I thought about using the hydraulics on a tractor—either by crafting a means for a three-point hitch to lift the pots; by lifting the pots in the bucket of a front-end loader; or by wrestling the trees on to a pallet that could be lifted by a fork lift attachment. I also thought about enlisting the help of several strong people to simply lift the pots into a tractor-pulled trailer.

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But in the end, none of these approaches were necessary. Instead, I kept things simple with a garden tractor, a small utility trailer, a few blocks of wood, and a long wooden plank.

Wooden Ramp to the Rescue

It couldn’t have gone better. I used the garden tractor to back up the utility trailer to within about 12 feet of the first 25-gallon pot. Then I took a sturdy 12-foot wooden plank and laid it down so one end was in the utility trailer and the other end was right up at the base of the heavy pot, turning the plank into a ramp for the trees. Underneath the plank, I stacked a few blocks of wood to…

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EPIC, Coalition Statement on PCLOB 702 Report

Today, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) issued its long-awaited report on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The report, endorsed by a majority of the Board’s members, sheds new light on abuses over the past few years, revealing that, “[i]n the reporting period covering November 2020 to December 2021, non-compliant queries related to civil unrest numbered in the tens of thousands.”

The report includes recommendations that Congress enact robust reforms as part of any reauthorization of Section 702. Among other reforms, it urges Congress to (1) require the government to obtain individualized judicial approval to access communications retrieved through U.S. person queries (commonly known as “backdoor searches”), with exceptions for consent and exigent circumstances; (2) codify President Biden’s executive order specifying the legitimate objectives of surveillance; (3) improve the workings of the FISA Court, including by strengthening the role of amici; (4) prohibit the government from re-starting “abouts” collection; and (5) impose a deadline for declassifying significant FISA Court opinions.

Privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties groups issued the following statement responding to the report:

“The message of the Board’s report is clear: individualized judicial review of U.S. person queries is critical to protect Americans’ rights and prevent further abuses. The report flatly rejects the government’s self-serving claim that individualized judicial review is unworkable. It also rejects the baseless notion that broad categories of these searches, such as searches for foreign intelligence or so-called ‘defensive’ searches for potential victims’ information, should be exempted from this requirement. And it rejects the fallacy that the FBI’s tweaks to its internal procedures are sufficient to address the acute risks posed by backdoor searches.

“Three members of the Board stated that they would support a probable cause standard for U.S. person queries in any criminal investigation, including those related to foreign intelligence. In her statement, the Chair of the Board compellingly explained why the full ‘probable cause’ standard is required by the Fourth Amendment and necessary to safeguard Americans’ privacy. We believe the same logic supports a requirement for a probable cause order for any U.S. person query.

“We note that the Board limited its inquiry and its recommendations to Section 702. It did not address many of the other issues that are very much part of the current debate, including the government’s use of data brokers to circumvent legal protections for Americans’ privacy and the use of overseas surveillance to collect Americans’ information without statutory authority or judicial oversight. Congress, however, must address these issues. If it limits itself to reforms of Section 702, the government will simply continue its warrantless surveillance of Americans using these other methods.”

More than thirty organizations from across the political spectrum have called for a range of reforms as a precondition for any reauthorization of Section 702. Those reforms include:

25 Fall DIY Picnic Food Ideas And Crafts To Do This Weekend

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5 Purposes For Dried Sunflowers In The Autumn Season

Sunflowers are still vibrant and healthy through August and September, into the early days of autumn. As they start to fade, prepare for ways to use the spent flower heads.

Sunflowers are not just beautiful, but they are beneficial, too. Once the beauty of your sunflowers fades, they can be used as future seeds, food and autumn decorations. Here’s how to harvest sunflower seeds, followed by five ways to prepare sunflowers once they have started to die back.

Harvesting the Seeds

If you plan to use the seeds for replanting or preparing for food, you will need to harvest and remove the seeds by cutting them back from the stalk once they have started to dry out. You’ll know it is time when the back of the flowerhead is turning yellow, most petals have dried up and fallen, and the seeds appear loose. If you want to speed the process up, you can cut bunches and hang them to dry.

De-seeding the sunflower is very simple if the flower is dried enough. Most seeds will be loose and ready to easily come away from the stalk. Firmly rub the seed head over a bucket to catch the falling seeds. Small blooms and other debris will also collect in the bucket.

Once you have completed this process with all your sunflowers, collect a colander or strainer to begin separating the debris. spent sunflowers sunflower seeds autumn fallspent sunflowers sunflower seeds autumn fallgraja/Adobe Stock

Depending on the amount of debris, you will decide if shaking the seeds in the strainer is effective or if you will need to run water over them. If you choose to run water, you will need to make sure they spend adequate time in the drying process so no moisture creates mold and the integrity of the seed is not compromised. 

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After separation, line a cardboard box or crate with newspaper or paper towels, and spread the seeds evenly in a single layer. They will need to dry a few hours or even overnight depending on how much moisture they have. 

Use Your Sunflower Seeds

Now that the seeds have been harvested, cleaned and dried, you can use them for the following purposes.


Place the seeds you plan to replant next year in an airtight container. Label the container and store them in a cool, dark place. 


Many people love to flavor and roast sunflower seeds. The large mammoth varieties are best for eating. Once the seeds are cleaned and dried you will want to: 

  1. Boil the seeds in salted water to add flavoring. If you do not like salt, you can move straight to the final step. The ratio should be 1 cup seeds to 1 qt. water to 2 tbsp. salt.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Drain the water from the seeds.
  4. Place the drained seeds in a single layer on…

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