Herbal Roots

Herbs, herbs, glorious herbs!

image of oregano cutting in water

Oregano cutting with new roots

From luscious lavender to invigorating rosemary, herbs have been around since the beginning of time. Their uses are many, and can be preventative or restorative. I certainly have my favorites, like rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, sage… the list goes on. I cook and bake with them, and use them quite a bit with the chickens: in their coop, run, nesting boxes, and as part of their treats.

One of my ongoing projects is expanding my herb garden. One way I do this is to take cuttings from favorite herbs, stick them in water, and watch new roots grow. It’s that easy! I’ve had great success with rosemary and oregano, and plan to try it with a few other herbs.

The oregano you see in the photo was actually trampled by the chickens getting into the herb garden when I wasn’t looking (turn your back for a second… geesh!) So, I brought the larger pieces inside and put them in water. The smaller pieces went in the coop and nesting boxes. The main plant is still alive, so I guess it’s a win-win. 

Come spring, the new oregano will find a permanent home back in the herb garden—oregano overwinters well in this area. The rosemary will mostly be confined to pots, so I can take it inside for the winter.

Having herbs on my kitchen windowsill brings me extra joy in the dead of winter. Some of my indoor rosemary plants have bloomed in winter, even while still in the water! Ah, herbs, you bring me such happiness!

DIY Heated Chicken Waterer

With temps dipping below freezing, I’ve had a couple mornings with frozen waterers. That meant the procrastination of deciding what kind of waterer heater to get was at an end. It was time to decide how to prevent the waterers from freezing. Do I buy a ready made heated waterer? Do I use a heated dog bowl? Or do I try my hand at the homemade variety?

After a trip to a couple of stores to see what was available locally, I decided to go the homemade route. Since I have a number of tins which could work, why not?


I bought a Candelabra Base Switch Cord for around $4. SInce I have a few candelabra lights in the house, I already had the bulbs. I had one tin which was about the same diameter as my waterer. It wasn’t very tall, but perfect for using a candelabra light inside. I placed the tin under the waterer and it fit perfectly.

So, I gathered a few supplies (see photo) and started by drilling a 1″ hole in the side of the tin, which was easier than I thought it would be. I then pushed the candelabra base through the hole. It has a metal clip which snaps in the hole to help keep the bulb base in place. I added a thin piece of metal under the base of the light as an additional support, just to make sure the light would sit between the base and lid (and not touch either). True to Alaska fashion, I used duct tape on the outside of the hole to keep cold air and water out. I placed it under my waterer and plugged it in. Viola!

Since making this heater and installing it, the temps have stayed above freezing. (Figures, eh?) But the tin is warm when turned on, and I think it will work nicely. It was easy (and inexpensive) to make. The girls don’t seem to be pecking the cord (I have the waterer close to a 4×4 post, to which the cord is attached). The cord comes with a nice on/off switch, though I am planning on plugging it into a thermocube, which will turn it on and off depending upon the temps.

So, we’re ready for the freezing temps now. Happy day!