Reader Tips: DIY Oven Cleaner; Chicken Roosting Poles; Woodchuck Repellent; Mushroom Bullets; Christmas Tree Pea Pole

In these 5 DIY, reader-submitted tips from our County Lore department, you’ll learn how to whip up a nontoxic oven cleaner, a quick fix to woodchucks in the garden, and more!

| October/November 2016

Thanks to our readers for sharing these creative tips! To submit your own tip to our Country Lore department, email

DIY Oven Cleaner

I’m a really messy cook. I have a tendency to slop grease, oil, water, and seasonings all over the inside of my oven. The worst part is that the next time I use my oven, my entire kitchen fills with smoke. It’s a mad dash to open the windows and doors so we can breathe again! Because I don’t want to clean my oven with harsh chemical cleaners, I came up with a method of my own that also works on my glass-top stove.

1. Mix 2 tablespoons baking soda, 10 drops citrus essential oil, and water in a glass spray bottle. Shake vigorously.
2. Spray mixture on burnt food and grease stains. Let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Scrub until you loosen the baked-on material, and wipe away with a damp rag.

Use this mixture to clean your entire home — I love the scent of the essential oils!

Rebecca Moore
Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania

High-Hanging Chicken Roosting Poles

We use joist hangers to support our 2-by-4 roosting poles in our chicken coop. When it’s time to clean the coop, I simply lift out the 2-by-4s and am then able to scoop below the roosts without banging my head. The chickens seem happy that every roost bar is at the same level — no one is “low chick” on the totem pole.

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