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

Country Lore

Readers Melanie Files and Rick Lowman made good use of this old Christmas tree pole to support peas in the garden.

Photo by Melanie Files and Rick Lowman

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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