From farming stock to lifestyle blocks

JJ McConnachie

JJ McConnachie writes for, and manages, The Rural. Other than being an advocate of sustainable living, home grown food and home cooked meals, JJ is also an avid reader, animal lover, and a self-confessed technology geek.

Author's Articles:

Backyard Chickens: A Guide for Beginners

If you are after a comprehensive guide to keeping chickens in your backyard (either in suburbia or on a larger block), then Michelle Templin’s Backyard Chickens: A Guide for Beginners is well worth picking up.

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Colic In Horses

Equine colic, if left untreated, can lead to the need for surgery for your horse.

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How to start a free-range egg business

Making a profit off your chicken’s eggs can be a viable option if your eggs are producing more than you can eat, but there is a bit more that goes into a from-home egg business that you might think.

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Managing your pasture & stock numbers

A year-long plan and guide to managing your pasture and stock numbers for small cattle and sheep farmers in New Zealand.

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Signs of Stress in Horses

Keep an eye out for signs of stress in your horse with our tips on what to look for.

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Understanding SPCA’s Blue Tick Scheme

The Rural caught up with Juliette Banks, National Accreditation & Marketing Manager, to chat about the RNZSPCA Blue Tick scheme.

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Will the phasing out of sow stalls compromise sow welfare?

New Zealand's long-term plan is to phase out sow stall use completely by 2015, but could this jeopardise sow safety?

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Brassica Downy Mildew

Downy mildew is a particularly virulent plant disease recognisable by yellow discolouration of the tops of the leaves, and a grey powdery coating on the underside. Learn how to prevent and treat it.

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Could a career in viticulture suit you?

The Rural chats with Glen L Creasy, Senior Lecturer in Viticulture at Lincoln University, to find out what it takes to have a career in Viticulture in New Zealand.

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How fast do tomatoes propagated from laterals grow?

A little while ago, I used a tomato lateral to propagate a new plant. Three weeks since I filmed potting up the small lateral, it has taken off with all the warm weather we've been having.

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How to propagate tomatoes from laterals

Find out how easy it is to to use tomato plant laterals to propagate a new tomato plant.

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How to turn your horticultural produce into a business

If the fruit and vegetables you are reaping from your lifestyle block is more than your family can eat and give away to friends, then turning excess produce into a side business could be a viable option.

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Interview: Allan Fong – The Fresh Grower

The Rural chats with The Fresh Grower who grows a boutique range of vegetables in Pukekohe Hill's rich volcanic soil.

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Is GM a failing technology?

A study by University of Canterbury researchers has shown that any advantages for the use of GM in seeds is not detectable, and GM use is failing to lower pesticide use in North America.

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This summers dry weather has produced a "sensational" vintage

While this summer's lengthy drought has caused issues for many, the dry season has delivered Brancott Estate a "sensational vintage for Marlborough."

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What to do if your tomato plant breaks

We had some strong wind about a month ago, and I came out to find one of my tomato plants, that was still small and had only just been put outside, snapped in half.

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Dry caving: Get out of your comfort zone

A review of The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company’s Black Odyssey Tour - a dry caving adventure in Waitomo.

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How to make a water filter in the bush

How to set up a water filtering system in the bush using a water bottle, and natural materials.

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Interview: LandSAR Search & Rescue Dogs

If you ever end up lost and in need of rescue, chances are one of LandSAR’s search and rescue dogs will aid in finding you. The Rural chats with LandSAR to find out about a day in the life of a search and rescue dog.

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A guide to firebreaks

Firebreaks are strips of land specifically designed to prevent fire from spreading. Learn about different types of firebreaks to discover what type may suit your property.

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Learn how to be a lifestyle farmer

Manawatu’s Country Living Expo is an expo dedicated to New Zealand’s lifestyle blockers and lifestyle farmers, and anyone considering becoming one, to help them discover everything they could possible want to know about owning a small block of land in New Zealand.

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Thinking about a career in Farm Management & Agribusiness?

The Rural chats with Lincoln University Farm Management & Agribusiness lecturer Guy Trafford to find out how studying Farm Management & Agribusiness might further your agricultural career.

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Wide benefits to off-road light diesel vehicle RUC exemptions

Owners of light diesel vehicles that are less than 3,500kg, and uses almost exclusively off-road for certain purposes will now be able to apply for an exemption for Road User Charges from June 6 2013.

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Are you really better off going solar?

A new study shows that the costs of solar energy may not outweigh the potential financial savings.

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Bacon & Feta Omelette Recipe

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Get a good start with classic bacon and eggs, in omelette form.

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BeeBio Bee Venom Face Masque Review

The Rural reviews BeeBio Venomenous: Bee Venom & Fruit Boost Anti-Aging Face Masque.

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Best Herbs to Dry

Herbs are going haywire in the sun? Why not trim them back and dry them for another time

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Big Ideas for Small Gardens

Do you have a small backyard, or a small part of your garden that you don’t know what to do with? Big Ideas for Small Gardens will help you make the most of your small space.

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Caesar Dressing Recipe

It is easy to make your own Caesar dressing - in fact it can be done in a few minutes! Learn how to make your own dressing for your next Caesar salad.

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Cat fight wounds and infections

How to prevent cat fights, and the resulting injuries, and what to do if your cat is injured.

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Cauliflower Fried Rice Recipe

An easy fried rice recipe that uses cauliflower instead of rice.

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Chicken & Bacon Caesar Salad Recipe

The combination of crisp cos lettuce, crunchy croutons, and creamy dressing make Caesar salads simply mouth-watering.

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Chicken Coriander Pasta Recipe

A simple chicken pasta recipe that utilises the distinctive flavour of coriander.

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Chicken Spaghetti Soup Recipe

A delicious homestyle chicken soup that is perfect for a cold day.

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Coriander Pesto Recipe

Learn how to make this delicious variation of pesto using coriander.

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December Vegetable & Herb Sowing Guide

Discover what vegetables and herbs to sow in December, based on whereabouts in New Zealand you live.

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Delcious Banana Cake Recipe

A gorgeous, moist banana cake recipe that is sure to be a family favourite.

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Deter snails and slugs naturally

Commercial slug & snail killers can be toxic. Read on for natural methods of preventing, trapping and deterring snails & slugs from eating the plants in your garden.

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DIY Bathroom Scum and Grime Cleaner

Making your own bathroom surface cleaner is easy, and best of all it contains products found in your pantry!

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Earthwise Product Review

Does being eco-friendly need to cost the earth? We look at some of Earthwise's range, and compare how well the products work, and their comparable cost to non-eco-friendly products.

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Easy Cheese Sauce Recipe

Get cheesy in a good way with this simple but delicious creamy cheese sauce recipe.

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Easy Tuna Bread Pies

This simple Tuna Pie recipe is a quick and easy family-friendly meal. You can mix it up by adding other ingredients like tomatoes, or by replacing tuna with chicken.

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Easy White Sauce Recipe

A white sauce is the base for many recipes including lasagne and fish pie. Master this and you’re halfway home.

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Fast Growing Vegetables (For Impatient Gardeners)

A list of vegetables that grow quickly for impatient gardeners.

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Freezing asparagus

Have a supply of home-grown asparagus all year round by freezing it using this method.

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Freezing beans to preserve them

Discover how to freeze the beans you grow in your garden for use all year round.

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Freezing broccoli or cauliflower

Freezing broccoli is a great way to have a solid supply of it all year round. It is best frozen freshly picked, but if you are not growing any, you can buy it from your local fruit & veggie store when it is in season and cheap, and freeze it to last you throughout the year.

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Freezing capsicum for preserving

Capsicum makes a great addition to stirfries, and is full of vitamin C. Freezing it is easy, and a great way to have it all year round.

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Freezing carrots to preserve them

If you have a large crop of carrots, you can freeze them to keep them for use all year round.

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Freezing peas to preserve them

Discover how to freeze the peas you grow in your garden for use all year round.

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Freezing sweet corn

Sweet corn can be frozen on or off the cob. Discover how to freeze sweetcorn from your garden to make the most of it all year round.

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Garlic Thyme Steak Marinade Recipe

Win friends and influence people at your next BBQ with this awesome marinade for steak.

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Grow spring onion in water

Next time you buy spring onion from the supermarket, don't throw the roots away. You can use them to grow a brand new spring onion!

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Growing tomatoes from seed to harvest

Discover how easy it is to grow tomatoes from seed, and fill your pantry with this delicious, versatile fruit.

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Harvesting Rainwater for Your Garden

It falls from the sky, there's lots of it and its free. Think about using rainwater for your plants and vegetables.

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Heyrex: Round the clock pet care

If you are a believer in the old saying, “a dog is man’s best friend” then technology that could potentially save your dogs life, before you know your pooch is even in danger, is something that most dog lovers would at least consider.

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Homemade Mayo Recipe

Mayonnaise is actually very easy to make at home, and the best part is that you can season it to your own taste.

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Homestyle Beef Stew

A hearty winter stew recipe to keep you warm during the cold months.

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How to chicken train your dog

If you keep chickens, and have a dog, the last thing you want is your dog to kill one of your chooks. It can and does happen, but here are three methods for chicken training your dog to stop or prevent it.

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How to chop an onion without crying

If you are a crier when it comes to chopping onions, here are a few techniques to help prevent the flow of tears.

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How to clean your microwave, naturally

Learn how to clean your microwave without any chemicals or store-bought cleaners.

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How To Compost

Households that compost reduce New Zealand’s landfill waste and get great fertiliser for their garden.

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How to Conserve Water

A plethora of simple, common-sense tips that you can use to save water starting tomorrow.

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How To Dry Herbs

Instead of throwing away those herb prunings, why not try your hand at drying your own.

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How to harvest coriander seeds

Discover how to harvest coriander seeds for planting or culinary purposes.

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How to make a milk bottle flower planter

I love experimenting with different household items to upcycle them into planters. Turning a two litre plastic milk bottle into a planter is very simple, and is a fantastic family project.

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How to make croutons

Croutons are delicious, crunchy addition to soups and salads. You can buy them pre-made, but when they are this quick and easy to make yourself, why would you?

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How to Make Homemade Fresh Egg Pasta

Homemade pasta requires very few ingredients, but does need a little effort, particularly if you are making it without a pasta machine. The taste, and the satisfaction of doing it yourself however is well worth it!

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How to make your own laundry detergent

Save money and become more eco-friendly with these simple DIY laundry powder and liquid laundry detergent recipes.

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How to reduce plastic waste in your home

Plastic is one of the worlds largest pollutants. Learn how to reduce and upcycle plastic to reduce plastic waste in your home.

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How to rice cauliflower

How to make cauliflower rice, a healthy alternative to rice.

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How to test your soil's pH at home

Find out if your soil's pH is too acidic or too alkaline, and discover what you can do to fix it.

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How to train your puppy

Tips and tricks for training your new puppy.

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Interview: Jody Direen

The Rural chats with New Zealand country musician, Jody Direen, who is bringing sexy back to country music in her homeland with the new single - ‘Tattoo’.

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Is Chicken Manure Bad For Dogs?

Chicken manure contains bacteria that can infect your dog. Find out how to keep pets healthy around the poop.

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Ken Ring's 2014 Weather Prediction

Discover what weather to expect next year with Ken Ring's 2014 long range weather forecast.

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Ken Ring's 2015 Weather Prediction

Discover what weather to expect next year with Ken Ring's 2015 long range weather forecast.

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Labour Weekend Gardening Tips

Labour weekend is fast approaching, and since it is the perfect time to start planting out for summer vegetables, its time to start planning too.

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Lemon Chicken Salad Recipe

A gorgeous chicken salad that uses a lemon marinade to give the chicken its zing. Powerful flavour, without the carbs!

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Make your own biodegradable seed pots

Find out about biodegradable seed pots, and how to make them yourself.

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Make your own sugar facial scrub

Sugar may not be so good for the waistline, but can have fantastic benefits for your skin when used externally. Learn how to make your own facial scrub using sugar as the base.

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Mediterranean Lamb Chops Recipe

Give the humble lamb chop a bit of a shoosh. Try this lamb dish imported straight from the sunny Med.

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Natural Flea Treatment

Chemical flea treatments are readily available but they are harsh. We look at some natural flea treatments and flea prevention concoctions.

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New Zealand Brassica Planting Calendar

Discover when to plant brassicas, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and turnips in New Zealand. Includes cool and warm region guides.

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Oasis Sun SPF30+ Review

The Rural review's Oasis Beauty's Oasis Sun SPF30+, a non-greasy face and body sunscreen.

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Red Wine Lamb and Potato Casserole

A hearty casserole recipe that's full of flavour.

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Review Self-Sufficiency: Herbs and Spices by Linda Gray

A review of Linda Gray's "Self Sufficiency: Herbs and Spices".

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Review: New Zealand's Wild Places by Craig Potton

A review of New Zealand's Wild Places by Craig Potton, a gorgeous photography showcase of New Zealand's landscapes.

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Review: Pie: 80+ Pies and Pastry Delights

A review of Pie: 80+ Pies and Pastry Delights, by Dean Brettschneider.

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Review: Self:Sufficiency: Grow Your Own by Ian Cooke

The Rural reviews Ian Cooke's Self:Sufficiency: Grow Your Own.

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Sautéed Mushrooms Recipe

Grab some mushies, herbs and a frying pan and go for it. They'll be some wine left over too.

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Saving melon seeds for re-planting

It’s easy to save your own melon seeds for planting in your garden. Learn how to do so here.

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Stuffed flounder spinach rolls recipe

Flounder stuffed with spinach and feta are divine, but best of all, this recipe is simple enough for anyone to try.

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Sue’s Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe

My mother-in-law makes this pie for me every time we visit, and I can vouch for exactly how delicious this pie is… It is so good that you’ll go back for seconds! It is lovely served hot or cold.

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Sunday Beef and Vegetable Roast Recipe

Bring back the Sunday roast with this succulent beef and vegetable roast recipe.

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Sweet: Treats to Share Review

A review of Sweet: Treats to Share, which includes recipes from New Zealand's best-loved bakers.

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Ten alternative uses for toothpaste

From pimple cream to a defogger, here are ten uses for toothpaste that aren't for cleaning your teeth.

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Ten Tips for Saving Energy at Home

Energy prices are rising fast. Save energy and money at home with these common sense tips.

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Thai Chicken Satay Recipe

This Thai Chicken Satay is easy and delicious - perfect for the family!

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The best vegetables to freeze

Some vegetables freeze very well, and veggies that are ripe, and freshly harvested are the best to freeze. Freezing them is quick, easy, and give you that garden-fresh taste all year round.

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Tips for buying a rural property

Buying a rural property is something that requires different considerations to buying a city property. Make sure you do your research thoroughly, and consider these tips.

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Tips for panfrying fish

Panfried fish is delicious when done well, and with the right type of fish. Learn the tips & tricks to the perfect panfried fish.

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Toilet training your puppy

Toilet training puppies can be a frustrating process. Learn how to toilet train your puppy indoors and outdoors.

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Tomato Lentil Soup Recipe

Keep the family cosy this winter with this hearty tomato and lentil soup.

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Treating hayfever naturally

Natural ways of relieving, preventing, and treating hayfever this spring.

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Tuna Fish Pie Recipe

Nothing beats the winter blues (or any other blues) like a hearty fish pie.

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Types of Treehouses

Four different treehouse designs to consider when building a treehouse.

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Upcycling Planter Ideas

Inspiration and ideas for creating your own upcycled planter box.

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Using egg shells as seedling pots

Next time you cook up a batch of scrambled eggs, don't throw the eggshells away. Save them to use as seedling planters!

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What is a Bouquet Garni?

Learn the secret of tasty soups, stews and casseroles. Its what you put in – then take out that counts.

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What’s in your body products? A look at Cocamide DEA

The Center for Environmental Health has independently tested body products, and found a carcinogenic ingredient. Discover what Cocamide DEA is, what it looks like on your bottle, and how you can avoid using it.

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Where to buy borax in New Zealand

A list of stores in New Zealand that stock borax - From Northland to Southland.

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