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Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6" L-shaped Bench by Ernie and Erica
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Screening open-air kitchen to keep out mice, mosquitoes, ravens

 
Posts: 30
Location: California, Redwood forest valley, 8mi from ocean, elev 1500ft, zone 9a
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We are building an "open-air" kitchen.  The back wall of the kitchen is a strawbale/cob pantry.  The front and sides are a timber frame with counter-height cob walls.  It's almost finished.  It's got a solid concrete foundation and solid, hardened earth floor, and metal roof.  I think the floor and walls can be counted on as being mouse proof.

In the gap between the low walls and the roof, I'd estimate there's around 200sqft of opening that we'll need to cover with something.  We ideally want this kitchen to be mouse/mosquito proof and to discourage ravens and black bears.  I realize that's asking a lot and I am dubious about whether we can have everything we want.

Our current outdoor kitchen has always had mice.  I keep all food in mouse-proof containers, all dishes and jars in sealed bins, etc.  Anything exposed tends to get mouse poop on it.  Eliminating food sources really isn't an option, even without our food there are acorns everywhere so mice only really need a nice place to nest. We do have cats but they don't keep up.

Mouse-proof is the top priority.

The only material I've used in the past for mouse proofing was 1/4" or 1/8" hardware cloth.  Is there any lighter material that could keep out mice?  The mice here are small, they're not rats.

I know hardware cloth won't work for mosquitoes.  We may need to do a combo of mosquito net and something tougher, which is unfortunate as it would be even harder to see through.  Maybe we really ought to go with big glass windows in the end.

What is your experience with open-air or outdoor kitchens and keeping out mice/mosquitoes?  Any recommendations?
 
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We are in the process of enclosing our back deck .... although we have used our outdoor kitchen for several years.   We have made a good deal of use of hardware cloth and screening.  In any case, in my experience , mice are an ongoing reality. I have a Master Mouser and a trainee.  Even so, traps are needed. Ours is a 3 season kitchen.
 
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Can you make removable screens with a suitable mesh.
 
Philip McGarvey
Posts: 30
Location: California, Redwood forest valley, 8mi from ocean, elev 1500ft, zone 9a
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We are thinking of having some removable portions of it, basically by making a wood frame with screen in it that is removable.  However since it's a round pole timber frame, the seams with the poles can't easily be made removable.
 
John C Daley
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Add material to allow you to have an edge that a screen can fit into.
Think differently about the matter
 
Philip McGarvey
Posts: 30
Location: California, Redwood forest valley, 8mi from ocean, elev 1500ft, zone 9a
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We got some aluminum insect/rodent screen, .011" and 16x18 strands per square inch spacing.  We're going to try to use this, stapling it to the round poles, and see if it will indeed keep out mice.
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Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6" L-shaped Bench by Ernie and Erica
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