A three-foot long strap is the best way to keep weeds down.
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Having trouble with items falling from your heaping-full
wheelbarrow? If so, you'll want to try an idea that my
father, Cledit Nelson of Frazee, Minnesota, had. One day
Dad was pulling thistles in a field, and it didn't take him
long to get a bulk load on his wheelbarrow. The plants
weren't heavy, so he wanted to haul as many as possible to
save trips to the compost pile, but many of the weeds kept
It occurred to him that he could use a common black rubber
"tie-down" strap with metal-hook ends—the type
normally used for tarps, boat covers, and so on. He hooked
a strap end to one side of the wheelbarrow, brought the
strap over the load's center, and hooked it to the other
side. His hefty thistle load stayed in place, and required
just one strap.
A tie-down of about three-feet long might do, but it
depends on the wheelbarrow's width and the strap's
elasticity. On many wheelbarrows the strap's hooks will
easily catch, but on others you might need to drill holes,
centering one on each side of the 'barrow to accommodate
Also, some materials, like dry leaves, are more difficult
to haul. To keep most of the leaves in place, place a tree
branch or two over the leaves before you strap it down.
When not in use, hook the strap onto the wheelbarrow
handles for easy access.
Uncorking the Carrot
Have you ever gone to pull a carrot from your garden and
had the top break right off? Who wants to dig up the rest
of the carrot once that happens? Well, I have found a way
to make it easy: use a cork screw. Screw it in through the
part that is left in the ground and then yank. We even have
a corkscrew in which the "T" handle comes off. First we
screw in the center portion (this is easier because there's
no handle to get tangled in the greens), then we attach the
handle, and pull it right out.
A Muddy Finish
I recently built a badly needed cabinet in my kitchen. It
is 4' wide, 16" deep, and about ceiling height. In the
interest of economy, I used waferboard for the doors. What
a mistake that was! The waferboard's rough texture looked
awful, even after applying several coats of paint. Then I
came up with an idea: I applied a thin coat of mud
(sheet-rock compound) to the face of the door using a
six-inch mud knife. The result was a perfectly smooth
cabinet that matched the texture of the sheet-rock walls of
the kitchen. It looks great.
—James R. Brunner
Las Cruces, New Mexico
A Healthy Slug Remedy
You've all heard of using salt to kill slugs. Well, I place
a handful of bran every eight or 10 feet along walks and
garden paths. Slugs will collect on these little heaps of
bran and you can sweep them up come morning.
Hold 'em at Needlepoint
I heard some unwelcome buzzing near my kitchen windows the
other day and realized there were insects outside who
either wanted to come in or build a nest way too close for
comfort. Since there was a tiny hole in one of my screens,
I decided to stop these unwanted guests from entering with
a plastic needlepoint canvas from my sewing basket. I laced
the canvas right onto the screen with dental floss (you can
also use fishing line). This made a durable blockade, and
because of the holes in the canvas, it allowed for plenty
of air circulation as well.
—Dee L. Getchell
East Lyme, Connecticut
Who Needs Mud Pies Anyway?
It may be time to get rid of sandboxes. Many kids,
particularly toddlers, accidentally get sand in their eyes
and mouths. So I filled a sandbox with 25 pounds of
birdseed for my two-year-old daughter. Now my husband and I
don't have to worry about injuries and it's easy to sweep
up when she tracks it in the house. As with sand, children
can't resist pouring the box contents on the grass or
sidewalk—a wonderful way to feed birds.