Farming Advice: Extend the Life of a Christmas Tree, Beef Chili Recipe and a Painting Primer

Farming advice from MOTHER and her readers, including how to recycle and extend the life of a Christmas tree, a winter warmer beef chili recipe and a painting primer to ease cleaning after painting.

| December/January 1997

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    Diagram 1 and 2: Extending the life of socks takes only a few minutes of your time, a pair of scissors, and a sewing machine or needle and thread.
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    F.R. Jespersen's automatic coop door opener.

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MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their farming advice, fun tips and country folklore, including how to recycle and extend the life of a Christmas tree, a beef chili recipe for cold winter evenings and a painting primer to help make clean up a breeze. 

How to Recycle and Extend the Life of a Christmas Tree

While driving through town on a blustery New Year's Day, I saw dozens of discarded Christmas trees blowing around like tumbleweeds on the snow. Why not recycle our cut Christmas trees? With a little imagination we can extend their usable life. Here are just a few ways we can reuse them:

As a deluxe bird feeder

After removing decorations, bring the tree outside. Either leave it in the stand or stick the base through the snow and into the ground. Decorate the branches with seed balls, suet, popcorn and cranberry strings, and apple or orange slices. Smear peanut butter on the branches. This can be great fun for the whole family, and the birds will love it.

As a habitat for wildlife

Put the tree near your bird feeder for wind protection and for cover from predators. Rabbits also benefit from a brushy shelter. If you have a fish pond, you could use your tree as a fish shelter. With nylon rope, attach a cement block to the tree for weight. When the pond is well frozen over, select a site and leave the tree on the ice. In the spring, the tree will sink and provide fish with a safe refuge and ideal feeding conditions.

As erosion control

Christmas trees have been used extensively for beach erosion control, and they can also be used to slow erosion in ravines. If you have a gorge where water carries away precious soil, use a stake to attach your tree in the water's path. The tree will trap soil and organic debris.

As a creative project

Make sachets and potpourris from aromatic needles and branch tips. Balsam needles are the longest lasting. The tree's trunk can be made into candlesticks, bird feeders, birdhouses, or decorative reindeer for next year's celebration.

6/14/2007 7:47:47 PM

Could you please forward me Mr. Jesperson's (sp) plans for his automatic chicken coop opener? It is not included in the article I referenced. Thank you very much


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