Farming Advice: Cement Block Shelves, Lengthening Jeans and Treadle Sewing Belts

Farming advice from MOTHER and her readers, including how to build cement block shelves, how to lengthen shrunken jeans and fixing treadle sewing belts.

| November/December 1977

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their farming advice, fun tips and country folklore, including cement block shelves, lengthening jeans and fixing treadle sewing belts.

Farming Advice

Sometimes it's hard to find storage space for all those canned goods you put up for the winter, but June Egland of Nekoosa, Wisconsin knows a way to create temporary shelves that work very well.

"My husband came up with this idea," June writes. "You just lay several ordinary cement blocks flat and add planks as shown in the sketch."

The shelves are easy to assemble and can be stacked to any height, and the space between planks nicely accommodates either quart- or pint-sized bottles (leaving the top shelves for larger jars). Best of all, this storage arrangement can be permanent . . . or can be easily dismantled for relocation or when no longer needed.

If you're saving odds and ends of fat until you've accumulated enough to make soap, take a tip from William Welch of Portland, Oregon: Cover the stored grease with a weak solution of lye. That way it won't turn moldy or rancid before you have a chance to use it.

When Joy Blanchard of Silver Springs, Nevada prepares dried beans, she adds one teaspoon of ground ginger to the cooking water for each pound of the beans. The spice affects flavor very little, and works better than baking soda to counteract the well-known gas-generating tendency of legumes, Joy says.

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