Farming Advice and Folklore: Coffee Filter Drainage, New Fruit Stems, and Managing Manure

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their farming advice, fun tips and country folklore. This issue Cliff Truman shares how to make a device that eliminates stooping while sowing; Kenn Roman uses coffee filters when transplanting; W. Gorka ties fruit trees into an arc to ensure growth; Clinton Youts runs over fertilizer with his tiller; Maragret Kucharek shares syrup-making advice; Grace Haddad stores winter clothes in a water; and moth-proof plastic garbage can; Pamela Colberg tacks twine to roof leaks to stop the noise.

MOTHER’s Country Farming Advice and Folklore

Stooper Stopper

When planting time came around last year, wife Frances said
to me, “Clif, can’t you rig me up something so I won’t have
to be stooping all the time?” So I picked up a 3-1/2-foot
length of 1-inch tubing that was lying around, cut a
half-gallon plastic milk jug in half, and then wedged the
spout end of the carton down into the tube and secured it
with electrical tape. It’s no big deal, but Frances says it
works just dandy: faster sowing, better seed spacing, and
best of all — no stooping! — Clif E. Truman,
Haltom City, Texas

Drip-Grind Ground

When it came time to transplant 500 aloe vera plants I was
selling, I was faced with the problem of plugging the four
holes in each of the one-gallon pots the plants were being
moved to: I wanted to insure good drainage while losing as
little soil as possible. My solution? A generic brand of
coffee filters! — Kenn Roman, Phoenix,

Deep Tree Bends

I was proud when I first planted my fruit trees. Every time
I passed them on my way to putting out the garbage, I got a
special feeling. Then several years passed without a single
one bearing fruit, and a new feeling started to come over
me: a murderous, ax-wielding kind of feeling. Luckily, I
heard of this trick just in time. Early in the spring (as
soon as it’s warm enough for your fingers to tie string),
bend a young branch of each tree into an arc and tie it
down. Then just leave it be until the following spring,
when you’ll cut the string. In the meantime, new fruit
stems should have developed all along the bent branch.
Believe me, it works — it saved my fruit trees and my
sanity! — W. Gorka, Hamtramck, Michigan

Managing Manure

We go to a neighbor’s barnyard every spring and get old
manure for our garden plot. Last year I got tired of
struggling with the hard-packed fertilizer and ended up
running my tiller over it at about half-throttle. This farming advice really
made a difference! Chopped up fine, the manure was much
easier to dig up and load. — Clinton Youts,
Center, Colorado

It’s No Yolk!

Since moving onto our homestead six years ago, we’ve
gleaned many helpful hints from the pages of MOTHER. So we
thought we’d reciprocate with this bit of country lore for
maple syrup makers. Once the syrup reaches about 220 degrees Fahrenheit
and is almost finished, break an egg into the bubbling sap
and let it boil for a few minutes. When you remove the egg,
a lot of the impurities will come out with it, and you
won’t have to strain the syrup as much.
Margaret Kucharek, Grayling, Michigan

Can It

With warm weather just around the corner, it’ll soon be
time to put away your sweaters, mittens, and other woolens.
I’ve found that a new plastic garbage can makes a great
“storage chest” for such items. Find one with a
tight-fitting lid, and your clothes will be dry and
mothproof. — Grace Haddad, North Royalton,

Drop in the Bucket

I was trying to sleep through a torrential rainstorm one
night, when my roof sprang a leak. Well, the rhythmic pings
of the drops hitting the pan I stuck under the drip didn’t
do much for my attempts to doze off, and I hated to think
about what the water splashing out of the pan was doing to
my wooden floor. Then I hit on an emergency solution: I cut
a piece of twine as long as my ceiling was high and
thumbtacked one end to the spot where the drops were
forming. I placed the other end in the pan and, to and
behold, no more racket! It was only a temporary fix, but it
got me a good night’s sleep. — Pamela Cobberg,
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Through the years we’ve all probably discovered a few
practical, down-home, time-tested solutions to the
frustrating little problems of everyday life. Why not share
your best “horse sense” with the rest of the MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers?
Send your suggestions to Country Lore, THE MOTHER EARTH
NEWS, Hendersonville, NC. A one year
subscription — or a one year extension of an existing
will be sent to each
contributor whose tip is printed in this column. —

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