Handy Winter Homesteading Tips

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Homesteading in the winter can be made easier with these helpful hints.
  • Here is an easy tip for how to fix frozen pipes: frozen pipes can sometimes be thawed with a vacuum cleaner. Simply use the appliance to blow air on the frigid pipe (or section of wall containing the pipe). The heat generated by the machine’s motor will be enough to melt the frozen water.
  • A rubber eraser dipped in emery powder makes a great tool for cleaning rust off metal surfaces.
  • There’s an easy way to prevent frost and condensation from forming in your car’s or truck’s gas tank: Just keep that tank full of fuel. If no air is allowed in the tank, no “dew” will form inside it…and your vehicle won’t stall due to water in the gas.
  • Keep a few milk cartons filled with dry sand in your car’s trunk…they’ll help you get “unstuck” if you lose traction on an icy or snowy road.
  • Before you begin work on oily machinery, scrape your fingernails across the top of a bar of soap. That way, you’ll have clean nails before and after you finish the job.
  • If rats are a problem, put out a mixture of flour and cement along with a bowl of water. The rodents will eat the powder, become thirsty, drink the water, and–ultimately–die.
  • A couple of tin cans in the middle of the fireplace will absorb heat and radiate a surprising amount into the room. (The cans will need to be replaced every three or four days.)
  • Experts say that a temperature between 140-and-160 degrees Fahrenheit is best for scalding a chicken before picking. If you test the water with a dairy thermometer and maintain it in this range while doing the job, you’ll find the work much easier — and the results far more satisfactory — than when using water that’s either hotter or colder.
  • You’ll find it easier to start wood screws if you first punch holes for them with an ice pick.
  • Can’t get that jar of pickles (or mustard, or whatever) open? Try this: Strike the container’s lid several times around its circumference with a rolling pin (or the dull edge of a stout knife). The jar should open easily … but if it doesn’t, tip it upside down and smack the lid firmly against a hard surface. Now even a child should be able to uncap the stubborn container.
  • Many folks who’ve tried it know that ordinary cornmeal is a wonderful skin cleanser. For a morning or afternoon pick-me-up, try this: Lather your hands with mild soap, sprinkle some coarse meal into the suds, and gently scrub your face and neck with the combination. The slightly abrasive action will remove dead skin tissue, clean the pores, and leave the skin fresh and revitalized.
  • Believe it or not, there’s an easy way to keep your bathroom mirror from fogging up in the morning. Just scribble an “X” on the dry glass with a bar of soap before you take your bath or shower, then rub the “X” with a towel until it disappears. The thin layer of soap left on the mirror’s surface will prevent condensation for the next four or five days.
  • If your red cabbage turns purple or blue while it’s cooking, add a small amount of vinegar to the cooking water and the vegetable will turn red again.
  • Oddly enough, a tiny bit of salt sprinkled on a sour grapefruit has the effect of making the fruit taste sweeter.
  • Need whipped cream, but don’t have any? You can make a satisfactory dessert topping simply by whipping an egg white until stiff, then beating a mashed banana (and sugar, if desired) into it.