Learn to Grow Sprouts, Make Your Own Curtains and Other Homesteading Tips

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers send in their homesteading tips to share.

| January/February 1977

  • Homestead
    Put these unique pieces of reader advice to work around your home.

  • Homestead

Here's another fine batch of homesteading tips and hints from down-to-earth readers all over MOTHER EARTH NEWS land.

Reader's Tips

Connie Kerr-Laughlin of Edinboro, PennsylvaniaCountry nights are quiet (between the calls of the owl) unless you have one of those old slat-type beds that creaks every time a sleeper changes position. "But you can silence those complaining boards," says Connie. "Remove the slats, wrap both ends of each one in newspapers, and replace the boards. Peace at last!" 

Patricia Lynch of Woodinville, WashingtonSetting posts in concrete will help fence posts will stay put a lot longer (especially in damp areas). But there's a wrong and a right way to do the job. If you just pour the mix into a hole and then push the post down into it, you'll create a “vase" that holds water. And sooner or later, that water will cause the post to rot or rust off. Patricia had a better idea: "Dig the hole, throw in a few inches of pebbles or crushed stone for drainage, and 'plant' the post. Then pour the concrete around the upright. Any water that seeps down between this post and its concrete will harmlessly drain away."

Mrs. Melvin Frederick of Durango, Iowa — suggests putting a large handful of baking soda into the water you use for scalding fowl of any kind: "You'll find that it makes it easier to do a quick, clean job of de-feathering the birds."

Evelyn Stewart of Milford, New Jersey — It can be tricky to grow sprouts at home. Bean, alfalfa, wheat, and other sprouts take over for many of us where garden vegetables leave off. And, since sprouting seeds need both warmth and darkness, it's only natural to cultivate them in the cupboard where they're easily forgotten. "That°s why I just invert a paper bag over my jar of sprouts and leave them right out on the kitchen counter," says Evelyn. "The sack keeps the shoots as warm and as dark as they need to be...yet lets me grow them next to the sink so that I never forget to rinse the developing crop regularly."

Sister Anthony Ames of Erie, Pennsylvania — If you make up your own chicken feed and need a source of protein, ask your butcher for the "meatsaw dust" that accumulates daily as he cuts steaks and roasts. Sister Anthony Ames reports that her biddies thrive on the fine scraps of bone and meat (which, of course, may be frozen whenever you collect a surplus that you want to feed to your flock later). And if your butcher won't give you the dust free, offer to trade a few eggs or some garden vegetables for it.

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