Electrical Pest Deterrent, Improvised Air Circulator, Pig Tranquilizer, and More Country Lore

A pest deterrent for electrical switches, an improvised air circulator, and an improvised pig tranquilizer are a few of the ideas readers have come up with to solve problems at their homes and homesteads.

| November/December 1980

  • 066 pest deterrent
    Crushed mothballs rolled up inside a piece of toilet paper are an effective pest deterrent when placed inside electrical switches.
  • 066 mechanics stethescope
    A length of rubber hose can serve as a "mechanics stethoscope" when you're trying to locate the exact source of an engine problem.

  • 066 pest deterrent
  • 066 mechanics stethescope

ELECTRICAL PEST DETERRENT:  Mayhap the control unit on your freezer, one of your home's light switches, or the thermostat for the refrigerator started malfunctioning ... and for no clear reason? Austin, Texas's Eric Warren has found that ants and roaches — which like to nestle in such devices' warm crevices — will sometimes block the mechanisms' contacts or control levers. Eric's simple solution is first to clean the pests out, and then roll a few crushed mothballs inside a bit of toilet paper and tape that deterrent near the "workings" of the thermostat or switch.

Mr. Warren first used this insect-shooing ploy at a friend's home. Before long, so many other people were "bugging" him for similar assistance that he had to get the tip published in a local newspaper ... just to get some peace!

IMPROVISED AIR CIRCULATOR:  "I spent my first wood-heated winter perched on top of a stepladder to stay warm, and became all too aware of that age-old law of physics: Heat rises!" recalls Martha Olson of Knoxville, Tennessee. "I didn't want to buy a fancy (and expensive) air circulator to remedy the difficulty, so I decided to suspend an ordinary window fan — face down — from the ceiling. (All it took was four screw hooks, some sturdy string, and a bit of effort.) That device not only keeps me warm down at floor level, but — when I hang my wet clothes on coat hangers from the fan's frame — the machine functions as a super-efficient clothes dryer (and room humidifier) as well!"

PIG TRANQUILIZER: When Karen Nunan's farrowing sow started having serious delivery difficulties, the Middleboro, Massachusetts homesteader called for the help of a local veterinarian. But her stressed hog was so skittish and hard to handle that the doctor couldn't examine the animal. Karen grabbed a meat taster and squirted a jigger's worth of vodka down the pig's gullet ... and within minutes, the sow was calm enough to be assisted through its birthing crisis. The porker apparently had no harmful after effects, either. Not even a hangover!

STOVE SHINER: Carol Santovi of Carver, Minnesota knows an easy way to shine the top of a wood burning cook stove: Simply rub the (hot) surface all over with a crumpled-up sheet of wax paper and watch that newly paraffined cooking top sparkle once again!

LOG CUTTING METHOD: 'Tain't always easy to saw up a felled tree without cutting through to the ground. Donald Houlihan avoids such chain-dulling accidents by first sawing off all but one of the log's limbs. He then makes deep cuts (a "stovewood's length" apart) along the trunk ... taking care that his machine never gets too close to the earth. When that's done, the Pontiac, Michigan wood gatherer grabs the one limb left on the tree and uses that handy lever to roll the whole log over. Dave can then finish his round-making cuts safely and conveniently!

Tom Duchesneau_1
11/10/2007 11:52:57 AM

A dilute mixture of cider vinegar and water (50/50, preferably un-chlorinated water) applied to that day's sunburn, will cool the burn and prevent peeling.

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