Turn a Pickup Truck into a Pool, Relieve Lice on Chickens, and More Country Lore

Clean barbecue grills with ammonia and a trash bag, stake tomatoes with PVC pipe, prevent slugs with wire mesh, use a PVC pipe as a staff to hold fishing supplies, find tomato hornworms with UV light.

| July/August 1989


A pickup truck and a big blue tarp make a mobile pool to help kids to cool off in hot summer days.


Our clever readers make the most of those lazy, hazy days with these helpful, homespun tips.

Turn a Pickup Truck into a Pool 

My husband came up with an easy way to help our youngsters cool off on hot summer days. He bought a big blue tarp at the hardware store—one that's large enough to cover the floor and overlap the sides of our pickup truck's bed. He filled it with water, and now our kids have a pool with built-in seats (the wheel wells). We can empty it by just letting down the tailgate. As a bonus I can use the "tarpool" to give my sheep their twice-yearly footbath, loading them into the pickup before adding a few inches of water. I put in a measured amount of zinc and let the sheep stand in the solution for an hour.

—Tami Piccolo  
Estacada, Oregon 

Stake Tomatoes with PVC Pipe

We use two-inch-diameter PVC pipe to stake our tomatoes. We buy sections six or seven feet long, cut with a taper at the bottom so they can more easily be driven about a foot into the ground. Every fall we pull them out, wash them off and store them in a dry place, and we feel they'll last just about forever. Though we haven't tried it yet, we're considering placing a wide-mouthed funnel in the top of each pipe to direct additional rainwater to the roots.

 —Mack and Wanda Jones 
Bon Aqua, Tennessee  

Clean Barbecue Grills with Ammonia and a Plastic Bag

Whenever the rack on our barbecue grill gets crusted over, I just pop it into a large plastic trash bag (this all takes place outdoors), add a cup of ammonia and tie the bag tightly shut. A few shakes distributes the ammonia over the grill, and then I let it sit overnight. The next day I rip open the bag and spray the rack with the hose. It seldom needs any more cleaning than this. The process works just as well on my oven racks.

8/17/2007 9:47:51 AM

Can anyone give me advice about safe use of eggs after treating my backyard chickens with antibiotics? After a 10-day treatment period, I've discarded the eggs for 2 weeks. When is it safe to use them again?

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