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Catch Roaches with Beer, Keep Mice Out with Steel Wool, Demolish Boulders with Fire and Water, and More Country Lore

Make removing ice from a windshield easier with an onion, keep a candle in the car for emergency heat, remove oil spots from the garage floor with cat litter, remove broken bolts with a nail and drill, restore luster to wood floors with tung oil and mineral spirits, and other handy household tips from MOTHER readers.

| January/February 1990

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    PTO shafts suffer more wear when not in use than they ever do while working. A little care will dramatically extend their useful lives.

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Most power take-off (PTO) drive shafts are left lying in the mud when the tractor or other such PTO-equipped machine is not in use. This causes rust and corrosion, which is totally unnecessary, since a simple support can be made for the shaft with a length of lightweight chain fastened to the frame with S hooks, as shown in the accompanying photo.
Hugh F. Williamson
Tucson, Arizona

Workshop Tips: Make Electrician's Tape Stick in Cold Weather

1) Electrician's tape will adhere better in cold weather if you hold the roll near a turned-on light bulb until the tape is slightly warm.
2) When you need to start a small nail in a hard-to-reach spot, roll up a little ball of putty, stick it where you want to drive the nail, and insert the point of the nail in the putty. (The same trick will hold a screw to the tip of a screwdriver!)
3) Recycle an old telephone directory to your workbench, and tear off a page or two when you need a clean surface on which to paint, glue, or grease, etc.; then just throw the soiled paper away.
4) Wipe your steel measuring tape occasionally with paste wax; the tape will pull out and recoil more easily, and the wax protects the painted calibration marks.
Thomas LaMance
Prewitt, New Mexico

Trap Cockroaches with Beer

We're troubled by roaches here in the South, and I've found an effective, economical, and environmentally safe way to deal with them. I coat the top inch of a glass jar with vegetable oil and pour in three or four ounces of beer. I place this trap in one of those places where roaches love to hide, and I forget about it for two or three days. By this time I'll have a jarful of roaches; once attracted to the beer bait, they fall in and can't get back out over the oily barrier. I just put the lid on the jar, throw the whole thing out, and start over with another jar. This method sure beats smelly sprays and poisons.
Len Crainer
Marrero, Louisiana

Scorch-Free Milk

When cooking with milk, put a little water in the pan first, heat it to a boil, and then add the milk. This keeps the milk from burning or sticking to the pan.
Danny Grantom
Lansing, Kansas

Break Up Boulders

When excavating for the foundation of my new home, I was stopped by several huge boulders protruding in the path of the dozer. I couldn't budge them, and after breaking a tooth off the bucket, I started going over alternatives. I wasn't willing to blast with explosives or use a jackhammer, so I used my head instead. I dug a little ditch all around each boulder, just deep enough to hold small chunks of firewood and broken-up dead branches. I started this burning, and to make a really hot fire, I added a thick layer of charcoal briquettes. After the rocks had heated for about five hours, several buckets of cold water dumped over the top of each one cracked them so completely that it took just a few blows with a sledgehammer to crumble away the remaining unwanted portions.
Walter Korab
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Clean a Wood Stove Glass Door with Oven Cleaner

One of the nicest features of our new wood stove was its glass door that let us watch the changing patterns of the fire. Soon, however, our view was obscured by creosote and soot. Glass cleaner was of little help, but we found that oven cleaner worked quickly and easily. It's so enjoyable to relax and watch the flames on a cold winter's night.
Rebekah Kos
Aumsville, Oregon

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