Handy Tips for Homesteaders: Mailing Cake, Keep Horses from Chewing Wood, Bathing Gloves and More

MOTHER readers send their most helpful tips for saving water, keeping horses from chewing wooden fences, mailing a cake safely, getting rid of skunk smell, using tires to hold mulch and staking tomato plants.


| August/September 1995



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Attach chicken wire to your wooden fence to discourage horses from chewing.


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

Bathing Gloves Save Water

Growing up in California, I learned at an early age that water is precious. The first time I slept over at a friend's house, her mother asked me why I used a cup of water to brush my teeth. With the innocence of a seven-year-old, I asked her why she didn't. Water prudence is as natural to me as breathing. Beyond installing aerators on all my faucets, constantly prowling for dreaded leaks, and using low-flow toilets, I found a relatively inexpensive and effective aid: bathing gloves. These gloves are similar in purpose to loofah sponges but they don't mildew. I now buy less soap and spend less time in the shower, with no sacrifice of cleanliness. I have found these gloves in several different national stores, and have included them in gift baskets for family and friends.

-Kate Christiansen
Norman, OK
 

Canning Cakes

My son was away in the service on his nineteenth birthday, but I sent him a card, a present, and a birthday cake. I had heard of mailing cakes to servicemen that arrive all in crumbs, but I devised this method which should be useful to anyone who wants to mail a homemade cake.

The solution is to bake your cake in cans. One-pound coffee cans with snap-top plastic lids are perfect. Actually, any reasonably sized can with a nice snap-top lid is great. Make sure you line the can with waxed paper or aluminum foil, and pour the batter in to about % level before baking it in the usual way. Select a solid type of cake such as a date cake, applesauce pound cake, etc. After the cake is baked, allow it to cool thoroughly before putting on the lid (which helps prevent "sweating" and sogginess), then decorate the outside of the can with gift wrap paper or colorful scraps of wallpaper. Wrap the whole thing in clear plastic tied at the top with a ribbon. Pack it in a box and send it. 1t will arrive safe in one piece and, hopefully, delicious. But that part is up to you.

-Kay Haugaard
Pasadena, CA
 

Keep Your Horses from Chewing Fences

Many horses chew on wooden fences, especially if they are confined in a small area. Horses that grow up in large pastures and have room to roam are not as apt to develop the wood-chewing habit. But almost every horse that starts life in a small pen or pasture, corral, or stall will chew wood, primarily because of boredom. Some horses are such "beavers" that they can ruin a good fence in a very short time.





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