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A Useful Can on the Farm

Read up on readers’ tips for reusing coffee cans, making a DIY car lumber rack, turning fabric scraps to quilts, watering with snow, and more.

| December 2019/January 2020

A Can for All Reasons

Growing up, I remember scooping goat feed from the barrel with a tall plastic container. We would often wash out these durable containers and use them all over the farm. Fast forward to our own homestead today, and we’re avid coffee drinkers. Some of you may know the feeling of waking up with the sun, taking your first sip of hot coffee, and then starting on your chores. But did you know those empty coffee cans can be used elsewhere?

First, I recommend saving both metal and plastic cans. Both are durable and can be used for different projects. Depending on what you’ll use them for, keep in mind that metal cans will eventually rust. Give each can a good washing after you’ve emptied it out, and make sure it’s dry before using. While the following uses are from my experience on our homestead, with a little ingenuity, you can find many other ways to repurpose these cans.

Photo by Fala Burnette

Feed. Over time, we’ve reduced our flock to just a handful of chickens and ducks. Considering we don’t go through as much feed, we use our cans to scoop feed and disperse it for our feathered friends. In the past, we’d always save the lid when carrying grain to our goats, because putting the lid back on helped make sure pellets didn’t spill everywhere when the goats nudged the can. For anyone who’s experienced mice chewing through their feed bags, these cans can keep small portions safe from nibbling. Plus, they’re great for transporting pet food when traveling.

Photo by Fala Burnette

Water. Since metal cans will quickly rust, plastic coffee cans are preferable for this use. Whether you’re carrying water to your plants on the porch, or refilling the chickens’ waterer, these are handy containers for getting the job done.

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