Farming Advice: Winter Horseback Riding Tips, Tire Traction in the Snow and Canning Potatoes

Farming advice from MOTHER and her readers, including winter horseback riding tips, help with tire traction in the snow and a guide for canning potatoes.

| January/February 1978

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their farming advice, fun tips and country folklore, including winter horseback riding tips, tire traction in the snow and canning potatoes.

Lost your mittens already? Don't fret. For just a few pennies and a few minutes' time you can have more, says Helen O'Neal of Kansas City, Kansas.

Start with a shrunken, outmoded, or otherwise unwearable wool or cashmere sweater (the kind you can obtain very inexpensively at garage sales and thrift shops). Turn the garment wrong side out, lay it out on a flat surface, and lay your hands one at a time on the double thickness of material (right hand on the sweater's right side, left hand on the left side) so that the ribbed waistband will form the cuff of your mitten-to-be. (Allow plenty of length to go under your coat sleeves.) Trace around each hand with a pencil or pen.

Next, sew along the lines you've drawn. Then cut the mittens out of the sweater . . . about 1/4 inch beyond the stitching. To prevent unraveling, bind the scissored edge with a 3/4-inch-wide strip of nylon tricot that you've cut from an old slip or pair of undies. (Tricot makes a soft, thin binding that stretches and won't fray.) Turn the mitten right side out, and it's ready to wear!

For socks to match your new hand-warmers, sew the armhole (body) end of each sweater sleeve closed, in a curved shape. Cut and bind as you did the mittens, then turn 'em right side out. The ribbed sleeve cuffs are now the tops of your soft, moisture-resistant socks.

"I'd heard from someone that ordinary household bleach-when poured onto automobile tires-helps improve traction on snow packed roads," writes Ronald Geer of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. "So one snowy day I tried it . . . and it worked! I have no idea whether this practice produces any long-term harmful effects on the tires, but if you ever get stuck in a snowstorm on a return trip from the market . . . and you just happen to have bought a bottle of bleach . . . I can see no harm in helping yourself home by splashing some of the chemical on your tires."

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