Tidbits from MOTHER EARTH NEWS: Prepare for Winter, Make Shortnin’ Bread and More

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The better your home's insulation, the lower your fuel costs will be.
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Rake leaves quickly and easily by using a tarp.
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Mommy's little baby loves short'nin' bread!

Here are a few of THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS® syndicated
features which have appeared in 100+ newspapers over the
past three and a half years.

Tips for Raking Leaves

Right now, Mother Nature is providing the wise gardener
with all the good compost and soil building materials he
could ask for . . . free for the gathering!

Raking leaves is an old autumn ritual that involves the
whole family. And one of the easiest ways to haul those
leaves to the compost pile is with a goodly section of
recycled canvas or worn out bed sheet.

Clear an area the size of your tarp and spread the canvas
out flat. Then simply rake the surrounding leaves onto the
sheet, pile them in its center, fold over each comer to
trap the heap and tote it to the compost bin. For best
results shred the leaves before adding them to the pile.

Get Your Home Ready for Winter

Government and energy industry spokesmen are predicting
severe fuel shortages in some areas of the U.S. and Canada
during the coming frigid weather. If you haven’t already
done so, then, this is definitely the time to “batten down
the hatches” for winter.

A special committee for the Office of Consumer Affairs has
reported that storm windows can conserve enough heat
anywhere north of Richmond, Virginia to pay for their
installation within 10 years plus return an annual 6%
dividend on initial cost. That’s at current fuel prices. As
the expense of oil, coal, gas and electricity increases
(and it will), those extra windows will justify their
expense in even less time. And if you really can’t afford
double glazing? Relatively in expensive weatherstripping
and caulking applied around all the doors and windows on a
house can cut a family’s annual heating bill by as much as
15 to 30%.

The OCA paper further states that six inches of insulation
applied over the ceiling of a home’s top floor will pay for
itself in one year in Richmond, Virginia or any
other location that has an average winter temperature of
45° F or lower. Prevent warmed living-space air from
leaking up into the attic and you’ll greet spring with even
more unspent dollars in your pocket.

And once you’ve chinked your dwelling and every room is as
snug as a bug, try wearing a sweater in the house and
setting your residence’s thermostat two to four degrees
lower than the temperature you’ve come to consider as
“normal”. Once again, you’ll save fuel (and money)
and—according to the British, at least—be
healthier during the coming months to boot.

You Can Make Shortnin’ Bread

At one time or another, nearly every one of us has sung
that song … but how many people do you know who have
actually eaten short’nin’ bread? Very few. How
often, in fact, have you even seen a recipe for short’nin’
bread? Probably never.

It was with great interest, then, that I recently noted the
formula for genuine, down-home short’nin’ bread in what was
left of an old spiral-bound copy of something called
Charleston Receipts. I know nothing more about
this book, since the first 12 and the last
I-don’t-know-how-many pages are missing … but I’m
guessing that it’s a “vanity” cookbook published
approximately 20 years ago in Charleston, South Carolina.

At any rate, I found—on page 161 of the
collection—Mrs. Henry F. Church’s recipe for
short’nin’ bread. I’ve tried it, it’s good (in a Lorna
Doone cookie sort of way) and here’s how you can make your

Cream one-quarter pound of soft butter and one-fourth cup
of light-brown sugar. Add one and one-half cups of flour
and roll the mixture out quickly about one-half inch thick
on a floured board. Cut the dough with a small biscuit
cutter and bake on a lightly greased and floured cookie
sheet for approximately 20 minutes at 350° F.

Eat the little cookies hot or cold … and you’ll know why
mammy’s little baby really did love short’nin’