Bi-Monthly Almanac: Turtle Trap, Battery Rejuvenation, and Other Home Maintenance Tips

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All you need to make this snapping turtle trap is a barrel, a board, and a hinge.

For the handyman or -woman willing to improvise, here are six simple home maintenance tips to get you through the day’s projects. And for the handy-woman or man interested in significant historical events, have a look at our May/June 1979 Almanacto view a selection that occurred during those two months. 

Turtle Trap

When your pond or lake’s snappin turtle population gets out of hand, it’s a sure bet that the fish in that body of water—as well as any domestic waterfowl around the place—will suffer. An easily made, self-setting turtle trap will solve the problem, though, and can assure you of a reliable source of meat in both good times and bad.

Just hinge a baited board to a barrel (use small slats to make “steps” on the ramp) and weight the container just enough to allow it to rest on the bottom of a shallow area in the “water hole.” Hungry snappers will “walk the plank” to get at the fish or meat scraps, tip the board, and fall into the barrel. Then, the “long” end of the ramp will automatically return to the water ready to trick another turtle.

Battery Rejuvenation

”Dead” dry-cell batteries can often be temporarily rejuvenated. Simply punch a small hole (using an icepick or knife) through each cell’s wall, and soak ’em for about an hour in vinegar. After their “bath,” dry off the “volt-holders” wrap ’em in rubber-band-fastened wax paper, and enjoy 8 to 10 bonus hours of power! if you need to make a little brightness with your reborn batteries, but lack a flashlight this simple improvisation could come in handy.

Chain Link Repair

A broken Chain link can be quickly and easily replaced if you carry a pair of bolts and two cut-to-size and drilled metal plates. Simply substitute your makeshift link for the faulty hoop and get on with the job!

Root-Free Rake

All too often, when an ordinary iron rake is used to gather up fallen leaves or grass cuttings from the yard, the tool’s sharp tines will “dig in” a bit too much, and tear your carefully manicured lawn out by the roots.

If you force some old wooden thread spools over the implement’s two outside teeth, however, you can keep your “grounds: groomer” up on top of the soil where it belongs.

A Small Screw in a Large Hole?

If you cut the head from a small screw—as illustrated—the little auger can be used to hold a larger fastener securely … when an already existing oversized hole must be used.

Improvised Flashlight

Just take two or three turns of copper wire around the base of a small bulb (you can probably scrounge one from a child’s broken electric train, truck, etc.), then bend the wire so it will hold the light just above the cell’s positive post and reach down to contact the bottom of the battery. When that’s done, remove the cardboard from the dry cell and frictiontape the assembly together as shown. This little beacon can be made brighter with an aluminum foil reflector, and can be turned on or off by screwing the bulb in or out of its wire coil. (Don’t let the conductor touch the positive terminal, though, or the system will short-circuit.)