Handy Farm Devices and How To Make Them
Compiled by Rolfe Cobleigh, NEW YORK, ORANGE JUDD COMPANY 1912, Associate Editor American Agriculturist.
In and Around the House Part II
Scoops from Tin Cans
Scoops for handling sugar and flour are among the most convenient utensils that one can have about the pantry; and in a short time a good supply may be made from materials that are going to waste about almost every home.
Take an ordinary tin can and either melt or cut off the top. With a pair of tinner's shears (a strong pair of household shears may be used), begin at the open end and split the side of the can to within about an inch of the bottom. Opposite this one make a similar slit. Parallel to the bottom of the can, cut from the lower end of one slit to that of the other. Round the corners of the remaining half, and the body of your scoop is finished.
For a handle, about 4 inches off the end of an old broomstick is just the thing. If this is not available, a handle may easily be shaped with a knife from a piece of soft wood. To attach the handle, from the inside drive a small nail through the center of the bottom of the can and into the center of the handle.
Some additional strength is obtained by planning so that the seam of the can will run down the middle of the lip of the scoop, thus stiffening it. A salmon or corn can makes a very convenient sized scoop for the sugar, while tomato cans serve very nicely for flour and meals, and half-gallon paint buckets may be thus utilized for handling light materials.
A Homemade Folding Table
A handy game or sewing table may be made as follows: Take two planed boards 12 inches wide and 3 feet long. Fasten them together with two strips 2 inches wide and 24 inches long. Fasten these strips by strong screws in upright position. Now take two similar strips and fasten them by hinges to the pieces screwed on the boards. Fasten four stout legs to these in the manner shown in the cut. Take two three-cornered boards large enough to hold the legs stiff when dropped into position, and fasten them by hinges, as shown.
The same general plan may be followed in making a much larger and heavier table or a lighter one.
A Homemade Butter Worker
A butter worker is one of the handy devices that should be upon every farm. A good type is shown in the drawing. It is made of close-grained hardwood -- maple or birch are recommended -- tight-jointed, free from knots and perfectly smooth in size. It slopes enough to drain readily at the narrow end through a short piece of lead pipe inserted at the bottom. The working bar has a strong, smooth iron rod or spike at its lower end, which is easily inserted into or removed from the hole in which it works. The part of the bar that comes in contact with the butter is half-round on one side and two flat sides meet at a right angle. Of course, it must be as smooth as possible.
Nearly every farm home contains, or may easily be supplied with, the necessary appliances to make cheese, and it is not a difficult task when one is once familiar with the process. For a small batch of about 12 gallons of milk the following method is a good one: Take about 6 gallons of the evening's milk and leave it covered with a cloth in a temperature of 65 to 70 degrees until morning and then mix 6 gallons of morning's milk with it in a large tub or boiler. All milk may then be heated together to 80 to 90 degrees. Care must be used not to get it too hot or to expose it to a draft so that it will cool quickly.
Another good method preferred by some is to use 11 gallons of perfectly sweet morning's milk and to this add 1 gallon of milk that has soured and thickened. The sour milk should be stirred well to get out all the lumps and left for about 15 minutes before the rennet is put in. The easiest way to heat the milk is to place it in a wash boiler right on the stove until it gets up to 86 to 90 degrees and then raise it from the stove by placing it on two bricks. The stove must not be too hot.
Rennet in the form of tablets is most convenient and useful for home cheesemaking. Dissolve one tablet in half a glass of cold water and add to the milk after it has been heated and stir well for two minutes. Some cheesemakers use two or three tablets, as it saves time, but for beginners two are usually enough. If you have liquid rennet extract, use about two tablespoonfuls.
Cutting the Curd
The rennet will curdle the milk and the curd will be ready to cut in 20 to 40 minutes. This can be determined by noting if the curd breaks clean like jelly when raised on a knife blade. The cutting can be done with a wire toaster, a long knife or a heavy wire. Cut lengthwise of the vessel and then crosswise until the curd is in nearly uniform pieces of 1/2-inch squares. After cutting, leave the curd on for five minutes, then heat slowly to 100 degrees, stirring all the time. Cook for about 40 minutes at as near 90 degrees as possible, stirring occasionally to prevent the curd from sticking together. Keep the heat up and do not allow the mass to cool.
To determine when the curd is ready, take a handful and squeeze it in the hand firmly and if it feels elastic and does not stick together, it has been cooked long enough. If the milk is good, the curd should have a pleasant, slightly acid odor. As soon as the curd is cooked, draw off the whey or dip off the curd with a sieve and place in another vessel. After the curd is well drained and before it sticks together, add 1/4 pound of fine salt and mix well. After salting, let it cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, when it is ready for the hoop.
Pressing and Curing
For a cheese hoop, one can use a tin hoop 7 inches in diameter and 12 inches deep or an old peck measure without a bottom if holes are punched in the sides for drainage. For a press a device shown in the sketch will serve well, the pail at the end of the lever being filled with stones. Before the curd is placed in the hoop, line it with cheesecloth, one piece the size of the bottom and another around the side. Turn the upper edge of the cloth over the edge of the hoop and fasten it tight. When the curd is packed firmly, put a piece of cloth on the upper end and fold it over tight. Make the pressure slight at first, but after an hour rearrange the cloth and make the pressure heavier. The pressing should be finished by the next day. Do not press in too cool a place, but keep the temperature about 50 degrees.
For curing, set the cheese in a damp room or cellar which has an even temperature. Turn it around daily, and if it shows signs of molding, rub occasionally with butter. It should be ready to eat in three or four weeks. Cheese will cure at 40 degrees, but it takes longer than when warmer. Twelve gallons of milk should make about 10 pounds of cheese, according to richness of milk.
After one or two attempts any housekeeper should be able to make good cheese by this method. It is necessary to keep all utensils very clean and the liberal use of boiling water with a little soda will accomplish this purpose.
Washes While Reading
Here is a way of making play of wash day. Perhaps some of our bright boys will try this to help mother. A friend of ours had an old bicycle unfit for use. He made a frame to raise the hind wheel from the floor, wound the rim with twine (tire being off) and reversed the seat. In place of the form he inserted a piece of pipe (a stick would do as well). Then he took some old belting, cut it to 1-3/4 inches wide and about 10 feet long, and with that he runs the washing machine for his wife. He can read the paper while he washes, and he does not lose much time from field work either. An emery wheel can also be run with it by bolting 1-inch strips to the top part of the frame extending over the wheel and mounting a polishing head on same.
Knowledge is power.
Tread Power in the DairyWhile the small gasoline engines adapted to running cream separators have been hailed with delight by many dairymen, the old tread power is still a very economical and reliable source of power. With a heavy sheep, dog or the dairy herd bull enough power can be produced to run the separator and churn at practically no cost except for the tread. One difficulty has been to secure a uniform rate of speed, but this is solved if a heavy flywheel is attached to the tread. While the sketch shows a direct drive from tread to separator, a more desirable arrangement is to have the tread located in a. room adjoining the separator room, where the milk will not be exposed to the breath of the animal. A great many men wear themselves out devising schemes to sidestep honest work.
A Lamp for Cooking
A lamp may be utilized for cooking purposes in the following way: Make a tripod by taking three strips of wood of equal length, putting in one end a headless nail and making slightly slanting holes in the corners of a 6-inch triangular piece of board in which to fit them. A screw hook in the center of the board, on the under side, completes the device, which has only to be stood over a lighted lamp to be ready for work. A small stew kettle, or tin pail, hung on the hook, within a half inch of the lamp chimney, enables one to have a " pot boiling" in short order. If you have a large lamp, with a round wick, it will give the heat of two or three common ones, and you can cook almost as rapidly as over a stove.
With an ordinary lamp, food can be heated, eggs boiled, or coffee made very quickly, helping wonderfully in the getting of a meal. This is also an easy and convenient way to heat baby's milk, or water, in the night, in case of sickness. Stood on a chair by the table, the device can be used to keep the coffee or chocolate hot during meal time. A round piece of sheet iron, with chains attached to suspend it from the hook, is an additional help, to hold a steeper for tea.
As this tripod can be taken apart readily, when not in use, it will be found a good adjunct to a camping outfit, even though you carry a camp stove, for there will be times when nothing will be wanted but a hot drink, which can be made over the lamp with less trouble than it would be to make a fire in the stove.
Hot Water All Night
One of the things that must be had quickly when medicine is needed, and still more often for a bottle baby, is hot water at night. The following contrivance has been found to be worth many times the trouble to make it, for it saves annoyance at a time when baby's worrying may mean hours of sitting up.
Place the socket of a wall bracket lamp just high enough above a table so that the top of a hand lamp chimney will be 5 or 6 inches below it. Make an arm of round iron or small piping long enough to extend out over the lamp and to this hang a hook, on which hang a small teakettle or pail. In this enough water for the needs of a night can be kept hot without boiling, and will be ready at an instant's notice. As a night lamp is a necessity in a house where there is a youngster, the cost of this device will be nothing, for the blaze of a small burner will provide sufficient heat. The proper height for the socket on the wall can be determined by measuring the hook and the kettle to be used. The lamp chimney should not be nearer than 2 inches to the bottom of the kettle, or the water will boil and steam away.