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 III

How to Cut Bread Even

Here is one of the most useful devices to which the handy man can give his attention. It is very rarely that a housekeeper can cut even and handsome slices of bread, however much she may desire to have the bread plate look attractive. One slice will be thin, another thick, while another will be thick on one edge and thin on the other. The drawing shows a simple arrangement by which all the slices of bread can be cut of an even thickness without any slant.

Cut a piece of pine board to about 9 x 13 inches. Near one end, on either side, insert firmly two pieces of very stout wire, bent double, as suggested in the cut. These wire supports should be at least 7 inches high, and should have another inch of length firmly inserted in the wood. The wire should be as stout as No. 12, or larger still, and should stand exactly at right angles to the board. Put them far enough apart so the largest loaf will readily go between them, and have the opening in each wire standard just wide enough so the knife will slide up and down without "wobbling." The dotted lines show the position of the knife when in place. Screw a little strip of wood in front of the wire, just far enough ahead to make the slice of bread the right thickness. Press the loaf up against this guide and cut off a slice, then press the shortened loaf up again, and repeat the process.

Homemade Water Cooler

It's a mighty nice thing to have a good supply of cold water at the barn when threshers, corn huskers, or hay harvesters are at work. A simple and effective arrangement can be made by using a flour barrel and a 10-gallon stone jar. Place the jar inside the barrel and surround it with charcoal, sawdust, or chaff, if nothing else is available. With a tight lid and a wet cloth spread over the top, water will keep ice cold in this arrangement. The uses of such a cooler may be multiplied to include keeping many things cool in the house.

Keep Food Cool in Summer

A very convenient and serviceable place to keep dairy products may be formed by sinking a large barrel in the ground. A shady spot should be chosen, or the heat of the sun will affect the temperature. Fill in around the barrel with small stones, gravel and sand, dampened in order to maintain coolness.

Construct a box around and above the top of the barrel, and bank up with solid earth, preferably clay. This drains off the water when it rains. It also makes the bottom of the barrel farther down from the top of the opening, which further promotes coolness. Next shape a light, inner lid to place on top of the barrel, and then make a strong, hinged lid for the box, and arrange it so it may be fastened down tightly.

Sprinkle a little dampened sand on the bottom of the barrel, and your little barrel cellar is ready for use. By being careful several vessels may be arranged one above the other in this handy little receptacle. Air out occasionally to prevent mold and odors from collecting.

A Cooler Dummy

Where a deep, cool well is located near the house an arrangement may be devised that will serve the purpose of a refrigerator. Construct a frame of strong boards with a groove in which a board on the side of the box of shelves can run. Attach a rope to the top of the box of shelves, pass it over a wheel on the crank shaft and balance with a counter weight.

If the frame is 16 feet long and extended down near to the surface of the water the lowest temperature may be secured. A nice looking top may be constructed for the arrangement, with a door opening into the shelves when they are drawn to the top. Most wells are almost as cool as a refrigerator, and this sort of an arrangement serves the purpose with a great deal less expense.

A wire clothesline will serve as a cable. Any old pieces of iron will do for the counter weight, and it is well to have a ratchet wheel, such as are found on old chain pumps, to prevent the elevator dropping when it is well filled. Make as many parts as possible of wood to prevent rusting. One such elevator is 42 inches high and 18 inches square.

Turning the grindstone is hard work; but if you use it as a muscle developer it will help out.

An Outdoor Closet

When the housewife has baked a pie or a pudding for dinner and wishes to cool it quickly in winter it has to be set out of doors; but there the trouble begins. It cannot be set upon the snow, since that would melt and engulf the hot dish. Moreover, the cat or dog, or some neighbor's cat or dog, is likely to be lurking about the door, ready for pie. Let the handy man make a little out-of-door cupboard for the use of the housekeeper, locating it beside the kitchen door. Get an empty grocery box of the right size and hinge the cover to the top, placing a knob on the other edge. Make a support for this closet by driving two strips of wood into the ground and screwing two crosswise strips of board to the tops. Lay the grocery box on its side on these supports and nail it to them from the inside.

Here anything hot can be placed to cool quickly, and with the cover down there will be no danger from cats or dogs or hens. If desired to give a freer access to the cold air, several holes can be bored in each end and in the bottom before putting the box in position on the supports. If the ground is frozen too hard to insert the strips of board, the closet can be placed against the side of the house, close to the kitchen door, and supported in place by two wooden brackets. Another plan to secure the same result would be to make the closet and screw a wooden handle to the middle of the top, with holes bored in ends and back. When it is to be used put the dish, or dishes, inside and set the closet out onto the snow beside the door.

Taste the joy
That springs from labor.
-- Longfellow.

Homemade Refrigerator

Take two large boxes, one 2 inches smaller than the other every way, and bore two 1-inch holes in the bottom of each box for drainage. Fill up 2 inches in the large box with powdered charcoal or coal ashes. Put the smaller box inside and fill the space all around with the charcoal or ashes. Fix the lids to both boxes to fit tightly. Put shelves on both sides of inner box. Leave a place in the center of the box for ice. A rack, made of lath, can be laid at the bottom for ice to rest on.

Iceless Butter and Milk Cooler

The accompanying picture shows how a well may be utilized during the warm months for cooling butter, milk and other perishable articles. It will be found very handy as a substitute for a refrigerator when the farmer has no ice supply. Anyone can make a triangular-shaped frame for the windlass, which is placed above the well; and anyone can also put the trap doors in the platform of the well. These doors should be provided with a lock, so children cannot fall in. A pin may be placed on the handle side of the windlass to prevent the crank from turning around when the box is lowered to the desired depth.

The picture is only suggestive. The shape and size of the various parts will depend upon the style of the well. Preferably, the box should be made of galvanized iron and have perforations in the bottom, so it may be lowered right into the water. Of course, this would not be feasible if the materials to be kept cold were not first placed in sealed receptacles. Where a well with a bucket pump or the ordinary wooden pump is the only available place to put such a cooler, the cooler may be at one side of the well. If necessary, the position of the pump may be shifted.

Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.
-- Samuel Johnson.

Every addition to true knowledge is an addition to human power.
-- Horace Mann.

But now my task is smoothly done, I can fly, or I can run.
-- Milton.

A Ventilated Pump Platform

Here is a way to keep the well clean and pure at all times. Make the frame of the platform of 2 x 4's, allowing a space 2 to 6 inches between the top and bottom parts of the sides. This space is covered on the inside with a fly screen to keep out dirt and insects, and outside of this with a larger meshed screen to keep out large vermin. This gives good ventilation to the well, which never becomes foul. In the winter cover the platform with straw and snow.

Cleaning a Well

To remove floating litter from a well, take an ordinary sand sieve, and, after marking off the rim into three parts, attach a wire to any of the two points and to this improvised handle attach a rope. Fasten the end of the rope to the third point in the rim and a weight to the sieve, so that it can be lowered into the well and will sink. When used, sink the sieve edgewise into the water and pull the rope with a single attachment and it may be lifted out with all the floating sticks and timber on the surface of the water.

Dog Power for Pump

This sketch shows an arrangement for making use of the dog for carrying water. It simply consists of a wheel 8 feet in diameter and 18 inches wide, with room enough inside for the dog to walk around, where he acts as a tread power, which causes the pump to revolve. In southern California there are a number of these dog-power pumps, which cost less than $15. A good-sized dog can easily earn his living in an arrangement of this kind.

Filter for Cistern Water

The problem of keeping water in a cistern clean is most easily solved by not allowing it to get dirty, as can be done by the device shown in the drawing. Two barrels, each with a perforated false bottom, are set side by side beneath the water spout from the roof and connected with a pipe leading to the cistern. Above the false bottoms fine gravel and then sand are packed to the depth of 8 or more inches. On top of the sand rest stout floats as large as can be let down into the barrels. From near the margin of the floats two heavy wires extend vertically upward about 2 feet to engage loosely near their centers with a tilting spout by means of knobs on both the ends of the spout and the wires.

When the barrels are empty the floats rest on the sand. As the water begins to pour in one barrel it strikes the float, but is prevented from gouging a very deep hole at the outside of the barrel by striking a strip of wood about 1 inch high, 2 inches wide and 1 foot long. This spreads the flow. A layer of gravel at this place would also help prevent gouging. If the flow is too great to filter away readily, the float will rise and the knob on the wire will engage with the spout, which will be tilted until the flow will suddenly start into the other barrel. If the delivery pipe to the cistern be large enough there should be no danger of either barrel overflowing. When the sand becomes dirty a few minutes will serve to remove it and put in fresh. This will insure clean water in the cistern, and greatly reduce the number of times the disagreeable job of cleaning out the cistern must be done.