Incorporating the Simple Living Review, the Preparedness & Self-Reliance Review, as well as the Outdoor & Survival Review

Household Hints

Cider vinegar can be used for a lot more than salad dressing. It has excellent health and cosmetic benefits.

Pour a quart of boiling water over a cup (packed tightly) of Stinging Nettles and let steep until cool. Strain, and add a cup of cider vinegar. Use this as a final rinse after shampooing to remove soap scum and impart a sheen to your hair.

Simmering hardened paintbrushes in boiling vinegar for a few minutes, then washing them in soapy water should make them like new again.

Next time you have to do some work outside on a cold day, rinse your hands in vinegar and let it dry. The cold will not affect your hands as much.

When lime has built up in your teakettle, boiling a weak solution of water and vinegar for a few minutes should loosen it up.

A little vinegar in the water when you boil eggs will keep the whites in a cracked shell.

To make paint stick to a galvanized surface, wipe over it with a rag dipped in vinegar.

When storing water jugs, put a tablespoon of cider vinegar in each one and it will eliminate the musty smell.

A couple of spoons full of vinegar in a quart of water will clean your windows without leaving streaks.

A tablespoon each of cider vinegar and raw honey in a cup of hot water will soothe a sore throat.

If the cane seats on your chairs have sagged, rejuvenate them by sponging them with half water half vinegar and set them in the sun to dry.

A spoonful of cider vinegar in a glass of water is supposed to repel ticks, if you drink it every day.

A ¼ cup of cider vinegar mixed into an older horse's feed every day will ease the stiffness in its joints. (Wonder whether that would work for humans too… Ed.)

Cider vinegar is an excellent disinfectant for cuts and scrapes. Stings like sixty tho.

When cutting up fruit such as pears and apples, putting them into a weak solution of cider vinegar will keep them from turning brown.

Owen Newman

How to Sharpen an Axe or Hatchet

Axes have a much thinner profile than splitting mauls and mattocks. After years of sharpening, they tend to be thicker at the tip than when they were new creating more of wedge effect than a slicing action. This can be overcome by filing back material further on the blade. In other words, don't continually file just the tip of the blade but reduce the thickness of the head back one-half inch with each filing. To be sure you know how much to take off, refresh your memory by taking a look at a brand new head before starting to sharpen your old one.

Building A Composting Toilet

The modern flush toilet is very wasteful of water. The alternative, of course, is a way to dispose of human waste that does not use up resources.

There are many models on the market that do not use water such as chemical (very smelly and messy), or burning it by means of gas or electric which means being dependent on the grid, or having big holding tanks under your house. The one resource that all of these systems use is great amounts of your hard earned money.

We have a composting toilet that did not take a lot of money, nor uses water, chemicals, or heat. It is simply a box and a bucket.

I built a box to hold a five gallon plastic bucket out of ½" plywood. It is 15"w x 16"d x 16"h. The front panel is hinged to make a door. I made a lid out of the same material and hinged it at the back. After cutting a hole alá an outhouse, I painted it with some gloss enamel paint so it would be easy to clean.

"Surely" you say, "You don't use it in the house?" Yep, sure do. "What about the smell? Doesn't it attract flies?" Nope! The secret to this system is rotten sawdust. After every use, you sprinkle enough sawdust to cover the deposit. When the bucket is full, you empty it place where it's out of the way and cover with more sawdust. The bucket is washed out, a layer of sawdust sprinkled in to thinly cover the bottom and placed back in the box.

We've been using this system for a year and the pile is about 4' long by 2' wide by 2' high. This spring we will start a second pile and let the first one compost for a year. By that time it will have heated up enough to kill any pathogens and broken down into rich black compost that is safe to use in your garden or around fruit trees.

I learned about this system from The Humanure Handbook, which can be ordered from Lehman Hardware, Kidron, Ohio. I suggest that you get a copy of the book. It's informative and well written with a sense of humor.

We have never had a problem with odor or flies, not even tile composting pile seems to attract flies. The rotten sawdust must have something in it that repels insects that usually are attracted to rotting organic matter.

Owen Newman