In some garden centers there are these little gadgets called ‘sticky traps’. They are specific to certain kinds of bug that feed on fruit trees and certain garden plants, especially the blossoms.
A reader wrote to cut some yellow plastic into strips, coat them with plain petroleum jelly and then hang the strips in the fruit trees to attract the critters. I was pretty skeptical so I cut some strips from an old yellow oil jug, spread on the petroleum jelly and hung them from the branches with some pieces of twine I ran through holes punched in one end. It worked! There is some kind of moth that lays eggs on the developing fruit and the worms eat holes in the apples. Not any more–those yellow chunks of plastic work wonders and are almost free.
Smelly sneakers (tennis shoes) can be deodorized by simply inserting a used dryer sheet in each shoe overnight.
If the household cat or dog leaves hair on your good furniture, simply rub over the area with a used dryer sheet. It will attract the hair so it can be more easily removed.
If you lay down a few sheets of thick cardboard where your garden paths need to be and then cover that with some old hay or compost, the weeds can’t grow through the cardboard and the paths are fairly weed-free all summer. Sometimes it takes a couple of years for the cardboard to completely decompose back into the soil.
(Pennywise says: I have used old newspapers with pretty good success IF I put a good layer of straw over the top of the paper and soak it down real well several times, and the wind does NOT blow 60 mph).
I use old dead branches off of my trees for my tomato stakes/cages. I just push the big end of the branches into the soil around the tomato plants and then tie around them with some narrow strips of polyester fabric. Some of it I’ve used for several years and it seems to be in pretty good shape yet! I will put one or two stakes by each plant and then add more if needed. I don’t see much sense in buying something when I already have something FREE that works just as well (it may not look quite as good as those fancy metal cages, but free is good!)
If the cucumber patch is producing overtime and you want to preserve them without pickling, try drying them. Just slice the cucumbers and dry the slices in your dehydrator at a fairly low temperature, about 110 – 118º until nice and crisp. They make a good snack for the kids and don’t need any additional salt as the natural salt in the vegetable comes out in the drying process.
To make a steel wool scrubber for woodworking or metal sanding, stuff some steel wool in a chunk of old radiator hose or something on that order. The rubber keeps your hands from getting beat up and the steel wool can do its work. To replace it, just poke a drill bit or a piece of doweling in the end of the hose to clear out the old piece and then insert a new wad.
To seal a crack in a terra cotta planter/pot or even an old vase so you can use it to hold fresh flowers, simply melt some plain paraffin wax (found in the canning section of the supermarket) and paint it over the crack. I usually put on a few good coats so it stays a while. Let it get dry and then go ahead and use the container. The patch may last for several years.
If you have a vehicle with a small oil leak and don’t want a mess on the garage floor, just line a flat cardboard box with some aluminum foil, put in some cheap cat litter and slid the box under the drip for overnight or until you can get the leak stopped.
(Pennywise says: If you already have some spots on the cement, try covering them with a thick layer of cornmeal and leave it sit for several days. It should absorb the most of the oil, and it’s cheap too!)
If you don’t have any hand cleaner in the shop, try using some shaving cream–the cheapest kind you can buy. After all, it’s soap and since it’s in an aerosol can, you can just use a little bit and get your hands nice and clean.
If you have a really greasy job to tend to, try rubbing a little bit on your hands BEFORE you begin the work. The oil in the shaving cream keeps the crud from getting way down in the pores of your hands and staining them.