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Tools

Tool Tip: His and Hers Oven Thermometers0

I got a new $10 gadget from the hardware store, all because I undercooked a chicken pot pie.

My husband (jack-of-all-trades and licensed electrician) confirmed that the oven wasn’t reaching the right temperatures after I complained for weeks about baking calamities and roasts that wouldn’t brown without the broiler.

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How to Make a Gasoline Can Caddy0

Gasoline cans are an unsightly nuisance.  Ugh!  Where’s the best place to put ‘em?

That space under the deck stairs is big enough, shaded from all but late afternoon sun, well ventilated, out of the way, and mostly hidden from sight . . .

Okay, so what’s my problem?

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Remote Controlled Drink Float0

Have you ever been floating around in your pool, sipping on a nice cocktail, enjoying the calm flow of the water—and then noticed that your cocktail is empty?

If you’re lucky,  somebody out of the water will be available to refresh your beverage, thus allowing you to continue your soothing float uninterrupted.  But sometimes that luck just isn’t there.

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Tool Tip: Step On It Dustpan0

 Mr. Clean Step-on Dust Pan

My wife gave me a hard time about this one. And I’ll admit, it seems like a gimmick. But here’s the thing – after any messy job, I often find myself wishing the cleanup fairy would come along, so I just could go have a beer. She never does. So, I’m on my own to make cleanup easier.

The physics of it are simple – sometimes debris is heavy, and it doesn’t sweep easy with one hand on the dustpan and one on the broom. Being able to stand on the dustpan means two-handed sweeping – allowing you to sweep, for example, more chunks of drywall and dust into each dustpan load. You get to the couch and that beer that much sooner, and your back will thank you, too.

Step on It Dustpan

For ten bucks or so when I was at the hardware store, and even cheaper here,  I could stomach the “Step On It” name and the Mr. Clean guy’s condescending grin. Gimmick or not, it works.

by Steve MacDonald

Quirky Switch0

The Quirky Switch may very well be the ultimate multi-tool. 

 

Before I get into how to use it, I feel it necessary to list all of the attachments offered in this little gadget:

  • Standard Knife
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Nail File
  • Tweezers
  • Thin Flathead Screwdriver
  • Phillips-Head Screwdriver
  • Eyeglass Phillips-Head Screwdriver
  • Eyeglass Flathead Screwdriver
  • Wood Saw
  • Serrated Blade
  • Corkscrew
  • Combination Bottle Opener/Flathead Screwdriver
  • Combination Can Opener/Wire Stripper
  • Pen
  • Magnifying Glass
  • LED Flashlight
  • 1GB USB Memory Stick.

I mean… well… holy crap!  That’s a lot of stuff for one little tool!

But here’s what makes it really special: these attachments slide onto three inner axle assemblies, which are held in place by end caps that twist off.   Which means you can customize the tool with any or all of the attachments.  The more attachments you desire, the greater the width of the tool.  This modular approach makes the Quirky Switch stand out as one of the most versatile multi-tools ever made.

The Quirky Switch can be all yours for $79.00.

by John Barker

Easy Compost Bucket0

 

I never expected to be a compost junky but I’ve become one. No banana peel or pear core or basket of coffee grounds goes uncomposted.

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Kindle™ Around the House0

I was given a Kindle 3G wireless reader as a gift and wasn’t sure how I’d like it. Well, I do. It’s slim, lightweight and easy to use. And I think it has great applications for do-it-yourself projects around the house.

At A Glance image

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Flower Press2

 

 

I’m not handy with power tools. In fact, I’m more uncomfortable with them than anything else. Fortunately I married someone who uses power tools like they’re extra appendages. Drilling, sawing, and sanding are second nature to him.  Consequently,  I drag him into projects on a fairly regular basis taking advantage of his skills with power tools.

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Bluebird Real Estate Shortage0

Last year’s broods of bluebirds have returned and are squabbling over the available birdhouses spaced along our pasture fence.  At the hardware store, additional pine bluebird houses cost $25 apiece and were nothing to sing about!  Instead, we spent $10 apiece on 8-foot cedar one-by-six planks and made two stout bluebird houses and a smaller wren house from each one.  More birds mean more mosquito control, too! 

 

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Season Extenders0

In the colder parts of the country we seek out ways to extend the growing season in order to get the most out of our gardens. Starting seeds indoors to get a jump start on spring, covering plants with blankets in the fall to protect them from frost. Fortunately there are a couple of outdoor products that make this job easier.

Row covers are an excellent means for protecting young plants early in the growing season. They keep plants up to 25 degrees warmer than the outdoor temperature and can also be used in the fall to get a few extra weeks of harvest out of your garden.

Cold frames are considered to be one of the more indispensible gardening tools. Cold frames store the sun’s heat while allowing you to have some control over temperatures with ventilation. In the spring, they’re great for hardening off seedlings. The cool weather toughens them up while the cold frame protects them from the worst of the cold temperatures by the heat stored in the frame itself. I grew up on ones made from old glass windows mounted on scrap wood. But the ones available today are really impressive and quite affordable.

Juwel Cold Frame 1000

The growing season is never long enough. If I can get a few more of those delicious tomatoes to last until the end of September or plant out hardened-off seedlings earlier in May, then I’ve extended my growing season by a few weeks and that works for me.

text by Ann D. Travers

top photo: 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/29233640@N07/4169053481/sizes/m/in/photostream/

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