1999, a newspaper reporter from Washington called. He was writing a
review of the book Seven Wonders: Everyday Things for a Healthier
Planet by John C. Ryan.
Michael Guilfoil of the Spokesman Review newspaper asked MaryJane if
she had her own seven wonders. The story that ensued was
headlined Simple Solutions. Here, then, is the continuation
of that story. Each issue of MaryJanesFarm will feature in detail
one of her seven solutions, and will give you all the information you
need to make it your own.
Do you have a solution you would like to share?
OR write to:
PO Box 8691, Moscow, Idaho 83843
Farm Kitchen Solution:
- Mother of Invention
For rural women, necessity is the mother of invention. Being imaginative and making-do is just part of the job. Actually, it is the job. It comes with the territory. Not only are stores sometimes hours away, but frittering away money on things you can make yourself will most certainly run a farm short of money.
No Place Like Home Solution:
- Root Cellars
My root cellar was built around 1910. In it now are potatoes, beets, parsnips, sunchokes, carrots and cabbage. It’s an easy, “free” way to refrigerate food.
- Hand Pumps
Last summer, I contacted the original 1800s company that made hand water pumps. They were about to quit when Y2K brought them a surge of orders. If the eletricity goes out, I can walk to my pump and with 15 easy strokes, a stream of water from 400 feet underground spews out of the spout.
- Sauerkraut and Kimchi
Sauerkraut and kimchi (pickled cabbage) are family staples. I make them in five-gallon crocks. I chop or shred vegetables, add a bit of dry salt and cover them for six weeks. Fermented vegetables aid in digestion, and they’re very tasty.
Shoulder to the Wheel Solution:
- Lawn Alternatives
As an adult, Ive never had a lawn. Americans spend about a billion
hours a year caring for lawns, and apply 67 million pounds of pesticides.
When my grandpa moved to the city, he amused his neighbors by turning
his front yard into a vegetable and flower garden. Early one morning,
when he was around 85, he fell over while picking beans and died in
his beloved patch of food and flowers. What a nicer way to go than behind
a gas mower!
The Art of the Egg Issue Solution:
- Hand-Powered Kitchen
I use a hand vegetable mill to grate or slice all of our cheese, potatoes,
carrots even shelled walnuts. Its permanently mounted in
my kitchen and has four different attachments. Its faster and
easier than an electric grinder. And its a great way to involve
kids in the kitchen.
Backcountry Food Issue Solution:
- Treadle Sewing Machines
I come from a family of seamstresses. When I left home, my mother purchased
a new electric sewing machine for me. Within a year, I sold it and switched
to a Singer treadle machine. Ive reupholstered couches with my
treadle, sewn sleeping bags, made car seat covers and, of course, clothes.
You cant beat the stitch and reliability of a treadle.
Premiére Issue Solution:
- Wooden Drying Racks
Ive never owned an electric or gas clothes dryer. But I have a
beautiful collection of wooden racks. Over the years Ive found
them in antique stores, or purchased them new from an Amish catalogue.
Laundry is a religion for me. I love it when Im all caught up.
I love it when I have a bunch to do. I love the smell and repetitive
reward of laundry.