All Around the Farm: April 2015

  • Lift lid with one hand

    Lift lid with one hand      
    I use gang boxes outdoors for fuels, pesticides, and seeds. The two-piece lids are difficult to manage with one hand. I mounted a mast to the back of the box with a pulley at the top. A small steel cable is attached at the hinge of the lid, passes over the pulley, and holds a counterweight (a pair of wheels) behind the box.
    George Mouser | Floyds Knobs, Indiana 

  • Sometimes you just need a big stick

    Sometimes you just need a big stick 
    I made a leverage bar to turn a stuck grain auger. It’s made of a 5-foot length of ¼-inch-wall square steel tubing. There are two pieces of 3-inch-long 1-inch round stock welded on the end of the tubing. They’re spaced 6½ inches apart to fit in between spokes of the gearbox pulley. A fews turns can free frozen or wet grain and allow the motor to start.     
    Terence Green | McClure, Ohio

  • A bean buggy plus a mower frame

    A bean buggy plus a mower frame
    I’ve built a handy lawn sprayer by putting a 20-gallon tank, a 12-volt on-demand pump, and 10-foot folding booms on an old mower deck. A 12-volt battery sitting on the deck runs the pump, and there is a stand that holds 20 feet of garden hose for hand spraying. The battery could also be hard-wired into the tractor.        
    Roger Johnson | Chandler, Minnesota        

  • A few pictures are worth 1,000 lists

    A few pictures are worth 1,000 lists  
    Before I leave the farm to go get parts for my husband, I take out my digital camera and start shooting. I take pictures of the part, where exactly it goes on the machine, and any pertinent machinery model numbers. This answers a lot of questions at the parts store. I keep that handy little camera with me most of the time.     
    Grace Glein | Foley, Minnesota  

  • Quick project, lasting solution

    Quick project, lasting solution
    We had problems with stray cats tracking mud into our calves’ mob feeder and causing trouble with coccidiosis. So, my son (in 10 minutes using a reciprocating saw) built a simple cover of ¼-inch plywood to keep them out. It’s cut to slip into place under the lip of the feeder. There are finger notches for easy installation and removal.        
    Stacey Stap | Pine Bush, New York

  • Bend over backwards for neighbors

    Bend over backwards for neighbors   
    Sometimes my neighbors have trouble getting past my mailbox. To help them out, I cut my mailbox post off about 6 inches above the ground. Then, I installed a hinge on one side and a lock hasp on the other. Now, drivers can lay the mailbox on the ground, secure it with a bolt, drive over it, and set it back upright once they are past it.         
    Lee Allen | Saint John, Kansas

  • Struts and brackets support lines on shop walls

    Struts support lines on shop walls
    When I built my new shop, my electrician encouraged me to use strut mechanisms on the walls for mounting wiring and water pipes. This method allows a cleaner and more level application. Now, there is the flexibility to move or to add more lines (for heat, hydraulics, or even bulk oil) in the future. Brackets attach these lines to the struts.       
    Joe Zumwalt | Warsaw, Illinois

  • Pack pop-ups with peanuts and risers, too

    Pack pop-ups with peanuts
    Several years ago, I began putting polystyrene packing peanuts (not the biodegradeable kind) around underground fittings for my sprinkler system. So far, I’ve dug up two, and when I get close to the fitting and hit the packing peanuts, they flip out easily to expose the fitting. No more digging away dirt with my fingernails. Over the winter, I collect the peanuts in a large bag.       
    Joe LaMaster | Perryton, Texas

The latest ideas from farmer inventors. Compiled by Paula Barbour.

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