July 2015
Howle's Hints

Grease Guns, Rock Rakes and Green Beans

"It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see." -- Henry David Thoreau

How we see things determines whether our attitude is positive or negative. When I was a teenager, I would look across an open pasture cluttered with multiple square bales of hay in rows and feel overwhelmed, hot and frustrated thinking about how long it was going to take to load and haul all that hay into the barn. Now, when I see a field full of hay, I think about the blessings of rain, growth, abundance and feed for the winter.

When we look at the current state of our country and shifting attitudes of the masses that run counter to God’s word and legislation on a federal level reflecting that shift, it’s easy to become disillusioned and negative. When we actually look at God’s word in relation to the country’s current situation, we can be comforted. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn away from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)

During hot days, pull the plunger rod out on the grease gun to keep grease from oozing out the plunger end.  

Keep the Grease Flowing

The hot days of July can cause the grease in your grease gun to ooze past the plunger making a mess when you grease your haying and other farm equipment. To solve this problem, pull the plunger handle all the way out into the locked position until you are ready to use it. When you are ready to grease your fittings, simply re-engage the plunger and rod to keep the grease flowing out the tip instead of the end of the plunger.

There are many styles of grease guns: lever-style, hand-grip, air-powered and battery-operated. The most economical and easy for one person to operate is the hand-grip style. You can hold the grease gun tip securely on the fitting with one hand and administer strokes of grease with the other.

Most grease fittings have a ball check in the head of the fitting to prevent dirt and grit from entering. If these fittings are in difficult-to-reach spots, you can order angled or higher profile fittings to make the job of lubrication easier. If you find a fitting that won’t accept grease, replace it. Chances are that fitting was the one that needed grease the most. Keeping the moving parts of your machinery, truck and tractor lubricated is the key to a long life of service.

Splitting Wood

There are plenty of times when you need some wood split for summer activities. Having a fire pit burning in the backyard, grilling with hickory or using firewood on a campout may require that you need to already have wood split for the flames. If you have a larger log of wood to split, especially hardwood, don’t try to split it down the middle with your axe. You’ll normally just get the axe stuck, and it’s dangerous to try to wrestle the axe out of the wood. Instead, aim for the outer edges of the wood. Outside edges split off easier than the center. Once you split off the outer planks, then go for the middle splits.

  A rock rake will remove not only rocks but sticks, vines and stump chunks from new ground for finished fertilizing and planting of seeds.

Preparing New Ground for Pasture

If you’ve had land cleared for either a large food plot or pastureland, chances are you’ll have plenty of rocks, sticks and debris to remove. Everywhere a large rock or chunk of wood is located is a place where grass won’t grow. A rock rake does an ideal job of removing the larger rocks, sticks and debris from prepared ground.

Once you’ve gone over the ground in one direction a few times, change direction 180 degrees to get the remaining debris from the field. Now you are ready to apply lime, fertilizer and seeds. Going over the spread seeds with a culti-packer will help ensure more seeds germinate, and it will reduce erosion on sloped land until the seeds establish roots to hold the soil in place.

Green Bean Canning

Hopefully, you’ve already stocked up on your canning supplies at your local Co-op. Maybe you only have a small row of green beans, but want to can them. What should you do? Green beans that are kept dry and in a cold crisper in the refrigerator will keep for quite a few days. Cleanly pick your beans, make sure they are dry, and store them in a cold crisper in the refrigerator. By the time you’ve had three pickings of beans, the green beans will still be fresh enough to can, and you’ll have enough to run the entire canner system.

This July, look at situations in a positive way. See more opportunities than obstacles, and exercise your constitutionally protected right to vote so you can bring righteous leaders into authority. "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." (Proverbs 29:2)

John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.