Here are some great ways to make chores easier and keep you more comfortable this winter, courtesy of the farmer-inventors of All Around the Farm.
In the winter, the outside door guide on my machine shed doesn’t work very well. Snow covers it up, melts, and then ice forms, which makes it impossible to open. So I built a cover for the guide from some 2×6s and a steel handle. After we get snow or ice, I can remove it to find the guide is always clean and dry. Then I just replace it again after I close the door. -Ken Miller, Rochelle, Illinois 2 Stage Air Compressor Pump
This is the result of about 40 years of trial and error. Above ground is a giant rubber tire tank that holds up to wear from cattle. Inside the tire is a cement center designed to be removable when the plumbing (supply and drain) needs service. A valve lets a large flow of water in when cattle come up to drink, and a port on the side with a jet shoots a small stream of water toward the surface at all times. -Varel Bailey, Anita, Iowa
I have christened this snow pusher the Mad Max because of the way it looks going down the road. People who see it say it looks like a tank. The wings are at 45° angles, so the blade stays upright when it’s set down. At 9 feet wide and 30 inches high, the snow pusher is the same size as a loader bucket, yet it’s lighter to haul around. It won’t scalp the gravel like a bucket, either, which keeps rocks out of the yard. It can also be flipped around to push snow to the side for clearing farm lanes. Also, instead of having to get off the loader repeatedly to switch from a bucket to a spear, this implement has both. -Craig Schnoor, Maquoketa, Iowa
I beefed up the factory shoes on my snowblower because I was tired of gravel flying everywhere, but that still wasn’t enough lift. I added a hydraulic cylinder for a third shoe, and now there's an optional 4 inches of lift. That seems to be just right. Any higher, and it could twist the snowblower on its three-point hitch. It’s high enough so I don’t pick up gravel anymore from the crown of the road on our narrow driveway. -Hans Jess, Olin, Iowa
Instead of spending thousands on a commercial snow blade, we took a box scraper apart, mocked up a mounting plate, and added extra skids and beams. The best thing is cleaning snow from a 70' x 11-foot farm scale in one pass rather than shoveling by hand. -The Mann family, Marshalltown, Iowa
This front-mounted, PTO-powered snow blower has three hydraulic cylinders. One raises and lowers the entire unit. Another rotates chute direction 180° left to right. The third cylinder controls the deflecting shield at the end of the chute for even more precise placement of snow. -Joseph Oesterling, Saginaw, Michigan
I used old rubber horse mats and strap iron to make a windbreak that hangs over my continuous fence. I bent the strap iron to make hooks and attached the hooks to the mats with bolts. (Holes are drilled in both.) It was a fast and easy option that cost me around $40 to make. -Dennis Buse, Bridgewater, South Dakota
Getting out of the truck to open electric fence gates multiple times a day was frustrating, and driving over the wires can cause them to get caught on the vehicle. This remote-controlled gate made of chain was made by using a remote-controlled ATV winch. Solar power charges the gate and keeps the 12-volt winch battery charged. -Gary Jongeling, Watertown, South Dakota
After years of repeatedly having to get off of the skid loader to open and close the electric fence gate when going in and out of the cattle yard, the solution was a $150 garage door opener mounted vertically on the side of the silo. The remote control opens and closes the gate from the seat of the skid loader. -Jim Brimeyer, Holy Cross, Iowa
Mice love to crawl in the hole under a UTV or ATV seat, chew out a section of foam, and make a nice little home. So I took some small pieces of aluminum flashing and punched in several small holes for air to come through. Then I used self-tapping screws to attach the flashing to the underside of the seat over the original, larger hole. -David Barrett, Leesburg, Ohio
I repurposed a shipping container into a feeding station. There are 40×12-foot concrete pads on either side of the container. Down the length of the two 40-foot-long sides are six openings. Turner made them with a reciprocating saw, which was real easy to do. I load eight big round hay bales at once now, so I’m saving a lot of time. I feed every 10 to 12 days instead of every other day when I used the old hay bale rings. -Tyler Turner, Illinois
I nailed together 13×5×5-inch pieces of wood, drilled four holes into the top, and screwed in 1½-inch male adapters to accommodate 24-inch-long pieces of PVC pipe. Next, I cut out a hole on the end for a squirrel cage fan. (Any fan would work, but the squirrel cage-type moves more air.) No more waiting hours for boots to dry. -Paulus Wollmann, Faulkton, South Dakota
I built a waste oil burner from a combine cylinder. In the bottom of the cylinder, an upright 8-inch-long, ¾-inch bolt is centered in a steel plate. Three stacked brake drums surround the plate and bolt and, after a small wood fire here gets the bolt hot, a gear pump outside the rotor brings in oil to drip onto the bolt. A 2-inch pipe equipped with a squirrel cage fan brings air in, and an elbow aims air down into the brake drums. It's so warm, we stand around talking instead of working. -Vernon Hege, Trementon, Utah
It’s hard to get a big tractor with good hydraulics into the woods. I bought an old spreader this year for $300 and put a trailer log splitter on it. A hydraulic apron runs off the splitter pump, so no PTO needed. I removed the beaters and unload firewood out the back with the apron. -Gerald Fuss, Alto, Michigan
Mice used to get into my leftover barley, oat, and wheat seed. Poison and traps helped, but I’d still lose several bags to mice when the... read more
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