Removing tree stumps
I have been a huge fan of yours and a subscriber to Backwoods Home for many, many years. In fact, Backwoods is the only magazine I subscribe to — can’t afford any others. I’m 70+ years old and am not able to dig out, blow up, or find some way to “vibrate” (archives) tree stumps. One person in the archives said to use saltpeter. How? Where can I buy that stuff? Also, do you know of any other easy way to get rid of tree stumps? Thanks so much to you and Will for all your good advice.
You’re welcome, Bonnie. We feel like we’re just helping out family. I’ve dealt with stumps most of my life and there’s no easy way to get rid of them. The best way we’ve found is to set a brush pile on them and burn them if you are able to burn in your area (safely). Other than that, we have cut them off as close to the ground as possible and piled fresh manure over them a foot deep. In a couple of years, they’ll rot. If you have only one or two big ones in your yard or garden, you can either rent a stump grinder and have a friend/relative grind the stumps down below ground level. Then you can level over it with soil and it’s gone and will eventually rot but won’t be in the way for mowing. Some yard care places will even do it for you (for cash, of course).
Saltpeter is potassium nitrate and is getting harder to find; some hardware stores still carry it. It is also one of the main ingredients for the chemical stump removers advertised in a lot of magazines. Unfortunately, if you have a lot of stumps, it can get pricey. And they don’t rot as fast as the ads claim. A backhoe or smaller dozer works wonders and in a hour, they can dig up a lot of stumps, making it cost-effective if you are really in a hurry to get rid of the stumps. — Jackie
What size pressure canner?
We are getting ready to start gardening to supplement our pantry. We have put in fruit trees, and will plant a garden beginning after the first of the year. I want to be able to can some of the produce from the garden. What size pressure canner do you recommend to start with? I do plan on going to some of the local farmers markets and will shop produce on sale until our garden starts to produce enough surplus for us to can. Can you do small quantities in a larger canner such as the 21 quart or should I get a 10 or 15 quart to start?
Good for you! Once you start canning, you’ll find it so much fun and be so excited about all the great foods you can put up you just won’t believe it. I’d advise buying the largest pressure canner you can afford. Yes, you can fill it or only can one jar at a time if necessary; that’s not a problem, other than work and fuel required for that one, lonely jar. I have a huge one, but it weighs a lot so if I’m doing smaller batches of something, I use my smaller canner for convenience. But I DO use my big canner a lot and you’ll find a larger canner will save you plenty of time in the long run. — Jackie