If there was a book to recommend to fellow homemaking homesteaders it would be ‘Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’s Cookbook.’ I have the 1906 edition. It is a huge, comprehensive book containing around 1000 pages. Even if you find the methods in the book a bit outdated, it is a great read from an historical point of view.
I want to quote from one section which I found extremely interesting. For many DIY folks out there, it may be a viable option. I am seriously toying with this idea.
There is a section on how to wash dishes properly. There are many useful tidbits like sprinkling a little lye on greasy dishes which will turn into soap when mixed with the grease and help clean the dishes better. We do have a lot of lye for making biodiesel, so this is an interesting concept to me. Must be very careful, of course. Then there is the suggestion to wash pans and dishes that held fish with some powdered charcoal added to the water. Useful for removing cabbage odors, too.
But what struck me as particularly interesting was the description of a dishwasher of the day. particularly helpful for large families. Here is that description:
[…] These machines are simple in construction, are easily cleaned, and, if given proper attention, will last many years They are constructed with an iron galvanized cylinder, which is to be half-filled with water containing any good washing compound and brought to a boil. The dishes are put in a cylindrical basket or tray, the plates and platters placed on edge and held by brackets. Sauces, cups. and side dishes are placed besides them, the basket is lowered into he cylinder, revolved two or three times by means of a crank, reversed, and the dishes are cleansed. The tray is then taken out, and, if the dishes are scalded with boiling water, very little wiping is required. […]
Hmmm…. this really does sound doable as I recalled the story about our outbuilding in New Zealand which had a “fireplace” with a humongous copper pot set in it for boiling water for bathing or such. What if a similar type of fireplace could be constructed on the homestead? The possibilities for its benefits are growing in my mind. For use as a dishwasher, it could be done by tweaking the information a little. We already have a large hand-cranked salad spinner for our produce business. We not only have a hand -cranked washing machine, but also numerous hand-cranked kitchen gadgets.
Hey, in New Zealand, we even had a hand-cranked Morris van. Oh, oh. My mind is starting to wonder … again… what if…
I certainly would like to try this one day. How about you? What sort of “human powered” gadgets have you incorporated on your homestead?
:: Resources ::