Through the Grapevine: Fix for a Leaning Wood Pile

Check out these readers' tips from rural America, covering wood pile fixes, truck bed gardening, and much more.

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by Charles Morgan

Fix for a Leaning Wood Pile

I had a problem with my wood pile leaning to the south. To solve the issue, I took my excess fencing wire and used it to tie my wood pile together. Now, the wood doesn’t lean anymore, regardless of how the winter winds blow.
Charles Morgan

Truck Bed Gardening

My house sits on a mountain, 120 feet up from the creek where my main garden is located – the only area where it gets 6 to 8 hours of sun. I also have a small greenhouse and six raised beds. I work from the bed of my pickup truck, because I’ve been gardening for 60 years and my back can no longer take bending over so much. I buy organic mulch and manure in large bags. It might cost more, but I can dig into those bags if I need a small amount, or pull a bag with a rake so it falls into a wheelbarrow. Does it look good driving my truck with half-open bags? No, but it saves me countless chiropractor bills.
Joan Merriken
North Carolina

wire tomato cages in brown dirt with green tomato plants inside

Tomato Cage Helper

My South Carolina red clay is hard; anchoring tomato cages into the ground is often difficult and leads to bent anchor wires. As a solution, I saved an old grill spit rod that has a wooden handle on one end, and I use it to poke holes in the ground before placing my cages. The spit rod is rigid, about 18 inches long, and perfect for opening channels into the ground for tomato cage legs. This way, the cages stay firmly anchored.
Tim Foster Roebuck
South Carolina

silver colored pressure canner sitting on stovetop with canning

Level Canning Lid

I had trouble getting the lid of my pressure canner level until I started using this tip. After putting the lid on your canner, stack three canning jar lids between the pressure canner lid and the handle on each side. Bring up the screws, and tighten them until they just touch the lid. Then, remove the canning jar lids and tighten the screws as normal.
James Leo
New York

We’re introducing a new department that will feature tips from those living the rural life to its fullest — our readers! If you have garden, farm, or home advice you’d like to share, send an email to, or mail a letter to 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609. We pay $25 for each tip we publish.

As we launch “Through the Grapevine,” we’re also saying goodbye to “Facts and Folklore.” We’re grateful to the Old Farmer’s Almanac for the many years of advice, astronomy, and important dates they’ve shared with us, and we wish them the best in the future.

Search “reader letters” to see what other members of the Grit community have been up to lately.