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Outdoor Tips

* Check spark plugs. A quick way to ruin a productive hunt or day of work on the farm is an ATV that won't crank. The first response you get when seeking help is, "Does it have plenty of gas?" Assuming the ATV is fueled up, the next place to look is the spark plug. Fouled plugs are a common ailment for ATVs even though the plug may look fine. Since plugs are a low-cost item, it's a good idea to keep an extra on hand.

* Cold care. The bitter cold of winter can crack the skin on hands and chap the face when you are feeding livestock or hunting. Native Americans would rub animal fat on exposed skin areas to stave off the cold. Try rubbing some vegetable oil on your face and hands before going out in the cold. With its undetectable odor, you'll spook less deer. And the moisture barrier will reduce exposure to biting winds.

* Cooking tip. Nothing says camping like scrambled eggs and bacon in the morning. To prevent eggs from cracking and creating a mess on your camping gear while heading for your favorite spot, simply crack the eggs and pour the contents into a clean fruit or mayonnaise jar with a secure lid before leaving. The next morning, just pour the amount of eggs you want to cook into the skillet.

Take a torch

A small propane torch is a handy item for the toolbox in winter. The torch will do the trick on the coldest of days if the padlock on a gate is frozen, a water line to a cattle tank needs to be thawed or a quick campfire is needed after falling into the creek.

Photo mount

While cutting firewood around the camp or on the farm this winter, take a look at any unusually shaped tree trunks. Cut a uniform 2-inch slice off the end of the trunk and sand the surface, leaving the bark attached. Once the slab is dry, it can be used as backing for any of your large hunting photos or farm memories. Simply cut the picture in the shape of the log slice and glue on the photo. A fence staple nailed into the back and bent upward makes an adequate hanging hook.

Coffee-can candles

For an emergency heater or a simple hand warmer on a cold hunt, a block of wood with three screws protruding through it placed inside a 2-pound coffee can works for heat. Screw three short candles onto the screws sticking out of the block of wood. The coffee can serves as a windbreak, and the candles put off enough heat to knock off the chill.

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