Mother's Down-Home Country Lore

Readers share their country lore for peeling garlic, making a stove top oven, creating homemade charcoal, rooftop snow removal, and other projects.


| January/February 1980



061-054-01

If a hen is reluctant to brood, try slipping a fake egg under her.


ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

VERSATILE WAGON: Roberta Cramer bought her eight-year-old daughter a big-as-they-come toy wagon one Christmas ... but the Blairstown, New Jersey mother didn't realize—until later—that she'd also bought a handy "in-house" hauler for [1] lugging in logs for the wood stove, [2] bringing all the groceries from the car in one trip, and [3] rolling tidying-up equipment from room to room on cleaning day. The versatile wagon serves yet another non-play purpose: Roberta's daughter likes to lie in the yuletide present—with a pillow and blanket—whenever the youngster gets to stay up late with the grown-ups.

Well? Can you guess what happens when the tired child finally falls asleep? That's right, Roberta just grabs the wagon's handle and rolls her snoozing girl right into the bedroom!

SNOW TIPS: This is the time of year when cars seem to have a hankerin' for gettin" stuck in the snow. However, you can prepare for the calamity—the way Cobden, Illinois's Lee Hoinacki does—by carrying a three-foot piece of chicken wire in the trunk of your runabout. According to Lee, if you put that fence section under a spinning drive wheel, your car can easily get enough "grip" to pull itself out.

On the other hand, should you tote Tom Woods's remedy—a heavy chain—around with you, you'll be able to pack folds of iron linkage tightly under any free-turning tire. Tom claims that the chain will provide the needed gripping surface in nine out of ten cases (even in a Jefferson, New Hampshire winter)... and in that one "still stuck" instance, you can pull the linked cable out from under the tire, use it for hooking your car to a tractor, and get towed out!

PEELING GARLIC: Michael Brisson has a helpful trick for garlic lovers. The Rochester, New Yorker—who says he can't imagine a world without the pungent spice—has devised a no-sweat way to peel fresh garlic cloves. "Just hold each end of a single moon-shaped segment between your thumb and forefinger... twist back and forth ... and the skin will flake right off! If the clove breaks, you've twisted too far. But keep trying ... you'll soon be a real sleight-of-hand skin shedder!"

FAKE EGG: You can easily make a durable, "authentic" nest egg that should entice any nonproductive hen into "settlin' down to business". Just follow Julia Todd Forbes's advice and hustle up a real egg, some plaster of Paris, and two small pieces of waterproof tape. Punch 1/8" holes in the shell's two ends and blow out the edible—and usable—contents. Then tape up one opening, place a funnel in the other end, and drop in close to an "egg load" of dry plaster powder. Add water to the nearly full hen fruit, cover the open hole, and shake the entire egg vigorously, After all this is done, clean and tape the shell's "top end" ... and you'll have an imitation hen-to-be that's so sturdy it may last as long as three years! (In fact, the sample nest egg Julia mailed us arrived perfectly intact... and Ms. Forbes sent it from her home in Oratia, New Zealand!)





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