Farming Advice and Folklore: Eliminating Wasps, Storing Onions and Baiting Mousetraps

Farming advice and folklore from MOTHER and her readers, including eliminating wasps with bait, storing onions to stay fresh and baiting mousetraps using seeds.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Editors
September/October 1988
Add to My MSN

Summer's over, winter's coming. Autumn chores keep homesteads humming.
ILLUSTRATION: MERYL SKLUT


Content Tools

Related Content

Share Your Vision for a Sustainable Future

Don't miss this opportunity to change the future of American Agriculture!

You Know You're a Modern Homesteader When...

If you've been on this rural living or modern homesteading journey for decades, or just starting out...

Turn of the Year

We are trying to wrestle back the food business into our neck of the woods. To create a micro dairy ...

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their farming advice, fun tips and country folklore, including eliminating wasps by hanging a greasy piece of fruit as bait over a pail of water, storing onions in a mesh bag to keep them fresh and using pumpkin seeds to bait mousetraps. 

MOTHER's Country Farming Advice and Folklore

HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT YOU ARE more annoyed by pesky wasps, bees and hornets in the fall? Here's a good way to lure them away from wherever you're working or playing or picnicking outdoors. Just fill a pail with water, and across the top tie a piece of fruit coated with lard or grease. Place the pail about 15 feet from the area you want the insects to steer clear of. They'll eat their fill of your snack, be too heavy to fly and will fall into the bucket and drown.

—Don Wood
Elyria, Ohio

Onion Hang-Up  

As a native of Georgia, I'm especially partial to that state's famous Vidalia onions. When I stored them the usual way, in a mesh bag, they often spoiled quickly because of high humidity. I found the solution to this was to store them in old, clean hose or pantyhose. You drop the first onion into the toe, and tie a knot right above it. Keep putting in the onions, one at a time and with a knot between each one, till the stocking leg is full. Hang the onions in a cool, dry place, and simply cut one off right below the knot anytime you want one. Onions will keep for a year this way, and they hardly ever sprout.

—Thomas Champion
Radcliff, Ohio

Start Now for Carefree Tomatoes  

The work my wife and I do takes us out of town a lot during the warmer months. We particularly enjoy growing tomatoes, but our hot Oklahoma summers make this difficult for those who aren't around to keep the garden watered and weeded. We came up with a system, though, that works great.

In November we till the garden both lengthwise and crosswise. Then we carefully break up bales of field hay so that we end up with two-foot squares about six inches thick. We completely cover the garden with these. In late spring we hand-dig down through the hay and plant the tomato seedlings. The soil stays weed-free and moist, even through 100° days, with only occasional care. In the fall, the hay is tilled under to enrich the soil. Our tomatoes are beautiful, and our neighbors are jealous!

—Woody Morgan
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Snapping Seeds  

The next time you cut open a pumpkin, save a few seeds to bait your mousetraps. Mice seem to prefer these over any other food, and they can't nibble at a well-secured seed without springing the trap.

—Gary Gerken
New South Wales, Australia

Time-Tested Remedy  

When our antique grandfather clock began regularly losing time, an elderly gentleman's advice put it back in perfect working order. We filled a shot glass with kerosene and placed it in the clock, near the mechanism but out of the way of any moving parts. Slowly, as the kerosene evaporated, it deposited a film on the workings that acted as a lubricant. We replenish the kerosene as needed, and the clock runs smoothly and on time.

—Rob Sporgell
Moylan, Pennsylvania

Thrift-Shop Bagger  

My fall leaf raking results in mountains of leaves that must somehow be moved to the compost heap. In searching for something that would make this job easier, I came across an old drapery with an attached lining. After cutting the lining from the drapery at the bottom hem only, I ended up with a huge, sturdy bag. This I placed next to a leaf pile (heavy-fabric-side down), propped wide the open end and faced it into the wind. Since my makeshift bagger held an enormous amount of leaves, it was no time at all before the piles were moved and my yard was neat.

—Marcella Matthews
House Springs, Missouri

Shell Game  

I always thought growing and harvesting popcorn was easy compared to the job of shelling it. I've found a way now, though, to make that easy too. The corn is best when the ears are picked two or three weeks after the first hard frost and then dried thoroughly. I take an old, but still tough, pair of blue jeans and tie a knot at the bottom of each leg. I fill the jeans with ears of corn, hold the top closed and pound the jeans against a cement floor. A few hard raps on both sides of the pants, and I can pour the kernels out into a container. This is sure a lot easier on my fingers than the old way.

-Larry Prissel
Durand, Wisconsin

Get Well Soon  

When you send a card to someone in the hospital, use the patient's home address as the return address on the envelope. This way, you'll be sure your message is received even if the patient has been discharged.

—Joyce Mason
Westminster, California

Foiled Again  

A ball of aluminum foil makes a great pot scrubber for aluminum pans.

—Jeremiah Pierce
Truth or Conseq., New Mexico

Through the years we've all probably discovered a few practical, down-home, time-tested solutions to the frustrating little problems of everyday life. Why not share your best "horse sense" with the rest of MOTHER's readers? Send your suggestions to Country Lore, THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Hendersonville, NC. A one year subscription — or a one year extension of an existing subscription — will be sent to each contributor whose tip is printed in this column. — MOTHER. 


Previous | 1 | 2 | Next






Post a comment below.

 

JIM CHATMAN
3/24/2013 2:49:36 AM
I noticed someone else had a problem with moving mountains of leaves. Here's what I do: I take my 15'x25' plastic tarp and lay it out on part of the lawn. Then I rake leaves from the part uncovered onto it, then slide it over. It makes a huge target and if it starts to get blown by the breeze, just anchor it down with tent stakes on the windward side, or make some pegs with sticks or stout wire. When I have a tarp full, I pull the 4 corners together and just drag it to wherever I want the leaves to go, drop one side, pull the other side over it and it self inverts. I can move a pile of chestnut oak and pecan leaves as big as a small car with one hand; the tarp's slick and it just slides over the dry grass (better than on wet grass, but even that's not too hard). I can even maneuver it over a 4' fence with ease. It's easy to load and unload and I can drag it anywhere. It's cut my raking time by over half and made the chore of moving the leaves into a pleasurable task.








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.