A torch made from an oil-soaked rag will help with wasp removal; set it up at night, knock down the wasp nest, and wait for the pests to fly right into the flame.
ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
The following housekeeping tips and other bits of country lore were submitted by readers.
Wasps can be a nuisance when they decide to build their
nests too near the house, especially if you (or a member
of your family) are allergic to their stings. But Stillman
Valley, Illinois resident Joe B. Russian has found a way to
got rid of the pests without getting "bit." Joe just ties
an oil-soaked rag to a stick, and then embeds the base of
the homemade "torch" In the ground about 10 to 20
feet from the nest. Then, on a dark night, he lights the
rag and-with another stick-knocks the nest down. The
Insects will see the flickering flame when they come
buzzin' out, fly Into it, and "go up In smoke"!
Garden Hose Hanger
Gary Anderson of Portland, Oregon come up with an Ingenious
"recycled" use for old umbrella handles. He just attaches
two of 'am (hooks down) to a foot-long scrap of two-by-
four, paints the rig black, and has a dandy hanger for his
Volkswagen Chicken Coop
Cheryl Matthews of Sandy Hollow, Pennsylvania writes that
her family was gettin' pretty tired of the stripped-down
Volkswagen that sat on blocks In their back yard ... until
the Matthews family got a good deal on 20 chickens! After
the addition of low roosting poles, several nest boxes,
and an "access" ladder, the chickens settled right Into the
beat-up bootie. Not only that, but Cheryl's birds seem to
like their two-door coop. And at night, the car's
windows rolled most of the way up, the "poult's wagon" is
water- and varmint-proof!
Television regularly advertises cures for every cosmetic
problem imaginable (and some that are a little hard to
imagine), but these "beauty aids" are expensive, sometimes ineffective, and occasionally even harmful to skin and
hair. So, the next time your flowing locks look "dry and
lifeless,"take a tip from Pamela More of Bridgeport,
West Virginia and go to the grocery store for your
solution. Pam says that a small application of olive oil
(just enough to make a little oily spot on your hand) will
make drab or dull hair shiny and easier to style. Simply
rub the liquid in well, either after or between shampoos. Not too much, though, or you might be mistaken for a
Jumper Cable Extension
When your car, tractor, or truck has a dead battery and—or
one reason or another—the jumper cables won't reach to
another car, you'll want to thank Patrick Burgess of
Carbondale, Illinois for this tip: Just clip your two
cables together, and use this "extension" as the "positive"
hookup. But, before attaching the jumper, move the running
car so that its bumper is touching, metal to metal, the
bumper of the dead car. This will successfully complete the
"negative" connection (you might have to wedge a
screwdriver or something between the two bumpers to get a
good contact). With that done, connect the double-length
"positive" cable and start 'er up!
With the popularity of throwaway tissues, not many folks
carry the old-fashioned, handy, cloth handkerchiefs anymore, but Los Angeleno Timothy Hall reminds us that this item
(or a neckerchief) can be put to a lot more uses than
wiping a runny nose! Consider the potential of a sturdy
bandanna as mouth protection from smoke, wind, or smog;
as an emergency bandage or tourniquet; as a signal, a
potholder, a headband, a belt (if you tie two together), a
carrying pouch (bindlestiff style, with the four corners
knotted), or—torn into strips—an emergency cord or binding.
The lowly hanky can also serve as napkin or towel, filter
your coffee, protect you from sunburn/heatstroke, defog
your windshield, or patch—in a pinch—your jeans!
Charles J. Cook of Pennsburg, Pennsylvania says he first
read—in the Healthview News Letter—that cayenne pepper Is
effective in stopping the flow of blood from wounds. The
article cited an instance of a man with a gunshot wound in
the stomach who had swallowed a cup of cayenne tea. When
they got the victim to surgery the hospital folks couldn't
believe the clean, almost blood-free condition of the injury.
A few days after the story caught his attention, Charles
found occasion to test the remedy himself when he stabbed
the side of his thumb with a screwdriver. He promptly
"seasoned" the cut with some cayenne. And the result?
"it stung some," reports Chuck, "but the blooding stopped immediately and didn't start again, even when I applied
working pressure on the thumb!"
Cures for Warts
Most everyone sooner or later has a run-in with warts. The
ugly little growths are certainly a nuisance, and can be
pretty danged uncomfortable to boot. Even worse, the treatments prescribed to handle this problem are
often painful and not always effective. But cheer up,
because reader John T. Lauderdale of Westville, Indiana has
found a simple, down-home wart cure! John says that all you
have to do is dab the sticky juice from a milkweed (genus
Asclepias) plant on the affected area two or three times a
day. After three to five days of this treatment—no
And if milkweed doesn't do the trick on warts, David
Thompson of McClean, Virginia claims that you can apply
nail polish to the stubborn growths twice a day (each time
peeling off the old coat) to make your skin lump-free
within four weeks. Don't miss an application, though -warns
Dave-or the little critters will rejuvenate!
Bubble Wrap Insulation
Heat loss around windows can have a lot to do with skyrocketing heat bills, but Walda Juhl has found a solution that's even effective against the
north winds of Munger, Michigan. Walda simply covers the
insides of her windows (those that aren't often used for
lookin') with "bubbled" plastic packing material. Those
little trapped-air pockets make effective insulators. And
the material Is translucent, so Walda's family still gets
plenty of sunshine.
Replaceable Pajama Feet
Retread your pj's? If they've got feet In 'em, why not? Those cozy children's "feet" pajamas are great for
keeping the little ones warm on cold winter nights.
Unfortunately, however, the lower extremities are usually
the first to be worn out or outgrown while the rest of
the sleeper remains in perfectly good condition!
But Kay Zorn of Willow Springs, Missouri has solved this
problem: She takes all of her youngsters' unusable
"feeties" and replaces them with "retreads." "Just cut off
the feet and sew in a pair of heavy socks a few sizes
larger than what your child is currently wearing," says
Kay." It's the best way I know of to add miles to your
The next time you're whipping something up on the home
sewing machine and you have one of those long, narrow casings
or ties to turn inside out, try the method that Barbara
Robertson (Fort Plain, Now York) has figured out. Cut a piece
of cord or strong thread (maybe dental floss?) a handhold
longer than your casing. Sew one end of It to the right side
of the narrow end of your strip of fabric. Lay the strand
along the center of the material, then fold the thing
wrong-side out, just the way the pattern says, and stitch the
long edges together. (Be careful, now, not to sew into the
cord.) Next, get a good grip on the loose end of the twine
and pull slowly with one hand while you work the cloth back
with the other. Presto! In a few seconds your textile tube is
right-side out! Then you can just clip away the
"puller-thread" and get on with the next step In your
Snake problems, you say? Well, Day Brown of Leslie,
Arkansas just may be able to give you a hand.
"Last year we had a predator problem with our nesting
goose," Day writes. "A king snake began to feed on her eggs. We caught the critter and moved him to our
homestead's lower forty. Soon, however, we began to suspect
that the thief had returned though we couldn't seem to
catch him in the act again."
So Day came up with an Idea: He poked a hole In each of a
couple of chicken eggs, blew out the contents, filled the
hen fruit with common table salt, taped up the openings,
and left the deceptive eggshells in a strategic location.
Day figured that if by chance it was one of the family dogs
who was stealing the goose eggs, the hound would break the
shell, find the salt, and go away unharmed. If,
however, the robber was in fact the suspected snake, the
scoundrel would ingest the contents of the egg shell,
be unable to expel it, and consequently die.
And so It
happened: Shortly after the trap was set the family pup, Herbie, let it be known "loud and clear" that he was not to blame, as he barked
at the discovery of a salt-filled snake carcass under the
house—stopped In its path by the counterfeit hen fruit!
Plastic, which becomes amazingly indestructible when you
want to get rid of it, seems just as amazingly prone to
cracking, crazing, and otherwise springin' leaks when
formed into buckets, dishpans, and other utensils. Well,
Annis Ferguson out in DuBois, Indiana can save you the trip
to town for a replacement the next time that happens to
you. Heat the blade of an old table knife—Annis keeps one
handy just for this repair job—and lightly rub the tool's
flat side back and forth over the break. You may have to
reheat the knife a few times and repeat the rubbing more
than once, but done properly, this repair work can
stretch a lot more service out of any leaking plastic
Bathtub Clothes Washer
On those occasions when there's wash to be done and no way
to get to the coin laundry (or the old wringer is
temporarily out of commission), take a tip from Gail Rush
of Kamuela, Hawaii. Gail gets her young'uns into the act by
filling the bathtub with water, soap, and clothes, and then
turning the children loose to jump and stomp around to
their hearts' content.
And, If you usually have trouble gotten' your little ones
to pitch in with the chores, this Is one job that they'll
surely accept gladly ... In fact, you might have trouble
gettin" em to stop!
Skin Care Formula
If you're plagued by hard-to-heal skinned knuckles,
fissured fingertips, and other such minor cuts and
scrapes—the telltale signs of hardworking hands—Sherwin
Kelley of Bentonville, Virginia has an old farm recipe that
he'd like to share.
Mix 2 ounces of "green" (liquid antiseptic) soap, 2 ounces
of plain glycerin, and 4 ounces of bay rum (an old-timey
after-shave lotion)—all available from most drugstores—and
pour the concoction into a clean plastic shampoo bottle
with a flip-up spout for handy dispensing.
Rub the ointment into your hands well, and by morning
the smaller nicks will have healed and the larger wounds
will be protected by a soft covering of "skin." Continued
application of the salve will prevent the formation of hard
scabs, which are easily cracked or prematurely knocked
"I've been using and recommending this skin-care formula
for nigh onto ten years now," claims Sherwin Kelley,
"and so far my liniment's success rate Is 100%."