Farming Advice and Folklore: Cleaning Copper, Flood Facts, and Garden Eggshells

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ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
I read Georgiana Kotarski's trick of cleaning copper with lemon and salt in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 97 and just had to write to let you know what we use: catsup!

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their farming advice, fun tips and country folklore, including cleaning copper with catsup, facts about flooding, using eggshells in the garden and more.  

MOTHER’s Country Farming Advice and Folklore

Copper Condiment

I read Georgiana Kotarski’s trick of cleaning copper with
lemon and salt in issue MOTHER EARTH NEWS 97 and just had to write to let you
know what we use: catsup! It’s something we almost always
have on hand, and it’s kept our Revere Ware looking great
for years. — E. Noty, Chicago, Illinois
 

Where’s Mom?

When my children were small, I found that their nap time
was the perfect chance to get chores done around our large
house or out in the garage, garden, etc. However, the kids
were too young to read a note, and I didn’t want them to be
alarmed should they wake up and be unable to find me. So I
made a note board for their bedroom door and found pictures
corresponding to the different places around our home. Then
I’d just post a picture of wherever I planned to work while
the children slept. When they woke up, they knew exactly
where to look for me. It always relieved my mind, and I’m
sure it made them feel more secure, as well. — Harla Estle, Hesston,
Kansas

 

Flood Facts

I’d like to pass on a valuable bit of wisdom I learned
while inspecting homes damaged by the floods in West
Virginia last year. I saw many houses that floated right
off their foundations and others that were done in by the
pressure of rising and then receding water. But I was
puzzled by one house that had survived while those right
next to it were completely destroyed. Then an old-timer let
me in on the secret to saving a home in a flood: Leave your
doors and windows open. Either nail them open or take them
off to let the water get in and out of the structure
easily. Be especially sure to leave any basement doors or
windows open. I also learned that the best time to clean up
after the flood-if you can do so safely-is while the water
is still in the house. That way you can float most of the
mud and debris out along with the receding
floodwater. — Russ Cockburn, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Slick Fix

Ordinary roofing shingles nailed to docks and wooden steps
provide a safe, no-skid surface. They’re designed to repel
water, they don’t cost much, and nowadays they even come in
a variety of colors. — P.J. Parziale, Canoga Park,
California

 

Don’t Tread on Me!

Here’s a money-saving idea I found in a 1948 book of
household hints that my grandmother handed down to
me:
Is the carpet runner on your stairs old and worn? You can
make it look practically new by moving the carpet up or
down half a step. That way the unworn riser sections will
now rest on the steps, and the threadbare spots will be
moved to the risers, where they won’t show as much. — Helen Puls, Canby, Oregon
 

Mormon Tabernacle Dryer

I knew from the awful sound my clothes dryer was making
that it needed some help, but I also knew that I didn’t
want to pay for a house call from a repairperson. Since
machines are often diagnosed by sound, I decided to use my
tape recorder and take my ailing appliance’s symptoms to
the experts, instead. The man at the store (and his
customers) got quite a kick out of it when I came in and
played the tape recorder for him, but he immediately (and,
I might add, quite accurately) identified just which part
was needed. — Christine Scheere, Greeley,
Colorado

 

Eggsorcism

Last year the birds ate every last one of my bean and
cucumber seeds. I wasn’t about to offer them seconds, so
when I replanted, I sprinkled the rows with crushed
eggshells. Not only did they keep the birds away (I don’t
think the little bandits liked the taste or the texture),
but they also marked the rows nicely. — Diane Graves, Waddington, New
York

 

Litter Lore

While most MOTHER readers would never dream of throwing
litter out a car window, I’ll bet most of us are guilty now
and then of tossing such biodegradables as orange peels and
apples cores. Don’t! Free meals attract both wild and
domestic animals to roadsides, and we all know the sad
consequences when automobiles and animals mix. — Leon
Werdinger, Crested Butte, Colorado

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.