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Farming Advice and Folklore: Thermostats, Roofing Shingles and Soothing Honey

Farming advice and folklore from MOTHER and her readers, including lowering the thermostat, roofing shingles for snow traction, using honey to sooth a cough and more.

| November/December 1986

  • Reminder to turn down thermostat
    I made a key holder out of scrap wood and some hooks and hung it right next to the thermostat. Now the last one out grabs the car keys and turns down the heat.

  • Reminder to turn down thermostat

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their farming advice, fun tips and country folklore, including a reminder to lower the thermostat, roofing shingles used for snow traction in snowdrifts or icy spots, honey as a natural cough suppressant and more. 

MOTHER's Country Farming Advice and Folklore

Key Reminder

Here's one for the forgetful people who, like my wife and me, can't remember to lower the thermostat when they leave the house for work. I made a key holder out of scrap wood and some hooks (you could buy one, of course) and hung it right next to the thermostat. Now the last one out grabs the car keys and turns down the heat. We save on fuel bills and misplace the keys less often, too. — Thomas J. Boucher, Troy, New York  

Draft Dodgers

My husband discovered a no-cost way to stop winter drafts from entering the house through wall outlets. Using the wall plates as templates, he cuts rectangles out of plastic-foam egg carton tops, trimming each piece 1/8 inch smaller on all sides than the plate. These insulators fit snugly over the exposed receptacles. The plates are screwed back on, and when a plug is needed, the prongs easily pierce the foam. — Lyrea Hughes, Pipe Creek, Texas  

Four-Shingle Drive

I keep four four-foot-long roofing shingles in my car all year round, just so I'll never be caught in a snowdrift or an icy spot without any means of traction. It's easy to slide two tire-width-wide shingles — abrasive side up — under each of the drive wheels for eight feet of no-skid pull. The shingles can be stored in a small space and are light enough for anyone to use . . . and no instructions are needed. — Donald T. Bailey, Los Lunas, New Mexico  

It's an Ice Idea

Through the winter, I set waxed milk cartons full of water outside to freeze. As freezer-stored food is used up, I fill the empty spaces with my "free" ice, thus helping my appliance run more economically. In the summer, as we again stock the freezer with garden produce, the ice is brought out for making hand-cranked ice cream, for keeping coolers cool, and for icing beverages. — Ruth F. Jacobs, Hilliard, Ohio  

Wood Wounds

My husband and I often forget to wear gloves when we cut and carry wood for our stove, so we get a lot of splinters. He taught me to put tincture of iodine on the general area of the splinter; the antiseptic stains the sliver, making it easier to see and remove. — Mrs. Gordon Grant Jr., Kintnersville, Pennsylvania  

4/1/2014 5:30:14 AM

Donald T. Bailey was absolutely correct when he stated the shingles are easily stored and light enough for anyone to use. This suggestion isn't just folklore; people in cold enough climates use old roofing shingles to help add weight to their vehicle. The use of roofing shingles is common because poor roofers tend to overestimate the materials needed for the job, wasting money. Now, if you had a doing your roof, you would probably have to go back to using spare sandbags instead or roofing shingles to get traction in the snow.

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