Farming Advice and Folklore: Reviving Tomatoes, Christmas Tree Tonic and Rooster Caplets

Farming advice and folklore from MOTHER and her readers, including reviving supermarket tomatoes, keeping your Christmas tree alive with tonic and making small caplets for rooster combs in cold weather.

| November/December 1987

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    Knowing that garlic repels cats, we placed a few pieces of a fresh, peeled clove under the tree skirt.

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MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers share their farming advice, fun tips and country folklore, including help in cold winter months, including reviving tomatoes from the supermarket, a Christmas tree tonic and rooster caplets for cold weather. 

Farming Advice and Folklore: Reviving Tomatoes, Christmas Tree Tonic and Rooster Caplets

Winter Wisdom

Ice storms are fairly common here in the Northeast. After a particularly fierce one, I awoke the next morning to a beautiful frosty world. Crystals glistened on the limbs of trees, atop power lines and fences . . . and in the locks of my car doors. For two hours I laboriously followed the advice of sympathetic neighbors: Heat the key, squirt graphite into the lock, spray in rubbing alcohol, melt the ice with a hair dryer. Finally, one of these methods (or perhaps a combination of them) worked. But I got an idea from one neighbor who bemoaned the fact that cars no longer come equipped with little metal tabs protecting the locks. I now carry a roll of masking tape in my car, and whenever the weather threatens, I stick a small piece of tape over each lock and haven't had a problem since.

—Jean Schuler
Whitestone, New York

Salad Surprise

At summer's end I can the last of our wonderful vine-ripened tomatoes; after that our fresh salads have to make do with pale, tasteless tomatoes from the supermarket. That is, they did till I made an accidental discovery. One evening, as I was using my canned tomatoes in a casserole, I decided to see what would happen if I poured the juice over those bland wedges awaiting the salad greens. It was amazing. After about 15 minutes the cold-storage tomatoes tasted like they were fresh from a sunny garden.

—Bettye Kelly
Kingsville, Texas

Score One for the Birds

My mother figured how to keep squirrels off the bird feeder. She took a length of heavy wire, strung it with empty thread spools and stretched it between two trees. The feeder hangs in the middle, and no animal can walk across those spinning spools.


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