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.

| September/October 1988

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    Summer's over, winter's coming. Autumn chores keep homesteads humming.

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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

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.

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