Floor Waxing, Chicken Catching, and Other Country Lore

A New York woman who turned floor waxing into a party for neighborhood kids and a Connecticut man who created a hook for chicken catching are among contributors to this ongoing country lore feature.

| September/October 1979

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    A Connecticut homesteader improvised this gaff for chicken catching.
  • 059-country-lore-work-clothes.jpg
    A Wisconsin reader concluded that work clothes, when purchased new in the fall, would be maximally effective during winter weather yet broken-in and breathable during the summer.

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The following housekeeping tips and other bits of country lore were submitted by readers. 

Floor Waxing Party

If you grit your teeth when it's time to wax and buff those rustic hardwood floors, you might want to try Jan Hume's system: "The Young People's Buffing Party".

"The action starts," says the Warsaw, New Yorker, "after the furniture's all pushed aside and you've laid a milky cloud of new wax across your clean floor. All you do is gather up your young'uns (along with any neighbor children you can get to 'drop over') and have the urchins dress up in woolly socks and broken-in playclothes. Then turn the little folk loose in that waxy room to do all the runnin' and slippin' and slidin' and stompin' and dancin' and rasslin' and carryin' on that you're always telling them NOT to do! The neighboring tykes will pitch right in like Tom Sawyer's cronies, and before long you'll have a human buffer over every comer of the floor.

"The next—and most vital—step," Jan adds, "is to retreat to your kitchen and mix up a batch of cookies and some cocoa. Not only will that task preserve your sanity amid the craziness of the buffing party, but the homemade goodies will likely be the only way to get the youngsters to quit before they wear your floor out!"

Chicken Catching Hook

Roy Millsap's father was tired of trying to catch scampering chickens, so the Oakdale, Connecticut homesteader devised his very own "elusive-egglayer nabber." He simply took a sixfoot length of stiff wire and bent it into a hook shape that slips easily around a bird's scrawny leg, but is too narrow for a fowl's long toes to pull free. So nowadays, when the senior Millsap wants a "Sunday dinner special", he just grabs his nabber, traipses out to the flock, and snares his meal.

Peanut Butter Goat Pills

"After spending two fruitless hours trying to restrain my ornery, worm-ridden goats, I decided to quit giving pills to the animals and try the squirtable paste wormers instead," recalls Sharon Carpenter of Sheridan, Oregon. "Sure enough, the gluey healers were a cinch to administer—just squirt 'em in the critters' mouths and the goats smack their lips—but the medicines were too danged expensive! So now I crush one of the inexpensive tablets into a tablespoon of peanut butter and use that tasty paste instead. I get the best of both worlds: relief from goat-gnawed fingers and a one-tenth-the-cost bargain!"


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