Down-Home Country Lore: Free Children's Clothing, Raising Frogs and More

Learn some great tips for homesteading, including keeping pests away, protecting seedlings and more.

| May/June 1982

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    Keep beneficial frogs around by raising them from tadpoles.
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    Give children continued enjoyment by letting them get creative with broken toys.

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Learn some of the best tricks and tips of MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers.

Free Children's Clothing

School will soon be out for the summer in most places, and now's the perfect time to pick up a free supply of children's clothing. Pearl Zank visits her neighborhood elementary school every spring and requests all the unclaimed garments from the lost-and-found department. The "orphans" usually include sweaters, jackets, caps, mittens, boots and more (Pearl has all the items thoroughly cleaned before using them). The Rushland, Penn., reader reports that she's kept her youngest child well dressed for six years by using this method.

Raising Frogs

"No matter how many times I tried to encourage frogs to homestead under flowerpots or boards in my garden, the hoppers all moved away," Sylvia Lucas wrote from Montevallo, Ala. "I finally solved that problem, however, by raising my own frogs. I took a child's wading pool, covered the bottom with soil, rocks, and a board or two and adopted some tadpoles from a nearby stream. My children were fascinated by watching the wigglers turn into tiny frogs, and many of the critters stayed around to keep my garden pests under control and raise another generation of frogs."

Keeping Pests Away

To keep varmints out of the roof rafters of your barn or chicken coop, just run a wire along the center of each joist, two or three inches above the wood. Then the animals won't be able to walk on the beams according to Richard Anderson of Port Angeles, Wash.

Making Discount Baby Blankets

Having been out of the "baby needs" market for over eight years, Jim and Donna Carmean were shocked — when shopping in preparation for the arrival of their third child — to discover how expensive infant items had become. Small flannel receiving blankets, for instance, were priced at $6.00 apiece. Well, Donna found a way around that expense by cutting one standard-sized flannel sheet into four equal sections. She crocheted a finished edge around all four sides of each quarter (if you don't crochet, try simply sewing a blanket stitch border), and then attached a small animal appliqué in one corner. Since the Grayling, Mich., resident paid only $8.00 for the sheet, she got four extra-large baby blankets at $2.00 each or one-third the price of the ready-made variety.

Getting Inexpensive Lime For Gardening

If your garden needs lime (and most do), Steve Morse of Columbia, Ken., knows a way to get some inexpensively. Instead of purchasing bags of the soil nutrient, Steve takes a trash can to a nearby quarry and shovels his own. The going rate for such lime is about $4.00 a ton, but Steve says the fellow at the gate lets him take his "puny" canful for free! [EDITOR'S NOTE: Be sure to test your soil before spreading the lime and to add the substance gradually, being careful not to overcompensate for a small pH imbalance. ]


Fermentation Frenzy!

September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pa

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


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