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 Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Country cures
tame pesky farm critters

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
Most western people have heard that placing a lariat rope on the ground around your bedroll will keep snakes away.

All my life I have heard this tale but never trusted the saying as the gospel truth because some racers are going too fast to stop at a rope.

No one knows why, but occasionally rats will choose to invade a farm or ranch. As this is definitely a health and safety hazard, every effort should be made at eradication.

A friend near Shamrock suffered such an invasion on his ranch overnight. It was frightening for the family, plus as damage soared, he was at wits end as rat poison would also be dangerous to family pets.

An employee, hailing from another country, solved the problem with a bale of hay, a 2-inch by 2-inch board and a half barrel of water. He placed the half barrel in the barn and filled it about half full of water, then placed the bale of hay nearby. Wedging the board under the bale wires on one end, he extended the board out over the barrel about halfway. The rats ran down the board trying to get a drink of water, fell off into the water and drowned. They buried buckets of dead rats for days before complete eradication.

My mother always stuffed steel wool in every little mouse hole she found. A few years ago we remodeled, and behind nearly every baseboard we found steel wool. Whenever she passed her remedy on to someone else, Dad would always smile and say, "I hold their little legs."

Grandpa and Grandma Trew dipped snuff as long as I can remember. Before planting their garden each spring, they soaked the seeds in "snuff water" overnight to keep the bugs, worms and birds from ruining the seeds. They always had a beautiful garden.

We had a neighbor during the Dust Bowl years who always scattered snuff into his wheat drill seed box to keep the Army worms away from seed after planting. Don't know if it worked, but he believed it faithfully. I have heard that you can mix snuff with water and spray it on plants, shrubs and small trees to keep the deer away.

Ivy Alexander of Lefors, a deceased friend of mine, told of an early day oil-field problem where woodpeckers sometimes pecked holes in the old soft redwood or cypress tank batteries, causing leaks. How this solution was derived I can't imagine, but merely by painting a circle around the pecked place with white paint, the bird would never return.

To stop woodpeckers from pecking holes in your house, a 1980 magazine article says to mix a thin slurry of flour water, add finely chopped jalapeno peppers, chopped cayenne peppers, a small bottle of Tabasco sauce and a touch of turpentine. Paint this mixture around the most vulnerable parts of your house. One peck and the ornery pest will never return.

The article further states that any mixture left over can be used as a dip with chips. It's quite possible this will also keep unwanted guests away from your next party. (NOTE: Don't use too much turpentine in the dip.)


Delbert Trew

"It's All Trew"

June 12, 2007 Column
E-mail: trewblue@centramedia.net.

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