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  • Texas | Columns | "It's All Trew"

    Homemade remedies
    got the job done

    by Delbert Trew
    Delbert Trew

    In days of old, long before the many sprays, powders and pills of modern-day agriculture, old-timers used what was at hand to combat cut worms, borers, beetles, termites, mites and ticks. Here are a few remedies I have encountered:

    The milky-white effluent left over after making acetylene gas, (think early gas lights and welders) from carbide worked great for pouring around the bases of fruit trees to keep the ground-crawling creepies from entering the bark. Both the slight odor and slick hard surface acted as a deterrent to most bugs.

    Another remedy that was economical and efficient was to take a small square of home-made lye soap, drill a small hole through the middle and nail it on the tree. The rains and dews melted the soap and coated the tree trunk below with just enough gunk to keep the insects away.

    Most old-timers remember helping with the laundryand seeing a bright blue dye added to a tub of water to "make white clothes whiter." I still don't understand how this works though I helped my mother many times.

    The old expression of "lit a shuck out of here" came from the time before lanterns and flashlights when someone went to visit a neighbor at night. To help light the way they made a torch of corn shucks and held it aloft to provide light.

    When old-timers, especially cowboys said, "I love bear sign," really means he loves doughnuts. The term originated because bear poop often resembles doughnuts. Chuck wagon and other cooks often made doughnuts using sour-dough batter and adding sugar, cinnamon and maybe raisins.

    Here are a few old sayings that are good advice still today: "A bargain is a transaction in which each party thinks he has out-traded the other." "Everybody gives pleasure at some time. Some by arriving and some by leaving."

    "Never ask a barber if you need a haircut." "A clear conscience is often the sign of a poor memory." Advice to the married: "Sometimes it pays to be a little deaf." "No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes." "If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular." "Nightshirts are usually a waste of time." "Never question your wife's judgement. Look who she married."

    "Raising teenagers is like nailing Jello to a tree." "When troubles occur, take it like a man. Blame it on your wife." "By the time I finally found time to have a mid-life crisis, I didn't have the energy and had lost the directions."


    Delbert Trew -
    August 2 , 2011 column
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    "It's All Trew"
    Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by email at trewblue@centra media.net. For books see delberttrew.com. His column appears weekly.
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