Pat Shingleton: "Spiders, Snakes and a Mustard Plaster..."
At this time of year, spiders and snakes will begin their underground migration. Toads might be a key ingredient in witches’ brew but a healthy toad population is a good sign of low pollution in your backyard. Spiders might be scary Saturday night but are beneficial predators of numerous insects. The venomous species are the black widow, the brown recluse and the hobo. You may hear the howl of a wolf this weekend and the gray wolves are needed predators in balancing the ecosystem. They control deer and other prey populations such as coyotes and raccoons. Finally, a slithering snake is scary but is enormously beneficial to control insects and rodent pests. On now to another item...our grandfather believed that weather patterns caused colds and placed a bowl of apples, onions, and garlic-laced with whiskey-on his nightstand when he experienced chest congestion. Sharing his story with my mom, she laughed when I reminded her of sending us to school with Vick’s Vapor Rub piled on our chest and throat, preventing me from getting a “date.” She shared another application called a “mustard plaster.” This combination included: three tablespoons of flour, a teaspoon of baking soda, two tablespoons of dried mustard and a tablespoon of shortening, butter, lard or Oleo. Mix this with hot water, place some Vaseline on your chest then load the concoction into a piece of muslin or flannelette. I tried this two weeks ago and was asked to immediately remove myself from the bedroom.
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