Country Living  CHANNELS 
Archives By Location
Archives By Category
Community Reports
Archives By Specialty
Rural Folklore
By Tim Reid
he more time one spends in the rural community, the more folklore one is apt to hear.  From sound general philosophy right down to somewhat sadistic home remedies.

These come to light, for example, if buddy borrows your pocket knife.  If it is sharp he is apt to say nothing.  If it is dull you will hear "a man's witts reflect on the edge of his knife blade."  God forbid you get called dull-witted.  Hence the near phobic condition caused by getting this quoted to you.  Every knife I possess, up to and including butter knives and letter openers, - you can shave with them.

Or, the one about a man's work habits getting judged by the neatness of his wood pile.  Anywhere else it's penis envy; here it's wood pile envy.  This is where all get put under a microscope.  So I have to keep impeccable wood piles with dove tailed ends lest I be judged to have sloppy work habits.

Then we get the ever helpful reminders like "don't plant your corn until the leaves of a poplar tree are the size of a squirrel's ear."  (I wonder if that's a Canadian or a European squirrel's ear?)

And then there are the home remedies, some of which I have had, and some not.  My grandmother's favorite was goose grease.  This was a cure-all for sore throats, congestion, burns, you name it!  One dared not complain as that was a sure fire trip out to the wood shed.  A sore throat was rubbed with goose grease and wrapped up with a wool scarf.  That was a sure way of getting rid of it in a hurry.  This not only itched badly but smelled worse.

Now, if the problem was a coughing fit due to a cold, you were given one tablespoon of coal oil mixed with sugar, and quilts and comforters were heaped on your bed and you'd sweat it out.  I don't know if the coal oil had any medicinal value, but it sure stopped the coughing.  I think this was due to the fear of getting another spoonful.

I, for one, say that I am glad mustard plasters, poultices, and goose grease have gone the way ofthe model T.  All the remedies I need now are on the drugstore shelves.

Q & A

Only with lots of love will we be able to go across the deserts of the soul. 
Quote of the week
From my spouse, my inspiration, Javi.
This week's question comes from Brad in Sharbot Lake

Dear Tim:

During the cold snap our water lines froze up.  We have a jet pump in the basement. It has never frozen up like this before so we are not sure what to do in order to prevent it from happening again.

Dear Brad:

Due to the lack of a ground cover, a lot of people's lines have been freezing.  The first thing you do is check the one-quarter inch line between your switch and gauge.  If it tells you (by crackling) it's frozen you have to thaw that line out with warm water or, if you can, a hair dryer.  You then wrap the exposed lines with heat tape.  That usually solves the problem.  Leave the heat tape on all winter.  If your well can take it, leave your tap on all night at a dribble.

This month's raspberry award goes to Bill Clinton for his Don't Ask Don't Tell policies.

The farmer's salute goes to Captain Marcel for helping keep our country ours.  Well done, Sir.

Tim Reid is Ex- Canadian Navy and lives with his spouse on a small mixed farm in Hastings County.  He may be contacted at or by letter mail at RR2 Gilmour, Ontario, Canada.  KOL 1W0.