Monday, January 9, 2017

The things we know and the things that we don’t

The longer I live the more I think of humor as in truth the saving sense.
                                        Jacob August Riis

It is no secret to those of us who write and share our thoughts that life in general, can pull our emotions in every direction. There are many things in this world that can bring you to your knees and make no sense at all. Today, I choose not to write about any of this and will hopefully make someone smile. I think we all need that.

I have continued to share with all of you the skills I have acquired over the years. As a farmer, a machine operator, a real Mrs. Fixit, and most importantly a stubborn but sometimes cheap girl who will always figure out a way to save money and not waste anything you can bet I will try things.

That totally sounds like bragging, doesn’t it?

For a person like me, who grew up in a packed house full of kids and little access to money you certainly do pick up some life skills. My Dad could fix anything with black electrical tape, a piece of wire, a screwdriver, and a hammer. His solutions for things that were needed and broke down were creative, to say the least. I always admired his skills to make things work even though they were not always pretty to the eye. We will call him an artist. He was a brilliant man who could bring anything back to its usefulness. A skill sadly lost to most in this our now disposable world.

My Mom was just as skilled at that whole, "we have no money what can we do" thing. She was a Mom with a house full of kids who constantly had something that needed to be fixed. She turned out to be the woman in the village who knew all those "old wives” cures for anything. We actually called her cures for ailments crazy sometimes but as I think back they did work.  Sulphur and molasses on a spoon were delivered with or without your cooperation (nose holding) every fall and spring. Grit in your teeth on the way to school was the norm. Cod liver oil on a spoon was always a big nose holder event. The invention of the cod liver oil pill was a blessing for those of us who experienced that one. These cures were things passed down for generations. Our family was certainly not the only one. Being the recipient of all of them at one time or another, I do know a thing or two about what not to do and what should have a second look.

Lately, I have had a terrible cold. A hacking cough that came with it has kept me up at night. It is not a pretty thing to neither see nor listen to. Ask My Hero he will tell you that. Not being able to venture out to a drug store I hoped I had a little of my Mom’s medicinal skills in me, so I tried to remember what she would have done.

The first thing our generation does is to pull up Google, oh yes some of you will remember that he or she has always been my “go to” person. After all, I had learned how to operate our backhoe, dry wedding flowers and diagnose my own Jeep problem. It was natural for me to once again hit up Google for advice. It would surely have some of my Mom’s old cures. Someone out there certainly remembers the ingredients to those cold cures. I just knew it. My Mom and my Dad would have loved Google.

Sure enough, there were at least a million hits about old natural cures for colds. Well a couple of them I ruled out right away. I had childhood memories of those cures and wanted no part of them ever again. Memories of mustard plaster and the ensuing burns in the middle of the night. Take my word for it, with a house that had no hot water this had made for a lot of creative ways to get it off me. Onions in a sock around your neck; oh yes my Mom and also my grandmother both liked that one. I thought about it, and that residual aroma that would surely linger long after the cure. Just the thought of onions had me crave a hamburger from the fair, so I scratched that.

I had to narrow the search down so I Googled “Homemade natural cough suppressants.”  Well, most of them called for ginger. After a frantic search of my spice cupboard, I realized that we were out. My Hero suggested a can of ginger ale, thinking that should work. Yes, he is not a doctor, I trusted this Google person more in this case.

I have to tell you I slept pretty well last night. Thanks to Google and a mix mash of ingredients which I had on hand. The best part about Google would be that you can suit your search to what you have on hand, and not on what really works. Take that, as you will.

So, "CHEERS" I do not have any measurements to share with you but the ingredients were Honey, lemon juice, black pepper, and coconut oil. I kind of did a “Mom” thing and made it my own, she would be proud. I warmed it up in the microwave and voila. It was much easier to take than that store bought Buckley’s, and it so far seems to work. You will have to hit up Google yourself if you want the recipe, someone knows. I think this could now be my family secret. Thanks Mom for the inspiration.



  1. All the things that you mentioned - honey, lemon juice, black pepper and coconut oil are indeed good :-)

  2. Hmmmm...sounds interesting! I've never had to have a mustard plaster or onions tied around my neck when I was sick, and I must say I'm thankful for that...but I've also heard how those home remedies can really work. Hats off to your Mom...and to Google! :)

  3. My mom used ginger and molasses and it worked for us. Last year I tried raw sliced onion and kept a little ramekin by my bed side and I chewed on raw onion to stop a nasty cough and that worked too. My daughter the chemist doctor told me of the onion cure.

    I'm glad you slept well. Hope your cold disappears fast.

  4. I love Google! Where else can you find so much diverse wisdom? We grew up with little money but my mother's 'cures' had more to do with, "just buck up and quit whining!" LOL! A cure that I still use for just about anything. However, that doesn't work on bad coughs. I'll try the one you found instead. You comment on the thought of the onion cure reminding you of a hamburger made me laugh out loud!

  5. Hi B, yes you're entirely resourceful in the medical department too :D) Glad you got some relief they can be long nights when you're not well. The memories, and taste, of cod liver oil came straight back to me as I read your blog. Camphor blocks used to be pinned to our singlets too (made for a lumpy chest but I can't remember that ever being an issue).
    I too had a chuckle at your lingering memories of onions in a sock!
    Hugs and I hope you feel much better real soon. Cheers now :D)

  6. I am glad you found something that works. It is nice when we can use our own resources to solve a problem.

  7. I always mix honey, lemon, and a dash of whiskey. Cuts the cough!

  8. The 'old wives tales' are often firmly grounded in reality. Yay for discovering a version which works for you.

  9. Your parent were proud and independent. You've picked up their skills. i went through the same process. Parents had a tough time. Now you tell me how to cure my cold when it's too late. I hope you recover quickly.

  10. Your parent were proud and independent. You've picked up their skills. i went through the same process. Parents had a tough time. Now you tell me how to cure my cold when it's too late. I hope you recover quickly.

  11. B,

    I use Manuka honey, fresh lemon squeezed, and hot water to help get rid of my cough.

  12. What a great post! I went through a few of the same treatments. My Mom used to give me warm milk and honey as a cough suppressant. No, not exactly tough to take, I love it to this day, but it did work. It still makes me want to fall asleep.

  13. Honey lemon whiskey. For a cough honey with garlic cloves summer for 10-15 and cool. A spoonful every hour to begin with. Take good care'😷

  14. Very creative and it worked??

  15. Honey and lemon would probably do the job on its own. If you have fresh or dried thyme on hand you can steep some in hot water to make a tea, then add the honey and lemon to that.
    I'm a fan of crushed garlic in a spoonful of honey for almost anything that has "itis" on the end of it, like bronchitis. "itis" indocates infection and garlic is Nature's own antibiotic and sweeps your system clean.

  16. "indocates"? duh! Indicates, it should be indicates :(

  17. Great post and I pray you will feel much better soon. I need to remember your remedy for a bad cough.

    Love, hugs & prayers ~ FlowerLady

  18. Hope you feel better soon! Isn't it amazing how easy it is to research these days? I well remember the days of searching the card catalog at the library. I have no clue how it works, but I'm sure glad it does.

  19. I might have to try that. I am still fighting the crud from before Christmas :-o.

  20. According to family lore, my mother made a rub using turkey grease and camphor which saved the life of a young cousin. Who knows for sure but there is a lot of home remedies out there to try. Get better soon.

  21. oooooh b, you have great memories and stories to share. our house was held together with bubble gum and duct tape, we still talk about it. now that my dad is gone, the family is certainly finding a lot of those items around the house now!! honey and lemon juice, that i had forgotten about!!!

  22. I remember that our grandmother would take a spoon of mineral oil every night to keep her "system" clean. She lived almost 105 years. I did have a mustard plaster once and started feeling better. Take care and feel better soon

  23. I remember that our grandmother would take a spoon of mineral oil every night to keep her "system" clean. She lived almost 105 years. I did have a mustard plaster once and started feeling better. Take care and feel better soon

  24. I remember a "molasses something" vividly
    but no memory of what for . . .
    I think I still have the bottle of molasses . . . oh my!
    Happy your concoction seems to have worked . . .
    Thank you Google . . .


The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

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