Adages & Wives Tales

Welcome to Adages and Wives Tales.  I thought it would be fun to add more humor and some bits of old wisdom to my website.  Growing up on 80-acres in Wisconsin was tons of fun, but there was always something my parents (especially our mom) were always trying to embed in our heads.  Some of the phrases were for our own safety:

  • Keep crossing your eyes like that they will stay that way.
  • You fall off there and break your neck, I won’t take you to the doctor.
  • Don’t go outside with your hair wet, you’ll catch a cold (more like it would freeze solid, break off and create major split-ends.).

Then there were the really goofy ones that I still use today (no, I do not believe in them- maybe):

  • Right palm itching you will receive money. Left palm itching you will lose money.
  • Right ear ringing, someone is talking nice about you, left is bad (guess which one of mine rings more?).
  • Drop a piece of silverware, companies coming (ok, so what if its one of those days and I am dropping EVERYTHING?? More company? Bad Company? No Company?)

Then there are the ones that I want to try to gather.  The ones that are related to gardening.  Some of these I have tried and still use.  Some are just plain silly, but worth the note.


  1. Bee and/or Wasp sting: Quickly wet some dirt and create a mud pack.  Place it on the sting to take the pain away.  I have also heard that a teabag (wet of course) works also.  But since I am usually in the dirt already when it happens, mud is my first pick.
  2. Sliver or splinter: Mom used to shred up raw potato and place it on the area with a band-aid. Then the next morning she would peel it all off and swore the splinter came out in the potato.  I don’t remember if it did or didn’t, but I am sure that letting it fester does work.  I let it work up over night and the next morning I will use a pin or needle to pop it open and the sliver shoots right out.  Wash with soap and water good and douse with peroxide and I am good to go.
  3. Bad scalp: I have done this tons of times.  Douse my head in mayonnaise and then cover it with a shower cap (keeps the heat in).  Leave it on for at least 30-minutes.  Take cap off and wash hair as normal.  Don’t really know if it helps with dandruff or lice (one such claim?) but it does make my hair softer and easier to manage.
  4. Sore throat: Now I am sure this one works (ha ha) 1-tablespoon of honey, 1-tablespoon of lemon juice and 1-shot of whiskey.  Suck it all down at one try.  Don’t know if it is the reason my sore throat left or if it just got scared?  I have rubbed Vicks Vapor Rub on my throat then wrapped it up with a thick sock for the night.  Usually by morning the vapors and warmth have chased the pain away.
  5. Wart Removal: (This one I love) Rub a dried bean on the ward and bury it in the ground. By the time it rots, the wart is gone.  (Let me know when you stop giggling – took me a while.)
  6. Treat Acne: (WARNING: This one is just gross!) Catch the morning pee of a pregnant cow and dab it on face and anywhere else needed.  Leave dry for 15 minutes and rinse. (NO – NO – NO!!!)
  7. Burns: Excluding massive ones here – we are just talking minor like grabbing a hot pan.  Our mom always shoved fresh butter all over it.  It seemed to feel better, but it may just have been the time that passed.  Now we use Aloe Vera.  This one has been proven to help and smells better.
  8. Love this: When planting seeds, always put three in a hill – One for the good, One for the crow, and One to grow.
  9. Row should run North to South. We have tried that, east to west, NE to NW, SE to SW and every which way but loose.  Pretty sure it’s the soil and the care and not the direction?
  10. Grey Hair:  I am sure this one is true – Pull a single grey hair out and two will grow back in its place.  My head is now proof of this.
  11. Vision: Eat more carrots.  I prefer to believe this one to be true (I know it’s not), but I have found that as you age, there is something in carrots that does not sit as well in my belly as it used to.  Nor does it for my sister and she is more gassie than I am and when she has raw carrots, I have to leave the room – NASTY!
  12. Cutting Hair: We have been doing this since we were kids.  I don’t remember if it came from mom or someone else, but if you trim your hair on a full moon night, it will grow faster.  Looking at my sister’s hair (which she has let grow since she was a kid) it must work.
  13. Cracking Knuckles leads to Arthritis: Pretty sure this one is true too.  I did it constantly when I was a kid.  Now my middle knuckles on all my fingers are huge and sore most of the time.  Then again, it does run in the family?
  14. Feed a Cold, starve a Fever: or is it starve a cold feed a fever? I have no clue on this one anymore.  I just eat if I’m hungry and don’t if I feel like throwing up.
  15. Toads cause warts: Boy am I in big trouble. Every summer we get tons of toads in our front yard pond.  Everyone else is a big sissy about picking them up out of the water except me.  I would rather pull out a live one than a dead one – they are nasty.
  16. Plant Rosemary for luck: You are supposed to put it by your garden gate.  Well, I tried but the darn thing didn’t like it there.  So, I put it in the greenhouse.  It loved the greenhouse but brought on a tornado to take the roof – so who is lucky?
  17. Less Bitter Cucumber: I personally do this all the time.  I cut off the end and rub the exposed inner flesh with the tips of the two parts.  Have no clue where I got this one from, but it is supposed to pull the bitterness out of the cucumber.  I like to believe it works – but no proof.  Then again certain breeds of cucumbers never seem to be bitter – you decide.
  18. Talk to your plants: This is supposed to make them happier and grow better.  Don’t know if it does or doesn’t do all that, but I love talking and singing to them anyway.  As-long- as I have brushed my teeth and don’t breathe dragon breath on them, I think they will be ok.
  19. Plant potatoes on Good Friday: This one is just weird.  Good Friday bounces from late March to the middle of April so what kind of gardening tip is that?  If it has been warm here, we will plant late March and cover with a heavy mound of straw (insulation).  If we ran out of time, we try to make sure they are in by mid-April as they are slow, long growers.
  20. Good Luck: This one has to be the four-leaf clover.  Many beautiful summer afternoons were spent on the ground with our Irish mother searching through a clover patch for that elusive four-leaf beauty.  I have no clue how many of them we pressed in big books, but I’d be willing to bet that some are still in them.