I can recall Mom talking about some of her homemade remedies from the "old days". She used some of them with us while we were growing up. For example, I can remember when I was stung by a wasp, she would wet some cigarette tobacco and put it on my sting. When one of us got sick with chest congestion, she mixed up a concoction of whiskey, lemon juice and peppermint (seems to me that it did help!). She wrote about some of her grandparents use of "natural" elements for medicine and teas in her memoirs:
Certain tree roots and barks was gather [sic] for medicine. I don't remember the name of any of them but I do remember going to the creek bank with grandma for these things. Grandpa would get wild cherry bark but it would have to come from the north side of the tree. He would make tea with this. He drinked [sic] coffee every morning with red pepper in it. He said it helped him breath better he had asthma. He used mullin tea at night for colds this was gather [sic] out behind the smoke house it was a weed with real fussy [sic] leaves. He used the roots of a sassafras tree to make a drink with.
Everyone is worried about the year 2000. What will happen to the computers, T.V.'s and everything that runs the world. Well in my younger days we didn't have things like that to worry about.
The weather was simple to predict, by the hornet nest where it was low to the ground or high in the tree. A wooley worm or a presimmon [sic]. Cut the seed into if there was the sign of a spoon it would be a warm winter a fork meant a mild winter but a knife means a cutting edge cold winter.
If a woman with children had to go out of the house and there was not an older child to watch the young ones then there was the diaper way to a baby sitter.
Simple, tie a diaper around the child's waist, put the ends of it under the leg of a iron bed leg the baby couldn't go anywhere. But with Alton Mama could put a feather or a glove in the door and he would not go near it.
I can remember sitting in front of a fire place in old straight chairs with my grandma and grandpa roasting peanuts and corn on the cob over the hot coals. This was the place to be on a cold winter day. On days that was not real cold we would gather broom straw to make brooms with for the house Dog wood limbs was used to make yard brooms with.