Sunday, October 16, 2011

Old Sayings and Remedy's - Tyler County, Texas

Payton and Iva Butler Brown in Goose Creek

These are some of the "Old Sayings and Remedy's" of Iva Butler Brown Gray that relate to the weather and raising cattle.   Kenneth Brown, my neighbor and helper here at the ranch, shared these writings of his mother with me this week. 

Iva was born Oct. 13, 1905 in Colmesneil, Texas, and lived to age 95, passing away in 2001.  In April of 1999 she wrote down several pages of old sayings and remedies learned both from her own life experiences, and passed down from her family.  

1)  "The first 12 days after Christmas day are called 'The Old 12 Days' and the kind of weather can be determined by the 12 days representing the next 12 months of the New Year."

2)  "Thunder in February means frost on that day in April (or real cool)."

3)  "Aunt Frankie Gregory (my Mother's sister) always said that between eleven and 2 o'clock you could tell what the weather would do."

4)  "My Grandparents (Allen's) thought March 13th best to plant pepper seed and the 17th of September best day to plant fall turnip seed and start Fall garden."

5)  "Butcher cattle and hogs on the full moon to have good meat to eat."

6)  "Brand cattle on decrease of the moon and the brand won't grow large."

7)  " 'Mark' cattle or hogs when the moon signs are 'in the knees' (1) and they won't bleed but very little."

8)  "Wean calves or children when the signs are 'in the knees'(1), they won't grieve for their mothers or cry much."

9)  "Boil red oak bark or blackberry roots and give the liquid to calves or horses.  This will stop diarrhea in calves or horses."

10)  "For food poison in cattle - Mix 1/2 lb Epsom salts, 1/2 lb soda, 3 Tablespoons ginger, put in bottle, add enough water to make a pint and drench (several times)."

Waxing Crescent Moonshot I took a couple years back. . . .
(1) The moon is "in the knees" when it is in the sign of Capricorn, per the Farmer's Almanac .  "Each day of the month is said to be ruled by one of the twelve signs of the zodiac.  Each sign appears at least once a month for a period of two or three days." (See Hendry County Horticultural News  )   Consult the online Farmer's Almanac current Zodiac Calendar if you'd like to start planting, branding, harvesting, etc... by the daily changes in the planets and the moon.

And Iva finished up her list of sage advice with these two old sayings to live by that most readers will be familiar with:

** "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches."
** "An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure."

And I was happy to see two recipes included, one for cake and one for pecan pie -- certainly two staple sweets in the kitchens of bygone days in Southeast Texas.

"This is Grandmother Butler's cake recipe."

2 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Butter (or shortening)
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Bake at 350 degrees until done.
This is a recipe for "Good Pecan Pie", Mrs. Gray doesn't tell us what temperature or how long to cook it, but I'd imagine you can bake it at 350 degrees until done as well.

1 Cup White Corn Syrup
3 Eggs
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Pecans ("I chop mine")
1 teaspoon Vanilla

 . . . . My thanks to Kenneth Brown for agreeing to let me share these old sayings passed down to him from his mother.