I recently returned from the Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City, South Dakota, where I visited with many ranchers and farmers over the nine days. I was asked to repeat the following ‘MOTHER-UP’ concoctions from last year by a cattle man preparing for calving season.


Shared by a rancher last year:
“An inexpensive ‘MOTHER-UP’ for cattle is plain old VAPORUB; Vicks is one of the brand names, but I’ve used the cheap generic brands and those seems to work just as well. They both work due to the menthol in the rub. I rub some on the back of the calf, around it’s ears and around the tail. Then, I stuff as much as I can up the cow’s nose (this part is done in the head catch). I put them in a dark pen back in the corner of the barn, and have had over 20 cows take calves that wouldn’t have any other way.”
Another one was suggested a couple of years ago and folks said it works well and isn’t as hard to get on the cow (which could be important if she’s ‘on the fight’). The cowboy who told me this one said: “I go to yard sales or thrift stores and buy up partly used bottles of ladies perfume. I then mix a couple of the scents and smear them on the cow’s nose and on the calf. If you use a different mixture for each pair, the cows don’t get confused. It does work!"

(I would think that either one of these would work just as well for baby lambs, goats, or even colts.)

Bum Calf Feeding Solution
We also had a suggestion about feeding a calf on the bottle when it didn’t want to cooperate.  The lady said to just put some molasses on the nipple with your fingers and then put a little bit of the sweet stuff right in the calf’s mouth and they will go right to sucking.

(I also am personally in favor of used playpens for keeping said critters confined when they are in the house.  A pad of old newspapers works pretty well to soak up any ‘backside’ output from the critters.)

Freezing Celery And Parsley

(This was a new one for me!)

I’ve just discovered that one can freeze celery–the same as you do parsley–which I’ve done for years. Simply cut the celery into small pieces and put it in an old ice cube tray, cover with water and then let it freeze solid.  Then, take the cubes out and store them in a plastic freezer bag. You can add the celery to any soup or stew simply by adding the frozen cubes. I’ve also added it around the roast beef when I added the carrots, onions and potatoes.

You can also freeze that half jar of pimentos that didn’t get used up.  Simply freeze them in the jar they came in, because there is enough air space that the lid isn’t going to buckle. My expensive peppers are ready for the next use this way. –submitted by AS, AZ

‘Tangle Tamer’ For Man Or Beast
 Use equal parts of the cheapest possible hair conditioner, white vinegar and water to tame tangles for show animals, kids hair or even a doll’s hair that needs de-tangled.
–submitted by LJ, MN

Good Wasp Killer Spray
To kill wasps in their nests, mix 1 cup BLUE powdered laundry detergent with 3 cups of warm water, mix well and spray the nests early in the morning or late in the evening when the adults are back in the nest. The wasps in the nest will die immediately.
–submitted by KL, SD

(This hint was shared by a young man who uses this every year, but his mother mixes up the detergent/water solution and he didn’t know the name , only that it is blue. I intend to try this this spring; one of my son’s is terribly allergic to wasp stings.)


Pet Marking Stains
To keep a male dog from marking a spot on a floor or wall, spray a little water on the spot and then dust well with black pepper. The pepper will keep them from returning to that spot.
–submitted by JH, SD

(Another lady said to keep tom cats from spraying on the side of her house, she loaded a spray bottle with hot pepper sauce mixed with a little water and sprayed the side of her house with that. She said that the smell and the sting of the ‘hot’ ingredient in the sauce sends the critters elsewhere.)


Good General Cleaner
Mix the following things together to make a really wonderful general cleaner that works–and is cheap.

  • 4 ounces Dawn dish detergent
  • 4 ounces white vinegar
  • 4 ounces hot water

Good for cleaning almost anything that needs scrubbing. –submitted by GR, MD

Ironing Spray
Mix together one cup of water, 10 drops of essential oil and one ounce of vodka to use as a spray when you iron clothes.
–submitted by VM, SD

(I asked about the combination and she said that the vodka kills any musty/stale smell on clothing.)


Poison Ivy Rash Healer
A lady from Hot Springs, SD shared that she used a lather made from the old laundry standby FELS NAPTHA LAUNDRY BAR to heal the rash from a bad case of poison ivy.  She said she had been to the doctor and the medication given to her just wasn’t doing any good, and in fact, it was getting worse until an elderly friend told her about the soap lather.  She said she just spread the lather over the rash and let it dry. It took a couple of days, but the itching quit and the rash went away.

READERS: If you have tips or ideas to share, send them to Pennywise, Box 518, Kadoka, SD 57543 or email them to [email protected]

P.S.: Please be sure to mention the "Farm And Livestock Directory" when you respond!