Sitting on the porch in your rocking chair and watching the fireworks over the lake…. Life is good. What could be better?
Nothing is better – unless you happen to have a “creepy rocker” – one that moves forward across the floor as you rock.
If you don’t pay attention, you can knock against the table holding your glass of lemonade, or rock across the dog’s tail, or even creep right off the porch.
A remedy is needed – and that can be found in the 1941 “Watkins Household Hints” book. It suggests gluing or tacking a small piece of felt to the bottom of each rocker to prevent creeping.
Lemonade would be the perfect accompaniment to relaxing in the rocking chair. The Watkins book suggests sweetening the lemonade by dissolving sugar in a little hot water and cooling the water before adding it to the lemon juice.
In this way less sugar will be needed. The mixture is sweetened more efficiently.
Limes can be substituted for lemons, but this fruit will lose its flavor when it turns yellow. Limes are perishable and must be kept in the refrigerator, according to this Watkins’ hint.
Sandwiches prepared in advance for a picnic can be kept fresh by wrapping them in waxed paper. Next wrap each one in a moist napkin. Finally, wrap them in a dry cloth until serving time.
Summer, of course, is the time to travel or to go camping.
If camping is involved, sleeping bags can be carefully washed in lukewarm water and soap flakes. A thorough rinsing is necessary before the sleeping bag is rolled into a bath towel to remove excess water.
It should then be reshaped and left to dry. Finally the ribbon binding can be pressed through damp cheesecloth with a moderately hot iron.
The source of milk and drinking water should always be known when you travel, the book reminds you. If the purity is questionable, boil the liquid.
For a day’s outing, the milk or water can be carried in a thermos.
“Watkins Household Hints” found many other summertime problems to address – the bites of dogs and cats, of snakes, and of spiders.
The pain from a bee sting could be relieved by pulling out the stinger and adding a drop or two of diluted ammonia water to the wound. A cold compress kept moist should help.
Finally oiled paper or a piece of oilcloth over a bandage should be used to keep out the air and heal the sting.
The itching of mosquito bites could be eased by household ammonia and a dusting of talcum powder.
And poison ivy? Before going into the woods, wash the skin with a 5 percent solution of ferrous sulphate in a half and half mixture of alcohol. A little glycerin should be added. The mixture makes poison ivy harmless.
The book has numerous suggestions for dealing with sunstroke, prickly heat, and sunburn.
There is also a lengthy section dealing with summertime heat in general. For example, eat less food, avoid hot drinks, and use a liberal amount of salt.
The best suggestion, however, is one that worked in 1941 and would work in the summer of 2020 as well. “Watkins Household Hints” says, “Do not allow your thoughts to dwell on the heat, be calm, and keep out of the sun.”
Staying calm in these days will probably cure a lot.
In the Eagle’s Eye is sponsored by the Robertson County Historical Society. Call 615-382-7173 for more information.