Old Ranch Remedies, Wisdom, And Cowboy’s Wives’ Tales

All other recipes including your personal favourite and any seasonal tips to share

Old Ranch Remedies, Wisdom, And Cowboy’s Wives’ Tales

Postby Chuckwagon » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:05 am

Old Ranch Remedies, Wisdom, And Cowboy’s Wives’ Tales

As I reflect upon more pleasant earlier days growing up on a working ranch, my memories include lots of interesting home remedies. Activities such as soap-making, beer brewing, and mushroom canning, are a few favorites but I must also include a few lesser-known, two hundred-year-old remedies and recipes you may enjoy reading for amusement. All have actually been either printed or handed down, although I really wouldn’t try potassium cyanide on insects or egg yolks on a snakebite!

Don't throw out orange skins! Boil them and use the water for bathing as it gives a fresh appearance to the complexion - so vitally important to horse wranglers, cow kickers, and polecats. If you happen to receive a blackened eye as the consequence of an inappropriate discretion or indecorous behavior, bathe the area with very warm orange water, apply raw beef steak to the affected area, and terminate any indiscreet, indecent, unwholesome, or bawdy demeanor or licentious comportment. If you're just worried sick about the whole thing and have acquired a splitting headache, try a teaspoon of charcoal in half a glass of water.

Revitalize any hair you have remaining upon your scalp by pouring one pint of boiling water into one ounce of oil of tar. Stir the mixture, allow it to cool, skim the liquid and pour it through a piece of cheesecloth. Add bay rum to infuse a milky appearance. Add half an ounce of extract of burdock root, and one half drachum of tincture of lobelia. Brush the scalp thoroughly every day and apply the renewer.

A good hard soap is made of six pounds of sol soda, six pounds of lard, three pounds of limestone and four gallons of soft water. Dissolve the lime and soda in boiling water, stir it frequently, and then allow it to settle. Pour off the liquid carefully, add the lard, and boil the mixture until it thickens. Stir in one-ounce sassafras oil and use the soap for laundry and toiletry purposes. If you happen to receive a rattlesnake bite while preparing the soap, make a stiff paste of egg yolk and table salt, applying it to the wound at once.

Treat a rusty nail injury by smoking the wound over the fumes of burning woolen cloth, wool, or sugar, fifteen minutes for the reduction of pain. As you most likely will pass out from the odor within the first five minutes, it will not be necessary to use a timing device.

For tired, burning feet, remove those tight riding boots and soak your feet fifteen minutes nightly in a pint of bran mixed with an ounce of bicarbonate of soda and a gallon of hot water. The pores of the skin being tightly enclosed cause feet to perspire less, producing a burning sensation. On the other hand, it just might be a good idea to leave your boots on your feet, as I've seen cowboy's perspiration-soaked socks actually start stampedes of cattle!

A solution of cyanide of potassium will kill insects, however, my favorite home brewed, eco-friendly, bug-killing spray for plants is a pureed mixture of 3 onions, 1 whole garlic, 2 tablespoons hot red pepper, and 1 tablespoon baking soda, mixed with a quart of soapy water.

"Sunrise Skin Scrub"
(Quality Bathing Soap)

1 can lye
3 pt. cold water
5-1/2 lbs. clean strained lukewarm fat
(yummy - yummy!)
2 cups oats (pulverized)
4 heaping tblspns. borax
2 oz. glycerin
orange or vanilla extract

Pour the lye into the cold water while heating the mixture. When the water is lukewarm, pour in the grease slowly, stirring constantly. Process the oats in a food processor then add them to the borax, glycerin, and orange extract. Stir the mixture into the grease-water slowly for 15 minutes using a long wooden spoon. Pour the soap mixture into a shallow pan and allow it to "set". When the soap become firm, cut it into cakes.

Best wishes, Chuckwagon
If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it probably needs a little more time on the grill.
Registered Member
Posts: 642
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:14 am
Location: Rocky Mountains


Postby steelchef » Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:21 am


I'm only 65, how old are you? Awesome memories! I remember my Nana putting a poulctice on my foot after stepping on a nail. Yellow bar laundry soap and brown sugar. I could feel the anesthetic effect right away and survived the experience without infection. There are many of these hilarious ideas that actually work.
Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.
User avatar
Registered Member
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:17 am
Location: Fort St John British Columbia

Return to Cookery in general

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest