These sayings are taken from Shenandoah Voices: Folklore, Legends, and Traditions of the Valley by late historian and author John Heatwole. I also threw in some cures.
If a baby smiles in its sleep, the child is talking to the angels. ~ *My personal favorite.
Rain isn’t far behind when a tree shows the underside of its leaves.~
Count the number of foggy mornings in August and that is how many winter snows there will be.~ I heard this one not long ago and suspect it may be true. I’m also a believer in wooley bears predicting winter…
A new moon with the points up means dry weather, and a moon with the points down means rain will soon fall. ~
If a full moon has a ring around it there will be snow by morning. ~ If the ring is large, the number of stars you count in it will be the number of inches that fall.~ *We say a ring around the moon means rain, or snow, within a few days.
Sheep shearing takes place around the first of May. A cold rain will follow within a few days of shearing called a sheep rain. ~
Horse chestnuts carried in the pocket are thought to ward off rheumatism. ~
Sassafras tea is good to thin the blood. ~
Broth made from the hind legs of mice is good for kidney ailments.~ *Not tried this one. ‘Swamp root’ tea is also recommended for kidney disorders.~ I’ll have to research exactly what swamp root is.
For someone who is weak and recovering from long illness, make them sparrow broth tea. ~ *This supposedly saved my grandmother’s life when she was sick as a child.
Before taking a new baby out for its first ride (this probably applied to a wagon or buggy) the ‘herb lady’ rubbed warm bear grease on one of the infant’s palms and the bottom of the opposite foot thus insuring that the baby was protected from the rigors of the journey.
A hog’s tooth carried in your right pocket will ward off toothache.~ *Maybe I should take up this one.
Catnip tea was made for children with colic.~ Tea from peppermint leaves will stop a stomachache.~ *These are still practiced.
Sage tea will keep a woman’s hair from turning gray prematurely.~
Treat measles with sheep manure that has been boiled, strained, and diluted with moonshine.~ *I assume with enough moonshine the patient didn’t notice the manure so much.
Freckles on the face can be washed away on the first of May. If they are washed in morning dew, they will be transferred to the hands which can be dried on another less visible part of the body like the arms or legs and left there permanently. It’s recommended that this practice be repeated for three years in a row to work. ~
When mumps invade your house put hog manure on the throat as a relief or cure. ~ *Considering the stench of hog manure, I doubt the sufferer would find much relief.
And I could go on, but this is enough for now. Well, maybe one more. “To get rid of warts, tie a knot in a string for each wart you have and bury it under rock. When the string rots the wart will be gone. ~
*Photographs of the valley and mountains by my talented husband and mother. Bottom pic is of a tiny log chicken/hog barn. I should add former as it appears abandoned and a wet weather creek runs right under it.