Dear Readers: Today's Sound Off is about new homes' landscaping:
"This is more grief than anger. It seems that every newly bought home gets raided of its mature trees. Then the owners plant saplings in their place. I wish to appeal to your readers not to kill trees, unless they are diseased.
"It takes a lifetime to grow, and a tree is a beautiful thing to behold."
Margaret in North Little Rock, Ark.
Dear Margaret: Thank you for writing, and I'm with you all the way on this subject. The sad fact is that it's cheaper for builders to clear the property and then build a house than to try to make the house fit on the property. (I got input from my husband, David, a retired contractor, who built our house and did save as many trees close to the house as possible.)
When commerce intersects with nature, sometimes it's not a draw.
Dear Readers: Today's Fast Facts was sparked by a reader letter: "This quandary seems like it would be right up your alley. I need a good way to store twist-ties so they don't wander all over."
Margie P., Beavercreek, Ohio
Hints to store twist-ties:
1. Wrap around kitchen knobs/handles.
2. Store in a plastic bag with a self-closing seam.
3. Store in a large, empty pill container.
4. Store in an empty, plastic powdered-drink container.
Dear Heloise: I've moved into my first apartment, and I know that you have homemade cleaning solutions that I can make. Thanks in advance.
Bernice V., Odessa, Texas
Bernice, thanks for writing, and this Heloise All-Purpose Cleaner is simple to make, cheap and works on a multitude of things. Mix 1/2 cup of ammonia with enough water to make 1 gallon of cleaner. Heloise Cleaning Solution No. 2 is 1/2 cup of nonsudsing ammonia, 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, with enough water to make 1 gallon of cleaner. Knowing how to handle stains as they arise and responding quickly is the best way to eliminate stains as well as aid in redeeming your initial security deposit when moving out.
Dear Readers: Wet and dripping produce is an annoying inconvenience many deal with. If your store does not have paper towels handy, here is a hint many of you voiced:
"I reach for the produce, covering my hand with the clear bag, grab it and turn the bag inside out."
Nanci, via email
Many of you also saved the wet wipe that usually is at the front of the store when you come in. It's perfect for drying hands.
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