Hard water causes white film on pots

HINTS FROM HELOISE

Dear Readers: Your summer patio or lanai must be beautiful by now! It’s teeming with beautiful plants and flowers, but what if you have terra-cotta pots with that awful white film?

Hard water is the culprit, but I have the remedy! Scrub the empty pot with dish soap and a stiff brush, and rinse. Then wipe down the entire pot with full-strength white or apple-cider vinegar until the white deposits have dissolved. Let the pot dry completely.

Cheap, nontoxic and readily available, vinegar is a great go-to cleaner. I’ve used in the kitchen and beyond. Would you like to receive a collection of my best vinegar hints? It’s easy! Visit www.Heloise.com to order, or send a stamped (71 cents), long, self-addressed envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. To limit future white staining, seal the pot with an acrylic sealant. — Heloise

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Dear Readers: Mary Ann R. in West Monroe, La., sent a picture of a rare blonde squirrel that she’s been feeding for about a year in her beautiful backyard. Mary Ann has named her Blondie!

To see Blondie and our other Pet Pals, visit www.Heloise.com and click on “Pet of the Week.” Do you have a furry and funny friend? Email a picture and description to: Heloise@Heloise.com! — Heloise

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Dear Heloise: For years, I’ve planted different types of tomatoes and had trouble identifying them. Aluminum venetian blind slats work perfectly for this.

They are thin enough to be cut with scissors, and a regular hand-held punch will make holes for attachment.

I mark them with a permanent marker and wire them to the support stake. Being aluminum, they will last all season. — A Reader, Lebanon, Ohio

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Dear Heloise: When my kids were young, I’d substitute a wading pool for bath time. I’d squirt bubble bath into the pool and blast with the hose.

We’d invite a neighbor kid and watch them play! It’s a great way for children to blow off steam at the end of the day, and may help with the summertime bedtime routine. — Dianne in North Carolina

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Dear Heloise: I have enjoyed your (and your mom’s) columns for decades. It’s better not to drink coffee on an empty stomach. A crisp apple will solve that problem, and it’s a great wake-up treat, too. — Jonathan in Orange County, Calif.

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Dear Heloise: When I go to a potluck barbecue or dinner, I always write the ingredients of my dish on index cards. This is helpful for people who have food allergies.

Also, making a few cards with the complete recipe on it to put beside your dish is a nice way to share good food. — K.T. in New Mexico

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Dear Heloise: When starting seeds and young seedlings, I use the large, clear plastic salad containers that grocery stores sell salad in as “mini greenhouses.”

I just fill halfway with potting soil and moisten. I can keep them in a sunny window or outside. — C.M.Y., Beachwood, N.J.