DEAR SUN SPOTS: Regarding the use of mothballs, I'd like to offer an alternative. A few years back someone suggested that I use dryer sheets instead when storing anything. So I tried it with clothes, vehicles (we store two vehicles every winter in our barn) and a friend’s travel trailer. How nice to have no choking odor when everything is opened up again in the spring.
With the vehicles we use several sheets — in the air cleaner, trunk and front and back seats. I hope the person responded to Oct. 10 might find this a much sweeter-scented solution. — Deb Desjardins, email@example.com
ANSWER: According to eHow.com, dryer sheets may repel some moths, but is not guaranteed to work with all. Sun Spots does agree that the smell is much more pleasant than mothballs.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I read about mothballs and the danger of the fumes (Oct. 10), so I am sending you part of a plant my grandmother taught me about. It helps fight moths and does no harm. It grows wild on the side of roads and sometimes it has yellow blossoms, but the time of gathering is over. One has to gather it in the summer, let it dry, then place it around the plants. — Heidi, Dryden
ANSWER: By the time Sun Spots got Heidi’s plant in the mail it was nothing but crumbs so she can’t identify it. However, at homegrowntexas.com (http://tinyurl.com/l8far3), it says that several plants will repel moths, including lavender, mint, rosemary, rue, tansy, thyme, wormwood, southernwood, pennyroyal and lemon geranium.
Herbs are, in general, good for repelling bugs of all types. Many gardeners plant them around their vegetables to discourage pests.
DEAR SUN SPOTS: Several weeks ago, the Sun Journal did not include the Shaw's flier on Thursday. I thought it might have been an oversight; however, when it wasn't in again, I called the paper to find out why. I was told it was a marketing decision by Shaw's and the lady I talked with suggested I call the manager at the store.
I did and the story given was quite different from the Sun Journal's. Her answer was that the paper was not choosing to include the flier for our edition for various reasons. I have shopped at Shaw's and miss the flier. I know I can access it online, but that is not my choice. Could you find out the real story? Perhaps all those concerned will see that customers would like to see the flier in the paper again. Thanks. — No Name via email
ANSWER: Sun Spots found it highly unlikely that the Sun Journal would turn down advertising from a respected business, but to be sure she checked with Advertising Director Jody Jalbert. She said Sun Spots was correct. The decision came from Shaw's. Jody said:
“About two months ago Shaw’s corporate office decided to cut 10,000 inserts from the Sun Journal’s distribution area. Our Lewiston-Auburn distribution area is covered 100 percent, but the outlying areas took the blow. At the onset of the cut, the Oxford Hills area was receiving fliers, but Jay and Livermore were not. Per the Auburn store manager’s request, we changed the distribution to cut the Oxford Hills area and cover Jay and Livermore. Whomever she spoke with at the store is not well-informed. This is totally a Shaw’s corporate office decision. If No Name has any further questions, she can call Leo Ouellette, the Auburn store manager.”
DEAR SUN SPOTS: I have been unable to find a replacement bulb for my touch lamp, recommended wattage 40. Can you help me with this? — M.B., Livermore Falls
ANSWER: Sun Spots may be missing something, but as far as she can tell there is no special light bulb needed for a touch lamp, just a standard incandescent. Online photos show some of the lamps with differently shaped clear bulbs, but they are still incandescents. Sun Spots suggests you visit your local hardware store and ask them to help you find a bulb. You might even take the lamp with you.
One posting online said that if your lamp isn’t working with a new bulb, that it could be the sensor, which is in the lamp, not the bulb. (Fluorescent bulbs won't work with many of these lamps.)
This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won't use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.