Dear Sun Spots: I’m looking for someone who can repair my 1960s pinball machines in my home. These are the older type electro-mechanical machines. – Donald Pineau, Livermore.

Answer:
Sun Spots knew of a company in Gorham, however it has since moved and no longer appears to be in existence. Perhaps other readers may be able to assist you here.

In addition, Sun Spots wonders if the Pinball Machine Care & Maintenance’s step by step guide to buying and valuing a machine might assist you. It includes information on the set up and adjustment, maintenance and repair of pinball machines. It’s over 100 pages, spiral bound and costs $24.95 plus $3 shipping. You may contact Bell Springs Pinball Alley, Box 1240, Willits, CA 95490, for more information, (800) 515-8050. They are also on the Web at www.saber.net/~bellsprings.

Also, according to http://www.mv.com/ipusers/royce2000/nhi/nhic01.htm, Robert McHenry of Concord, N.H., has a few pinballs as a hobby. He is able to repair and assist with pinball issues. He may be reached at 84 Branch Tpke. #25 Concord, NH 03301, (603) 227-0225. He would be more than willing to chat with you. McHenry also recommends you check out Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum at http://www.marvin3m.com/ where he says you will find some good information on how to repair pinball machines, including a step-by-step guide. Another resource he recommends is a newsgroup called rec.games.pinball which you can find by searching on Google or by clicking on http://cascade.mit.edu/pins/links.html.

Dear Sun Spots: Every year I buy an Easter lily with several pretty blossoms and a lot of buds. But I cannot keep them blooming. They appear dry when I get them home and so I water them. In a day or two they begin to go into decline and shrivel up. So this year I thought I would just give them very little water and see if they would do better. But to no avail. The buds shriveled up just the same. There must be a proper way to treat them so all the buds will eventually bloom. – No Name, No Town.

Answer:
Perhaps other lily growers out there may be willing to share some of their tips with you. In the meantime http://www.ketzlers.com/how_to_lilly.html offers the following tips:

Taking Care of your new Easter Lily: Easter lilies prefer moderately cool temperatures. Recommended daytime temperatures are 60 to 65°F with slightly cooler night temperatures. Avoid drafty locations. Place the Easter lily in bright light, but out of direct sunlight. If the pot is wrapped in decorative foil, punch a hole in the foil at the bottom of the pot for water drainage and place a saucer underneath the pot. Water the Easter lily when the soil surface becomes dry to the touch. Water the plant thoroughly until water flows out the bottom of the pot. Discard the excess water that drains into the saucer. Remove the flowers as they wither. After flowering, the Easter lily can be discarded or saved and planted outdoors in the perennial garden.

Take your Easter Lily Outdoors this spring: The Easter lily can be planted outdoors, and will flower each summer. Here’s how to make them grow and bloom.

Remove flowers as they wilt and when they are all gone, move the plant to a sunny window. Water it when the soil feels dry to the touch, but not so much that the soil’s soggy or that water is standing in the saucer. Feed it every six weeks to help maintain the foliage and build the bulb for another blooming cycle.

(In Michigan, it is safe to plant the bulb outdoors about May 15. Here in Maine you ought to go along with your local growing conditions).

The top may be beginning to wither by this time. The best place to plant it is one that gets a lot of sun and where the soil is rich and well-drained. If your native soil has a lot of clay or sand, mix some compost or sphagnum peat moss in the planting hole.

The bulb should be planted about 6 inches deep. Measure from tip of the bulb to the soil surface. Or, you can simply remove the plant from the container and plant the soil mass at the same depth. It will be about 6 inches high. If the top is still green, leave it attached. A 2 inch layer of mulch around the area will keep the bulb cool, a condition it favors.

After a few weeks outdoors, the top will wither and it should then be cut off. New growth will emerge a few weeks later.

Easter lilies normally bloom in early summer and the bulb may bloom again this year. Chances are, though, the foliage will top out bud-less and the bulb will spend this summer rebuilding its energy for flowers next year.

After it gets established and its easy needs for sun are met, the bulb will probably bloom every year. While the bulb is hardy in Michigan over winter, it is still a good idea to protect it with a mulch of pine needles, chopped up leaves, shredded bark or something similar.

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). 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 posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Inform Us section under Press Release.


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