Dear Sun Spots: Does anyone have the paperback book “Brother Andre: The Wonderman of Mount Royal” by Henri-Paul Bergeron? Please call (207) 782-1692. – Joan M., No Town.

Answer:
In addition to responses from readers, you may want to contact Artios Books who if they don’t have it in stock can special order it for you through their book locating service. You can reach them at 180 Turner St., Auburn, (207) 786-4007. They are open six days a week. Just ask for Sue or Walter.

Dear Sun Spots: Does anyone know what to do with gourds to make birdhouses or other crafts? Right now they are still in my garden.

Lastly, would anyone have a pattern for tiny little knitted stocking and mittens using No. 1 needles and fine yarn. Thank you for all your help. – D.M., Lewiston.

Answer:
In addition to responses from readers, according to an article quoted in a 1999 column, gourd houses are easy to make, and fall is the best time to begin them.

Hard-shelled gourds, such as the round and curlicue types of the tan colored gourds, are best. Leave them on the vine until they fully mature (usually light brown in color and quite hard).

Before choosing a particular gourd for your birdhouse, consider what birds you want to attract.

Small birds like the insides of their gourds to be about 4 inches in diameter.

Large birds require a 6-inch interior. The gourd must be deep enough to accommodate a substantial nest.

Gourds harvested in autumn need several months to cure or dry. Some people scrub half-green gourds with vinegar water to discourage mold on the outside.

When you shake a gourd and hear seeds rattle, it is ready to be made into a birdhouse.

The entrance-hole size and location are crucial. Birds prefer a hole that is barely big enough to fit through, and will bypass gourd houses with oversized holes. For small birds, keep the hole 1 to 1½ inches in diameter. Large birds like their holes up to 2½ inches across.

Cut the hole with a drill and expansion bit. Smooth any jagged edges with a wooden file. Use a small drill bit to make three holes in the bottom of the gourd for drainage and two holes on the top for hanging. Use anything waterproof to hang the house, from wire to high-test fishing line. Remove most of the seeds and loose fibers from inside the gourd.

When hanging your gourd house, consider again the needs of the birds. Wrens seem happy to move into small gourds hanging 6 to 12 feet above ground; bluebird houses should be 6 to 10 feet off the ground on the periphery of woods or remote fence rows, not far from water, with their entrance facing a clearing. Owls like the same location as bluebirds. However, they like larger gourds and prefer them fastened securely between tree limbs about 20 feet up.

Dear Sun Spots: You have a very informative column. Keep up the good work. I am looking for a product called “earnon electric dehumidifier” which protects clothes against moisture. The name of the product is Sun Ray Dehumidifier. Thank you. – L. G., Lewiston.

Answer:
Sun Spots was unable to find this brand name, however she did locate several dehumidifying products online at www.seriousshopping.net/HealthAndWellness/AllergyRelated/Dehumidifiers/ that you might be interested in.

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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