Dear Sun Spots: This is the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Upton Grammar School. On Saturday, July 18, there will be an Upton School reunion for anyone who ever attended the school. We will be sharing photos, stories and memorabilia from the olden days. Here is a chance to show your children and grandchildren where you went to school and what it was like in those ‘olden’ days.

Do you know someone who attended school in Upton? Do you have photos? Stories? We are looking to put together a history of the school. For information and details, or if you have things to share, please e-mail Melanie Bernier Farmer at [email protected] or call 207-899-9995.

Dear Sun Spots: I have an answer for the lady looking for a gasket for her blender. Most auto parts places carry material for making gaskets. I suspect it would be a relatively inexpensive way to replace her gasket. Just trace around the inside and outside diameter of her blender jug and cut it with a sharp knife.

I also have a question. I recently acquired a cast iron Dutch oven. It was in very dirty condition and I have cleaned it as best I can. I would like to know how to properly clean and season it to prevent rust. Thanks you. – Martha, Pennsylvania.

Answer: According to Byron Bills, who has a Web site devoted to Dutch ovens, papadutch. home.comcast.net, to clean a rusty Dutch oven, place it upside down on the bottom rack of a self-cleaning oven with the lid placed on top of the legs. Set the oven to self clean for two hours and let it be. Allow the oven to cool completely.

Then scrub the oven with a piece of steel wool or a metal scouring pad under hot running water until all surfaces are clean. Once clean, towel dry the oven then allow it to air dry. The Dutch oven is now ready to reseason.

Bills says you can use your kitchen oven to season a Dutch oven but he notes that you may “smoke up” your house if you season your Dutch oven indoors. Instead, he recommends using an outdoor gas barbecue in a well ventilated area.

Preheat your barbecue or kitchen oven to 375 degrees. After your Dutch oven is dry, place it on the center rack with the lid ajar. Allow it to warm slowly so it is just barely too hot to handle with bare hands. This preheating does two things, it drives any remaining moisture out of the metal and opens the pores of the metal.

Next, use a paper towel or a clean 100 percent cotton rag and apply a thin layer of cooking oil. Bills prefers vegetable oil over peanut and olive oils. Make sure the oil covers every inch of the oven, inside and out and replace it on the center rack, this time upside down with the lid resting on top of the legs. This will keep oil from pooling in the bottom of the oven. Bake the oven for about an hour at 375 degrees. This baking hardens the oil into a protective coating over the metal.

After baking, allow it to cool slowly. When it is cool enough to handle, apply another thin coating of oil. Repeat the baking and cooling process. When the oven can be handled again apply another thin coating of oil. Do not leave any standing oil in the oven. Standing oil can turn rancid ruining the protective coating you just applied. Allow the oven to cool completely. Now it should have three layers of oil, two baked on and one applied when it was warm. The oven is now ready for use.

To remove stuck on food, place some warm clean water into the oven and heat until almost boiling. Using a plastic mesh scrubber or coarse sponge, gently break loose the food and wipe away. After all traces have been removed, rinse with clean warm water. Soap is not recommended because it will break down the protective covering and will get into the pores of the metal to taint the flavor of your next meal.

Dear Sun Spots: Could you help me locate the saving tip that appeared in the Lewiston Sun Journal for what you can use to locate a stud in the wall without using a stud finder? I believe that came from someone named KC, please let me know what this item was. I can be reached at 375-9901.

Also where can I find a Oriole feeder holder that I can put on the deck railing? Thank you for all your help you always brighten someone’s day. – Lisa, Sabattus.

Answer: The “Tough People, Smart Money” tip for March 22 came from Peter Geiger and the Farmers’ Almanac. It said to avoid buying a stud-finder when you’re preparing to hammer a nail into the wall, run an electric razor along the wall. The sound changes when it hits the stud, and you’ll know where to place the nail. All of the tips can be found on the Sun Journal Web site, www.sunjournal.com.

In response to your second request, visit a local Paris Farmers Union for an oriole bird feeder. If you can’t find one in stock, just ask to have one ordered.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. 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 Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]

Dear Sun Spots: When and where is the Bates College garage sale? I know you’ve published before but I inadvertently misplaced the info. Thank you. – T, Auburn.

Answer: Clean Sweep 2009 will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 20, in Underhill Arena at Bates College in Lewiston.

Dear Sun Spots: It’s great having you. You help so many people. Keep up the good work. Now my request is, is there anyone out there who would be interested in those little Red Rose figurines? I have about 135 of them. If so, answer to Sun Spots and as usual, I will be checking the papers. Thank you. – No Name, No Town.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.