ANSWER: Depending on the type of fabric and the type of dye you are trying to set, you have options. Soaking certain fabrics, like silks, wool or synthetic materials which are dyed with acid dyes in a solution of one cup of vinegar and one-quarter cup of salt in a gallon of cold water can help to eliminate bleeding dye, but this method may not work as well on cotton materials.

There are a couple of products you might try, as well. The detergent Synthrapol is used for removing excess dye so that the cloth will stop bleeding. You can find it at most larger stores that sell laundry detergent. Another product that you can find at quilter’s shops is Retayne, a color fixative. Always follow the care instructions on any clothing item you are washing.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Good Day! Thanks for responding to my last request for information. My question to you this time is in reference to opossums. This morning around 9 a.m., I saw an opossum running rather quickly in my back yard. He/she was rather large. I believe an opossum is nocturnal. Is there any possibility that this animal could be rabid. Is there anything I can do to repel them from my property? I hope to be comfortable to be out in the fresh air and enjoy my home. Thanks for all the useful information. — No Name, Lewiston.
 
ANSWER: Opossums are nocturnal, but being scavenger animals that forage for food near their dens, it’s not uncommon to occasionally see one during the day, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website.
 
The good news, is, opossums seldom carry rabies and would rather play dead than go on the offensive, though they will show their teeth and hiss if they feel threatened.
 
Opossums are attracted to food sources, like pet food, compost piles, garbage and outdoor grilling areas. They will also eat poultry and eggs, so put your chickens in at night. The best way to keep opossums off your property is to not give them a reason to be there in the first place. Limit their access to potential food sources and den sites, such as areas around the outside of your home that might provide shelter.
 
Opossums are generally non-aggressive creatures, so its probably safe to enjoy your yard. If you still feel threatened by its presence, then call a wildlife rehabilitater at the closest Fisheries and Wildlife Office, which to Lewiston would be in Gray. The phone number is (207) 657-2345.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Please help us get the word out that Holy Trinity Parish in Lisbon Falls will not be having its annual Christmas Fair this November. We thank all our vendors for their support and wish them well. Best wishes to you all. — Pat, Lisbon Falls.

Use the QR code to go to Sun Spots online for additional information and links. 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 be emailed to [email protected], tweeted @SJ_SunSpots or posted on the Sun Spots Facebook page at facebook.com/SunJournalSunSpots. This column can also be read online at sunjournal.com/sunspots. We’ve joined Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/sj_sunspots.


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