DEAR SUN SPOTS: The Maine Music Society is holding its fourth annual online auction from Nov. 6-17. Proceeds support the performances of the Maine Music Society Chorale, Orchestra and Chamber Singers. This is an easy and fun way to begin your holiday shopping or treat yourself! Offerings include one-week getaways, theater tickets, artwork, fashions, gift certificates, gift baskets created by local artisans and much more. Access the auction site at Thank you and have fun shopping! — No name, Auburn

ANSWER: This is another annual fundraiser you can participate in virtually! Enjoy browsing through the fabulous collection of items and services and placing your bid.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Liliana Tripp is in second grade now and her heart has grown with her. She is collecting cans and nonperishables again this year in hopes of getting enough money together to stock two pantries in Oxford County.

There is a container outside the house at 64 Rabbit Valley Road in Oxford for donations to be dropped off until Nov. 20. Please email [email protected] or call 577-6234 for more information. — Laura, Oxford

ANSWER: Little Liliana has been raising money to help area children for well over a year now. If you have bottles and cans to get rid of, please get this opportunity out. If you would like to make a cash donation, please email or Liliana to make the arrangements. This youngster is making things happen!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’d  like to thank Harriet from Otisfield and the reader from Buckfield for writing in about how to keep rosemary over the winter. I will follow their directions and hopefully keep my plant going through winter.

I had the best Barbeque Rosemary plant this year. Not only did it grow beautifully but had a nice smokey flavor, like smoked paprika.

Now I would like advice for wintering over lavender and basil. Has anyone had any luck with those?

I’d also like to know how to ensure that I don’t bring any spiders/insects into the house with my plants.

Sun Spots, you’re awesome and so are your readers. I count on referrals and advice from all of you and think of you as friends. — No name, Lewiston

ANSWER: I hadn’t heard of Barbeque Rosemary but looked it up. You can use the sturdy stems as skewers for grilled meat.

As for keeping English lavender over the winter, if it’s in a pot, bring it inside and keep it in a sunny window away from the heat (ideally, the temperature should be between 40 and 65 degrees.) Only water it when the soil feels quite dry, just enough to keep the roots alive.

Basil will thrive indoors on a sunny windowsill. You may even have to repot it a couple times.

To be sure your plants are bug-free when you bring them in, mix two teaspoons of dish soap in a pint of water then give the plant and the soil a good spritz. Wipe down the pot, including the bottom, with this soapy solution too. You’ll want to be sure to rinse the herbs off before eating them!

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 emailed to [email protected].

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