A Bumper Crop Of Letters

THE REAL DIRT

April 04, 1993|By MIKE KLINGAMAN

The mail brings garden seeds, catalogs . . . and letters:

Dear Dirt,

When you mentioned birds in your yard, you named a black-capped chickadee. Unlikely. It was probably a Carolina chickadee, a smaller look-alike.

Carolinas are Confederates and stop at the Mason-Dixon Line. Black-caps are Yanks and rarely cross into the South. How they know this, science is at a loss to explain. I'm not kidding.

Walt Windsor

Baltimore

Come to think of it, their song did sound like "Dixie."

Dear Dirt,

My grandfather says that during the Great Depression, he ate salads made from weeds. I bet him a dollar he didn't.

Jessica Carter

Wilmington, Del.

It's OK to make early-spring salads from leaves of young dandelion, purslane, lamb's-quarters and chickweed plants. Tell your grandfather you'll pay up when you see him eat them.

Dear Dirt,

My neighbor and I want to trap garden slugs with saucers of beer this spring. What's the best brew to use? I say Miller; my neighbor says Budweiser.

Frank Reilly

Fairfax, Va.

Neither. A study of 16 party drinks showed the slugs' favorite to xTC be Kingsbury Malt Beverage, a non-alcoholic beer -- which means the creatures are not attracted to alcohol. It must be the yeast.

Dear Dirt,

I loved the column about acorns. My daughter, Sara, brought home a pocketful of acorns from the playground at preschool. (There are oak trees everywhere!)

She was so excited telling me about the squirrels rushing around carrying acorns in their mouths and chattering to each other. And after lunch she prepared "pretend" acorn tea for me in her little china tea pot, which she served in her tiny china cups.

Susan E. DiVenti

Baltimore

Did "pretend" squirrels crash the party?

Dear Dirt,

One good way to keep tomatoes from freezing is to pull up plants by the roots and stack them in a pile. Cover the plants with a sheet at night. Tomatoes will keep ripening due to nutrients in the stems and roots.

Lenore Housel

! West Chester, Pa.

I hope you know 365 ways to cook tomatoes.

Dear Dirt,

Your column about giant-sized fruits and vegetables was very humorous. But I suggest that people shouldn't be paid so much for growing them.

For instance, the man who planted the 827-pound pumpkin was awarded $7,000 from the World Pumpkin Confederation, and another $7,500 for his pumpkin to be put on display in a restaurant in California.

If you lower the amount of money given for these kinds of activities, the nation would have more money for more important things.

Danielle Levere

Joppa

Like raising Congress' salary again?

Dear Dirt,

Last fall, I noticed the leaves shaking on our pecan trees. Squirrels were trying to shake the nuts to the ground. After [I got] my rifle, three of the five squirrels did not run away from the trees.

In the next three days, I decreased the squirrel population by eight more. But on the days when I was working, the remaining nuts kept disappearing. Then I saw two more squirrels, which I also plan on getting.

They may have gotten all my pecans, but I'm getting even.

David Frain

Bechtelsville, Pa.

P.S. -- Hope you enjoy this.

We're not neighbors, are we?

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