Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reader's Questions: Home & Garden

Every moment of this strange and lovely life from dawn to dusk, is a miracle. Somewhere, always a rose is opening its petals to the dawn. Somewhere, always, a flower is fading in the dusk. ~Beverly Nichols

We finally have some sunshine and warm temperatures. I think spring has come to Michigan! Today I have some interesting questions and answers for you.

How do folks use old fashioned butter molds? I remember my grandmother saying something about putting it in ice cold saltwater so the butter would come out. Any advice on how to make them work? I turn small individual sized butter molds for fun and would like to actually use them, but I'm having trouble getting the butter patty to come out clean. ~Tim

I did some looking-- try soaking the mold in ice water for 30 minutes, then place it in the refrigerator for 30 more minutes. When you are ready to use it, rinse it in ice cold water, then fill it with the butter. Smooth it over and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours.

When you are ready to remove it, run just the tip of a knife around the edges to loosen, then turn it over and hopefully it will release! If this doesn't work, try putting the mold in the freezer, then doing the same thing.

My house on the north side is green with algae, it grows faster than we can clean it off . ~Henny

The first thing I thought of was using bleach-which you can try as long as it's diluted, but from the research I did it sounds like the best thing to do is find a cleaner made especially for removing algae. Ortho has one called De-Moss, and there is another one called DEFY Stain Blocker. You can also look for a cleaner that is an "oxygen bleach", such as the OxyClean products. It needs to be left on at least 20 minutes wet to work, and may need to be repeated. Once you've cleaned the roof and the house exterior you may need to do something else that I read about. It seems zinc strips, placed near the peak of your roof-- or where rainwater will hit them--produces a chemical that will help prevent fungus and mildew--that type of thing. I'm sure Home Depot or Lowes would carry something or at least be able to tell you more.

Are moon flowers poisonous to dogs? ~Christine

First, there are a few flowers given the common name moonflower. One is Datura, which is toxic to humans-ALL parts are poisonous! Morning glories, Ipomoea are also known as moonflowers-- mostly the variety that has big white fragrant blooms. The seeds of all ipomoea are toxic. Will they be toxic to animals? I wouldn't take a chance. Keep them where they can't get to them.

Build your own porch swing this summer:


  1. Dearest Brenda,
    From the bottom of my heart,may I congratulate you for your so interesting Blog and Thank you so much for all the informations you are giving to us!
    With my kindest regards.

  2. A porch swing. I can't think of anything more blissful on a lazy Autumn evening. Or any evening for that matter!

    Ali @ Moon Garden


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