Birds are fragile, so Gloucester gardener Dianne Jordan stays away from chemicals, including bleach, in her fountains and birdbaths where feathered friends bathe and drink.
Instead, she drops a dozen new pennies in the water each time she finishes cleaning them.
So you enjoy it
I enjoy going to the Rite-Aid on Dare Road and Route 17 in York County because they are growing pretty sunflowers in soil around the building.
In addition to making you smile, sunflowers are good natural food sources for songbirds and your family. The seed heads are mature and ready for seed harvesting when the reverse side turns from green to a yellow-brown; large heads nod downward, according to Burpee.
To harvest the seeds ahead of the birds and squirrels, cut off the seed heads with a foot or so of stem attached and hang them in a warm, dry place that is well-ventilated and protected from rodents and bugs. Keep the harvested seed heads out of humidity to prevent spoilage from molds and let them cure for several weeks. When the seeds are thoroughly dried, dislodge them by rubbing two heads together, or by brushing them with your fingers or a stiff brush. Allow the seeds to dry for a few more days, and then store them in airtight glass jars in the refrigerator to retain flavor. Use nutrient-rich sunflower seeds for snacks and as a substitute for nuts in baking.
To toast the seeds to enhance their flavor, lightly brown them in a skillet over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes.
So you know it
Several readers asked how to contact the experts in last week's column about cooling fountains. For Fountain Escapes, visit 310 Grafton Drive, York County; call 596-0008. For Nickerson Landscapes in York County, visit http://nickersonlandscapes.com or call 890-0770.
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