Now is the time to think of April and May and what you’d like to see growing around the house, on your patio or in the garden. This year I’m going to connect you with online catalogs hoping you each have access to the internet. Internet catalogs are much easier to view and they contain all sorts of tips and ideas for planning. I’m going to highlight a few of the best I found along with what other goodies will be found at the site.
For some of you, this may be the only stop you make because Stacy Fisher has already done a bunch of work for you. At this site you’ll find 60 catalogs highlighted in alphabetical order. Her list includes all the old standbys from Burpee to Gurney and more. Read about the catalog; click on the link to go to it. You know, as I look through the huge list I don’t think you need to look anywhere else for a seed catalog! What follows are other sites of great value before spring bursts upon us.
Arbor Day Foundation
This site and the few that follow will help you understand pruning along with proper techniques and some do’s and don’ts. Before threes and shrubs break bud is often a good pruning time because the structure of the plant is not obscured by leaves.
This site offers step-by-step videos and tips on how to do general pruning as well as pruning specific shrubs common to many garden.
If you’ve never gone to Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University, it’s definitely worthy of a day trip. At this site are offered two free publications. One is some more on pruning while the other details what we might do to prepare for spring—essential gardening chores.
Here you’ll find a number of tabs to click regarding anything from soil prep to composting. Though aimed at organic gardeners (not a bad idea for us all), the tips offered apply to all of us. As I scanned the site, I felt one could find the answer to most any gardening concern. Also included are ideas for indoor plants.
Now is a great time to check on your tool arsenal. This site talks about the fifteen most important garden tools one might need. If it looks too daunting, then check out https://bettergardeners.com/essential-gardening-tools-beginners/ which is by the same group. This piece shows you the seven essential garden tools.
What I’ve offered this month should whet your appetite for spring and perhaps drive gloomy winter clouds away. Enjoy scrolling through bursts of color, wonderful tips, and exciting possibilities that lie a mere two or so months away.
Do Dogs Really Need Coats in Winter?
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: You recently addressed someone leaving a dog out in the cold. Your answer was great, except that I wonder about putting a warm vest on the dog. It is my understanding that dogs have two layers of skin with air in between, which helps heat their body and keep them warm. When you add a coat or vest, it presses down on the air pocket and causes them to be colder. Am I wrong? — Suzanne, via email
DEAR SUZANNE: Well, while dogs’ skin does help regulate their temperature, their fur plays a much bigger role in insulating them from the cold. You’re probably thinking of a dog’s double-layered winter coat, where air between the thick undercoat and the top fur helps regulate body temperature.
Some breeds of dog have much thicker undercoats, such as Huskies and Malamutes. Most of us have seen pictures or video of sled dogs, for example, who rarely wear coats while working or at the end of the day. Their bodies generate plenty of heat while they’re active, and their undercoat insulates them from the cold when they’re at rest. They’re also acclimated to their outdoor environment.
Some other dogs don’t do well at all in below-freezing temperatures — some are small and short-haired, for example, or they’re in poor health, or they’re very young, or they are just not accustomed to spending long periods outside.
The most important factor in deciding what your dog needs is you. For a 20-minute walk outside, most healthy dogs don’t need a coat. However, if your dog gets cold quickly or appears to be suffering even after a short time outside, it’s worth trying a well-fitted vest or sweater.
Send your questions or pet care tips to
© 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.
Napoleonic prisoners made this bone game box with a sliding top. It held a cribbage board and 26 dominoes. The set sold for $960.
Military collectibles are more than swords and guns, although there are many antique and vintage weapons at auction. But there also are many other collectibles: uniforms, photographs or earlier daguerreotypes, scrimshaw, jewelry made from coins, vases made from brass bullet casings, stitched-wool pictures of boats, and many other crafts that were made during free time on ships, land or in prison camps. The earliest ones found in sales and stores today probably are the intricate ship models and other crafts from the 1700s.
During the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815), over 120,000 French prisoners were held in camps in England. There was nothing to do, so they began making all sorts of things from materials at hand, like straw, wood and bones from pigs and mutton eaten at dinner, and ivory from whales. The prisoners were not volunteers; they had been conscripted and left lives as carpenters, farmers and tradespeople with many skills. The British let the prisoners sell their handiwork and keep the money. Gifts for children were popular, and games like dominoes and cribbage were easy to make from square or rectangular pieces of bone. They were then given markings needed for the game.
One such set of dominoes seemed to be a collection of different nonmatching dominoes, perhaps using parts of other partial sets. The box holding the dominoes and a cribbage board had a sliding top. The set sold at an Eldred’s Marine auction for $960. The box is 6 1/2 inches long by 1 1/4 inches wide.
My family has a photograph of a female relative done by the Chicago Portrait Co. This is a photograph, not a painting or drawing. It’s in a frame with a domed glass cover. How can I determine the date of the photograph?
The Chicago Portrait Co. was in business from 1893 to at least 1940. The company was known for its portraits made from old photographs, which were sold by traveling salesmen. The photographs were enlarged and colored with pastels, watercolor, oil paint, crayon or India ink, or created with sepia tones and then printed on a curved piece of cardboard. The salesman brought the picture back in a domed wood frame, making it more expensive than buying the picture alone. Since the picture was on curved cardboard, it had to be displayed in a domed frame. The salesman made his money by getting the customer to buy the expensive frame. Domed glass frames were popular from about 1880 to 1920.
Sugar and creamer, purple band, purple bird, green handles, PM Moschendorf, Bavaria, 2 pieces, $5.
Book, Old farmer’s almanac, by Robert B. Thomas, anecdotes and poetry, 69th publication, New England states, 48 pages, 1861, $120.
Shaker, spool carrier, tiger maple, six carved spool holders, c. 1840, 3 1/2 x 4 1/4 inches, $360.
Tapestry, lady, unicorn, lion, attendant, canopy, red, blue, France, 1900s, 7 ft. 4 in. x 5 ft. 6 inches, $500.
TIP: Don’t store a diamond with other jewelry. It may scratch the other stones.
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© 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.
Stuffed Pork Chops