Around your house 8/8/07

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

HOME

Q. I got carried away cleaning a brass antique with lemon and salt, and now it's rusty. How can I clean off the rust? A. First, your antique is not solid brass -- it is brass-plated. Solid brass doesn't rust. What is rusting is the iron or steel below your brass plating. The rust can be eliminated with most rust removers. Just about anything that contains phosphoric acid will do the trick, even some concrete cleaners. After you have thoroughly removed the rust, be sure to coat the item with a coat of light machine oil. Sewing machine oil is great for this purpose.

-- AP

GARDEN

Continue spraying roses that are susceptible to black spot and other fungus diseases. Annuals may appear leggy and worn now. These can be cut back hard and fertilized to produce a new flush of bloom. Deadhead annuals & perennials as needed. Divide oriental poppies now. Feed mums, asters and other fall-blooming perennials for the last time. Roses should receive no further nitrogen fertilizer after August 15th. Powdery mildew on lilacs is unsightly, but causes no harm and rarely warrants control, though common rose fungicides will prove effective.

-- mobot.org

KITCHEN

While fresh tomatoes are available year-round, they're definitely at their best during summer. And while it's refreshing to eat the best specimens just as you would an apple, some simple preparations can help you maximize the flavor and nutrition of the season's bounty. For example, roasting tomatoes at high heat concentrates their flavor and brings out their rich sweetness by caramelizing the natural sugars. This technique also helps to minimize their bitter and acidic qualities.

-- AP

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