Thursday | October 27, 2016
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Morrison’s book helps beekeeping beginners

If you’ve ever thought about venturing into beekeeping, “Homegrown Honey Bees” can tell you what to expect.

The book, billed as “an absolute beginner’s guide,” was written by Alethea Morrison and illustrated with photos by Mars Vilaubi. They’re husband-and-wife beekeepers from Massachusetts who share their challenges, failures and successes to help others get started in beekeeping ventures of their own.

Morrison is clearly a beekeeping cheerleader, but she doesn’t try to make the hobby sound simpler than it is. “Beekeeping is not for the faint of heart,” she writes. “It’s like the extreme sport of animal husbandry.”

The book covers the basic how-tos and answers such questions as how often you can expect to be stung, how much money you’ll spend and how much time you’ll need to devote to beekeeping. Brief profiles of urban beekeepers from around the country are included.

The book is written in a conversational style, with humor, I’ve-been-there wisdom and plenty of encouragement.

“Homegrown Honey Bees” is published by Storey Publishing and sells for $14.95 in softcover.

Laundry basket collapses for storage

No space to store laundry baskets?

The Unhampered basket folds flat to about 2 inches deep, so it can be stashed in a narrow space. When it’s unfolded, it’s a sturdy basket with multiple handles, an optional divider to separate your load and a pocket to hold detergent or delicate items.

The basket was invented by Atlanta resident Barbara Miles and developed with support from the online community at It can be ordered from the website for $29.99 plus shipping.

Try stain removers, charcoal for cat-urine odor

Cat urine is an especially difficult contaminant to deal with, especially if it’s a long-term problem, says Joe Ponessa, a Rutgers professor emeritus.

While Ponessa is not sure anything would fully eliminate odors from long-term staining, there are a couple of easy things he suggests trying before resorting to some kind of coating.

A commercial pet stain and odor-removal product would be a first choice. Another worthwhile alternative would be to cover the stained areas with activated charcoal, available at pet stores and perhaps pharmacies.

This is a treated charcoal with legendary ability to absorb chemicals and odors, functioning like a chemical magnet. This would be spread on the affected areas and renewed every couple of days. He would try this for a week or two.

Activated charcoal is used in fishtank filtration systems, as well as in air purifiers, and is prescribed for, and fed to, some poisoning patients because of its ability to take up certain types of poison from the stomach.

“I’m not sure how effective this would be, but it’s cheap and easy enough to do,” he says.

By the way, “the ultimate resource for products to deal with severe stains and odors is a mortuary supply company,” Ponessa adds.

By wire sources