Helpful Hints/Opinion

Helpful Hints

DEAR HELOISE: Please keep reminding people not to use metal bowls for their pets' water dishes, as they contain heat big-time in warm weather. Also, remind them to keep the water bowls in shady places so the sun won't heat them up during the day.

In addition, they can get a pie plate, fill it with water, and then place a smaller bowl in it with food. This way, the ants won't get to it. I love your column and have read it for many years. Keep up the good work, and thank you for your wonderful hints.

-- Shirley B.,

West Hills, Calif.

DEAR HELOISE: Want to remove weeds with very little effort? Find an old dinner fork (I bought a sturdy metal one at a resale shop), and use it to dig out the roots of weeds or grass that come up where they shouldn't be. It's less expensive than buying tools at a garden shop. You can also use a butter knife to carefully pry plants from their plastic containers.

-- Janice W.,

Petoskey, Mich.

DEAR HELOISE: Many people like to release balloons into the air when they're celebrating a special event. They look lovely as they float away on air currents, but, as they say, "What goes up must come down." Those polymer balloons often end up killing aquatic life, because creatures get caught up and entangled in them or swallow them thinking that it's a form of food. These plastic substances cannot be passed by the animal, and they can cause other health-related problems. So, please, would you ask your readers to stop releasing balloons when celebrating something? It's a cleaner, safer world if people would just stop that practice. While it won't solve all of Earth's problems, it's still a step in the right direction.

-- Estelle T.,

New London, Conn.

DEAR READER: I have to agree with you. We already have enough plastic floating around in the air and water. We don't need any more trash cluttering up our planet. Scientists are even discovering microbits of plastic in our food and our bodies. Enough is enough! Let's start making some changes to the way we live by recycling: "Use it up and wear it out."

Instead of buying more and more, start saving your money in a bank account for a trip to someplace you've been wanting to visit, or for classes or hobbies that bring you joy. The real beauty of life is about experiencing it, rather than our material possessions.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email