Smart, Savvy Readers Respond Kindly

My favorite thing about being your humble blogger is getting feedback from my readers. Most of the time your letters are so kind and encouraging—containing tips, questions or other relative information. Only now and then do I get a negative “Shame on you!” or “Choose your words more carefully!” which I take under advisement while hitting delete. Many times though, your messages offer additional information regarding something I’ve written about, from which all of us can benefit.


RABBITS IN THE GARDEN. Blood meal (garden center) works really well to send bunnies away from any kind of garden—flowers or vegetables. Blood meal is also a natural rabbit and deer repellant that  works incredibly well. Just sprinkle it on the soil around each plant. Keeps squirrels out too! (As always, read the product label for instructions and cautions, especially if you have pets. -mhKath

BEST SHOE REPAIR. You asked, so here’s my contribution for the best shoe repair in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul), Minn. area: Gene’s Hartland Shoe Repair. Gene’s been repairing shoes for many decades. His website ( has tons of helpful information about caring for shoes, too. He’s just the best! Sue

DENTAL SAVINGS PLANS. My husband and I were able to use a Dental Savings Plan to save money on braces for our son, much of which was not covered by insurance. Another option people could consider is going to a dental school at a university. While I attended college at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, that is where I received my dental care. The cost was far less. You do sometimes spend a little more time there due to procedures being checked by professors and students working more slowly. The care I received was exceptional and the cost was fractional. I recommended this to a friend recently after her dentist told her it would be $8,000 for one dental implant. The cost dropped to $3,000 at the clinic. Joan

HOTEL SOAPS AND TOILETRIES. Local food pantries are always in need of personal care items for clients who live in the community. This allows the food pantry to focus their limited income on purchasing food for clients, while still being able  to provide personal care items to help clients maintain their dignity. Thank you for providing such a great forum to share and educate your reader community. Lynlee

INEXPENSIVE APPLIANCES. If you are going to need a new appliance in the near future, the best deals are to be had on or near Black Friday (this year it will be Nov. 25). Of course 99.8% of the shopping population are shopping for Christmas gifts, not appliances. That’s the reason you can get the best of just about any model for as much as 50% off. Cathy

Dear Readers: Keep those cards, letters ( your lovely handwritten and manually typed letters are especially appreciated) and email messages coming! You just might turn up right here in a future column. 

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4 replies
  1. Patricia Goff says:

    Your local VFW would also love donations of hotel soaps and toiletries along with any samples that you might receive in the mail or free toiletries you receive with coupons. I send off for all free samples and buy free items (after coupons) at stores that I can donate to the troops overseas. The VFW sends care packages to them every few months.
    My years working at the Ronald McDonald House I also know that they could use these items also. The people there are in need of many things because they are going through a rough time while they are there. Donations of snacks are greatly appreciated too along with fruits and vegetables from the garden. My neighbor was growing tomatoes (because his mother planted them while she was visiting him) and tossing them in the woods across the street because he didn’t like tomatoes so I confiscated them and took them to work and people loved them. Ate them like apples at times or made tomato sandwiches.

  2. Alice Perras says:

    My husband travels 3-4 days per week….that is a lot of little hotel toiletries!! I organize them into disposable aluminum roasting pans and take them with me to pass out to our guests at the Soup Kitchen where I volunteer. However, last time, another volunteer suggested the “Parents” Room” at a children’s hospital would find them very helpful for the parents who are often rushed in with their child and stay as long as they can. Whether the toiletries be lotions, mouth wash, disposable toothbrushes, or a bar of soap, having these available for the very worried parent is truly appreciated.

  3. Donna Freedman says:

    Mary: You’ve created a place where people can share what they’ve learned and help others. That’s why it doesn’t surprise me that most readers respond in a positive way. Thanks for passing it along, in turn.

  4. crabbyoldlady says:

    Sue, I’m not the one that asked, but thank you for posting about Hartland’s shoe repair. I have been using someone else, but was not happy with them..I’ll be sure to try this establishment!


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