Home Style: 'Plants with Benefits'; planter speaker; cleaning glassware

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services


Why is chocolate associated with Valentine’s Day?

Why is fennel mentioned in the Kama Sutra?

Why does the mere sight of a banana reduce some of us to adolescent giggles?

Ask Helen Yoest, and watch her blush.

Yoest explores the aphrodisiac qualities of certain herbs, fruits, flowers and vegetables in her new book, "Plants With Benefits." The book delves into the lore and chemistry of plants that are reputed to fuel our sexual fires when we ingest them, smell them or just look at their suggestive shapes.

Yoest tells us how our ancestors believed those plants affected us, and then digs a little deeper to find out what those plants really do to our bodies or our minds.

You may never be able to eat avocados with a straight face again.

"Plants With Benefits" is published by St. Lynn’s Press and sells for $17.95 in hardcover.



Is that music coming from the plant?


Niles Audio makes outdoor audio speakers that are hidden in planters, so the source of your outdoor music isn’t obvious. They’re available in planter box and pot styles that can accommodate live plants, in either a weathered concrete or terra cotta look.

Each planter speaker has separate left and right channel inputs to provide stereo sound from a single speaker. If you have two of the planters, they can be wired to separate the sound between the two speakers.

The speakers can be installed on a deck or a stone or concrete patio. They’re weatherproof, but they shouldn’t be placed near the path of an automatic sprinkler.

The speakers’ suggested retail price is $459.95. Sound and Vision is the local dealer for Niles Audio products. Other dealers can be found through the distributors listed at www.nilesaudio.com/us-canada-reps.php.



Q: My 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup has a film on it. I have tried vinegar and bleach, and nothing helps. I use Cascade rinse in the dishwasher. Any suggestions?

A: Mineral deposits in water can turn glassware cloudy. Sometimes that film can be removed with vinegar or a product such as CLR.

However, since you’ve already tried vinegar without success, I’m afraid the cloudiness may be permanent. That happens when the heat of the dishwasher’s drying cycle bakes the minerals into the pores of the glass and etches it.


Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to mbrecken@thebeaconjournal.com. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.