A question on preserving Carolina citrus

Published June 24, 2006

The citrus industry in our state has experienced some setbacks lately, but our first request hints at a possible silver lining: Citrus farming may be an up-and-coming thing - in North Carolina!

Mrs. Truluck of that state - long a favored vacation and retirement spot for Floridians and now a potential destination for our fruit trees - was delighted to find two little calamondin trees for sale at her local Lowe's. Now we can better fathom why we Florida gardeners sometimes find those tulips and hydrangeas in the nurseries of large home improvement stores.

Mrs. T snapped up these sojourners in a strange land and transplanted them to large pots, where they are thriving, loaded with fruit. (Of course, they will be spending the winter indoors, at a bright window.) She is delighted. That's because she has sweet-tart memories of the marmalade her grandfather, a Florida resident, made from these sour little fruits when she was a child.

However, she does have a couple of questions, as befits one who is forging a new industry in an inhospitable environment. First, how does she preserve the fruit (remember, these trees are small, so yields are too) until she has enough to make marmalade? Can it be frozen? Are there other suggestions?

Second, Mrs. T. is trying to track down Granddad's calamondin marmalade recipe, but if you have one you like, she would enjoy having it. Her e-mail address is vticking@aol.com.

Please bring your teacups as we leave the garden and repair to the music room. Two readers have sent us requests for musical instruments. The first is from Faye Gallandre-Lebhar of Clearwater, whose son George, a Marine who is home after five years of service in Iraq and Africa, attended PCCA at Gibbs High School, where he played the tuba. In fact, he was in all-state honors band, as well as numerous other student music programs.

Faye's son loves music and, although he can play three instruments, he loves the tuba best. But right now he has only the mouthpiece from his former instrument. Faye had hoped to get him a C-flat or B-flat five-valve tuba while he was in the service, but family medical expenses prevented that from happening.

Although Faye is aware that a tuba may be hard to find, she has well-deserved faith in our readers. If you have one that would enjoy making music again, please contact Faye at (727) 443-2753, or (727) 458-0872, or gallandrelebhar@msn.com She will be happy to pick up the tuba.

Let's move to the string section for the second letter, from Shirley Hudson of New Port Richey. Shirley's granddaughter, a middle-school student, is first-chair violin at her school. Now that school is out for summer vacation, she has no instrument to play, so a violin that is otherwise gathering dust would be most welcome.

And just to be fair, Shirley is starting a collection of perfume bottles for another granddaughter, so assistance is needed there, too. Shirley may be reached at (727) 842-9920.

Dave Goodeve, a Hernando County resident, saved a bunch of corks from wine bottles for a reader who requested donations of them last year; she turns them into reindeer Christmas ornaments. Unfortunately, she had to call off our readers because she was inundated with corks.

That leaves Dave holding the corks, so to speak, and looking for someone else who needs a lot of them. Please call (352) 684-6954 if you fall into that select group.

Like to spy on birds? Price Buhrman of Pinellas Park is divesting himself of eight Purple Martin plastic gourd nests (so denesting himself may be the more accurate term). They are specially designed for that avian species, and they come equipped with an access port for inspection and cleaning. Please call (727) 546-7661.

Rosemary Westbrook has a Canon copier PC310, which may be an oldie but is still a goodie. And it would be better yet if it had its instruction sheets, which have been lost. Of course plain old copying doesn't require instructions, but some of the more complex operations, such as two-sided copies and clearing paper jams, do. If Rosemary may borrow your instructions to copy, please call (727) 384-1835.

Thank-you note

Lilla O'Shaughnessy wants to thank all the nice folks who responded to her request for shingles or blocks and the lady who said it was illegal to put them on the road.

Lilla adds that she has three boxes full of canning jars, should you need them. Please call (727) 861-7408.

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