Open Session: What Readers Think

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Pokeweed seeds - In a recent 'Reader to Reader' column, someone wrote in looking for pokeweed seeds. To that person I say, 'Please do not plant pokeweed seeds!' One seed will grow into a 10- to 15-foot plant, with hundreds of berries. All birds like those pokeweed berries. Every seed they deposit, neatly scarified and fertilized, will take root, grow and produce thousands more of the plants. The root becomes huge through the years. Soon there is a forest of pokeweed, almost ineradicable.

It is true that old-timers used to pick the leaves when the first growth appeared in the spring, and then boil them as greens. But roots and berries are poisonous, and I wouldn't want to cook the greens unless I knew what I was doing. Pokeweed is very invasive, a troublesome weed, a scourge.

B.R. Culbertson
Blacksburg, Va.

Canadian meeting - I want to thank you for using my article about finding my cousin ('Cousins found each other at Montana campground,' October). I would like to point out a geographical error in the headline. The place we met was a campground in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. It's not a big error, but my husband noticed it right away. I was so excited that I didn't even notice the error.

I have been a CAPPER'S subscriber for years, as were my mother and grandmother. My husband and I look forward to each issue, and we usually read it from cover to cover in just one sitting.

Bonnie J. Banks
Mapleton, Iowa

Cover girl - I grew up with CAPPER'S, and my husband and I still enjoy it today.

We had an extra thrill when we received the September issue. On the front page was a large photo of our youngest granddaughter, Kashly Schweer, and her sheep at the Finney County (Kan.) Fair.

Here's the rest of the story: She won the supreme showmanship contest at the fair, and her older sister was named as the reserve winner.

Clara Faye and Arnold Schweer
Garden City, Kan.

Her wool's worth - Reading the letter 'School Aid' in the October issue - in which a reader recalled how her grandmother traded chickens for a subscription to CAPPER'S - I recalled how my mother paid for her one-year subscription to the magazine.

The only thing she had to trade was a bag of wool from our one sheep. No scale was available to weigh the wool. Mom knew my youngest sister weighed 35 pounds the last time we had been to town. So, after several turns lifting first my sister and then the wool, accompanied by some dickering, a fair exchange was worked out. My sister, Vera Mae, loved the attention.

At supper time, Dad said that the trade was all right. He loved to read CAPPER'S just as much as Mom and I did.

Elsie Josey
Manitou Springs, Colo.

Snakes in the engine - I read the article about the motorist who discovered a kitten behind a dashboard ('Funny sound coming from auto was a cat,' October). It reminded me of what got into our pickup's engine once.

My husband got off work one evening and found a very large black snake under the hood. He tried to get it out, but he couldn't - so he decided to let it just fall out on its own during the drive home.

Well, one snake did fall out as he turned a corner, but when he got home and looked under the hood to check the damage, he jumped back when he saw two more in there. He and our son-in-law worked for quite a while getting them to turn loose and crawl out. The two were black as well, at least 6 to 8 inches around and more than 5 or 6 feet long.

That was one scary event, and we still talk about it now and then.

Faith Combs
Wichita, Kan.

Big fun on the horse farm - This photo of my grandson, Connor, was taken at a birthday party at a horse farm. The favorite games of the day were hay throwing and chicken catching. He also loved the cake.

Sandra McGarrity
Chesapeake, Va.



Crazy for Cactus

Editor's note: If you're longing for warmer temperatures and the beautiful vegetation that accompanies it, you may enjoy these cactus photographs that readers sent our way. The readers were moved to share after seeing Frankie Roland's On the Garden Path article about her blooming cactus ('After three years, cactus produces a single bloom,' June).

Blooming beautifully - You don't have to go west to see a beautiful cactus. I live in southeast Missouri, in Cape Girardeau County. Cacti bloom like the one in this photo (at left) in May, June and July every year.

Hazel Seabaugh
Jackson, Mo.

Prickly but pretty - Here is my hedgehog cactus (at right). It is 50 years old. The most blooms I've had on mine is 16! I also put it in the garage over winter.

Marilyn Banwart
West Bend, Iowa