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Clean It, Fix It, Find It

Anne Adams and her co-author Nancy Nash-Cummings write a syndicated column about basic how-to home repair and cleaning that started out in Vermont and now has a national audience. This book consolidates some of their Q&A from their columns as well as some additional resources and commentary. They are more concerned with practical low-cost solutions to household problems like termites, stained sinks, pantry moths and the like, then just buying the latest product from the shelf which may have dubious efficacy. To this end, they also compile suggestions from readers supplmenting their own research and reporting. In cases where their suggestions lead to hard-to-find items like pennyroyal oil or decaffeinated cocoa, they will also try to provide a way to find the items they suggest. A lot of their responses fall into the “folk wisdom” category because they tend to try to solve problems with minimal damage to the environment as well as to family memers and pets. At the same time, you can read letters from contributors ruing the day when the government made various pesticides and poisons illegal and they had to resort to alternative methods of pest control. The resulting book seems very Vermont, even though it has a national audience, and is fun to read even if you aren’t contemplating a bathtub refinishing project.