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DEAR HELOISE: We learned about opossums in school. They are marsupials, which means they are born underdeveloped, and then they complete their growth in their mother's pouch. Kangaroos and koalas also are marsupials.

An opossum is the size of a house cat, is nocturnal and lives in the forest. If you see one at night, just let it be. The opossum is looking for food, including ticks, mice, other small animals and plants.

An opossum is harmless, won't bite you, rarely carries rabies and is quite beneficial to the environment, gobbling up all those insects. Opossums live about two years and grow to anywhere from 5 to 15 pounds.

"Playing possum" is not a game to the animal; an opossum's body can physiologically shut down in response to fear.

I want to ask your readers to appreciate the opossum.

-- Jennifer S., age 10,

in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: I live in an area where summer temperatures can exceed 100 degrees for days in a row. Using the ceiling fan makes my house feel cooler. My question is this: Should I turn off the fans for a few hours each day to let them "rest," or is it OK to let them operate 24/7?

-- Sarah P., California

DEAR READER: Operating a ceiling fan is incredibly cheap, even if your ceiling fan has a light on it. No light on the fan costs as little as $10 per month, to around $30 per month for one with a light.

But turn the fan off when you are not in the room, for safety's sake.

And did you know that the blades of the ceiling fan should go counterclockwise in summertime to force the air down and cooler?

DEAR READERS: The kiwi is a delicious, beautiful green summer fruit. About the size of a ping pong ball, the kiwi is actually a fuzzy berry originally from China. It arrived here in the United States in 1904, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture ( A kiwi has about 65 calories.

DEAR HELOISE: I keep a pair of scissors next to my chair that I read the paper in every day. I cut out articles of interest, ads, etc. This saves me from going back through the paper later to find them. Just be sure everyone has read the paper first.

-- Sharon in Florida

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

HomeStyle on 06/22/2019

Print Headline: Helpful Hints

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