By Michael and Anastasia Tsouroupakis
As the weather gets warmer and the days begin to grow longer we begin to notice the first stirring of spring, the earth and her creatures awakening after a long winters slumber. In Toronto this also means the beginning of the nightly battle between homeowners and the raccoon population. We know what you’re thinking we have invaded their space etc. yet we still have to coexist with one another and there are times when we humans are losing the battle to these wily critters. When we became homeowners the elderly childless couple next door fed our neighborhood raccoon and skunk population and while charitable this left us with an enormous problem, we could not sit out in our backyard after dusk and at least one morning a week we awoke to the pungent aroma of skunk musk because our neighbors Chow surprised one of the little black and white critters.
Raccoon’s are nature’s scavengers, her garbage collectors if you will, and in the wild they are preyed upon by bobcats, coyotes, and the great owl, urbanization however has destroyed these populations and raccoon’s now have no natural predators and, with an endless food supply aka our garbage their numbers have completely gone unchecked. In the GTA the booming raccoon population is a real problem.
What can the average homeowner do to protect themselves? When you google ways to raccoon proof your garbage you will find suggestions like make sure the area around your garbage is well lit, sprinkle the area with naphtha flakes aka mothballs, sprinkle predator urine around your garbage, ammonia will also serve in a pinch, and others suggest playing a talk radio station will also keep raccoon’s away. We have tried all of the above remedies and nothing worked. The only thing that did work was to completely remove their food source by making sure all of our garbage AND recycling had lids which were secured or stowed away in a garage, shed or and enclosure. Yes we said recycling, even though everything in your recycling bin is empty this actually serves to annoy them, and they will respond by pooping in your recycling bin. We know this from firsthand experience, the only thing worse than cleaning up the contents of your green bin first thing in the morning, is cleaning raccoon poop out of your recycling bin.
If you are storing away your garbage and recycling in the garage make sure the door is closed and locked, adult raccoon’s will go on their hind legs reach up and turn the door knob (we have actually seen this) and now not only do you have to pick up your garbage but you also have to worry about whether or not the critter has decided to take up residence in your garage. If that happens, call a removal service and they will advise you how best to deal with the situation.
When you have locked up your garbage raccoon’s will continue visiting your property until they are absolutely certain there is no potential for a meal; almost as if they are waiting for you to let down your guard. Their tenacity knows no bounds. It took about two years for our nocturnal visits to stop, but we still lock up our garbage one slip up and we will end up back on their nightly rounds.
Best of Luck
By Anastasia and Michael Tsouroupakis
With the warmer weather (finally) approaching many of our clients ask us the best way to store their winter clothing, and since we have such long winters our winter wardrobe tends to be far more extensive than our summer wardrobe. We have put together a few helpful ideas on how to safely and effectively store you winter clothing:
- Purge your winter wardrobe. There is no point in spending your precious time preparing a garment for winter storage if you are not going to wear it again. Our rule is if you haven’t worn that red sweater this season you’re not going to wear it next season either.
- Clean your clothes! It is imperative that you clean your clothes before you put them away, this will help prevents insects from damaging your clothing.
- Use fabric softener sheets to help keep your clothing smelling fresh and to keep insects from feasting on your wardrobe.
- Fold your coats don’t hang them! Button or zipper your coats and empty your pockets and folding your coats will help keep their shape and is more space efficient than hanging.
- Storing boots. Stuff tall and short ankle boots with newsprint to help keep the shape of your boots. There is nothing worse than trying to push your foot into a flat boot.
- Storing your clothing in plastic totes or plastic bag (more cost efficient) placed inside a cardboard box will ensure your clothing remain dry and safe through the warm humid summer months.
Once you have packed away your winter wardrobe you should store your boxes and totes in out of the way places like your garage, basement, utility room, or storage unit and get ready to enjoy the warmer weather.
A little while ago I sat on some silly putty while I was wearing a ridiculously expensive pair of yoga pants. After my initial horror (did I mention they were expensive yoga pants?)
I tried everything to remove the stringy gooey mess from my pants, I tried scraping the strands off with the blunt edge of a butter knife and then with the sharp side of a butter knife, dabbed it with a wet cloth and then a dry cloth, nothing I tried was helping in fact it was making the whole situation worse. Frustrated I did what anyone would do, I googled “How to remove silly putty from my clothes” the answer I got was WD-40 and alcohol. I was stunned, WD-40 was the stuff you use to silence squeaky doors, it was a kind of grease, in spite of my reservations I tried and IT WORKED! After I had removed all the silly putty and threw my pants in the wash, I looked up some more uses for WD-40. There were the obvious uses greasing squeaky hinges etc. but to my amazement, there were some unconventional ones as well, bellow is a list of the top ten most interesting uses for WD-40:
- Removes crayon from walls and wallpaper.
- Removes sticky sticker residue from glass ware.
- Removes stains like ink, lipstick, juice stain, from clothing and carpets.
- Removes chewing gum from your shoes, carpet or hair.
- Unsticks stuck Lego blocks
- Sprayed on the bases of trees it prevent beavers from chewing them.
- Removes dead, dried up insect carcases from your windshield.
- Sprayed on a glass shower door it prevents water spotting
- Removes scratches from ceramic and marble floors
And I have saved the best for last…….
- Snake Charmer! A bus driver in Asia used WD-40 to remove a python that had
coiled itself around the underside of his bus.
Carnforth Self Storage