Reduce your carbon footprint to a friendly tip-toe... cleaner, safer, quieter.
Raccoon-proof your Green Bin!
Your green "wet waste" City of Toronto collection container can be easily and effectively raccoon-proofed for under $10. This simple trick has worked for me for years and has given 100% protection from the inconvenience of organic garbage being strewn about. The persistent critters have even dragged the bin off my deck and into the yard to work on it, but they have never managed to open it! To secure the bin I cut a piece of 1x2'' spruce strapping to a length of 5.3 inches and then inserted this "block" into the space in front of the closed metal latch. The block fits in this space perfectly creating a snug fit that virtually "locks" the latch in the closed position, thereby securing the lid. Strangely, humans can remove the block with ease yet no raccoon has ever succeeded. The key is to make the block the correct length (5.3'') -- the raccoons' hands, though relatively dexterous, seem unable to leverage the block out of this tight space. Forget about ropes, bungee cords or any other method and try this preventive measure -- it really works. Of course, you must remove the block when you put the bin out for collection day.
Crash-proof your windows to save birds!
Every year in North America millions of birds fly into windows in homes and other buildings. These collisions often result in critical injuries. Particularly if you have large picture windows, you may have heard the thud of an unlucky song bird and then found it stunned or dead on the ground outside. In my experience, it is possible to reduce the risk of these accidents by over 90 percent by using the window decals sold in specialty stores or on-line. These decals are not expensive or visually intrusive -- they are typically translucent and come in a variety of styles. They are non-adhesive so that they can be moved around and do not mark the windows, plus they stay in place where you put them ("static cling"). The birds can see and avoid them because they visually break up the reflective surface of the window pane. Please contact me for more advice on purchasing such products.... they are life savers.
The city is a wilderness....
Encourage butterflies to beautify and enhance your garden!
These Black Swallow-Tail caterpillars were attracted to some dill we planted. Parsley is also a preferred food for these larva which morph into beautiful butterflies. Planting some milkweed (above) is a great way to help support Monarch Butterfly populations.
Tips For Good Mowing and Healthy Lawns
- The "one-third rule" states that it is a good practice to avoid cutting more than 1/3 of your lawn's length at any given time and this is especially true during dry periods. Over-cutting may also reduce the natural ability of your grass to crowd out weeds.
- Do not over-water your lawn or water too frequently. Using the same amount of water over less frequent waterings will encourage deeper root growth which helps your lawn to stay healthy. Using a rain barrel to save water for use in dry periods is an environmental plus.
- Use a push reel mower to cut your grass. Power mowers with rotary blades tend to rip or tear your grass, which is less desirable than cutting it cleanly and evenly the way a reel mower does. Therefore, when you walk on a lawn recently cut by a reel mower you will find that it does not stain your feet green nearly as much as is the case with an electric or gas mower. Rotary mowers also tend to leave clumps of wet cuttings "belched out" on your lawn whereas reel mowers deposit the clippings on your lawn much more uniformly. And, of course, push reel mowers create zero hydrocarbon emissions as they cut your grass.
- You need only use a grass catcher or a rake if the cuttings on your lawn are heavy. Light clippings will act as a natural fertilizer for your lawn, but heavy deposits may smother it or start to rot it by trapping moisture.
- When mowing patchy or weedy lawns with lots of dandelion and grass seed stems, take advantage of NaturCut's excellent reel action. By "working the reel" (pumping the mower to make the reel spin faster) you will reduce the tendency of the mower to push these stems over, thereby increasing cutting effectiveness for best results.