Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/4/2013 (1385 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Feedback from Manitoban who cares
I really disagree with your "cure" for cats or squirrels in the garden.
Cayenne pepper may work but it's a very cruel cure. A small animal such as a squirrel or rodent who gets cayenne on its paws and then into its eyes will scratch them until blind. What a horrible death for the poor squirrel who is unlucky enough to step into the powder. A mom squirrel could bring it back to her nest as well and afflict her babies. They are unable to wash away the cayenne powder from their eyes.
If you have ever touched your eyes after handling a hot pepper, you know it is terribly painful. I hate to think of the pain this causes the little animals. We have learned to live with all the animals in our yard and welcome them all, taking prudent steps to keep them away from the garden.
Better yet is to put something prickly or even a piece of foil under that area of the soil so the cats will not dig there. Or keep the soil wet and the cats will stay away. Even putting gravel or stones in a spot will keep them from digging there. Any of these solutions are better!
I love your advice but I hate to think about all the unnecessary suffering that is caused because we humans have to have a perfect yard. Yuck. Lori, Winnipeg
Save money with this hot tip
Many people plug the heat runs in their basement with either insulation or plastic bowls. Does this actually save you money? To answer this question, I asked Wes, an expert on HVAC and sheet metal journeyman from Steinbach.
According to Wes, "Although heat runs can be dampered down, they should never be completely shut off.
"There are many reasons why people may be tempted to plug or block off their basement heat: 'I don't need to heat the basement if I don't use any or all of the rooms. It will save me money. It is a waste of heat. It will create more heat upstairs. My furnace won't work as hard.'
"Basement heat has a purpose. In reality, the heat in your basement is just as important as the heat upstairs. In the long run it will actually save you money. Your house's wood structure and walls are built on rim joists. This is where a lot of your heat loss comes from. Without this heat, the duct work and plumbing lines will become cold and depressurized, bringing more air through rim joists and other heat-loss areas.
"With heat in the basement comes air movement, which stops mould from occurring. Stagnant air is perfect for mould to breed, which also smells. This heat will also keep your floors warm and make for a more comfortable home. Never undervalue HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) design and products because a comfortable home starts with proper temperature control."
I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Missed a column? Can't remember a solution? Need a speaker for an upcoming event? Check out my videos/blog/website: reena.ca!