I'm So Clever

Clever setup foils mooching squirrels

The winner: Here’s my method for defending bird feeders from Mr. Squirrel. I attached long, thin wood posts (outriggers) from my grape arbor, and then screwed a cup hook on each end. I got plastic green plant pots for $1 each at Big Lots, cut a small hole in the bottom of each. I then attached a loop of galvanized wire from the hook at the end of outrigger, ran it through hole in the pot and attached a U-bolt clamp on the other end. The clamps locate the pot vertically and lets it pivot. From there, I attached an S-hook to the clamp and hung the bird feeder off that. My initial effort resulted in Mr. Squirrel holding on the outrigger with hind legs and trying to insert his head in the feeder. So some trial and error may be required. Once I adjusted the vertical dimensions I have had no theft of seed to my knowledge.

While a squirrel could jump to the feeder from the outrigger or from the ground, the feeder tubes are not friendly perches and I have not seen this occur. If the theft is attempted from the outrigger, the pot moves immediately when the squirrel touches it. It seems that they are then out of their comfort zone. They still reap whatever falls to the ground, but so far into my third year this technique is still working successfully. Earl G. Gulledge, Charlotte

Clever Bonus: Mr. Gulledge points out that the gray squirrel is the state mammal.

Cooking oil fixes sticky scissors

Have you ever had a pair of kitchen scissors operate too tightly due to too much friction at the pivot points of the two blades? A simple solution is to put a couple of drops of cooking oil on both sides of the pivot points. Joe Stowe, Charlotte

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