Do the home-improvement exhibits at the Minnesota State Fair make you feel as though you're letting down the neighbors? Did those heavy spring rains uncover a leaky roof or soggy basement? Are critters getting ready to set up their winter home in your attic?
Here are six tips for home repair and critter control, as recommended by experts Samantha Strong and John Trostle (with a little help from our State Fair audience and listeners at home):
Got deer eating your fruit trees?
Try hanging bags of human hair from the branches. (Available at your local barber shop.)
Trying to choose from among different contractors?
Find out whether the person you're talking to will be on the job site. And seek out a contractor whose schedule is backed up; even if you have to wait, the work is likely to be done well.
Looking for a solution to dirty gutters?
First, it's not that hard to clean out your gutters. Second, if you want to install a labor-saving product, find something that will let the water in flow freely. We seem to be having fewer slow, soft rains, and more drenching downpours.
Want to improve your energy efficiency?
The single best thing you can do is inspect the caulking around all your doors and windows. If it's dry and crumbly, dig it out and replace it with an acrylic product. On most homes, if you added together all the little gaps and cracks, you'd have an opening two feet square — basically an open window, all winter long.
Have moles in your yard?
Go to Fleet Farm and buy the sets of solar-powered blinking lights that simulate animal eyes in the dark. John seems serious when he says they work. Also, to deter woodpeckers, deploy artificial owls.
Want to do more of your own repair work?
Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. You'll do good and get some valuable on-the-job training at the same time.