Trash Talk

Trash canThis is Lesson #1,056 of live in a Little House and Lesson # 2,468 of living life in the country.  🙂

We knew when we moved to The Little House that if we didn’t secure our trash, we might be in for some unwelcome wild critters. This is really no different than the city, where lose dogs might get into the trash.

Not having a lot of space in The Little House also means we don’t have a lot of space for a big trashcan.

Although we’ve tried to reduce the amount of waste we create, we still find ourselves needing to remove the bag from our little trashcan under the kitchen sink at least once every two days.

Since we don’t have trash collectors way out in the big woods, we have to take our trash to the fire station once a week, or drop it at the landfill’s transfer station when we’re in town.

We bought three large plastic containers (pictured) after our move. They sit across the driveway from The Little House next to the woodpile and up until this fall, we never had a problem with critters wanting in them.

A couple of months ago, while walking from The Little House to the Belle Writer’s Studio in the pre-dawn of morning, I heard something moving in the brush near the cans. The big dogs went wild and their noses led them on a search that lasted until mid-morning.

A couple of days later, Dale found holes in the tops of two of the cans.

Dale was supposed to have built an enclosure for the these plastic bins, but that is something that has never been checked off of his to-do list.

I know, plastic is harsh on the environment when being produced. I’m sure we will find some other use for them rather than throw them into the landfill.

We’ve learned more lessons associated with our new life in our Little House in the country, underestimating the sharp little teeth of the wildlife, as well as the tenacity it must have taken to avoid the dogs and chew through the tops of the cans.

Any ideas on which type of metal cans are good and where to purchase them?

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16 Responses

  1. Sheila says:

    I used metal cans that you can get just about anywhere, hardware stores, Lowes, etc., but I also added those bungie cords and attached them from the handle on top of the lid, and the side handles on the can. It worked really well, but they were also in a homemade trash can bin that held 3 metal cans. The bins are great for keeping animals away, they eventually figure out that they can’t turn them over.

    As far as the cat situation goes, I had the same problem. My solution was…………

    Set traps, ones that WILL NOT HURT THEM, and when you catch them, turn them over to the “Pet Authorities” and when you do it enough, the “Parents” of your unwanted friends will finally do something about it. Here, if they are caught enough times, and after being warned 2-3 times that they will be kept if it continues, then they may just have to take it seriously.

    I know that sounds harsh, but after your children get scratched and bitten enough, you have to do something.
    Stop feeling bad about your neighbor, they need to be responsible. If my dog (or cat) can be kept out of others yards, so can theirs.

    My daughter had to have rabies shots because my neighbor was also feeding wild cats along with her’s, and THAT was the last straw. Do you really want to take chances like that?

  2. MarthaandMe says:

    The worst problem we have with trash is crows. Big nasty crows go up and down our street on garbage day and pick apart any trash not shut inside a can. It makes a huge mess!

  3. Chris says:

    put mothballs in an old cotton sock, remove the lid to the can, and hang the sock over the top edge of the can – mothballs inside. replace the lid. take away the sock temporarily when putting the can out for the garbage truck to empty. replace it when the garbage truck is gone. animals will leave the can be. an old trick.

    • Susan says:

      Although I have never tried it, I have heard of putting moth balls in your flower beds to keep cats from using it as a litter box.

      • kerri says:

        Thanks. Mothballs are highly toxic though, and I would rather find a more natural way to keep the critters away.

        • Joni says:

          If mothballs are toxic to cats, what do you suggest? My next door neighbor has 9 cats and they have gotten under my house and ripped up the duct work and every time I try to dig in my garden, there is cat doo. The neighbors insist it’s possums, although I know it is the cats. My heating system was destroyed because of these cats. I used to adore cats and now I loathe them because of the discord between my neighbors over these blankety-blank cats. I have put out mothballs, but I’d rather use something that isn’t toxic. It hasn’t seemed to deter the cats anyway. Any suggestions would be very welcome! Since my heating system was out, my pipes froze and burst and then the plumbers tracked in dog doo all over my carpets…again, the cat neighbors also have a dog that they walk in my yard. Short of fencing in the entire yard, how can I keep the dogs and cats out and keep peace with the neighbors? They’re mad at me anyway because the heating people were here, the gas people were here and the plumbers were here and they all agreed it was the cats. The neighbors, even though they are not the ones who had to do without heat and water because of their cats are furious because their cats are being blamed. I have not asked for any assistance from these people; they are just mad because the repairpeople said cats had destroyed my system. The man I bought the house from said he had the same problem with the same people’s cats, so it’s not just me. I don’t know why they are so angry at me. I wish I could just put my house in the middle of 100 acres of land with a big fence with razor wire on the top of it….sigh. Anyhoo, if anyone has any suggestions for non-toxic cat and dog repellant, please let me know. I just want to be able to walk in my yard and work in my garden without having to come up with a hand of cat doo. Every time I dig up the ground, it’s like the cats are standing there just waiting to come use their new potty. 🙁

          • Kerri says:

            Yuck, Joni. Even as an animal lover, I empathize with your problem. It’s irresponsible pet people who give a bad name to all of our four legged friends! Cats don’t like a lot of herbs, I found a website that lists some of them:
            You can also do a google search on natural remedies to keep cats out of garden. I think I’ve also seen some natural stuff at PetSmart. I did resort once to getting a spray bottle and spraying a neighborhood cat with water. It doesn’t hurt them, but they hate water and that might deter the cats. Since your neighbors are upset anyway, I also wouldn’t hesitate filing a complaint with the township regarding the dog going in your yard. See, everytime I even think about the conveniences of living in a neighborhood, someone reminds me of the problem that can be had with neighbors! 🙂 Good luck, Joni.

  4. Susan says:

    Just a thought, but have you thought about separating your trash…wet, dry etc….of course you may be doing this already… my wet garbage is usually contained in 2 plastic grocery bags a week, if that. I compost, plus we have recycling so that helps. But I’m thinking your best bet is Dales project for a bin to contain your trash cans.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Susan. We do separate most of the trash. Much of our organic compost is thrown into the deep woods and we recycle what we can. Sometimes, though, and obviously this time, something made it into the trash that the critters wanted.

  5. Kathleen Winn says:

    We have metal cans at our land with locking lids. They do a good job of keeping out the critters, though there have been a few breaches of trashcan security that caused some mess. When our dog was alive, we kept his food in a heavy duty container with a large, locking screw type lid. Raccoons managed to unscrew the lid, though we were amazed that they did it. I always had a hard time getting that lid off myself. I must admit, the thought of a couple of raccoons wrestling together to get that lid off, made us laugh!

    • Those raccoons can be cute and that thought made me smile as well, Kathy! 🙂

      • Susan says:

        I got a chuckle trying to invision 2 raccoons arguing over which way to turn the lid….”no to the left, No to the right” They are very clever animals. I get a family of three at night that come to raid the cat food dish.

  6. kerri says:

    That’s excellent, Alexandra. I wish we could get down to one bag per week. I’ll have to work on that this year. Town is 17 miles away, so going more frequently than once a week is not possible for us.

  7. Alexandra says:

    We don’t use trash cans anymore because of the raccoons. The town dump is not far away. It has a swap shop my husband loves, so he jumps at any opportunity to visit our “transfer station.” (Actually, we only generate one bag of trash per week.)