20 Family-Friendly Activities to Beat the Murphy, NC Lockdown Blues (Plus 15 Great Ideas for Bored Kids)

As the “stay at home” order continues (although hopefully not for much longer), many Murphy, North Carolina families are running out of ways to maintain some degree of sanity. Flipping through the cable channels and Netflix provides little inspiration, and your list of lockdown projects has gone by the wayside. To compound the situation, out-of-school children are likely bored and looking for ways to get into mischief.

So, switch gears and take some virtual trips outside your home’s four walls. Or, re-discover the great outdoors without leaving your property. Chances are that school-aged kids and adults will all find these family-friendly diversions a pleasurable experience. Continue reading “20 Family-Friendly Activities to Beat the Murphy, NC Lockdown Blues (Plus 15 Great Ideas for Bored Kids)”

Make These 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Murphy, NC Home

The New Year’s arrival brings renewed resolutions to lose weight, get a new job, learn a new skill…and the list goes on. Chances are, you’ve probably compiled your own list of self-improvement projects for the year ahead. But have you resolved to refresh your home and property this year? If not, here are five easy-to-implement ideas for giving your Murphy, North Carolina house a new lease on life – and you can begin right now.

Smart Home Thermostat

You’re probably familiar with a programmable thermostat. This handy device helps to knock down your heating and cooling costs by turning your HVAC system on when you intend to be home. When you plan to be elsewhere, the system remains off so you don’t pay for climate control when you’re not there to enjoy it.

A smart home thermostat takes this capability a step (or two) further. First, this versatile little box enables you to create custom heating or cooling schedules for each day’s differing needs. The thermostat can also detect when you’re actually at home, and therefore doesn’t provide heat or air conditioning for a non-occupied space.

Latest-generation smart home thermostats contain sensors that you can place in rooms in which you spend the most time. So, the thermostat heats those rooms while ignoring spaces such as hallways, unused bonus rooms, or laundry areas.

Home Security and Safety Enhancements
Keeping your home secure involves consistent attention to your physical environment and potential risk factors. Although security cameras seem to get the most attention, several other devices can also contribute to your family’s safety.

Smart Remote Lockbox: When you lock yourself out of the house, and your spare key is on the kitchen counter, how can you unlock the front door? The days of safely leaving a key under the doormat are long gone, but now you can gain remote access via a new smartphone app.

This new Smart Remote Keybox can use a custom Bluetooth key to provide you (and other designated keyholders) with remote access to your home. Or, choose personalized PIN codes that expire in just a few hours or stay active for weeks. Providing permanent access for family members is also an option. And, you’ll have a readily available access log so you can get date-stamped details on everyone who enters your home.

Smart Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms: Chances are, you’ve had carbon monoxide and smoke alarms installed in your home for many years. These important devices can alert you to imminent, life-threatening danger, allowing you and your family to safely escape the house. Hopefully, you’ve kept the devices operational by changing the batteries regularly, typically on the Daylight Savings Time start and stop dates.

However, your typical carbon monoxide or smoke alarm has one major limitation. Although it might emit an ear-splitting shriek to let your family know about a carbon monoxide leak or fire, you won’t know about the emergency if you’re not home.

To remedy that situation, a smart carbon monoxide or smoke alarm combines an audio alarm with a smartphone alert, so you’ll quickly learn about the emergency. You can also program an alert transmission to other authorized contacts, such as a neighbor or nearby relative. Some smoke alarms also feature an emergency light that can assist you in navigating your way out of a smoky home.

New Year’s Deep Cleaning Service
Cleaning your home regularly will help to improve its overall appearance. Vacuuming, dusting, and getting clutter under control goes a long way toward achieving that goal. And, banishing the dog hair and dust bunnies, and keeping filters cleaned, will help family members who deal with respiratory issues.

With your busy schedule and multiple commitments, however, your cleaning schedule has suffered (along with the house). So, start the New Year with a clean slate by treating your home to a deep professional clean from top to bottom. Afterward, you’ll find it easier to knock out those basic cleaning and decluttering tasks on a daily or weekly basis.

Although each cleaning service has its own definition of the term, a “deep cleaning” frequently includes services such as mopping or vacuuming floors, descaling bathroom fixtures, cleaning behind appliances, and washing all interior windows.

In other words, a “deep cleaning” removes all the dirt and grime that you don’t have time to tackle. By hiring a professional cleaning service to “deep clean” your home every six months, you can stop feeling guilty, and create a workable cleaning schedule for the New Year.

Home Lighting Fixtures Upgrades
After the holiday season’s colorful decorations and lively festivities, the gray and brown landscape and shorter days can really give you a case of the winter “blahs.” To send that negative mood packing, and give your house a fresh new look, redo (or replace) your home’s lighting fixtures.

If your budget allows, create a coordinated lighting scheme that you can carry throughout the home. Buy new lighting fixtures that integrate with your decorating style (e.g. contemporary, French country, or rustic). Big box stores and specialty lighting shops will likely have lots of varied options.

Let’s say your budget is really stretched, but you’d still like to make some lighting upgrades. First, visit lighting stores and other retail outlets, and look for appealing floor samples. If you’re really cash crunched, give your existing fixtures a fresh coat of spray paint (with proper ventilation, of course).

Switching to energy-efficient LED light bulbs will also pay off in the long run. Although these pricey bulbs will initially take a bigger dent out of your wallet, they require less energy to operate, and their longer life span will actually save you money over time.

Winter Landscape Maintenance Work
Quite surprisingly, winter is an ideal time to wrap up past-season landscaping maintenance work. By hiring a reputable lawn care/landscaping maintenance service now, your property will be ready for the spring planting and gardening season. And, you’ll beat the spring landscaping maintenance rush at the same time.

Eliminate Those Pesky Weeds: Super-hardy weeds, such as Common Chickweed, can survive even in very cold weather. In fact, this annoying plant has been known to hang on even in near-zero temperatures. Even worse, weeds can keep multiplying all year ‘round. Ask the landscapers to banish last season’s leftovers, and invite the crew back when the weeds get a foothold again.

Rake Up Yard Debris and Leaves: Stubborn yard debris and windblown leaves can threaten to take up permanent residence in your yard. Even if you did a thorough fall landscape cleanup, some trees can shed leaves throughout the winter, and you could get the blown-over leaf remnants from your neighbor’s yard. And yard debris isn’t just an annoyance – it’s a hiding place for rodents (which could then find their way into your house). To minimize this hazard, ask the landscape crew to deposit the debris and leaves in a more suitable location.

Complete Winter Pruning Work: Because shrubs and other plants are dormant during winter, it’s an ideal time to trim them back before they begin to grow again during the springtime. If you don’t prune them at all, you can negatively affect the plants’ flowering ability. During the same visit, ask the landscape crew to remove dead plants and flowers from the garden.

Now that your Murphy, North Carolina home is enjoying several New Year’s upgrades, start gathering ideas for additional projects to tackle in the spring. Your local home improvement and hardware stores, garden centers, and specialty shops are excellent places to begin.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ILoveMurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Why the Holidays Are a Perfect Time for Buying (or Selling) a Home in Murphy, NC

The Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday season is filled with festive gift giving, socializing with family and friends, and overindulging in your favorite foods and libations. But here’s the best-kept secret: the holiday season is also a great time to buy (or sell) a house in Murphy, North Carolina. Either way, we’ve got four compelling reasons to jump into the real estate market over the coming weeks.

Why the Holidays Are a Good Time to Buy

Reduced Buyer Competition
Let’s say you’re in the market for a new home. You’ve got your “Must Have” list of features, and you’d like to view properties that might fit the bill. If you find the ideal mountain home, you’re ready to make an offer. However, you’re slightly concerned about another buyer swooping in and grabbing the house while you’re trying to negotiate a good deal.

Here’s some good news: The odds of that outcome will be much lower during the holiday season. Simply put, there aren’t as many buyers looking at homes, so your chances of making a successful offer are considerably better. Continue reading “Why the Holidays Are a Perfect Time for Buying (or Selling) a Home in Murphy, NC”

Enjoy a Small-Aircraft Flight Experience Near Murphy, NC

Have you ever wanted to see our beautiful mountains from the air? To fly over the peaks and valleys, and see familiar landmarks and towns from a bird’s eye view? That’s actually easier than it sounds, as you can easily book an aerial tour above Murphy, North Carolina and our mountain region.

Maybe you’d like to climb into a wind-powered glider, and soar silently over some of eastern Tennessee’s highest peaks. Regardless of the season, you’ll enjoy spectacular views, and will likely have the thrill of a lifetime. Can’t decide which one to choose? Try them both!

Enjoy a Scenic Flight (or Flight Lessons) Above Murphy, NC
To experience the thrill of flying over our stunning mountains, you won’t have to drive for two hours and book a sightseeing flight from a metro airport. Instead, hop in your car (or truck), and make the scenic drive to Western Carolina Regional Airport in nearby Andrews, North Carolina.

Located in the scenic Andrews Valley, Western Carolina Regional Airport (call sign KRHP) is home to numerous small aircraft, and you might even see a private jet or two on occasion. With hangar space and tie-downs, plus fuel and service, this historic airport makes a convenient home base or stopping point for regional explorations.

Western Carolina Regional Airport is also home to KRHP School of Aviation, operated by The Blue Ridge Mountains Flyers and directed by Retired Captain Gayland Trull. Captain Trull possesses his Airplane Single Engine Pilot, Airline Transport, Airplane Multi-engine, and Commercial Licenses. With those credentials, he’s well equipped to provide you with a memorable flight experience.

Scenic flights are available for up to two adults or one adult with two children. Note that flights are dependent on pilot availability and weather conditions. Call the airport office for details, and leave a message for a prompt return call.

If you’d like to get your private pilot’s license, Captain Trull can also help you to accomplish that goal. You can easily complete your ground school on the airport’s premises, and also book your flight hours from this convenient regional home base.

Western Carolina Regional Airport
5840 Airport Road, Andrews, NC
Office: (828) 321-5114

Soar Over the Tennessee Mountains in a Graceful Glider
If you’re ready for a different kind of flight experience, take an unforgettable glider ride over the eastern Tennessee mountains and surrounding countryside. Glider flights are available from Chilhowee Gliderport in Benton, Tennessee, which has been in operation since the early 1970s.

When you pull onto the Chilhowee Gliderport grounds, you’ll notice an inviting-looking building that houses the facility’s office and clubhouse. You’ll see a roomy covered hangar, along with plenty of spots to observe glider flights from your comfortable folding chair. And, there’s a long, well-maintained grass runway that gets plenty of use by the gliders and Pawnee tow plane.

Let’s say you’d like to take a short glider ride with an FAA-certified glider flight instructor. You can soar with the pilot by yourself, or invite another rider to join you (combined 350-pound weight limit). So, you might be able to enjoy this incredible experience with a favorite companion. What could be better?

So, how is a glider ride different than a small private aircraft flight? For starters, you’ll hitch a ride up to “soaring” territory with the Pawnee tow plane. Once you climb to several thousand feet, your pilot will disconnect from the tow plane. Then, you’ll experience a gloriously silent flight except for the “whoosh” of the glider in the wind.

Below, you’ll see mountain peaks and valleys, and perhaps even the winding Hiwassee River. Depending on wind and weather conditions, your pilot could speed along the ridgelines, or might soar upward in the air thermals. You might even get a chance to briefly take the controls. Regardless of how the experience unfolds, it’s a “once in a lifetime” flight.

If you get hooked on gliders, and want to obtain your glider pilot license, Chilhowee Gliderport can help you to achieve that lofty goal. Private pilots who want to earn a glider ticket are also welcome.

Chilhowee Gliderport is open Friday through Sunday year ‘round, plus weekdays by appointment (weather conditions permitting). Call ahead for glider ride reservations. Day trippers will enjoy the Gliderport’s popular Octoberfest, racing events during the peak of the soaring season, and winter wave camps.

Chilhowee Gliderport
Benton, TN
P: 423-338-2000
C: 423-506-9015
info@chilhowee.com
Directions: Chilhowee Gliderport is 15 to 20 minutes from most of the Ocoee River rafting outfitters. Take Highway 64 to Highway 411 north, and continue about 10 miles. Chilhowee Gliderport is on the left. Look for the large signs.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ILoveMurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

5 Tips for Planning a Fall & Winter Vegetable Garden in Murphy, NC

Growing vegetables in our Murphy, North Carolina mountains is always an adventure. You’ll encounter wild weather swings, alternating drought and monsoon conditions, and ravenous deer who munch their way through your carefully cultivated garden.

But sometimes, it all comes together and you get an impressive summer harvest of tomatoes, peppers, squash, and lots more tasty vegetables. While you’re basking in the moment, however, note that the fall and winter gardening season is right on the doorstep. With some initial preparation, and careful timing of your plantings, you can enjoy fresh vegetables right up until springtime. Continue reading “5 Tips for Planning a Fall & Winter Vegetable Garden in Murphy, NC”

Simple, Affordable Home Staging Tips to Help Sell Your Home in Murphy, NC

You’re ready to sell your home in Murphy, North Carolina, and you want to pull out all the stops to attract home buyers. You’ll get your house clean enough to pass the “white glove test,” and you’ll hire a lawn service to keep the property in tip-top shape. You know that properly staging a home can increase its appeal to buyers searching the MLS, and that can go a long way toward getting an offer.

Unfortunately, you don’t have big bucks to hire a home stager. So, get ready to handle the home staging work yourself. With just a little time and creativity, you can create an environment that makes home buyers feel welcome, and that could convince them to make their move.

Then, you’re ready to call your real estate agent, who will hire a professional photographer with the skills to make your home really shine. Next, your realtor will place your property on the MLS listings, and will launch a marketing program that helps you to sell your property. Continue reading “Simple, Affordable Home Staging Tips to Help Sell Your Home in Murphy, NC”

Enjoy Lake Time & Ice Cream Treats in Murphy, NC

There’s nothing like spending some time at a cool mountain lake near Murphy, NC. You herd the family into the car (or truck), pack a picnic lunch and some sunscreen and cold water, and get ready to chill out for the day. When you arrive, you soak up some fresh mountain air and decide whether you’d like to swim, fish, or do absolutely nothing. And sometime during the afternoon, you decide to top off this splendid day with a delicious ice cream treat. It really doesn’t get much better than this!

So, decide which beautiful mountain lake you’ll visit today. To make your decision easier, you’ll find all three lakes located along Route 294 just a stone’s throw west of Murphy, North Carolina.

CHEROKEE LAKE
Enjoy a good old-fashioned summer picnic at this scenic lakeside spot with plenty of room for everyone. Bring some sandwiches and snacks from town; or pair some grilled burgers and hot dogs with salads and cold drinks. While you dine like kings, enjoy Cherokee Lake’s serene setting, and soak up the peace and quiet.

After lunch and a quick pit stop, stroll the walking trails, or spend a few lazy hours casting your line from the dock. With a current North Carolina fishing license, and equipped a good rod and tackle, you’ll be ready to face off against those crafty, elusive mountain fish.

Directions: Take Highway 64 West, and turn right on Highway 294. Travel just a few miles. Turn right on Forest Service Road 313 to enter the Cherokee Lake picnic area.

HIWASSEE LAKE

Scenic Overlook
As mountain lakes go, Hiwassee Lake is pretty impressive. This sprawling lake covers almost 6,100 acres, has nearly 180 miles of winding shoreline, and extends for a generous 22 miles. In other words, you’ll find plenty to see (and plenty of fish) there.

If you enjoy picture-postcard mountain scenery, you’ll have some stunning photo ops here. Hiwassee Lake is completely nestled in the Nantahala National Forest, and the view from the dam-area overlook is simply amazing. The lake stretches on forever, and it’s bordered by miles and miles of wooded shoreline.

Directions to scenic overlook: Take Highway 64 West, and turn right on Highway 294. Travel several miles, and look for the U.S. Forest Service sign on the right.

Water Activities
Now, let’s assume you’d like to do some serious fishing, boating, or water-skiing. Or, you’ve had enough of the hot, steamy weather, and you’d like to splash around the lake to cool off. Or, maybe you want to enjoy a picnic lunch before taking a leisurely hike through the woods. You can access those activities at Hanging Dog Recreation Area, located just an easy drive from Murphy.

Directions to Hanging Dog Recreation Area (from Murphy): Drive about 4 miles northwest on Peachtree Street, which turns into Joe Brown Highway. Look for the entrance to Hiwassee Lake on the left.

APALACHIA LAKE
If you’ve been looking for a serene, unspoiled mountain lake with amazing views, put Apalachia Lake on your “must see” list. This gorgeous 10-mile-long lake feeds into the Hiwassee River, and the Nantahala National Forest is right next door.

As the crow flies, you’re not too far from Hiwassee Lake, but Apalachia Lake has a remote character all its own. With very little shoreline development, and virtually no recreational facilities, Apalachia Lake is one of the purest mountain lake settings you’ll ever find.

If you want to enjoy some laid-back fishing, kayaking, or canoeing, you can take advantage of a convenient launch ramp. Or, you can meander through the woods on a scenic hiking trail. In other words, you make your own fun at Apalachia Lake, and you probably won’t have much company.

Directions: Take Highway 64 West, and turn right on Highway 294. Stay on 294 for quite a distance, and you’ll eventually see the Apalachia Lake turnoff sign.

ENJOY ICE CREAM TREATS AT THE SWEET TOOTH
Wrap up your lake excursion with some delicious ice cream confections from The Sweet Tooth. This incredibly popular family ice cream shop is located at 658 Andrews Road, not far from downtown Murphy, NC. During the summer season, The Sweet Tooth is open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

This little walk-up ice cream shop has a quirky character, and the building features lots of ice cream-y photos that you can view while waiting for your order. There aren’t any one-size-fits-all ice cream cups here – perish the thought! Instead, you’ll enjoy your own personal ice cream treat that comes with your choice of toppings. So, dig in and enjoy every bite as you reflect on the perfect ending to a great summer day at the lake.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ILoveMurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital Brings Expanded Services to Murphy, NC

If you love living in our beautiful mountains, or are considering a move to Murphy, NC or the surrounding counties, you likely appreciate our region’s gorgeous scenery and feast of outdoor activities. However, you’ve probably wished that premier medical facilities, and highly regarded specialists, were much more accessible – especially for those facing serious or chronic health issues.

Fortunately, Chattanooga, TN-based Erlanger Health System has stepped in to provide a solution. In April 2018, after two years of due diligence and planning, Erlanger announced plans to acquire Peachtree-based Murphy Medical Center (MMC). By bringing our 40-year-old community hospital into the Erlanger family, our residents and visitors will benefit from an expanded menu of services and specialists. Continue reading “Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital Brings Expanded Services to Murphy, NC”

7 Simple Tips for Winterizing Your Home in Murphy, NC

Fall’s cooler weather and shorter days mean winter’s frigid temperatures are just around the corner. And when it’s really cold (and maybe snowy or icy) outside, you want to stay warm and cozy inside your Murphy, North Carolina mountain cabin. To ensure that your house is nicely buttoned up against the elements, here are seven easy steps for winterizing your home and property. And here’s the best part: you can prepare both large and small homes using the same guidelines.

Add Insulation in Strategic Spots
Adding insulation to your home can make the house feel warmer during the winter months. This is especially important in the attic, where beefing up the insulation prevents warm air from migrating to your roof, where it can lead to ice dams. Throughout every season, this extra insulation can help you conserve energy and save money, according to the United States Department of Energy.

While you’re focused on insulation projects, take steps to protect your water pipes and water heater. This is most important if your water pipes are routed through an unheated or very chilly basement, potentially leading to frozen pipes during super-cold weather. Taking time to winterize the pipes and water heater now can help prevent expensive repairs down the road. Continue reading “7 Simple Tips for Winterizing Your Home in Murphy, NC”

How to Coexist with the Wildlife around Murphy, NC

When you’re living in the mountains around Murphy, NC, you’re surrounded by lush green forests and sparkling mountain lakes. You’re also sharing your life with a diverse population of native wildlife.

On most days, you’ll likely spot a group of deer munching on tasty bushes and trees. Wild turkeys perform seasonal struts across nearby driveways, and squirrels and raccoons scurry about looking for food and mischief. On rare occasions, you might even glimpse a lumbering black bear. Because some residents might wonder how to peacefully get along with the local wildlife, here are general tips that should apply to most situations. To resolve a specific issue, contact a local wildlife expert.

DEER

Limit Their Landscape Impact
Deer are voracious vegetation eaters who often gravitate to desirable trees, bushes, and groundcover plants. To discourage deer browsing, make your landscape less attractive to the hungry grazers. If possible, add deer-resistant shrubs, flowers, and groundcover to existing greenery. Protect individual trees, bushes, and groundcover with stiff plastic netting that still permits sunlight. These tactics should reduce the deer’s impact on your landscape.

Banish Them from Your Garden
If you’ve carefully cultivated a vegetable garden, or planted colorful flowers around your home, you want to discourage hungry deer from decimating your plants. First, trim the grass and underbrush around the garden. If you have nearby fruit trees, promptly harvest your ripe fruit and remove fallen fruit from the ground.

Properly fencing your garden’s perimeter should effectively stop most deer in their tracks. Choose durable fencing with sturdy metal, wood, or fiberglass posts. Ensure that the fencing is at least eight feet high (yes, deer can jump that high), and set at least one foot below ground (yes, deer can stomp flimsy fencing into the ground). Allow no more than four inches between fence components. Visual stimuli such as mylar tape, strobe or bright lights, scarecrows, and motion-triggered water sprays might also help.

If a persistent deer somehow navigates your fence, discourage their snacking behavior by surrounding vulnerable edibles with deer-repellent plants. Examples include lavender, sage, spearmint, thyme, catnip, chives, garlic, and onion. For more information, contact a local plant nursery or your Cooperative Extension Service’s Master Gardener Program.

WILD TURKEYS

Wild turkeys are constant grazers who naturally consume leaves, berries, seeds, nuts, insects, small frogs, lizards, and even snakes. Traveling in small family groups or flocks, they scratch their way through an area while searching for food. Next, they move to another spot and repeat the exercise. At night, they roost in convenient trees. Left alone, wild turkeys should cause minimal damage to surrounding residential areas.

How Human-Supplied Food Changes Turkeys’ Behavior
However, wild turkeys’ behavior can change when they’re given human-supplied food, such as deer corn or other tasty snacks. This new food source will first alter the turkeys’ foraging habits, and then their flock size may increase as other birds arrive to enjoy the bounty. The turkeys’ roosting behavior can also change, and they’ll likely decrease their travel range. The net effect: more turkeys will be living in a smaller geographic area.

If wild turkeys settle near your home, and continue their scratching and foraging behavior, they can tear up your landscape and damage your vehicles, decks, and shingles. Male turkeys can show aggression when they’re expecting a handout or during breeding season.

How to Resolve Your Turkey Problems
The answer is deceptively simple: Stop feeding the turkeys. Feeding them smaller portions will only cause the problem to continue. Once you stop providing any food, the turkeys will gradually return to their natural activities.

Or, maybe you haven’t actively fed the turkeys, but they’ve been gorging themselves on leftover dog or cat food that you’ve left outside. Opportunistic turkeys also gather under bird feeders, methodically scarfing up stray seeds dropped by careless birds. To discourage this scavenging, promptly remove your pets’ food dishes, and keep your bird feeding stations squeaky clean.

SQUIRRELS

Squirrel-proof Your Bird Feeders
Clever little squirrels naturally gravitate to any potential food source. In fact, you’ve probably seen them gorging themselves under your bird feeders. Although this seems harmless, it conditions the squirrels to expect free handouts at your house. If you really enjoy feeding the birds, buy “squirrel-proof” feeders with metal baffles that prevent the squirrels from climbing up to the feeding stations. If possible, locate the feeders in an open area so the little gymnasts can’t jump on a feeder from a nearby tree limb.

Banish Them from Your Roof
If a squirrel jumps onto your roof from a nearby tree, they’ve surmounted a major hurdle in the quest to access your home. To deter them, trim tree limbs so they’re six feet (or more) away from your house. Although squirrels can also climb along cables or wires attached to your home, decreasing the rodents’ potential access points is a step in the right direction.

Keep Them Out of Your House
Chances are, you know someone who has experienced a squirrel home invasion. These determined little rodents often sneak into houses, settling in the attic to nest and raise their young. They can access a home through an existing entry point, such as a chimney or open vent. If another animal has created a hole, a squirrel will happily use it to get inside your home. If necessary, they’ll gnaw their way in, often chewing on electrical wires and drain pipes in the process.

To prevent the squirrels from entering your house, regularly check for potential openings, especially signs of active chewing. After confirming that no squirrels are in the house, block all openings with half-inch wire mesh. If a mother squirrel is raising her young in your house, wait until the youngsters have departed the nest. Then, place a one-way gate over the opening so the squirrels can leave but can’t return. Once everyone has exited the building, permanently seal the opening.

Finally, remember that squirrels don’t usually launch unprovoked attacks on humans. However, if you attempt to catch a squirrel, it will probably scratch and/or bite in self-defense. To avoid that unpleasant outcome, contact a wildlife removal expert with the equipment and knowledge to safely resolve the situation.

RACCOONS

Discourage the Crafty Creatures’ Visits
Raccoons are shrewd little problem solvers who will seize any opportunity to grab some food. To discourage them from visiting your property, securely fasten your garbage can lids. Remove your pet’s food and water dishes each night. If your property contains fruit trees, harvest the ripe fruit and quickly collect fallen fruit.

Finally, don’t feed the raccoons under any circumstances. By providing them with regular meals, you’re acclimating them to humans, and possibly giving the quick little animals a chance to get inside your home. So, keep the “raccoon restaurant” closed, and the hungry little diners should look for a more hospitable location.

Raccoon-proof Your Garden
Keeping raccoons out of your carefully tended garden might be an ongoing challenge. To increase your odds of success, consider acquiring a dog. Your pooch’s barking, and possibly their scent, may discourage raccoons from exploring your property.

Inside the garden, grow a generous crop of squash, as raccoons don’t seem to like walking on the prickly vines. Sprinkle cayenne powder, or a 50/50 mix of garlic and chili powder, throughout your garden. Place motion sensor lights around the garden, as bright lights might discourage raccoons from prowling through the plants at night. Install a motion-detector sprinkler system, which you’ll activate during nighttime hours.

BLACK BEARS

Promote Your Personal Safety
Our mountain region is home to numerous black bears, which typically stay in their forest habitats and avoid human contact. However, on rare occasions you might spot a bear wandering through your property, searching for food. If you give the bear a wide berth, and don’t provide any food, the bear should eventually leave the area. If you make the mistake of feeding the bear, however, it’s likely to become dependent on human food handouts. As a result, the bear will increase its presence near your home, and will likely exhibit bolder behavior over time.

If you do encounter a bear, don’t attempt to become “The Bear Whisperer.” Instead, remain calm and back away slowly while making as much noise as possible. Don’t ever approach or corner the bear, as it’s an extremely powerful animal that can move with incredible speed. Finally, as a general guideline, if the bear seems to alter its natural behavior while you’re there, you’ve definitely gotten too close and should carefully leave the scene.

Minimize Your Bear Problems
To discourage bears from hanging around your property, eliminate all potential food sources. Store your trash cans inside your basement, garage, or other inaccessible area. On trash pick-up days, take the trash outside that morning – not the night before.

If you (or a neighbor) has spotted a bear nearby, minimize your outdoor pet feeding, and ensure that all bowls are removed each evening. Also, bears are notorious for vandalizing bird feeders and gorging themselves on tasty seeds and suet. To prevent this carnage, remove all bird feeders (and hummingbird feeders), even the “bear proof” models. Finally, clean your barbecue grill after each use, as bears are attracted to the enticing food and grease odors.

Now that you’ve gotten acquainted with the Murphy, NC area wildlife, and learned how to share their natural environment, relax on your deck and enjoy living in our beautiful mountains.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ILoveMurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team