The surprising solution to avoid woodpecker damage to your house
As a board member of the Kane County Audubon Society, Jerry Hope of St. Charles almost always notices stories about birds in the newspaper.
And he did so last week when an Associated Press story about woodpeckers and the damage they can cause appeared in the Daily Herald.
I wrote about Hope last year when he was honored for 60 years of service with the Masons, and getting recognized for that milestone from the Unity Masonic Lodge #48 in Geneva.
But clearly, this 82-year-old fellow has a passion for all things birds and nature. As such, he had an interesting insight to share with me after he read the woodpeckers story.
Hope thinks that a lot of what is said and written about woodpecker damage to homes is based on general knowledge passed along through the years.
He's got a different take on it -- one that would never cross your mind if woodpeckers were making a mess out of the siding on your house.
"I have received calls on woodpecker damage or noise in the past," Hope said. "I have talked to or visited homes and the solution many times is their old family wall clock."
I was certainly surprised to hear that, and my first vision was that the woodpeckers thought maybe the cuckoo inside some clocks were ancestors or something. That's not exactly it.
"The tick-tock of the clock hanging on the wall sounds like bug larvae movement to woodpeckers," Hope said. "My suggestion has been to move the clock to an inside wall or to just stop the clock."
In every case he has encountered, Hope said moving or stopping the clock has solved the problem.
But what if you don't have an old family wall clock? And the woodpeckers still like your house?
"Dangling fish line in the problem area also has helped when a clock is not the problem," Hope said.
About Big Al:
For better or worse, Al Capone remains one of Chicago's most recognizable characters.
Who knows how many hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have never been to Chicago have only one name and vision to attach to us. That would be Capone.
Area residents can get a closer look at that phenomenon, as well as other major Chicago events during the Great Depression, when national best-selling author William Hazelgrove comes to the St. Charles Public Library at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, to discuss his recent book.
That book is titled "Al Capone and the 1933 World's Fair, " and the library is pitching it as "a historical look at Chicago during the darkest days of the Great Depression."
Plant more trees:
Based on the reactions my columns generated about trees being cut down along Randall Road retail areas, we know Geneva residents like their trees.
If that's the case, then the city's natural resources committee and the Geneva Park District Foundation should have a winner on their hands when hosting the eighth annual Wine, Cheese & Trees fundraiser from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at the Persinger Recreation Center on Kaneville Road.
The evening features live music, silent and live auctions, drawings and a "wine wall." Proceeds from the event provide money to plant more trees throughout the community.
Tickets are $30 per person, or four for $100, and available at Geneva Wine Cellars and Tasting Room or the Geneva Chamber of Commerce office, both on Third Street.
Cereal is the key:
It's understandable that the owners of Blue Goose Market in St. Charles would like to be able to serve wine inside the grocery store. The atmosphere of Blue Goose reminds one of a Mariano's or a similar modern grocery experience. For shoppers to be able to take part in a wine tasting, or sip on some wine while making their rounds, is part of that experience.
It doesn't matter to me what's being served on the floor of Blue Goose. This store is the only one in the region in which I have been able to find one of my all-time favorite breakfast cereals.
It sells "Maypo," a maple-flavored oatmeal that was famous in the 1950s and '60s, with a kid yelling, "I want my Maypo!"
I still remember that, and I still eat the stuff.
A Sweetheart deal?:
There was a time, some 60 years ago now, in which I would plop down my nickel or dime for some Necco wafers at the corner store in my Chicago neighborhood.
And, when Valentine's Day rolled around, you could expect to see the Sweethearts candy from Necco with a few endearing words on them for your valentine.
And that's been about how long since I thought about these candies, which, to be honest, I found to be rather enjoyable.
In a time when good news is hard to come by, it appeared we had another dose of bad tidings when CandyStore.com was telling us that, because of bankruptcy action last year and a new company taking over Necco, we would have to do without those candy hearts this year.
That is true, but apparently the Spangler Candy Co., which bought Necco, is saying it will bring back the Sweetheart candy next year, according to CandyStore. It could not do so in 2019 because it had just recently acquired Necco.
So, all remains good in the candy world and Spangler can look forward to producing the estimated 8 billion Sweethearts it puts in stores in the weeks before Valentine's Day.