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A HELPING HAND

INSIDE & OUT : Best Rabbit Repellent: Chicken-Wire Fence

September 10, 1994|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Q. My garden is infested with dozens of rabbits. I've read that orange and lemon peels will repel cats from a garden. Will they work the same way with rabbits?

F. R., Mission Viejo

A. You can try it, but your rabbits may end up eating the peels, says Jim Kitano of Kitano's Garden Center in La Palma. Probably your best repellent is some old-fashioned chicken wire, or some other decorative-type of fencing that will keep them out.

Get some wire, about three to four feet wide, then dig a small trench, six inches to a foot deep around the area you want to protect. The fencing should be put in that deep to keep them from burrowing underneath. That leaves a two- to three-foot shield around your garden, which should prevent the rabbits from jumping inside.

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Q. We have a window shade in our bedroom, and we're planning on putting up a blind instead. I'd like to use the shade on another window that is the same width, but is much shorter in length. How can the shade be shortened? I know it adjusts to any length just by pulling it down, but I'm concerned about leaving a big roll of extra canvas at the top, making it look like it's not matched with the window.

D. D., Yorba Linda

A. It's fairly easy. You just need to leave enough material for the springs to work properly, says Gidon Adlan of Bob's Shades & Linoleum in Orange. Measure the length of the window and add 12 inches, then cut the shade across, from the top of the roll down, at the right length. Staple or sew a pocket for the rod at the bottom, and you're done.

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Q. I made the mistake of getting new carpeting before I tackled painting our interior. I know I need to lay out tarps or drop cloths in the rooms I'll be painting, but I'm leery about using plastic sheeting on the new carpeting. Will it create moisture when it's hot and get the carpeting wet?

P. Y., Brea

A. Unless you're leaving the plastic on the floor for weeks, don't worry about it, says Jim Craig of Decratrend Paints in Anaheim. You may want to get the canvas drop cloths, which he says will give you better protection. They're not going to tear when you walk on them and they can be easily reused. Cloth will absorb the paint drops and they will dry quickly. With plastic sheeting, the drops just sit there waiting for you to step on them and track them through the rest of the house. Another alternative is to use paper drop cloths, which are not as expensive as cloth but provide good absorption.

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Q. I spilled some liquid silver polish in my stainless steel sink and some spots have been left behind. I've tried different solutions to get them out but none have worked. Any ideas?

T. C.,Corona del Mar

A. Not many substances can leave spots on stainless steel, says Rich Haagsma of Faucets 'n Fixtures in Orange. Certain acids that etch the surface of the steel can do it.

You may want to take a pad of fine steel wool or a fine, wet-dry sandpaper and try to rub the spots out. You'll probably notice as you're rubbing that the areas you're doing become shinier. You're not damaging the steel, just polishing it. Doing this should fix the problem.

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Q. Last winter we had a problem with our rain gutter leaking down on our front step. It was full of gravel from our asphalt roof. I've cleaned out the gutters. Is there anything I can do to prevent them from filling up again?

C. K., Santa Ana

A. You can try attaching a screen across the top of your gutters, says gutter installer James O'Brien of Anaheim. That won't necessarily keep out the dirt and gravel, but it will keep leaves out, and they're usually the cause of blocked gutters. Before the rainy season starts, you may want to carefully sweep off your roof, removing things that will be washed into the gutter when it rains.

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