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Chimney Swifts

Spring is the time of new life. Trees burst into new life with fresh green leaves, soft grass covers your yard, and plants break through the ground. It’s the time baby animals are born and baby birds break out of their shells. One such bird is the chimney swift.

If you see a smudge-gray little bird with a cigar-shaped body, you’re probably seeing a chimney swift. These birds also have curving wings and a very short beak. Chimney swifts are found in the eastern United States. This little bird spends most of its life in flight. When it does take a break, it clings to vertical walls instead of perching in a normal fashion, so you can often find them in caves or in hollow trees. Another place they love to perch is in your chimney. This can be a problem!

More About the Swift

In the early years of our nation’s history, chimney swifts typically nested in hollow trees. When the pioneers spread across the country, they chopped down those trees, and chimney swifts were left without homes. They adapted pretty quickly. However, as homes with chimneys sprang up, these chimneys made ideal places to nest. Unfortunately, over time chimneys fell into disuse and the number of chimney swifts began to decline. Because of this, according to the Humane Society of the United States, the chimney swift is a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and “anyone who knowingly destroys birds or nests that might contain eggs or young can be fined or penalized.”

Do Chimney Swifts Hurt Your Chimney?

Chimney swifts are a tiny bird, and that means they build tiny nests. That means that their nests, unlike other birds’ nests, won’t be a fire hazard in your chimney. In fact, chimney swifts aren’t really a problem when it comes to building a nest in your chimney. However, they can be an annoyance because they do make quite a bit of noise when the baby birds begin to hatch. These noises will generally only last around two weeks.

Other than that, chimney swifts won’t really harm the inside of your chimney. In fact, if you have a newer chimney made of metal flue pipes rather than clay liners, it may be a dangerous situation for the swifts. This is because they can’t grip the metal as easily. Unfortunately, this could cause them to be trapped or fall into the fireplace, which could cause them to be injured or even die. In this case, you might want to consider installing a chimney cap to keep them out.

How To Remove Them

If you have a chimney swift in your chimney, you should have the nest removed after they leave the nest in the fall. When they return in the spring, they may try to use that same nest and it may not be stable enough to support their eggs. Call in a professional chimney cleaning company – Chim Cheroo Chimney Service. They’ll not only remove the nest, they can also recommend measures to stop chimney swifts from coming back into your chimney. For instance, installing a chimney cap, if that’s what you prefer. While they’re there, ask them to inspect and clean your chimney to get it ready for the next fireplace season!

By Don Rhine on May 19th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Chimney Swifts

Creative Uses of Wood Ashes

Winter has passed and now it’s time to start thinking about summer days. But first you need to take care of some spring cleaning. One of those things is cleaning out your fireplace in prep for your annual chimney inspection and cleaning. When you clean out those ashes, there are several things that you can do with those ashes. In fact, once you read these good ideas, you’ll want to start saving up your ashes throughout the winter!

Indoor Uses

Since you’re doing that spring cleaning, why not go ahead and use those ashes to help out. First off, while you’re cleaning your fireplace, use those ashes to clean your glass fireplace doors. If you dip a damp sponge into your ashes and then rub them onto the glass doors, you can scrub the soot right away. And when you’re done cleaning those doors, go ahead and polish your silver. A paste of water and soot makes a great silver cleaner.

Ashes also make a great odor absorber. Put some ashes in a small bowl and place that bowl in a smelly room or in your refrigerator and it’ll soon be smelling fresh. Just keep replacing the ashes every few days to keep those odors away.

Did you know that you can also make soap with ashes? Lye is a key ingredient in soap, and when you soak ashes in water you get lye. Mix this with animal fat and boil it. It’ll harden as it cools. You have soap!

Outdoor Uses

After you’ve got the inside of your house all clean and sparkling, you can move outdoors. You can start by beefing up your garden! Everyone knows that using compost is a great way to make your garden grow. You can add wood ash to your compost pile to make it even better – but remember, it needs to be added in moderation. Sprinkle on a layer of ashes for about every six inches of compost.

You can also use ashes to make a tea that can be used to help correct potassium deficiencies in some plants that tend to be deficient, like tomatoes, apples, sugar beets, and raspberries. Just put five pounds of ash in an old pillowcase and tie it shut. Put the bag into a 50-gallon garbage bin of water and let it steep a couple days. Once it’s brewed, you can use it to water your plants – use about a cup around your plants weekly. And if it’s your tomatoes that you’re worried about, you can put a ¼ cup of ashes right in the hole when you’re planting them. One more thing – if you sprinkle ashes around the perimeter of your garden, it can help keep slugs and snails away.

You can also use ashes to make your lawn look great – sprinkle some on the lawn and then give it a good watering to make it nice and green.

Call Chim Cheroo

There are many great ways to use those old wood ashes from your fireplace. And while you’re doing that spring cleaning, make sure that you call Chim Cheroo Chimney Service and schedule your annual inspection and chimney sweeping.

By Don Rhine on April 6th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Comments Off on Creative Uses of Wood Ashes