Carbon Monoxide Detectors and a Masked Visitor

How is that for a crazy post name?  I often have  things I want to share or blog about, but sometimes it’s just not enough to warrant a full post.  So today I’m lumping a few things together, thus the wacky title.

Recently, I’ve been feeling sooo tired…just want to sleep, sleep and sleep.   I can’t make it through the day without taking a nap and even after a nap I’m still tired.  Very strange and totally not like me.

I’ve been hypothyroid for years and take Synthroid for it every day.  At a recent checkup, my doctor told me I was in the hypo range again (high TSH level) so he increased my Synthroid.  Just went for blood work again so will find out soon if I’m still hypo…sure feels like it.

Anyway, while I’ve been trying to figure out why I just want to sleep all the time, I started eyeing my old carbon monoxide detector.   I was wondering if it was still working.  I have two fairly new, efficient Trane furnaces and they are awesome, but just to be safe I decided to buy a new carbon monoxide detector.  The old one was looking kind of, well…yellow and strange.

Old Carbon Monoxide Detector


Turns out, you’re supposed to replace these things every 5 years!  Did you know that?  I have two, one on the main level of my home and one of the top level.  They are ancient, probably going on 15 years old.

Here is one of the new ones and I’m happy to say, there’s no carbon monoxide issues going on.  It feels good though, knowing that for sure.  So, if your carbon monoxide detectors are ancient like mine, it’s time to buy new ones.  Life span for a carbon monoxide detector is only 5 years.  They are a good thing to have in your home because carbon monoxide is a silent killer.


New Carbon Monoxide Detector


Changing gears, remember all the photos I shared of the birdies dining on my feeder recently?

Bluebird on Feeder


Here’s how my feeder looks now. πŸ™  Great, huh?

Bird Feeder After Raccoon Visit

I’m virtually positive I know who is responsible for this.  I believe it’s the same masked intruder who took a liking to the sparkly, glass globes on the outdoor chandelier that hangs from the pergola.

Pergola with Outdoor Chandelier

Here’s how it looked “before” my masked friend visited.

Chandelier during the Blue Hour

And here’s how it looked after his visit.    This happened about two years ago.

Broken Chandelier Globe

I still haven’t been able to find a replacement globe.  So who is responsible for all this destruction?

Missing Globe

Him!  How could something so cute be so destructive?  I know it has to be a raccoon because the guys at Wild Birds Unlimited told me only a raccoon has the dexterity to do this kind of stuff.  Before my visiting raccoon actually broke a globe on the chandelier, I found one of the globes on the deck floor, still all in one piece and not even chipped. The WBU folks say they are attracted to shiny objects so they think he took it off and down to the deck floor without breaking it.  I should have taken in all the globes then, but I didn’t.  Next time, he was a clumsy little raccoon and dropped the globe.

The recent bird feeder incident happened during the night.  It was hanging there and fine when I went to bed and G.O.N.E. when I awoke.  It had been hanging from a small S-hook that was hanging from the metal rod, so it would have been pretty easy to get it off the hook, although it was heavy with all the birdseed in it.     

I’ve put another feeder back out and I don’t think Mr. Wiley Raccoon will be able to get this one off the curled hook. It’s the one you see hanging on the right side of the picture.  He would have to turn it just right and know exactly what he was doing to get it off.  Ummm, I may wire it onto the pole just in case.   Do you ever have any raccoon visitors?  Are they as destructive as mine?

Screened in Porch with Bird Feeders


Bonnie emailed over this adorable picture!  She said, “One night, about 2AM we were awoken by a loud clanking noise.  I flipped on the lights and looked out the window and.. nothing.  This happened several times.  Well, as it turns out… we’d installed a peanut feeder for the squirrels and Mr. Raccoon was opening it, grabbing a peanut and slamming the lid, over and over.  I finally caught him and snapped this picture.”    What a cute face!

Raccoon Stealing Peanuts

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  1. I always enjoy your posts and all the beautiful pictures. I was thinking that you might want to use denture cream or plumbers putty on the chandelier to hold the globes. That way if your visitor comes back he won’t be able to move them.

  2. Lavender Cottage says

    Several years ago I did unbelievable battle with racoons as they would unhook my feeders and take them with them. Luckily I would find them at the back of the property or just over the fence. I thought I’d be smart and wrap wire through the hooks and twist it on top to prevent their thievery but they are very dextrous and untwisted the wires. I finally won by having DH put chicken wire on top of the pergola where the feeders were, hung the feeders from lengths of chain and again twisted wire on them. Because the racoons couldn’t pull the feeders up through the chicken wire, if they unhooked them, they would drop to the foot long length of chain and were unreachable.
    Keep in mind, if they really want to get at your feeder, they can climb up on the deck and work at it until it comes free.
    We also learned that a good shot with water from the hose made them think twice about coming around again.
    Good luck.

  3. Good info about the detectors. I don’t even attempt to put out feeders for the birds here, due to the over population of squirrels. – they do lots of damage.

  4. Tamara Lin says

    I’m so sorry about your bird feeder. I think wiring up the new one is a good idea. Here are some videos my husband made of our little visitors stealing dog food. They really are too cute to be angry with them.

    • Tamara are a hoot, especially the one showing all the babies! You have to buy a lot of dog food with that many mouths to feed! πŸ˜‰

      • Tamara Lin says

        Haha, yes we do! It’s kind of a pain, but we enjoy it too. I would feel mean taking her food source away. She’s got a good thing going on at our house.

        • Awww, you are sooo nice! They are really cute. She really does have a good thing going! I sometimes wonder if they are so bold because so much of their habitat is being taken away. Around here there are less and less woods and more and more houses, unfortunately.

  5. Oh, raccoons! They are so cute but so destructive. I have them year round in my suburban neighborhood. Seems the underground sewer system is their freeway for travel. They work at night to remove anything that it is not tacked down in my yard and also spend time digging and pooping in my flowerbeds. They can be extremely vicious if they feel threatened and especially if their family of young raccoons is nearby. They are especially attracted to food sources such as bird feeders and pet food left outside. Please do not leave pet food outdoors. It is a magnet for these creatures. I have yet to find a way to curtail their activities in my yard at night.

  6. same here, and they have made the corner under our deck as their personal potty room. lovely…

  7. I don’t have raccoons, only possums that drive the neighborhood dogs crazy. I think raccoons are so much cuter looking and obviously more destructive.

    I always enjoy your posts and look forward to them every day. I don’t have carbon monoxide dectectors. Someone in my neighborhood thought our smoke dectectors had that built into them, but I think I should buy some anyway and I appreciate you bringing that up as it’s a good safety tool.

  8. Oh do NOT let that cute face sway you!!! We had a FAMILY of racoons living on our roof at the old house!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One night I looked up at the sky light and one was looking in at me!!!!!!!!!!!! BUT, come Spring, Joe’s brother went up on the roof to fix a shingle and after getting a 5 GALON VBUCKET, he filled it almost to the top with racoon droppings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was disgusting! They also raided our bird feeders at night and we finally didn’t fill the feeders for a few months and that got rid of them. We haven’t seen any eveidence of them so I guess they found a new home, thank God!!!!!!! XO, Pinky

    • Pinky, you just reminded me, I have seen evidence of them being on the roof, too. Thank goodness it wasn’t as much as what you had…but it is yucky to look out a bathroom window and see that!

  9. I imagine we are overdue on our carbon monoxide sensors too. I know we all take it for granted that nothing is wrong, but as we know it is a silent killer. Glad that’s not why you have been so tired. My sister just found out she has the same kind of thyroid problems. She would wake up and still feel tired, and she was loosing hair. The doctor picked up on it quickly and had her blood tested. She’s feeling better now and her hair has come back.
    We had problems with raccoons. They would drop from a tree limb right onto the feeder and help themself. I had a hummingbird feeder on a rod like yours and they would visit at night and empty it…sticky paw marks everywhere! I had to stop using that rod for it. They are crafty little stinkers and are hard to get to quit once they know you have something they want. There are motion sensors that can trigger a sprinkler to go off that might work. You’d have to rig one up on the table I guess! Good luck!

  10. Oh man you leave me laughing! this was perfect for lunch today… we’ve been dealing with a hairless fox lately. The things we put up with! Thanks Susan for the humor ! Jules ~ The Dragonfly on Iron Gate

  11. Susan, thanks for the reminder about carbon monoxide detectors. I didn’t realize they expire! I hope you soon find the cause of your fatigue. At our home in Roswell we are doing battle with the adorable and destructive chipmunks. They dig tunnels near the foundation of our house and then water pools there when it rains. You can imagine what happens next- a wet basement. Ugh. Love your posts!

  12. Sandi Reagan says

    Hi Susan:
    These little guys are adorable but yes, can be very agressive. Be very careful around them, if they have babies even close by they can attack. Plus they do pick up diseases that can be horrid if bit by one. I’ve done battle with them both when I had a small horse farm and they loved the barn, but also when I had a home on a wooded lot and they drove me nuts with my bird feeders. They do make special feeders that help keep them out of them but the best thing I found was to grease the pole with a thick layer of Vasoline. They couldn’t get hold without sliding right back down the pole. It not only worked but provided several occassions for a good laugh watching them try and try and try….
    Take care,

  13. We haven’t had to deal with raccoons so far, just pesky squirrels and rabbits. I lumped my little projects together for one post today too, somethings don’t seem big enough for a single post. My carbon monoxide detectors are 5 or 6 years old, maybe I should read the back of them? I also suffer (and I do mean SUFFER) from hypothyroidism (along with both my sisters and both my daughters). I recently asked my doctor to add Cytomel to my meds and I think it’s helped my energy, although I can’t tell it this week. I still take Synthroid, sometimes you need a lower dose of Synthroid when you add the Cytomel. It treats the T3 side of things.

  14. My mother had raccoons that got into her attic. This went on for awhile because her hearing wasn’t good and she didn’t realize they were there. Neighbours saw them going in, under the shingles at one end of the house and I heard them banging away once when I visited. Anyway, she had to have her whole attic cleaned out, it was full of raccoon poop. All the insulation was dirty, the guys needed special suits, and they replaced it all which cost a small fortune. They may be cute, but you don’t want raccoons hanging around at all!

    • I should go back to bringing the feeder in at night. They always go away when I do that, but they must smell the food because as soon as I start leaving it out, they come back again. What a nightmare your Mom went through…not what you want to spend money on!

  15. Those CO detectors are good. My dad is a plumber and he says if it goes off it is NOT malfunctioning. Carbon monoxide is a heavy gas and it stays low to the floor.

    They are something!

    Years ago a neighbor had some break into their home while they were away. They got in through a screen that was ajar. Destroyed the interior. Make sure your screens are secure!

  16. Glenda Niederhofer says

    Susan,count your blessings…..I have “tree rats” that were eating all the bird seed in a “squirl proof” feeder. They could get inside through the smallest opening!! I found that out one night when I flipped on the patio light to show a friend my new patio furniture. They went scurring down the pole…two or three of them! I was so embarrassed!! So now I bought a smaller feeder and hang it from a sheperd’s hook and hang the feeder out each morning and bring it in every evening What a pain!! I’ve put out poison but they eat that, too, and keep coming back for more.

  17. We found out the hard way that CO detectors are not all the same. We had a fairly new one, but it was rated to detect lethal levels, not low levels. Almost lost our son since we didn’t know. We now have one that detects very low levels so we can detect a problem before it is (almost) too late.

  18. I too have had thyroid problems for a long time. Hopefully if you got dosage adjusted, it will take care of the problem. Really glad you wrote about the CO detectors. So important. One of my classmates died in their home last year from a faulty furnace, and I don’t know if her husband pulled through or not.

    We had to stop leaving bird feeders out at all, although I do put out bread crumbs around the birdbath every now and then. The wildlife here is winning, I think! Coyotes are becoming a real problem, as Birmingham is very mountainous. They leave their calling cards along the side of the streets, and it is not safe to leave small pets out unattended. They are not frightened of people and don’t run from us! Recently when we were in Santa Fe, two of the varmints went sashaying across the street in a residential neighborhood, and we had to actually stop to let them cross!


  19. I stopped in at a friends home one evening and noticed on her kitchen counter the makings for peanut butter sandwiches, I also noticed they weren’t very “neatly” made and wondered who was going to eat 1 1/2 loaves of bread made into sandwiches. I was then told “mama racky” had her babies and every evening would lead her family under the tree in the back yard for their supper of peanut butter sandwiches.

  20. Yes! They are cute, but smart little stinkers. They are so funny too. When I call my cats, they come running too! They have caught on that it’s dinner time. I swear, if I let this one, he would come in my house!! I had to start feeding my kitties inside.. they don’t like the raccoons much and prefer not to share their food πŸ˜‰

  21. Mary from Virginia says

    I hate squirrels! They are rodents! Your little visitor who messed up your lovely bird feeder, well, I don’t like them either!! I hope the new system works and no more visitors come visiting.

    Thanks for the reminder of the carbon monoxide detector.

  22. Hi Susan,

    What a cute post – although I’m sure you’re really frustrated with the little guy.

    Re your hypothyroidism: I have it, too, and I take Armour thyroid medication – the natural form of our own thyroid hormone. I find it works MUCH better than Synthroid, which I had to take for awhile because they’d quit making Armour. Ask your endocrinologist about it.

    Hope you feel better.


  23. Sorry to hear you have been feeling so tired. Glad you are finding out what the problem is…nothing worse then not feeling yourself…come on over for a visit, I finally made the heart cakes you inspired a couple years ago…you know I loved those and although I don’t have those beautiful red crystal glasses…the setting looks special….feel better…phyllis

  24. In a previous home, we had a huge cedar tree where a raccoon family lived, three of them were babies. At night you could see all the eyes from the back porch.
    They were not just night marauders, one lunch time we caught them all trying to reach the fish in the pond. We had put wire netting over it, but they were smart and stood on it to get at the fish. It was a cute sight with three baby bottoms upended!! πŸ™‚
    My daughter has regular raccoon visitors and they bring their babies to her. I worry about them biting, but she just loves them as she loves every creature on earth. She volunteers at the wildlife rescue center.

  25. merle turner says

    We dont’t have raccoons in Australia sometimes we get a ring tail possum but thats rare and they are very shy.

  26. Helen Holshouser says

    Hi Susan, I am also glad you’re getting tested for your thyroid condition, best to keep an eye on it! Did you know thyroid problems can cause depression as well as hair loss, slugishness, have you feeling cold, and a host of other not fun symptoms! But, and I don’t want to scare you, but when I first got sick with my heart disease, I was tired all the time! that was my overwhelming symptom among others, like episodes of feeling faint or lightheaded when shopping at the grocery store for instance. I thought I had the flu! So…if it persists, or even if it doesn’t, if you have not had a stress test, you probably are at an age, LOL, where it wouldn’t hurt to get a baseline ! With the exxtreme tiredness, perhaps your test would be covered by insurgance as diagnostic,not just preventive. More than likely you’ll be just fine, perhaps its the cold,and the graay skies.But it is heart month! Please take care of yours! One more thing–too much thyroid medication can make your heart beat too fast, wearing it out! LOL My cardiologist and my internist are always increasing my thyroid med because my numbers are too low, then cutting it back because it has sped my heart up too much! LOL Right now they are trying a different amount every other day! Gracious! But I am thankful for smart doctors who try to help! Have a great day, Helen

  27. Thanks for the info on the detectors, now about that little masked critter……maybe he has a cute little den he wants to decorate and he’s trying to help himself to all your goodies. Bad Racoon πŸ™

  28. Thanks for the heads up about the 5 year thing on the carbon monoxide detector. My son just brought over his old one to use, but now I will probably just get a new one. Very helpful.
    I was certain you were going to say “squirrel”. For the last two mornings, the little round glassed topped table located just below my bird feeder has been mysteriously turned over. I figure it’s a squirrel trying to jump from the table on to the feeder. Darn squirrels! πŸ™‚

  29. So sorry to hear your cute little visitor is wreaking such havoc! We have a few of them ourselves…they get into our trash cans….even when they’re securely closed! They are especially feisty on nights when we have rotisserie chicken! Haha! They are cute, but not too nice, unfortunately. I sure hope you feel better. Thanks for the info on the Carbon Monoxide Detector! =)

  30. I detest these animals! They have been jumping onto our roof from the trees and have been trying to pry the siding off the dormer to get in the house. At one point, I saw one peeking out at me from behind the siding. This was a well built house 75 years ago so they haven’t been able to get in. They have succeeded in getting into the soffits and falling through in multiple places. We have trapped them and cut back the trees but they are persistent!

  31. We have a family of four raccoons that visit whenever I leave the feeders outside. If I don’t bring them in by sunset, they are cleaned out. A family we know put out a wading pool in their backyard for the raccoons. They said that the parent raccoons sit on the deck while the kits splash and play in the water. After an hour or so, they all walk single-file back into the woods. Isn’t that hilarious!?
    Thank you for your reminder about the carbon monoxide detectors. I assume everyone knows that if you have a gas fireplace, you must have a detector.
    Hope you feel better soon.

  32. We used to live in the country and always had racoons. They can be destructive but I think they are cute. One year our dog caught and killed a momma in the barn. She had three babies and so of course we thought we had to feed them. Those babies followed us around everywhere. Somewhere I have photos of a baby racoon running thru the sprinkler with my kids. Those babies grew up and went on their own way coming back now and again to visit. By the way… the one food racoons can’t resist – McDonald’s french fries! Must be something in the grease at McDonalds because they didn’t like any other restaurant fries…had to be McDonalds. πŸ™‚

  33. Christina B says

    Susan…love your site & pics! I too was feeling sooo tired and turned out GLUTEN was the culprit. I now avoid anything with wheat and the difference is amazing! There are lots of “bread” substitutes in Gluten Free area of grocery so change is not so drastic!

    • I should probably do what Matt Cutts (Head of Google Spam) is doing this month. He’s going 30 days without eating any gluten. I didn’t know it could make you feel tired…interesting!

  34. I had raccoons in my yard too, used to wash his hands in the water dish on the patio. Yup, used to feed him crackers and grapes. He ended up not coming back one day. I hope I don’t have anymore, they are detructive. My biggest concern was I couldn’t keep the patio door open at night during the summer because he would be right there and probably get in through the screen and attack my cats. Also a heads up on the poop, their feces has a parasite (I’ve heard 80% of them) that can be deadly to babies and small children, causing blindness, brain problems etc. I didn’t want to take the chance with my grandbabies. Saw a show on animal planet about it, really opened my eyes. Thanks for the carbon monoxide tip! love your site πŸ™‚

  35. Sorry to hear Susan, that you haven’t been feeling quite yourself. Hopefully you will bounce back shortly.
    Excellent info and advice re the detector. Fortunately prior to policy renewal the company whom we have our House Insurance with does an inspection every five years, so needless to say it has encouraged us to keep such things as detectors, fire extinguishers etc. up to date.
    Regarding your little masked critter, the first year that we lived in our house we were plagued by Racoons that took up residence in a portion of our attic. Due to their destructive and disruptive behaviour, we took it upon ourselves and put them in relocation program ☺ that involved trapping them one by one and releasing them at the city dump. -Brenda-
    P.S: Should mention, them nor my husband were injured during the process which consisted of carrying them down a ladder from a second story level, transfer in the back of a pickup truck and cautiously releasing them as they become extremely vicious when caged. We had a total of at least six of them.

  36. I live in the country where there is all kinds of animals roam around. I have feed the raccoon’s for over 30 years. I also have stray cats that show up. All get along. Sometimes the cat slaps the raccoon, no problem the raccoon will move over. Possums come to eat also, every one gets along. Of course I never try to touch them, because they could be vicious if a human tried to touch them. I do walk out to put more food they have never tried to hurt me. I do know my limits. I am very careful. They are wild animals.
    We have two that will come knock on the kitchen window to tell me to put more food out. They are so funny. They bring their babies every spring to show them where to come find food and water. It is so cute to see the babies swim in the pond we have for the animals.
    I watch them from the safety of my kitchen windows.

  37. No raccoons here but we do get visitors in the form of Mr. Bear who likes to sit (literally) in my husband’s Adirondack chair (obviously he built it to fit a bear)…and wolves. Ahh the joys of living in Northern Minnesota! By the way – I understand your sleepiness and thyroid issues…been there, done that…sometimes still fighting it! Take care and thanks for sharing your raccoon adventures.

    • Oh my gosh, that is sooo funny! I hope you got some pictures of Mr. Bear in the Adirondack! lol It must be well built if it can support a bear! πŸ™‚ Thanks, Patty!

      • I wish I did Susan! I was at my store when my daughter Sam called in a panic! “MOOOOOOOOMMMMM – there’s a bear on the deck and it sat on Tim’s chair!” “What do I do?” I tried hard not to laugh and told her just to make sure the door was closed! As he wandered away, she breathed a sigh of relief and we both laughed.

        • HA! So funny! That reminds me of the time my son accidentally left a window cracked in our upstairs family room after we took all the wreaths off the windows after Christmas. We didn’t realize it until a squirrel got INSIDE the house. We were not home but his girlfriend who was at our house waiting for us to get back home, called him on his cell and told us something gray was inside and running all over the house!. It was moving so fast, she couldn’t even get a good look at it. She was finally able trap it in our guest room and close the door. It was a lot of fun getting the squirrel out of the guest room once we got home! πŸ™‚

  38. Oh Susan – could we swap stories!!!! My oldest daughter Alex ran through the laundry room door into the living room and slammed the door shut – holding it from the inside (like the rodent could crawl up to the door handle, turn it, and pull it open) and screamed “There’s a squirrel in there!” Never mind the fact that there was also an open cat door near the bottom of the door. {head thump}

  39. they are SO naughty! but so darn adorable!!! when i lived at home, every spring we’d have a new bunch of babies…they were just precious little fluffballs {sometimes 6 or 8 a litter! ;} and they LOVED my dad’s hammock! it was just hilarious! and yet they could DESTROY the back yard in one single night!
    have you seen this?
    super cute…especially the kitty watching it all happen! ;}

    m ^..^

  40. Oh Susan… Duplicate stories here in upstate NY. Our troup would always come by EVERY night around 2 -2:30.
    We had multple feeders all hanging from the deck railings. They would make so much noise ..we would come down and find a mom,dad and four – five babies all in a row. They didn’t care if we would yell at them. They also would come up on my outside table and steal my napkin rings, my candle sticks and my numerous votive candles. My husband then bought an outdoor storage holder that had doors on the front. Every night we would go around and put everything away for the evening. But they would come around every night whether it was out or not. My husband says that once we are on their radar…they make the rounds just to check. Between them at night and the battle of the squialls and chipmonks during the day…its a full time job!!

  41. They sure are adorable!!! How funny, stealing candles, votives, etc., as if they are decorating their little nests with items taken from people’s homes. At least they have good taste! πŸ™‚

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