Solutions & Substitutions by Reena: Those Rodents!

By Reena Nerbas

How the Cornbread Crumbles

Dear Reena,

I made cornbread and it was very crumbly. What did I do wrong I used one egg should I use two next time? Carolyn

Dear Carolyn,

Here are a few hints for making delicious cornbread: Use buttermilk instead of milk and/or water. While you do not want to add excess moisture, the following are a few options of ideas to try: Add half cup sour cream to your recipe. The extra egg is a good idea, and some people like to add a can of cream corn to the recipe to add moisture. Yum!

Mice and Your Patio Furniture

Hi Reena,

We have a set of four nice, thick chair cushions that we have treated well for 15 years. They are never left outside at night, and are often stored in our shed during summer days when not needed. On an unusually warm day in November, I went to get them from the shed, and discovered that they had become soiled from mice that had gotten into our shed (they were stinky and damp). We left them outside to dry off, then put them away to deal with this spring.

Now I’m wondering if they can be washed in a large commercial washer at a laundromat (larger capacity), and if so, what should I use on them (borax?) I want to make sure they are well disinfected. Any advice would be very appreciated. Thanks, in advance. Jill

Dear Jill,

Washing the cushions in a large capacity washing machine is absolutely genius! Use heavy-duty detergent and air dry the cushions. The only change that I would make is to use 1-cup of white vinegar in place of borax. After the cushions are dry, wipe them with tea tree oil to help deter rodents.

Oceanside Home with Salt Stains on Windows

Hello Reena,

We have a house down south by the ocean and the salty water stains our windows, making them difficult to clean. Any suggestions? Josie

Dear Josie,

Give the following recipe a try: Squeaky Clean Window Cleaner: In a spray bottle, combine 1 tsp. (5 mL) inexpensive shampoo or dish soap, one quarter cup (60 mL) rubbing alcohol and fill the remaining portion of the bottle with white vinegar. Spray and wipe. Ammonia may be substituted for vinegar. Using a squeegee will help make this job a lot less tedious and a lot more fun!

Mice in Farm Machinery

Dear Reena,

Do you have any advice to help keep mice out of farm machinery? Thanks, Bonnie

Dear Bonnie,

While some people resort to glue boards, mouse traps and poisons other people are repulsed by the thought of hurting little animals. Health Canada recommends that when all else fails, control mice with a pesticide in tamper proof bait stations filled with rodenticide. This poison used to control rodent populations must be kept away from food and children and pets. It is important to read the label directions and use safety precautions such as wearing gloves whenever handling rodenticide. It is also important to note that a mouse can have up to 16 babies at a time and therefore if the problem is not controlled, you will quickly have hundreds of mice running around. Since you cannot seal off farm machinery the way you would a home with items such as; expandable foam or steel wool, the problem will continue to grow. When the challenge has reached this degree, your best bet is to call in professionals to help you control the mice or borrow a cat for a little while (making sure that the cat has no access to any poisons). Scent is your best bet, but what works for one type of mouse will not work for them all. Deter certain mice with many fabric softener sheets around where the mice like to congregate or shaving cream on a cotton ball or oil of peppermint or Irish Spring soap slivers. Spraying the perimeter with pepper and water is also effective.

Feedback from Helpful Reader

Re: Cleaning a self-cleaning oven without self-clean mode

I recently read in one of your columns a tip by Arla for cleaning ovens: Warm oven to 150 degrees. Place pan of hot water on bottom rack, smaller pan with 1 cup ammonia on top rack. Leave for a few hours, I tried this and was very disappointed! Since I have never used ammonia before, I never realized that my house would fill with a deadly vapor resulting in the need to evacuate my child and pet from the house. After opening all windows and turning on all fans, I vacated the house and returned a few hours later and proceeded to clean the oven. After all that hassle, it didn’t even clean the oven! So back to hated oven cleaner I go. Karen

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

Reena Nerbas is a popular motivational presenter for large and small groups; check out her website: Ask a question or share a tip at

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