We’re having a running battle with racoons getting into our trash, eating whatever nasty stuff they find inside and scattering the remains across the yard.

After several hours of Googling I found several solutions. A very smart person on the internet (what other type is there?) posted some nonsense about how racoons don’t like getting powder or sand on their wee little feet. I scattered a bag of sand under the trash cans, and the following morning I still had to clean up the garbage that was scattered. Looking at the bright side, I noticed little paw prints in the sand that verified for me that we were not dealing with coyotes. Some other internet expert posted that motion sensor floodlights “can not fail” to scare the racoons away. This also turned out to be false. And a third post touted the benefits of a “critter ridder” type of chemical powder sprinkled generously around the trash area. If I could read between the lines, the label probably wants to say “Use the whole bottle. Go to the store and get 4-8 more of this thing. Spread it around everywhere. Now go buy even more.” This stuff worked exactly as well as the sand, but with the added benefit of smelling horrible.

I had previously tried strapping bungee cords across the lid, but these two facts caused this to fail:

  1. bungee cords are stretchy.
  2. raccoons are clever.

All of this failure was not for nothing. I decided that I needed some sort of strap across the lid that did not stretch, and that held the lid down tightly across several points.

I came up with a system of wires, wire clamps, eye bolts, turnbuckles, and carabiners. This may sound like overkill, but after picking up nasty garbage in your yard for a week or so, you realize that it is impossible to overdo this.

My trash container has a more or less square lid with a hinge on one side, so I decided to try routing the cable through some eyebolts and attaching the cable at two points to the turnbuckles on the lid.

I had a couple of leftover cable clamps so I used two of them to secure the two turnbuckles to the lid, mounted diagonally so that the attached cable would strap down over 2 points, sort of equally spaced. Or as close as I could get while planning this out in my head.

I chose 4 points on the lid which I thought would be the most effective place for the cable to hold down, then mounted the 4 eyebolts to the front and sides of the trash can, roughly corresponding to those points.

I didn’t find the eyebolt in the length I wanted, so I ended up getting long ones and cutting them down to size. A thread cutting die is handy for cleaning up the threads after cutting or grinding the bolt.

The cable would then be routed through eyebolts and clipped to the turnbuckles using the caribiners as shown, and then the cable could be cut to the proper length and finished with a loop and cable clamps.

Once finished, I happily put some smelly trash into the can, clipped the carabiners to the turnbuckles, and gave them a few twists to tighten the cable. I will update this blog tomorrow morning when I see the results.

And after putting chicken & ribs scraps into the bin overnight, here’s what it looks like early the next morning:


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