Rats, Raccoons, and Squirrels… Oh My! Minimizing Wildlife Intrusions At Home

Guest Post By Joshua Dickson, Out of the Wild, outofwild@gmail.com

OUT OF THE WILD Ballard Josh Dickson

Joshua Dickson, Owner/ Operator, Out Of The Wild

For nearly a decade, I have owned and operated Out Of The Wild, a nuisance wildlife control business specializing in humane exclusion.  The following are recommendations I provide clients in an effort to help minimizing wildlife intrusion at their homes.

First… chickens! I am not suggesting you do not buy chickens or get rid of the ones you have, but know that just owning chickens will most likely draw rodents to your property. The most extreme rat jobs I have been to usually involve chickens.

Next up… Bird feeders. Even the cleanest bird feeders can attract rats and squirrels to your yard. Do not keep them low to the ground or on the patio.  This provides pests easy access to the feeder.  If you do chose to hang a feeder in your yard, try to keep it as far away from the perimeter of your home as possible.

Big no no… Outdoor pet food. Try to keep pet food locked inside the house, and never free feed your pets outside. Leaving food out may attract raccoons, opossum or rats. Once raccoons have established a feeding source they can be extremely difficult to get rid of. Raccoons don’t always play nice with pets either.  I’ve seen large dogs attacked by hungry raccoons.

Stop feeding wildlife. Some of the most heated discussions I can remember are when I try to convince someone to stop feeding wildlife. Actively feeding animals could be causing more harm than good. This not only impacts the surrounding neighbors, but it creates a wildlife vacuum to the area. Animals can carry diseases and those diseases are more easily spread when the animals are drawn into a localized area, like your yard. Animals need to be able to forage on their own for food, otherwise it can create a dependency. Eventually a neighbor will hire a trapper to come out and start getting rid of the population. It’s not a very well know fact that most animals that are trapped are not allowed to be released off the property, once they are removed, by law they have to be euthanized.

Landscape Management. Try to keep limbs from trees or bushes a minimum 5 to 6 feet away from the roof-line of your home. Roof rats and squirrels are very good climbers and most roofs in Seattle weren’t built to prevent rodent intrusions. Wisteria, grape vines and other types of climbing vines are very pretty, but can become a highway for pests. Vines will often seek out small gaps on the exterior of your home, creating a gap wide enough for small rodents to slip through. Try to keep the thick foliage away from the foundation perimeter and porch areas.

I hope this was informative. As the months get colder and food becomes scarce, animals are going to start looking for shelter and food. It’s always a good idea to make sure your house is sealed up tight. I’m always happy to answer questions.

About Joshua Dickson:

Joshua lives and works in Ballard’s West Woodland neighborhood, and has been the owner and operator of Out Of The Wild for nearly a decade.  Joshua is passionate about helping homeowners minimize their interactions with pests and unwelcome wildlife. Joshua is happy to discuss any concerns you may have and can be reach by email outofwild@gmail.com and phone 206-218-2776.

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Joshua Dickson and two raccoons.

Ballard Mom Working To Bridge School Funding Gap

Not all things are equal in Seattle Public Schools.  If you’re lucky enough to land at a school like West Woodland Elementary, located in Ballard’s West Woodland neighborhood, the PTA coffers are full and ready to fund extra education opportunities for the kids in our community.  Travel a short distance northeast to Licton Springs K-8, located in Seattle’s Licton Springs neighborhood, and those funds are less available.

West Woodland neighbor, Kimya Dawson wants your help bridging the gap. Seattle Public Schools’ budget doesn’t cover the total cost of a child’s education experience, and as a result, Licton Springs K-8 has created a long-term fund, the Sir Herbert Read Foundation, to financially support academic enhancement programs, and grounds improvement projects, that are not paid for by the state, city or school district.

Dawson’s drive to support Licton Springs K-8 is fueled by personal experience. You can read her story below, reprinted with permission, and help fund the life-changing programs offered by Licton Springs K-8.

The Sir Herbert Read Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Tax ID# 91-7900952.  Please consider making a donation: https://goo.gl/1rTqij

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Licton Springs K-8 photo courtesy Seattle Public Schools. 

From Kimya Dawson:

“Licton Springs K-8 (formerly named Pinehurst and AS1) is a public school with a Native Heritage and Social Justice focus that has a large population of Native students, students eligible for Free & Reduced lunch, Distinct (Special Education & Access) Program students. The community works hard to create a safe and inclusive space for our Two Spirited & LGBTQ and non-binary students and families. The school does an incredible job of catching kids who would fall through the cracks at bigger more traditional schools. Since Licton Springs K-8 is a small alternative school and the majority of families are low income, it just isn’t possible to get the kind of in-house donations that other public schools get so for my birthday, which is on the 17th, I am asking for donations for the school.

One thing the school raises money for is to make sure all of the 8th graders can participate in Rites Of Passage (“RITES is an outdoor education experience offered to LSK8 8th graders. Over the course of 8th grade, through a series of team-building exercises, outdoor activities, and community service actions, scholars acquire outdoor and collaborative skills. This year-long skill-building culminates in a week-long outdoor experience in June, a backpacking and canoeing coming-of-age adventure that transforms the lives of its participants.”)

Licton Springs K-8

Green Acres, 1985. Dawson was in 8th grade.

When I was in middle school I was a unique emotional kid and a struggling learner and being placed into TAP (The Alternative Program) saved me. Our big trip to Green Acres where we learned wilderness survival skills and did team/community building work is one of the most memorable life changing experiences I ever had and one of the turning points that I credit for helping me trust myself on my journey in life as a creative person that didn’t have to go with the flow. Had I not been accepted in an alternative learning setting for who I was with all my quirks I might not be here today and I most likely wouldn’t be the person I am today. (I’ll put a photo from this trip in the comments).

The Option (alternative) Schools in Seattle Public School District all feel the push from the district to become more conventional and focus more on test results which can cause things like social and emotional progress to be overlooked. And as Seattle grows and changes it becomes harder for these types of schools to not feel like their histories and missions are being threatened by gentrification and people who see the unconventional as broken instead of as an important piece that serves a special purpose.

Another big part of the school is creating an environment where people support each other through things like the clothing swap and Holiday Bazaar. And even though the school has limited resources and is trying to do some of its own fundraising for things (like so teachers don’t have to pay for supplies out of pocket, or to hopefully someday be able to offer aftercare) everyone still works hard to support other people in need throughout the local community and the world. This year the 8th graders monthly bake sale money is being donated to buy school supplies for students in Haiti.

If you appreciate me and the big old weirdo pajama wearing song singing grandpa that I have become please help me support young scholars who are being given the same chance to learn and grow and be wild and compassionate and inclusive and empathetic citizens of the world. Help support the school that sees everyone and all their trauma and baggage and uniqueness as an important beautiful piece of the puzzle that makes the community and world better and helps them become great because of who they are rather than in spite of who they are.

Sir Herbert Read Consortium is the non-profit fundraising organization for Licton Springs K-8.

Thanks. Every little bit helps and will be greatly appreciated.”

Not Without Salt Opens At 3rd & 65th

New Business Alert!

Not Without Salt Food Blogger, Ashley Rodriguez has set up shop in Ballard’s West Woodland neighborhood at 6256 3rd Ave NW, next to Saltbox Designs, in the building most recently occupied Hairstream and Boot Girl.

You’ll be able to buy Not Without Salt products at the new retail location, as well as a few of Rodriguez’s favorite things such as Opinel knives, aprons, and wooden utensils.  Full story from Seattle Refinedhttp://seattlerefined.com/lifestyle/not-without-salt-arrives-in-ballard

Find Not Without Salt online at http://notwithoutsalt.com/.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

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Interior photo of Not Without Salt, courtesy Not Without Salt Facebook page.


Indigenous Foods Pop Up At Joli

JOLI LOGO Ballard West WoodlandHappening at Joli on Sunday, November 12: An unforgettable night of Native foods, craft-cocktails, and entertainment.

This event is one-night-only, and will include passed appetizers, cocktails, a silent auction, and feature words from Abigail Echo-Hawk on the importance of Indigenous foods.

Indigenous chef’s Hillel Echo-Hawk and Brit Reed bring you this unique event as a part of the I-Collective’s fundraising efforts for their first ever NYC popup event. All proceeds will be used to fund Hillel and Brit’s trip to the NYC I-Collective popup. To find out more about the I-Collective and the NYC Popup, please go to their event page here: https://www.facebook.com/ICollective/

Where: Joli, 7th and 65th NW
When: 6:00 pm
Cost: $75 per ticket, with a cash bar
RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/indigenous-foods-pop-up-tickets-39628896095

Joli is located at 618 NW 65th Street in Ballard’s West Woodland neighborhood.

Man Critical After Being Set On Fire Near 45th & Leary

Update 11/8/17:


Detectives are searching for 31 -year-old Christopher Burrus for the assault of a 39-year-old man Tuesday evening. Detectives believe Burrus doused the victim with a flammable liquid before setting him on fire.

If you know where police can find Burrus, please call 911 immediately and do not approach him. Detectives are asking you to call the homicide/assault tip line at (206)233-5000 if you have any information regarding this case.


Written by Detective Patrick Michaud, Seattle Police Department, on November 7, 2017 9:47 pm

Homicide detectives are searching for a man after he set someone on fire in the Fremont neighborhood.

A passerby called 911 just after 7 p.m. Tuesday when he spotted a man on fire in the 4500 block of Leary Way NW. He extinguished the flames while waiting for first responders. Seattle Fire medics arrived and took the victim to Harborview Medical Center where he is currently in critical condition.

Seattle Police Homicide/Assault detectives are currently searching for a male suspect and his girlfriend.

This is an active case and the details will be updated as we get more information from detectives. If you have any information regarding this case, please call the homicide/assault tip line at (206)233-5000.

45th and Leary

Photo courtesy Google Maps

Local Schools Hosting Open House Events



Tis the season… local schools are asking you to save the date for their annual open house events. Here are a handful happening soon.



Pacific Crest Montessori School: “We will be giving tours and curriculum presentations for all of our programs, Primary (3-6 year olds), Elementary (1-5th grade) and Middle School (6-8th grade).”

Location: 600 NW Bright Street
Date: Saturday, November 4
Time: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
More Info: http://www.pacificcrest.org/intro-nights/

St. Alphonsus Parish School Seattle: “Join us on Wednesday, November 8 to learn about our curriculum and enrichment courses in a casual, conversational setting. You will also have a chance to view our classrooms in session.”

Location: 5816 15th Ave NW
Date: Wednesday, November 8
Time: 9:00 am – 10:30 am
RSVP Required: https://goo.gl/forms/MJTLCOt3kF9VcCLt2
More Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/375404739562981/?ti=icl

Zoom Language Center: “Drop in between 4 pm and 6 pm to meet our teachers and staff, check out our school, and learn more about our programs. Immersion is the best way for young minds to become bilingual!”

Location: 1116 NW 54th Street
Date: Thursday, January 11
Time: 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
More Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/380786485687305/?ti=icl

Looking forward to February 2018:

Wee Learners Preschool (see:http://www.weelearnerspreschool.net/) and West Woodland Elementary School (see:https://goo.gl/88z4Ed) typically host open house events in early February. Check out the links provided for more info.

Did we miss one?

Please email information about your school’s open house to westwoodlandneighbors@gmail.com.

Soulumination Seeks Evergreen Donations

Planning a seasonal landscape clean-up? Prune your evergreens at the end of November & donate those boughs to neighborhood non-profit Soulumination.

From Soulumination: “Donating greens for the wreaths sold at our 12th Annual Artists’ Sale is a great way to have a big impact on our mission. Wreath sales brought in over $14,000 last year. Please let us know if you can give any of these greens to our wreath making efforts in November.”

Greens can be dropped off near their office at 1113 NW 52nd Street in Ballard‘s West Woodland neighborhood in late November. Please call their office to schedule your donation drop-off and discuss types of greens.

Phone: 206-297-0885
Address: 1113 NW 52nd Street
Web: http://www.soulumination.org/index.php/site/people/C3