Lesley’s Corner – February 2020

It’s amazing how just one day can make you feel ready to re-organize, start a new hobby or get cracking on that honey-do list!

I often wonder what it is about January 1st that people find so motivating… yes it’s the official beginning of a new year, however it is said that its also one of the worst times to start  something new!

I am definitely someone that has a busy lifestyle and often that leaves little to no time for me to start a new hobby. However, with January typically being cold and isolating, I do find myself putting in the extra effort to touch base with friends and family for a quick warm drink or meal.

Another thing that usually hits in January is hockey tournaments! I definitely feel that the definition of a hockey mom fits me and love going to tournaments dressed in team colours ready to cheer them on! Its amazing to me how much a team (and the parents) can bond over a weekend; picking up coffee for each other, sharing stick tape and asking for playdates in between games… it certainly takes the sting out of the cold when you have something so positive going on around you.

I hope that you have this support in your life, and just know that I am always up for a coffee date!

Talk soon,

Lesley Kondratuk

Natural Insect Control

Insects are one of the major reasons why people avoid spending more time outdoors. Here are a few tips from Shelmerdine Garden Centre to help with natural insect control!

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Insects are a natural part of any garden. Most insects are beneficial, but some are not desirable and can cause harm to your flowers and vegetables. Using pesticides and herbicides will usually kill all insects, not just the harmful ones and these chemicals are poisons that can be harmful to people and animals. It is impossible to completely rid any garden of all insects, but there are natural methods that you can use to control the harmful ones. Here are some suggestions of some methods that you may try:


The first line of defence against bugs is to simply pick them off. Squish the bugs as you pick them off. If you find a large number of bugs on one crop it is often easier to pick and drop into a container of soap and water. Simply dispose of the dead bugs after they have drowned. This is an effective method for many insects like potato beetles and aphids.


If you encounter a nest or gall of insects before it hatches it is easy to cut it off. This must be done in a timely matter before the insects hatch and leave the nest. Be sure to destroy the nest or gall so that the insects cannot spread after they have been removed. The tent caterpillar is an example of a pest that can be controlled using this method.

Spraying with Water

Small insects can be washed away with a stream of cool water. The spray will dislodge and wash away some of the bugs, reducing their numbers and the amount of damage they can do. Because spraying will not remove 100% of the bugs, you will have to repeat every few days. Aphids are an example of insects that can be managed in this way.

Use Transplants

Some plants have a history of being susceptible to damage by insects. By using transplants rather than directly seeding, the plants may have a better chance of surviving. Even if the bugs eat the same amount, if the plant is larger it will be able to handle the stress better. The larger the plant, the more leaves it will be able to handle losing.

Keep Things Clean

Be sure to continually clean up your garden throughout the season. In the fall it is especially important to clean up old plant matter. Some insects can overwinter in leaf litter. If you’ve had problems with one plant in particular, be sure to burn or throw out leaves, cuttings, et cetera, instead of putting them in the compost.

Tree Bands

Tree bands covered with a sticky substance can catch wingless insects, such as caterpillars, before they lay eggs in the tree. These also catch beneficial insects. Tree bands should only be applied between September to May.


Physical barriers placed around and on plants can prevent insects from eating vegetables, spreading disease, and from laying their eggs on plants. You can buy commercial covers or create your own at home from netting or pantyhose. Collars placed in the dirt can prevent cutworm damage. Tarps laid around fruit trees can prevent larvae on fruit from entering the soil. Although some of these methods can be unsightly they are often very effective.

Insecticidal Soap

Insecticidal soaps are effective against small, soft-bodied insects, but have low toxicity to mammals and do not often harm larger, flying insects such as bees. To be effective, the soap must come in contact with the insect. Some plants may be sensitive to insecticidal soaps. Therefore, it is a good idea to test a small area on a plant if you are not sure. Visit your local garden centre to see what products are available in your area.

Predator Insects

Predator insects are insects that naturally eat the undesirable ones. Some of these are native to Manitoba and some can be introduced. The most well-known predator insect is probably the ladybug. These are found naturally in Manitoba and can also be purchased at your local garden centre. Ladybugs only eat aphids. The downside of using lady beetles is that they may fly away. Another predator insect that can be purchased is the praying mantis. The mantis has a voracious appetite and it is territorial. If there is enough food for it, the mantis will usually not wander far from where it hatched.

These are just some of the natural insect control practices that are used today. Visit our garden store to see what products and methods our experts suggest.

For more excellent blog posts check out their website here:  https://www.shelmerdine.com/plant-info/gardening-tips/

Matrix Mail

One of the great resources that is available for me to help you, is automated email from Keystone Matrix.


Here is how it goes:

1.) You tell me what you want…

Are you looking for a House? Condo? What kind of bedrooms do you want, size, basement, parking, etc.  You essentially give me your must have wish list!

2.) I fill it in…

I take all this information from you and plug it into the Keystone Matrix. This allows for the system to sort through ALL of the available listings and only pull out the ones that check the boxes that you have identified as what you want.

From here you will be set up on an automatic search. Any available property within your search criteria will be sent to you the moment they are on the market!

It’s really that easy! You stay current with every available home in your search criteria, you don’t have to search through pages and pages of homes that don’t fit what you want AND you don’t miss out on any deals, or your dream home!

Call or Email me at lesleykondratuk@gmail.com today to get set-up with automated email and stop missing out!

Wrapping up 2018

2018 was a fantastic year for me, both personally and professionally.

Professionally – with your referrals and confidence in me, I snagged  a few awards for 2018 including the Royal LePage Director’s Platinum Award which recognizes the Top 5% of Royal LePage Realtors in Canada and the Individual Bronze Medallion from the Winnipeg Real Estate Board – which recognizes the Top 10% in the industry for individual Realtors.


Personally I got to watch my 2 little (I use that term loosely because they are growing up WAY too fast) girls grow more each day. I was able to be present at their school for presentations, hot lunches and all the fun stuff. Things that I would not be able to do if I was in any other line of work. I am so grateful that my business has afforded me these precious memories with my family.

As I start planning for my business this year, please keep me in mind if you or a friend is looking for a down to earth, knowledgeable and honest Realtor®

Talk soon,

Lesley Kondratuk



BBQ Safety


summer-bbq-hacks-to-keep-you-leanBBQ’s are such a huge part of summer culture in Manitoba (and everywhere else really) but one thing that often is put on the back burner (haha) is BBQ Safety.

You may say “I’m careful when I BBQ, that’s good enough” and while that’s great, there is still lots to consider about your BBQ Safety even when you are not using it.

Read below for some BBQ Safety and general knowledge taken right from the Government of Canada’s website!


Before use

If your barbecue has been sitting for a long period of time (over winter), it will need to be checked before use. Look for:

  • blocked burners or metal tubes near the burners
  • damaged or leaking fittings and hoses:
    • use a soapy water solution and check for bubbles
    • if you see bubbles, have the barbecue serviced by an authorized professional and then re-check for leaks
    • replace cracked or damaged hoses even if they are not leaking
  • a damaged seal (check the seal when you get your barbecue tank refilled and check for leaks after re-installing)

Also make sure the barbecue and burners are clean and the briquettes do not have a lot of grease buildup.

When setting up your barbecue, make sure it is:

  • outside and in a well-ventilated area
  • far away from combustible materials and windows and doors
  • on an even surface to reduce the risk of it tipping over

During use

When you use your barbecue, keep the lid open when lighting it. Follow these 3 steps:

  1. open the shut-off valve on your tank to turn on the gas
  2. turn the burner controls on the barbecue to the appropriate position
  3. ignite the barbecue using the igniter switch or other recommended means, making sure not to lean over the barbecue

If the barbecue does not light right away:

  • turn off the gas
  • wait for the gas to go away before re-lighting

Other tips:

  • never leave a lit grill unattended
  • use long-handled cooking utensils and heat-resistant mitts to reduce the risk of burns
  • inspect your barbecue brush and the barbecue grill before each use:
    • The metal bristles on the brush can become loose over time and stick to the grill.
    • The bristles can stick to food and could be accidentally swallowed, possibly causing serious throat or digestive injuries.
    • Replace your brush regularly to help avoid problems associated with wear.
    • Immediately throw your brush away if the bristles come loose or stick to the grill.
    • Alternatives that do not have metal bristles are also available for you to purchase.

After use

After barbecuing:

  • shut off the gas valve.
  • let the gas remaining in the connecting hose burn off.
  • close the burner controls.

If you have a charcoal barbecue, make sure the charcoal has cooled down completely before you get rid of it. This could take several hours.

Common barbecue fuels

There are some things you should know about the fuel you use for your barbecue:

  • propane and natural gas are odourless. For safety reasons, a “rotten eggs” smell is added before the gas is sold.
  • barbecues may produce carbon monoxide when used. Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas that has no colour, smell or taste. It can cause serious health problems or death if inhaled. That is why it is important to use your barbecue outdoors, in a well-ventilated area.
  • propane gas is heavier than air. Propane that leaks from a barbecue may remain in the lower cabinet or other low lying areas. If the rotten egg smell is gone, the gas has likely gone away.