Rescue Memories- The door opens.

Digging deep for this one.  How I found my way into emergency services.  Not sure when the desire hit me.  The first time I saw someone cut in half was when I was five.  My father confirmed this and all the details of that memory.  Could it be that was the influence?  Or maybe it had to do with the dogs stitches coming out, seeing her intestines on the floor, my mother in a panic?

Also remember at a young age playing with military medical equipment, OD green I.V. poles, tent smelling folding stretchers, instruments, respiratory.  Nothing sharp, things like towel clamps and scalpel blades were removed.  There were boxes of it around.

Wow! This is a big surprise.  As that last paragraph was written a memory came back.  Some friends from the neighborhood would come over to my house.  We would each pretend to be victims of car and helicopter crashes.  Fallen down cliffs, gun shot wounds and other craziness.  While the other ones in the group would be the medics.  We would practice bandaging and trying to carry the others.  That’s nuts.

My dad was infantry and not medical in any way.  There were retired and active duty family friends in the medical fields.  Boy Scout leaders were all former military guys.  I must have expressed interest, one day medical “toys” started showing up in boxes with an education on each item.  This would have been before I would have been allowed to explore the neighborhood on my own.

Those memories are from earlier times in my life.  Moving into the more recent memory and series of events that lead me directly into the door of a rescue squad building and a dream come true.  I must have been 13-14 years old.  Able to walk the neighborhood by myself on foot or bicycle.  Some cousins lived about 7 blocks away.  Not far.

The street that leads to my cousins house crosses another at their home.  When I get there I have to stop and check for traffic first, the house directly across the street.  No traffic I start to cross the street and hear screaming coming from the direction I’m walking.  I get scared as I get closer to the house because the screams are coming from there.

Hesitating at first I ran up the side of the house and listened.  The windows were open.  My cousins mom was yelling at my cousins about how bad they were.  My cousins crying in pain begging for mercy.  It was horrible.  I didn’t know what to do so I ran back home.

There was no one home, no one to talk to.  Wasn’t much into t.v., only made an effort to watch This Old House.  Out of the ordinary, turned on the television.  Wish I could remember what year it was and what episode was watched but I don’t.  The good part was I had tuned in as the opening of the show was on so the scenes and siren sounds made me stop on the channel.

The show was Emergency!  The t.v. show about the early days of paramedics in the U.S.A.  People in the station, getting emergency calls.  While watching that show something happened to me.  Something changed.  A sense of knowing of where you belong.

It felt like my brain was spinning inside my skull like symbols on a slot machine.  After the show was over I couldn’t wait to tell my mom about it, then dad.  It was a few weeks before I was able to get my dad to watch the show with me.  There wasn’t much feedback  from him on the topic.  I seemed to be the only one enthusiast about it.  I kept watching and talking about the show all the time.

Out of nowhere my dad picks me up and we head over to fire station 4 to meet a family friend.  Captain gives me a station and engine tour.  Not much time passes before I’m allowed to spend short periods of time at the station and sometimes ride to calls with the fire chief if he was over for dinner.

Not long after that I’m on base in station 2 with Engineer.  Learning what a shift is really like.  Due to the unique situation I was able to spend hours at this station.  Experienced some of the most impressionable moments in my life there.  Cannot believe how lucky I was then.

The guys liked to let me answer the phone when the dispatcher was calling so they could mess with them.  “Station 2”.  Silly fun.  This continued until I was maybe 15.  I had learned to read the old ticker-tape alarm system still connected to the station.  Then word came down.  World is changing.  Transfer out or retire station 2 will be closing.

That’s what happened.  The old wooden T-building hospital had been removed.  Station 2 was close by in case it went up.  The new hospital was a single structure of modern materials closer to station 1.  Only thing missing was an aerial.  That came after the new hospital opened.

Spending time around station 2 put me in contact with others in the department.  Having expressed an interest in becoming a paramedic firefighter like the guys I’d seen on television I was introduced to Rescue.  Rescue was a cool dude.  He had an earring, talked cool and owned a restaurant.  Was the only person I connected with after everyone else had left.

He like me because of my interested in the paramedic and rescue part of the fire department.  Most of the people he worked with were not interested in it.  I could not get enough.  Things had changed so that I was not able to get to station 1 as much as I wanted when Rescue was working.

Rescue was getting near retirement and wanted to run his restaurant.  I went to the station when he was on shift whenever I could until he retired.  Learned as much as I could about rescue.  It was a fantastic experience.  It was time to go to high school.

In our high school we had an official smoking area.  Students and teachers could go there and smoke cigarettes.  I wonder what all the uptight people would think of that now days?  Anyway, back to the memories.  I did not smoke but would go out there with friends that did during breaks.

Following my friend into the smoking area she leans against a post.  She’s smoking.  We’re not speaking, both of us listening to the sound multiple voices make when talking at the same time.  That restaurant chatter sound.

Behind me I hear a girl talking about something like a scene out of the Emergency T.V. show.  Hearing bits and details I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the conversation.  The girl speaking was telling an exciting story about a car accident she had been too and what they had done.

I interrupted the conversation and told her I was eavesdropping and wondered if she would tell me more.  She did, introduced herself as president of the local rescue squad explorer scouts and invited me to a meeting.  Local explorer scouts president had opened the door and invited me in.  Turns out the rescue squad was as close as I could get to what I wanted at the time.

The rescue squad did everything but treat and transport patients.  Extrication, firefighting, searches, dragging for persons suspected of drowning. Any kind of rescue.  An amazing opportunity to experience first hand real emergencies.  That is how I came to respond to that first emergency call.  The door was opened and I kept showing up. -13

Over-the-Counter Medications Kit

After setting up to make the Aid Bag video I realized it would be easy to make a quick video about the over-the-counter kit.  Been waiting to make it.  Thought it would be longer, the video is a short 3:50.  Could have made it much sooner.

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Hanging Toiletry Organizer/Over-the-counter meds kit

The kit is 14 3/4″ x 27″, has 9 zippered pockets, no issues.  It’s polyester on the outside and what looks like a cotton/polyester liner.  The hook at the top was changed to something that would work better for our intended use.  It its not heavy duty.  The quality is more for home items so it should hold up well for this purpose.  May be difficult to clean, all ointments once removed from original packaging usually get put into a vacuum or ziplock bag.

May add two more loops at the hook end toward the outer edge.  This could be used with other snap hooks or a metal bar to offer better support for long term hanging.  The organizer was purchased from the Container Store and was available before this was posted.

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Modified hook

When working emergency service calls I kept a small quantity of Tylenol, aspirin, Tums, Bag Balm, Chap Stick, Imodium, Benadryl, and an unknown brand wetting eye drops.  Could have been Murine.  That was my personal kit.  I learned the hard way that once you leave the station in a rescue, an engine or ambulance, if you do not have it with you in the boonies, no one is going to bring it to you.  Toilet paper, socks, water, food, anything essential.  In some of the areas, everyone showed up on scene and that was it.  No more help was coming.  We were it.

In station over the years a master kit with multiple selections was made.  Most of it had to do with personal preference or suggestion.  The selection of pain relievers came from personal experience with them.  Aspirin seems to work better than any of the others for my dental pains.  The others are for other body pains and rotation so I’m not using the same one consistently.

IvyX was added and never used.  No way to report on how well it works.  Several times the stock on hand will dry out and then has to be restocked.  The mensuration kit has pads and tampons, sometimes adults leave unprepared and youth experience puberty at  all times of the day or night.  Partially responsible for adult personnel health a good medic knows the importance of keeping a high quality supply of condoms.  People are people, nothing we can do to stop that, but we can help prevent other options if the product works.

The kit is kept easy to access in our homestead medical area along with all our first response equipment and is ready to go anywhere on a moments notice.  A short video is below.  -13

 

Rescue Memories- First Run

Rescue memories.  Something that happens sometimes when I handle medical or firefighting equipment.  Had some good ones today, then had the desire to write these memories down before I forget them.

This evening my thoughts drifted into the cab of the mini-pumper.  It was night, I was sitting between two rescue squad members, me an explorer scout.  It was my first time out on an emergency run.  This is fantastic I thought, we are racing to a call for a structure fire and they’re letting me operate the siren.  Never will forget the siren.  A Federal Intercepter.  It had a really low budget looking P.A. mic and a blazing red light on it a the top.  The bulb that lit the red lens also lit the face.  If the control was moved just right it would make some really unique sounds.

We’re off the main road and no signs of a structure fire.  By now if it was a working fire we would have seen the glow.  They thought on the way that it was a local arsonist that had started a fire.  Once we arrived at the address of the reported fire there was none.  Then they began to think that this was the false call just before the arson that would take place in a completely different direction of what was about to happen in another part of the county.

There is all this talk now days about situational awareness.  How is this for a 15 year old. Sitting in the driveway of the house that was reported on fire the crew chief was calling in the false call.  When dispatch answered back I could hear a voice in the background.  Focused on her voice instead of the dispatcher speaking to us and hear this “…10-46 Highway 48 & 13…”. She was dispatching the sheriff’s department.

Crew chief hung up the mic.  I turned to him and said we’d better get going, we were about to get a call for a 10-46(vehicle accident with injuries) on 48 & 13.  He gave me a look, then “dispatch – 27” Dispatch gave us the call to the accident.  We had passed there about 10 minutes ago.  The guys I was with couldn’t believe what happened.

We were on-scene in about 3 minutes.  Would have arrived sooner but fire equipment can not be driven very fast on winding country roads.  Some of them old wagon trails turned into roads.  Since we were in a pumper we did not have extrication equipment.  That was in a van dispatched from the station at the same time we were.

When we arrived we discovered a head on two vehicle accident.  A car with the front end crushed on the east side of the road facing north west.  A compact pickup truck in the south bound lane facing south. There was glass and car parts all over the highway.  The pumper driver gave an arrival report over the radio.  The crew chief got out of the cab, I followed.  We began to approach the car since it was closest.  What looked like a bystander turned out to be the driver.  Didn’t have a scratch.  Nothing.  Was wearing a seatbelt.

Seeing how calm crew chief was really helped me be that way.  Crew chief went to say something to the pump operator.  I could hear unbelievable screaming coming from the truck.  Said to him I was going to see what was going on and find out where those screams were coming from.  He gave me the okay and I was off.

For a moment I couldn’t believe it.  That I was actually on the scene of a real emergency.  Here I was in a bunker coat, pull up boots and a firefighting helmet.  The only official training I had then was the American Red Cross advanced first aid course and CPR.  Hanging out at the military and civilian fire stations, military family friends in the medical field and boy scout mentors who had been in Vietnam had spoiled me with some really cool surplus and knowledge as well.  It paid off.

Walking toward the truck the screaming is loud, it’s a woman.  My CPR training let me know she had a pulse and respirations.  My focus turned to the driver.  The front of the truck is flat up to the bottom of the windshield.  As I got closer to the truck the driver became visible through the drivers door window.  There was a man that appeared to be unconscious.

Soon as I saw him I quickly moved to the drivers side of the truck.  To my surprise the door opened.  Pushed the door out of the way, had a bystander hold it for me.  The screaming was something to experience to understand.  Blocking out the outer sounds trying to remember the training.  Quickly looking around there is a big lump of something in the truck cab blocking my view of the woman legs.  It is setting between them resting on the console.

Looking at the woman screaming from my position it’s clear to see why she is screaming like that.  The top portion of her skull is visible.  Her scalp has been partially avulsed.  My focus goes back to the driver.  The steering wheel outer ring had been pushed forward and was bent out of shape.  Then it was clear, the thing setting between them was the engine.  The whole thing.

Checking for a pulse and respirations, there are none.  Checked again, none.  Oh no, I thought what am I going to do now?  Self doubt flooded me.  The other rescue squad members were setting up to charge a line for safety.  I went to them to ask for assistance to verify that the man was in fact in cardiac and respiratory arrest.

Neither of the crew I was with had CPR training.  The self doubt that I had before I spoke with them became worse.  This was the 70’s not everyone was trained the same back then.  Explaining the situation to crew chief the self doubt went away when he instructed me to follow my training.

Along with some bystanders we pulled him out and I alone started CPR.  The first trouble I had was finding the landmarks used to place hands for compressions.  There were none.  Turns out the steering wheel deformity was caused by the drivers chest.  Providing respirations, mouth-to-mouth, no barrier was an experience I will never repeat again.  The drivers bloody vomit was a true test of my willpower.  Never vomited myself.  Never have on an emergency run.

CPR was continued until the driver was turned over to the ambulance crew.  They gave me a bottle of sterile water to rinse out my mouth.  29 the extrication van arrived then we removed the passenger and put her in the same ambulance.  As soon as they left we received a call for a car fire.

When we arrived it was fully involved.  Looked like a car blow torch.  The crew I was with were so impressed they let me work the nozzle and put out the fire.  It was better than any roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on.  What a memorable night that was so glad I remembered it.  -13

Product Review / Kit Contents Dyna Med Maxi-Medic Bag BG087

Dyna Med Maxi-Medic Bag Model BG087.

This product review and kit contents were inspired by the project to update our medical equipment and supplies.

The Maxi-Medic is good durable bag suitable for many types of medical kits. It is 1000 denier nylon.  Measures 9″H x 20″L x 12″W.  Side Pocket: 6″H x 12″L x 2 1/2″W.  Main compartment: 9″H x 14″L x 12″W.  Lid Pocket: 5 1/2″ x 9″.  The first time I can remember using one of these was sometime in the early 1980’s.  Maybe ’81-’82?  In the late 70’s early 80’s services were still using the recycled television and radio tube heavy duty plywood cases and surplus canvas M5’s that always had that canvas tent smell.  Look them up online, can’t find any images to use here.

Back to the present.  No issues with the zippers, good quality YKK.  No issues with stitching.  Wish the webbing went all the way around to support the bag better, no issues to report.  The mesh zippered pocket on the lid of the bag works well.  Based on my experience the zipper should be near the hinge part of the lid.  It would be much better to use in that position.

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Lid pocket

One hand could be used to open, close or retrieve contents in an unsupported way.  Also reducing the possibility of loosing valuable items if the zipper fails or is not properly closed.  In the current position contents would spill out of the pocket and bag.  With the zipper located near the hinge loose contents would have a better chance to fall into the bag and prevent loss or damage.

In the photo below the lid was opened in the usual way.  The lid was held up with one hand, the pocket unzipped by the other.  Once unzipped the lid was let go of.  The items are not staged they are exactly how they fell out of the pocket.

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Natural position of lid in the open position, zipper open.

Here is why I have to follow up the video with a blog.  Since I don’t use the feature and the other hook part of hook/loop has been removed from the bravo compartment foam insert I forgot to mention this in my notes.  Something made me remember it.

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Knuckle scratcher.

One of the reasons I do not use hook/loop for most things is the hook part.  It can be very irritating if located in the wrong place.  If they would place the loop part inside the insert and hook on the divider it wouldn’t scratch fingers and knuckles.  The hook/loop should also be on both sides that way the divider can be completely removed.  If not is has to be folded to the side and takes up valuable storage space.  Why I usually cut them out.

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Where the divider stops when using.

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Divider taking up storage space. Must be forced into position.

 

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Paracord zipper pull.

Added paracord zipper pulls to make life easier.  No problems with zippers as long as I don’t do the jerky-high-speed-mofo kind of crap or loose my cool when the zipper hits a snag.  The longevity of this bag depends on two things, flawless construction and end user handling of the bag.  Like anything, abused- it won’t last long, taken care of= years of service.

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Shoulder strap, carry handle.

It does have a shoulder strap that is removable and adjustable.  This shoulder strap has held up well, so has the carry handle.

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Shoulder strap hardware.

 

 

 

More about the video on this bag and contents.  Had no idea it would be so long, 41:22.  It’s a sleep generator for sure.  Maybe with better notes it could have been made shorter.  At this point it is edited and ready to go so it will stay like it is.

Making a video that includes the many reasons items are in the kit would take hours.  I’m trying to speak in layman’s terms and keep it very basic.  In part the video was made to share how others do things.  It is never meant for instruction or teaching anyone how to do it.  I think the content of the video is great for inspiration and to make a decision on wether this bag would suit your particular situation.  For how-to do things there is nothing like in-person, hands-on, training and experience.

The scope-of-practice for this kit has evolved over years.  It’s for use at any time, has most of the initial bandage basics and vital sign instruments.  Usually my starting place for all things medical related.  It is for medical issues that have presented many times.  In station aid, medical coverage at public events, emergency service calls.  People asking for anti-acids for heartburn, a toothpick or length of dental floss to pick out a piece of popcorn kernel or meat.  Band-aids for the stubbed toe or skinned knee.  A condom.  Blood pressure checks.  Sometimes cardiac arrest.  20+ years working with domestic, native and exotic animals in many roles.

I start with this kit and use other kits as needed.  If there is a respiratory issue the airway, the oxygen and aspirator kit will be at hand.  Trauma beyond this kit, spine boards, trauma kit, cervical collars, etc. depending on what is presenting.  Writing the last two lines is why I don’t get into specifics in the video.  The list of situations and possibilites becomes endless and exhaustive.  Back to the video.

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Vital sign instruments.

Working correctly the pulse oximeter and blood pressure monitor can be accurate.  They’re here to complement patient feedback, palpation, my stethoscope and sphygmomanometer along with the other digital age technology.  All of them producing life saving information that could make a difference in outcome. These instruments provide: bowel/heart/lung sounds, blood pressure, blood oxygen saturation, pulse, temperature and blood glucose levels. The instruments may be the only way to get vital information from a lethargic or unconscious person.

They can also be used effectively by layperson with on-the-spot training.  A layperson doesn’t have to understand the results to obtain accurate ones with the battery operated devices.  Many of them were designed for the patient to use at home.  In austere conditions this capability could prove invaluable.

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Basic eye emergency kit.

Another item good to have on hand for those who use contact lens or prosthetic eye is the suction cup designed to remove hard contact lens and prosthetic eyes.  If the package is opened and handled correctly, the suction cup can be handled by a dirty hand to remove an eye or contact lens in an emergency without contaminating the eye, contact, or eye area.  This kit has a place to put contact lens or prosthetic eye after removal.  Wetting eye drops for the intended purpose or temporary storing the contact lens.  A way to cover and protect an injured eye or exposed socket tissue.  That’s the basic eye kit contents.

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This bag has common bandaging material I’ve seen in any hospital, clinic, ambulance, emergency room or aid station.  Splints, tapes, self-adhering/elastic/gauze bandaging materials and gauze dressings of various sizes.

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Travelon, Jewelry Roll/Adhesive bandage kit

The adhesive bandage (band-aid) kit is a small 10 1/2″ x 12 3/4″, 6 zippered pocket, tri-fold carry case.  It holds the adhesive bandage styles and sizes we’ve found covers all our small bandaging needs.  The most common thing treated out of the aid bag are finger lacerations.  Lots of band-aids and self-adhering wrap.

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Hot & Cold Compress

Other items that have been useful are the instant hot/cold compresses.  For the bumps, sprains, cramps and whatever else.  No heating or freezing required.  Also kept in the kit are washcloths.  Everyday washcloths, for their intended purpose and to use as an insulator with the compresses.  Wetting the washcloth first helps transmit the heat or cold much better.  If you have not used them before remember they can damage the skin if used incorrectly and must be monitored.

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Finger ring cutter.  Miltex 33-140

Instruments like the finger ring cutter have turned many purple swollen fingers back to normal size and skin tone.  It will work for soft metals and works good.  Unless it’s a thick class ring or similar it will take less than a minute to get through gold, silver, or pot metal rings.  It will not work on titanium or ceramic.  We have vice grips in our extrication hand tool kit if becomes necessary for those rings.  When it comes to purchasing ring cutters, do not go for the lowest price cutter.  Go for the lowest price highest quality cutter.  Low budget cutters will let you down.

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Silicone collapsible bowls come in handy when a kidney bowl won’t fit in a kit.  These fit so well in the side pockets they were added the day they arrived.  Working out away from a base the bowls are perfect.  If they have to be disposed of no problem.

There are many other items in the bag covered briefly in the video and why this is ending here.  This blog would be longer than the video if that path was taken.  Each item or subject could go in many directions.  My default about any of the kit items or topics is this, get training, get experience.  Do that, everything in this kit will make sense. -13

Firefighting Cart Project Blog

13Jan2019 Update:

Update is an understatement.  After browsing the other project blogs and watching the videos made at the time I realized I could do it a little better.  Instead of having multiple blog post on the project it would be much easier to use one page and keep updating it as necessary.

The videos were not so good.  Information was missing, unnecessary video, bad audio and, experimental editing.  I was using poor quality microphones.  Thought I was getting one microphone for $10.00, it was actually 3 for 10.  Junk!  Those microphones and an old phone as my recorder had me sounding like a teenager reaching puberty.  Too funny.  At first I didn’t recognize who it was when editing the original videos.

I thought for sure someone would give me some shit about it but no one ever did.  Boring!  It may be because not many were watching the videos.  After watching many YouTube videos I thought anyone watching the project progress videos compared the new one would have a much more informative experience.

All the original footage and photos available, it seemed like the thing to do was edit a long play new version.  Skip the multi part versions on projects like this.  Maybe this one is better?  One thing for sure is the audio is much different.  Hope it helps motivate someone have a fire plan and a way to deal with it.  -13

 

New Video

 

Firefighting Cart: Mission – Grand Tour

This is the last update on the firefighting cart project.  I have all the parts in place.  Well on second thought, almost.  I unexpectedly want flat free tires since the ones on it won’t hold air.  So this may not be the last update, time will tell.  Otherwise everything is mostly like I planned it.  I don’t currently have any tire tools so I can’t check or change out the valve stem core so that will have to wait, for now it’s “fill ‘er up!” with air.  This video is different in a few ways.  First I remembered how the old surf and ski documentary’s if that’s what they’re called, would run the music credits at the beginning of each song instead of at the end in the credits where its hard to figure out what’s playing if it’s not familiar.  There is much more detail from the action featured to the text that has cost or important project details.  I also tried to make my videos as concise and information filled as I can so you make the most of your time when watching my videos.  I hope you find this project, informative and inspiring.  Don’t forget to make fire prevention and protection part of your homestead everyday life.  Thank you for checking out my blog! -13

 

 

Firefighting Cart: Final Modifications

All of the major modifications and additions have been made!  More to follow. -13
27JUN16: When I posted this the other day I didn’t have the energy or clarity to write much then, now I’m ready to write.  The last of the modification have been made!  I was thinking I would be able to complete the project in days.  Not the several weeks it has taken.  The reason it took me longer than expected was I needed to figure out what I wanted for ABC extinguishers, where and how to mount them on the cart as well as other details.

Once I decided on small 5lb. extinguishers it was an easy choice on how and where to mount them.  I had one 5lb here already and found another rechargeable extinguisher at Costco.  There is a rectangle box mounted on hinge pins for storage on the cart.  I could simply place the extinguishers in there and be done with it but they’re top heavy and they want to tip out with the hinged box.  To solve that problem I ground off the welds, popped out the pins then bolted the box to the brackets.  That took care of that now I have a place for two 5lb. ABC extinguishers and a welding blanket.

I also added some reflective tape for visibility in some of the most obvious, visible places on the cart.  Found a place on eBay to order custom reflective lettering and also a cool custom Maltese cross specific to the project.  I also found a three pack of fire extinguisher signs that I’ll mount on a dowel and spring clamp to mark the cart from multiple angles.  I think it will work out well can’t wait to see how it turns out.

The other thing I wanted on this cart was turnouts so I or anyone could use the extinguishers on the cart much more effectively and safely.  I chose to recycle an old wildland firefighting jacket, welding gloves from Harbor Freight and recycle a structural firefighting helmet.  Not ruling out anything available locally or online as a way to mount those items on the cart I settled on SCUBA mesh for a bag to hold the gloves and jacket.  I liked that I could see at a glance that the gloves and jacket were on-board the cart without having to open up a bag and look in.  After sewing a bag together and testing I had a little trouble getting the jacket out of the bag so I added webbing with velcro tabs, problem solved.  The tabs wrap around a support and hold the lower part of the bag down.  Works really good.

After much thought I’m surprised I settled on the velcro cord-wrap as the way to mount the helmet.  I did it because it held well, was simple to use, easy to apply without tools, was already in the stock inventory and stuck the use-what’s-available school of thought.  I think it will work well, plus I have two rolls.  Time will tell the outcome.

Must have those water cans!  And, a better way to move them.  I found a SCUBA tank carry strap at a local dive shop on sale so I bought three.  Two for the cart, one for my POV.  They only had a hand carry handle so I sewed lengths of 2″ heavy duty seat belt web with a quick buckle so I could have an over the shoulder way to secure and carry one or both of them.  After several test they work really well.

For now I’ll wait for the decals to arrive.  -13

 

 

Firefighting Cart: Brackets

Originally posted May 29, 2016 @ 13:28 on WordPress.

I was able to find the bracket rail at a dive shop!  Progress report coming soon. -13

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Originally posted May 30, 2016 @ 22:31 on WordPress.

Time for a little update on the homestead firefighting cart.  Lucky me.  I was able to source the extruded aluminum rail that the SCUBA tank brackets slide into at local Diver’s Direct.  Another trip to Home Depot for a metal capable countersink and Lowes to search for hardware which I chose flat aluminum stock and pop rivets for the cantilever instead of the diamond plate aluminum they had a Home Depot. The 3/4″ end caps were in already here in the mail.

I was so excited after sourcing the bracket rail that I went to work on the project as soon as I got it home.  Things went well without major problems.  What I did notice was it sure does slow me down to not have a shop or utility truck to work out of.  Frustrating, but it will change.  I really miss the precision of tools like a chop box and drill press.  Beats using a hack saw and cordless any day of the week.

The first issue was after I mounted the tank brackets to the lower half.  When I tried to pull the cans out the bottom kicked out with nothing to brace onto making the cans very difficult to remove.  To solve this I used one of the 3/4″ square stock pieces to rivet onto the bottom of the cart as a stop.  This wasn’t successful because the 3/4″ was too low so I had to add another shorter piece for a double stack.  That solved the problem.

The other problem was that the upper brackets pushed out the extinguishers so that almost half was hanging off the only two cross braces I was able to install.  The curvature of the cart frame uprights won’t let me place a piece of the square stock out far enough. That’s when I decided to go with the flat stock. I would have chose the diamond plate but it came down to having a way to machine the piece.  With the flat stock all I have to do is make a straight cut.

My original plan to have the upper extinguishers set on 3 pieces of square stock was changed because of that bump out and curvature.  That turned out well because I ended up needing the extra to use as backstops to make the brackets functional as extinguisher holders.  Now they’re being held by the friction of the bracket yet still immediately accessible during an emergency.  I think I have somewhere between 8-12 hours on this project so far and a little over $300.00.  More on that when I tally my receipts.

I made a video diary of the progress.  Really have get it together and remember to empty the memory and charge the batteries on my iphone-cameras “before” I start so I can shoot more video instead of stills.  That would be called, a, clue.  The cart is usable at this point.  I plan on adding a few more ABC extinguishers and some protective equipment.  My next plans are to finish off the cart then make a video tour of the who, what, when, where, and why.

Really happy to have the peace-of-mind that goes with being prepared. -13

 

 

Firefighting Cart: Axle modification

After sweat-working several hours in the gnarly tropical climate here in Hollywood, Florida setting up tools, measuring, checking twice, filming, grinding, I did it! Yes!  Wasn’t sure it was going to work out, but, it did!  My major concern was being able to solder the washers back on and it worked out much better than I anticipated.  I was able to grind off all of the washer with few issues.  I had started off with a grinder wheel on my grinder then switched to a cut-off wheel to reach the tight spaces and preserve as much of the washers as possible.  I cleaned off the paint where I wanted the washers to go then soldered them on exactly where I wanted them.  It worked surprisingly well.  Beginners luck.  Once I did that I put the axle on the frame and it took several tries to get everything the way I wanted but it was worth it.  I think I cut a little over 1 1/4″ off the axle which makes the tolerances very tight.

There was an issue with the paint.  After proper cleaning, surface preparation and priming I was surprised when I applied the second coat of paint to watch the factory paint crinkle instantly.  It was bizarre to watch the paint pucker up like that.  Looks like I shouldn’t have been so lazy and striped the paint off the whole thing and started fresh.  I wonder why it did that though.  In my dream shop I’d media-blast it clean then powder coat it.

The good news is I can get through all the doors I want and need to.  Next steps are to modify the cart to accept and hold the extinguishers I have set aside for the cart project. I also made a video diary of the modification hope you find it informative and inspiring. -13

 

 

Firefighting Cart: On the bench or in transit

Ok, better document some of the progress or I’ll miss the chance.  One of my biggest dilemmas with the homestead firefighting cart project was how to mount the extinguishers to the cart.  I have woodworking skills so I thought about using wood but it’s metal so there are the issues of joining the wood to the metal, that can be solved easy enough but I don’t have a wood shop or the tools I’m used to working with.

I’ve worked in a couple of shops that had any woodworking tool you would want, a woodworkers dream.  I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to work in them.  So no shop/tools and if I can’t make it a particular way then I don’t want to do it.  I don’t want it to look like crap.  So that rules out the wood.  My other option, metal.

Yeah, I’ll just get some tube stock, cut it, bent it, weld it, powder coat it, then call it done.  Only a couple of problems with that idea as well.  It’s pure fantasy and now I’m coming back to reality.  First I’m back to the no shop thing.  Then only metal working tools I have are a hack saw and an angle-grinder I use with a cut-off wheel.  The only knowledge I have of welding is watching a friend of mine do it.  So picking up a cheapo welder from harbor freight and faking it isn’t my idea of fun.  Or a way to make something that’s high quality, looks good and not totally cobbled together.  Now what?

Find a no shop, no wood, no weld required, minimal tool solution.  I really wanted to fabricate something but there is reality. I would love to learn welding but there is the time it takes to learn what I need too and the equipment investment isn’t in the budget at this time.  If I’m going to buy a welder then I’m going to invest in a really good one.  The only welders worth my money are expensive and for good reason.  I love how when I’m in a predicament like this and necessity forces me to see a different solution.

After all the maze chasing of ideas in my head I end up on ebay.  Search for “tank bracket”  So simple.  And there it is.  SCUBA tank brackets!  That fit the 80 tanks.  Which happen to be nearly the same diameter as the extinguishers but just a little bigger.  Ok looking good so far because the best part is the brackets slide into a rail that can be screwed or bolted in anywhere along the rail.  This is really good news.

It solves all of the issues I was going to have.  Using the rail/bracket system eliminates the welding and the wood.  Plus I need a minimum of tools, cordless drill, a wrench and sockets and a way to cut the rail.  This will work out very good.

The other problem to solve was how to create the top level for setting the 10lb. Co2 extinguishers on.  I was able to find some 3/4″ aluminum square stock at Home Depot.   They don’t carry end caps for those so I ordered some from ebay.  That will solve that now I have to order the rail for the brackets. -13

 

 

 

Firefighting Cart: Door clearance issues

The Harbor Freight Welding Cart(65939) I chose to convert into a firefighting cart has some issues getting through household doorways.  In every door in the house I’m in now it appears to be about 1/2″-3/4″ too long.  There looks like there is going to be enough to cut off about 1 1/2″ length of tubing.  One wheel has 1/4″ play in the hub the other side is about the same.  The tubing needs to be shorter and the alignment washers need to be moved then welded back into place.  Since I don’t weld or have a welder I’m hoping I’ll be able to solder the washers where I want them.  If not I’ll have to go to a welding shop.

The next thing I’ll do is pull the axle, grind off the washers.  Clean up the paint then attempt to solder on the washers. -13

 

 

Harbor Freight Welding Cart Model 65939 to be converted into a homestead Firefighting Cart.  More in my next post. -13

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ALICE Magazine Pouch Turned MOLLE

From the Laboratory of Insane Schemes.  ALICE military surplus has been my load bearing choice since the mid 1970’s.  Not perfect for sure but it was a great place to carry my canteens and other items that would fit into ALICE 30 round magazine pouches.  Cut off the grenade pouch and they fit together nicely on an issue pistol belt.

Moving into the 2000’s.  After checking out some of the PALS / MOLLE surplus available I decided to change over.  Although the webbing can be hot and heavy the PALS way of attaching pouches or attachment of any kind to LBE or packs is a good one that almost makes the attached item a part of what it’s attached to.

Moving forward left unused canteen and ALICE magazine pouches packed in boxes and me wishing I had a better way than the adapters made to use ALICE on MOLLE.  The adapter still leaves the pouch flopping around like its on a pistol belt.  Not a very good solution.

I had the idea recently after a resupply to take apart an ALICE magazine pouch and see if I could convert it over to a MOLLE pouch.  If it would work it would fit perfectly on the space fillers on the DF-LCS rig elastic section I’d made from a zippered FLC purchased to salvage for parts.

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Inside view of FLC adapter/filler and “new” MOLLE magazine pouch attached.

First I had to figure out where the attachment straps would be placed near the top of the pouch and where to snap it on.  At the top I chose the hinge point for the lid so it wouldn’t interfere with access.  Snaps on the bottom.  When the snaps are on the back of the pouch they tend to push it out due to the bulk of the snap.  If snap popping becomes an issue they can always be changed to lift-the-DOT.  We’ll see what happens in the future.

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Finished pouch.

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Location of snaps

The web straps were the same length.   Doubled, folded in half and sewn together.  Measuring the magazine pouches for the PALS webbing I discovered that the pouch width could vary as much as a 1/4″ between 4 pouches.  I chose the widest width and cut all the pieces that size.  There are no actual dimensions in here because the variation in pouch width, measuring devices and points of measurement may not be the same as mine.  Duplicating it exactly may cause problems.

After lots of seam ripping and thread picking the pouch was in half and the ALICE webbing was removed.  Laying out the PALS is as simple as can be 1″ x 1 1/2″.  Since the pouch is so small I sewed a center line and the edges like I’ve seen on some issue pouches.  Sew the straps to the hinge point.  Keep it simple.

Although the snaps used and the Pres-n-Snap are designed to cut through the fabric without punching a hole, I did punch because the amount of pouches were small and I wanted more precise location of my snaps.  I’ve had puckering and slight movement of the snap post under pressure from the hand press that the finished snap was visibly off mark times I haven’t punched a hole first.  It’s also much easier on the body with a hand press if the hole has been punched.

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With the holes punched and the webbing sewn on, the stud part of the snap was installed on the bottom of the pouches.  I try to leave them until the end of the project or leave them off for as long as possible.  In the past I’ve put them on early thinking I’m saving time but they were in the way of the sewing machine on many occasions or were scratched up.

Once the snap half was in place the pouches could be sewn back together again.  The top and bottom received four stitch lines and the whole side of the pouch received two stitch lines.  That complete, the other half of the snaps were installed on the web straps and that was it.  Those are the steps I took to convert ALICE to MOLLE.  Now I have some of my favorite pouches to use again.  There’s a video below of the process.  -13

Materials used: Mil Spec DOT snaps, poly webbing, sunbrella thread.

Worm bin notes: Ant Invasion = The End!

Update 12, Bin 1.  Everything was going well, Sept 7th checkup and addition of vegetable waste.  No foul odors, the roly poly population had been reduced, still not much worm activity to see but they were there.  I still think the other insects were beating the worms to the good stuff and that’s what slowed their progress down.

27 Sept, started to set up to film, that involves moving the bin out into the clear space then setting everything up.  As cleared items from around the bin I noticed ants on the lid of the bin.  I opened the bin as soon as I saw them and to my surprise and horror ants had invaded bin 1.

Couldn’t believe it.  How, I was wondering did the ants get past the moat?  After a past lesson, I learned to use and keep them full of water.  Once the ants get in, that’s it, there is no more using that bin. I would never be able to separate the worms from the ants.  Ants haul the food away and will attack the other insects, all the other insects stay on the food supply creating the casting and don’t attack each other.

Didn’t film most of it,  wanted to get that bin out as soon as possible to prevent it from happening to the others.  The only part I did film was evicting a frog and an anole, couldn’t find the gecko I had seen before.  Wanted to get them out so I could explore the substrate before it went into the compost bin.

Based on my experience with other worms and the volume of waste they were offered I would have expected them to be much larger in size and population.  The competition with the roly poly may have had a much larger effect than I expected.  The project is called the Vermicompost Experiment for a reason.

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Reasons! Ant bridge straight to the top!

The best part is the mistakenly taken photo that shows clearly how the plywood bridges the lid to the floor making the moat useless.  The plywood is sat up so it shades it from the sun.  I suspect it slipped over, or was moved by one of our cats chasing lizards, who knows?  Doesn’t matter it was a fun experiment.  Changes have been made to prevent it from happening again.  Maybe it will work.  That’s all for bin 1.

Bin 2 and 3 are still active so the experiment continues.  I’ll have to finish last years video then make an update on those two.  -13

Worm bin notes: No Vacuums!

Update 11, Bin 1.  I’ve killed them for sure.  So much for that plan.   Standing over the compost bin I open the stocking and all I see is a pile of dead roly poly that were as healthy as could be minutes before.  What a sinking feeling.

Simple plan, stick a piece of pantyhose over the end of my shop vac hose, fix it on with rubber bands, suck up the roly polys and kill them.  Not exactly what I had in mind and a surprising disappointment.

Vacuum them up and let them go, alive, was the purpose of the stocking.  Not sure what happened there but it was a miserable failure.  It’s an interesting experience to have.  The feelings created when I didn’t mean to harm something on purpose as opposed to when it is intentional.  After editing the video I see it would have been easy enough to take the cardboard outside and knock them off.  Lesson learned.

It looks like I moved enough out for now.  I think based on what I saw in the bin, that the roly poly are eating the waste before the worms get a chance to.  They weren’t anywhere near the surface that I could see.  I had to move things around to spot a few small ones.

I’m wondering if the worm population is doing well.  I expected to see many worms at the surface trying to get at the avocados.  Have to check back in a few days to see if there will be more worm activity around the waste. -13

PART 2 Project: Closed Caption, Content Creator Silence Challenge

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Part 2, of Project: Closed Caption was motivated in part by the first posting/experience.  After editing the closed captions (CC) on my last video I made this video in response.  Since I had the CC experience I started watching the videos with the CC on and noticed how many of those videos had mistakes.

I don’t think many of the content creators give it much thought because the mistakes are there.  From simple grammatical errors to omissions, to adding in text never said.  Very eye-opening.  It bothered me to see it and I wanted to attempt to get others creators to check their CC.

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I made a video challenging others to watch and proofread their most viewed video in 5 minutes of total silence.  Not sure if it will work to motivate others to do it but it’s worth a try.  If you read this, please share the video with others and challenge them to the Silence Challenge.  -13

Worm bin notes: Fleeing the Ferment?

Bins 2 & 3, Update 12.  This one starts without notes.  The footage was filmed during the WordPress whiteout mayhem.  There are several times where the worms are at the top of the bin on the ledge/lip that the lid sits on.  Also in the recess created by the molded in handhold.

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August 16th, Bin 2, Worm bunch in recess.

The photo above is bin two, from the 16th, when they were bunched up in the recess.  Scooped them out with a flattened plant stem and dropped them back in the bin.  Still hadn’t thought of the fermenting possibility at that point and left the mango like it was.  The photo below shows why.  There is a mess of activity on the salad with the mango close by.

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August 16th, Bin 2, Upper left mango, lower left worms devour salad.

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August 16th, Bin 2, Worms devour salad, mango close by.

It doesn’t look like there is much going on near the mango.  In the video it doesn’t look like any insects are going near it.  Didn’t catch that detail when taking a few quick photos of the progress.  Might not matter.  The video of bin three shows them all around the mangos at the same time.  Days later on the 18th it looks like they’re passing by.

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August 16th, Bin 3, Worms close to mangos.

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August 18th, Bin 3, Worms don’t seem interested.

Not sure what that means if anything.  I’m still thinking they’re avoiding the fermenting gasses while the mango were in that state.  I’ll be paying much more attention in the future.  Will also wait longer before putting in fruits so I can pull the skin off by hand or chop them up.  Won’t be putting whole fruits in like that again.

The other stuff looks good, no unwanted insects or reptiles.  No fermenting or other smells.  Added some Florida avocados to both bins on the 18th.  There are plenty of veg scraps I’ll get in tomorrow for a check-up and add it then.  -13

Current video with accurate Closed Captions below.

Worm bin notes: Check-up

Update 10, Bin 1.  My plan for this bin was to remove as many roly poly as I could, add waste and leave it alone.  I was surprised to find so little of the roly poly I didn’t remove any of them.  That changed after editing the video. In the beginning part of the video while I’m away from the bin the roly polys are moving around and hiding.  After watching that I’ll remove them as planned next time I’m in the bin.

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August 18, Bin 1, Roly Poly

 

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August 18, Bin 1, Roly Poly

There were no roaches or odors.  Everything looked good in there.  The worms were below the surface as I usually find them when there is little waste in the bin.  Below is a short video that shows how the roly polys moved before I could see them and the conditions of the bin. -13

 

Worm bin notes: Fermenting, Lizards & Disappearing Spiders

Part 1

Bins 2 & 3, Update 11. Not sure where to start. Lack of time, loss of memory and blog access has me trying to remember any of the last few weeks I’ve been so busy catching up.

It starts off my not having taken notes on paper or used Notes on my computer.  Not much into Apple so I’m not using or familiar with most of the apps on this computer.  No excuse to not use the one that I like using though.  Lack of time is another issue that I can’t do much about.  Some of the crazy starts with the image below.

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See that?  That is what it was like for me to login and try to update my site. Couldn’t get past it.  Check out Blank Page Mayhem! to find out more on that experience.

Finally able to login, here I sit trying to remember those details I didn’t write down.  Moving from one project to another, I won’t remember, that’s what my notes are for! Have to laugh at that one. Anyway, I’ll do my best.

Bin 2 had signs of worm activity on the walls of the bin and upper lip.  My thought is that the worms were trying to get more food because of the time span between adding waste.  As I was thinking about writing this several memories of similar circumstances makes me think it’s something else.  I suspect the worms are fleeing the fermenting mangos or any fermenting fruit.

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July 20 Mango bin 2

The first time I put mangos in the bins they went in whole.  When checking them several days later I noticed the smell that fermenting fruit makes as soon as I opened the lid.  I also noticed the worms trailings at the sides/top and no worms were visible at the surface.  All I remember thinking at the time was not to put whole skinned fruits/vegetables in without cutting them so the worms could get to them.

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August 9 Mango bin 2

Sometimes mangos were added in whole then opened days later after they’d had a chance to ripen.  That didn’t work as well as cutting them into halves or quarters then placing the fruit onto the soil.  Or letting them set a short time outside the bin until the skins peeled off by hand.  Many of the videos show it.  After I started cutting the fruit I never noticed the fermenting smells.  The last few times I’ve added mangos I sliced down to the pit multiple times without cutting it into pieces to open up the skin and give the worms access.

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August 12, bin 2, sliced mango.

That turned out to be nearly the same as not cutting them.  The fruit fermented and built up gasses under the cardboard covers I use.  I noticed it when I opened the bins for a quick check and didn’t put it in my notes.  Now I think the worms are trying to get away from the gasses building up under the cardboard.  It seems like the fruit goes through a shorter ferment process after its been opened or maybe it doesn’t do it afterward.  I’m not sure how that works.

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August 18, bin 2, sliced mango.

What is clear is how fast the worms consume it after it’s been cut.  Lesson learned, cut the fruit open.

Back to bin 2.  The observation of the worm trails led to the above so that’s covered.  There is also an example of not cutting or opening a mango.  July 20th to August 9th, as can be seen in the video, the worms haven’t accessed the fruit yet.  They’re trying, they don’t until it’s opened and spread around.  Then it goes fast.

Added a salad that had dressing and shrimp.  I removed the shrimp, then spread the salad out to see how the worms would deal with it.  Looks like no problem so far there’s almost nothing left.

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August 9th, bin 2, salad experiment

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August 18th, bin 2, salad experiment

The video started out as one video but it seemed too long so I cut it into two parts.  The first part is little over 8 minutes, only bin 2.  Part 2, 7 minutes, is only bin 3 stuff.  Simple I know but seems like the best idea for now.  Probably change my mind later.  Part 1 is below.

 

 

Part 2

Bin 3 starts with my Aug. 9th check.  I opened the bin and started removing the cardboard, out of I don’t know where a lizard about 4 inches long ran over the top edge of the bin then hid under it.  It was fast I hardly had time to see it but I’m nearly sure it was an anole.  This led to another observation.

On several occasions I’ve opened the bins in the past and noticed that almost all or all of the spiders that had populated the bin would be gone.  Around that same time I’ve also seen lizards around the bins.  I remember for sure a gecko was inside bin 1 before I dumped it and there were no spiders in there again for months after I’d ran the gecko off.  It had cleaned them out.

After a lizard cleans out the spiders it takes a few months before another one finds its way in and starts the process all over.  I think the gecko that was in bin 2 last time had not been in there long because I was looking at the spider population and trying to figure out where to move them when I saw it.  In the future I’ll try to leave the lizard in the bin or put it in another to clean out the spiders if the population is getting uncomfortable.

That’s if I can catch it.  Another thing I’m hoping to address for the videos is how the yellow glove affects the picture as my hand is moving around inside the bin.  It’s amazing how much it can change the picture.  Looks like the lights are getting dimmer then brighter.  It’s too much!  I ordered a black pair of rubber gloves to see if it will help.  More on them in a future blog after I use them.  Almost sure it will make a big difference.

In the past I’ve added sweet pepper cut offs then forgot to check on the progress.  When I remembered to check there wasn’t a trace so I never knew what happened to them.  This time I have a small bunch and a clean area to experiment with.  The before and after pictures show how little interest they have in them throughout decomposition.

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August 9th, bin 3, sweet pepper experiment.

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August 18th, bin 3, sweet pepper experiment.

The worms were spotted around the peppers but never in them. I think the condition of the other waste in the same bin over the same time frame also shows how little interest they had in the peppers. Check out the pictures. It’s like most of it was never there.

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August 9th, bin 3, usual vegetable waste.

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August 18th, bin 3, usual vegetable waste.

I think if the worms were interested in the peppers, that they would look like what happened to the other waste pile I put in there at the same time. Gone. There were more peppers that were thrown into our outdoor compost.

So it’s, cut the fruit up, ventilation, try the new gloves, lizard spider control services if you can catch them and by all means take notes.  Got it!  Part 2 is below.  -13