Staying Not Lost

Staying Not Lost

Seeing that soccer team and its coach finally found after being lost for 10 days reminded me that staying found is very important. True, they were in a cave and the searchers knew their whereabouts to some extent, but I wonder if hiking safety was even given a thought when they entered the cave. Teach your children (or children like adult hiking companions) some simple rules to be ‘staying found’ and help them develop some good old-fashioned common sense. Here are a few thoughts on that subject.

  • Never hike alone. This goes for adults as well as children. You never know when you may need someone to administer first-aid, go for help or to out-run in case a bear shows up. Use the buddy system if hiking as a family. Some teenagers think they know what’s up and may strike out on their own if younger siblings linger longer than they ought.
  • Older children should be encouraged to help plan the hike. This will give them an idea as to where you will be going and how long the hike may take.
  • Every hiker should have in their possession a whistle to be used only in case of emergency or failure to locate the family group. The universal signal (distress call) is three short “tweets” which will carry farther than the human voice. Repeat the trio of three louds blasts until help arrives. Searchers can return a whistle blast to tell the ‘not found’ that help is on the way.
  • Stop walking the minute you know you are not found and STAY PUT. Sit down, stay calm and think about when last seeing the family (group) and then start the whistle blowing procedure.

Keep your fork

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Chick Magnet or Tick Magnet?

Pickle Queen would not agree with me ever having been a  “Chick Magnet” but would totally agree with me being a “Tick Magnet”. So far this season I’ve only attracted one tick, but there will be many more as the season progresses with the weather warming up. People need to take the necessary precautions to prevent tick bites which can carry diseases such as lyme disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial disease transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected deer tick. Symptoms include a flu-like illness, headache and muscle pain. A bull’s-eye shaped rash is often also seen at the site of the bite as well. If detected at an early stage, lyme disease can be successfully treated with appropriate antibiotic therapy.

Here are some tips on how to reduce your chances of being bitten by a deer tick.

  • Tuck your pant cuffs into your boots or socks and tuck your shirt into your pants.
  • Apply insect repellent.
  • Shower/bathe immediately after returning from the outdoors to remove unattached ticks.
  • Remove ticks promptly by grasping with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, and pulling it straight out without twisting or jerking it.
  • Inspect yourself and your pets for ticks every day.
  • Keep grass and weeds mowed short.
  • Walk in the center of trails and paths to avoid brushing up against ticks whenever possible.
  • Reduce mouse populations by habitat reduction and exclusion from and to buildings.

Keep your fork

Blisters and Duct Tape

You’re out hunting and notice a blister has formed on your foot for some odd reason. You don’t want to end the hunt early, but you fear the wrath you’ll receive from the wife/husband when you return home limping because infection has set in. Here’s a suggestion.

Using a sterilized needle from your first aid kit or sterilize the tip of your hunting knife and insert it under the base of the blister. Press out the fluid, keeping the skin flap intact.

Cut a hole, slightly larger than the size and shape of the blister in some pliable cloth and place over the blister. Place a second layer of cloth on top of the first and seal this homemade doughnut bandage to your foot with some duct tape. No duct tape? What kind of sportsman doesn’t carry a roll of duct tape at all times? Hopefully you’ll be lucky enough to find a substitute tape or ask a buddy to use some of his/her duct tape.

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Fallen

An elderly priest was getting fed up with the great number of people in his parish who were confessing to adultery. One Sunday in the pulpit, the priest announced, “If I hear one more person confess to adultery, I’m quitting!”

Since he was so popular, the parishioners came up with a code word to avoid incurring his wrath; anyone who had committed adultery would say they had “fallen.”

The arrangement appeared to satisfy the old priest right up until his death. His young replacement soon settled into parish life and visited with the mayor to express his concern about the safety in the town. “You have to do something about the sidewalks,” the new priest told the mayor. “When people come into the confessional, they keep talking about having fallen.”

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The 5 Second Rule

While picking a broken piece of cookie off the carpet while watching TV the other night, (of course I was going to eat it) I heard and seen the Pickle Queen spill the container of chocolate covered almonds on the kitchen floor. I couldn’t help but notice her gather up the wayward almonds and put the ones that survived her eating them back into the container.

I grew up with the 5 second rule, but realize there are other time limit variations (3 second, 10 second, etc.) out there. What ever rule you follow, the general premise is that bacteria won’t contaminate the food in that short period of time. If the right ‘food’ was dropped while I was growing up,  I had to be fast in order to beat my brother and sisters from getting to it first.  So, I didn’t think twice about the cookie or almonds.

One of the most harmful bacteria present in our homes is Salmonella typhimurium which is found in the digestive tract and scat (feces) of animals and can end up in our food. There are other strains that are also dangerous, but Salmonella is the most common one we hear about.

By eating raw or undercooked food, the Salmonella bacteria, when present in large enough numbers in the food, may cause sickness. True, the acid in our stomachs may kill many bacteria, but the ones that survive will move to and survive in the small intestine, causing inflammation leading to cramps, diarrhea and vomiting.

You may not ingest raw/undercooked food directly, but remember, the Salmonella bacteria can live up to 4 weeks on a dry surface in our homes. Other bacterial strains have similar survival rates. We may get ‘sick to our small intestine” sometime later after the bacteria was introduced into our living space.

Tests using the 5 second rule showed that a piece of bologna dropped onto tile, carpet and wood that were contaminated with the Salmonella typhimurium bacteria gave the following results:

Tile – nearly 99% of the bacteria transferred
Carpet – 0-5% of the bacteria transferred
Wood – 5-68% of the bacteria transferred

A second study shows that wet food, such as pastrami, picked up much more of the bacteria as compared to a dry food, like a saltine cracker. Similar results were obtained using both the 2 and 6 second rule. This shows that it’s not the amount of exposure time but how wet the food was.

Another test dropped apple slices and Skittles on an  ‘everyday environment’ to see how long it took for them to become contaminated. Results showed that regardless of time exposed, (5, 10 or 30 seconds) no Salmonella were transferred. Yet another test using many strains of bacteria, has shown contamination after only 2 seconds of contact.

I guess what time length you use isn’t that important. Which bacteria is present, the wetness of the food dropped and the type of surface on which the food was dropped are the important factors.

I feel safer having eaten that cookie piece than I do when I consume those wayward almonds that were put back into the canister.

Keep your fork

Water Damaged Vehicles

I’ve seen many ‘portable parking lots’ full of used vehicles heading north lately. I’ve also been by an auto auction lot that contained row after row of vehicles that are to be auctioned off, many of which will end up on used car lots around the country. I’m not saying that all these vehicles have flood damage or have been submerged, but the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) says as many as one million flood-damaged vehicles could potentially be passed on to unsuspecting buyers. Here are some basic tips from the AAA on what to check before buying a used vehicle.

  • Start with a reputable dealer (seller). A dealership that has been in your community for many years might be less likely to risk its reputation by selling damaged vehicles.
  • Check for telltale signs of flood water damage such as dried mud under the spare tire, behind the wiring harness and under the dashboard.
  • A damaged vehicle may have a damp or musty odor. The vehicles may not have a new car smell but an off odor is often a sign of trouble.
  • New carpeting, headliner, upholstery in an older vehicle may be hiding serious problems. Look under the rug for signs of moisture.
  • Check for water stains on the entire length of the seatbelts, so buckle up.
  • Take the vehicle on an extended test drive, checking all the lights, electronics and sound system. Remember that speakers and water do not mix well.
  • Take the vehicle to your mechanic. It is wise to have a professional look over any used vehicle before purchasing it.
  • When a vehicle has been ‘totaled’ by an insurance company because of flood damage,a salvage title should be issued by the DMV branding the vehicle title with the term “salvage” or “flood”. This sometimes fails to happen for some unseen reason, so it’s important to remember the above basic tips.

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Safer Siphoning

I’m sure safety experts would tell us that there is NO safe way to siphon gasoline from one container to another. This ‘Safer Siphoning’ post will work for most liquids including gasoline, other fuels, oil, water, etc. I’m using siphoning gasoline as most of us, in our younger days, probably got a mouthful of gasoline at one time or another and wished we knew how to avoid said experience. Here is a safer way to siphon if we are still up to our old tricks.

After securing a long, clear hose or tube, place the donor container up off the ground and run one end into a donor container, making sure the end is below the surface. You can blow gently into the other end of the hose and listen for the gurgling sound to make sure it is submerged.

Leaving the submerged end of the hose in the donor container, form a downward loop with the hose (tube) making sure the bottom of the loop touches the ground with the end being higher than the gas in the donating container.

Sucking gently on the end of the hose, watch the gas move to the bottom of the loop and begin to rise. At this point stop sucking and let the gas in the hose come up to the level of the gas in the donating container.

Place the free end of the hose into the recipient container and slowly lower it to the ground. When you have the desired amount in the recipient container, raise it above the level of the gas in the donating container. Remove the hose and straighten it out to allow the remaining gas to drain back into the donating container.

Keep your fork