Monday, April 30, 2012

How and Why to Sharpen Your Tools

Keeping tools sharp saves time and energy.

When you’re in a hurry to get your pruning work done, you may not want to take the extra few minutes needed to stop and sharpen your tools. But it’s well worth the effort for two reasons:

1) Your work will go faster and easier with sharpened tools.

2) The clean cuts you get with sharpened tools are healthier for your plants and trees.

Immediately after being cut, a plant oozes sap or resin, which dries to create a protective shield. But that’s just the beginning of the healing process. The plant also diverts energy from its growth to the damaged area while the wound is healing. Obviously, then, you want to help ensure that the tree will heal as quickly as possible. One way to do this is to make sure you create a smooth surface by a clean cut using a sharpened tool. Not only will the plant heal more quickly, and thus begin growing sooner, but it will be exposed to less damage from diseases, insects, fungi and weather extremes.

Following these steps will help you learn the proper way, then, to sharpen your pruning tools.

Step 1: Clean the blades

Whatever type of pruning tool you are using, clean the blade with a stiff brush and soapy water to remove any rust, clumped dirt or other debris. Dip the pruners in a solvent, such as kerosene, to clean off any sap. If you’ve used your tools on evergreens, be sure to clean off the pitch residue using either oil or kerosene, too. After drying them, wipe the blades with a light coat of motor oil.

Step 2: Examine the sharpness

Examine the blade edge to determine the correct sharpening angle (usually about 10 to 15 degrees) (see Photo 1, at left). It’s also a good idea to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for more specific sharpening instructions and cautions. Remember, for an anvil-type pruner, you’ll sharpen only one blade but you must sharpen that blade on both sides.

The choice of sharpening tools is largely a matter of preference:

* Whetstones, the most common choice, offer many gradations and sizes, though you may find that a longer one is easier to work with.

* A diamond-coated flat file requires only water for lubrication, remains flat for fast sharpening and is durable enough to last a lifetime.

* A sharpening steel is useful for finishing or for a quick fix.

* Grinding stones require extra caution because they transfer friction heat that can affect the metal temper, making it more brittle.

Because the use of whetstones is the most common of these four types, we’ll describe that technique in detail here.

Step 3: Begin grinding the blades

Start with a medium-grain whetstone (see Photo 2, opposite page, top). Thoroughly wet the stone by soaking it in water or a lightweight motor oil. (For an even lighter finish, some people prefer using a vegetable oil.) Because water quickly evaporates, oil is usually a better choice. It will not only act as a lubricant but carry away grit during the sharpening process.

To maintain the correct angle, press the blade against the concave side of the stone while sharpening. Use numerous smooth strokes, moving the blade in one direction toward the tip—as if you are trying to shave off a thin slice from the whetstone. Don’t press too hard.

For every 10 strokes to the outer bevel, apply one stroke to the inner angle.

Keep the stone wet by periodically applying more water or oil. (Don’t switch between the two, however. If you start with oil, continue using oil.)

If the blade has a nick, use a file to remove the bent metal piece. If it has multiple nicks, you may need to start the sharpening process with a coarser stone.

Step 4: Smooth the edges

Once you’ve achieved the proper angle and sharpness, move to using a finer-grain whetstone and continue sharpening until you achieve a razor-sharp edge. Don’t reduce the beveled edge to less than 1-mm thickness. A finer edge will not increase sharpening ability but will make the blade more fragile and prone to damage or breakage.

Step 5: Test the sharpness

You can conduct a preliminary test without having to make a trip outside. Simply hold the cutting edge up to a light source. If you can see light reflecting off the blade edge, it’s not yet adequately sharpened.

Once the tool passes the light-reflection test, you’re ready for the ultimate test of trying it on the size of branch it is designed to cut (see Photo 3, at middle right). If you’ve sharpened the blades properly, they will make clean, easy cuts. If the blades pull or catch, they’re not sharp enough. In that case, continue sharpening with the fine whetstone or switch to an extra-fine stone. Retest as necessary, again being careful not to over-sharpen the blades.

Step 6: Add a coat of oil

Finish off the blades by rubbing a light coat of oil them (see Photo 4, bottom right). Remember: dirt that sticks to your tools acts as a sponge, collecting moisture and causing rust. So be sure to keep dirt off your tools when they’re not in use.

When sharpening other types of tools, you may need to make some modification of these steps. For example, when sharpening anvil-type pruners or clippers, sharpen only one blade but on both sides. Avoid putting a curve on the blade’s edge. Unless the edge is perfectly straight, it won’t strike true against the flat anvil, and strands of plant tissue will cling to the blade after each cut.

Before sharpening shears, you might find it easier to take them apart. Keep in mind that regrinding blades usually is not recommended. Doing so tends to change the cutting angle and destroy the fluting. Plus, regrinding can create a convex cutting edge that leads to poor shearing action and difficulty in cutting.

For scissor-action "bypass" lopping shears, sharpen only the outside surface of each blade. This will maintain the cutting surface so the blades will cut cleanly as they slide past each other. Remember that the inside blade surfaces need to remain flat, so you should clean them but not sharpen them.

When you’re sharpening your tools, it’s also a good idea to check the tension screw between the blades. If needed, adjust the screw to allow more freedom of movement while still ensuring that the blades are close enough together to work properly.

What if you have a saw that needs sharpening? That’s a tedious job that takes special skills and special equipment, so you’ll most likely want to leave it to a professional. Check the Yellow Pages under "Sharpening services" or try a local hardware store.

After you’ve sharpened a tool several times, you may notice that the cutting angle is becoming rounded (an edge that is more than a 90-degree angle). At this point, the blades start working with a crushing action instead of a clipping action. This indicates the blade is worn out, and it’s time to replace it or the entire tool.

Protect your investment in quality tools and limit the need for sharpening by performing routine maintenance between uses. Find a handy, easy-to-reach spot to hang up a rag that’s dry on one end and has oil on the other. Use it to wipe off your tools, keeping them clean and oiled after you’re done using them. It’s especially important to do this small task before putting away your tools for the season.

Another handy trick is to keep a 5-gallon bucket filled with coarse builder’s sand in your garage or tool shed. Dip the metal blades of each tool into the sand and pull them up and down several times. This will remove any mud or clinging soil. Next, use a wire brush or steel wool to take off any rust or other particles of debris that remain. You also can pour some motor oil into the bucket of sand so that, when dipping them in the sand to clean them, you give them a coating of oil.

Despite these recommendations, if you still don’t lubricate your tools regularly, at least do so at the end of the season, applying a light coat of oil to the blades. Also protect wooden-handled tools with linseed oil or a coat of varnish. And lubricate any moving parts. Then store tools in a dry place. By following these steps, your tools will be ready whenever you are, any time of the year.

How and Why to Sharpen Your Tools

Keeping tools sharp saves time and energy.

When you’re in a hurry to get your pruning work done, you may not want to take the extra few minutes needed to stop and sharpen your tools. But it’s well worth the effort for two reasons:

1) Your work will go faster and easier with sharpened tools.

2) The clean cuts you get with sharpened tools are healthier for your plants and trees.

Immediately after being cut, a plant oozes sap or resin, which dries to create a protective shield. But that’s just the beginning of the healing process. The plant also diverts energy from its growth to the damaged area while the wound is healing. Obviously, then, you want to help ensure that the tree will heal as quickly as possible. One way to do this is to make sure you create a smooth surface by a clean cut using a sharpened tool. Not only will the plant heal more quickly, and thus begin growing sooner, but it will be exposed to less damage from diseases, insects, fungi and weather extremes.

Following these steps will help you learn the proper way, then, to sharpen your pruning tools.

Step 1: Clean the blades

Whatever type of pruning tool you are using, clean the blade with a stiff brush and soapy water to remove any rust, clumped dirt or other debris. Dip the pruners in a solvent, such as kerosene, to clean off any sap. If you’ve used your tools on evergreens, be sure to clean off the pitch residue using either oil or kerosene, too. After drying them, wipe the blades with a light coat of motor oil.

Step 2: Examine the sharpness

Examine the blade edge to determine the correct sharpening angle (usually about 10 to 15 degrees) (see Photo 1, at left). It’s also a good idea to check the manufacturer’s guidelines for more specific sharpening instructions and cautions. Remember, for an anvil-type pruner, you’ll sharpen only one blade but you must sharpen that blade on both sides.

The choice of sharpening tools is largely a matter of preference:

* Whetstones, the most common choice, offer many gradations and sizes, though you may find that a longer one is easier to work with.

* A diamond-coated flat file requires only water for lubrication, remains flat for fast sharpening and is durable enough to last a lifetime.

* A sharpening steel is useful for finishing or for a quick fix.

* Grinding stones require extra caution because they transfer friction heat that can affect the metal temper, making it more brittle.

Because the use of whetstones is the most common of these four types, we’ll describe that technique in detail here.

Step 3: Begin grinding the blades

Start with a medium-grain whetstone (see Photo 2, opposite page, top). Thoroughly wet the stone by soaking it in water or a lightweight motor oil. (For an even lighter finish, some people prefer using a vegetable oil.) Because water quickly evaporates, oil is usually a better choice. It will not only act as a lubricant but carry away grit during the sharpening process.

To maintain the correct angle, press the blade against the concave side of the stone while sharpening. Use numerous smooth strokes, moving the blade in one direction toward the tip—as if you are trying to shave off a thin slice from the whetstone. Don’t press too hard.

For every 10 strokes to the outer bevel, apply one stroke to the inner angle.

Keep the stone wet by periodically applying more water or oil. (Don’t switch between the two, however. If you start with oil, continue using oil.)

If the blade has a nick, use a file to remove the bent metal piece. If it has multiple nicks, you may need to start the sharpening process with a coarser stone.

Step 4: Smooth the edges

Once you’ve achieved the proper angle and sharpness, move to using a finer-grain whetstone and continue sharpening until you achieve a razor-sharp edge. Don’t reduce the beveled edge to less than 1-mm thickness. A finer edge will not increase sharpening ability but will make the blade more fragile and prone to damage or breakage.

Step 5: Test the sharpness

You can conduct a preliminary test without having to make a trip outside. Simply hold the cutting edge up to a light source. If you can see light reflecting off the blade edge, it’s not yet adequately sharpened.

Once the tool passes the light-reflection test, you’re ready for the ultimate test of trying it on the size of branch it is designed to cut (see Photo 3, at middle right). If you’ve sharpened the blades properly, they will make clean, easy cuts. If the blades pull or catch, they’re not sharp enough. In that case, continue sharpening with the fine whetstone or switch to an extra-fine stone. Retest as necessary, again being careful not to over-sharpen the blades.

Step 6: Add a coat of oil

Finish off the blades by rubbing a light coat of oil them (see Photo 4, bottom right). Remember: dirt that sticks to your tools acts as a sponge, collecting moisture and causing rust. So be sure to keep dirt off your tools when they’re not in use.

When sharpening other types of tools, you may need to make some modification of these steps. For example, when sharpening anvil-type pruners or clippers, sharpen only one blade but on both sides. Avoid putting a curve on the blade’s edge. Unless the edge is perfectly straight, it won’t strike true against the flat anvil, and strands of plant tissue will cling to the blade after each cut.

Before sharpening shears, you might find it easier to take them apart. Keep in mind that regrinding blades usually is not recommended. Doing so tends to change the cutting angle and destroy the fluting. Plus, regrinding can create a convex cutting edge that leads to poor shearing action and difficulty in cutting.

For scissor-action "bypass" lopping shears, sharpen only the outside surface of each blade. This will maintain the cutting surface so the blades will cut cleanly as they slide past each other. Remember that the inside blade surfaces need to remain flat, so you should clean them but not sharpen them.

When you’re sharpening your tools, it’s also a good idea to check the tension screw between the blades. If needed, adjust the screw to allow more freedom of movement while still ensuring that the blades are close enough together to work properly.

What if you have a saw that needs sharpening? That’s a tedious job that takes special skills and special equipment, so you’ll most likely want to leave it to a professional. Check the Yellow Pages under "Sharpening services" or try a local hardware store.

After you’ve sharpened a tool several times, you may notice that the cutting angle is becoming rounded (an edge that is more than a 90-degree angle). At this point, the blades start working with a crushing action instead of a clipping action. This indicates the blade is worn out, and it’s time to replace it or the entire tool.

Protect your investment in quality tools and limit the need for sharpening by performing routine maintenance between uses. Find a handy, easy-to-reach spot to hang up a rag that’s dry on one end and has oil on the other. Use it to wipe off your tools, keeping them clean and oiled after you’re done using them. It’s especially important to do this small task before putting away your tools for the season.

Another handy trick is to keep a 5-gallon bucket filled with coarse builder’s sand in your garage or tool shed. Dip the metal blades of each tool into the sand and pull them up and down several times. This will remove any mud or clinging soil. Next, use a wire brush or steel wool to take off any rust or other particles of debris that remain. You also can pour some motor oil into the bucket of sand so that, when dipping them in the sand to clean them, you give them a coating of oil.

Despite these recommendations, if you still don’t lubricate your tools regularly, at least do so at the end of the season, applying a light coat of oil to the blades. Also protect wooden-handled tools with linseed oil or a coat of varnish. And lubricate any moving parts. Then store tools in a dry place. By following these steps, your tools will be ready whenever you are, any time of the year.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

All You Need to Know about Kerosene Lamps

Fuel:
Use #2, water-clear kerosene; tinted/scented lamp oil gives less light, can gum up the wick or smoke up the chimney excessively. Lower grades kerosene with higher number will work but may cause similar problems with wicks and the chimneys will be dirty sooner.

Cost of Fuel:
May cost as much as $2.00/gal. Using 5 traditional lamps and a lantern 5 hours /night in the winter will use about 1 gallon/month.

Transferring the fuel:
Use a cheap bulb siphon and ONLY use it for kerosene (gasoline residues in a kerosene lamp is extremely dangerous). Try not to siphon any of the sludge and throw away the last 1/2 cup in the can. Siphon outdoors to minimize problem spills. If you spill over several thickness' of newspaper, do not burn in wood burning stove (chimney fire).

Lamp:
Do not overfill kerosene reservoir. You need air space between the bottom of wick holder and top of the kerosene for good wicking. When installing a new wick, soak it in kerosene first. You will then burn the kerosene and not the wick. If the top of the wick is dry only ht wick will burn. Trim the wick occasionally while using it and the first time you use it. A wick trimmed straight across will give a wide, flat-topped flame and will smoke excessively; too pointy of a wick produces a thin flame and little light. You should cut off the corners, and round the top of the wick a bit. After many hours of burning, the top of the wick will get ragged and charred. The flame may even have two lobes. Trim the char off into the shaped that works best for your lamp. There are two kinds of lamp owners: those who've burned themselves and those who will. Always check before touching the chimney. You cannot see heat.

To light a kerosene lamp, remove the chimney, turn the wick up a bit, and light and replace the chimney. As the wick begins to smoke, turn it down, just enough to keep from smoking. Adjust the wick for max light without smoking.

Extinguish a kerosene lamp by holding your hand just behind and above the chimney top. Adjust the angle of your palm to direct your breath straight down the chimney. Blow against your palm and a quick puff will blow it out.

Maintenance:
Cleaning the chimney. Remove soot with a facial tissue and wash in hot, soapy water(Dawn?). Rinse in very hot water, to which baking soda has been added to eliminate spotting and then air dry. Wicks: Take stub of wick with you when buying a new one. There are circular wicks, and flat wicks, which come in different widths and thickness'. One that is too thick or thin will not feed through the wick adjuster and may even damage it. It is better to use one that is too narrow than one that is the wrong thickness or width. A narrow wick will not produce as much light, obviously.

Chimneys:
Keep spares on hand. A lamp without a chimney is worthless. Thin glass cost less but break easier; frosted diffuse the light but are less bright. Tall, thin straight chimneys produce a thin, very bright flame, while bulbous chimneys produce wider flame and maybe more total light. Different chimney styles means adjusting to trimming the wick differently. You may eventually have to put on a new wick adjuster through normal usage or by damage by improper wick. You will have to replace the whole burner. Keep an extra one or two on hand. The best lamp has a heavy glass base which allows you to see how much kerosene is left. The weight of the base gives stability.

Aladdin Lamps:
They are more expensive than traditional lamps. They use pressure to volatilize the kerosene and a mantle to distribute and intensify the flame. They use twice as much kerosene as a traditional lamp and the mantles have to be replaced frequently. The parts of one model of Aladdin lamp may not be interchangeable.

All You Need to Know about Kerosene Lamps

Fuel:
Use #2, water-clear kerosene; tinted/scented lamp oil gives less light, can gum up the wick or smoke up the chimney excessively. Lower grades kerosene with higher number will work but may cause similar problems with wicks and the chimneys will be dirty sooner.

Cost of Fuel:
May cost as much as $2.00/gal. Using 5 traditional lamps and a lantern 5 hours /night in the winter will use about 1 gallon/month.

Transferring the fuel:
Use a cheap bulb siphon and ONLY use it for kerosene (gasoline residues in a kerosene lamp is extremely dangerous). Try not to siphon any of the sludge and throw away the last 1/2 cup in the can. Siphon outdoors to minimize problem spills. If you spill over several thickness' of newspaper, do not burn in wood burning stove (chimney fire).

Lamp:
Do not overfill kerosene reservoir. You need air space between the bottom of wick holder and top of the kerosene for good wicking. When installing a new wick, soak it in kerosene first. You will then burn the kerosene and not the wick. If the top of the wick is dry only ht wick will burn. Trim the wick occasionally while using it and the first time you use it. A wick trimmed straight across will give a wide, flat-topped flame and will smoke excessively; too pointy of a wick produces a thin flame and little light. You should cut off the corners, and round the top of the wick a bit. After many hours of burning, the top of the wick will get ragged and charred. The flame may even have two lobes. Trim the char off into the shaped that works best for your lamp. There are two kinds of lamp owners: those who've burned themselves and those who will. Always check before touching the chimney. You cannot see heat.

To light a kerosene lamp, remove the chimney, turn the wick up a bit, and light and replace the chimney. As the wick begins to smoke, turn it down, just enough to keep from smoking. Adjust the wick for max light without smoking.

Extinguish a kerosene lamp by holding your hand just behind and above the chimney top. Adjust the angle of your palm to direct your breath straight down the chimney. Blow against your palm and a quick puff will blow it out.

Maintenance:
Cleaning the chimney. Remove soot with a facial tissue and wash in hot, soapy water(Dawn?). Rinse in very hot water, to which baking soda has been added to eliminate spotting and then air dry. Wicks: Take stub of wick with you when buying a new one. There are circular wicks, and flat wicks, which come in different widths and thickness'. One that is too thick or thin will not feed through the wick adjuster and may even damage it. It is better to use one that is too narrow than one that is the wrong thickness or width. A narrow wick will not produce as much light, obviously.

Chimneys:
Keep spares on hand. A lamp without a chimney is worthless. Thin glass cost less but break easier; frosted diffuse the light but are less bright. Tall, thin straight chimneys produce a thin, very bright flame, while bulbous chimneys produce wider flame and maybe more total light. Different chimney styles means adjusting to trimming the wick differently. You may eventually have to put on a new wick adjuster through normal usage or by damage by improper wick. You will have to replace the whole burner. Keep an extra one or two on hand. The best lamp has a heavy glass base which allows you to see how much kerosene is left. The weight of the base gives stability.

Aladdin Lamps:
They are more expensive than traditional lamps. They use pressure to volatilize the kerosene and a mantle to distribute and intensify the flame. They use twice as much kerosene as a traditional lamp and the mantles have to be replaced frequently. The parts of one model of Aladdin lamp may not be interchangeable.

Growing Potatoes

I got my hands on four plastic 50-gallon barrels. I drilled drain holes in them, set them up on blocks and planted spuds in them. Here's how: Cut up potatoes which have started to sprout, leaving an eye or more on each piece. Dry these out for two days in a cool, dry room. Then plant in a shallow layer of soil and compost in the bottom of the barrel. As the potatoes grow up, add more soil and compost. After they reach the top of the barrel, I plant a couple of bush beans in each barrel. The beans protect the potatoes against the Colorado potato beetle, and the potatoes protect the beans against the Mexican bean beetle. As soon as the potatoes flower you can find little spuds in the soil. When the whole plant dies back, kick over the barrel for a bountiful harvest. I have two barrels of red potatoes, one of white russet, and one of Yukon gold.

Growing Potatoes

I got my hands on four plastic 50-gallon barrels. I drilled drain holes in them, set them up on blocks and planted spuds in them. Here's how: Cut up potatoes which have started to sprout, leaving an eye or more on each piece. Dry these out for two days in a cool, dry room. Then plant in a shallow layer of soil and compost in the bottom of the barrel. As the potatoes grow up, add more soil and compost. After they reach the top of the barrel, I plant a couple of bush beans in each barrel. The beans protect the potatoes against the Colorado potato beetle, and the potatoes protect the beans against the Mexican bean beetle. As soon as the potatoes flower you can find little spuds in the soil. When the whole plant dies back, kick over the barrel for a bountiful harvest. I have two barrels of red potatoes, one of white russet, and one of Yukon gold.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sample Computer Acceptable Use Policy

Sample Computer Acceptable Use Policy

Free Use

Sample Computer Acceptable Use Policy

Sample Computer Acceptable Use Policy

Free Use

How to Clean Your Rifle Barrel

Why Clean Your Barrel?

1. Rust Prevention.The combination of burnt powder, priming compound and metal fouling (especially copper) are ideal ingredients for rust to take hold of in your barrel. And just because you have a stainless steel barrel, don't assume it will not corrode. You just won't see it happening.

2. Accuracy.The build up of copper fouling will decrease accuracy in a centrefire rifle. Excessive leading in your pistol or rifle barrel will also badly affect accuracy, sometimes to the point that bullets will tumble.

3. Safety.Shooting with a badly fouled or rusty barrel could result in excessive pressure in the chamber or barrel, resulting in all sorts of nasties - bulged or split barrels, action blowups, soiled underwear, etc.

4. Recoil.Excessive fouling build-up will increase pressure and therefore felt recoil. Plastic fouling in a shotgun barrel could also conceivably alter the choke characteristics and change your gun's shot pattern.

5. Resale.Even if a pitted bore has not badly affected accuracy (which is possible but not probable), any prospective buyer will have to assume that your rifle is in need of a new barrel. This makes selling it at full value difficult, unless the buyer is optically challenged or downright dumb.
When to Clean Your Barrel?

Airguns. Seldom. Fouling is minimal, but rust can still occur.

Rimfires. With the exception of the 22 Magnum or any other rimfire cartridges using jacketed projectiles, these barrels require little cleaning. Modern 22 ammunition uses lead projectiles which leave traces of lube up the barrel that will not allow the bore to rust. I clean my rimfires seldom, mainly when I know they will be unused for some time.

Centrefire Rifles. Every time they are used, before they are put away. Religiously. Powder and copper fouling must be removed, with an oil coating left inside the bore until it is used again, not forgetting to remove the oil before firing next time.

Centrefire Pistols. Basically the same as for centrefire rifles when using jacketed ammunition. If using lead projectiles, the need to scrub the bore varies depending on the type of projectile, lube and velocity. If leading occurs it should be removed either with a strong bore brush and solvent or lead wipes. I've never been a fan of the old favorite of putting through a few jacketed rounds to clear out the lead.
Corrosive Ammunition

It never ceases to amaze me how people will make such an issue out of whether ammunition is "corrosive" or not. Some military ammo will cause rust quicker than sporting rounds. But only if you neglect to clean your firearm. Perhaps a bigger issue is whether the projectiles are really copper jacketed, or copper washed mild steel.
How to Clean Your Barrel
Equipment Needed

Cleaning rod.Preferably one piece, covered. Don't even think about using a pull through.

Bronze brush and jag.I prefer the barber pole style jag to a loop.

Bore solvent. For copper fouled barrels I use two solvents, one mild to get rid of powder fouling, one savage enough to rip the copper out.

Flannelette patches.Precut are convenient, but I prefer to cut my own to get optimum fit in the bore.

A good gun oil,thick enough not to stick on the sides of the bore.

Optional is a bore guide,to center the rod in the barrel and do as little damage to either the crown or the chamber.
The Dirty Deed

Wherever possible push the rod through the barrel in the same direction as the bullet travels. There are a million variations of how many passes with the brush, how many with a patch, which solvent to use, when to mop them out, etc, etc, etc. The following is just a good average.

Pour a little of the mild solvent over the bronze brush. Work up and down the barrel several times. Leave for a couple of minutes. Mop out with a couple of clean patches. This will remove powder fouling.

Take a tight clean patch and pour on some of the stronger solvent. Pass through a couple of times to give a good coating. Leave for 10 minutes. Pass through a couple of clean patches. Repeat until mop-out patches come out with no trace of green/blue copper residue.

Liberally coat a clean patch with oil and pass through a couple of times to give a protective coating to prevent rust. DO NOT FORGET to remove this oil before you shoot the next time. Oil in a barrel constitutes a blockage and will dramatically increase barrel and chamber pressure, possibly resulting in a bulged barrel or worse.

In order to prolong the life of your bronze brush be sure to wash it out in mineral turps or similar to get rid of the solvent.
Resurrecting a Rust Bucket

If your barrel has suffered from past neglect and resembles the Black Hole of Calcutta, you can probably never expect to regain good performance. It is possible, using desperate measures, to make it shootable. None of these methods should be used on anything of any value, and even then should only be used as a last resort.

You have followed the instructions above to clean your rifle. When passing a tight patch through the barrel it feels like you are pushing it against sandpaper. Looking through the barrel the lands and grooves have furry growths over the entire length. Then, and only then, should you consider using these measures.

Start by wrapping fine steel wool around an old bronze brush, using it to scrub the bore with solvent. Should this not have the desired effect, pour boiling water through the bore, cut a tight fitting patch for your jag and apply a small amount of toothpaste to the patch. This is a form of grinding paste and should be used with caution. All traces should be carefully removed when finished. Repeat until satisfied that bore has either improved or never will.

How to Clean Your Rifle Barrel

Why Clean Your Barrel?

1. Rust Prevention.The combination of burnt powder, priming compound and metal fouling (especially copper) are ideal ingredients for rust to take hold of in your barrel. And just because you have a stainless steel barrel, don't assume it will not corrode. You just won't see it happening.

2. Accuracy.The build up of copper fouling will decrease accuracy in a centrefire rifle. Excessive leading in your pistol or rifle barrel will also badly affect accuracy, sometimes to the point that bullets will tumble.

3. Safety.Shooting with a badly fouled or rusty barrel could result in excessive pressure in the chamber or barrel, resulting in all sorts of nasties - bulged or split barrels, action blowups, soiled underwear, etc.

4. Recoil.Excessive fouling build-up will increase pressure and therefore felt recoil. Plastic fouling in a shotgun barrel could also conceivably alter the choke characteristics and change your gun's shot pattern.

5. Resale.Even if a pitted bore has not badly affected accuracy (which is possible but not probable), any prospective buyer will have to assume that your rifle is in need of a new barrel. This makes selling it at full value difficult, unless the buyer is optically challenged or downright dumb.
When to Clean Your Barrel?

Airguns. Seldom. Fouling is minimal, but rust can still occur.

Rimfires. With the exception of the 22 Magnum or any other rimfire cartridges using jacketed projectiles, these barrels require little cleaning. Modern 22 ammunition uses lead projectiles which leave traces of lube up the barrel that will not allow the bore to rust. I clean my rimfires seldom, mainly when I know they will be unused for some time.

Centrefire Rifles. Every time they are used, before they are put away. Religiously. Powder and copper fouling must be removed, with an oil coating left inside the bore until it is used again, not forgetting to remove the oil before firing next time.

Centrefire Pistols. Basically the same as for centrefire rifles when using jacketed ammunition. If using lead projectiles, the need to scrub the bore varies depending on the type of projectile, lube and velocity. If leading occurs it should be removed either with a strong bore brush and solvent or lead wipes. I've never been a fan of the old favorite of putting through a few jacketed rounds to clear out the lead.
Corrosive Ammunition

It never ceases to amaze me how people will make such an issue out of whether ammunition is "corrosive" or not. Some military ammo will cause rust quicker than sporting rounds. But only if you neglect to clean your firearm. Perhaps a bigger issue is whether the projectiles are really copper jacketed, or copper washed mild steel.
How to Clean Your Barrel
Equipment Needed

Cleaning rod.Preferably one piece, covered. Don't even think about using a pull through.

Bronze brush and jag.I prefer the barber pole style jag to a loop.

Bore solvent. For copper fouled barrels I use two solvents, one mild to get rid of powder fouling, one savage enough to rip the copper out.

Flannelette patches.Precut are convenient, but I prefer to cut my own to get optimum fit in the bore.

A good gun oil,thick enough not to stick on the sides of the bore.

Optional is a bore guide,to center the rod in the barrel and do as little damage to either the crown or the chamber.
The Dirty Deed

Wherever possible push the rod through the barrel in the same direction as the bullet travels. There are a million variations of how many passes with the brush, how many with a patch, which solvent to use, when to mop them out, etc, etc, etc. The following is just a good average.

Pour a little of the mild solvent over the bronze brush. Work up and down the barrel several times. Leave for a couple of minutes. Mop out with a couple of clean patches. This will remove powder fouling.

Take a tight clean patch and pour on some of the stronger solvent. Pass through a couple of times to give a good coating. Leave for 10 minutes. Pass through a couple of clean patches. Repeat until mop-out patches come out with no trace of green/blue copper residue.

Liberally coat a clean patch with oil and pass through a couple of times to give a protective coating to prevent rust. DO NOT FORGET to remove this oil before you shoot the next time. Oil in a barrel constitutes a blockage and will dramatically increase barrel and chamber pressure, possibly resulting in a bulged barrel or worse.

In order to prolong the life of your bronze brush be sure to wash it out in mineral turps or similar to get rid of the solvent.
Resurrecting a Rust Bucket

If your barrel has suffered from past neglect and resembles the Black Hole of Calcutta, you can probably never expect to regain good performance. It is possible, using desperate measures, to make it shootable. None of these methods should be used on anything of any value, and even then should only be used as a last resort.

You have followed the instructions above to clean your rifle. When passing a tight patch through the barrel it feels like you are pushing it against sandpaper. Looking through the barrel the lands and grooves have furry growths over the entire length. Then, and only then, should you consider using these measures.

Start by wrapping fine steel wool around an old bronze brush, using it to scrub the bore with solvent. Should this not have the desired effect, pour boiling water through the bore, cut a tight fitting patch for your jag and apply a small amount of toothpaste to the patch. This is a form of grinding paste and should be used with caution. All traces should be carefully removed when finished. Repeat until satisfied that bore has either improved or never will.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Basic Firearms Safety

GUNS: Not Always the Enemy

The following information is being presented in the interest of firearm safety. Some of the information presented pertains to the use of firearms for defense: of yourself, your family and your home.

Because real-life situations can and usually do have so many variable circumstances, few things stated in reference to self-defense can be "set in stone." Nevertheless, it is hoped that those considering firearms for defensive purposes may find several of the concepts thought-provoking and worthwhile.

This information is presented purely for educational purposes, and should not be construed as promoting firearms use in any improper way. We do not advocate violence as a means of first resort nor as a vehicle for personal vengeance.

GENERAL RULES FOR SAFE GUN HANDLING

1. Treat the weapon as though it is loaded---ALWAYS.

2. Whenever you are handling the weapon but not firing, keep your finger off the trigger. Never trust the safety 100%.

3. Be certain of your target before you fire. Don't shoot into foliage, darkness, or through building walls or doors. Know what's behind your target.

4. Never point your weapon at anything you don't intend to shoot.

5. Never: a)leave loaded weapons unattended, even briefly. b) lean loaded weapons upright against a fence, wall, tree, etc. (refer to #1)

6. Be extra cautious when crossing obstacles (fences, streams, obstructions, etc.) while carrying a weapon.

7. Check to see if the weapon is loaded every time you pick it up or someone hands one to you. (refer to #1)

8. Don't handle weapons that you do not know how to use.

9. Never allow yourself to become overconfident, sloppy, or careless with weapons. You can use them for 20 years, but it only takes one second of carelessness to create a very permanent tragedy. Guns are made to kill; this they do very well.

GUNS FOR DEFENSE

Using firearms for defense is one of the most contentious subjects in our culture today. The improper use of firearms is expounded daily in the media, and has become a rallying cry for those who either have a special interest in disarming the honest citizen or those who truly know little or nothing about the subject.

The case can be made that the major cause of the illegitimate use of firearms today, especially among young people, is our society's departure from the laws of God. Ken Ham once said that it only takes one generation to raise up a race of savages. Since America's abandonment of Scriptural guidance in the 1960's, children have been incessantly bombarded with the message that life has little value. When a child realizes that it was only a mother's choice that kept him or her from being aborted, that child is less inclined to hold a deep respect for the life and rights of others than one who has been taught that there is a Supreme Judge who knows every fault and whose justice we cannot escape.

My point is, there are many, many people out there who do not respect your life, rights or property. Whether we face criminals, abusive officials, or merely desperate and misguided people, we each have an obligation to protect our family, and a God-given right to protect ourselves (Exod. 22:2; Luke 22:36; Neh. 4:14). It is therefore to our advantage to consider effective means to do so with minimal jeopardy to ourselves and family. The following information and suggestions are offered in that light.

PREPARE IN ADVANCE OF NEED

You should carefully consider whether or not you could and would use lethal force against a person (or persons) who pose a threaten to you or your family. It only takes a moment to take a life, but you will have to live with the memory the rest of your life. Proper preparation can help prevent deadly mistakes.

1. Consider several of the most likely scenarios you may encounter (i.e.; intruder in house, carjacking, mobs, hidden snipers, etc).

2. Obtain the most effective weapon for that scenario (i.e.; shotguns and handguns are most effective at short [in-house] range, rifles have longer range and greater penetration). Obtain sufficient ammunition and cleaning supplies.

3. Get training from a knowledgeable person, and practice often with the weapons you will use, under conditions you will likely encounter (obstacles, darkness, bad weather, weapon malfunction, multiple attackers, etc).

4. Prepare the terrain to your advantage. Pick out suitable positions for cover. Place obstacles (such as furniture) to hinder intruders, not you. a) Set up a "kill zone" to maximize your chances and minimize the enemy's. Try to "channel" the intruder (in a hallway, for instance). Try to keep the intruder from reaching occupied rooms. b)Stay low (crouch) in the darkness, from behind cover, and aim high (chest-height). c)Include family members in your plan. Be sure they won't accidentally be caught in a crossfire or be behind the target. Know what's on the other side of the wall.

6. Have a powerful flashlight, rope or "zip-ties" (in case you are able to subdue the intruder) and first-aid kit handy (especially trauma dressings). Keep the light with the gun. You may be able to use it intermittently to dazzle the intruder.

7. Never threaten unless you plan on backing it up.

8. If you intend to warn the intruder (in the hope he or she will leave); practice what you will say ahead of time. Make it sound authoritative, not wimpy or panicky. Decide whether to tell them (don't ask!) to leave, or spread-eagle on the floor if you intend to capture them (really not recommended). Give commands, not choices. Don't allow them to talk (they all have a story to lull you into relaxing).

9. Don't shoot the intruder in the back. Fire only if he or she threatens you or others, or advances toward you after you give warning. Firing on a retreating intruder is not self-defense; it is murder.

10. If at all possible, phone for help (or have someone else do it) at the first sign of trouble.

Basic Firearms Safety

GUNS: Not Always the Enemy

The following information is being presented in the interest of firearm safety. Some of the information presented pertains to the use of firearms for defense: of yourself, your family and your home.

Because real-life situations can and usually do have so many variable circumstances, few things stated in reference to self-defense can be "set in stone." Nevertheless, it is hoped that those considering firearms for defensive purposes may find several of the concepts thought-provoking and worthwhile.

This information is presented purely for educational purposes, and should not be construed as promoting firearms use in any improper way. We do not advocate violence as a means of first resort nor as a vehicle for personal vengeance.

GENERAL RULES FOR SAFE GUN HANDLING

1. Treat the weapon as though it is loaded---ALWAYS.

2. Whenever you are handling the weapon but not firing, keep your finger off the trigger. Never trust the safety 100%.

3. Be certain of your target before you fire. Don't shoot into foliage, darkness, or through building walls or doors. Know what's behind your target.

4. Never point your weapon at anything you don't intend to shoot.

5. Never: a)leave loaded weapons unattended, even briefly. b) lean loaded weapons upright against a fence, wall, tree, etc. (refer to #1)

6. Be extra cautious when crossing obstacles (fences, streams, obstructions, etc.) while carrying a weapon.

7. Check to see if the weapon is loaded every time you pick it up or someone hands one to you. (refer to #1)

8. Don't handle weapons that you do not know how to use.

9. Never allow yourself to become overconfident, sloppy, or careless with weapons. You can use them for 20 years, but it only takes one second of carelessness to create a very permanent tragedy. Guns are made to kill; this they do very well.

GUNS FOR DEFENSE

Using firearms for defense is one of the most contentious subjects in our culture today. The improper use of firearms is expounded daily in the media, and has become a rallying cry for those who either have a special interest in disarming the honest citizen or those who truly know little or nothing about the subject.

The case can be made that the major cause of the illegitimate use of firearms today, especially among young people, is our society's departure from the laws of God. Ken Ham once said that it only takes one generation to raise up a race of savages. Since America's abandonment of Scriptural guidance in the 1960's, children have been incessantly bombarded with the message that life has little value. When a child realizes that it was only a mother's choice that kept him or her from being aborted, that child is less inclined to hold a deep respect for the life and rights of others than one who has been taught that there is a Supreme Judge who knows every fault and whose justice we cannot escape.

My point is, there are many, many people out there who do not respect your life, rights or property. Whether we face criminals, abusive officials, or merely desperate and misguided people, we each have an obligation to protect our family, and a God-given right to protect ourselves (Exod. 22:2; Luke 22:36; Neh. 4:14). It is therefore to our advantage to consider effective means to do so with minimal jeopardy to ourselves and family. The following information and suggestions are offered in that light.

PREPARE IN ADVANCE OF NEED

You should carefully consider whether or not you could and would use lethal force against a person (or persons) who pose a threaten to you or your family. It only takes a moment to take a life, but you will have to live with the memory the rest of your life. Proper preparation can help prevent deadly mistakes.

1. Consider several of the most likely scenarios you may encounter (i.e.; intruder in house, carjacking, mobs, hidden snipers, etc).

2. Obtain the most effective weapon for that scenario (i.e.; shotguns and handguns are most effective at short [in-house] range, rifles have longer range and greater penetration). Obtain sufficient ammunition and cleaning supplies.

3. Get training from a knowledgeable person, and practice often with the weapons you will use, under conditions you will likely encounter (obstacles, darkness, bad weather, weapon malfunction, multiple attackers, etc).

4. Prepare the terrain to your advantage. Pick out suitable positions for cover. Place obstacles (such as furniture) to hinder intruders, not you. a) Set up a "kill zone" to maximize your chances and minimize the enemy's. Try to "channel" the intruder (in a hallway, for instance). Try to keep the intruder from reaching occupied rooms. b)Stay low (crouch) in the darkness, from behind cover, and aim high (chest-height). c)Include family members in your plan. Be sure they won't accidentally be caught in a crossfire or be behind the target. Know what's on the other side of the wall.

6. Have a powerful flashlight, rope or "zip-ties" (in case you are able to subdue the intruder) and first-aid kit handy (especially trauma dressings). Keep the light with the gun. You may be able to use it intermittently to dazzle the intruder.

7. Never threaten unless you plan on backing it up.

8. If you intend to warn the intruder (in the hope he or she will leave); practice what you will say ahead of time. Make it sound authoritative, not wimpy or panicky. Decide whether to tell them (don't ask!) to leave, or spread-eagle on the floor if you intend to capture them (really not recommended). Give commands, not choices. Don't allow them to talk (they all have a story to lull you into relaxing).

9. Don't shoot the intruder in the back. Fire only if he or she threatens you or others, or advances toward you after you give warning. Firing on a retreating intruder is not self-defense; it is murder.

10. If at all possible, phone for help (or have someone else do it) at the first sign of trouble.

Garden Bugs

Chewing Insects

Ants

Ants may be found in gardens for many reasons. They may feed on "honeydew" produced by aphids, feed on decaying fruit, or forage for other insects. They do very little, if any, damage to the plants and are largely a nuisance pest. The fire ant can be more than a nuisance because of its painful sting. Control aphids by spraying with one of the materials listed on the pesticide chart. Harvest vegetables on time and remove over-ripe vegetables from the garden area. Treat all fire ant mounds within 30 to 40 feet of the garden site with diazinon.
Bean Leaf Beetle

Description. Coloration will vary, but adults are typically red to yellow with a black band around the margin of the wing covers. Black spots may or may not be present.

Injury. Adult beetles often feed on the underside of the leaf, creating holes. If disturbed the beetles will drop to the ground and remain motionless for several minutes.

Plants Attacked. All kinds of beans and peas.
Blister Beetle

Description. These insects are long (3/4 inch) slender beetles. Their color patterns may vary from black, gray, or yellow and black striped. The yellow and black striped beetle is probably more common in our area.


Injury. Blister beetles rarely do extensive damage in gardens. However, some years you will find many beetles feeding in large groups. During these periods, they may defoliate a number of garden plants.

Plants Attacked. The insect will attack most garden crops, especially tomatoes.
Cabbage Worm

Description. The larva of the cabbage looper is a slender green caterpillar with a thin white line located on each side. Its body tapers slightly toward the head. Adults are dull-colored moths. The female lays eggs in the night. The imported cabbage worm is leaf-green with a velvety appearance. Adults are white butterflies with three or four black spots located on the wings. They may be seen flitting around gardens during daylight hours.

Injury. These two insects are often found on the same plant, and they damage the plant in the same manner. The outer leaves will be covered with large irregular shaped holes, along with damaged heads. Scheduled pesticide applications and good coverage, especially with the biological pesticides, are important in controlling these insects.

Plants Attacked. Cabbage, collards, and related plants.
Colorado Potato Beetle

Description. Adults are small, oval shaped insects with black and yellow stripes on the wing covers. The immature beetles are red with black spots.

Injury. Both adults and immatures damage the plant by feeding on leaves and new growth.

Plants Attacked. This insect prefers potatoes but will feed on eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers.
Corn Earworm or Tomato Fruit-worm

Description. The adult, a gray-brown moth, is most active during late evening and night hours and deposits eggs at this time. At the immature stage, the insect has a variety of color patterns that range from green or brown to a pink color with light colored stripes along the sides. This is the stage where the insect does the most damage.

Injury and Control. In early season, this insect will feed in the whorl of young corn plants, giving the leaves a ragged appearance. They rarely cause significant damage during this period. Later, adult moths will deposit eggs on emerging silks and the larvae will burrow into the ear. The larvae feed on developing kernels near the tip of the ear. To prevent ear damage, you should begin spraying or dusting when young silks first appear. Apply the insecticide every three to four days until silks begin to dry. To protect bees, make applications in early morning or late afternoon. When eggs are deposited on tomato plants, the young worms will burrow into the tomatoes. Inspect tomatoes regularly and apply an insecticide when young worms first appear.
Cowpea Curculio

Description. This insect is a small black beetle. The immatures are white legless grubs.

Injury. Adults feed on young pods, and females deposit eggs in small holes eaten through the pods. The young grubs feed within the developing pods.

Plant Attacked. Southern peas.
Cucumber Beetle

Description. Two cucumber beetles may be a problem in Mississippi: the striped cucumber beetle (SCB) and the twelve-spotted cucumber (TSCB). The SCB is yellow and black striped, while the TSCB is yellow-green with 12 black spots on its back.

Injury. Adults feed on leaves, stems, and fruit. The larvae bore into roots and stems below ground. The larva of the TSCB has proved so destructive to corn in some areas that it is known as the Southern Corn Rootworm.

Plants Attacked. The SCB feeds on cantaloupe, cucumbers, squash, and watermelons. The TSCB feeds on beans, peas, and corn silks as well as the above mentioned plants.
Cutworm

Description. The adults are dull-colored moths that are most active during the night. The immatures are dull gray, brown, or black and may be striped or spotted. They generally feed at night and remain hidden during the day.

Injury. The immature or worm is the damaging stage of this insect. It will generally cut young plants in two right at the soil line, while other types will climb plants and feed on leaves and buds. Most damage occurs in early spring shortly after plants have emerged from the soil. Cutworms may be controlled by using a preplant application of an insecticide. Diazinon as a spray or granules can be used. For the spray, mix 6 ounces of diazinon (25 ) in 3 gallons of water and spray this mixture over 1,000 square feet before planting. Immediately work the soil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Diazinon granules (5 ) should be applied broadcast at the rate of 10-12 ounces per 500 square feet and mixed into the soil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.

Plants Attacked. Nearly all vegetables.
Fall Armyworm

Description. The adult is a dull-colored, nightflying moth. It usually does not appear in our area until the first part of June. Larvae will vary in color from light tan or green to nearly black, with yellowish lines down their sides.

Plants Attacked and Injury. The larvae feed primarily on corn but will, on occasion, feed on peas, tomatoes, and beans. They infest the whorls of corn and can be found 1 to 2 inches deep in the whorl. It is difficult to get insecticides to the target. Direct sprays into the whorls or use 4 to 7 ounces of diazinon (5 ) granules per 500 square feet.
Flea Beetle

Description. These are very small beetles that jump vigorously when disturbed. The color patterns may vary from black to brown, and some may be striped.

Injury. Damage by this insect is caused largely by the adult beetles when they eat small holes in the leaves. At times the damage is so extensive that leaves look like they have been peppered with fine shot.

Plants Attacked. Flea beetles will feed on eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Mexican Bean Beetle

Description. The adult varies from a yellow to copper color with 16 black spots on its back. The yellow, soft-bodied larvae have six rows of small black-tipped spines on their backs.

Injury. Both the adults and larvae cause plant damage. They usually feed on the under surface of the leaf, rarely eating entirely through the leaf. As the damaged tissue dries, it breaks through, giving the leaf a lace-like, skeletonized appearance.

Plants Attacked. All kinds of beans and southern peas.
Pickleworm and Melonworm

Description. The adult in a moth that is somewhat wasp-like in appearance with a cluster of hairs located on the tip of the abdomen. The pickleworm larva is yellow green with numerous black spots. The melonworm is similar, but it lacks the black spots.

Injury. The larvae do the most damage because they feed on foliage, leaf bud vines, and fruit, which causes the damaged fruit to sour and rot. The melonworm is more of a foliage feeder than the pickleworm.

Plants Attacked. Cantaloupe, cucumber, and squash.
Serpentine Leaf Miner

Description. The adult is a small fly, while the larva is a white maggot.

Injury. The larvae feed between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves. This feeding causes severe leaf damage that looks like slender, white, winding trails throughout the leaf.

Plants Attacked. Beans, tomatoes, peas, and cucumbers. The most severe damage occurs with tomatoes.
Squash Vine Borer

Description. The adult moth is very wasp-like in appearance and coloration. Eggs are glued one at a time on stems and leaf stalks, especially toward the base of the plant. The larvae are pale white and are about 1 inch long at maturity.

Injury. The young larvae bore into leaf stalks and vines, causing them to wilt. If enough larvae are present, they will kill the plant.

Plant Attacked. Squash.
Tomato Horn-worm

Description. The adults are very large moths with a 4- or 5-inch wingspan. The larvae are large green worms with white diagonal lines on each side and a prominent horn located toward the back.

Injury. The larvae feed on leaves and may attack the fruit.

Plants Attacked. Tomato, pepper, and eggplant.
Vegetable Weevil

Description. Adult weevils are gray-brown with a light colored "V" on the wing covers. The larvae are cream-colored with a tinge of green and light yellow heads.

Injury. The adults and larvae feed on leaves and roots of crops.

Plants Attacked. Tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, cabbage, radishes, and turnips.
Sucking Insects
Aphids

Description. These are small, soft-bodied insects with a wide color range varying from green to black.

Injury. The aphids remove plant juices, causing the leaves to curl and turn yellow. They may cause a failure of bloom set in tomatoes.

Plants Attacked. Aphids attack most vegetables, but they tend to cause more damage to peas, okra, mustard, cabbage, and turnips.
Harlequin Cabbage Bug

Description. Adults are black, red, and yellow and shield-shaped.

Injury. These insects (adults and nymphs) suck plant juices, causing the plant to wilt and die.

Plants Attacked. Cabbage, collards, mustards, and turnips. May also feed on potatoes, tomatoes, and okra.
Spider Mites

Description. These small, eight-legged creatures are light green to red and are barely visible to the naked eye. A fine web is often formed on the infested plants.

Injury. Adults and immatures remove plant juices with small needle-like mouthparts. They feed primarily on the underside of the leaves and infest plants during hot, dry weather. We do not currently have a control for this pest.

Plants Attacked. Beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
Squash Bug

Description. This brownish-black insect is a large (5/8 inch) flat-backed bug.

Injury. This insect can cause rather extensive damage due to its large size and large number of nymphs. It removes plant sap, causing the plants to blacken and die.

Plants Attacked. All curcubits with a preference for squash and pumpkins.
Stink Bug

Description. The adults are brown or green, shield-shaped bugs. They secrete a disagreeable odor when crushed.

Injury. Adults and nymphs feed on developing fruit of peas, beans, tomatoes, and okra. They are usually mid- to late-season pests.
Whitefly

Description. The adult has four wings with a yellowish body and looks like it has been dusted with a very fine white powder.

Injury. Both immatures and adults damage the plant by withdrawing plant juices.

Plants Attacked. Tomatoes, and okra.

Garden Bugs

Chewing Insects

Ants

Ants may be found in gardens for many reasons. They may feed on "honeydew" produced by aphids, feed on decaying fruit, or forage for other insects. They do very little, if any, damage to the plants and are largely a nuisance pest. The fire ant can be more than a nuisance because of its painful sting. Control aphids by spraying with one of the materials listed on the pesticide chart. Harvest vegetables on time and remove over-ripe vegetables from the garden area. Treat all fire ant mounds within 30 to 40 feet of the garden site with diazinon.
Bean Leaf Beetle

Description. Coloration will vary, but adults are typically red to yellow with a black band around the margin of the wing covers. Black spots may or may not be present.

Injury. Adult beetles often feed on the underside of the leaf, creating holes. If disturbed the beetles will drop to the ground and remain motionless for several minutes.

Plants Attacked. All kinds of beans and peas.
Blister Beetle

Description. These insects are long (3/4 inch) slender beetles. Their color patterns may vary from black, gray, or yellow and black striped. The yellow and black striped beetle is probably more common in our area.


Injury. Blister beetles rarely do extensive damage in gardens. However, some years you will find many beetles feeding in large groups. During these periods, they may defoliate a number of garden plants.

Plants Attacked. The insect will attack most garden crops, especially tomatoes.
Cabbage Worm

Description. The larva of the cabbage looper is a slender green caterpillar with a thin white line located on each side. Its body tapers slightly toward the head. Adults are dull-colored moths. The female lays eggs in the night. The imported cabbage worm is leaf-green with a velvety appearance. Adults are white butterflies with three or four black spots located on the wings. They may be seen flitting around gardens during daylight hours.

Injury. These two insects are often found on the same plant, and they damage the plant in the same manner. The outer leaves will be covered with large irregular shaped holes, along with damaged heads. Scheduled pesticide applications and good coverage, especially with the biological pesticides, are important in controlling these insects.

Plants Attacked. Cabbage, collards, and related plants.
Colorado Potato Beetle

Description. Adults are small, oval shaped insects with black and yellow stripes on the wing covers. The immature beetles are red with black spots.

Injury. Both adults and immatures damage the plant by feeding on leaves and new growth.

Plants Attacked. This insect prefers potatoes but will feed on eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers.
Corn Earworm or Tomato Fruit-worm

Description. The adult, a gray-brown moth, is most active during late evening and night hours and deposits eggs at this time. At the immature stage, the insect has a variety of color patterns that range from green or brown to a pink color with light colored stripes along the sides. This is the stage where the insect does the most damage.

Injury and Control. In early season, this insect will feed in the whorl of young corn plants, giving the leaves a ragged appearance. They rarely cause significant damage during this period. Later, adult moths will deposit eggs on emerging silks and the larvae will burrow into the ear. The larvae feed on developing kernels near the tip of the ear. To prevent ear damage, you should begin spraying or dusting when young silks first appear. Apply the insecticide every three to four days until silks begin to dry. To protect bees, make applications in early morning or late afternoon. When eggs are deposited on tomato plants, the young worms will burrow into the tomatoes. Inspect tomatoes regularly and apply an insecticide when young worms first appear.
Cowpea Curculio

Description. This insect is a small black beetle. The immatures are white legless grubs.

Injury. Adults feed on young pods, and females deposit eggs in small holes eaten through the pods. The young grubs feed within the developing pods.

Plant Attacked. Southern peas.
Cucumber Beetle

Description. Two cucumber beetles may be a problem in Mississippi: the striped cucumber beetle (SCB) and the twelve-spotted cucumber (TSCB). The SCB is yellow and black striped, while the TSCB is yellow-green with 12 black spots on its back.

Injury. Adults feed on leaves, stems, and fruit. The larvae bore into roots and stems below ground. The larva of the TSCB has proved so destructive to corn in some areas that it is known as the Southern Corn Rootworm.

Plants Attacked. The SCB feeds on cantaloupe, cucumbers, squash, and watermelons. The TSCB feeds on beans, peas, and corn silks as well as the above mentioned plants.
Cutworm

Description. The adults are dull-colored moths that are most active during the night. The immatures are dull gray, brown, or black and may be striped or spotted. They generally feed at night and remain hidden during the day.

Injury. The immature or worm is the damaging stage of this insect. It will generally cut young plants in two right at the soil line, while other types will climb plants and feed on leaves and buds. Most damage occurs in early spring shortly after plants have emerged from the soil. Cutworms may be controlled by using a preplant application of an insecticide. Diazinon as a spray or granules can be used. For the spray, mix 6 ounces of diazinon (25 ) in 3 gallons of water and spray this mixture over 1,000 square feet before planting. Immediately work the soil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Diazinon granules (5 ) should be applied broadcast at the rate of 10-12 ounces per 500 square feet and mixed into the soil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.

Plants Attacked. Nearly all vegetables.
Fall Armyworm

Description. The adult is a dull-colored, nightflying moth. It usually does not appear in our area until the first part of June. Larvae will vary in color from light tan or green to nearly black, with yellowish lines down their sides.

Plants Attacked and Injury. The larvae feed primarily on corn but will, on occasion, feed on peas, tomatoes, and beans. They infest the whorls of corn and can be found 1 to 2 inches deep in the whorl. It is difficult to get insecticides to the target. Direct sprays into the whorls or use 4 to 7 ounces of diazinon (5 ) granules per 500 square feet.
Flea Beetle

Description. These are very small beetles that jump vigorously when disturbed. The color patterns may vary from black to brown, and some may be striped.

Injury. Damage by this insect is caused largely by the adult beetles when they eat small holes in the leaves. At times the damage is so extensive that leaves look like they have been peppered with fine shot.

Plants Attacked. Flea beetles will feed on eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Mexican Bean Beetle

Description. The adult varies from a yellow to copper color with 16 black spots on its back. The yellow, soft-bodied larvae have six rows of small black-tipped spines on their backs.

Injury. Both the adults and larvae cause plant damage. They usually feed on the under surface of the leaf, rarely eating entirely through the leaf. As the damaged tissue dries, it breaks through, giving the leaf a lace-like, skeletonized appearance.

Plants Attacked. All kinds of beans and southern peas.
Pickleworm and Melonworm

Description. The adult in a moth that is somewhat wasp-like in appearance with a cluster of hairs located on the tip of the abdomen. The pickleworm larva is yellow green with numerous black spots. The melonworm is similar, but it lacks the black spots.

Injury. The larvae do the most damage because they feed on foliage, leaf bud vines, and fruit, which causes the damaged fruit to sour and rot. The melonworm is more of a foliage feeder than the pickleworm.

Plants Attacked. Cantaloupe, cucumber, and squash.
Serpentine Leaf Miner

Description. The adult is a small fly, while the larva is a white maggot.

Injury. The larvae feed between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves. This feeding causes severe leaf damage that looks like slender, white, winding trails throughout the leaf.

Plants Attacked. Beans, tomatoes, peas, and cucumbers. The most severe damage occurs with tomatoes.
Squash Vine Borer

Description. The adult moth is very wasp-like in appearance and coloration. Eggs are glued one at a time on stems and leaf stalks, especially toward the base of the plant. The larvae are pale white and are about 1 inch long at maturity.

Injury. The young larvae bore into leaf stalks and vines, causing them to wilt. If enough larvae are present, they will kill the plant.

Plant Attacked. Squash.
Tomato Horn-worm

Description. The adults are very large moths with a 4- or 5-inch wingspan. The larvae are large green worms with white diagonal lines on each side and a prominent horn located toward the back.

Injury. The larvae feed on leaves and may attack the fruit.

Plants Attacked. Tomato, pepper, and eggplant.
Vegetable Weevil

Description. Adult weevils are gray-brown with a light colored "V" on the wing covers. The larvae are cream-colored with a tinge of green and light yellow heads.

Injury. The adults and larvae feed on leaves and roots of crops.

Plants Attacked. Tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, cabbage, radishes, and turnips.
Sucking Insects
Aphids

Description. These are small, soft-bodied insects with a wide color range varying from green to black.

Injury. The aphids remove plant juices, causing the leaves to curl and turn yellow. They may cause a failure of bloom set in tomatoes.

Plants Attacked. Aphids attack most vegetables, but they tend to cause more damage to peas, okra, mustard, cabbage, and turnips.
Harlequin Cabbage Bug

Description. Adults are black, red, and yellow and shield-shaped.

Injury. These insects (adults and nymphs) suck plant juices, causing the plant to wilt and die.

Plants Attacked. Cabbage, collards, mustards, and turnips. May also feed on potatoes, tomatoes, and okra.
Spider Mites

Description. These small, eight-legged creatures are light green to red and are barely visible to the naked eye. A fine web is often formed on the infested plants.

Injury. Adults and immatures remove plant juices with small needle-like mouthparts. They feed primarily on the underside of the leaves and infest plants during hot, dry weather. We do not currently have a control for this pest.

Plants Attacked. Beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
Squash Bug

Description. This brownish-black insect is a large (5/8 inch) flat-backed bug.

Injury. This insect can cause rather extensive damage due to its large size and large number of nymphs. It removes plant sap, causing the plants to blacken and die.

Plants Attacked. All curcubits with a preference for squash and pumpkins.
Stink Bug

Description. The adults are brown or green, shield-shaped bugs. They secrete a disagreeable odor when crushed.

Injury. Adults and nymphs feed on developing fruit of peas, beans, tomatoes, and okra. They are usually mid- to late-season pests.
Whitefly

Description. The adult has four wings with a yellowish body and looks like it has been dusted with a very fine white powder.

Injury. Both immatures and adults damage the plant by withdrawing plant juices.

Plants Attacked. Tomatoes, and okra.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Making Organic Fertilizer

Organic fertilizers don't have to be expensive, since you can make your own. If you buy the components in bulk, you'll save even more!
Recipe For Organic Fertilizer

I've been using this recipe, which to the best of my knowledge was created by Steve Solomon (founder of Territorial Seed Company), for six years now with good results. One word of advice: Instead of buying the components in small boxes, buy bulk bags (40-50 lbs.) at a farm supply or feed store. As long as you keep them dry, they will last for many years.

All measurements are in terms of volume, not weight.
4 parts seed meal
1 part dolomite lime
½ part bone meal -or- 1 part soft rock phosphate
½ part kelp meal
Seed Meal

This component provides nitrogen, with smaller amounts of phosphorus and potassium. I like to use cottonseed meal, which is cheap (about $13.00 for a 40 lb bag) and easily available. In some states, though, it is not allowed in a certified organic operation (not something a home grower needs to be concerned about). Other options are alfalfa meal, or rape/canola meal. Cottonseed meal has a NPK value of around 6-2-1.

In spring I like to substitute blood meal in place of some seed meal, since blood meal is somewhat faster acting. Try using three parts seed meal and one part blood meal.
Lime

Seed meals tend to be acidic, so lime is included to balance that out. Dolomite limestone is roughly half Magnesium Carbonate and half Calcium Carbonate. Calcitic limestone is pure Calcium Carbonate. Plants usually need more calcium than magnesium; so, if you want to be really tricky, use 1/3 part dolomite lime and 2/3 part calcitic lime.

If your soil is alkaline, you might experiment with reducing or eliminating the lime in this mix.
Bone Meal And Rock Phosphate

These ingredients make up the bulk of the phosphorus component. Less bone meal (NPK ~ 0-10-0) is required since it releases its phosphorus more readily. The advantage of using rock phosphate (NPK ~ 0-3-0) is that it continues to contribute phosphorus to your soil over many years.

I like to use bone meal. Not only is it easier to find, but also it is already being produced as a byproduct of the beef industry. Rock phosphate is mined. Twenty pounds of bone meal will run about $5.00.
Kelp Meal

Kelp meal (NPK ~ 0-0-10) contributes potassium, and also many micronutrients. This tends to be more expensive than the other components: I recently paid $35.00 for a 50 pound bag.

Another possible potassium source is Jersey Greensand. It has the same advantages and liabilities as rock phosphate (it's very slow release). In addition, it does not supply micronutrients.

Making Organic Fertilizer

Organic fertilizers don't have to be expensive, since you can make your own. If you buy the components in bulk, you'll save even more!
Recipe For Organic Fertilizer

I've been using this recipe, which to the best of my knowledge was created by Steve Solomon (founder of Territorial Seed Company), for six years now with good results. One word of advice: Instead of buying the components in small boxes, buy bulk bags (40-50 lbs.) at a farm supply or feed store. As long as you keep them dry, they will last for many years.

All measurements are in terms of volume, not weight.
4 parts seed meal
1 part dolomite lime
½ part bone meal -or- 1 part soft rock phosphate
½ part kelp meal
Seed Meal

This component provides nitrogen, with smaller amounts of phosphorus and potassium. I like to use cottonseed meal, which is cheap (about $13.00 for a 40 lb bag) and easily available. In some states, though, it is not allowed in a certified organic operation (not something a home grower needs to be concerned about). Other options are alfalfa meal, or rape/canola meal. Cottonseed meal has a NPK value of around 6-2-1.

In spring I like to substitute blood meal in place of some seed meal, since blood meal is somewhat faster acting. Try using three parts seed meal and one part blood meal.
Lime

Seed meals tend to be acidic, so lime is included to balance that out. Dolomite limestone is roughly half Magnesium Carbonate and half Calcium Carbonate. Calcitic limestone is pure Calcium Carbonate. Plants usually need more calcium than magnesium; so, if you want to be really tricky, use 1/3 part dolomite lime and 2/3 part calcitic lime.

If your soil is alkaline, you might experiment with reducing or eliminating the lime in this mix.
Bone Meal And Rock Phosphate

These ingredients make up the bulk of the phosphorus component. Less bone meal (NPK ~ 0-10-0) is required since it releases its phosphorus more readily. The advantage of using rock phosphate (NPK ~ 0-3-0) is that it continues to contribute phosphorus to your soil over many years.

I like to use bone meal. Not only is it easier to find, but also it is already being produced as a byproduct of the beef industry. Rock phosphate is mined. Twenty pounds of bone meal will run about $5.00.
Kelp Meal

Kelp meal (NPK ~ 0-0-10) contributes potassium, and also many micronutrients. This tends to be more expensive than the other components: I recently paid $35.00 for a 50 pound bag.

Another possible potassium source is Jersey Greensand. It has the same advantages and liabilities as rock phosphate (it's very slow release). In addition, it does not supply micronutrients.

Preserving Eggs


What We Have Forgotten?

Eggs spoil due to the introduction of airborne bacteria through the shells. Normally, the shell has a surface coating of mucilaginous matter which prevents, for a time, the entry of these harmful organisms. If this film is removed or softened by washing, the "shelf life" of the egg is reduced. Just after the turn of the century (20th Century, that is) the Department of Agriculture recommended the use of "Liquid Glass" to preserve eggs for six months or more. Liquid Glass, also known as Waterglass, is the layman's term for Sodium Silicate. Liquid Glass is odorless and colorless, and is quite inexpensive. It is widely available through chemical suppliers and is often used as a waterproofing agent. It may be obtained in powder form or in solution. To ensure the correct mixture, powder form is best. There are two principal methods which may be employed to preserve eggs with Liquid Glass.
Method 1

Mix one part (weight, not volume) of sodium silicate with three parts (weight, not volume) of boiling water. Stir the solution until it has the consistency of syrup. Thoroughly clean the eggs to be preserved. The eggs should be no more than three days old when preserving. Eggs purchased in supermarkets are not suitable. Unfertilized range eggs, whose age can easily be determined, are best. Closely inspect each egg to ensure the shell is intact and that there are no hairline cracks. The eggs should be immersed in the boiling solution in such a manner as to ensure that every part of each egg is covered. Remove the eggs and place in a sterilized container to thoroughly dry. If the solution is kept at or near boiling, the preservative effect is said to be much more certain and to last much longer. Store treated eggs in a cool, dark, dry place. To use the eggs, wash them thoroughly and prepare as usual.
Method 2

Mix one part (weight, not volume) of sodium silicate with nine parts (weight, not volume) of cold water. Thoroughly clean the eggs to be preserved. The eggs should be no more than three days old when preserving. Eggs purchased in supermarkets are not suitable. Unfertilized range eggs, whose age can easily be determined, are best. Closely inspect each egg to ensure the shell is intact and that there are no hairline cracks. Place the eggs to be preserved in a sterilized container (canning jars and crocks with non-metallic lids work best). Carefully pour the solution over the eggs, ensuring the eggs are not disturbed. Ensure none of the eggs crack. One cracked egg will spoil the entire container. As the eggs must be covered entirely with the solution, it is advisable to place a plate or cover over the top layer to keep them from floating. Fill container until the solution is approximately one inch over the top layer of eggs. Cover the containers and store them in a cool, dark, dry place. Eggs may be preserved for up to a year in this manner, and come out as good as fresh laid eggs. To use the eggs, wash them thoroughly and prepare as usual.

When using any chemical in the preservation of foodstuffs, there is always the potential for contamination. Sodium silicate is stable and essentially safe. When working with the dry chemical, as well as with the solution, skin and eye irritation can occur. Consult the Material Safety Data Sheet for Sodium Silicate before employing either of these two methods. Ensure neither the chemical, the solution, or the eggshell of treated eggs is ingested.

Preserving Eggs


What We Have Forgotten?

Eggs spoil due to the introduction of airborne bacteria through the shells. Normally, the shell has a surface coating of mucilaginous matter which prevents, for a time, the entry of these harmful organisms. If this film is removed or softened by washing, the "shelf life" of the egg is reduced. Just after the turn of the century (20th Century, that is) the Department of Agriculture recommended the use of "Liquid Glass" to preserve eggs for six months or more. Liquid Glass, also known as Waterglass, is the layman's term for Sodium Silicate. Liquid Glass is odorless and colorless, and is quite inexpensive. It is widely available through chemical suppliers and is often used as a waterproofing agent. It may be obtained in powder form or in solution. To ensure the correct mixture, powder form is best. There are two principal methods which may be employed to preserve eggs with Liquid Glass.
Method 1

Mix one part (weight, not volume) of sodium silicate with three parts (weight, not volume) of boiling water. Stir the solution until it has the consistency of syrup. Thoroughly clean the eggs to be preserved. The eggs should be no more than three days old when preserving. Eggs purchased in supermarkets are not suitable. Unfertilized range eggs, whose age can easily be determined, are best. Closely inspect each egg to ensure the shell is intact and that there are no hairline cracks. The eggs should be immersed in the boiling solution in such a manner as to ensure that every part of each egg is covered. Remove the eggs and place in a sterilized container to thoroughly dry. If the solution is kept at or near boiling, the preservative effect is said to be much more certain and to last much longer. Store treated eggs in a cool, dark, dry place. To use the eggs, wash them thoroughly and prepare as usual.
Method 2

Mix one part (weight, not volume) of sodium silicate with nine parts (weight, not volume) of cold water. Thoroughly clean the eggs to be preserved. The eggs should be no more than three days old when preserving. Eggs purchased in supermarkets are not suitable. Unfertilized range eggs, whose age can easily be determined, are best. Closely inspect each egg to ensure the shell is intact and that there are no hairline cracks. Place the eggs to be preserved in a sterilized container (canning jars and crocks with non-metallic lids work best). Carefully pour the solution over the eggs, ensuring the eggs are not disturbed. Ensure none of the eggs crack. One cracked egg will spoil the entire container. As the eggs must be covered entirely with the solution, it is advisable to place a plate or cover over the top layer to keep them from floating. Fill container until the solution is approximately one inch over the top layer of eggs. Cover the containers and store them in a cool, dark, dry place. Eggs may be preserved for up to a year in this manner, and come out as good as fresh laid eggs. To use the eggs, wash them thoroughly and prepare as usual.

When using any chemical in the preservation of foodstuffs, there is always the potential for contamination. Sodium silicate is stable and essentially safe. When working with the dry chemical, as well as with the solution, skin and eye irritation can occur. Consult the Material Safety Data Sheet for Sodium Silicate before employing either of these two methods. Ensure neither the chemical, the solution, or the eggshell of treated eggs is ingested.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bug-Out-Bags Contents

A Bug-Out Bag is a pre-packed kit (minus food and water until time of departure) that you can grab on your way out the door in the case of an emergency. It is basically a small self contained survival kit. Ideally the contents would allow you to leave the area and travel in relative health if the situation demanded. It is assumed that you will be dressed properly before you leave depending on your climate and weather conditions. Don't forget to pack the food listed below before you leave.


Stored in a black nylon day-pack. Weight ~16 lbs.




Food

6 Granola Bars, 2.5 oz
16 Beef Jerky, 1 oz
32 oz Pure Water in Plastic Bottle

Clothing

Spare Socks
Underwear
Short Pants
T-shirt
Bandana
Nylon Rain Poncho
Space Blanket

Fire Tools

Small Box of Birthday Candles
Magnesium Firestarter
2 Butane Lighters

Utensils

Stainless Steel 16 oz Cup
Stainless Steel Spoon
Hunting Knife
Water Filter

Tools

Mini Mag Flashlight
2 Extra Batteries
Compass
Maps of Local / Region
Nylon Parachute Cord
Tie Wire
Hacksaw Blade
(duct tape wrapped around one end for handle)

Small Fishing Kit

35 mm. Film Bottle (Kit Container)
30 ft. 20 lb. Fishing Line
Long-shank Fishing Hooks
Scented Rubber Worm
10 Split Sinkers

Medical Kit

Prescription Glasses
Sunglasses
Misc. Bandages
Antibiotic Ointment
Aspirin
Iodine
Alcohol Wipes
Needles and Thread

Toilet Kit

Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Hair Comb
Soap
Nail Clippers
2 Disposable Razors

Misc.

$20.00 Cash and Small Change
4 Assorted Plastic Bags
Compact AM-FM Radio
Spare 9 Volt Battery (for radio)
Small .22 Rifle and Pistol
100 Rounds Of .22 Ammo











Bug-Out-Bags Contents

A Bug-Out Bag is a pre-packed kit (minus food and water until time of departure) that you can grab on your way out the door in the case of an emergency. It is basically a small self contained survival kit. Ideally the contents would allow you to leave the area and travel in relative health if the situation demanded. It is assumed that you will be dressed properly before you leave depending on your climate and weather conditions. Don't forget to pack the food listed below before you leave.


Stored in a black nylon day-pack. Weight ~16 lbs.




Food

6 Granola Bars, 2.5 oz
16 Beef Jerky, 1 oz
32 oz Pure Water in Plastic Bottle

Clothing

Spare Socks
Underwear
Short Pants
T-shirt
Bandana
Nylon Rain Poncho
Space Blanket

Fire Tools

Small Box of Birthday Candles
Magnesium Firestarter
2 Butane Lighters

Utensils

Stainless Steel 16 oz Cup
Stainless Steel Spoon
Hunting Knife
Water Filter

Tools

Mini Mag Flashlight
2 Extra Batteries
Compass
Maps of Local / Region
Nylon Parachute Cord
Tie Wire
Hacksaw Blade
(duct tape wrapped around one end for handle)

Small Fishing Kit

35 mm. Film Bottle (Kit Container)
30 ft. 20 lb. Fishing Line
Long-shank Fishing Hooks
Scented Rubber Worm
10 Split Sinkers

Medical Kit

Prescription Glasses
Sunglasses
Misc. Bandages
Antibiotic Ointment
Aspirin
Iodine
Alcohol Wipes
Needles and Thread

Toilet Kit

Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Hair Comb
Soap
Nail Clippers
2 Disposable Razors

Misc.

$20.00 Cash and Small Change
4 Assorted Plastic Bags
Compact AM-FM Radio
Spare 9 Volt Battery (for radio)
Small .22 Rifle and Pistol
100 Rounds Of .22 Ammo