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View Full Version : Kids, DON'T try this at home! (long)



John Miliunas
08-09-2003, 7:04 PM
I performed quite the stunt this morning. NOTE: This was done on a “closed circuit”, by an amateur landscaper.This is NOT to be attempted by landscape pro’s, pregnant women or anyone else with, at least half a brain! :D

Here’s what’s required: You need to live in an area which allows the burning of brush piles. (You city folk can stop reading here.) OK, first you need to establish an area with a safe perimeter for burning of said brush. Every time you do some cleanup after a storm, overgrowth or even have otherwise useless wood, you add to the pile. This next part is VERY important: Leave the thing accumulate as much as you can, until such point that even the slightest breeze is cause to NOT light it. In my case, I have held fast to this rule for well over a year now.

Things were going along nicely until a few weeks ago, when we decided to do some creative landscaping near my WW shop door. This included tearing up some earth, re-leveling it and putting on some cover. We decided that wood chips would (wood…Ah the English language!) be appropriate. Haul out the chipper/shredder and have at it. With the woods right there, we have a good supply and LOML and LOML-ette were doing a splendid job gathering said supply. Until this morning, that is. LOML is in Milwaukee for a funeral. Daughter is busy with girlfriend. This leaves the old man to his own devices.

Now, I’ll bet the bulk of you were thinking this story would (wood) end up with the star of the stunt show pulling some boner on lighting that brush fire and catching half the county on fire. Wrong! Nope, after numerous trudges into the woods (woulds?), I’m walking past my still unused brush pile. I says to myself, “Self, I could save myself a lot of steps by just dragging a bunch of that there brush over to the shredder!” Ingenious plan, no? You need to (two, too?) remember, that this here pile is now very well established!

All is going well, until I spot the “motherload” in towards the center of the pile. “Ah, I’ve got it made, now!’ I says. I march right in, armed with my semi-leather gloves and a big smile on my face. Have I mentioned that this pile is, at least, a year old? (Yes, I’m going somewhere with this…!) Well, I yank out a couple pieces and throw them to the outside of the pile. “Oh, look! There are some great pieces right there!” I’m extricating them from the pile, when, all of a sudden, I feel this pain just above my knee. Then, another on my right arm. “Crap! LOML must’ve thrown some “Stingweed” out over here!”, I thought to myself. WAIT! Now I feel the pain on my left hand. Ahhhhh, I have suede gloves on. That’s NOT a weed. It’s a Schmidthouse bunch of bees! :mad:

“Abandon ship!!!” Ouch, ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch! Well, I got nailed five or six times before “I scared the rest of them bees away”. Obviously, they were cowards, because they gave up the fight after I ran only one or two hundred feet away! Guess I showed *them* who’s boss! :rolleyes:

Grrrrrr….What a way to start the weekend! Fortunately, I remembered where I had last put the Starting Fluid and I’m not one of those folks allergic to bee stings. That would truly have been ugly! So, the moral of this story? Landscaping is to be done by pro’s! If you have the urge to take larger pieces of wood and make them smaller, do so in your shop, NOT outside in a chipper/shredder. Oh, and as far as burn piles go, burn them before they become homes to some lesser dominant species! :cool:

Kevin Gerstenecker
08-09-2003, 7:18 PM
Great Story John............best reading since the Morning Paper! :D
There is an old saying that my Wife loves use..............."When yer stupid, your WHOLE body suffers"! ;) I'm glad to hear you are OK, and your humorous spin on the whole days events surely did bring a chuckle as I read the story. We have to get together sometime at one of the Creek Gatherings...............SWMBO insists you must be my long lost brother! :cool: Just remember the rule by a Former Professional Landscaper............."There is NO shame in runnin' like a Girl when it comes to Stingie Things." Just so happens that the Landscaper was me! :D Also, you broke the first rule of true pyromaniacs.........a quality brush pile is not a quality brush pile until it is on fire! Take care of dem Bee Stings.........they can make you ill after a few hours, it doesn't always happen right away. Funny stuff John.............it's good to hear you're OK.........I'm not laughing AT ya, I'm laughing WITH ya! ;)

Jim Becker
08-09-2003, 8:03 PM
"Ouch"!! ........

Charles McKinley
08-09-2003, 9:15 PM
I too was stupid last week. Two days befor the 5 barns picnic I was spraying for ants out on the deck. I was rammed by a wasp once, I walked away, about 10 feet. I didn't think much of went back over and was rammed again (wasp and bees will often bounce off of you as a warning) The third time they didn't bounce! Three sting on the back of the right arm. Luckily I'm not allergic but I didn't feel right the rest of the day. There was a nest about 6" around under the railing of the deck. I Soaked it with wasp killer and went back to soaking my hand in ice water.

I'm glad you are alright and didn't burn the shop down.

Jim Baker
08-09-2003, 10:37 PM
You had me thinking fire for a long time, John. I've been down that road----twice in fact. Nothing the local fire department couldn't handle, though. It gave them a good excuse to use their blue lights and drive like nuts.

I'm glad you weren't badly hurt.

Dennis Peacock
08-09-2003, 10:47 PM
Very glad you are OK there John.......BUT....what a great write up!!!:)

Reminds me of my best "stupid" of them all.....

Like you......collect a LOT of brush...not on top of the ground, but one must dig a 50 by 100 foot hole (whole) about 3 feet deep to toss such wood (would) in. Collect as much as you can for as long as one dares. Head out to the said brush pile in the hole in the ground armed with your favorite weapon.....5 gallons of gasoline.!!!!

Pour said 5 gallons of gas on the now very large brush pile.....can is empty now? Yup.... Now for the matches......shoot....I forgot the matches at the house.....tread me self back to the house and SEVERAL minutes later return to the submerged brush pile. Step up to the said pile of brush, strike a match and toss that sucker in there!!! It wasn't until AFTER the match hit the brush pile that I realized that the gas vapors had moved on top of the ground and OUT of the brush pile.!!! I was standing in amongst said gas fumes that have very suddenly turned themselves into a new HOT, Visible thing....called FIRE!!!!!!

Did I move out of the fire? Nope....I was too amazed at all the brush that was raining down on me from the sudden fueled minor explosion from the submerged brush pile!!!!! Not only did I warm my lower body with gas fired fire.....I also managed to EMPTY half the bruch pit of its contents and scattered it around the entire perimeter of said dug pit with slightly scorched but still warm brush!!!!!

I escaped this little ordeal with only singed hair on both arms and both legs and a slight ring in one ear from the BOOM of the sudden lighting of the gas fumes and only a few scratches from flying brush out of the said brush pit. Back to picking up the scattered brush....again!!!!

Lesson learned.......? Always, Always carry your matches with YOU so that you don't create the slight mess I did.!!!!!

John Miliunas
08-09-2003, 11:49 PM
[QUOTE=Dennis Peacock]

I escaped this little ordeal with only singed hair on both arms and both legs and a slight ring in one ear from the BOOM of the sudden lighting of the gas fumes and only a few scratches from flying brush out of the said brush pit. Back to picking up the scattered brush....again!!!!

QUOTE]

Ummmmm...To quote Mr. Becker: OUCH!!!!!

Oh, and if it's reasonably calm out tomorrow, bees, brush-pile and all going up in flames! (Don't think I'll be using any petroleum products to get it going, though!) :cool:

David Klug
08-10-2003, 1:44 AM
I'm glad you weren't seriously hurt. If it would have happened to me I would be in the hospital. Been there and done that.

Dave

John Miliunas
08-10-2003, 2:29 AM
Great Story John............best reading since the Morning Paper! :D
There is an old saying that my Wife loves use..............."When yer stupid, your WHOLE body suffers"! ;) I'm glad to hear you are OK, and your humorous spin on the whole days events surely did bring a chuckle as I read the story. We have to get together sometime at one of the Creek Gatherings...............SWMBO insists you must be my long lost brother! :cool: Just remember the rule by a Former Professional Landscaper............."There is NO shame in runnin' like a Girl when it comes to Stingie Things." Just so happens that the Landscaper was me! :D Also, you broke the first rule of true pyromaniacs.........a quality brush pile is not a quality brush pile until it is on fire! Take care of dem Bee Stings.........they can make you ill after a few hours, it doesn't always happen right away. Funny stuff John.............it's good to hear you're OK.........I'm not laughing AT ya, I'm laughing WITH ya! ;)

Hmmmm...Interesting thought. My parents seemed to go out of their way to convince me I was an only child, but I always seemed to have this "feeling" of someone else "being there". :rolleyes: That saying your wife uses is truly profound. I'm *proof* of that! "...NO shame..." is an understatement! If I were any more "proud", I'd have gotten nailed plenty more times! And you're right, I did feel a bit ill several hours later. Nothing major, just a bit weak and stuff. I think it's partially because it was hotter than blazes out there to begin with. No matter. Went inside to cool off, relax and took a dose of Dr. MGD. All was better in no time! :D But now, there are three of the stings which are really still hurting. Anything a pro landscaper recomends to help that? The starting fluid helped with the initial swelling and pain, but that has long since worn off. Oh, and I really don't mind, even if you're laughing AT me! I'm used to it. Hey, I've been married for 20-some odd years. LOML gets the bulk of her comedy fix at my expense. :cool:

Kevin Gerstenecker
08-10-2003, 9:34 AM
John..............you can apply ice to the sting areas that are still bothering you. Some of the old timers used to swear by a paste of Baking Soda applied to the sting area. I have used that remedy, and it does take away the pain...............or, there's always Whiskey! :D I know where you are coming from with LOML getting her laughs at your misery. Mine does the same thing...............but they have to sleep sometime, don't they? ;) Hope you are feeling better...........I know how that Testosterone/Male Ego/Revenge Factor comes into play after an event like this, but you may want to leave the Bees alone for a day or so? :p

Rob Glynn
08-10-2003, 9:59 AM
My mother swore by washing blue for stings. The stuff they used to put in rinse water to make whites really white. I can remember having the wet blue bag dabbed on where any little critters got me. It worked.
Does washing blue still exist?
For stings from sea critters, in my days as a SCUBA diver, I swabbed the area with vinegar and that seemed to work.

Ed Falis
08-10-2003, 11:21 AM
John..............you can apply ice to the sting areas that are still bothering you. Some of the old timers used to swear by a paste of Baking Soda applied to the sting area. I have used that remedy, and it does take away the pain.....

Another one that works is meat tenderizer (MSG). It draws the toxin out of the bite.

- Ed

John Miliunas
08-10-2003, 11:51 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions, gentlemen. It's a new day and most of the pain is now gone. In its place, itching like the devil has taken hold! On the "bright" side, when LOML got home from the funeral yesterday evening, she did NOT laugh at my plight! That made me feel better right off the top. No biggie. The itching will pass, as well. Lesson learned. Now, where in the heck did I put that lighter fluid???...... :D :cool:

Don Farr
08-11-2003, 3:28 PM
Glad your OK John, I'm not the witty writer you are, but your story reminded me of something that happen to me this weekend.
I took my trusty chainsaw up to the entrance of my property to cut down and old oak tree stump (of course I was thinking "turning") I was about half finished when I started feeling stinging on my legs and arms.
No, not bees ! The center of the stump was hollow and a hugh fire ant bed was in the middle. The saw was just throwing them all over me.
Needless to say that I abandoned that project for a while.
Maybe this winter :D

John Miliunas
08-11-2003, 4:10 PM
I started feeling stinging on my legs and arms.
No, not bees ! The center of the stump was hollow and a hugh fire ant bed was in the middle. The saw was just throwing them all over me.
:D

Amazing how this thread keeps coming back around to "fire"! :D You guys trying to tell me something? Don, glad you discovered the ants when you did. Coulda' got real nasty (and possibly embarassing...)! :cool:

Lee Schierer
08-12-2003, 2:46 PM
I too am a keeper of a large brush pile and will normally burn it off in winter when the white stuff is on the ground. Well, this past year we got enough white stuff to share with all of SMC so the pile didn't get burned. Well, I was cleaning up later in the spring and added a few more limbs to the heap. Decide that it wasn't windy so it would be a good time to torch the pile.

Went to thouse, got the matches, some paper and drug the hose out to the pile just in case the grass around it started to burn. Everything was going fine and sure enough the dried grass and weeds around the base started to burn too. Boy am I glad I pulled the hose out here!. Spray that fire back on the left, spray it back on the right, now back on the left...say what's this, there's a spot burning in the grass 20 feet back there....No problem spray it with the hose.....wrong the water stream only goes 18 feet! Run to the house, get a shovel to beat it out. It's only about 4 feet in diameter. I get half of it beat out and look up, now the other half is 8 feet across and growing. Work harder.. Get some more out and its still gaining on me. Decide the neighbors aren't home, LOML is out, better call the guys with the blue lights. Call 911 get the fire lady on the phone tell her the problem. She says "Can you get it out by yourself?" No lady if I could I wouldn't have called to talk with you! Then she wants name, address, phone number, next of kin, mother's maiden name and the name of all the people that live anywhere near me....at least it seemed like it. Finally get back out side and the fire is slowly growing. Finally the neighbor a volunteer fireman heard the call and he comes in. Together we had it mostly out by the time the cellar savers got there. LOML comes home later and finds a 50 X 50 patch of the back field burnt. Says "what happened??"

Moral....get more hose...

Kneale Brownson
08-12-2003, 9:44 PM
You may not have been allergic to the bee stings you received, but you well could be allergic the NEXT time you receive even just one sting. I had the multiple sting experience years ago and swelled up terribly with the next incident of just one sting. Fortunately, the sting was on a thumb. Had it been on my neck, it might have swollen till I couldn't breathe.

A friend recently reported barely making it to the hospital after reacting to a sting. The emergency room physician told him he was just a couple minutes away from death. He'd never had a serious reaction previously, but he'd been stung on several occasions over his lifetime.

The point is toxins from stinging insects can accumulate, apparently. I'd discuss your experience with your family physician.

John Miliunas
08-12-2003, 10:30 PM
Wow Kneale, if that just don't put a different spin on it! Guess I never realized the cumulative thing. On the flip side, this was a pretty isolated incident. I never much cared for *any* kind of bees and have been pretty successful in avoiding them, whenever possible. Not sure that I'll make a special trip to the Doc, but I will inquire the next time I'm there, hopefully NOT for a massive reaction to another bee hit! Thanks much for the "heads up", though! Appreciate it. :cool:

Kevin Gerstenecker
08-12-2003, 10:43 PM
Kneale has a good point John. Bee stings can result in "Anaphalactic Shock"..........in short, an allergic reaction that can kill you in short order. I knew a Farmer that had been stung repeated times by all sorts of Bees, Wasps, and other stingy things, all of his life. One day, he was straightening out his firewood pile, and he got hit by a single Wasp. He went into the house, because he didn't feel right. Before his Wife could get a cold washcloth for his head, he was on the kitchen floor, dead. It couldn't have been more than 5 minutes after he was stung. Very strange, but very true. Bee stings are not to be taken lightly.......it only takes one to get ya. So, if you get nailed, and you start feeling bad, probably better to call 911 than to end up with dirt on ya! :(