Bass on Bass

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

My Own "Broken Arrow" Event

     This 17 year old movie has a title "Broken Arrow" that brings back memories of my Air Force Reserve days. I served in the AFRES hospital squadron assigned to Earling Bergquist Regional Air Force Hospital, adjacent to the base family housing just outside Offutt Air Force Base. The term "Broken Arrow" has for as far back as I'm aware of been the official term for the event of the loss of a nuclear weapon or the crash of a nuke carrying aircraft.  
     The disaster exercise during my last summer two week duty there was a simulated "Broken Arrow". Obviously, since it was 1975, the supposed downed aircraft in the exercise was one of the strategic nuke carrying B-52s that flew out of Offutt AFB, not the supposed B-3 in the movie (not yet existing, only B-2 stealth bombers exist today). 
     That was the first time I actually saw a tornado. I was manning the radio base station in the hospital's conference room. A severe weather alert brought the exercise to an early close. Just as we were wrapping it up a tornado warning was issued, a real disaster event. 
     As I was disconnecting the radio base station to move it to a basement office near where all staff and patients were evacuated to, there it was in full view a few miles away out the conference. room window. It was, as they usually are, approaching from the southwest. It was white so it had yet to touch down.         
     Somehow I managed to get the radio disconnected, removed and hooked into it's alternate connection in that office. I had never before known of the existence of the alternate hook-up point so I surprised myself with the success. 
     We managed to direct all our personnel to safety. The tornado jumped directly over the hospital, touching down harmlessly in a field across the road from the hospital and base housing. We soon thereafter had everything and everyone back to normal operations.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Repost: Threshing and Winnowing Beans

    This is a re-post of my November 6, 2010 post "Farmer Bills Threshing and Winnowing" I am once again blessed with a large amount of beans drying in the pods. 
     Last week I harvested the driest of both my "Rattlesnake" and "Kentucky Wonder" pole beans.  Some remain on both trellises of beans to dry further before harvest. 
     I placed the harvested beans on the burlap sheet I have and formed the sheet into a sort of bag, just as in the threshing process described below. Then I placed the bag inside of an old nylon mesh bag I have from my days as a youth soccer coach to carry the balls and cones etc. to practices. I then used the drawstring of the outer bag to hang the beans in the garage for further drying. 
     The threshing is for later when the rest of the beans dry and have been harvested. 

   Yesterday afternoon I went out to do something about the dried bean pods hanging from the foliage free trellised pole bean vines. Picking them all off the remains of the stems 1 by 1 is tedious enough but shelling them bean by bean afterward is beyond endurance. Trying the latter for a while I gave up and went in to find a better way. 
    In a few minutes on line I found it, using burlap as the "threshing medium" see the facebook capture.  I hot footed it to the Ace as soon as I found out they had 1 package of burlap left. I adapted the process from bags to the sheet burlap I could get quickly. I just laid out a 3' x 4' piece of it on the patio table, piled the bean plants and pods on it, and gathered the edges of the sheet into a bag tied closed with a length of twine. I found a video of the general method of threshing on You tube. I wasn't about to walk on the bag I made though. I just squished it around a bunch on the patio table, a little like kneading a big hunk of bread dough, until it felt like all the pods were broken up and emptied. A few shakes up and down later to get the beans to the bottom, grabbing handfuls of the loose plant matter out of the opened bag until I couldn't anymore without getting the beans & the THRESHING was done
     There was just enough wind after I finished threshing to try a little WINNOWING by opening the bag and forming the loaded burlap into sort of a hammock and shaking it up and down just enough to get the chaff but not much plant or pod airborne and floating away in the wind. The chaff kind of hangs in the air like dry snow. Then the wind died. Complete winnowing awaits tomorrow. See the facebook image above for the process to be used