Sunday, June 29, 2014


I encounter dangers while picking. 

This is mainly due to the places I tend to pick, but "newbie" pickers could well trip across the same hazards in many similar places, or even in what seem to be "safe" places they are picking, but are unaware that serious danger lies around the next corner. 

Abandoned buildings, basements of homes, barns, old warehouses, storage buildings, storage rooms of stores, (etc, etc, etc) all contain hazards most people have no idea even exist!

 I've discovered full bottles of toxic chemicals, brittle rusty cans of powdered poisons, and other nasty substances...and in places you would not expect. Containers prime to be reused by thrifty folks run the gamut. Beware of any container's contents!  NEVER assume it is the original contents, and it is "harmless."  I have found baking powder tins, flour canisters, and other "powdered" foodstuff  cans & containers containing what turned out to be things like strychnine, weed killers, veterinary concoctions,  and assorted other powdered chemicals! 
If you are parched while picking, also have a taste for booze, and you find a full Vodka bottle that appears untouched....well, don't just tip it back!  I regularly find liquor bottles full of acid, gasoline, kerosene, weed killers, and assorted other nasty liquids, some whose colouring look very much like the bottles' original contents, and in some cases, the colour of the bottles mask the contents' actual hue.  Even if it looks sealed with a label, or the cap looks "unbroken" still be very cautious! Caps can appear to be "intact" and "uncracked",  but some "security" features don't "break" as they are supposed to, and thus the cap can appear to  be unopened after the cap is screwed back in place. With time, a bottle's contents & environmental conditions can conspire to make a cap/lid stick, and even create a vacuum in the container,  once opened can give you the impression it has never before been opened. A  security label, tax seal, etc that is untorn and stuck to the glass is no real indicator of a bottle having its original contents, either. Labels can re-adhere when they come in contact with moisture and other conditions! 

Now, are you ready for some other info that will blow you away?

I regularly find old jars full of bolts, nails, and other heavy hardware....and it is not at all unusual for me too find out that there is LIVE ammunition mixed in!
Old, live rifle and gun cartridges  some "centre fire" and some "rim fire"...all potentially lethal if hit "just right" with some in dropping/spilling the contents! Live "rim fire" .22 calibre shells are shells I find on a regular basis mixed in with all sorts of junk!  SO far I am bullet hole free, though! While picking older farm properties it is not at all unusual for me to encounter live is almost a regular occurrence! Finding old, but LIVE military ammunition, including all sorts of mortar shells, grenades, etc is less common, though far more common than it should be! Even many "practice bombs" contain enough explosive to seriously maim or even kill a person. 

I have been fairly lucky, as I know I should be stumbling across dynamite more often than I do.  Luckily, I have not had any encounters with old, sweating sticks of dynamite....though I have had a couple minor "scares", consisting of what turned out to be ancient road flares. Years of grime obscured/removed markings, and sometimes they are buried in piles of debris, so extreme care is taken to expose the sticks to determine their true nature. Even then, they should be handled with care.

 Talking about flares, there are some explosives that are used on the railway that I have come across in various locations. Usually they are stuck seemingly randomly in places such as the rafters of basements, especially those homes belonging to former railway employees! 

 Old movie theatres, believe it or not, can contain some HIGHLY explosive materials that 99% of the population is completely oblivious to. Nitrocellulose film that was used up until 1951 breaks down and creates what is basically very close in composition to NITROGLYCERIN! And you think modern action movies have some serious explosive action! Yes, that is right, the film can EXPLODE when dropped, etc. 

Imagine, while rooting through some old musty theatre basement, you lift up a pile of "junk", see nothing obviously cool you just toss the pile aside, and...... 


You are now in itty-bitty picker pieces........

 I talk about "hazards of picking" in my blog quite a bit, seeing as it really isn't covered much on other pickers blogs, on TV shows, etc.

I wrote one post in this blog  some time ago  covering a few major hazards I have encountered, which, apparently has been read thousands of times!

In case anyone wishes to read it, it can be seen here.

 There is also have a photo album picturing some "Picker Hazards" on the "Hardcore Pickers" Facebook page that a few fellow pickers and I maintain. (IMPORTANT NOTE/DISCLAIMER: We have absolutely NO connection to Hardcore Pawn, btw!)