June 07, 2022

My desire to feed the birds caught up with me over the weekend.  I have had occasional days when something got on the porch and found the seed.  I re-bagged the seed sack with the hole in it and that seemed to take care of the problem.  Now it became a nightly raid on my seed stores.  The only bag that seemed to be chewed was the one with corn kernels.  This caused corn to be strewn across the floor and Zena thought this was a new treat.  The problem is, she cannot digest the corn and it comes back, one way or another.  Melissa cleaned up the corn mess again on Sunday and put the bag in a plastic tote with a closable lid.  Apparently, there was another bag we missed, and corn was strewn across the floor Monday.  I had enough and went to the hardware store to buy five-gallon buckets, lids, and a sealable plastic tote.

When I looked online, I found the plastic tote is one of the most common ways to store and ship items in manufacturing.  A bulk box, also known as a bulk bin, skid box, pallet box, bin box, gaylord, or octabin, is a pallet-size box used for storage and shipping of bulk quantities.  The term gaylord is sometimes used for the triple wall corrugated plastic pallet boxes in the US and Canada, as the first bulk bins were made by the Gaylord Container Company of St. Louis.  Bulk boxes are often made of corrugated fiberboard now and many of the corrugated bulk boxes have covers.  Additional corrugated liners and reinforcement are sometimes used to control bulging of the box.  Wooden boxes are also used for bulk packaging, as are aluminum and steel boxes in heavy industry.  Still, a reusable plastic tote is cheapest and most convenient for many products and logistics chains.

Apparently, I am not the only one who struggles to keep seed safe.  The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a secure backup facility for the world’s crop diversity on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago.  The Seed Vault provides long-term storage of duplicates of seeds conserved in gene banks around the world.  This provides security of the world’s food supply against the loss of seeds in gene banks “due to mismanagement, accident, equipment failures, funding cuts, war, sabotage, disease, and natural disasters.”  The seeds are stored in sealed three-ply foil packages, placed into a plastic tote, and put off the floor on metal shelving racks.  The storage rooms are kept at -0.4F (-18C).  The low temperature and limited access to oxygen ensures low metabolic activity and delays seed ageing.  The permafrost surrounding the facility will help maintain the low temperature of the seeds if the electricity supply fails.  This might be overkill for my porch, but at least I have my tote.

THOUGHTS:  Using a tote to store my seed is not a new idea.  It became a necessity when I lived at the camp and stored seed for my bird feeders.  The problem was the mice who lived in the garage no matter how many traps and baits I set.  Since I did not have a lot of seed (two feeders) the lidded buckets worked great and kept any varmints out of the seed.  I now have more seed and larger bags and the tote was a good adjunct to the five-gallon buckets.  I have accommodated the squirrels getting into my feeders and even dedicated a feeder for them, but whatever is eating the seed on my porch is going too far.  Most people tolerate minor offenses against their property but will finally draw the line.  The secret is to weigh the impact of the offence against the needs of the other.  If that is true for squirrels, it ought to be true for other humans.  Act for all.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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