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Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926038 by Frenchie
May 9, 2016 12:49pm
Thread
Not to speak for Kirbert, but I believe he also fits the plastic peanut butter jars with a homemade gasket to make them completely watertight. The few jars that I've found without a gasket have been damp or worse.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926041 by dingus dufus
May 9, 2016 2:07pm
Thread
I found one of his peanut butter jars in Northern Indiana earlier this spring and it was completely dry! The same day I went to check on my "Life of Riley" (planted in 2004, 11 years old) and it was still active. I used a rubbermaid with blue rimmed lid and the contents were still good! The plastic was showing signs of deterioration and so I picked it up. It never got a lot of traffic and I was concerned the area would have flooded it out and away. Turns out it was a great spot and great container. I didn't want to wait another 11 years to check on it, so it is officially retired.
Re: Replacing missing letterbox
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926030 by Blanulak
May 9, 2016 2:58pm
Thread
Really? You created a new identity to ask this?

Regardless....the answer is no. You do not replace someone else's box without their permission.

And since the owner of the box just logged on AQ last month it's not like they have dropped off the face of the earth.

Ah. I see you "managed" to contact the owner of the box.
Re: Adopt a box
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926026 by Yankocats
May 9, 2016 3:05pm
Thread
Unless you are able to contact the owner of the box, you will remain "just" someone who wants to take care of the box. Only the original owner can transfer ownership.

Lots of people do this.....take care of a box that seems to have been abandoned but is still listed as active. It's a nice and helpful thing to do.

MM
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926019 by SpringChick
May 9, 2016 3:16pm
Thread
One thing I take issue with when it comes to maintaining other people's boxes is this: In some areas there are some very prolific planters. They continue to plant boxes very near to where they live but fail to maintain their older boxes, also near where they live.

If they apparently have the time to go out and plant more then it would seem they have the time to maintain the existing ones.

So I am not going to help maintain their older boxes while they continue to plant more and not keep up with the earlier ones. I see a lot of this.

MM
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #925955 by SpringChick
May 9, 2016 3:24pm
Thread
(rant to follow)

I'll make some popcorn.

... but if you read in the comments that this is needed...

I don't read the comments, I go find the letterbox. Answered your question there.

Have we become so into "finding" that we cannot be bothered to take the time to help each other out and keep ALL letterboxes from becoming forest trash?

Maybe there are some letterboxes that should simply become trash? Take the trash with you, retire the box, be done with it.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926038 by Frenchie
May 9, 2016 5:04pm
Thread
Same idea, I just get mine for free by reusing my Planters cashew jars instead of buying these. If you'd like to buy jars, I think you can buy a whole case of plastic Mason jars (for canning) from Wally World for dirt cheap. The plastic ones are cheaper than the glass ones.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926041 by dingus dufus
May 9, 2016 5:09pm
Thread
I tested extensively. What I found was that a jar without a gasket sealed *sometimes*. Even when it did seal, though, applying a bit of stress to the jar -- like jamming it into a tight spot -- would distort it enough to make it leak. Once a shower pan liner gasket was fitted, though, the only way it leaks is if some finder doesn't close it right. Period. It just won't leak.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926042 by speedsquare
May 9, 2016 5:15pm
Thread
Those Rubbermaid containers with the rubber lip were de rigeur at one time, before letterboxers discovered L&L's. They are durable, to be sure -- that's not the problem. Planted in leaf litter, leaves and dirt tend to collect under that rubber lip and foul the seal. They could be nearly as messy as a pouch to open, and if you didn't have a handy garden hose nearby to rinse everything off, it was difficult to reclose them properly.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926045 by MissMoon
May 9, 2016 5:27pm
Thread
I can see your point about it being irritating. Maybe a good idea for those situations would be to forgo the maintenance and then let the owner know. Then, they could go fix it themselves since they live so close.

If I am walking in the neighborhood of a local box, I will go check on it. I don't routinely check on every box. How often should someone check on their boxes? If someone says my box needs help, I go fix it as soon as I can. Unless I had a maintenance schedule, I am not sure I would remember when to check on what box.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926042 by speedsquare
May 9, 2016 5:29pm
Thread
I used a rubbermaid with blue rimmed lid and the contents were still good!

Yes! These are the rubbermaid containers I was referring to that have survived well for me also. I stopped using them when LnLs surfaced, but still have some left in my stash and since they have been very reliable for me, I don't feel bad about using these as replacements when I find a damaged box.

SpringChick
You'll never guess what happened while I was Letterboxing...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
May 9, 2016 5:48pm
Thread
My husband and I took a trip to Natchez, Mississippi in April and of course I planned the trip around some LB's!!!!! Since there were four in the City Cemetery, that seemed like a good place to go - right?! Who would have thought we would have crossed paths with two reporters from The Natchez Democrat! We told them all about our hobby and they took some pictures. We had just found "Turning Angel" planted by Boones Burrow and shared the story behind it. Our story was featured on April 11th in the column called The Dart (they throw a dart at a map of Natchez & that is where they go in search of a story!) or you can find it online at www.natchezdemocrat.com
Most memorable time LetterBoxing
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926053 by Kirbert
May 9, 2016 6:39pm
Thread
You are right, I used them until I found LnLs. My box was under a cement chunk, but when I picked it up kit had traveled about 5' and was partially exposed. It had a small number of finders and that factor probably helped keep the container and contents from deteriorating faster.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926068 by speedsquare
May 9, 2016 6:57pm
Thread
It had a small number of finders and that factor probably helped keep the container and contents from deteriorating faster.

It is interesting that you say that, and in your case, it may have helped to keep the container in good shape, but in general I am wondering what people feel about the volume of visitors helping or hurting the longevity of a box? We've found quite a few boxes lately that are several years old (5-8 years range), and very few we've looked for have been missing, even though most are not far off trail and are not that well hidden -- several just behind a tree under a pile of sticks... it got me to wondering why these boxes seem to survive well despite not being hidden well, while my own boxes seem to go missing disproportionately more often, even though they are well hidden. The primary difference I noted was the number of visitors... the boxes we've been finding of late have been mostly drive-bys and short hikes (still recovering from pneumonia) and have had many visitors, whereas my boxes tend to have relatively few visitors, I suppose because they are mysteries or involve some kind of puzzle and have an associated hike.

Do boxes with more visitors fare better, possibly because people are continually putting them back into place, so if a box does get rehid poorly or pulled out by a critter, it doesn't lay exposed all that long? Whereas boxes with fewer visitors that get dragged out of hiding could lay exposed much longer and are more susceptible to being found by a muggle. I'm really not sure... what do you think?

SpringChick
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926070 by SpringChick
May 9, 2016 8:40pm
Thread
Do boxes with more visitors fare better, possibly because people are continually putting them back into place, so if a box does get rehid poorly or pulled out by a critter, it doesn't lay exposed all that long? Whereas boxes with fewer visitors that get dragged out of hiding could lay exposed much longer and are more susceptible to being found by a muggle. I'm really not sure... what do you think?

So I've found over 4000 boxes and I can't answer that question clearly. Why? Because I think it often depends on the letterboxer who finds the box. If a box is returned to the correct spot and is completely concealed but is in an area with more traffic, that improves its chances of survival. But if the letterboxer returns the box hastily and doesn't conceal it, it all depends on if the next letterboxer finds the box before a nonboxer. Sometimes more letterboxers finding the box increases the risk of losing the box because not all letterboxers are responsible with replacing the letterbox. It goes again to caring for the letterbox beyond that person's experience.

Also, there is the issue of returning the box to the correct location. I have found that some of my plants that come up as attempts by letterboxers are often because the boxes have been returned to the incorrect location. When I check on them, I find the letterboxes nearby, but definitely not where the clues indicate.

I do believe that the boxes that are hidden well (under a log, tucked tight in place; several paces into the woods and off the main trail; completely secure and concealed; a longer hike) actually should survive longer. But one of the factors that comes into play into making it an "unknown" or "missing" letterbox is the change in the environment that happens over time. Often a box that hasn't been found in several years is no longer "under" the log, but it's truly buried under the log because of the elements over the years. Other boxes may become missing because the clues along the way no longer make sense, but the box is really in place yet if the letterboxer can read beyond the clues.

I know when I hunt for a letterbox that hasn't been found in a long while, I need to put more effort into looking for it because of the effects of nature over time. Sometimes the effort pays off and it's truly a rewarding feeling.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #925955 by SpringChick
May 9, 2016 9:15pm
Thread
So I believe I've read all the comments on this thread. I'm not sure if my thoughts are valuable or not, but I might as well throw my two cents in.

PLANTING BOXES: My opinion is that a letterboxer should put the effort into planting a box well. This means taking the time to not only carve the stamp, but create the letterbox. For me, that means a lock-n-lock container, a good logbook with the image of the stamp and the carver, a stamp that has its own pouch or felt/fabric to contain it, and a freezer bag to contain them. The box should be labeled on the outside ("This is a letterbox...") and an explanation of letterboxing should be somewhere on the inside. If the letterboxes are a series, I am fine with using camopouches for the ones that do not contain logbooks, but I still put a freezer bag inside the camopouch and label the pouch. In that way, if the finder does not completely conceal the camopouch, hopefully the inside freezer bag has been sealed and the stamp and logbook are preserved.

MAINTAINING BOXES: I am a believer in leaving the letterbox in the best shape possible. I don't have a criteria of if I believe it deserves it or not. This means that I (almost) always carry around 10 camopouches to be used in case a box/pouch needs to be replaced. I also carry several quart size freezer bags, several smaller logbooks I've made with at least 20 pages (which should fit in most boxes), a couple of large handkerchiefs just for drying and cleaning out a wet pouch or box. If the logbook is wet, I will rebag it in a new freezer bag, then put everything else in another new freezer bag for the next finder. I also carry a large freezer bag to put anything that needs to be thrown away. My wish is that others will do the same for my boxes because I do not check on my boxes. I have a goal of checking on any that haven't been found in over 2 years, but that doesn't always happen.

With all this being said, I have to say that I have been on all day or several day letterboxing jaunts and have run out of all my maintenance supplies. That means that I have left some boxes unmaintained because I've found so many that needed help.

IDEA: What if experienced letterboxers added a standard message of etiquette to their clues? (I haven't done this.) After reading all the comments on being disappointed in the fact that we continue to receive messages that "a new logbook is needed" or "the box was full of water" and so forth, or we find boxes in terrible shape that have been that way through several finders, I really think some guidance is needed because not all people/letterboxers are naturals at doing maintenance. I've been thinking about this, and I believe the best place is in the clues. Maybe we could add something like this to our clues:

"A good habit of letterboxers is to plan on maintaining letterboxes along the way. This means that when you find a letterbox, you may need to dry the container, add a new logbook, replace the baggies, or even replace the container. Along with your normal letterboxing supplies, you may want to include a Maintenance Kit which should include the following: a small cloth/rag, several small logbooks (made out of notecards or other paper), quart-size freezer bags, and even containers/camopouches to replace the container if needed. Helping to maintain a letterbox allows others to enjoy this hobby. Let's all work together in helping each other!"

I'm sure the message isn't perfect (after all, it's only a first draft...), but would that help newer letterboxers (and maybe not such new ones) to see that message again and again and then understand that maintenance is considered a piece of letterboxing?

I know that I've often reached out to new letterboxers in my area and invited them to ask me any questions about the hobby. When I first started letterboxing, I did this with doglvrs and Grandvilla, and they were incredibly gracious in answering every one of my questions. I think that some don't dare ask. Maybe we just need to train.

Enough of my two cents. It looks as if it's more like two bucks :).
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926038 by Frenchie
May 9, 2016 11:19pm
Thread
$1.09 in lots of 24

I didn't check out the shipping costs, but
these from Amazon are $3.50 each in quantities of 10, including shipping. Your link is probably cheaper overall.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926070 by SpringChick
May 9, 2016 11:29pm
Thread
...I am wondering what people feel about the volume of visitors helping or hurting the longevity of a box?

Not that simple. Perhaps the best situation is a box hidden above ground after a hike of a mile or so, found occasionally by dedicated boxers buy not all that often. A drive-by near the freeway gets found a lot but that's not good for its longevity; many of those finders are newbies who don't care enough to reclose and rehide it properly. A box out on the end of an 8-mile hike isn't likely to get damaged by newbies or noxers, but it can get gradually reclaimed by nature until you need a shovel to retrieve it.
Re: You'll never guess what happened while I was Letterboxing...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926063 by HootinNana
May 10, 2016 4:18am
Thread
The reporters were lucky to find such a good story. Glad they found you !!!
Re: You'll never guess what happened while I was Letterboxing...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926063 by HootinNana
May 10, 2016 4:51am
Thread
Wow!!! Just finished reading the story. Mississippi is on my States list visit.
Re: You'll never guess what happened while I was Letterboxing...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926063 by HootinNana
May 10, 2016 5:13am
Thread
Awesome! Hopefully you'll get a good crop of boxers soon. ;)
We had the paper show up at the library where we hosted our first event and letterboxing workshop. Might have to do that one again... It was fun!
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926083 by Kirbert
May 10, 2016 5:18am
Thread
Agreed. I feel fortunate that the friend who introduced me to letterboxing sort of "trained" me and is an advocate of LNT principles. That's not to say I'm anyone's dream letterboxer, but I had it drilled into my mind from the get-go that if you don't have time to properly seal up and re-hide a box, you don't have time to be out boxing.
Re: You'll never guess what happened while I was Letterboxing...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926063 by HootinNana
May 10, 2016 6:21am
Thread
How fun!
That's a much cleaner/safer/saner story than I was expecting!
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926057 by LROSEM
May 10, 2016 7:56am
Thread
I guess I should have added that in many of these cases (not all) the need for maintenance has already been noted in the comments and the planter has not done anything. And I have myself have noted the need for maintenance and then seen additional comments for the same thing at a later date. So. And they continue to plant new boxes.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926079 by Angel Winks
May 10, 2016 8:03am
Thread
I think you hit the nail on the head with the line, "Let's all work together in helping each other."
Re: Adopt a box
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926044 by MissMoon
May 10, 2016 9:42am
Thread
I understand how it works--read about rules of adoption box--only the owner has the right to own the box therefore ever so owner inactively atlas quest for past two years, probably abandoned or ignore AQ personal website. There is nothing I can do to contact the owner afterall, just try to keep the maintenance the box in good shape for sometime.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926079 by Angel Winks
May 10, 2016 10:31am
Thread
With all this being said, I have to say that I have been on all day or several day letterboxing jaunts and have run out of all my maintenance supplies. That means that I have left some boxes unmaintained because I've found so many that needed help.

It's like you're also on a Spring Rescue Mission reviving worthwhile boxes that haven't weathered a winter and spring thaw. Thanks to your conscientious efforts the finds you've deemed repairable are now ready for others to enjoy.

Letterboxing has matured to the place where it's no longer practical to leave it up to the owner/planter to do the maintenance when others are capable of maintenance. Half the time any maintenance can be done in a few minutes by a responsible finder. It's not necessary to click on "Maintenance is needed" or even inform the owner that a wet box was dryed or that a torn baggie was replaced. I've even repaired a broken stamp ... do what you can do
Re: Adopt a box
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926109 by Yankocats
May 10, 2016 11:04am
Thread
There is nothing I can do to contact the owner afterall, just try to keep the maintenance the box in good shape for sometime.

There is no AQ rule that says you can't become a kind of foster caregiver to an abandoned box that you feel compelled to occasionally check on its condition. It really isn't all that different from a responsible boxer taking it upon themself to make minor or major repairs to an abandoned box as long as the integrity of its contents (stamp/logbook) are maintained as best as possible.

I was concerned about an abandoned worthwhile box, but have given up on prolonging it's eventual lack of interest (FXFXFX) after receiving the following reply from another boxer about my interest as a kind of foster caregiver.

It's nobody's obligation to look after abandoned boxes. Boxes come and go, they live and die in the wild, more or less on the schedule of a squirrel's life. We accept that people come and go from this hobby and that's how it goes.

Every situation is different so you've got to decide whether it's worth your effort to keep an abanodoned box alive in good condition.
Re: You'll never guess what happened while I was Letterboxing...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926086 by prbruja
May 11, 2016 12:53am
Thread
Mississippi is on my States list visit.

Been there, boxed that. Not too good, actually, except along the Natchez Trace -- where I was planting, not finding.
Re: Box Maintenance...
Board: Letterbox Chatter
Reply to: #926095 by MissMoon
May 11, 2016 1:00am
Thread
the need for maintenance has already been noted in the comments and the planter has not done anything...And they continue to plant new boxes.

Show of hands: If you would prefer they continue to plant new boxes and let finders maintain the old ones, click [Agree]. If you think they should stop planting long enough to go make sure all their existing boxes are in good working order, click [Disagree].