Cemetery Supply Kit

This is the first follow-up post to Thoughts for Thursday: Cemetery Supplies. This will be a recurring topic on its own, and as such I’ve removed “Thoughts for Thursday” from the title, that and it’s Saturday.

The first item I have for my kit, as I mentioned before, is the bucket.  It’s nothing more than a plastic bucket that once held 35lbs of kitty litter.  Sure, one could buy one of those big buckets from Home Depot or Lowes (I think they are 5 gallon buckets?) but for me the kitty litter container works because 1. It was free after I used up the litter, 2. It has a snap on lid just like the buckets I could buy elsewhere (a feature I definitely wanted), and 3. I go through those buckets regularly and if the one I’m using ever breaks, then I likely have a ready replacement (or will in a week or so).

The first item in the bucket came as a result of cleaning out my car, kind of serendipitous, right?  I’ve had a lot of good suggestions as to what to put in my kit, many about what I should have on me for the photographing of stones.  One not mentioned, but that I’ve seen the results of is the use of a large mirror, which can help reflect light on to stones in such a way that the lettering really pops out when it wouldn’t have before.  Now at this point, I’m not going to be toting around a closet-sized mirror wherever I go (I plan to just keep the kit in my car), and a smaller mirror would only be good for highlighting details of the stone, not the whole thing, so I was happy to find in my car what I found.  What did I find?  My old sun shield for the windshield.  I bought it for two dollars one hot summer day, and the thing’s quality is really a reflection of that as the suction cups ripped out of the sun shield within a matter of a couple of weeks.  However the sun shield is a foil like reflector on one side, and so I tried it out and it works just like a mirror and will redirect the light to where I need it to go.  It isn’t rigid at all, so it curves right inside the bucket too!  The only customization I need of it is to make a foot strap so that I can use my foot or another object to make the shield fall down straight without the set-in folds (good for storing in the car when it was a sun shield, not so good now) appearing.

Yay for having two free items for my kit!  Stay tuned as I plan to reveal more kit components as I get them.

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Also, if you look at the menu bar of my blog, you’ll now see “Shouldn’t Miss News” which will link you to all back posts of that feature.

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3 Responses to Cemetery Supply Kit

  1. The five-gallon buckets at Home Depot aren’t too expensive, you can get a 3-pack on their website for $7, which isn’t too bad. Plastic bags, and a good set of gloves are definitely on my list, and I have them, I just haven’t physically put them in my bucket yet. Brushes are on the list too, it’s just a matter of going and picking out which ones I want out of the many that are sold; I need to see the strength of them versus the softness of the bristles.

    Good tip on the snow brush, mine never leaves my car. I’d lose it by the time I needed it again.

    I’ll go out one day when there isn’t biting wind, and when there is enough sun, to demonstrate the light reflection technique. If the sun shields aren’t available now at stores, they definitely will be again come summer since they are supposed to help keep your car cooler despite the summer sun. I know people who will take a closet-sized mirror out with them when their only intent is to photograph stones, but it is cumbersome to carry if you go into the woods to get to the cemetery, for example. A big mirror could be propped against one’s supply bucket if one was alone. The sun shield either requires a second person to hold or an angle that allows one to be close enough to the stone to get a good shot of it (depends on the sun’s angle too).

    Safety is definitely a big issue, for me both in cemeteries and when I’m poking around in an area I’m not too familiar with. On the most basic of levels, someone always knows where I am heading off to, even if it’s just me putting on facebook “off to such-and-such cemetery,” which is important. There will be something in my kit related to safety, so I’ll go more in depth into that topic when I acquire it and stick it in the bucket.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    • ljellis2000 says:

      You’re welcome. I use rubbermaid or other good brand that are white bristles in the plastic that has some stiffness, but not to the point it would be similar to a wire brush or anything like stiff. They are only going to last so long. And, sometimes an extra pair of socks comes in handy if you pick up those briars or whatever those thingys are that stick to your socks. You can just take off that pair and put on another. We learn as we go along. Maybe a good checklist helps too. And, don’t forget to take the before picture before you start; I’ve done that way too much myself. The after pictures are nice, but when compared to the ‘before’ pictures you can really see your progress. That is if you clean a stone and rinse it down. If you are just using the mirror then you don’t have to worry about maybe quite as much, but still it would show what a stone looks like in its natural state and how much better when using the mirror. So, we’ll ‘stay tuned’ as they say.

  2. ljellis2000 says:

    I like your cemetery supply kit! I don’t have a cat so I guess some other bucket will do. I also tote along my half gallon or gallon empty plastic milk bottles filled with water when I know I headed out to a cemetery that doesn’t have a pump or any water nearby. I have rags which I have to remember to wash out and clean after use BEFORE the next trip of course. Also, Rubbermaid type brushes, plastic scrapers, even toothbrushes. Also, sturdy cloth or rubber gloves that can be reused. I also try to take grocery store plastic bags for toting away any waste like twigs or other debris from the general area of a gravestone to a trash container (assuming one is there — or carry home and dispose of from there.) I carry along cemetery shoes — two types. One pair of old gymn shoes for the dry days, and another old pair of sturdier shoes if I need to walk in a cemetery where it had been raining the night before and the ground might be wet. I carry grass shears and a trowel. You could also take a long a bigger shovel or hedge clippers on trips if you think you really are going to use them.

    Also, it doesn’t hurt to keep your snowbrush in the car as I can say it works well brushing away fallen leaves off a flat gravemarker. I tried that trick out of necessity once and it certainly worked better than fumbling around with only my hands. So, just thought I would share as well.

    Thank you for sharing and I think we are learning that we don’t have to spend a lot of money to try to clean or read a tombstone. I would be interested in learning more details about your techniques on how best to angle and use the sun shield. Are they still available? I haven’t tried the mirror approach, but you’re right it is not practical to carry around a closet-size mirror. It would also be difficult to hold the mirror and take a good photograph if you go alone. Which brings up another topic of safety; women in particular, always have to be more careful visiting a cemetery by themselves.

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