Monday, September 5, 2011

Bear With Me

Here is where I sit at the puter and cuss dial up and ponder my life.  It’s primitive and a bit chilly at times, but I find that one needs a connection to the outer world, to friends, to seek others of like mind.  I now understand why my mother says she needs to have her own to talk to, to visit and to reminisce about days gone by. 
Let’s talk about radon.  Our builder Keith told us we needed to have a radon vent in our new house. “It’s code”, he said.  I really didn’t consider what this meant.  Then after the pipe was installed, it just looked like any other plumbing pipe until Jim, our plumber spray painted a stencil on the pipe (2 times) that says RADON.  I began to think about this.  The radon vent begins underneath the foundation.  There is a layer of gravel, and a pipe with holes installed and then brought into a solid pipe that penetrates the foundation and travels straight up through the roof. 
Radon comes from the natural (radioactive) breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water and gets into the air you breathe. Radon is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally. I just read that it is the leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. today, before smoking.  When radon gets into your home, it naturally gets trapped there and builds up.
 There are many old mines in this area.  Most are abandoned.  People tell us they have old mines on their property.  Although there isn’t a mine in the immediate area, our deed tells us that we have half of the mineral rights on our property.  Maybe I’ll find some gold in the creek, but I’m not sure with whom I’d have to share.
We also had our water tested.  When the well was first drilled last summer (110’ and 12-14 gpm-YEA!) the water was SO clear and tasted so great, we thought we had struck gold.  Then the well sat all winter and spring and when we got here this year it wasn’t so great anymore.  There was a definite mineral taste and mom’s shower and fixtures started getting brown stains.  So we had the well company come out and do a full test on the water.  Darren (Fogle Water) had us run the water for a couple hours before he arrived and that in itself made a big difference in clarity.  It’s really not so bad in that the PH is good at 7.4, considered slightly alkaline but nothing compared to Nevada.  The color was clear with no suspect matter or iron bacteria and no odor after running it awhile.  Total dissolved solids tested at 200 ppm (parts per million) and 500 ppm is the EPA suggested limit.  There is always a BUT.  So BUT we tested .6 ppm of iron in the water.  Above .3 stains plumbing and clothes.  The real culprit was manganese at .4 ppm and over .05 stains fixtures and clothes. 
Although it’s not going to kill us and lots of use makes a huge difference, we opted for a water softener for the new house.  Mom said no for her house and the more we’ve used the water, the less stain appears.  Iron is probably good for us and I keep saying the doctor prescribes magnesium, but Daniel keeps saying “it’s manganese mom, NOT magnesium”!  More on this as time progresses.
I mentioned yesterday that Bear (the dog) and I went for a walk in the woods.  Apparently we were not alone.  My stealth camera took some pictures about the same time.  The first is obvious, a nice little buck wandering down the trail near the creek.  I had to take a second look at the second picture.  When the stealth camera detects movement, it takes 5 shots at about 5 second intervals.  The deer came through at 8:24 a.m. and then at 9:06 a.m., this picture was taken.  The other four pictures in the sequence showed nothing. 
When I uploaded the pictures to the computer and Don and I looked at this photo, we both said “what is that?”  I finally turned to him and said “Bigfoot”?  We called Jim (the plumber) over and he said out loud what Don and I were thinking, “looks like a bear to me!”  About an hour later the neighbors from down the road came by and I show them the picture and they agreed, “It’s a bear”.  He must have somehow backed into the frame before moving off.  I was excited to get the picture, disappointed he didn’t come into full view and anxious that I was out walking about the same time!
I am sure this won’t be our last personal bear experience.  But when it’s your first, it’s pretty exciting.

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