Can We Talk?

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Can We Talk?

My Cistern

For those of you city folks who don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s a tank, usually underground, that collects and holds rainwater.  My house is a century home.  In the old part of the cellar – the part with the dirt floor – is my cistern – a very deep tank.  Our guess is that it holds about 3000 gallons, maybe more.  Considering that  the ground is heavily stoned, I can’t imagine how this amazing tank was dug.  It must have been dug by hand.  It was, after all, at the turn of the last century – not this one.  Yet, it is perfectly plumb and square – the sides smooth and clean.  I have to climb up the side in order to look in the tank.  Then, with a flashlight, I can almost make out the bottom. In the old days it held the sole supply of household water.

That got me thinking.  What if a person accidentally fell in.  There would be no way out.  That person could scream and there would be nobody to hear him or her.  Unless you knew the layout of the cellar, you would not even know a cistern was there.  It’s that inconspicuous.

Alfred Hitchcock came to mind.  What a horror story he could weave around that very tank.

Our household water comes from a drilled well.  It gets pumped into the house where it gets filtered, softened and sterilized with UV lamp.  It tastes wonderful and I’ll bet it’s cleaner than bottled water.

But I digress.

We did not want to use our expensive water for watering the garden.  I had rain barrels but if it didn’t rain for a while they were empty and I had to go to the kitchen, fill up my watering can and water by hand.  During dry spells, that used to take me two hours or more.  We needed to connect the cistern and fill that beautiful tank with rain water.

Several thousand dollars later, we got our connection.  The reason for the expense, three trades – plumber, electrician, roofer.  Then we waited for rain.  Finally, only this morning, the rains came.  As I write, it is a slow and steady rain – the kind that soaks into the ground and makes our flowers smile.  It’s been raining for at least 5 hours and looking in the tank, it hardly covered the bottom.  It will be a long time before this tank is full.

Because our property is so large, we have three hoses connected to each other so as to get 150 feet of hose to water one side of the house.  When that side is done, I roll up the hoses and move to the other side of the house to water.

Now I know why country properties with no town water usually don’t have elaborate gardens, either.

The next thing I’m planning to do is installing the drip system so I’ll never have to water again.  I wonder what that costs?  Well, that’s for another day.  Right now, I’m happy with the way it is.

June 20th, 2012 Posted by | Environment, Life In Small Town Ontario | no comments

One Modest Belch, Endless Green Moralizing

Ancient mankind saw volcanic eruptions as punishment from the gods. Now we know better – no thanks to the media and European leaders

Globe and Mail Update Published on Friday, Apr. 23, 2010 5:00AM EDT Last updated on
Friday, Apr. 23, 2010 5:09AM EDT

Hundreds of years ago, before the 19th-century birth of the science of volcanology, mankind saw volcanic eruptions as warnings or punishments from the gods. The gods were literally blowing their tops, spewing forth fire and rocks and ash to express disgust or disappointment with mortals’ habit of messing things up. Read more…

April 23rd, 2010 Posted by | Environment | no comments

The Olympics Are On

I hope the fog lifts.  I hope the sun shines through.  I so admire the Chinese. Why, you ask?  For many reasons, most of them personal.

As you know, I am a head-hunter.  My job is to place suitable candidates with my clients.  I have never over the years had any of them let me down.  They have always done an outstanding job.  They are hard workers, quiet, they don’t get into the office politics, they mind their own business.  If you tell them something they are not supposed to know, they shyly giggle and it is never mentioned again.  In short, they made me look good.  So if these candidates are any indication of the country they represent, they are certainly on my A-list.

Go China.  One day I hope to visit.

August 8th, 2008 Posted by | china, Environment, Pollution | no comments

The Joy of Spring

A time of renewal in body and spirit.  Things that looked dead for months, suddenly burst with life.  Tender green foliage appears everywhere.  Little buds soon growing into lovely flowers.  The air is still cool and clear.  Spring, like Autumn never lasts long enough.

Soon summer will set in along with the heat, humidity, smog.  I am not looking forward to it.  My hair will be frizzy, my skin oily, my clothes wrinkled.  So what if we don’t have to shovel snow?  I wish there were a way to shovel smog and humidity to make it go away.

Here, beside Lake Ontario, our summers are rarely clear.  The haze caused by humidity gives a grayish cast on everything, making it look like a gray winter day – only hot.  Colours are muted.  Here on the 26th floor we have a birds-eye view of the lake.  On clear days, we can see the Niagara Peninsula.  Oh well, what’s the use of complaining.  Can’t do a thing about the weather no matter what those environmentalists say.  It will do what it will do.  The earth is forever changing.

While on that topic, it would be very nice to see a country free of pollutants.  It would be very nice to have motorized vehicles fueled with hydrogen rather than gasoline.  It would be very nice to have everyone throw their trash into proper receptacles.  It would be nice to have the steel plants treat their refuse before pouring it into Lake Ontario.  It would be very nice. 

May 11th, 2007 Posted by | Environment, Musings, Pollution | no comments

Our Crazy Weather

It’s April 16 but it might as well be January 16.  I take that back.  In January the weather was mild.  Seems as though the seasons have shifted.  Last summer didn’t want to end.  Autumn – well – autumn is never long enough.  It’s everybody’s favourite season.  Even after the leaves are gone, there is still something magical about autumn.  Winter didn’t start until over half-way through January.  Now it’s officially spring but you could have fooled me. 

Still, I keep hearing about the warming of the planet.  Could be true.  The earth is ever changing.  It just doesn’t remain the same.  Whether we, as people, had anything to do with it is still up in the air.  Personally, I think it was changing anyway.  That doesn’t excuse our smelly air or dirty rivers and lakes.  People are pigs.  It’s just so easy to throw stuff in the water.  Usually it sinks to the floor of the lake and is gone from sight.  Meanwhile, the garbage piles up.  People are pigs.  While walking one morning, I saw one man, when he’d finished with his coffee, just throw the styrofoam cup on the lawn.  I saw him.  I yelled at him to pick it up and put it in the trash bin, which was a couple of feet from the lazy slob.

Industries are pigs.  They’d rather just dump their crap into the lakes and rivers rather than clean it up and disposing of it in a proper way.  They’d rather spew their crap in the air rather than clean the waste before realeasing it into the atmosphere.  That takes money.  They don’t want to spend the money.  I’d like to see some heavy fines put into place.  Enough is enough.  We want to take back our rivers, lakes, cities, highways and biways.  As long as there are slobs around, that can’t happen.

April 16th, 2007 Posted by | Climate Change, Environment, Pollution | no comments