Home In the news Musings: A journey as it unfolds daily

Musings: A journey as it unfolds daily

We went to a meeting of the (Barrie) Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP – Chapter 36 covering Simcoe County) approximately three years ago at the Steckley Gooderham Funeral Home in the south end of Barrie.

The night we went, I can’t remember what the subject was. I remember the guest speaker doing his presentation holding a short hose in his hand. After at least five minutes, he stopped and asked us what this hose was for. Some of us knew. It was the supply line from the tap behind the bathroom toilet which hooked unto the lower part of the toilet tank.

He said that some, I think almost all, toilet supply lines have a nut made of a type of plastic that degrades with contact with chlorine. Cleaning chemicals could cause the supply line to degrade from the outside, or the municipal water supply – which is normally chlorinated – from the inside. This often goes unnoticed until it’s too late and water is coming out of the hose that is supposed to be feeding water into the toilet tank. Also, the connection is supposed to be hand tight. It is not something you put a wrench on and torque on. Sometimes it has been cracked and before long, water is spewing everywhere.

When the line ruptures, average losses are in the $100,000 range. One claim exceeded $500,000. The cost is often determined by how soon it is found. As I remember it, he suggested this was up to 40% of all insurance claims but a search of the internet might contradict that as at another site, I found that water damage average costs is $7000 and 23.8% of homeowners insurance losses are from water damage i.e. flooding, sewer backup, clogged toilets, heavy rain, melting snow, leaking roof, foundation cracks and plumbing leaks.

Why do I mention this?

On Friday, September 3rd, I was in the basement at noon. At approximately 9 pm, my sweet Margaret Ann went down to her computer. I heard her yelling. When I arrived, she was standing in over an inch of water. She had just turned off the tap. The back half of the finished basement is approximately 15 feet wide and 50 feet long. Most of it is carpeted and there were a lot of heirlooms (junk we weren’t ready to heave), shelves, cupboards, filing cabinets (there were more than 2000 Springwater News, Elmvale Lances, Toronto papers plus shelves of MA Institute and church collections) – the list goes on. The carpet was wet through most of that side and when you walked on the carpet, it swooshed back and forth from all the water underneath that made it float.

Out comes the 10-gallon shop vac. MA calls my brother David and brother-in-law George. After dumping 15 or 20 waterfilled shop vacs down the toilet, and accomplishing very little, I took George’s advice. He had sat on a chair assessing the situation while David and I worked. I called the insurance company. Naturally at post 10 pm on a Friday night, no one answered at Will Marshall’s Insurance (ad on front page of this paper) but they have a great answering machine. I pressed the button ‘3’ for property damage and although the first number I called accomplished nothing, #2 was Winmar located on Saunders Road in Barrie. The young lady took my information and within an hour, Eric from Winmar was here and his crew has done a superb job. The adjuster has been great to work with and although, there are now 14 fans and a dehumidifier running, and although there are boxes, furniture and many other things all over the place, progress is moving in the right direction.

We have four toilets in our house. We have had one supply line drip before. All four supply lines have this plastic coupling on them. It should be made of a metal, but Plumber Tim Columbus has not seen any and when I purchased a replacement, all toilet hoses on the shelf had the plastic coupler. There are supply lines with the metal connection, but they are all for taps.

Just a warning folks. I wonder how many people will read this, do nothing (like replacing all the supply lines to your toilets periodically) and someday say – I read about this, I should have done something. And don’t feel bad. I went to a meeting, listened to the story – and did nothing.

For anyone looking for a place to go for a visit or add to your bucket list. the Conde Nast Traveller has named “15 Charming Small Towns in Canada for a Relaxing Getaway.” There are two in BC, Tofino (1,932) and Osoyoos (5,085); two in Alberta, Canmore (13,992) and Waterton (105); Dawson City (1,375), Yukon; Maple Creek (2,084), Saskatchewan; Gimli (2,246), Manitoba; Elora (maybe 8000) and Wellington (1,860), Ontario; Gaspe (15,163+), Quebec; Saint Andrews-by-the-sea (1,786), New Brunswick; Souris (1,053) and Montague (1,961), PEI; Lunnenburg (2,263), Nova Scotia; and Bonavista (3,448), Nfld/Lab.

We were sitting around my sister’s (Sheila Burk) dinner table when a Tay Township resident, John Sallows of 1730 Old Fort Road who grows approximately 35 acres of garlic dropped in. We asked some basic questions about when he planted his garlic (week or so before Thanksgiving), when he harvested (July), where he marketed it (No Frills, Foodland, Barrie Hill, etc.), how he cleaned it (wind because if you wash it, the moisture is not good) and other things. One was fertilizer. Although he has not got an organic classification, he does not use commercial fertilizers. Instead, he uses manure from horses and chickens and works it into the top six inches of his ground. If he doesn’t, the size of each garlic bulb would be significantly smaller.

So, I had a significant smile when the Farmer’s Almanac (September 10, 2021) released their latest ‘Gardening Advice’ “What is the best manure compost for gardens?”, the author of which (no kidding) is Robin Sweetser. She and her husband Tom have a greenhouse business and she is a contributor to the Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide.

The most common sources of manure are cows, horses, sheep, pigs, goats, and poultry. (Other animal waste is not recommended as manure or fertilizer today.) All manure is not created equal. Depending on the kind of animal, its age and health, its food, what kind of bedding is incorporated into the manure, and how the manure is collected and stored, the nutrients the manure contains can vary widely. Whether the manure is fresh, composted, aged, or dried has a great impact on its nutrient values. To really know exactly what it contains, you would need to get the manure tested. But they averaged the results from many tests and compared their results and they have a chart as to which manure helps which plants.

I think I’ll troll the countryside for some well composted horse, chicken or cow manure (if it has heated, it kills the weed seeds) and borrow a few pails for the SMALL garden(s) I have. Any suggestions?

Just a takeaway from the ONLY English language debate on Thursday, Sept 10th. There seemed to be a sense/suggestion that as a leader, everyone of the same political party should have the same views. Trudeau made a reference to not taking directions on how to run his caucus from Annamie Paul and O’Toole was questioned about members of his party not having been vaccinated.

The leader says ‘X’. As a party, this is the rule. Is this the definition of a dictatorship?

I would think that members of each party should be able to think for themselves.

Whenever there is a free vote in parliament, which doesn’t happen very often, it usually gets news coverage.

Without letting a parliamentarian think for oneself, why are they even there?

Each leader could have a weighted vote. Before this election was called, each Trudeau vote would have been worth 155 points, the Conservative leader’s vote would be worth 119, Bloc Quebecois 32, NDP 24, Green Party 2, the five Independent members would each get one vote and the one vacant seat would be irrelevant. That would make the highest score out of 338 possible votes the winner. And instead of going through all possible 338 members present who are obliged to vote along party lines, there would be time for more holidays.

Again, I say, we should not elect candidates to be zombies.

I will admit I don’t follow golf as well as many of you do but I was intrigued on a report from a tournament a couple of weeks back. Fifty golfers made it to the final round. One dropped out. Since they golf as a foursome, one player, the one in last place had to golf by himself. He teed off first. There were no delays, no players in front of him. He did the 18 in one hour and 51 minutes shooting a 74 – two over. His prize money was over $400,000.

I read – Fall will officially begin with the autumnal equinox on Sept. 22, but meteorological autumn started on Sept. 1. The weather prediction? In place of wildfires, drought, choking air quality or early arriving snow, much of eastern Canada can expect a mild fall. Conditions will stay placid around the major cities of Toronto and Quebec thanks to nearby water temperatures.

Above-normal water temperatures throughout the Great Lakes will likely persist through the season. This will have its biggest influence on nighttime temperatures, being milder, across the region. Milder air won’t mean “perfect conditions” every day, however. The report noted that shots of cold air could penetrate Ontario and northern Quebec later in the season, while severe thunderstorms from the summer could linger into September for the provinces.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a five-day forecast is accurate about 80% of the time. Beyond this time frame, forecasts degrade at an accelerating rate; NOAA estimates that a 10-day forecast is right half of the time. Beyond that, and despite all the modelling they do, it appears the flip of a coin may help.

We are invited to a wedding in Germany next July, and my Irish wife wants to see the homes of her ancestors in Ireland either before or after. There are some great prices out there right now. Should we be making reservations?

Michael Jacobs is the former owner of the Springwater News. His email address is mwjacobs@rogers.com.

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