Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Poisoned well water

9/1/09 Tuesday
Yesterday I was an ass. Got upset at Cherie for something trivial. I don’t do this often anymore but it was a problem when we first got back together. It’s one of those things that comes with a TBI though people without brain injuries do it too. I know the TBI was a contributor in my case because it’s improved as my brain continues to heal. Part of that healing is learning how to act, sort of reprogramming the computer after it crashes. This is an ongoing process that works better with others input, having them point out errors in thinking so that I can recognize them. So this doesn’t start Cherie’s day out well as she was still hurt this morning. I apologized but don’t know if that does much good. Not the best way to start a new month.

The weather is cooling off quite a bit lately with the mornings cool enough we have to turn the fan off. Winter’s coming and I need to gather more firewood to heat the house with. I’ll take the chain saw to the landfill where there is a section for people to drop off all their brush and wood. Some if it will be hard to get to but there are several trees that are in there.

Here's a good comparison of the effect of our well water. It's hard to tell but the bottom part of the picture is some Morning Glory vine that sprung up along the fence. It gets no water except rain water while behind it, on the top half of the picture, is the vine we planted that has drip irrigation and is watered regularly from the well. If you click on the picture to enlarge it this is easier to see. The wild vine has well over a dozen blooms. They open up in the morning so aren't very visible. The vine around our veranda has almost no blossoms at all and the leaves are a paler green and many of them are dead and brown. Despite having just been watered yesterday they are wrinkled and limp, unlike the wild ones that haven't had water in days

I’m feeling depressed, mostly because of upsetting Cherie but we got some bad news about the well water. The levels of chlorides are very high. I’ve noticed that our plants don’t thrive when watered from the well but whenever it rains there is a marked difference. After I got the report back from having the water tested I went online to research the results. Things like the edges of leaves being burned I had attributed to the high heat but it’s a symptom of high chlorides. A big concern is that the chlorides can poison the soil, making it hard for seeds to even germinate. This can be a death sentence for the farm. Chlorides is a general designation that covers hundreds or maybe thousands of different elements in the water. Sodium chloride is just one, then there is sulfer, magnesium, and all kinds of others. Some are actually good and even essential to plant life, but in low quantities. When the levels get high they become toxic.

So far I haven’t found any easy or cheap fixes for this. You can’t filter out chlorides with activated carbon or charcoal filters at all. Chlorides are naturally present in underground waters to different degrees depending on location, but they are also a result of drilling for oil and we are surrounded by oil wells. The only way I’ve found so far to get them out of the water is by reverse osmosis or distilling the water. Both of those methods are expensive and require lots of equipment along with storage tanks to hold the water once purified. Our other hope would be to drill another well and hope the water it finds is sweeter. That’s a roll of the dice that costs either way. It appears that there might be two water tables to tap. One is shallow and probably what our well gets because it is only about a hundred feet deep. Then I think that if you go deeper you can hit the Ogallala aquifer and that is supposed to be better water. But I don’t know these things for sure and was told that only someone that drills for water in the area could tell me.

Now I’m not even sure I want to plant the fall crop I’ve been preparing beds for. I’m putting in the drip irrigation everywhere but if all I’m doing is poisoning the soil for next year I am doing more harm than good. I was astonished by the difference in the blackeyed peas the farmer next door planted versus the ones I grew with irrigation. All he had was some good July rains and his plants are every bit of three times the size of mine. Now I understand why. I’ll need to send a water sample in to Texas A&M University for deeper testing as the water district test isn’t very detailed. We knew the water wasn’t fit to drink but I have to wonder if it’s even safe to bath or wash our dishes in. This isn’t good and could kill any hope of making a real farm out of this place. There are of course things that can be done and harvesting rain water has always been a plan but all that takes money we don’t have.

So it’s hard to drum up enthusiasm this morning. Still beating my head against the wall.

The motherboard for my laptop finally came. So now comes the task of putting back together what I forgot how I took apart. First step is to go online and find the instructions I followed to dismantle it and follow them in reverse to reassemble.

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