Posted by: combinedharvesters | August 27, 2012

Some water facts

The Egyptians were the first people to record methods for treating water. These records date back more than 1,500 years to 400 A.D. They indicate that the most common ways of cleaning water were by boiling it over a fire, heating it in the sun, or by dipping a heated piece of iron into it. Filtering boiling water through sand and gravel and then allowing it to cool was another common treatment method.

About 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water.

Ninety-seven percent of the water on the earth is salt water. Salt water is filled with salt and other minerals, and humans cannot drink this water. Although the salt can be removed, it is a difficult and expensive process.

Two percent of the water on earth is glacier ice at the North and South Poles. This ice is fresh water and could be melted; however, it is too far away from where people live to be usable.

Less than 1% of all the water on earth is fresh water that we can actually use. We use this small amount of water for drinking, transportation, heating and cooling, industry, and many other purposes.

Everything is made of atoms. An atom is the smallest particle of an element, like oxygen or hydrogen. Atoms join together to form molecules. A water molecule has three atoms: two hydrogen (H) atoms and one oxygen (O) atom. That’s why water is sometimes referred to as H2O. A single drop of water contains billions of water molecules.

Pure water is tasteless, odorless, and colorless. Water can occur in three states: solid (ice), liquid, or gas (vapor).

Solid water—ice is frozen water. When water freezes, its molecules move farther apart, making ice less dense than water. This means that ice will be lighter than the same volume of water, and so ice will float in water. Water freezes at 0° Celsius, 32° Fahrenheit.

Liquid water is wet and fluid. This is the form of water with which we are most familiar. We use liquid water in many ways, including washing and drinking.

Water as a gas—vapor is always present in the air around us. You cannot see it. When you boil water, the water changes from a liquid to a gas or water vapor. As some of the water vapor cools, we see it as a small cloud called steam. This cloud of steam is a miniversion of the clouds we see in the sky. At sea level, steam is formed at 100° Celsius, 212° Fahrenheit.

The water vapor attaches to small bits of dust in the air. It forms raindrops in warm temperatures. In cold temperatures, it freezes and forms snow or hail.

The water cycle or hydrologic is a continuous cycle where water evaporates, travels into the air and becomes part of a cloud, falls down to earth as precipitation, and then evaporates again. This repeats again and again in a never-ending cycle. Water keeps moving and changing from a solid to a liquid to a gas, over and over again.

Precipitation creates runoff that travels over the ground surface and helps to fill lakes and rivers. It also percolates or moves downward through openings in the soil to replenish aquifers under the ground. Some places receive more precipitation than others do. These areas are usually close to oceans or large bodies of water that allow more water to evaporate and form clouds. Other areas receive lessprecipitation. Often these areas are far from water or near mountains. As clouds move up and over mountains, the water vapor condenses to form precipitation and freezes. Snow falls on the peaks.

Would you believe that a dinosaur could have once used your last drink of water?

Water on earth today has been here for millions of years. Because of the water cycle, water moves from the earth to the air to the earth again. It changes from solid to liquid to gas, over and over again.

Water treatment is the process of cleaning water. Treatment makes the water safe for people to drink. Because water is a good solvent, it picks up all sorts of natural pollutants. In nature, water is not always clean enough for people to drink. When the microscope was invented in the 1850s, germs could be seen in water for the first time. In 1902, Belgium was the first country to use chlorine to clean or treat water in a public water supply. Today, almost every city in the world treats their drinking water. Treatment includes disinfection with chlorine or other chemicals to kill any germs in the water. An example follows:

Posted by: combinedharvesters | August 23, 2012

Rainwater Harvesting in Uganda

Rainwater harvesting is a term for collecting, storing and using precipitation from rock out-crops, roofs and other surfaces. With only 64% of Ugandans having access to clean water, the Government should have a viable policy.

Though the Government has come up with water policies in the Poverty Eradication Action Plan, several reforms have to be initiated in the water sector if it’s to have a sustainable  and progressive impact

In countries like India and Malaysia, the government has come up with vibrant policies on water harvesting in fact, in the aforementioned jurisdictions, the legal instrument has been used to put rain water harvesting into practices amongst its citizens. In that context, Chennai province in India has succeeded with 98% of its citizens using rain water as an alternative to its main water supply but the most extensive rainwater harvesting programmes  to date has been implemented in the Ganzu province in China

Harvesting rainwater offers many advantages from conserving municipal and well water, its free its gravity fed systems conserve energy, its low in salts and good for plants. Notable also rainwater harvesting creates synergies by improving rain fed agriculture and enhancing productive landscapes. Rain fed agriculture alone provides nearly 60% of global food value on 72% of harvested land.

A legal policy for Uganda for instance would include rules, regulations, laws and codes as well as tools to maintain, create, or change behaviour this should be backed by judicial authority to prevent injurious actions against the public or those that are contrary to the public good, the ultimate goal of many guidelines being to ensure public safety to spur economic activity, or both. At all times, water quality fit for human use and recreation is an instance of both protecting the public health and valuing ecosystem integrity.

The Government would also need to consider steps in order to encourage the use and practice of rain water harvesting by offering subsidies to its public in order to encourage them install water harvesting systems given that the cost of installation, maintenance and usage of rain water is much higher than piped water.

This would also mean offering tax rebates to the home owners and other members of the public, who choose to participate in rainwater harvesting and also to the manufactures and supplies of rainfall harvesting systems or equipment.

Further, the government would educate and raise awareness among its populace through the relevant ministries and agencies. Former prime minister of Uganda Professor Apollo Nsibambi tried this when he was still in office but we are left to wonder what happened after.

By providing standardised guidelines, the Government would make it easier for consumers interested in installing rain water harvesting systems. Otherwise it pains to see volumes of water being lost whenever it rains. To me, rain water harvesting appears to be one of the most promising alternatives of supplying water in the face of increasing clean water crisis and its escalating demand.

Posted by: combinedharvesters | July 30, 2012

Planting a seed!

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.

Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.

Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however… He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.

Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right.

He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful — in all shapes and sizes.

Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front.

Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed – Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer! His name is Jim!”

Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed.

“How could he be the new CEO?” the others said.

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”

* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust.
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends.
* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness.
* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment.
* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective.
* If you plant hard work, you will reap success.
* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.
* If you plant faith in God , you will reap a harvest.

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later..

“Whatever You Give To Life, Life Gives You Back”

Posted by: combinedharvesters | July 27, 2012

Black dot

A small town chamber of commerce invited a speaker to address its annual dinner. The community’s economy was bad, people were discouraged, and they wanted this motivational speaker to give them a boost.

During her presentation, the speaker took a large piece of white paper and made a small black dot in the centre of it with a marking pen. Then she held the paper up before the group and ask them what they saw.

One person quickly replied, “I see a black dot.”

“Okay, what else do you see?”

Others joined in agreement : “A black dot.”

“Don’t you see anything besides the dot?” she asked.

A resounding “No” came from the audience.

“What about the sheet of paper?” asked the speaker. “I am sure you have all seen it”, she said, “But you have chosen to overlook it.”

“In life, we also tend to overlook and take for granted many wonderful things that we have or happen around us and focus our attention and energy on small, dotlike failures and disappointments. The so called ‘problems’ that we have are usually like the black dot on the paper. They are small and insignificant if we can widen our horizon and look at the whole picture.”

Are you one of the person who focus your attention and energy on dot-like problems?

Posted by: combinedharvesters | July 19, 2012

A turn of the screw

There was an industrialist whose production line inexplicably breaks down, costing him millions per day. He finally tracks down an expert who takes out a screwdriver, turns one screw, and then – as the factory cranks back to life – presents a bill for £10,000.

Affronted, the factory owner demands an itemised version. The expert is happy to oblige: “For turning a screw: £1. For knowing which screw to turn: £9,999.”

Posted by: combinedharvesters | July 13, 2012

Resin bonded stone …??

Early in the season of 1985, I was visited in my small office by a salesman who wanted to speak with me, as it turned out at length, about resin bonded stone and it’s capability of transforming the driveway, pathway and patio market. I was naturally sceptical, but we were at the stage of 3×2 and 2×2 flagstones being coloured and laid in a disgusting chequerboard fashion; of poor quality ill-fitting concrete setts and the like; so the product had its aesthetic merits. It was only the salesperson’s opening price point of £40.00 per square metre that prompted my question of whether he wished to leave my office vertically or horizontally.

Normality prevailed and we happily carried on Empire constructing!

Then the vultures got hold of the product, extolling that this resin bonded stone could magically be floated on a tarmac base coat, on existing concrete, in fact on any surface. Clearly as any professional knows the infinite eccentricities of base preparation are an art, a blend of elastomeric capabilities and drainage, of expansion and contraction  and of a respectful nod to mother nature’s weed population.

As I surveyed the hundreds of properties throughout the course of the following years and the thousands that I viewed independantly, a pattern of lifting stone, cloudy driveways and very disgruntled clients showed; resulting locally in a massive trading standards operation and some jail sentences for some of the parties involved.

We lifted countless installations and concluded that the whole process was worthless.

Then came along resin bonded stone……but porous and I must admit 25 years after my initial experience, viewing the display at Ecobuild that I was impressed. I like innovation and fully support moves that turn our once green and pleasant (free draining) land from a car-park back to a more natural state. Some aspects still bother me though:

  1. Wild allegations that a product is BRE approved are ridiculous, any porous surface or permeable surface is BRE approved or moreover attains BREEAM points by its nature, not its product name. Grass is BRE approved!
  2. Allusions to ‘patent protection’ are almost always an over-exaggeration and most often not approved rather than ‘applied for’. Patents apply to the ethos of a product, in this case with resin, it is more likely that the Acrylic bond has a patent pending, said patent being held by a chemist and almost certainly not by the company flogging installation.
  3. Base made from recycled tyres, OK but why? You still need to mix the tyres with an acrylic resin and again moreover, the equipment used to mix needs cleaning with solvents that are extremely un-environmentally friendly. To state that contractors would carefully collect said solvents to dispose of in an environmentally friendly manner again, is ridiculous. Picture the scene, the boss has gone home, it’s Friday, you are on job and knock….right, launch that behind that tree and let’s get off, human nature. So take away the base entirely, 70% less resin, 100% less labour, 50% less base hardcore using a plastic locking grid system that is environmentally neutral but costs less overall than the tyres base cost….no brainer.
  4. The top surface ‘agitates’ detritus through the surface to the base…….whhhaaat? Oh come on. Fines will work their way through if they are ‘fine’ enough, the clue is in the name, if not they won’t, surfaces get dirty-so what. Just don’t make hugely exaggerated claims for a surface  that make an entire argument one that seems dreamt up by Agatha Christie. Wild unsubstantiated general isms by individuals that pop in to a business for a quick buck and then leave when a new venture raises it’s head, usually leave the rest of us to answer for these stupid allegations, having to back up and re-convince an already sceptical client.

So, to conclude. My humble opinion is that the product is or appears to me to be really good, there I said it……….. when the surface is laid on top of Ecogrid, (the European market leader in it’s field for over seven years now) of course which gives it:

  • Base strength required whilst maintaining elastomeric qualities
  • Vast reduction in the use of expensive acrylics and subsequent thinners
  • Porosity without the weather conditions needing to be favourable to lay the base
  • Reduced excavation required therefore less expense of spoil to landfill
  • Far greater load bearing capabilities
  • A useable and load bearing surface throughout an installation
  • No need for edge restraints whilst infinite possibilities for angles or curves

And it seems that at least a dozen of the larger porous resin bound stone suppliers and installers agree with me…welcome aboard, together we can offer aesthetic porous and permanent permeability. OH and we have free CPD classes held weekly in our educational on-site facility and finally our brochures, CPD, stands, stickers, referrals, lead generation cost nothing, nowt, zilch, nada , pas rien….except of course, a little time.

Posted by: combinedharvesters | July 11, 2012

The paradox of our time

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more experts, yet more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life, not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; big men, and small character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember to say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak, and give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Posted by: combinedharvesters | June 27, 2012

It’s often a question of perspective

A woman was waiting at an airport one night, with several long hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shops, bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, that the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be. . .grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between, which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.

So she munched the cookies and watched the clock, as the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock. She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by, thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”

With each cookie she took, he took one too, when only one was left, she wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half.

He offered her half, as he ate the other, she snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother. This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude, why he didn’t even show any gratitude!

She had never known when she had been so galled, and sighed with relief when her flight was called. She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate, refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat, then she sought her book, which was almost complete. As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise, there was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.

If mine are here, she moaned in despair, the others were his, and he tried to share. Too late to apologize, she realized with grief, that she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.

Posted by: combinedharvesters | June 25, 2012

Dont quit !

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but do not quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

Posted by: combinedharvesters | June 22, 2012

What goes around……comes around.

One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was those chills which only fear can put in you. He said, “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.”

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.
As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.

Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.
He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, “And think of me.”
He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.

After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.

There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.”
Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard….
She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, “Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.”

There is an old saying “What goes around comes around.”

Older Posts »