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Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Finding the Croft Uranium Mine – Ontario

Between 1953 and 1955 Croft Uranium Mines worked the area for radioactive minerals. They found betafite, uranite, uranothorite, allanite and pyrochlore. Their appearance is flagged in the pegmatite by a dark red color and quartz that has darkened to a grayish-black. There are also said to be small pink garnets in the gneiss and larger specimens in the pegmatite – some reaching up to 3 centimeters in diameter.

A couple of hundred meters along the mine road I got Maggie to pull over in a little clearing and I continued on foot, leaving her there with the understanding that I would be back as soon as I had found the mine and explored the dumps. She had Shaka with her for company and I had my whistle that I tooted on intermittently so as not to walk unexpectedly into a hunter’s ambush. The whistle also served the dual purpose of letting bears know of my presence as the bush was thick and close to the path and I had no wish to meet the “mother of all bears” in a circumstance of mutual surprise.

The road dropped steeply down into a valley and I soon realized that leaving the car above was a wise move. There was nowhere to turn around, the ruts got deeper, and the track was soon entirely underwater. Beavers had built a stick and mud palisade that held back a stinking organic tidal wave that would one day inundate the swamp below. As for the road, forget it. I climbed across on logs and waded knee-deep in mud, thinking what it might be like during bug season (What looks like a stream in front of the beaver dam is actually the mine road).

On the other side of the beaver dam the track began a slow and steady climb upward. I noticed the appearance of crushed granite where I walked and of course the telltale patches of eastern hemlock. These trees tend to grow in clusters wherever the natural forest has been disturbed. They tell you where to look for hidden human habitation.

I soon discovered the mine dumps on my left and in a marshy gully I unexpectedly found the adit.

 

See another abandoned uranium mine in Ontario …  here or my trip to the Sarnac Zircon Mines  … here (where we were again terrorized by the possibility of being eaten by bears

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Before and After Tree Planting

Looks a bit like before and after crack!

It seems that there is a lot of controversy and speculation about the worth of a summer tree planting experience, I believe it did me good. I refer you to the above two pictures as evidence.

A friend of mine sent me a video on the worth of a tree planting experience.I believe there is one especially truthful part. In suggesting the worth of a tree planting experience the counter-point argument goes something like  this; “In seeing your crew, you will initially wonder who let the freaks out of the circus, but after spending months in the bush with the same filthy degenerates while being shunned by the rest of society your brain will trick you into thinking that everyone looks like Brad Pitt in “Legends of the Fall”.

See tree planting video here … Tree planting video

In many respects it is quite accurate, but I do argue the point about the ability to make money. The video suggests that in your first year you end up owing the company money, that is possible, but if you have a decent straight-up company I can’t see that happening. Reputation is important – ensure you get references from many other planters who have worked for the same company that you intend to plant for.

YOU CAN MAKE MONEY IF YOU WORK HARD, BUT AS IN LIFE YOU DON’T GET MONEY FOR FREE, YOU GOTTA WORK FOR IT!

See my post on how tree planting works  here … Tree planting in Northern Ontario

See what happens when things go wrong here …  Lighten up a bit won’t you

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Behave Yourself! – Rockwatching Blogging Protocal

 

scan0001, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Well, Rockwatching has been up and running for a number of years now (5 to be exact) and I believe it has contributed significantly to the interest of people like myself who like caving, rocks, the outdoors, gems and minerals in Ontario.

We are just a few short days from 2011 and I believe it’s high time we made some resolutions -all of us  (you my loyal fellow bloggers as well).

So in the interests of all involved a few ground rules to follow on Rockwatching from now on

1) Lets not carry a personal vendetta onto this site which is meant to be a forum where like minded enthusiasts can interact in a positive way.
2) Lets respect each other and try not to get personal when we are frustrated.
3) Lets respect the basics of conservation and eco-minded thought.
4) Lets not assume stuff we don’t know for sure (hence the survey at the bottom of the post).
5) Lets keep in mind that this is all about enjoyment.
6) Lets keep in mind that just because the topic is on the table, every single aspect that pertains to it is not an open book.
7) Lets respect people who are not on the site, private property, reputations etc. Just because there is discussion of a site or feature does not mean permission has been granted to go there.

8) Lets not get petty, self righteous or important. Stop correcting my grammar, spelling or use of terms. I am a writer at heart and so I believe I can use the language as I please (providing it’s in good taste, or if I choose, not in good taste).

9) Lets not waste my time by having to re-direct you to one of the above rules.

Happy and prosperous 2011 – Mick

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Scotch, whiskey, whisky or whatever you want to call it

Anne Gordon kindly offers this post as a special guest blogger, she is a national travel writer, having written for every major newspaper in Canada and many others across the world; she is also a member of TMAC. The following post is one on a subject that I find especially appealing – scotch!

“For centuries in the hills and highlands of Scotland, pure spring water, malted barley and yeast, together with the distinctive smoke of peat, have given the Scots an alcoholic experience finer than any other. Called ‘Uisge Beathe’ ( the ‘water of life’) in earlier days, Scotland’s most favoured drink is now more widely known as whisky.

Introduced to the country folk by Christian monks centuries ago, the art of distilling started out in hidden bothies (roughly made shelters) in the hills. It was a precarious operation. The distillers spent a great deal of their time dismantling the tubes and cans of their trade and fleeing whenever word reached them that the Customs men were close on their heels.

Today those small beginnings have flourished, providing Scotland and the Scots with an industry that has greatly enhanced the country’s economy. Worldwide whisky exports now exceed 1 billion bottles a year, an income of more that $4.7 billion.”

See more of Anne’s posts on her visits to various distilleries here

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Me teaching the use of the GPMG – the student not listening all that well

Well – You might wonder what any of these topics have to do with caving – not much I guess except its on my caving blog.

I’ve been on a train the trainer course for the last few days in Etobicoke at the THSAO, now amalgamated with several other companies under a larger company that is somehow linked to both the Government and the construction industry.

The quality of instruction is outstanding (thanks Ivan!) and the end result is that I will have completed a course in principles of instruction (POET). Being in health and safety for a living, I would suggest the course to anyone who teaches for a living. After this initial 3 day course I am then taking their reach truck instructors course.

I did my practical presentation today – that went OK, glad to get it done with as it’s always a little stressful when you are being judged. I taught on the 4 basic principles of a safety culture.

As you can see by the above picture (me kneeling in the foreground, I think I’ve got instruction in my blood. This was 25 years ago when I was a British soldier. As you can see, I am teaching the use of the GPMG to the soldier of another country (guess which one). This guy just couldn’t grasp the concept of 3-4 round bursts – then again it was hard to explain as neither one of us spoke the same language. I remember that I physically grabbed the belt and broke it off when he went Rambo on me. The rounds were going everywhere.

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Be careful – Ontario caves

IMG_8233, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

Just a word (2) to would-be cavers – “airborne pathogens!”

I suppose I suspected the worst at my very first breath. I think I wrote something about 6 weeks ago about exploring an underground shelf that was heaped with animal feces to either side of my crawlway. I cant say it was necessarily the most pleasant section of underground terrain that I have ever travelled , but it was the end result that I had in mind.

As I was crawling along I was certainly breathing in some kind of fungus or spores – I could feel it – like that smell of damp freshly turned earth. And as I breathed there was this feeling that left your throat tickling. Anyway when I got home I told my wife that if I came down with something “lung related” and was unable to express myself to the doctor she was to suggest to them that I had breathed in something from the caves. I know of several cave air related illnesses – histoplasmosis and hauntavirus spring immediatly to mind – but those are associated with more southerly environments (it makes for interesting reading if you follow up on the internet).

Anyway – sure enough, about 3 days later I started coughing with a dry rasping choking feeling. It got so bad that I could not sleep at night. I have for the last month slept 3 hours max each night and upright at that! Every time I lay down I felt like I was choking and would cough myself until I was almost vomiting. Aside from the fact that my family doctor has retired and a cough at emerg usually takes 8 hours to get attention I left the situation to run its course for at least 3 weeks. I realize you must be thinking that I am missing a few brain cells – guilty as charged!

At six o clock one morning one week ago today I could take it no more and headed in to hospital. There was one guy in the waiting room and they managed to see me by 09:30am. I can imagine the wait if there had been 2 or 3 people in the waiting room. The doctor was very helpful though and on a prescription of steroid puffers and zithromax I am vastly improved.

Above is a picture of the entrance to a tunnel that we were investigating this past weekend. I had been there before but for the tunnel’s water filled appearance just kind of wrote it off as interesting but going nowhere for me. (I still keep caving despite the lungs) Today the tunnel was water free and Jeff and I crawled in some short distance to feel air flow. (picture to follow soon)

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