By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
Valentine’s Day is almost here and if you are like me, you are frantically trying to decide what to give a loved one. But before you decide, please put some thought into your choice.
But first, did you know that the occasion actually started back during the Roman Empire? The poet Chaucer changed the perception with flowery poetry and turned it into one of the most popular days to give flowers. There is a lot of symbolism around the type, color, and number of flowers that are given, but rather than going into all that, I want to provide you with some ideas about the types of flowers to give and how flowers should be cared for.
Roses are the most popular flower given for Valentine’s Day, but did you realize that tulips are the second most popular? Don’t rule out giving a live plant (or even a potted flowering plant) that can be kept indoors and/or moved outside once the weather warms up. I like live plants because they can be enjoyed all year, not just on this special day, but an avid gardener might simply enjoy a gardening gift. Below are a few guidelines which will make live flowers last longer.
Water is vital. Keep the vase or floral foam soaked with water at all times. Add fresh water daily and use warm water as this speeds uptake. If the water turns cloudy, replace it immediately with fresh water. If possible, re-cut rose stems every day by removing one to two inches. Use a sharp knife and if at all possible, this cut should be made under water and at an angle as this allows the stem to draw in water instead of air.
Keep Valentine’s flowers cool. Warm temperatures shorten the life of the blooms. Avoid direct sunlight and heating vents. Did you know that warm air from ceiling fans will cause the flowers to fade, so avoid a down draft? Appliances like TV’s and computers also give off heat causing the flowers to dry out.
Use a floral trick for wilted or droopy flowers. If the flowers start to wilt, remove the stem from the arrangement and re-cut the stem. Next, submerge the entire flower in warm water. Leave it in the water for one to two hours. This treatment should perk the flowers up and extend its life for a couple of more days. This trick works well for cut roses.
Take special care of flowers wrapped in paper or a box. If you give loose stems of flowers, keep them cool as long as possible before delivering them to your loved one. If you receive loose stem flowers, fill a clean vase with water and add flower food from a florist. Follow packet instructions for mixing. Before placing the stems in the vase, remove all foliage that will be below the waterline because leaves in water promote bacterial growth which decreases the life of the flowers. Re-cutting the stems under water with a sharp knife is recommended before placing in the vase.
Potted plants and bulbs are also a popular gift. Like arrangements, keep potted flowering plants in a cool location and avoid heat drafts or dry air to make the color last longer. Most indoor plants will require even a little moisture so check the soil daily and add water if the soil is dry to the touch, but do not let the plants stand in water as this will harm the root system.
If you have any questions about caring for flowers and plants, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office. Happy Valentine’s Day!
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McCAYSVILLE, Ga. – UPDATE: In addition to McCaysville water customers, the city of Copperhill has issued a boil advisory for its water customers. According to Amber Brooks, city clerk for Copperhill, the advisory stems from low levels in the city’s water tank. Brooks added the city is hauling water from the Copper Basin Utility District water system in Ducktown, Tennessee, to fill the city tank.
Water customers of the city of McCaysville, which supplies water to the Copperhill water system, also remain under a boil advisory that was originally issued Friday.
McCAYSVILLE, Ga. – The Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) announced a boil advisory Friday, Jan. 5, for McCaysville water customers.
“Due to freezing pipes and low tank levels, all customers on the McCaysville Water System are under a boil advisory until further notice,” the Fannin EMA advisory read.
The McCaysville water system has experienced water main breaks in the past few days due to extremely cold temperatures. This, along with customers leaving faucets dripping overnight to prevent freezing, has led to low tank levels at the city’s water system tank.
Continue to follow FetchYourNews for updates on the water situation in the twin cities.
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – New details have surfaced concerning Tuesday evening’s water outage in downtown Blue Ridge.
According to Rebecca Harkins, director of Blue Ridge Water and Sewer department, a contractor doing a road bore beneath state Route 515 near East Highland Street in an effort to install a two-inch water service line struck and ruptured a six-inch water main line Tuesday afternoon.
Harkins stated the incident occurred when the bore struck an unknown line under Hwy. 515 as it was being backed out. She added that the ruptured water main was eight-feet deep below at least a foot of pavement and was not detected by sonar equipment last week during preliminary work site preparations.
Water service was restored to affected customers at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning as crews removed a portion of pavement near the shoulder of Hwy. 515 to access the point of rupture, Harkins stated. Later Wednesday, the two-inch line water line was successfully installed and clean up of the site began.
Harkins said Johnson Paving will perform the pavement repair on the roadway after the clean up process is completed.
“The city of Blue Ridge would like to thank all of the utility crews that worked till 1:30 a.m. in the freezing temperatures to make sure water was restored to the customers. The city would also like to thank Holloway Trenching for stopping by and offering help,” Harkins said of the repair and clean up efforts.
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McCAYSVILLE, Ga. – UPDATE: Amber Brooks, city clerk for the city of Copperhill, confirmed Saturday, Jan. 20, that the water boil advisory for Copperhill, Tennessee, water customers has been lifted after bacteriological tests have ensured the safety the town’s water.
On Friday, McCaysville lifted its own boil advisory for its water customers following sampling and testing from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), which found that system’s water to be safe for consumption without boiling.
According to the Fannin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) alert system, the water boil advisory for McCaysville water customers has been lifted by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD). McCaysville water customers may now consume water without having to boil it first to ensure its safety.
As for Copperhill, Tennessee, which receives its water from the McCaysville water system, City Clerk Amber Brooks stated a boil advisory remains in effect for that town’s water customers as Copperhill has only been able to pump a limited amount of water from the McCaysville system and water from the Copperhill water tanks has not yet been sampled and tested.
Continue to follow FetchYourNews for updates on the water situation in the twin cities.
Well Water Testing
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
For the most part, north Georgia did not see extreme flooding as a result of hurricane Irma as did other areas of the state, but it does bring to mind the importance of well safety. Wells that were overtopped by flood waters need to be flushed and tested for bacteria because of the potential danger of contaminants being washed into the well. UGA Extension Water Resource Management and Policy Specialist Gary Hawkins recommends pumping and flushing a minimum of 2 or 3 times the well volume to clear the system. This water should be discarded from an outside faucet and not from an inside faucet to bypass the home’s septic tank. After pumping the water, the well should be shock chlorinated then the well should be flushed again until there is no smell of chlorine bleach and, like before, the flushing step should be done through an outdoor faucet to bypass the septic system. This highly chlorinated water, if discharged to the septic tank, could cause problems with the bacterial colonies in the septic tank.
After the well is shock-chlorinated, flushed and the chlorine smell is gone (about two weeks), the well water should be tested for bacteria. Families can get their well water tested using their local county UGA Extension office. Until the test for bacteria comes back, Hawkins strongly suggests that water for cooking or drinking be boiled before consumption. If the well contains bacteria the report will explain how to treat the well.
To calculate the volume of water that should be pumped from a well, use the following calculation. Most of the well casings in this area are 6 inches so the factor for that size is 1.47. That means that there are 1.47 gallons of water for every foot in depth. Multiply the depth of water in the well by this factor to determine how much water is in the well. If your casing is not 6 inches, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office and we can get the right factor.
There are several methods to determine how much water you have flushed out, but the one that I use is to calculate how long it takes to fill a 5 gallon bucket. Divide that time by 5 to get the output per minute. Using this figure you can determine how many minutes you need to run the water to flush the number of gallons of water that was determined in the previous calculation. A couple of methods can be used to determine the depth of water in a well. If you can see the water in the well, lower a heavy object tied to a string down the well and measure the length of the string until you see the object touch the water. In a deep well, lower a heavy object like above until you hear the object hit the water and measure the length of string. If you cannot see the object hit the water, another way (but less accurate) is to drop a small stone into the well and count or time the seconds it takes for the stone to hit the water (you will have to listen closely for this.) Multiply the number of seconds by 32.2 and that will let you know how far the water is below the surface. Knowing the depth of the well and the depth from surface, subtract the two to get the height of the water column for calculating the volume of water in the well.
An example of this calculation is if you have a well that is 300 feet deep and the water level is 25 feet from the surface, subtracting 25 from 300 equals 275 which means you have 275 feet of water in the well. Multiply 275 by 1.47 to get the gallons in the well. That figure is 404.25 gallons. Using a factor of 3 pints per 100 gallons, you would need to apply a little over 12 pints of chlorine bleach in the well.
If you have any questions about this process or for more information on well water testing, contact me at the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
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I think we all breathed a sigh of relief when Irma came through Blue Ridge doing relatively little damage. But, what if it had lived up to all the dire predictions? Would the city have been ready?
We know that our emergency management team works hard to ensure readiness when needed. You may have seen them performing practice drills that encompass a variety of possible disaster situations. It is comforting to know we have a fine group of men and women at the ready when we need them.
But, is our city infrastructure ready for the next disaster? We have seen the flooding on Ada Street and on W. Main Street after it rains. One can only imagine the damage that would be done to property in the event of a major weather event. And how difficult would it be for our emergency responders to get to people in need if the roads are impassable?
If elected, one of my first priorities will be to address our outdated infrastructure. We need to know what, where, and why we are having these issues.
Once we have answered those questions, we move on to how we are going to remedy the situation. These are hard questions that will require hard answers, and elected officials that are willing to tackle these issues.
Our city is beautiful, indeed. We have lovely public spaces, a fine playground, a renovated train depot. Our newly completed downtown streetscape makes our city even more tourist friendly. All these are reasons that Blue Ridge is included in so many “best of” articles.
But, it won’t matter how beautiful our city looks if it is not built on a sound infrastructure. We must address this issue now, or pay the consequences later.
Your vote for me will be a vote for someone not afraid to tackle the tough issues!
Blue Ridge, GA. There is a water emergency in the City of Blue Ridge. The city has requested all city residents to please conserve water until further notice. Please do not wash cars, water lawns, or use any water which isn’t absolutely necessary.
Fannin EMA: Blue Ridge Water System is experiencing problems with both pumps at the treatment plant and supplies of water in storage tanks are beginning to get low. All non-essential water usage should be stopped until further notice. A BOIL WATER ORDER has been put into effect by the City of Blue Ridge. Officials are working on getting water tankers to several locations where customers can pick up water in their own containers until the problem is resolved and we will post those locations when available. For updates on the situation, please visit the City of Blue Ridge Facebook page or call 706-632-2091, ext. 1. Thank you for your patience.