Our ‘not very well’ water

Where liquids and test results are concerned, we’re not having much luck! Our wine has turned out to be less of a Bonarda and more of a ‘Bonar-don’t’ and we’ve finally got the results back on our water sample from our well. A two page document in Italian listing the various tests carried out, and alongside these, the result of each test and a column detailing the maximum permitted amount of each element. All was looking good until we got to the bottom of page one and we noticed that our result figure was a lot larger than the permitted figure … and the word ‘batteri’ (bacteria) in the test name … oh!

So a trip to the ‘lab’ was in order to try and understand the problem and, more importantly, to find a solution. We’d already had a couple of revelations on our journey there – Number one: the water has been sitting in the well, unused, for a very long time so hasn’t been circulated, and we’d been dipping our bucket into probably only the top few inches. Number two: the bucket we’d been using to get the water out of the well was one that we’d found in the house, an old metal bucket, that probably hasn’t seen a drop of Cif for years. And Number three: when we first investigated the well after receiving the keys to the house, the first bucket of water we pulled out contained a dead salamander … supposedly a sign of clean water, but our analysis results now begged to differ. At the ‘lab’ we were also offered the helpful suggestion that there could be a dead animal up in the waterways of the valley above us, adding an unexpected ‘sapore’ (taste) to our water and mucking up the results … literally!

After returning to the car, clutching three small sterile containers in which to resubmit our water sample, we discussed our plan of action. We would borrow a submersible pump (it’s very handy having a friend who owns a campsite with a swimming pool) so we could circulate and change the standing water in the well and we would buy a small metal pan, sterilise it by boiling it and then use that to collect what should be a much more realistic sample of water. The final element could prove to be a bit more tricky … heading off into the midsts of the Bormida Valley with a couple of broken twigs swaying in our hands to try and find an underground spring with a dead animal leaching into it, but hopefully we won’t have to resort to that!

And we have the possibility of a third ‘liquid’ in our lives – the liquid gold … honey. I mentioned in my first post that we had a wasps nest … the little blighters come out of a crack in the wall upstairs next to an old, blocked up window whenever the sun shines, but the little blighters now look like they could be honey bees, so I shall stop calling them little blighters. After doing a bit of research on the internet it seems that most honey bees stem from Italian bees in the first place, so they should be right at home here! But the next step will be to try and encourage them, along with their queen, into a new box so we can relocate them into a hive onto one of our front ‘fascia’ where they can enjoy the sunshine and the flowers on the fruit trees in Spring. We already know of a couple of places nearby that keep bees and sell honey so we shall be popping in soon to see if we can get some advice … (and of course I’ve already got my white bee-keeping suit and a smoker saved on my Amazon wish list!)

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