Friday, November 05, 2021

Tiny fir trees

These are the flower heads atop those magenta-colored stems I posted yesterday. To me, they look like little fir trees. I wonder if they'll get festooned with teeny-tiny decorations as the holidays approach? I'll keep my eye on them.

I wonder what they are.

A funny thing happened a couple of days ago. A very young man stopped at the house and said he was sent by the water company to test our tap water. We had no communications from the water people that this was going to happen. I said uh, umm, ok, come on in, and showed him to the laundry sink in the utility room. He had a backpack, a kind of briefcase with some electronic equipment inside, and a six-pack sized blue plastic cooler. I stood and watched as he took a blow torch from the backpack and used it on the faucet's spout. I asked if he was sterilizing the spout. Yes, to kill any random bacteria. Duh. Then he let the water run a little before filling up about half a dozen plastic bottles of various sizes. The little ones, the size of test tubes, he inserted into some machine in the briefcase that did something or other. I have no idea what. He emptied a couple and kept a couple, labeling them and scanning them with a hand-held device, also from inside the briefcase. He labelled the larger bottles and packed them into the cooler. He was very methodical.

When he finished, about ten minutes later, he asked to verify our address and the name on our account. He explained that his company was a contractor to the water company and that they go all over the service area randomly testing the water. This was the first time they had come to our hamlet. Indeed, no one has asked to test our water in the eighteen years we've lived here. Ken and I were very suspicious about the whole thing, thinking that any day we would get some kind of offer to "fix" our pipes to filter out nasty contaminants for some ghastly sum. So, yesterday, I called the water company to see exactly what was going on. They said not to worry, this was normal and on the up and up. The guy was indeed working for their contractor to randomly test tap water throughout our area and was authorized to do so. I thanked the woman on the phone and told her I felt reassured. So that's that.


  1. I would have been very alert and alarmed at an unannounced water testing visit. You should have been notified in advance.

    1. In France? You are joking.... they don't think of such things!!

  2. Couldn’t comment on my iPad yesterday. I loved the magenta stems, but these with growth on them are even more stunning. I guess we’ll have to find out what they are. That guy who first said he was from the water company and after said his company was a contractor would have concerned me. I probably wouldn’t even have let him in since there was no notice of the visit. Very odd. Glad you phoned and got confirmation. They sure didn’t manage that well.

  3. Interesting.... he's got an interesting job.... they do seem to be very "up" on water quality;
    around here we now get a quality statement every 6mnths rather than every two years.

    Your plant with the red stems is Many-seeded Goosefoot [Chenopodium pollyspermum], a plant of waste ground/ disturbed soil/ field edges... in French, Chénopode a graines nombreuses.

  4. Didn't the water-tester have any kind of official ID?
    Now that I've seen the tiny fir trees on top of the magenta stems and -- I got nuthin'.
    Honestly, they look like something for seasonal sale in the dollar store.

  5. andrew, I agree. A simple notification in advance would have been helpful.

    mitch, his truck was blazoned with the company's name and he sounded sincere, not sneaky. No excuse for not being careful, I know.

    judy, indeed!

    tim, oh, thanks!

    emm, no ID, but I didn't ask. Oops.


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