Articles (Blog)
Posted on August 4, 2017 7:00 AM by Mark Conde
Categories: Home Technology
Many of us have had enough of paying escalating prices for TV services like DirecTV. If you are like Karen and I we only watched around 5 channels of the 800+ we had on DirecTV.  So we started on a mission to find a better solution. This article is to share what we ended up doing and we saved considerable money a long the way.
 
In the old days we just needed a nice TV antenna and all the channels we wanted were available. Then all the over the air channels went digital and our TVs didn’t work any more. Now we can get TVs with Digital tuners (called an ATSC tuner) and work well with over the air. That is IF you can get a signal. We started here and found that we could use a HDTV antenna with an amplifier to get at least 13 channels from Chattanooga. We are on Beacon Hill but still get a decent signal when the outside antenna is pointed NNW at 315 degrees. I cant guarantee that all locations in Five Forks will be the same.
 
The antenna that I have found works very well is the ClearStream 4V Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna with the Mount - 70 Mile Range. You can find it on Amazon and other online sources as well as stores like BestBuy. I found it easiest to buy direct from the supplier being Antennas Direct. I like this antenna because it picks up both the VHF and UHF channels.
 
 
Now to keep a strong signal you will need an amplifier. I have great performance using the Channel Master CM 3412 2-port ultra mini distribution amplifier. The two port will feed two TVs in the house.
Here is where you can get it on Amazon: http://a.co/h3MTbfq
 
Now what about the lines getting back to the TVs? Remember all those lines we ran to the DirecTV boxes? First, take the DirecTV boxes and do something rude to them out of revenge. Then just hook those cable lines directly up to your TV and the other end to the amplifier. That’s all you need!
 
The final step is to auto search for all the Air channels on your TV.
Posted on August 3, 2017 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
Categories: Crafts
 
 
 
Posted on August 3, 2017 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
Mark brought up a good point while I was dreaming about geraniums...how fast do the deer eat them?  
I guessed:  as fast as you can plant them.  Not true!!
 
I've learned a few things...
 
They generally don't eat strongly scented plants, like geraniums.  Also consider growing:
    Rosemary, oregano, marigolds, lavender, verbena, lemon balm, lemongrass.
Other plants on the deer dislike menu are:
    Columbine, coneflower, peonies, foxglove, holly, rhododendron.
I'm sure there are others, but this list may help.
 
Of course, you can fence your plants, or apply stinky spray, but you can also plant away from tree lines and hedgerows and other places you see the deer hanging out.  I have a friend who just plants extra because she knows they are going to be eaten.  And truthfully, when deers' natural food sources aren't available, they'll eat anything, (read:  everything).
 
They WERE here first, and we do love seeing them up close,
so we just need to be smarter than they are:  plant what they don't like.  ????
Posted on August 2, 2017 8:00 AM by Gerry Trout
I've never written a blog before, but it IS 2017, and it's time to move forward into the world of technology.
 
Not much to do in the garden in August, so I'll ramble a bit.  That's what you do in a blog, right?
 
My earliest experience in horticulture was a part time job in Mr. McGee's greenhouses.  I learned a lot about planting, watering, and weeding.  But mostly I dead headed geraniums.  I love them!  To this day, 47 years later, the smell of geraniums takes me back to that little place on Tidewater Drive in Norfolk, Virginia.
 
Mr. McGee was a bit crusty, dirt everywhere of course, but he taught me many valuable things.
 
He said, In the world of Horticulture, if you're not moving forward, you're moving backward, because there's no such thing as standing still.
 
I guess that applies to many areas of life.  So here I go:  moving forward!!
Posted on July 23, 2017 7:53 AM by Mark Conde
Categories: Home Technology
Well water naturally has bacteria and other microscopic organisms in it. We monitor it to make sure there are acceptable levels and occasionally the levels can rise and fall due to a number of conditions.  Variance in contamination from septics, run off from farms, and well efficiency changes can introduce these bacteria in the water from time to time. Our well services vendors will do things to make sure the wells are working correctly and shocking the water occasionally when numbers are up solves the problem as well.
 
How can you significantly reduce the bacteria in your water to get through these “bloom” periods?  We have installed an in-line Ultra Violet (UV) filter and use finer micron filter cartridges in our house to  kill anything that does get to our water supply. Combining this with finer micron water filters you can reduce most if not all live bacteria from entering your plumbing.
 
We first asked the question was bacteria getting through the system and showing up in the plumbing in our house? We found this test kit that I have used to test for all contaminants from Amazon. We have used it in two homes we have lived in here at Murphy and it seems to work well and its quick with no need to send water anywhere.

Watersafe WS425W Well Water Test Kit .......
 
 
In another neighborhood we had a home here in murphy, that had wells that went in around the early 80s. The water test did show some bacteria coming through. So we put in a UV filter and it eliminated the problem and gave us peace of mind that when a bloom did occur we remained protected. I did not write this article to sell UV filters nor do I have stock in the company :) but we have found that is worked for us and wanted to share our experience. We did not have bacteria in our water here in Five Forks but added  an UV filter inline anyway.
 
Here is what our systems looks like here in Five Forks. We had it installed by Christian Plumbing
You may not see how the lines run but it in installed after the filter. Which make sure that no turbid water goes through the UV filter reducing it impact to the bacteria.  Notice the numbers on the control box it is connected to. That tells me how many more days of UV bulb life I have left.
 
The UV bulb does need to be replaced after running for a years number of hours because it drops in efficiency over time. I find replacements on Amazon for my model and can do it myself.
 
This is an addition you can do yourself with a little plumbing skill but, in my case, I appreciated the help from a local plumber. The two critical things for me were that the plumbing was run correctly and the right size filter was chosen to allow for the proper flow of water. Costs to purchase and install one of these runs around $600. The cost for a replacement bulb ranges from $30-$80 depending on the unit you install.
 
We can talk more about bacteria in another blog but there is a great deal of information out on the web on this and well water.
Posted on July 21, 2017 8:15 AM by Mark Conde
The web site is designed to provide as much useful information that we can provide flowing through the web master and from the board. The other, and even more significant, value of the web site is to connect all of you! That means opening up “channels” to share great things between us, providing a neighborhood private way to talk about our business together, and find each other for fun or to just discover how wonderful our neighbors really are.
 
Here is a list of the many areas you can add to the web site and contribute. Never be afraid to put things in there. Nothing will break and you have control to remove or edit your additions if you wish. I tend to have to do that at times because my typing is so bad that many things end up misspelled :).
 
Find your friends….
The Resident Directory is the place to find each other, but it is so much more..
In the Resident Directory you have complete control over your personal profile. We encourage you to add things about yourself so others can find you based on what you like to do, interests, where you live and others parameters. Again, this is only seen by neighbors in Five Forks. No one on the outside can access this information. One of the really cool features is your ability to create your own set of photo albums! 
 
To find each other there is a search function built in at the top of the directory. Consider you might want to go find all of those folks who like to get together to jam. Many of those folks may have selected being part of the “Music” group. You can search for all of them! Maybe you want to know who has interests in wood working. You can search the “Interests” field to find “wood” for example. Also note that at the top right of the residents directory page you can print out a copy of the entire directory so you can read it later offline! Since you folks keep this updated its as new as it possibly can be. There will be another posing later to go further on how to use this “Search” feature.
 
The Calendar….
The calendar wil have all the board meetings, annual meetings, and picnics in it and anything else the board wants to make sure you know about. You can add events to this as well. If we forget to remind everyone when the Folks School” annual event is coming up put an entry in.
 
Homes for sale….
This is a nice feature to add promotion to the properties we are selling that is tied to all the great things external folks can see on our web site. If you are selling a lot or a house put an entry in here. This can be seen by outsiders.
 
Classifieds….
Only neighbors can see these classifieds. You want to sell that great chain saw you just dont use anymore? I bet you can find a neighbor who can put it to good use. Let everyone know what you have for sale or might even want to donate something to a good cause. For now we have this internal only. The board was not sure we wanted this to be a way to encourage external folks to come into the neighborhood but do give feedback on how you want to use this service.
 
Vendors and Services area...
Only neighbors can see this and contribute to this. We all need to find that great handyman at times and its often hard to know which one to trust. This will allow you to let al the rest of us know of a compnay or someone you have gotten services from and really liked them. It works in two parts. The section you enter the name and information about the peson and the company which you do once. Then ther is an area where anyone who have used them can comment on their experience and even give them a rating! This is an internal only list so we can be honest but respectful on our reviews :)
 
The Message Board…
Now this is a fun place to hang out. This is an neighbors only area so we can “talk” to each other. There are categories in place for various topics but you can open up a discussion in any one of them and then others can comment. You can share attachments like a document you found to share as well. Of course we have some basic rules of respect that we dont flame or offer feedback that is not constructive in nature :)  Thisis also a great place to “alert” everyone with a message. If you saw a questionable animal out acting odd in the daylight for example, I would want to know about it. You can “subscribe” to the message board so it will automatically email you if a new posting is made too.
 
Reviews…
I am always wondering if I should go to that new movie thats out down in Blairsville or at the Hen. This is where we can tell each other what we liked so I dont waste my money on that 3000th remake of a Christmas story :)
 
Recipies...
Ok who does not want to brag about their culinary skill and share Grandmothers secret ingredients???
 
Blog..
You can be an author for the Blog. Just request access from the webmaster (Sam). But you can comment and add information to articles in the Blog. This is an area for us to tell stories and teach each other. Do become a contributor.
 
Voting online and Surveys..
From time to time we will be able to take surveys on topics concerning the neighborhood. The broad plans on using this to do online voting for thise who can take advantage of this. Some times we may be surveying everyone to see what the prevailing though is on a proposed business action.
 
And really anywhere you can strike up a conversation with the web master if you want to contribute to a section.
 
Jump in and play with all of this.. 
Posted on July 19, 2017 9:26 AM by Mark Conde
Categories: Computers
This is actually very easy. Here are the various ways to do it depending upon what computer operating system, tablet, or smart phone you are using.
 
Windows (PC) 
Move your cursor over to the Windows desktop and right click the screen to see a popup window. Find the “New” link and the “Short cut” submenu.
 
Click the “Short cut” entry and then enter the name of the web site.
 
Now click “Next” and It will ask for the name of the short cut. Enter FiveForksNC and hit “Finish”.
There you go! You now have an icon that goes directly to the site!
 
OSX (Apple)
There are a number of ways to “save” a web address to an icon on your Apple PC but the quickest way is to simply go to the www.fiveforksnc.com web site in one of your browsers, like Safari, and click the web address bar until you see a little icon next to the web address on the left. Then click, holding down the mouse key, just to the left of the web address on that little icon and drag it over to your desktop. There you have it! An icon that will go directly to the web site!
 
Apple iPad Tablet and iPhone
This also easy to do but you do need to look for a special function to create the app icon for you. Go to the www.fiveforksnc.com web site in the Safari browser on your iPad or iPhone.
 
Then look for the icon at the top that looks like a square with an arrow through it. In the popup box click on the “Add to Home Screen”
 
Then accept the default name of the new App Icon or change it to what you want. I would make it FiveForksNC and then click “Add”.
There you go! Now you have an app on your screen that goes right to the web site. In the example it’s a web site for nasty snakes in NC :)
 
 
Android tablets and phones
The Android based phones have a similar feature in their browsers to save an icon to the desktop.
Go here to see a video how to do it..
 
Posted on July 16, 2017 9:52 PM by Mark Conde
Have you head the foxes calling to each other? T
his will help you know what they are saying. 
 
Posted on July 16, 2017 9:50 PM by Mark Conde
Ever wonder what peaks you are looking at?
Use the app Peakfinder Pro Earth!
or go to the website and use the Peakfinder web page.

Here is what my view sees.
Posted on July 16, 2017 9:46 PM by Mark Conde
Categories: Computers
Interesting technology development. It appears that the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians plans on building a data center in Murphy next to the casino. Now will this bring jobs to Murphy? Yes, but there will be a question about how many with modern data center design these days being very "lights out". However, what is more interesting, is who they have hired to design this, RTECH Group and Todd Richards. This company specializes in network and telco systems. Certainly the data center is an advantage of the casino business but it could also bring major network trunks into the Murphy area and we might finally get access to significant internet systems! We will see :)
Reference article:  https://theonefeather.com/2016/10/tribe-to-secure-financing-for-100-million-data-center/