alan skeoch
sept. 3,,2022

THIS  is our 6,000 foot base line about to be put on Barney Dwan’s back by Willy.
Our story is centred on the surprising disappearance of sections of this base line
which was a mystery until cattle spit out round baseball like balls of our base line.


Our base line was over one mile long, often longer.   This base line consisted of a single strange of yellow sheathed coper wire.  In the Canadian or 
Alaskan wilderness there were occasional breaks in the base line caused by wile animals most often….deer, moose, raccoons.  When the base line was
broken no signal was sent so the break had to be mended immediately which meant the base line had to be patrolled and spliced.  Time wasted as a
result.  But the breaks were few in number normally

Except in zieland the base line breaks were often and a lo of time was wasted.  Why so often?  Most breaks were caused by cows actually eating our 
base line….eating dozens of metres of base line.   The first bite gave the cow an electric jolt.   Some farmers said their cows were knocked out cold
by the electricity.  I never saw a cos flattened by our base line although it may have happened.  What happened regularly owner was cattle actually\
eating the base line.  Gest long lengths of copper wire.  Initially we wondered why so much wire disappeared.  The reason was soon evident when 
the cows began regurgitating baseball sized balls of our copper wire.  Cows have four stomachs needed to digest course food.  Each day they take
a break from eating to chew their cud  Foreign material is rgujrguatated.  Everywhere we crossed a pasture field we would begin to find these balls
of chewed copper wire.  Somewhere I have pictures of these balls of copper but they have not been found yet.    Most complaints by farmers
wee received by Barney Dwan.  I only receive a few directly.

Once we realized the cattle problem we kept a close eye on the herds but there were
lots of cattle and it was difficult to stop them from munching our base line.
That’s Barney Dwan on the right as our survey crew had to stop work to find
where the wire was severed.  We found the guilty parties….cattle (above)

The cattle, sheep and swine along with the people of Bunmahon were often watching us.


We did get complaints from farmers, usually filtered by Barney Dwan.  In the course of the job
I may have faced two or three irate farmers.  If Iwas a farmer and
someone was doing a Turam survey in my pasture fields I would have been irate.  Why?
Copper balls regurgitated as cows chewed and spewed their cud. Copper can be poisonous.

Seemed there were more animals than people on the roads and in the fields.

We hired this young lad to protect our grounding rods from
cattle.   He loved the job and made out sites into personal 
camp grounds.  He had been hurt as a child and was handicapped.
Barney recommended him.  He took the job very seriously .

Sometimes most of our working day was spent repairing the baseline.  Initially
these repairs were made by Barney and I.   

“We need to hire a man just to patrol the base line.”
’Another new employee that the executives back in Canada might questions but never did
although they might have raised their eyebrows a bit.  How could a cow be worse than a moose?”

Barney was fastest at repairing our cable and I also think he helped deflect the complaints
 about coper poisoning of cattle.   Someone may have paid damages but I never
heard about it.  Farmers had legitimate complaints.  Perhaps the prospect of reopening
the ancient Knockmahon copper mind trumped complaints about copper wire in the guts of cattle.

I believe the whole community of Bunmahon hoped and prayed that our survey
would revitalize the community.  Jobs, in other words.   That may have been the
reason there were so few complaints from farmers.  Everyone wanted us to succeed.  Unfortunately
success was not to be.   Dr. John Stam was a professional geophysicist.  He interpreted the raw data
and determined, I think, that any mineralization was too badly faulted to be economically viable.
This is speculation on my part.  All I did was get the raw data,..to find anomalies, not to interpret 
the results.  Dr. Stam did authorize us to excavate trenches where he thought our dots indicated
a promising site.  

The trenches were deep with no support framing and as a result were dangerous.
I think that is Barney Dwan deep down.  Perhaps not though as our trenching
crew was separate from our survey crew.

I wish we had been successful.

alan skeoch

sept. 2022 
reflecting on the 1960 survey

Post script:

Outbreak of copper poisoning in cattle fed poultry litter

In a feedlot of about 1,000 head of cattle, 146 animals died within a period of a few months affected by a disease characterized by anorexia, icterus, hemoglobinuria, constipation, or diarrhea. The clinical course of the disease lasted a few days. Postmortem findings were generalized icterus and a yellow discolored liver. The kidneys were dark brown, and the urinary bladder was filled with urine of the same dark-brown color. The main histopathological findings were centrolobular coagulative necrosis, apoptosis, bilestasis, and proliferation of bile ducts in the portal space. Changes in the kidneys included nephrosis and the presence of bile and precipitates, and cylinders of albumin and of hemoglobin in the uriniferous tubules. Liver samples, collected from 3 animals on which postmortem examinations were performed, had 2,008, 2,783 and 4,906 ppm copper in their dry matter. Two samples of poultry litter fed to the cattle contained 362 and 323 ppm copper. The green forage that formed the rest of their feed only had 4.7 ppm copper. Copper poisoning was diagnosed, most probably caused by feeding litter from poultry that had been fed a ration treated with copper sulfate to avoid aspergillosis.


“Most people are familiar with the horrifying and soggy hairballs left behind by their cats, but cows can also suffer from furry masses stuck in their stomachs. While a cat can painstakingly hurl up their own matted hair, however, cows don’t have the ability to vomit up these hairballs. This means their bovine fur is stuck in one of their four stomachs for good.

Cows have what are called ruminant digestive systems. Unlike humans, who have one stomach for digestion, cows have four, allowing them to eat tough, fibrous grass until they are full. Since this grass is high in fiber and hard to digest, sometimes the regurgitate small bits of it to re-chew. Because their stomachs are separated, foreign bits can become easily stuck in their bodies.”  (quote from source)

IN our case the balls were made of copper wire.

www.ripleys.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/078HairBalls.00_00_03_04.Still003-300×225.jpg 300w, www.ripleys.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/078HairBalls.00_00_03_04.Still003-768×576.jpg 768w, www.ripleys.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/078HairBalls.00_00_03_04.Still003-1024×768.jpg 1024w, www.ripleys.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/078HairBalls.00_00_03_04.Still003-360×270.jpg 360w, www.ripleys.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/078HairBalls.00_00_03_04.Still003-750×563.jpg 750w” sizes=”(max-width: 1920px) 100vw, 1920px” apple-inline=”yes” id=”6CFE5ABE-4B4B-49E7-A66D-8C05089A23B6″ style=”box-sizing: border-box; border: 0px; vertical-align: middle; max-width: 100%; display: block; margin: 30px auto;” data=”http://alanskeoch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/078HairBalls.00_00_03_04.Still003-1.jpeg” type=”application/x-apple-msg-attachment” height=”480″ width=”640″ apple-width=”yes” apple-height=”yes”>

Some of the foreign items commonly found inside cows are hairballs. These masses eventually clump together, forming smooth spheres. Unfortunately, the spheres can prove deadly. As they grow larger, they make the stomach non-functional, blocking food from traveling or digesting properly. By the time a hairball reaches four inches in diameter, a cow will become emaciated and seek to drink massive amounts of water.

Cow hairballs are often only discovered after the animal has died. Goats, sheep, llamas, and deer can all develop these hairballs. For a long time, these clumps were considered to have curative properties. Known as a”bezoar,” it was believed the hairballs absorbed poison and were an ultimate form of antidote.

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