Right before Labor Day, when every weather forecaster within several counties promised close to 100% chance of rain, we were thrilled. Our region (and surrounding areas) have experienced severe drought conditions for most of the summer, so any kind of moisture was certainly welcome.We would’ve been happy with an inch or so, but what we got was a deluge.
Deluge: noun. downpour, flood of something.
Synonyms: avalanche, barrage, cataclysm, drencher, flux, inundation, niagara, overflowing, pour, rush, spate, torrent.
We had a deluge, that’s for sure. A drencher; an overflowing rush. Rain came down in torrents and it seemed as if there was no end to it. When the rain gauge accumulated 5 inches, we had to dump it and start over. The dumping-and-starting-over continued until we tallied almost 12 inches. But we were lucky. The worst we dealt with was a flooded basement (and staying up til 5 a.m to make sure the pump didn’t overheat). Others weren’t as fortunate. Several lives were lost, and many people lost their homes and/or property.
Even though I had six days to take pictures of the flooded creek, the rain was nothing short of a drencher – pouring down so hard that I didn’t want to take my camera outside. I found this photo from early spring that shows how much water came through and overflowed the stream banks. The water was actually higher than this several times during the storm; close to the tops of the fence posts.
The creek is almost receded now, although the horse pasture is still soggy. After a couple of warm, sunny days, most of this water will be gone. We’ve established conservation plantings (mostly black willow and silky dogwood) that help hold the stream banks in place during heavy rain.
Although we’re still slogging through puddles, clean-up for us will involve clearing the stream crossings. With the help of NRCS we’ve fenced our stream banks and have specific stream-crossing areas so that livestock don’t pollute the water.
However, our upstream neighbor isn’t very tidy. Every time it rains, we find trash, bale wrap and even herbicide containers caught on the wires of the high-tensile fence at the stream crossings. They’re a small-scale dairy farm, but they certainly don’t fit the non-ag community’s mind picture of a small, neat and tidy family dairy.We know that personnel from our county NRCS are trying to work with them, and we don’t want to discourage them in their efforts to farm, but it’s somewhat of a nuisance to have to pick up after them after every heavy rain. They also give small-scale farmers a very bad name.
Despite the deluge, we’re thankful for the rain and very thankful that we didn’t have significant damage. We’re enjoying cool, sunny days, and look forward to watching the pastures and hay fields spring to life just in time for autumn…which arrives next week!