Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘flash flood

Oh My

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Anyone need some August rain? We have extra. I’d be happy to share.

Unfortunately, all that water fell in a very short amount of time yesterday morning, so the result was something of a flash-flood type of runoff.

Our silt fence along the northern border below our neighbor’s corn field was already filled with sandy topsoil that has flowed with every rainfall since we installed it. That led to an overflow which flattened some of our grass beneath an inch or two of silty muck.

Balancing that negative with a positive, the trail at the bottom of our hill in the woods, where I placed the pavers, is working perfectly. There is a small lake-like puddle where I spread the salvaged landscape rock, while the pavers are providing excellent (dry) footing across that rest of that section.

The amount that fell overnight will get tallied after the sun comes up today, but by the looks of the radar and sound on the roof and skylight last night, we got a lot more of the unneeded wet stuff than we wanted.

I sure wish I could transfer a large amount of it to the drought-stricken regions that need the water a lot more than we do.

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Written by johnwhays

August 17, 2017 at 6:00 am

Silt Filtered

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The new silt fence installation mostly worked, but it wasn’t quite up to the task of yesterday morning’s deluge. We received 2-inches of rain in a span of about 20 minutes. I made a quick reconnaissance trek to assess the worthiness of our installation in the moments after the downpour and found this:

It was a little deflating, but not unexpected. Interesting to see how easily the water pressure pushed away the bales as it overflowed the plastic fabric barrier. The good news is that most of the silt did remain on the uphill side of the fence.

The water will not be denied. When I pushed the bales back in place and stopped the overflow, the soil beneath my feet simply bubbled up with flow out of the ground like a spring.

Five and a half years ago when we started this property adventure, I had no idea what I was in for in terms of actual land management. If I have learned anything in that time, it is that whatever the design might be that we conjure up to enhance this land, it better fully keep in mind and will be wholly subject to, the whims of the changing climate and the water behavior it will unleash, from drought, to frost heaves, to flash flood and everything in-between.

With reverent reference to the classic thriller, “Jaws” :

We’re gonna need a bigger fence.

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Written by johnwhays

June 12, 2017 at 6:00 am

Okay Already

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I’ll tell. I’ll tell. Enough time has passed that she’s gotten over the shock and trauma and has been able to have a few good laugh-till-out-of-breath moments over her escapade on Saturday.

Cyndie stepped on a rake.

There. I said it. It’s true. Yep. A rake.

I’m pretty sure OSHA would not approve of the unsafe work practice of letting a rake lay on the ground with the tines all pointing at the sky, but she somehow let that happen. How many times can you do that and not suffer any consequences?

Doesn’t matter. All it takes is once…

I gotta clarify, though, this was no standard namby pamby garden rake. She was working with the dreaded level head bow rake. Yeah. Ouch.

It wasn’t a slow roll up to her noggin’ it was a lethal instant THWAP to the head.

Cyndie was under the willow tree at the time of the incident, and a gust of wind blew the wispy branches in her face. In her (probably somewhat out-of-balance) reaction, she planted a foot to catch herself and stomped on the business end of the rake.

The sound made by the handle smacking her skull was frightening. Then, that was followed by equally frightening sounds of her pained reaction.

Thank goodness that’s behind us now and we can laugh about it.

We celebrated her birthday yesterday by installing a silt fence uphill of her garden of flowering perennials which was inundated by the flash flood a few weeks ago. If the bizarre laws of “the way things go” plays out, now that we have this in place, it won’t rain again for months and months.

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Just in case it does, and comes in one of those all too frequent 4-inch-at-a-time hundred-year events that happen multiple times a year now, we think we have a better chance of controlling the flood.

Time will tell.

Moral of the story, be careful out there. And always lay your rake with the tines down.

Yep, just like the cartoons. WHAM!

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Written by johnwhays

June 5, 2017 at 6:00 am

Flashingly Flooded

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Tears. I could feel them through the text message I was seeing on my phone. Cyndie was getting a first look at the results of Wednesday’s heavy rains. Her flowering perennial garden had suffered a direct hit from the flood of water that poured onto our property from the farm field to our north.

In my pre-dawn departure for work, I had not noticed the extent of topsoil slop that had washed over our land. The much more obvious evidence I did see, which revealed the significance of overnight flooding, came in the form of field debris coating the roads.

I also spotted the dramatically high level of water overflowing the banks of the small creeks and waterways as I traveled the roads away from home.

Nature’s wrath has little regard for our feeble efforts to confine the actions of our environment.

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Written by johnwhays

May 19, 2017 at 6:00 am

Didn’t Miss

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I was wrong. Turns out, the rain didn’t miss us. It was simply delayed. When it finally moved over us, it arrived with a vengeance.

IMG_iP1080eCHThe precipitation began in the early morning hours yesterday, and thrashed down with significant gusting winds. I was awakened about a half-hour before my alarm by the tempest, allowing me a chance to lay and wonder how the horses were handling the assault.

The nasty weather added unwelcome drama to my commute through the cities in the early darkness, reducing visibility to the point that most decisions become mere guess-work, while my car was shoved to and fro unexpectedly by the extreme gusting wind.

The temperature hovered just above the freezing point, and throughout the day the precipitation oscillated between wet, icy, and flaky.

Cyndie sent me some pictures and reported that the horses were soaking wet, jumpy as heck, and shivering to beat the band when she arrived to offer the morning feed. Poor Hunter was beside himself, looking thoroughly undone and having a tizzy about getting into the barn. When he is cold and wet, the first thing he does upon entering the confined space of his stall is to lay down and roll in the wood shavings we use for bedding.

IMG_iP2931eCHIt makes a scary racket, because he inevitably hits the walls with his feet in his wild gyrating. Cyndie said he successfully got himself covered with wood shavings from head to tail.

By afternoon, the rain gauge had captured 2 inches. As I neared home on my return from work, I began to see water flowing in ditches that are usually dry. Every creek I crossed was spilling out beyond its banks.

Delilah had to traipse along beside the trails in places that were under water.

If we get a quick freeze, I’m afraid Cyndie will need to wear skates when she walks the dog in the days ahead.

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Written by johnwhays

December 15, 2015 at 7:00 am

August Rainsaster

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DSCN3783eThe predicted October-like storm, with potential for record-setting low pressure for this time of year, unleashed the greatly feared torrents of flash flooding rain on us yesterday.

It revealed several areas where we need to improve our water management if we hope to withstand the ongoing onslaught of gully-washing downpour events that keep happening with increasing frequency.

When I got home from work and went outside to check on things, there was 4.5 inches of water in the rain gauge. I knew from that amount that the round pen would not have fared well for losing sand, so was prepared for the worst.

In spite of the heartbreaking mess of runoff sand, it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. I could see where some of the worst spots were for the water running into the round pen, and quickly went to work with a shovel to dig channels for draining water around, instead of through.

I also dug several pathways to encourage water to more quickly flow out of the paddocks, before it pooled up and drained toward the round pen.

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Back up at the barn, where our gutter upgrade has yet to happen, the old system was failing brilliantly. I needed to pull the downspout to clear an obstruction, soaking myself in the process, and then discovered fixing that just transferred the overflow to the bottom where the downspout enters the buried drain tube. Something, either the recent dump truck activity or simple horse traffic, appears to have impeded the flow down the buried tube. That will be a doozy to fix.

While walking down to check whether anything was flowing out of the bottom of the buried tube (—it wasn’t—), I saw that an old drain channel I had created to entice flow out of the small paddock was flowing like a raging river. Yay! A success!

But when I reached the fence line, where the ditch opened to my main drainage swale (I thought), I found that the water was curling and flowing back into the paddock, traveling along the inside of the fence down to the bottom corner by the round pen —just the area I was trying to avoid.

It was now raining hard again at that point, and I was about as wet as could be. I was tired, saddened, and feeling entirely defeated. Dragging my sorry soaked self up toward the house, I checked the rain gauge again to see that an additional inch had fallen while I was out.

I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat.

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Written by johnwhays

August 19, 2015 at 6:00 am