Monday, June 7, 2010

The Flood of 2010

The Flood of 2010. Sounds ominous. Well, it is. We have an old river bed running through the property. This spring, with the late snow and heavy moisture, it has had a fair bit of water in it. With the warm (not hot, merely warm) temperatures that we have had lately (high 60s and 70s) the snow pack has been melting. The ground was already saturated, this means that the water has nowhere to go. Well, actually, it went to my pasture, barn, and animal pens.

Friday. The ravine in the pasture has stagnant water. We are starting to get mosquitoes. Ok, lets get some anti mosquito larvae pellets for the water. Got grain, forgot about the pellets. We worked Lady on walking, trotting, and standing. Foxy at ground driving.

Saturday. Let’s get the garden planted. Let’s go on a trail ride. Ok, Belle still won’t go through the mud hole of a road that gets out to the trails. One of these days, she will go over it. Foxy was great. Well behaved. Got mosquito pellets. Got a bunch of garden planted. The water has increased and is a flowing stream from one side of the property to another. Time to put the scientific method into place.
Identify Problem. Belle won’t cross water, we have excess water.
Form Hypothesis. If I turn Belle, Foxy, and Lady out in pasture with water running through it, then Belle will be forced to cross water to get to Foxy and Lady.
Test Hypothesis. Out the ponies go.
Results. Foxy, Lady, AND Belle run across the water to get to the pasture.
Conclusion. Belle doesn’t really have a problem crossing water. She has a problem crossing mud holes. The water is creeping up the stock water tank that we keep in the ravine. Critter had just put 10 feeder fish in it to eat the algae. We hope that the water won’t reach the top by morning.

Sunday. I wake up at 2 AM. I can’t sleep. I toss and turn until I think it is 5 AM. Fortunately, I did not have my glasses on. It was closer to 4:30 AM.
I get up, throw on some handy walk outside my bedroom door clothes (one of Mr. BPA’s Flannel shirts, pair of shorts. I poke my head out of the front door. In the dark, there is a glistening around the barn. WATER!!! I run through the house pounding on bedroom doors, “GET UP, THE BARN IS UNDER WATER!!!!!” I throw on my work boots and run out to the barn. The ravine is full and water is surrounding the barn. The stock tank is floating. Fred, the peacock is on his perch in the adult chicken coop, but I don’t see any other birds, just stuff in the water. There are sounds in the Easter chicken coop(the chicks that we got at Easter), I keep going to the barn. I throw open the barn door. The barn floor is not under water, but getting wet. The new chicks, turkeys, and duck are not in the water, yet. The horses are nervous, but ok. Their stalls are flooding. I run back out to the Easter chicks, of the ten chicks, half are hiding in the dog house with the water only 2 inches from the top of the door. The other half are trying to keep their heads above water. I put all ten on the roof of the dog house. By then, Critter is out and in the chicken coop. I run out there to get Fred, but I see the nephew’s Silver Wyandotte hen with just her beak and part of her head above water. I scoop her up and take her to dry land. Fred is next. The mangy Peacock knocks my glasses off. I turn him loose on dry land, too. All 10 adult chickens are alive and out of the coop. The guys and kids have gathered up the little chicks from the barn and put them in empty water troughs that are now floating in the barn. The kittens are hauled to the house. Tigris, the cat is yoweling, so I take him across, (although he will play in the water with Shooter, its generally just his legs that get wet. This was already too deep for him to walk from the barn to the house on higher ground) Gizmo has already been carried across. Mr. BPA grabs Rascal, the mama cat. She has a mouse in her mouth. She must save the mouse! (Half way across the water, she ended up dropping it) The cats all get put in the house to keep them away from the birds. I grab another water trough and float the Easter chicks to dry land. We then float the 4-H chicks, as well. The rabbits are two feet above the floor, they can wait. Water is still rushing up. The decision is made. Close the gate. Put halters on and turn the horses loose from their stalls, they’ll run to the house and dry ground. Barnaby, Princess, and Sassy are the first to go. Do they run to higher ground and the house? NO!!! They run across the ravine of water and out to pasture. Ok, tie up Shooter, he is busy trying to herd horses across the ravine. Sergeant and Mystique are lead out, the floorboards are popping up and floating. Mr. BPA, Kid #2, and I head in to get the girls. Is Belle going to walk out of her flooding stall, into the barn that is flooding and out of the barn through 2-2 ½ feet of water to the higher ground? No real hesitation. We avoid the trailer of hay, the floating boards, the holes where the boards used to be and lead them to the fence. Out come the rabbits. We finally shut all power to the barn. Feed bins, bags come next. The kids are now just at the dry end of the cycle. The adults run stuff up to dry ground. The kids move it up to the yard or the kids are trying to dry off bunnies, chicks and chickens. Fred is yelling on the fence post and then runs off at some point. Critter’s inlaws that were visiting for the weekend are helping with the kids. The nephew is trying to warm up his Silver Wyandotte that I saved. She was just laying there, not moving when he found her. The neighbors are now alerted. They start making the phone calls and alerting the Elder’s Quorum for help. I drive up to the neighbors to get their shallow boat and drive up to the bridge. The construction equipment is getting water now, too. Back to the house. The water is still rising. They’ve had to move the horses, again. Critter takes two of her horses over to the neighbors. We start waking up other neighbors to let them know that the water is still rising. I ride Belle, lead Foxy, and tie Lady to Foxy’s tail. Drop off at neighbor’s. Now the water is over the driveway. The guys from town arrive and manage to save the hay and trailer from the barn. I drive the hay to the neighbors and feed the horses. They empty the tack room of saddles, grain, and the upright freezer! The train modules are wet. A total loss. The storage silo is only a little bit wet. Most of the storage is in plastic totes and can stay there. Anything else, we just don’t have time to move to try and save. The water is still rising. Barnaby runs across the ravine. Critter takes him to the neighbors. Sassy and Princess are trying to find a shallow way across, but the water is daunting. Should we try to lead them across with the boat. I don’t think so! They will be trying to climb in the boat. Mr. Critter and I paddle across the ravine with lead ropes. The Plan: I will swim Sassy across with Princess following. Good theory. Sassy and I swim across. I tried to guide her, but then she would drop her head into the water. We make it. At one point, only are heads are above the water and she is swimming with me hanging on to her mane, yelling encouragement (I have never swam with a horse before, with practice, it might be fun, but I just wanted to get them out) When we hit land, even before we were out, poor Sassy needed a break. She stood for a minute, calling Princess, who DID NOT follow. We got out of the water. Princess was running up and down the remaining coastline. Get out of there Mr. Critter and drag the stock tank with you (we were just kidding about the stock tank. It had floated to the opposite side of the ravine from where it had started) Princess and Sassy call back and forth for a while and then Princess finally takes the plunge and swims across to the back of the barn where she is caught and led through the barn to safety. Off they go to the neighbors. Fresh food and water is brought to give to the, now, dry chicks and rabbits. All six bunnies and three adults are ok. All 17 4-H chicks, 6 turkeys and 1 duck are ok (we were down due to deadloss from the snow storms) All 10 Easter Chicks are ok. All 9 hens and 1 rooster are ok. Fortunately, the pigs that we were supposed to get this weekend were not here yet. So now loss there (their pen was under enough water at the beginning that we would have already lost them) I finally go and get dressed (I was soaked from the head down, but my hair was still dry) and off to the neighbor’s for breakfast. The absolute BEST biscuits and gravy I have EVER eaten. (1- She is a great cook, and 2- I was tired and hungry.) Unload the saddles from the truck. Empty feed bags to check for moisture. Very little loss. Most was already in plastic bins. Back to the house to give the animals shelter from the sun. Find out that our well is still safe. Pack up Kid #2 for week long summer college camp. Upload pics to Facebook and sit. Incoming phone call.

BPA?(Not really, she does call me by my actual name)

Yeah, (neighbor) what can I help you with?

Are you busy?

Not really? (whatever she wants, she can have after giving shelter to the horses and making biscuits and gravy)

Can you come help another neighbor? The other river is kagihioertklrkkljk(I heard nothing really after that, I just started yelling for the kids and passed out adults to head back out to there)

So off we go to get everything off the floor and up at least 18 inches or more in the garage of another neighbor. The river behind the garage and house is almost over the dyke. Their horses are moved to the same neighbor that ours are (just different corral). All trailers, campers, animals are moved. They try to build up the dyke. We have to leave for Casper. We take the Dodge Durango (Better gas mileage and more comfortable for the passengers than my truck. The driveway is 1-2 feet under water in spots. The road to the bridge is 2-3 feet under water in spots (we avoid the 3 foot areas)
Some houses are surrounded by water. We trade off for naps. Kid #2 arrives at College and is excited to be able to sleep in for a week (breakfast is not served until 8 AM!!!) Head back home.

Phone call

“You can’t come back over the bridge. I will tell you the back way to get home. (giggle, giggle)”

me- “ok”

giggle, giggle, “hey, somebody tell me how to tell her to get here.”
much discussion in background. Hey, your Durango is light enough and has the 4 wheel drive, you can make it over the bridge, but . . .” lost call.

We decide to go to the bridge and see. We make it over the bridge. We joke that if it does start to go, then we will gun the engine and make the jump like in the movies. The road past the bridge is washed out. The river is flowing over it. We see that there are a bunch of vehicles on the other side. We go for it, we can’t really turn around anyway and at that point, are surrounded by water. The water goes up to the middle/top of the grill on the vehicle, Mr. BPA rolls down his window and puts on a show for the now recognizable neighbors. They only give him a 82 for his 8 second ride. They are exhausted/slap happy. They tried to build up the dyke, but the water ended up finding another way to the property (just not through the house). Fortunately, the water has not risen on our property, just spread to other’s. The fire/emergency personnel shut down the bridge. The local police officer warned that only for emergencies can we cross that bridge. We are all scheduled to work on Monday. It’s the first day of my new summer school job. To relieve stress, the neighbor kids want to try out Belle, then the other horses. We just use the halters and lead ropes. It’s crazy. We finally get home and it starts to rain. Now we need to find rain shelter for all of the displaced chicks, rabbits and dog(Shooter is afraid of storms and we found him across the river and in the next town last time he wasn’t locked in the barn during a storm) Rabbits and Shooter to the Yurt (which is still dry) and the 4-H chicks to the well house. The older, Easter Chicks get water troughs on their sides and the top of a dog crate. The adult chickens have already taken over the intact dog crates. Tigris is left outside (where he really wants to be after being locked up until a secure coop for the little chicks was built while we were in Casper) Gizmo and Puma are locked in the girls’ room. Guido is locked in the boys’ room. Bandit in Critter’s room and the kittens and Rascal in the laundry room. We will take shifts to watch the water level and condition of the animals. I am a morning person, so Mr. BPA and I take the morning shift. At 2:30 AM, Monday morning, I get out of bed to check on Shooter and let him out since the storm has passed. The water has gone down a foot or two. The chicks and rabbits are ok. I let cats out. Rascal takes the opportunity to capture a mouse and give the kittens a hunting lesson. I finally took the mouse away after coming inside after my 4:30 walk around the coastline. All is well (or at least unchanged) I heard Fred, but did not see him. I have been typing this during my off time during my watch. I am on less than 3 hours of sleep, so although I know that there are probably many grammar errors in this accounting, I really don’t care right now. All of the animals are alive. The house is still safe. The water is safe. The people are safe. We have plenty of food and friends (and my sister’s inlaws make it home safely, too.) All is well.

No comments:

Post a Comment