Monday, June 5

March And April Storms

February brought much snow and burning of firewood to keep the house toasty warm, and the seasonal transition months of March and April were not to be outdone.

Our area was the recipient of major flooding - the highest I have ever seen the creek since we moved here 12 years ago. Normally running at about 3 feet deep with a bank of about 5 to 6 feet, the creek completely overflowed the bank and turned most of the back field, all of the neighbors yard and turned our farm roads into streams of their own. We were unable to access the orchard area since all trails and roads were submerged under at least 2 feet of water. The damage was manageable for us, although things were very soggy for quite a while after the water level finally went down. Many area around us had much more severe damage.

A far cry from last summer when the entire creek was bone dry for months due to the severe drought. We were happy in that we spent time cleaning out branches and debris from the creek bed while it was dry. Even with all the flooding that occurred, it could have been much worse if the water flow was inhibited by forest debris.

April brought heavy wind storms to the area which took out power for many people and lasted in some areas for over a week. Many trees toppled easily due to the waterlogged ground and while root sections just came up for the ground like huge dirt disks. Mostly effected with the pine trees with all that wind pushing on the thick branches. There were many losses of deciduous trees as well, mostly those that were old or diseased prior to the disastrous weather.

Power poles fell like dominoes in some areas, roads were impassible in some parts and many schools and businesses were closed for days. Our local grocery store ran extension cords with power strips around the entire eat-in food area for people to charge their phones and use electronics. The whole area of the store was turned into a mini-office setting as business people came there to plug in their laptops and work on office projects.

We were lucky in that we never lost power here at the farm and our tree loss was limited to a few pine trees and many branches from some maples. The flooding was by far more damaging for us in terms of homestead damage. Luckily, most of that damage was contained to the fields and forests and our basement pump kept our house dry and secure.

Farm husband and Murphy are standing on the cement bridge that crosses the creek. The creek completely flooded the bridge and just started flowing over the top of it. The water was 2 feet deep ON the bridge. The water reached half way up Murphys rib cage.

The foot path to the orchard - there is a metal bridge there....somewhere.

The creek normally flows in the upper part of this picture from the left to the right. In the foreground is our neighbors pond. There usually is a large earthen berm separating the creek and the pond but for over a week, they were one and the same.

Sunday, June 4

February Snows and Second Hand Plows

Murphy loves to explore snow drifts

We had some pretty big snow storms this past winter which left us wishing our plow was working on our farm truck. As is always the case, our truck and plow are 2nd hand and work is always needed to have them working they way there were intended.

Part of the homesteading life involves using equipment that is 2nd hand, and sometimes 3rd and 4th hand here. It is frustrating although it does save money but there is a thin line between money-saving-purchase that needs a little work and a purchase that results in spending more money than anticipated to repair the item purchased. Hidden problems with mechanics, electrical wiring, etc can and have resulted in us spending much more money than anticipated.

Fortunately we have become more adept at spotting potential fund-draining problems with things we are looking to purchase on craigslist or at garage sales. We did acquire a nice wood chipper for a fair price that only needed minimal repairs.

That fine line road is paved with experience at this point since we have had our fair share of ups and downs.
A brave robin looking for lunch on the sumac trees

Well, we can't plow our driveway so I guess we aren't going anywhere.
Fine by me!