Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rain, lovely, lovely rain!

We have been extremely dry since last fall, hardly any snow this winter and it continued on into spring, rains would come our way, then split and go north and south of us. We had rain 10 days in a row and barely received 1 inch. Our farm ponds were low, one nearly dry and we lost a lot of fish over the winter. To be a farmer you must have faith, faith that the thousands of dollars you put into the ground each year, will produce a crop in the fall. (That is why we have no interest in casino's or playing the lottery, we gamble every day of the year.)

We started getting some rains, .2 th's here, .5 inch there, a blessed inch created much excitement but the sub-soil moisture was still low and no tile lines running. Saturday night a storm hit with wind and drenching rain that left nearly 3 inches in my rain gauges but thankfully, no hail or crop damage. The next day you would never know we received that much, I took the dogs to the pond but the cement dock was still out of the water, you could walk completely around it without getting your feet wet.

Yesterday storms were brewing in Nebraska and we watched in horror, the twin tornadoes nearly destroy the small town of Pilger and surrounding area, killing two. I heard from a friend that she knows a farmer who lost his herd of cattle, house and operation but was alive. It would be so difficult to experience and I pray we never will. There was rain everywhere, we would periodically get a shower, some stronger than others and this went on into the evening. Then they came!! Wave after wave after wave of heavy rain, suddenly it was looking like the Memorial Day Flood of 2013 all over again, or as Yogi Berra would say, "Deja-vu all over again and we didn't want that!!

It was a nightmare, the pasture under water, fences out and those that did not go out were covered in trash, a set of three 16 ft feed bunks, bolted together, swept a half mile down the pasture, some of the reason for the fences out, much erosion in the farm fields, gravel roads swept clean of the gravel and in other places around the county, bridges were taken out or severely damaged. We built fence and cleaned corn stalks off wire for an entire week, we were exhausted and getting pretty testy when my sister, Rosanne, hubby, Peter and daughter, Kaiza, (did Kaiza come? it all seems a blur now.) came and helped us finish.

All night long I kept waking, hearing the rain and wondering how bad it was, it was a relief to finally get up and face things. There was a little water in the basement so that made me feel better, I checked the rain gauges and they all agreed, about 3.8 inches. Our first thought was the cows and calves, the creek is out of it's banks but the cows were on dry ground, so to speak.

The dogs and I took the gator to the ponds to see if they had water and did they ever! This is at the picnic area and Murphy is on the cement dock that was previously standing on dry ground, yesterday!

This is the overflow out of the big pond, roiling and gushing water out and down the spillway and meeting the creek in the pasture.

This creek, bank full all the way down the pasture.

There is always trash left on the fences after high water, Bruce has some work ahead of him....hey, I clean the toilets in the house, the fences are his to deal with.

During the night the entire bottom of the pasture was underwater, the matted grass shows that. This is why this land should never be farmed, can you imagine if this was farm land? The erosion would be tremendous.

There are 5 ponds in the wildlife area and each one feeds the next, beginning at the south end pond that is fed by farm tiles. This is the 4th pond that flows into the large pond at the picnic area, the water was so high also that it ran over the drive between the two before receding at some point.

Murphy wanted to run as we headed east to the road.....

....Mollie chose not to.

"Crazy kid, why run when you can ride?"

It was going well until Murphy came upon a very angry garter snake, he was probably flushed from his burrow in the high water and was in no mood to entertain a snoopy dog. He did his best rattlesnake imitation by coiling and striking and completely freaked out Murphy who doesn't know the difference. The snake finally slithered away into the grass, tired of us bothering him.

Isn't this a beautiful field? Bruce farms his rolling fields on the contour to hold water when it rains like this, no erosion here.

By the time we got back to the house, the cows and calves were crossing the fast moving creek. I watched the more adventurous babies dive into the water, go under a moment, the swim to the other side with their mothers calling encouragement.

Fancy and her baby, along with a couple other cows and some calves decided they were happy on this side.

My brave snake hunting dog, enjoying a victory ride back to the house....

....all she needs are goggles and a do-rag to be a cool biker mutt, or gator mutt.


  1. It's always great to see those ponds fill up again! and to see the creek higher...you like to have more water available for the cows..and, yes, what a beautiful field. How I remember cleaning those fences after high water...yiuk. I'll do the toilets anytime, thank you. (but you knew that) Great update, Julie; thanks.

  2. Love the picture of the contoured field. Beautiful bean field!?? I don't remember them being that "clean" when I had to walk them! =)

  3. Funny you should say that, Gerb, late yesterday Bruce took a hoe to go get a 'few' weeds on the end of the field that the spray missed or wasn't strong enough. I asked if he needed a jug of water, "Nah, there aren't that many," famous last words! He didn't come home for a couple of hours, there were a LOT of weeds. He said it really makes him appreciate the spray.