It’s been a long week, even longer than normal. Wednesday morning before going to work Annmarie asked me to go out and lift the fence crossing I had lowered over the back creek. We had already gotten 1.5” of rain in the last 24 hours and she figured Stewart Creek would start rising as it had turned muddy and was up about 8”. So I went out and did that before going to work. By noon it was coming out of its bank and by 1400 it was so high it was just running across a 1/4 mile section of the road above our property. All of this water was then going into the front spring runoff area and we had a rushing stream going through the barn lot that was 5-6’ high. Needless to say that the spring flow is normally measured in inches. All of my pictures are the next day after the flooding occurred.
Annmarie kept sending me pictures while I was at work. It was painful to watch. The best part was we lost no animals, no humans, no damage to our house and absolutely no damage to our front walking bridge. This is almost a best case scenario for any flooding. The back creek did not jump out of its channel due to erosion, it literally just got so high that it just flowed over the banks in multiple locations.
Another plus is the front spring bed is now all gravel, it is a couple feet lower in places and there are a couple of waterfalls. On the negative side we are missing a foot bridge that was in place to allow the propane guy to walk across the spring and fill our tank. This will need to be fixed in the next two months. It will require two concrete footings on each side and then I have to give the span to Annmarie and she will find an arched truss bridge made out of 2×6 boards that I will build.
The barn lot was all finished last year, I had made two separate flower garden areas and an animal drinking area, those do not exist. Nor does the the 5’ wide railroad tie bridge that I used to drive the tractor across. The bridge has vanished. I have not found it yet. The only reason the fences in the one flower area survived is I installed huge rock cribs and tied them all together. They were more than the water could handle. One is lifted up by about 8” but it is still staying in place. I will be moving the location I was going to put bee hives on another 6’ higher. I don’t want them to get washed away. I had two brand new 16’ panels leaning up against the fence, they have disappeared, again I am unsure where they ended up.
The mamma/baby area is missing a little 2’ spring crossing and all of the fence near the water. The barn lot cow panels have been mangled and piled up along the bank. I think the damage would have been less severe if I had not cut hay a week ago and the field had not flooded and carried all the loose hay into the waterway effectively damming it up in places. This was not good for the fence crossings.
The culvert crossing in the middle of the barn lot is washed out. It needs to be replaced and this time the culvert needs to be 4’ instead of 2’. The water moved the Alcatraz water fencing but did not manage to rip it down. Thankfully, the bull was contained. I am going to let him and his compatriots out of Alcatraz tomorrow after I chain three gates closed top and bottom so he has two fences between him and the heifers in the lower pastures.
The three upper cross fences have all been laid over by the water pressure. The cut loose hay just created dams when it hit the fence, I have maybe 1-2 acres of hay I can save if I am lucky but a lot of it is ruined with mud.
The far upper field triticale is ready to be cut, it is a horrible threadbare crop but I cannot harvest it as the entire field was under water. I may get 3-5 tons off of it. The upper middle field did not follow the ditch I had started to dig. I did not carry the ditch far enough up the field. This needs to happen this spring. I had two culverts up there but had not installed them yet, the water knocked one into its spot, the other one is too small and I will need to get a bigger one.
On the plus side my little 1 acre spot of peas may come through and I may get to harvest it!
Bottom line is I have a lot to do, I have had several people offer to come out and help. I am going to take those offers up so I can get a leg up on all that needs to be done. I cannot get out in the fields so I am planning and staging already. I have 100 2x6x16’ tamarack boards ready to be picked up on Tuesday, I have 300 4” Fastenal anchor bolts purchased, I have purchased clamp on manure forks for the tractor bucket so I can move rocks and loose hay easier. The manure forks should be here next week. I still need to buy about 150 cinder blocks, 100’ of cable, a bunch of metal clips, some gates, metal panels and about 1200’ of woven wire, 30-6” posts (I may have enough from my spring used post purchase if I can cut them in half, even better if I can cut them in thirds. I will need to bring over a bunch of rocks and I will need about 10 more cow panels. Annmarie has said I can use tires to hang from the creek crossings that are in the upper pasture as the bull won’t be able to move them but the water will be able to push them. I will also need some plywood, probably 8 sheets and some 2x4s and about 50 bags of Sackrete to pour the four footings. It sounds like a lot of work, that does not include replanting both garden areas. The plan is to just fix it all and take into account the problems that Mother Nature threw at us and see if we cannot work around them so they don’t get us next time.