After the tornadoes. . .

April 29, 2011

We live 4 miles from the Alabama / Tennessee state line.  So yes, we were in the middle of all that tornado trouble this past Wednesday.  We had no electricity all day Wednesday (it went out sometime Tuesday night), and spent a large part of the day in a dark basement with little battery-powered lanterns for light.  I got plenty of exercise running up and down the stairs!  We’d think the storms were over, go upstairs, and uh-oh, the weatherman says another is coming and “take your tornado precautions!”  And there we’d go, back down to the basement.

There are toppled trees all around us.  Others have been split by the high winds or actual tornadoes, and part of the trees are broke off and on the ground.  The Bradford Pears that are so popular in subdivisions don’t fare too well in high wind.  That soft wood just can’t take it.  But there were oaks toppled or in pieces too!

We were very fortunate that we didn’t get a direct hit from the tornadoes skipping around the area.   We had a lot of tree limbs down, but not any entire trees.  (Well, we haven’t walked back in the woods… no telling what’s happened there.)  Our walnuts, oaks and elms lost a lot of small branches and some bigger ones.  One big branch fell off a walnut tree and landed right by the peafowl aviary.

picture of fallen limb by aviary

A Near Miss!

Of course, several smaller limbs DID hit the aviary and it looks a little worse for wear, but at least the netting didn’t get all torn up like it would have if the bigger branch had smacked down on it.

There were some branches blown into other odd places, like this one:

picture of branch through tree

That's a little strange!

And we had to move branches like these off the driveway so we could drive out.

fallen branch

One of many fallen branches!

Most of the day the guineas stayed out in the rain, even though they have shelters!

picture of guinea in the rain

One bedraggled guinea fowl!

I suppose if a tornado had went right through here, it would have ended up pretty fowl!  No telling where the guineas would have ended up.

Once the winds and tornadoes were done for the day, the water started rising.

picture of flooded road

Here comes the flood waters!

That’s not unusual.  After particularly heavy rains, the creek usually gets out of bounds and goes over the low part of the road.

But it didn’t stop there.

Nope, for the first time since we built our lovely spring-fed pond, the flood waters got up and over the berm, and flowed into the pond.

picture of muddy flood water getting into pond

And the contamination creeps in. . .

I took the above picture from the far side of the pond, between it and the creek.  I didn’t get to stay there long. The water just kept getting higher, and pretty soon it was where it had never been before and I had to MOVE!

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The water not only flowed into the pond for the first time ever, it came on out the other side and flowed around behind it also, and into the bottom pasture.

picture of flood water coming out of pond

Flood flowing through the pond.

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flooded area

The Farmer checks out his flooded pond.

Not only did the pond get contaminated and water flow through it and into the pasture, but the water got so high it completely covered the bridge across the creek.

flood waters over bridge

See the arrow? There's a bridge going under water there!

That’s something I’ve never seen in all the years we’ve lived here!  There is usually one high spot visible during a flood.

Yesterday we started cleaning up.  The critters enjoyed the leaves off the downed branches.

picture of sheep eating tree leaves

A usually unreachable treat!

And although we didn’t loose our roof, we picked up some roof and soffit materials from someone else’s house… who knows where.

picture of soffit blown off by storm

Wonder who this belonged to?

Despite the inconvenience of no electricity for a day and a half, we are much better off than neighbors to the south of us who will not have electricity for 5-7 days.  And maybe we’re all lucky Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant didn’t take a direct hit, but just lost all the feeder lines.

Just a couple days after the storm and it all looks pretty serene here. . .

picture of muddy pond in sunshine

There was a storm here?

We’ve pretty much cleaned up around the farm, and if it wasn’t for the muddy pond, you’d never know we had such storms.

Sadly, it will take many of our neighbors that took direct hits from the tornadoes a very long time to put things to right, and some things will never be the same.

More Rain, More Floods

March 9, 2011

We’ve had a lot of rain lately, and it rained pretty much all last night and on into the morning.  Anytime we get very much rain, it means the creek bordering one side of our property is going to flood.  Fortunately, it floods the road AFTER you get past our driveway!

picture of pond and flooded rural road

Flooding makes it hard to get to the dead end part of the road!

The water had receded somewhat by the time Toby and I went out to the mailbox, so this isn’t as bad as it got.  Otherwise we might not have gotten cheeky enough to walk through the flood waters to get to the bridge.

picture of farm collie dog standing on flooded road

"Hey, you coming or what?"

I figured if Toby could make it, so could I, and off we went.  I stopped mid-way and took a picture of the water going off the edge of the road. . .

picture of water running off road

Enough froth for a latte!

 And here’s the same section of the road, and more, taken from off to the side.

picture of creek waters over road

Creek is definitely out of bounds!

The cat-who-thinks-he’s-a-dog was still enough of a cat that he declined to join the party and frolic in the water.

picture of white cat

"Are you guys totally CRAZY???"

We took our crazy selves and walked towards the top of the bridge.   I took this picture right before we got there.  It’s the side of the creek flowing to and under the bridge.

picture of flooded creek and culverts

Two Culverts & A Flooded Creek

There are actually TWO culverts, but you can’t see the one closest to the front of the picture.  It’s completely submerged in the flood waters. 

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The water really rushes out of the submerged culvert!

After we got our exercise walking around in the flood waters, we headed back home.  I noticed we have a new little reflecting pond in the back of the The Farmer’s pick-up truck:

picture of water in bed of pickup truck

Now all we need are some koi in there. . .

And that’s the way it is, on another rainy day of the monsoon season in the south.

Friday’s Farm Fotos

March 4, 2011

I’ve been pretty busy lately with a writing project, so haven’t posted much here.  I thought this would be a good time to do a photo round-up of pictures from around the farm this week.

Monday we had a thunderstorm with heavy rain and a tornado watch.  I watched but I didn’t see anything, thankfully.  Just lots of rain that came down in a hurry and made puddles and streams in the backyard…

picture of back yard with heavy rain

Rain and puddles and streams, oh my!

We did have some pretty strong winds, even if there was no tornado in evidence.  You can see how the birdfeeder is swinging in the wind in this picture. . .

picture of birdfeeder in wind

That's one swinging feeder!

Once it stopped raining, Toby and I walked down the road towards the creek.  He decided it would be fun to wade through the floodwater running over the road.

picture of dog walking on flooded road

Guess a little water never hurt anybody.

The next day it was bright and sunny and showing signs of spring all over the place.  The miniature daffodils are blooming around the big oak tree in the front yard.

picture of yellow flowers

A nice splash of color instead of rain!

I noticed the wildflowers are making an appearance also, like this dandelion and violet.

picture of dandelion and violet

Purple & Gold!

Those colors would have been good when I was going to high school, since our school colors were purple and gold!

I especially enjoy the quince bush blooms.

picture of quince bloom

An early bloomer.

I can remember the quince bush that grew by our steps going down the hill where I grew up.  This is part of that bush.

And last, we have a stark reminder of what happens when The Farmer decides to trim things:

picture of bare crepe myrtle

Crepe Myrtle Stubs

He decided instead of having crepe myrtle trees they could be tall bushes.  Guess we’ll see how they react to such drastic pruning!

And that’s the way it is around the farm.  Have a great weekend!

Cluttered Culverts

April 30, 2009

Whenever there’s a heavy rain, our bottom pasture floods because the creek gets out of bounds.  It probably wouldn’t do it so much if it weren’t for the fact the creek goes under a road right past our bottom pasture. 

There are two culverts under that road, and they collect debris.  After the last hard rain, I decided to go down and take a peek.  The neighbors living past the bridge have a pack of dogs.  Three of them watched me approach.

Dogs On Bridge

Toby as usual, totally ignored them.  He seems to think they are beneath his notice, and he doesn’t even bother looking at them, let alone barking at them.

Once we got on the bridge, I looked down the creek flowing alongside our bottom pasture.

Creek flowing beside our bottom pasture.

It had been a while since it rained, so the water was almost totally clear again.  I walked past the bridge and went down alongside the creek to see what kind of debris was clogging up the culverts upstream.

Debris In Culverts

It doesn’t look too bad until you look a little closer.  Here’s a close-up of the culvert on the left:

Log blocking culvert.

And here’s a close-up of the culvert on the right:

Logs blocking culvert.

After seeing what kind of debris was clogging up the culvert upstream, I went to the other side to see what it looked like from the downstream side, which is the part bordering our bottom pasture.

Water coming out the downstream side of the culverts.

From a ways off, it really doesn’t look like there’s much of a problem, does it?  But when I got down to where I could take pictures a little closer-up, you can see how the water flow is restricted.

Here’s the culvert that had the single log across it on the upstream side:

Log blocking water flow through culvert.

As you can see, it was a bit deceiving seeing just that one log across the mouth of the culvert on the other side.  There’s a whole lot more debris underneath it that is also blocking the flow of water.

I couldn’t get a straight-through shot of the other culvert, but you can see it has some pretty big tree parts in it!

Large tree parts blocking flow of water through culvert.

It’s no wonder when the rain is heavy, the stream overflows because the culverts are blocked, and goes over the top of the road.

Flood waters over road.

And of course, when the creek backs up and floods over the road, it also backs up into our bottom pasture:

Flood waters in bottom pasture.

We have electric fencing around that pasture, and every time it floods, it needs repaired.  However, since we’ve downsized and don’t have so many animals, we don’t have to worry about it because we’re not using it for grazing space.

Instead, we’re letting it grow up wild again.  When we first moved here, there were all kinds of wildflowers like Joe Pye Weed and Cardinal Flower in that area, along with Button Bushes and other good habitat for wildlife.

Hopefully, there will be lots of flowers grow there this summer, and we’ll see lots of butterflies!