I should be mowing right now. The grass is getting axel high to a Ferris Wheel, but it has been raining for two days, and I can only look out the window and watch it grow before my eyes. The spring has been incredibly wet. I have 20 acres on our farm that I mow and it takes me about 18 hours to cover the whole area. I try to mow a couple of hours each day this time of year, so it’s a bit like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. As soon as I get done, it’s time to start all over again. Just recently I was laid off from the job that I had held for the last 12 years. It has been a bit demoralizing, but having the extra time has come in handy since the grass is growing so fast this year.
So, it’s raining again, finally an opportunity to start this blog that I have wanted to do for some time now. The weather forecast this morning predicted flash floods all over the Shenandoah Valley. This has me very anxious because the memory is still too fresh of the terrible flood we had about 3 weeks ago. We had a llama trek scheduled for that Saturday. That’s what we do on our weekends. We have 8 llamas that we take on guided day hikes in the state park. www.twincreeksllamas.com . Llamas are cute, wooly, huggable pack animals, and people love to go hiking with them. We load them up with a 4 course “trail gourmet” lunch and our clients get to lead a llama on a 4 mile hike with a stop for lunch in the middle. It was evident by midweek that we were going to have a good chance of rain the coming Saturday, so I contacted our group to see if they wanted to try to reschedule. Veterans of 5 previous hikes with our llamas, they said that they had hiked with us in the rain before and they could do it again.
Not until the morning of the hike did we learn that severe storms were forecast to pass through about 1:00 pm. When our family arrived, we gave them the option of going to the park for a shortened hike, or staying on the farm, walking on our trails, and then having lunch in the barn and playing with the llamas where it was nice and dry. Since it was already raining and blowing horizontally, they wisely opted to stay on the farm. It turned out to be a fun day for the two young teen girls. They are llama crazy, and they had ample time to pet, feed, brush, and hug the llamas. They left right at 1:00. By the time we straightened up in the barn and got back up to the house, the rain had started coming down in earnest. Like being under Niagara Falls, it seemed to me.
Oh, I need to mention that our 20 acre farm is bounded on 2 sides by creeks. We are right at the foot of the Shenandoah National Park, so all the rain that lands on the mountains comes rushing down and fills our creeks. In the 12 years that we have lived here, there have been several occasions when the creek has flooded its banks and created a stream down the swale in the middle of our pasture. So when, as I was absorbed in a book, Tim said that Gooney Creek was flooding the pasture, I didn’t get too excited. But about an hour later, when the rain tapered off, and Tim grabbed
the camera to get video of the flood, I stood up to look out the window. Good Golly, Miss Molly. The entire field was under about 2 feet of water. So much debris had come down from upstream and piled up against the fences that the water started pushing down large sections of fence and bending our metal gates.
Here is what it looked like:
We have spent the last 3 weeks repairing our fences and cleaning up after that mess. We still have one massive creek bank restoration that needs to be done, or we are going to lose a huge section of our land, and we’ll have a bridge that goes to nowhere. So needless to say the forecast of severe storms with possibility of 1-2 inches of rain per hour does not fill me with glee. It’s supposed to continue to rain for the next three days as well. So unemployment has some advantages as I’ll definitely have a full time mowing job ahead of me when things dry out.