Tag Archives: flooding

Cleaning Up After High Water

Another round of rain began as I came in from milking in the evening. Clouds had already dropped two and a half inches this week. It was slow, soaking in with no cleaning up needed.

Steady drumming accented with lightning and thunder continued until long after sleep claimed everyone. Morning light brought the rush of moving water.

The rain hadn’t stayed slow and steady. It poured. Rising waters had rampaged for a time, then dropped to a smaller torrent.

creek after flood

Last night’s flood has passed leaving the creek muddy and foaming. Debris left on the pastures marks the water’s high level. Debris is trapped against trees along the creek.

Cleaning up displaced all other tasks. The road washed out where the wet weather creek roared out next to the driveway leaving a three foot deep hole. The large rocks put into the culvert hole were across and down the road.

There was a culvert across the road at that spot twenty-five years ago. It washed out and was never replaced. The hole washed out every time the wet weather creek flooded. We filled it with large rocks to slow this down. Usually they work.

cleaning up the road means moving rocks and gravel

A wet weather creek poured out onto the road tearing off the gravel and rolling out large rocks leaving a three foot deep ditch across most of the road. Yes, the neighbor drove into the ditch and scraped the underside of his truck getting out again. The first step of cleaning up was putting the large rocks back into the hole.

The small pasture fence was flattened for thirty feet. Leaves, branches and road gravel are piled onto the wire.

My goats went out to pasture to find the bridge is washed out. The I-beams are still there. The approach is half gone. Many of the planks are gone. They didn’t cross the creek.

cleaning up downed fencing is hard work

Leaves and branches caught in the fence. road gravel piled on. Fence posts gave way leaving thirty feet of fence flattened. Cleaning up starts with pulling leaves and branches loose. Then the gravel is hoed away. Finally the posts are straightened or replaced so the wire can be raised.

What happened on the other side of the creek? I don’t know yet. The creek is too high to wade across. It doesn’t matter for now. Cleaning up this side will take time.

The neighbor came by while I was milking and drove into the hole in his large pickup. I heard the frame scrape on the edge of the road.

cleaning up the creek bridge will take weeks

High water often carries the bridge planks away. We find them, bring them back and pace them back on the bridge. This time cleaning up means filling in where the bank has been carved out.

Cleaning up began. First some large rocks went into the hole in the road.

Cleaning off and standing up the pasture fence will take several days. I cleared the first foot of debris off the top of the fence leaving the gravel.

Gravel is hard to move. It is heavy. It is full of rocks. Maybe I’ll use the tractor to move at least some of it. The driveway needs it.

Storms and floods are the topic of an essay in “Exploring the Ozark Hills.” They are a section of “My Ozark Home” due out this summer.

Floods, Wind, Cleaning Up

The late afternoon storm didn’t amount to much at first. The clouds were black. A few short showers brought the goats in from the pastures.

Thunder and lightning sent the cats hiding. The garden needed watering and the noise made false promises.

Breezes arose. These became wind. The trees began to sway and whip back and forth. Roaring filled the air.

Inside the house all went dark and quiet. The electricity was out.

After the wind blew itself out, we went out to inspect the damage and make plans for cleaning up. Leafy twigs littered the road. Branches hung from tree trunks or littered the ground.

Then we looked out along the creek. The electric lines descended from the pole to the ground. Sycamore trees were lying across the creek and creek bottom. Cleaning up would be a major job.

Further down the creek a sycamore had snapped off about five feet up. The tree had blown across the creek and slammed into an electric pole. It snapped off at the base and both now lay on the ground.

Electric lines snaked along the creek along the tractor road. The top of the next pole had snapped off. So had the top of the next pole. Over two hundred feet of electric lines lay on the ground. I went in to call the electric company.

cleaning up debris will take time

The winds from the second storm blew big trees up by the roots and snapped off smaller ones. The floods from the first storm cut deeply into the creek bank leaving cliffs behind.

Phones and Electricity

At one time phone lines were up on the electric poles. That changed years ago now when the phone company put fiber optic line underground. The line does have electricity running through it but is not part of the electric grid.

The phone was still working.

This was Saturday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend. We didn’t know it then, but 85 MPH winds had ripped through town downing trees, snapping electric poles and tearing up buildings. Other out of town areas had the same winds leaving destruction behind. We aren’t the only ones cleaning up storm debris.

The cooperative phone line was busy.

Rural areas don’t have regular electric companies. The houses were far apart so no one wanted to put up all the lines spending lots of money for little in return. Cities and towns had electricity. Rural areas didn’t.

During the Great Depression, the federal government passed a law allowing rural areas to form cooperatives for the purpose of bringing electricity to these farms. Those in a coop area are member/owners. Even with this, electricity took a long time to get to parts of the country. I substitute taught at an Arkansas rural school where electricity didn’t arrive until 1967.

I tried off and on that evening but didn’t get through. The phone wasn’t working in the morning.

electric line cleaning up

When this electric pole snapped off, the lights went out. The tops of two more poles snapped off to leave a big job behind cleaning up.

Doing Without Electricity

Generators are popular items around here. We don’t have one. The electricity is rarely off long enough to be a real inconvenience.

When we lived up North, we had a generator. I found out then that the electricity from it and that from an electric line are very different. The generator puts out little power surges which can damage or destroy some appliances – think computers.

A friend has a generator. She told me something went wrong when her husband turned it on. It sent an electric surge through the lines frying the surge protectors, even starting a fire in one. Her refrigerator no longer works.

We didn’t have electricity up North and live fairly simply here in the Ozarks. We got out the candles.

Kerosene lamps are used in the movies. We’ve used them. They do give off more light than a candle. They are also fussy.

The kerosene must be the right kind. The wick must be the right length. Any excuse is good enough to smoke up the chimney which is glass and breakable. It gets hot quickly, is slow to cool down and will shatter if touched with cool water when you try to get the soot off the glass.

The soot is another story. Fine. Black. Sticky. Messy. Hard to wash off. Streaks.

Candles are easier.

It’s nice to watch a movie in the evening. I like writing on my computer. We can live without these.

Books take no electricity. We have lots of books.

goats cleaning up leaves

The goats aren’t sure what happened. The leaf bounty is welcome. They are happy to help with the cleaning up.

Electric Conveniences

Flushing the toilet wasn’t hard. A couple of buckets of water from the rain barrel worked fine.

Candles worked for putting light into dark rooms.

My stove uses propane – gas – so cooking wasn’t a problem.

The refrigerators warmed up. The frozen food thawed but I had used much of it up for space to put more over the summer. The refrigerators needed thorough cleaning anyway.

The chickens don’t mind milk to drink.

Life slowed down. It was nice to have such quiet. There was plenty of cleaning up to do to keep us occupied all day.

Did I miss the electrical conveniences? Most of the losses were more annoyances than tragedies. One I did miss a lot: running water in the kitchen.

I had caught rain water in clean jars to use in the kitchen. I’ve lived without running water and know how to make it last. I’m spoiled.

Putting food into a saucepan and turning the tap for water to cook it in is so convenient. Washing off that dirty bowl or plate or utensil or hand as I go from task to task preparing a meal is so convenient.

Perhaps if the electricity was off longer than three days I would miss it more. But the three days without running water was frustrating.

Cleaning Up

After the flood, the creek had washed out several trees which had fallen. After the microburst [seems to be similar to a small tornado with no funnel cloud, not touching the ground but following a definite path], a swath of trees is left uprooted or snapped off.

Looking at the mess is disheartening. Cleaning up the mess will take months.

One ray of light is the store of firewood waiting to me cut up and hauled in. We do heat with wood.