As I stirred throughout the night, I could hear the rain pinging on the tin roof with an occasional clap of thunder. If you’ve never been in a house with a tin roof during a thunderstorm, I’ll tell you it’s quite cozy and hypnotic. The thunder reverberated off the hills surrounding the little house in the holler. It rained all night long.
I went outside at daybreak to feed and water the chickens. When it’s raining, I always give the choice to them as to whether to go out in it or not. That might make me seem like a calloused and uncaring mother, but they are BIRDS. Birds are out during the rain. It’s actually a good time for them to forage. The worms, strangled by the flooded earth, come up to the surface for air, making them easy prey for hungry chickens.
There is a seasonal creek bed behind the hen house. Since we had bought the property, we had never seen the seasonal creek with water in it. It had always been dry. This morning, it was not only flowing, it was FULL.
The chickens were complaining about the bad satellite reception in the hen house due to the weather. I explained to them that soon, they would no longer be ‘city chickens’ and that they would just need to learn to ‘deal’ with the quirks of living in the country.
I came back in the house and made some Bacon and French Toast. It was just the type of breakfast that kind of morning required. We were already on our second pot of coffee.
It rained and it rained and it rained some more. We went from window to window, watching the seasonal creek rise. With all of the excitement, it was hard to get started with work. I kept taking pictures as the water continued to rise.
We had never expected that seasonal creek to be any sort of a threat. We ARE in a ‘holler’, which makes us the convergent point for all the water running off of the hills. We had suspected that it might flood on the ‘spring’ side of the property, as it had always seemed like a ‘low’ point with mud between the spring’s stream and the house. We had also seen evidence on the back of the house that looked as if it had seen water damage at the ground level in the back. Though the spring increased, its stream never got really high, nor did we see any water streaming off the hills over on that side, as we had expected.
There is a reservoir underneath the pump house which collects the water, which is then pumped to the house. The ‘overflow’ then forms the stream coming from the pump house. The water apparently picks up a lot of sediment when it rains hard, and it takes a while for it ‘settle’ in the reservoir. The water pumped into the house from the spring is slightly brown after a hard rain. We use a Berkey filter for our drinking and cooking water, so it’s not that big of a deal, except when taking a bath.
We watched the water creep up behind the hen house. I went out every so often to check on it. The hen house (shed) is built on a foundation of rocks, so I wasn’t really worried about it washing away. I was more worried about it getting the bedding wet, which can mold. Mold in the hen house can then cause lung ailments, which chickens are prone to.
Soon, the water began spilling into our yard! It’s NOW obvious to see that the mound of dirt behind the ‘Snowball Tree’ is a levee created for times such as this.
When the levee could no longer contain the water, it began spilling over the edge, and cutting a rut.
The water began swirling around the side of the hen house.
I know sometimes it seems that Bud is the one who does all of the work and messy jobs, but the reason it seems so is that I’m always behind the camera shooting pictures of him. I was dressed and had been out numerous times checking on the chickens, and taking pictures. I had my snake boots on, and was dressed to go out. Bud suggested that I go out with a rake and dislodge leaves, branches and trash around the hen house in hopes of keeping the water moving freely and away from the hen house. Though I did that, Bud eventually went out and did a more thorough job (including out by the road), and I took pictures of him doing so.
He found a cable that went across the creek bed and attached to the satellite dish on top of the hen house. It was causing debris to bunch up where it was strung across, so he tied it up above the water to allow the ‘trash’ to flow freely. The water raced toward the pond, like geese on a mission to fly south for the Winter.
The flooding continued to get worse and worse! We couldn’t believe it!
Eventually, the rain, which had spilled into the front yard on it’s trip to the pond, began spilling over to the spring stream on the other side of the house. The ruts left by the propane guys several months before, left an easy channel for it to spill into.
I was never really worried by it; just amazed!
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse…
We continued to drink coffee and go from window to window, as we watched the surreal display unfold before us.