Juno it may rain. Odds are it will. Twenty three years ago today we had five and a half inches in fifteen minutes. Old man Wolfy said it was the highest he’d ever seen the creek. I remember the creek topping the road after a storm back in the late seventies. I don’t remember if it ran over on both sides of the bridge back then. I know it did in 1991. I was thirty that year and wasn’t yet aware that I had a son. I knew the stay at gone mom was pregnant I didn’t find out he was a boy until he popped out. He nearly ripped my wife in two when his chest passed through. She’s had six and remembers he was the most painful. But I digress.
This spring of the flood I was still a lost but searching young farmer. I’d been at it for six or seven years and was finally all on my own. Totally self employed. I had a cow herd suited for the amount of pasture available. I had two farms share crop rented from two of the best landlords I could have hoped for. I had a budding young sow herd. I had a beautiful little baby girl, a loving devoted wife and times were never gonna get better. I had yet to figure that out. I was blissfully optimistic. I couldn’t see the canyons I had lying in my path. Nor the mountains over my horizons. I couldn’t see the twenty six acre pasture buried under a thousand foot wide creek that “currently” was acting like a river.
When the rain and hail had let up that late afternoon the first of June I could see the runoff from the heavy downpours heading for the creek. I knew that if this flooding rain extended up the valley the seven miles to it’s head a little north of I-80 I was going to have a pasture under water. When I arrived down by the creek the cattle were all huddled up next to the hot wire waiting to be rescued. I couldn’t believe they wouldn’t bulldoze the wire down since it was now running under water and had to be shorted out. When I grabbed the wire to lower it so they could pass I received one hell of a charge out of the wire. I guess the cows knew what they were doing. If a cow can laugh they were all getting a chuckle. They headed up the road to high ground as I followed them up to the gate into our driveway. There’s a smaller pasture there and I locked them into it.
When I headed back down to the creek the water was already three feet higher and heading up the road bank. By the time it was done I had a five hundred foot stretch of fence to rebuild on each end of my creek. The Little Silver Creek had a new official high water mark. And I had hay to make and soybeans to replant at the same time. Along with soybeans to spray on the other farm that didn’t get hail. And corn to side dress with nitrogen. A farrowing barn to build for the ten new bred guilts I’d kept back out of my first (and last) batch of feeder pigs I’d fed out to butcher weight. Looking back is making me tired. It’s no wonder I need a nap these days. Where did I find the time?
Oh yea, I wasn’t pissing away time on line.
See ya then, see ya there …….