The power of water visited us Tuesday night.
Four inches of rain fell upon saturated soils, culverts bulged, creeks rose, and fields flooded... We were reminded once again of nature's ready ability to transform the environment. It is humbling to wake up to such a transformation, especially when one has 500 animals to provide for. One feels small and powerless.
But we have learned over the years how to cope. Landis' dairy cows were under roof, as were his first newborn calves. His bulls were marooned on an upland island, so they were fine. Our cows were on high ground, as well, as were hogs and sheep. Laying hens are under roof fortunately, as they would have suffered from such exposure. The only challenge really was taking grain to the hogs, who were across the creek on a high knob among trees. Had to use the tractor to ford through two feet of water, but it worked.
By noon, the flow through the culvert had reduced by half, and flooding over the road by Landis' house had receded. It comes quickly and goes quickly, but when it comes, it does so with a fury.
This was a reminder, yet again, that water is a determining factor of life. The more we work with our farm, the more we realize its success is primarily contingent upon managing flow of water. That flow involves: wells, springs, county water, underground water-lines, underground tile-lines, ditches, creeks, and organic matter. Wells, springs, and county deliver water to people and livestock; tile-lines, ditches, and creeks transport water away; and organic matter retains it in soil. We are additionally exploring installing control-valves in tile-lines to sub-irrigate pastures. All of these components work together to keep water circulating past, through, and within the farm, in sustainable fashion. This is an intentional process, full of design discovered over decades.
Water is a fascinating topic. Nothing catches our attention more than having too little or too much of it. We were at full alert Wednesday morning.
While driving back from taking grain to hogs through floodwaters, I noticed atop this bale of hay below a large, black turkey vulture perched in ominous fashion. One is always concerned when witnessing a turkey vulture in the vicinity, for wondering where lies its carrion.. Newborn lambs in the adjoining field are also vulnerable to such predator. While conceding he was rather magnificent, perched 15 feet high upon the bale, I witnessed something I hadn't seen before. One of the guard dogs, Kentucky, in with ewes and lambs, noticed him from afar as well, and began barking, and then broke into a run at full tilt toward the vulture. The two other guard dogs took notice and joined the chorus and pack. So did the turkey vulture take notice, who soon enough alighted for more favored circumstances than tangling with three barking 100-lb. canines in full assault.
What was interesting to experience, for the first time, was that our guard dogs survey and act upon aerial threat as well as terrestrial.
We recently enjoyed a delectable dinner of ribeyes, Mancino carrots, rapini, mushrooms & peppers, and beans...
To order your own ribeyes, click below.
Susan and I look forward to seeing you at Hyde Park this Sunday, as do Beth & Bob at Findlay Market on Sunday as well.
In the power of water, may our thirst be quenched, our roofs tight, our lawns green, and our basements dry,
Drausin & Susan