After seeing the sign the municipality put on our road, I decided to check out the status of where things are washed out.
While walking over, I was paying to much attention to the state of the road and the ditches, I completely missed the 4 sandhill cranes in a tree, until they suddenly took off, making their croaking sounds. Startled the heck out of me! 😀
Along with the sign at the intersection, they also marked off the flood zone with high visibility markers.
There was a new section, just starting to wash out.
This is the smaller washed out area – smaller, as in how deep the water was, and how much was washed away. It actually covers more area. You can see all that gravel washed into the ditch!
This is the same area, from the other side.
I didn’t try to cross the bigger washed out area; my rubber boots aren’t tall enough for that water!
You can see the clay that’s left behind, after the gravel got washed away. In some areas, I think that clay is the only thing keeping the damage down.
That’s a lot of gravel in the ditch!
Before improvements were made, when this area washed out, there would basically be a ravine, cutting through the road. Right now, if someone had a sturdy enough vehicle, one could still drive through this – so I was only a little surprised during my walk home, when I heard a vehicle coming up behind me!
I wouldn’t dare go through this with our van.
I’m seeing traffic using the main road, so hopefully that is still in good shape. Mind you, if it did wash out, it would be after the first mile, and people would have to take other roads to get around it, and I don’t know what those roads are like right now, either.
I’m quite thankful we don’t need to go anywhere. Our work is right here at home.
The rain continues to fall as I write this, though it’s so light right now, I can’t really see it. We’re supposed to get up to another centimeter of rain this evening – less than half an inch – with even less, overnight. We are on high enough ground that we should not have issues with overland flooding, but flat enough that the water is mostly just staying in place, as the soil slowly thaws out enough to actually absorb it in places. We just have to keep on top of monitoring the old basement for water.
I haven’t been online much, so I haven’t heard how things are in the south, which was expected to get hit with a lot more rain. The city was bracing for more flooding. South of the city is a flood plain, with a lot of small towns dotting it. Many of them have dikes around them, and houses built outside of towns are supposed to be built at a minimum height above grade, because of the regular flooding, but there comes a point where even those measures just aren’t enough. My brother built a dike around his house near the city (but not on the flood plain) and for now, things are under control there. He was even able to pick up a pair of new pumps, on sale, even!, to help drain any water inside the dike faster. The dike has a one way culvert to drain water from the inside of the dike, but sometimes it needs a little extra help, and this was one of those times. It took him years to slowly build up his flood control measures, and all that work is paying off very well right now.
The Colorado Low is still sweeping its way across parts of US and Canada. We are still expecting more rain, but not anything usually severe. There’s still the possibility of mixed rain and snow by tomorrow morning. Then things are supposed to warm right up. If things stay as predicted, farmers will soon be able to start seeding their fields, right on “schedule” (at least for our area), and it’ll be the first spring with adequate moisture in years.
After checking on the plants last night, I ended up shifting things around earlier than expected. Some of the Cup of Moldova tomatoes at the top of the mini-greenhouse were getting too big! With not being able to remove the cover, it was actually a bit difficult to get them out. The door flap doesn’t open all the way to the top of the cover, so I only had a few inches to get them through.
I was going to just take them to the sun room, but they were so tall, I decided to pot them up, using some pots we found when cleaning up the old basement.
I had to commandeer a larger bin being used for something else, to fit them! The plants were potted with about 3 inches of their stems buries. If I’d had deeper pots, I could easily have buries another 3 inches.
There were also some new seedlings I finally was able to get pictures of.
These were taken last night. The Yellow Pear tomatoes had started to come up earlier, and there were finally some Chocolate Cherry sprouts showing. Among the squash and gourds, there was that one Giant Pumpkin pushing it’s way through – then a Tennessee Dancing Gourd suddenly popped up!
This is how they looked this morning. It’s always so exciting to see how fast they grow, once they germinate! That Giant Pumpkin looks like a tiny Audrey II, about to sing “Feed me, Seymore!”. 😀 Since this picture was taken, the leaves have already opened.
The tomatoes handled their first night in the sun room quite well. The only place there was room to put them and still get light was at the bottom shelf. The shop light we’re using to give light from the inside isn’t long enough to light up all the shelves we’re using. The highest shelf we’re using only gets light during the day, so that’s where we’ve got smaller bins of toilet paper tube pots seeded with the tulip trees, paw paws, and some of the kulli corn. Until they germinate, low light is not an issue for them.
These tomatoes are the same age as the ones we’d brought to the sun room earlier; they’d been left in the mini-greenhouse because they were smaller. Now, they’re bigger than the ones that have been in the sun room for a while, but the sun room ones looks sturdier, though they also still have a bit of cold damage on their leaves from their first night in the room. The greater temperature swings make for stronger plants plants, almost like hardening them off.
One of the things I did before coming in from my rounds was got into the garage and grab the folding closet doors we found in the outhouse when we cleaned it up. We’ll need more space for plant pots in the sun room, and we’re going to use it, probably with the new saw horses I bought, to set up a “table” over the swing bench. Depending on the height, there should still be room for Potato Beetle to curl up on the swing bench when he wants to be in the sun room again. 🙂 He, I’m happy to say, leaves the plants completely alone.
Unlike Susan, who desperately wants to eat them all.
Or Beep Beep, who wants to sleep on them.
Or Tissue, who wants to dig them all up.
They do make this whole “starting seeds indoors” thing much more difficult that it should be!
These tomatoes, however, are now safe in their new pots and new location. 🙂
When I headed out this morning, there were a lot of areas to check during my morning rounds!
Things are actually pretty good.
The storage house pretty much has a moat right now. It doesn’t go quite all the way around, but pretty close!
That’s a lot of water for the cats to get through. It looks like it goes all the way to the opening they use here, to get under the storage house. The only other way for them to get in and out is through a broken window at the back, which also has an old bench under it, so there is at least that access to one of their primary shelters.
This is the area by the feeding station, where a lane had been made for the septic truck. There is a lot spot near where the pile of poplar wood is that always gets water when the snow melts, but this is the first time I’ve seen the water extend to far towards the gate in the chain link fence!
Before and after pictures of the area in front of the house that we would normally drive up to, when loading and unloading the van. Though the pictures were taken a week apart, there had been another snowfall, so there was actually more snow there, just a couple of days ago.
The water in front of the outhouse and behind the garage is the deepest, and most wide spread, I’ve ever seen it. I don’t know if any critters are using those two old dog houses near the outhouse, but I think that might be where Potato Beetle came from, to get so wet and have straw stuck to him. I’m not sure where the burs would have come from, though.
As deep as it is here, the usual lake that forms at the driveway to the garage isn’t particularly large. It looks like the water is actually being absorbed, since it doesn’t look like it’s draining anywhere.
The driveway itself isn’t draining very well. We can still drive through, but I wouldn’t want to unless we absolutely had to, as we’d be just causing more damage.
I took the route outside the fence to get to the sign cam, pausing to check the state of things as best I could. You can see where the rows of corn had been planted, and further back, where there had been a pile of pulled up plants from the garden that were meant to be buried in new plots. The deer had dug them up and eaten most of them, which is why that spot is melted away a bit faster.
Much of the garden area has about a foot of snow still on it, with a few bare patches exposed here and there.
There was a new sign near the sign cam…
The road hasn’t been closed, but drivers are forewarned!
I decided to check the status of the road after this. I’ll share those photos in my next post. 🙂
When my daughters went out later on, they checked things in directions I did not go. They were able to get to the shed that has all my parents’ stuff stored in it, and check out the field our septic ejector drains into. There’s water there, of course, but all looks well.
At this rate, we might even be able to get to the barn again, soon! 😀
While talking about the state of things with the girls, one of my daughters commented on what a good thing it was, that we were able to do the big shopping trip to the city when we did! We may not have gotten everything, but we’re easily good for a couple of weeks, and even then, the only thing we’d be running out of is the dry cat kibble.
All in all, we’re doing pretty good. Even the water seeping into the basement isn’t too bad.
It’s been raining pretty steadily all night, and it will continue through today. Thankfully, it’s been a moderate rain, and not any severe downpours.
When I came out this morning, I was greeted by a whole bunch of wet rats.
By far, the wettest was Broccoli, who is still pregnant, but she kept running away every time I tried to take a picture.
I finally got a picture with her in it – and an even wetter Potato Beetle!! He looks like he went through a puddle, and had straw and burrs caught in his tail.
Wise boy that he is, he soon followed me into the sun room.
He’s still there, as I write this. 😀
I wasn’t able to see much of the kittens through the biggest cat’s house window, but when the girls went out later, they were surprised to see several adult cat heads, peering at them through the window! They were able to see a kitten behind them, but didn’t want to stay too long or get too close and disturb them. I’m surprised about the other cats. Since Junk Pile had her kittens, I’ve only seen her in there.
Hopefully, this means that Broccoli will decide to have her kittens in there, too, and that the other adult cats will continue to leave the babies alone.
After many interruptions and a bit of experimenting, I used my new software to make this video from this morning.
I didn’t add any sound to it, because I didn’t want to drown out the sounds from the video portions. In the first clip, the strange, almost squeaky noises are being made by the water trying to form a whirlpool at the culvert, under a layer of ice. At the end of the video, you can hear the deer crashing through the surface ice as they bound through the field! Considering how far away they were, that’s pretty impressive.
You can also see the tire tracks where someone had driven up to the wash out, then backed up and turned around.
This isn’t actually too bad of a washout. For now. While making this, one of the interruptions was a robo-call from our municipality. Part of it was just repeating the rainfall warning that all the weather apps have right now. It then went on to say that our council is keeping on top of things, and is aware of flooding issues, like what I was looking at this morning. They also specified that they have an emergency plan in place, and that pumps, generators and sandbags are available for those who need them (we shouldn’t need anything like that). It went on to suggest people make sure their sump pumps are working (ours is), and that items in basements are raised up off the floor (which is how we keep things in the old basement all the time), and to have things put together and ready, in case an evacuation becomes necessary. In other words, have a bug out bag!
Where we are, we won’t have much to be concerned about. If there is any flooding, there are other areas on our quarter section that water will drain to, rather than towards the house, which in turn drains into the municipal drainage ditch in the video above.
As I write this, it’s just reaching 6pm, and we are at 11C/52F, which is several degrees Celsius higher than the most recent forecast. Which means things have been not only melting outside, but in many places, the water has actually receded, with the ground warming up enough to absorb some of it. Granted, if we do get the rains that are predicted to start tonight and continue through tomorrow and the day after, with cooler temperatures, all that is going to fill up again, but there is noticeably less snow to melt away and add to the total amount of water.
Meanwhile, we continue to make trips into the old basement, check the sump pump and sweep the puddles into the flor drain or sump pump reservoir. Both the sump pump and the septic pump are going off fairly frequently, and doing their jobs. The main areas where we would expect water to be a problem in the inner and outer yard is around the garage – but not the garage itself – parts of the driveway, and other areas that are far enough away from the house that it won’t affect us. At least not directly.
We should be okay where we are. There are others in the area we are more concerned about!
This morning’s rounds were extended rounds – but about a mile and a half! 😀
The first order of business was to check the old basement. The south side of the basement is still slowly getting wetter. The sump pump is doing its job quite well. The north side hasn’t really changed much, and I’ve no doubt the big blower fan is doing a lot to keep that side more under control. The larger puddles of water got swept into the drain or the sump pump reservoir, and another of the chimney blocks was brought upstairs, before I headed outside.
I hadn’t slept much, so I was outside earlier than the cats are used to, so I didn’t see many of them! 😀
The first cat I saw was The Distinguished Guest (TDG), and he was limping. Favoring the same leg that Potato Beetle still does. Now that we know why Potato Beetle was limping, I have less concern. It’s probably a bite or claw injury. Considering how aggressive TDG has been to the other cats, I can’t say I feel much sympathy for him. I didn’t see Potato Beetle this morning, and whenever that happens, I worry that TDG has injured him and he’s suffering somewhere. 😦
I don’t know where Rosencrantz has set herself up again but, wherever it is, it’s very close by. She just seemed to magically appear at the kibble house of late! The only thing I can say for sure is that she’s not coming from the junk pile.
Speaking of junk piles, while Junk Pile (we have GOT to come up with a better for her!) was eating, I blindly took a couple of shots of her kittens through the window. This was the best one. I think I count 5 in there.
While switching out the memory cards on the trail cams, I was happy to see the water on the driveway has actually receded. To get to the sign cam, I went outside the fence line and didn’t even try to go through the snow and water along the garden area. While I was at it, I “made” a bridge. 😉
This sheet of plywood I found in the garage was set up over the drainage ditch, turned the other direction, so I could drive over it with the riding mower. Which isn’t working and, according to the place I last took it to, not really worth paying someone to fix, anymore. Since we won’t be driving a riding mower through here anytime soon, I pulled up up the plywood and laid it the other way. That helped increase the flow of water, too. I don’t know who dug this drainage ditch, how long ago, or what they used to do it. All I know is that it’s very uneven and rough, even for just a push mower.
That done, I went for a walk to check out the state of the road heading south. For the first half mile, it was actually pretty good. There’s an area that has a series of small ponds on one side that has the potential to be an issue if we get the predicted rains – we’re still under a rainfall warning that extends to the north of us, with accompanying flood warnings – but this morning, it was still pretty good.
Then I got to where the municipal drainage ditch crosses the road.
The culvert is marked with that red plastic tube on the left, and is the only reason this section isn’t already washed out.
This drainage ditch crosses the quarter section we’re on, cutting through the rented out fields into our neighbour’s quarter, until it crosses the road here.
The drainage ditch then cuts across the corner of this quarter section to another road and another culvert.
I wasn’t going to go that far to check the state of the road, seeing how things are here!
The drainage ditch is completely full; the line of higher soil, created by dredging, marks one side of it. Right now, we’ve got one flooded field draining into another flooded field!
The first area that’s washed out is past the drainage ditch. You can somewhat see how much of the gravel has been washed off the road and into the ditch.
The second wash out has done a lot more damage to the road.
Half the road has been washed down right to the rock base!
I took this next wide angle shot while standing in the middle of the second wash out.
There is still SO much snow and ice.
Here, I’m standing in between the two washed out sections. The water is flowing with remarkable speed!
I took some video, too. Once I have time, I’ll test out my new movie making software and make a little video to upload.
So this road is not a viable alternate route for us. When I get a chance, I plan to walk the road to the north and see how things are, there. We may not be able to avoid the pothole riddled main road, though.
Enough snow has melted that I could check out a few other areas, once I got back home. The path to the outhouse and the back of the garage is still full of water, and the pit under the outhouse is flooded to the top.
The garlic beds are clear of snow, but the soil under the mulch is still frozen solid.
Our first high raised bed is also clear of snow – but the snow around it is still quite deep!
I noticed one of the cages protecting the raspberry bushes we got my daughter for her birthday last year was knocked aside, so I made my way through the snow to get to it. Some of it even held my weight, though when it did give out, I found myself knee deep in snow.
Once we have rows of high raised beds built here, I can see that it will greatly affect the snow in the area.
The arrow in the above photo is pointing to the raspberry bush, and shows where the cage is supposed to be. The cages got dug out of the scrap pile around the old garden shed and placed over the raspberry bushes, after we discovered the deer were nibbling on them.
I found a couple of large rocks under the trees to weigh the cage down. Hopefully, it will hold until we find a more permanent way to protect the raspberries.
Hopefully, the raspberries have survived. Shortly after we transplanted them last year, they got hit by that one unusually cold night in late May that killed off so much. Then there was the drought, the heat waves and the deer. Now we’ve got this winter that just doesn’t want to let go. These poor bushes have had a very rough start! At this point, there’s no way to see if they’ve survived the winter. Hopefully, we’ll know in a couple of weeks.
The snow has receded enough that I was able to check out a few more areas before heading back inside. Another check on the basement, then the last chimney block was brought upstairs. Getting those up the old basement stairs has been a real pain. It’s one thing to carry a block down the hallway or across the yard. It’s quite another to safely get them up those stairs. I finally got it worked out, though. Basically, once a block was lifted to the highest step I could reach while standing at the bottom, I had to go up a couple of steps, to line myself up with the next step it would go on, carefully bend at the knees (my busted up knees!), grab the block and brace it against my belly (sometimes, my extra girth comes in quite handy!), straighten my knees to lift the block while using the hand rail to keep from falling backwards, and use my belly to place it on the next step.
Then the process is repeated, step by step, to the top. Thankfully, there is room for a block in front of the door, which has to be kept closed to keep the cats out. Then it’s, open the door, chase away cats, wrestle the block clear of the door with enough space to get past it, chase away the cats again, then close the door – hopefully remembering to turn the light off, first!
After that, it gets easy. The only difficult part is getting through the old kitchen door, without letting any cats through.
It’ll be a while before we can prep the area the blocks are going into, so we can take our time getting the blocks out the rest of the way. Getting them out of that basement was the main hurdle, and I’m very glad it’s finally done!
And that’s the state of things for now. As I write this, we’re at 5C/41F and we’re supposed to reach a high of 9C/48F, so things are melting. The rains are supposed to hit us this evening and continue through tomorrow, before changing to a mix of rain and snow, the day after, with highs of 4C/40F.
Then, three days later, they are now saying we’re supposed to get a high of 18C/64F. Long range forecast after that has highs ranging from 16C/61F to 19C/66F for the next week.
Hopefully, by then, the soil will have thawed enough to be able to absorb more of that moisture!
Welcome to my second “Recommended” series. Here, you’ll find various sites and channels that I’ve been enjoying and wanted to share with you. With so many people currently looking to find ways to be more self sufficient or prepared for emergencies, that will be the focus for most of these, but I’ll also be adding a few that are just plain fun. Please feel free to leave a comment or make your own recommendation. I hope you enjoy these!
Okay, here’s a recommendation that’s on the fun side of things. Here we’ve got some solid Canadian humour from a farmer in Saskatchewan.
I seem to be finding a lot of really great people in Saskatchewan.
Before I even link to the channel, I’ll just quote their disclaimer from the About page.
If you like to laugh and cannot be easily offended, you had better get watching. Quick Dick recommends not watching if: -You are a child -You have children near you -You are easily offended -You hate laughing and have no sense of humour
With that out of the way, I’d like to recommend the Quick Dick McDick YouTube channel.
Any cattle farmer will understand this one.
All humour aside, there is a serious message at the end of this one.
This channel has been around since 2019, before the beard reached its full magnificence. With the issues we’ve been having here, I of course appreciated this old video.
I could really, really related to this next one…
Especially while trying to give directions to delivery companies. 😀
I gotta admit; I was laughing so hard, I was crying over this next one.
For the record, I love our Grader Guy. He does a great job. Also, there are 3 shorts in total in the above video. I love the third one, too. 😀
Of course, politics are fair game.
Yeah, a lot of Canadians can relate. Alas, things did not work out for the better, and have only gotten worse.
While more and more of us will be relying on Saskatchewan Currency.
For those who wish to support the channel, there is a website Quick Dick McDick where merchandise can be purchased, and there are links to various social media to follow.
I chose the ones that grow the largest and need the longest growing season. They are all new to us. Boston Marrow was chosen because it was described as making the best pumpkin pie the grower ever tasted, and because it was described as extremely rare. We plan to save seeds from these. I’ve heard many good things about Georgia Candy Roaster and, most importantly for us, it’s listed as having great storage quality. Winter Sweet was also described as an excellent storage squash, that tastes better after being stored for several months, and for being a reliable producer.
Because the seeds – especially the Boston Marrow seeds – were so large, we went with the Solo cups as pots, using the double cup method for watering from below. Each variety got three seeds in three cups (after being scarified and soaked a bit). We’ll see how many germinate. If we had the space for it, I would probably have planted more.
Speaking of space, the small aquarium greenhouse has been brought back into service. Once they germinated, we should be able to move them to a better spot, to avoid the issues we’ve been having with the space. Depending on how well they germinate and grow, we might be able to thin by dividing.
In the large aquarium greenhouse, I’m happy to say I’m now seeing more tomato seedlings starting to push their way through the soil. More amazingly, I spotted a hint of green in one of the giant pumpkin pots! That was much quicker than I expected.
The next batch of seeds to start indoors will be two more varieties of winter squash – the Red Kuri/Little Gem and Teddy squash that we grew last year, and managed to have squash to taste in spite of the drought – and cucumbers. Since we saved seeds from the few Red Kuri we got (the Teddy never got to fully mature), I might try some of our own seeds as well.
Then we have the summer squash. In the two years we’ve gardened here, we started them indoors. They did well, but they have a short enough growing season that we could direct seed them. For the sake of space, we may actually do that this year. Chatting with my mother on the phone today, she said the only things she started indoors were tomatoes and cabbages. She direct seeded everything else, including zucchini.
As we talked, she started telling me I should plant a big garden this year, because of how expensive food is getting. She was looking at the grocery store flyer and finally noticing. I’ve been saying this to her for months now! Then she started telling me what she would be doing if she were still living here – the first being, hiring the renter to plow the whole old garden area and then…
… planting trees.
Then she tried to offer me seeds she picked that fell from the trees lining the streets near her place. I declined! I told her that we were intending to plant trees, but these would be trees that feed us, and that we had a plan in mind. She planted most of the trees around the yard herself, or allowed trees that seeded themselves to grow. It’s taken a few years, but I think she’s starting to understand that this is now causing problems, as I try to explain that any trees we will be planting will be carefully chosen, and where we plant them will also be carefully decided. She was more interesting in things she got for free – or someone else paid for, like the shelterbelt trees my brother bought for my parents that were supposed to be planted in the outer yard, but that were instead crowded into the inner yard. I do find it funny that she gave me such a hard time for not immediately planting a garden our first summer here, and instantly having one just like she used to have, back when I was a kid, and now that we are going to be planting a large garden, she wants me to be planting trees!
Well, that’s part of our plans, too. Little by little, it’ll get done.
Today’s seed starts are one more little step in that direction.
I made a trip to the general store and post office today, to pick up a big bag of bird seed. We’re switching from the deer feed to black oil seed now.
The gravel road was bad yesterday, but it was much worse today. The road itself was drier, but the last mile had water levels from the north that were higher. On the way back, I made a point of stopping near one of the municipal drainage ditches to take photos.
Further back, you can see where the water is creeping onto the road. This section wasn’t too bad for potholes. I was more concerned about the culvert.
You can tell where it is by the whirlpool. It was barely keeping the water flowing at an adequate rate. The field behind is completely underwater. That line of snow you see? That’s the drainage ditch.
On the other side, the ditch continues through a bison ranch. That’s why the fence is so fortified right into the ditch. A bison still manages to get out, every now and then.
That is some fast flowing water! The drainage ditch on this side is full, but is still containing most of the water.
It was at a culvert like this, near my brother’s place, where the highway was undermined and had to be closed completely.
Thankfully, we’re a bit higher and don’t have anything like this for the last mile to our turnoff. That last mile, however, is the worst stretch for potholes. It’s really hard to play “dodge the pothole”, when it’s all potholes.
Our own driveway is also getting wetter, and I could feel the van trying to sink as I drove through. I wouldn’t want to drive over it with the van loaded down with more weight, as it would be if I were able to get the rest of the month’s cat kibble. So I decided another trip to the city to do the rest of the monthly shopping can wait.
Of course, I came home to a message from my mother, She was wondering if I could take her shopping tomorrow.
The road is rough enough on our van. I’m not sure how her car can handle it. The last time I drove her car in conditions less severe than this, a tire blew out on the highway soon after. I am sure of exactly when the tired was damaged, too, when I hit a rock that was uncovered inside a pothole.
I haven’t checked the road to the south we would normally take as an alternate rough yet, but it was taking her car down that route that led to the tire blowout.
When I mentioned the main road’s condition, my mother suggested we wait. The grocery store is able to deliver her groceries for her, if she needs it, and that’s what she thinks she will do. She then started talking about years when the main road would get washed out completely – right about where the municipal drainage ditch is now! – we had to take the road to the north to get around it. Likely because the road was also washed out to the south. To the north, there are a lot of marshes, though, and that’s the direction water is building up from.
Gosh, I remember the roads around here washing out every spring through most of my childhood!
If we do get more rain – and our weather alert has now switched to a rainfall warning – I am not sure that the culvert in the photos above will be able to handle the increase in water. Unless it washes out in another spot, first! The temperature is suppose to increase quite a bit tomorrow, which means there will be more snow melt as well as any rain we might get. It’s going to be touch and go.
Until all this clears up, there’s no point in the municipality even trying to do anything about the potholes, and they’ll have much more to worry about if the roads start washing out!
We can wait a while on the shopping. We got a bit of rain this afternoon, and I can see on the security camera’s live feed that our driveway has even more water on it.
A reminder that we really need to get more gravel on that driveway!
I’ll just add that to the list of things we need to do, when we win the lottery.