Thursday, June 4, 2015

Better Build an Arky-Arky

About 15 feet to the north of our house.
There is no stream here, this waterfall was just
from run-off down the hillside.
This entry is more photo journal than blog. We wanted to share some photos of what our spring has looked like this year. While we are not in the same boat as Texas, we have had a lot of rain this spring. I was doing some checking online and in the month of May we had 21 days with rain and the total for the month was just over 13 inches. I checked and the average rainfall in May is 6 inches.

The year we moved to the property was a drought year, as we explored the area we saw lots of dry creek beds and gulches, in fact there were some areas we didn't even know occasionally had flowing water until the following February when we first experienced spring rains in the mountains.

With all the rock and clay comprising steep slopes down into valleys, lots of rain means lots of run-off. With the huge rainfall totals this past month, the ground quickly became saturated and then everything falling from the skies became run-off. By the last week of May we were having 'Flash Flood' alerts pop up on our phones multiple time a day.

While our place is never threatened by flooding, we do occasionally  get a 'seasonal' stream running down the mountain on the south side of the house. There is a small rocky ravine that water funnels into there. This year we had a rather impressive waterfall just north of the house where there is no seasonal stream. These pictures show the run-off coming down the hillside.

This is a close up of a section of that
run-off waterfall. The reddish wood is
our deck rail. There is not even a
seasonal stream on this side of the house 
I use this pallet at a low section of the
path that goes to the north garden. It spans
a small dip that fills with damp leaves in the fall.

Fording the run-off as it crosses
the north end of our driveway
We decided to drive a longer route into town one day to view some flooding along the north end of our road. There is a stream that meanders along the length of our road and if we head north the road does not climb out of the valley as it does when we take our usual southern route. We had taken a walk heading north and saw a lot of wash-out damage and that is what prompted us to drive the north and circle around into town. Most of the pictures of flooding are from that drive.

A neighbors driveway with the
flooded stream flowing over it.
We had to ford this as we drove
north on our road.
This was our road when we headed south.
(Our usual route into town)
The stream that is usually a trickle
meandering alongside our road.
Once we reached town, we stopped at a riverside park.
The river, along the rock cliff is usually not visible
from here as the bank drops off from the grass.
This is a three foot high concrete weir that is dry
all summer and has a trickle going over it the
rest of the year. You can see a tree stuck on it.

The rain was coming down too fast for the water
to drain out of the various container gardens.
My pools of onions looked like rice paddies.
All this rain has also wreaked havoc on our gardens as well. The raised beds drain fairly well, but all the containers I use in the south garden were flooded multiple times this spring. All my containers have holes for drainage, and they all worked well last year. However, with the huge downpours we had last month, the drainage holes could not keep up with the rate the rain filling the pots. I even went out in a middle of a downpour to drill holes above the dirt line of the wading pools and various containers to help drain the standing water.

This cat, that lives up the road from us,
decided to head for higher ground.
The good new is that we have had no rain in June (yet). We no longer have a waterfall rushing down the side of the hill or standing water in the gardens. The bad news is my gardens already need watered! The raised beds, buckets and pots I fill with garden dirt drain and dry out much more quickly than if I could actually plant in the ground which means that even with a month of flooding, after three rainless days I have to go out and water the gardens .