Sunday, December 13, 2015

Warm, Wet and Windy

El Nino has arrived in the Northwest. In a few days we went from barely recovered from the summer's drought to flooding. And it is still raining...

This summer, we had to dredge out an area by the dam to accumulate enough water for the irrigation pump for the garden. Less than a week after the rains began, the pond overflowed. I took these photos on Dec. 9, mostly between rain showers. Or at least between rain downpours. We had almost 3 inches of rain in the 24 hours preceding.

Johnny dug trenches to direct the water off roofs away from our buildings.

I hiked down to the lower reaches of the creek that flows out of our pond and saw that Johnny's bridge was no longer reaching from one side of the bank to the other.

I could not get to Agency Creek this way because of water in the woods. The white stake marks the highest the river has come since the 1996 flood, when it flooded the lower field. We did not put a stake in that time. But we did canoe through our woods.

Our little seasonal pond has become a big seasonal pond.

This is the path down to what we call the "lake pasture", for good reason.

And these are the paths that go to our usual access point for Agency Creek (left) and through the woods alongside the creek (right). The water was over my boots both directions, so I turned back.

When the light rain grew heavier, I took refuge in an old shelter in the woods for a time.

As the rain eased somewhat, I made a break for it and forded the water flowing into our seasonal pond by jumping from hillock to hillock, then walked back to our little creek and the culvert, which was carrying the water just fine. This is looking upstream toward the pond.

And this is downstream. A bit of the snag that fell this summer is in view on the right.

The only access to Agency Creek was from the south horse pasture. Instead of a high bank where I usually stand to look down at the creek, there was just a few foot drop to the muddy water.

From there I walked up to the swamp, which has been dry for many months. It is now a swamp again.

We had had ferocious winds along with the rain the weekend before. They took down our garden netting and the white posts that hold it up.

We also lost power on Monday, Dec. 7, when a tree fell across the road half a mile from us. Later, we had power surges which mysteriously started the long motionless fan in the greenhouse ceiling to begin whirling at full speed. That fan and a light out front of the house are supposed to be turned off and on by a battery device that has not worked for many years.

It still doesn't, so we could not turn off the fan or the outside light. Johnny unscrewed the light. I leaned over the balcony rail and pulled the cord on the fan.

Whenever there is a break in the weather, birds mob the feeders. The chickadees grab a bite and go.
Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee
The Pine Siskins, on the other hand, hang on in mobs.

Every morning I throw seed out for the ground feeders, including California Quail by the gazillion.

Johnny checks his rain gauge each morning and writes down the accumulation from the 24 hours previous. On Dec. 1st, he recorded zero inches of rain from the last day of November. In the next 12 days (last recorded this morning, Dec. 13), we had a total of 15 inches of rain. The weather prediction is for more of the same.

At least, it isn't snow.

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