Weather forecasters look at things differently than many of us do, they begin their calendars on October 1st instead of January 1st. October 1st is considered the beginning of the winter season that supplies the area with the rain in the valley and snow pack in the Cascades. That in turn determines our predictability throughout the summer months to grow the verdant greens of crops, trees, and all manner of vegetation.
Our liquid sunshine, the moisture we get, is essential to the Pacific Northwest. However, this year has really given us amazing amounts the the stuff. The Willamette and Columbia Rivers around and through Portland have remained at flood stage or above months at a time. Since the beginning of rain year October 1st, Portland has measured 50 inches of moisture.
The Nehalem here on the farm has been running high and staying that way rather than the usual fluctuations we see through the late winter and early spring. The high waters have a tendency to scour out banks and cause more erosion than normal. We are showing about 80 inches of wetness.
Mud clogs ditches, makes rock roads impassable, and it takes knee boots just to walk to the barn. We are having trouble getting around the hay fields to get the necessary fence work done. Harrowing can only be done when there is no water running through the fields, some areas will not get done before the grass grows to tall for the task. The cows are leaving big, muddy hoof prints, once dry they will cause machinery to run bumpy during harvest. I haven’t started anything in the garden yet. We can’t even think about logging, the bulldozer would just make a horrible mud mess.
In the valley, farmers are concerned that they cannot get the soggy fields worked up to plant corn that they already have contracts for to harvest and deliver on a specific day. Nursery workers are missing deadlines to transplant seedlings into the ground. Road crews that are months behind filling the dreaded potholes are unable to complete repairs during the downpours.
For several weeks now we are getting close to a day a week where we don’t see any rain (sometimes its just sprinkles, other times not quite 24 hours at a stretch). I have been watching the driveway with anticipation and watching the puddles shrink. We have officially made it down to only one puddle remaining before the next storm system works it way onshore and within hours the puddles are back.
Finally, it looks like we are in for a break of good weather. This next week shows a possibility of 4 days without rain.
I’ll take it.