This last week has brought soaking rains to the farm, a lightening strike that flattened a condo in Coos Bay, a funnel cloud over the ocean at Tillamook and tornado warnings for Astoria. To say the least the weather has been dynamic and has gone a long way to calm the fire danger here at home and at the several large wildfires burning throughout the western states including the Columbia River Gorge.
The much needed moisture put a stop to our logging because it made the roads up the hill slick and gooey. Mike tried to move the bulldozer up the skid road, the tracks would dig down to dry earth and move a few feet, then have to dig again before moving forward. At the second bend and just before the steep stretch, the dozer could go no further and he had to back down the winding road moving slow inches at a time to stay on the path.
In the landing, the area right in front of the log deck held more than a foot of rainwater. If there were anyway to get a self-loader truck in the swamped road to get to the pile, the truck would sink below the axles with the weight of the logs.
Mike brought in three truckloads of rock to fill in this puddle, smoothed the rock and compacted it with the dozer. It will still be several days before we will be able to get the log truck in for this load.
Two days of the thermometer hovering around 100 degrees, made for some very tough work conditions out in the hay field.
Everyone had a bottle of water handy at all times. Many breaks were needed throughout the heat. The tractors needed times to cool down because the heat coming off the drive shaft made it impossible to hold one’s feet on the clutch and brakes. Even the dogs struggled to stay in the field and made many trips down to the river to catch a cooling swim, they kept the moisture on their coats instead of shaking off and would seek shade anytime a piece of equipment was turned off. Continue reading
The forecast called for rain and the morning looked like a front was definitely moving in. We decided it would be a good day to work in the barn putting the parts on the bale wagon that we had ordered last week.
Looking out through the bars of the barn gate the rain had started to mud up the dirt road leading to the bridge.
About then a storm cell above us let loose with what looked like a fire-hose amount of water. The drops hitting the metal roof was so loud we could not hear each other talk or shout.
Within minutes the dirt road was filled with puddles, the grass growing in the hay field was flattened and we had recorded over a half inch of rain in less than an hour.
This amount of rain will push back the start time for mowing the hay fields, it will take more than a week for the ground to dry out under the grass. The rain also temporarily stopped our logging operation because the road is too muddy to even get to the bulldozer or the landing, and the bulldozer would not be able to go up the skid roads with it being this wet and slippery.
Concentrating on the hay equipment in the meantime will keep us busy in the meantime.
I have to admit that my puddles may be bigger than most. I blame it on the heavy equipment like tractors and pickups with stock trailers that frequent my driveway. A lot of the responsibility however falls on the fact that we have slacked over the last couple of years with the amount of rock hauled and packed onto the surface. Just another one of those tasks that does not fall into the emergency category and gets forgotten during the summer and fall when it should be done. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
The huge amounts of rain over the Thanksgiving week caused a lot of high water and landslide warnings, a week later we are still trying to un-mud.
Although the river has receded significantly, spots of our rock roads on the farm have dips that are still under water.
Our soil is very good loam. Usually the water doesn’t stay puddled for long. But the two months of extremely soggy weather has left the dirt a boggy mess.
Weather guessers are calling for a cooler front to come in soon which usually means the rain will let off for a while. I’m looking forward to a break in the clouds and dampness, as I’m sure the herd of cows would like a dry hide for a spell. Also, it would be good to have a cold snap to help control the high populations of flying bugs we have been experiencing the last two years.
The weather guessers have nailed this forecast. For a week now, they have been warning us that a storm was headed our way and to expect large amounts of rain from a slow-moving system.
The storm has been marching across the Pacific Ocean and was plowing its way the the western side of Oregon for a week now and the day that was expected to have the most precipitation has arrived. Torrential rain has turned every bit of soil into a sloppy goop, the river is running full-span and every puddle has overstretched not only its own boundary but the boundary of every puddle in the yard creating one large farm-sized puddle.
The water is running over the roads we take to get to the bridge and the river in the background is pretty high.
We are nearing flood stage, but the deluge is expected to taper off a bit for the next five days. The farm being is situated fairly close to the beginning of the Nehalem River, because of this, once the rain slacks off a bit, the river level drops within an hour or two.
It is fortunate that we worked on the rock road across the river this fall before all this liquid sunshine hit with wild abandon, or the paths we use to take hay to the main herd each day would have been sunk for good.
The recently weaned yearling bulls in the bull pen have found their own way to keep their feet out of the mud, or at least their front feet.
When I spotted them, they had each found a stump. Even though it was pouring down rain, they were just standing there, chewing their cud, perfectly contented to brave all the wetness with their dry front feet high above it all.