Wednesday, September 26, 2012


I'm trying very hard to maintain updates to the blog but it's been difficult with the work that I want to get done before winter sets in. It seems like there's lots of time before the first snow might hit but the motivation to complete the long list of things I have to do is strong. Next year I want to sit back and enjoy the maintenance of the place and not have to do more than cut grass, decide on where I want some flowers and bushes, and mount a counter attack on the mosquitoes, something I was not able to do this year because I moved in halfway through their season (after they were well established). Still, no matter what I have to accomplish in the course of the day, I always include a walk and a wander with the dogs.

Often these days I let them run down to the creek without me for a few minutes until I call them back, or at least ahead of me as we head down on our usual route, but on Sunday, after just a few hours of hard rain over night, I was working on some fencing and realized Cora was nowhere to be seen. I started to call her and eventually walked to the edge of my lawn which overlooks the creek. On a normal day you can't see the creek because it curves back on itself and is about 100 feet away from the base of the slope but on Sunday I could see the water from where I stood. It was a flash flood and I was terrified.

I could not find Cora and she wasn't coming when called (fairly typical for her) but my completely rational and all consuming fear of water took over and I ran into the woods calling her. For a few moments the vision of her jumping a log to get to what she thinks is a path left me totally paralyzed. I haven't posted these photos before because I was going to make more signs and post them all together but I thought today would be a good day to use it as a reference.

This is Cora's Corner, it's the nearest corner of the property in the woods and there is a little island of sorts that is sort of squared off - the dogs like jumping over the tributaries of the creek because they often still have a little water in them. Cora shows off her corner ...

And this was her corner when I couldn't find her. It's hard to see because I couldn't get any closer but the water is at about where Cora's head would be, it's risen almost 3 feet from the base of the tree but from the normal water level of the creek it had risen about 5 or 6 feet. This was from rain that started at about 4am and ended before 7am. Imagine how much water came out of the sky for that to happen to the creek in only 3 hours. This was, in the truest sense, a flash flood.

Just the day before this event I had taken the dogs out and photographed them in the woods, simply doing what they do, and looking back I marvel at what power water has. Leeloo is standing next to the creek, it's right behind her, safe, contained, about 12 inches deep, maybe 18 in some places. Leeloo makes this creek look good.

 It swelled from the little babbling brook to a swollen, seething, writhing torrent in minutes. I am so glad we were safe in our beds when this happened. This is looking across to where Leeloo is standing in the above photo. Can't tell where she'd be? I can't either really, except I know that she'd be under water. The distance from where I'm standing and the other side of the 'creek' is about 150 feet.

Happy Cora and Esme posing by a grass covered log, aren't they darling? I love how much Cora still looks like a puppy and how happy Esme is with her pink tongue poking out and her shiny little nose. You can better see the creek behind them when it's at its normal flow rate (which isn't quite accurate because at this time it was still recovering from the massive flooding that occurred a week prior, it was still dropping about 6 inches every day until Saturday night's rain.)

The Boy. So handsome. He's watching a leaf float past on the brook. All very serene. Less than 12 hours later the water would be above his head too ... and he's quite tall!

I've taken a lot of photos of the dogs at the far corner of the property close to where the trucks are located, the creek peters out quite a bit there and drops to about 2 or 3 feet wide. I think I posted this photo of Cora before. This is what it is normally.

And Sunday morning I was met with this. I couldn't get to where Cora was actually standing, she would be around the tree to the left and about 10 feet down. And under 4 feet of water.

And what of Cora anyway? I ran down to the water and called her and called her until eventually she scooted through the bushes past me. I called her again, she stopped, realized she was in trouble and turned tail. Well, not one of my proudest moments you can rest assured. I was completely terrified she was going to run into the water so I ran up past where I thought she'd gone, and screamed at her to get to the house. She did, in her own time, but I didn't know that and ran back up the hill to find her staring down at me like "What is your PROBLEM?" I chased her back to the house, dragged her in, shut her in her crate and screamed obscenities at her for a few minutes. Then I took the camera and stormed out of the house with "I'm LEAVING! Without you morons! I am so tired of you all trying to get yourselves KILLED! Stay here and ROT!" (But with liberal F-bombs and other obscenities - I may have also called Cora an stupid effing bitch but I digress). And I stomped down the slope again to take photos of the reason I was so furious at Cora.

Make no bones about it, she was in real danger. I can't possibly express this enough. Floods are serious business, the eddies, undertow, debris, and things you can get caught on underwater are innumerable. A dog stuck in that, much less a dog that isn't a happy swimmer, has almost no chance. Where they think the path is, where they assume is somewhere safe to put a foot, is often not. All it would have taken was for Cora to attempt to jump to where she thought it was safe and unless I saw her go, she may have little chance of extracting herself and for me to find a brown dog in that roiling mass of water and logs would have been difficult at best. It's not like they'd know to call out for help. A brook that goes from 4 feet wide to at least 150' in some places in such a short amount of time is not something to be taken lightly.

Thankfully I think Cora has forgiven me and she does listen a little better. The creek is almost back to normal but all the roads that were washed away and need repairing will be a while yet. This is my road, it's about a half mile from my driveway and it's where a small culvert allows the creek to flow under the road - there is no bridge. The brook did this to the road in less than 3 hours. It is my understanding this does not happen a lot. I have spoken to some older people who have lived here their wholes lives and they have never seen anything like the rain we got Saturday night. I wondered on Sunday why the traffic was so light going past my house ... this is why.

And finally, three naughty bums, alive and well and watching the rain fall in the back yard - Esme was lying at my feet. The bottom in the middle got smacked a couple times for not listening but as I have said before "I yell because I am afraid" and that day I was terrified my pretty little Cora would drown. Can't have that. Admittedly I didn't initially realize the normally harmless creek was in such a state, the rain barely woke me up and it didn't occur to me so much had fallen. My harmless creek has taught me to respect the power of water and its insatiable need to get to the ocean by any means possible. We mean to never get in its way.

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