Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I' m Changing My Name to Noah
Spring continues here---no more blizzards so far, but unfortunately we have exchanged snow for rain. About once a week, we get a couple days of sunny weather. The roads start to dry, the pond levels decrease, the water level under my house goes down, the farmers start to look hopefully at their fields. Everyone heaves a sigh of relief. Perhaps this time it will last and summer will be here to stay.
But then the clouds blow in again and it starts to rain. Back come the puddles, the mud, the slowly thickening weather-induced depression. Bleah! Even people who have lived here all their lives say that this spring is remarkable for its wetness. The newspaper reports there is water standing where no one even thought it could.
It's inconvenient for me, and if my house does fall into the water in the basement as I worry, it will be more than inconvenient. But until then, at least the rain isn't affecting my livelihood or threatening to carry away my home. At at time when the prices for wheat, lentils, peas, and other grains are very good, farmers can't get into their fields to plant. And up here the growing season is very limited. It's already past the cutoff date for peas and lentils, and only short while away from the last date to plant wheat. After that, the farmer can do nothing but admire his barren land.
Meanwhile, in a land that is nearly flat, it's interesting to discover that yes, water really can flow here. Prairie sloughs fill up and spill over into the next one until the water reaches a coulee, which channels all its water into the nearest seasonal creek. The creek seeks out the nearest small river, and so it goes, until a whole state worth of water ends up in one or two sluggish main river systems.
Tomorrow I go to pick up Caleb for his birthday visit. I have to get there early because they are evacuating the campus by noon. One of Minot's rivers runs in back of their property, and it has been slowly and surely creeping up on them. Many other areas of Minot are under mandatory evacuation orders for either today or tomorrow.
I went to visit him two weeks ago, and even then they were struggling to deal with all the water surging through the valley there. But that was before two more storm systems came through! The road I usually cut across on goes through a low area by the river. Water had inundated most of that area and was even flowing across the road in one place, but the road was still open. Now it is completely under water.
Poor Caleb will miss all the excitement of the evacuation, but I must confess, I will rest a little easier with him where I can see him. And maybe they will still be evacuated when he returns. You never know. In the meantime, Caleb gets to work his little tail off, with a brief respite for his actual party. If I get my way (and I often do), I will get my garden in this week! Ah, juvenile slave labor.