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Archive for the ‘flooding’ Category

Can You Say "Brrr…"?

I thought I would post a few pictures to illustrate why I haven’t been spending too much time outdoors lately. The storms that hit California yesterday are pelting us today. I took these pictures during a lull in the activity this morning. Above is a photo of the field behind our property starting to flood. We got snow and a mix of snow and freezing rain during most of the weekend. The air temperatures were warmish, in the 34 F range, but all of this fell on 12 inches of compacted old snow and a layer of ice.

This is the stream beginning to make its way through our pasture. I had noticed a big, black “dot” out in the field beyond this morning. On closer scrutiny it was clear it was a Bald Eagle. He was sitting out on the ice, hunkered down against the weather. When I first saw one do this I thought it to be ill, but AZ Game & Fish assured me that they just do this during bad weather at times. If it had been me, I would have found some refuge in a tree or canyon nearby, not out in the middle of it all.

And the snow blew in sideways sticking itself to everything. The one bad thing is that we discovered we have an ice dam on the north side of our roof between the office and our bedroom. We’ve had some leakage inside the house because of it. The past few storms have just been too much for our comfy house to handle, but we won’t be able to determine what’s really in need of repair until we get warm weather and snow melt. Our house is well insulated so this may take a while. Plus, neither of us is inclined to venture out on the steepest part of the roof two stories off the ground. This is a time when common sense dictates actions.

And below is the weather vane. Standing steadfast in the wind ready for the next barrage of weather coming up the draw. I guess you can tell that a spinner lives here, can’t you? 😉

It’s almost time to button the sheep up in the barn and make sure everyone has nice, dry feed for the night. Even Skittles relented and went inside last evening. Usually he stays out in all weather, guarding his tire-toy. Maybe he is smarter than he acts…

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I thought I would share a few photos from the past five days here at Sheep Thrills Farm, aka “Oleo Acres – One of the Cheaper Spreads”. We started off last Friday with very cold rains. I kept watching the water level rising in the back half of our small pasture. While it was disturbing me, some of the locals found it to be delightful. Silly ducks!
Before we knew it, by Saturday morning our stream had indeed flooded its banks. And it continued to rise. These next couple of photos were taken as the stream was receding from flooding the lower end of our sheep pens near the barn. Whether or not they wanted to go in, I made sure all sheep were in the barn on Saturday night.
The picture above shows the stream receding, but in the lower right you will see two railroad ties, heavy things that they are, side-by-side. The force of this little bit of flooding was enough to float one of the ties up out of the ground and lay it beside one further down. I was glad to see this was all it had done, as a few years ago, I had to don waders and use a lasso to capture ALL of the RR ties with major flooding we had at that time.
The only problem, other than our dwindling hay amount as stated in the previsou post, was that the rain was so very cold. Shetland sheep are well known for their ability to thrive in adverse conditions, but we had winds driving this cold rain into the fleece of the adult sheep, who were outside at the start of all of this. I took off a glove and checked Skittles fleece deep down next to his skin. The wet hadn’t gotten that far, but it was just a matter of time. I mainly did it as a convenience for myself – I really didn’t want to be out in this stuff nursing a sick, shivering sheep back to health.
Here’s a shot of our deck. Tea on the deck anyone?

And it looks like I won’t be planting any cold season vegetables any time soon.
I did turn the sheep out for a while each day. After putting everyone in for the night, I happened to see that Skittles had broken trail over to his (darned) tire-toy, just to make sure it was still there as I had promised him.
By yesterday evening the sun had started to try and make an appearance again. This last photo was about 4:30 p.m., MST. You can see we’re in the shadow of the mountain, chilling down rapidly, but across the field behind us and the Interstate, rays of the sun made it through.

This morning looked as if we were going to get another 24 inches of snow. I decided at 7:30 a.m. I would have a cup of coffee before going out to the barn. The Weather Channel on TV said we were at 2 F, but I know darned well we were below 0F here. I noticed on the Sheep-O-Vision that the sheep were still sleeping or calmly chewing their cuds. Everyone was fine. Except me…I knew I was going to have to put on layers and layers of clothing to brave the cold to feed and water everyone.

That’s OK…I still wouldn’t trade them for anything! Well,…maybe a ticket to New Zealand…No, I think I’ll stay. It was fun to see the lambs’ reactions to their first real snow. I wouldn’t miss that for anything. You know how it is with us shepherds! 😉

But Shadow would like to know why I’ve been changing clothes in the basement…exchanging dry clothes for wet clothes. Well, Shad…YOU go out and shovel if you want to find out why! 🙂

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