Friday, May 17, 2013

Swamp on the mountain

A little over a week ago I was drilling holes with a tractor-mounted augur to put up a new field fence around the garden.  Beat the dickens out of trying to dig a hole with a shovel or a post-hole digger -- known around these parts as a man-killer.  Took me two weeks once to dig eight post holes for my barn.  Took about two tractor hours to augur up 22 holes worth of dirt and Patrick County rock and some gray gooey looking stuff.

I stopped the tractor when that gray clay came up and looked into the pit. What I saw was water moving across the bottom of the hole, gurgling its merry way toward the creek about 15 farther down the hill.  Had to dump a bunch of rock into the hole before that treated post sat in a firm foundation.

Then a few days later the clouds moved back in and it rained more than seven inches, according to both a cheap and a pricey gizmo that measures rainfall up on the ridge, about 400 feet west.. Then it cleared up and wind blew and the sun shone -- all the things that usually mean overly dry conditions.

Except in the garden.  We got water everywhere, and seemingly more of it every day. It started first with standing water in the postholes.  Then there appeared a quarter-inch of standing water in the mulch between the lower six raised beds that we built last year in the southwest corner of the garden.  Now it's standing around and below the new garden shed -- the not-quite-half-finished new garden shed, that is. I stepped in one spot and went past the ankles before I remembered how to levitate out of a jam.  It is, to use technical terms, mooshy where it ain't gooshy.  And in the row crop part of the garden, the stain of surface water has advanced uphill about 20 feet. Water's rising, looks like.

I don't know, but I think I'm going to put some mooring cleats on the deck of the garden shed and open a marina where pleasure craft can tie up.  Maybe get me some striped T-shirts and build a gondola so I can get down to the broccoli patch and back without risking miring up to the garboard strakes.  

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