Saturday, March 12, 2011
It's a long story
As I feared, the combination of very saturated ground, the 3-4 feet of snow dissolving off the mountain in the rain and the inches of rain that came down was not a good combination for me. The basement started to get water in it before half an inch of new rain had fallen. So on Thursday morning I started running the little pump, then the bigger pump for 20 minutes or so at a time. At first, I could turn the pumps off for an hour, then it was 45 minutes, then 30 and then both pumps were running full blast all the time. Then around the middle of the afternoon, both pumps started to be overwhelmed by the amount of water coming in and off the mountain.
I started making calls, looking for a larger pump than the sturdy 1/6HP pump I was using. I called family and friends with no luck. Either they didn't have a pump or they were using the one they had. The big box stores were all out of pumps. I started calling the local, smaller hardware stores, not feeling very confident about my luck so far. Amazingly, I found a local store, not far away, that had a 1/4 HP pump. They were closing in less than hour but promised to pull the pump for me. I hopped in the car and headed off the mountain, dodging rain puddles and avoiding closed roads. And it was about 2 miles from the cabin when I realized I had a chicken in the back seat.
Now I have to back up a little bit, and here's where the story gets longer. About 10 days ago, just after the last cold spell, I noticed that one of my chickens wasn't doing so well. I didn't know what was wrong with her. She seemed weak and sick and the others were picking on her. I was afraid she had something contagious, so I pulled her out of the pen, put her in Baby Dog's old puppy crate, filled it with straw, food and water. I expected to find her dead in a day or so. But she didn't die. She thrived on the personal attention. Just to be safe I gave her garlic water (an old worming remedy) and continued to baby her. She was weak but improved every day.
I kept her in the puppy crate on my front deck, because at first I was afraid she might have something contagious and didn't want her near the healthy chickens. At night, I put her in her crate in the back of my car, because I was afraid she would extra vulnerable to the marauding raccoons. And, I thought the car offered her some protection from the wind, if not the cold, of the night.
After about a week, she was more or less back to normal, if still thin. I let her out to hop around the deck but after several days she was hopping back to the main pen to visit her "sisters." So now I try to reintroduce her to the others, and that really doesn't go so well. They chase her, peck at her and treat her as though she came from a different flock. My weakling was now healthy but outweighed by the others. So now I am keeping her where the others can see her and be near her, trying to get some weight back on her and hope that eventually I can put her back in the main chicken pen.
So when this rain started, I didn't her to get wet or cold, so that day I put her in the back of the car, even though it was daylight. So now here I am racing to the store to get this new pump, when I suddenly remember the chicken is still in the back of the car. There's nothing to do for it, I keep driving, now talking to my chicken and hoping she's not freaked out by being in a moving vehicle.
So I get the new pump and by the time I get home again, it's dark. My chicken is sleeping, so I guess the car ride didn't bother her very much. This sure isn't like living in Hollywood, is it? Green Acres is closer to the truth.
By the time I got back to the cabin, the combination of the two pumps in the basement was starting to make some headway. I was up most of Thursday night turning pumps on and emptying the basement, turning them off again only to have the basement fill up again. But the rain stopped around midnight and by 3 a.m. the water was under control.
When I got up on Friday morning, I was in no mood to make breakfast for myself, so I went out to a local restaurant and treated myself to a big one. I got these photos on the way. I couldn't get close to the areas that were hit worst by flooding--roads were closed. The rivers won't crest until sometime today, so the folks who live along the rivers are still in the midst of the mess. My life on the mountain is more or less back to normal, at least for the moment, and I'd still trying to figure out how to get my "pet" chicken back in the main pen with her now evil sisters. I'll probably have more on that another time.