As you know my area was hit with drought last year and flooding this year.. now flooding is not new at all in my neck of the woods, there is a reason I do not have to worry about any building close to me.. trust me they would never get a permit for the farm land around my own farm.. thankfully its several hundred acres of farmland.
As other’s flooded out and I took pretty photos of swollen flooded creeks and the local river took docks and pushed the water higher and higher and while 30 min away, hundreds on both sides of the river had water flood their homes up and down the river.
The truth as I said to those that asked, was our farm was good. The water never even came into our pastures, let alone the gardens, barns or outbuildings and it didn’t get close to the house..
But the sump pump ran none stop.. and if I lost power, I will be the first to admit that we would have had basement flooding.. it would have not done much damage as that basement is designed for the flooding, it had to be before they could run the sump pumps back in the day. I would have to have 4 feet of water in there before it could be a full issue, and so far in the history of the house.. never happened.. the older gentleman that was born and raised in the house now in his 60’s says they never had more than a foot at the worst.. even on the worst flooding years.. Good to know.. Good to know.
The pig wallows, the pond and the grading we have done on the farm since we got here made a massive difference on how the water moved, it did what it was to do.. slow it down, the fact that the water moving off the roofs went though the rain barrels, then drained out to planned watering zones before moving to join the swells to finally flow off the land meant that it did not digging, it did no ditches.
The fact that this has happened enough that I have a back area for dryland garden planting and that I have much higher totally different built garden area on the farm for wet spring garden planting and growing is awesome.. you could not more plant in my dryland right now.. it’s so wet anything you put in would rot, but in my wet garden its jungle lush and the food is flowing in already and will for months to come.
The biggest issue that I have found is HAY, which has led to more work in terms of both grain fodder growing (it’s a lot easier to store a year’s worth of grain to turn into fodder then it is to store a years worth of hay) Protein sources programs are in full training, fly’s buckets, BSF larva, Mealworms, Red Wigglers and Comfrey are all in play.
I had talked about the earthen berm that runs across the back-end of the pasture butting up against the garden area before the grade up to the house itself.. I have full plans to raise it and I have decided to create the same thing with swells’ and graded slope on the front pasture. It’s a longer term project to be sure but will be well worth the work (for the first bigger push, I will bring in a small backhoe and get that first layer put into place) and then I will do the rest with human or critter power.
I already keep supplies on hand to both shock the well (which any well owner should be doing anyway) but it was pointed out to me by a doctor that asked if I had tested my well since the flooding, truth was no.. because my well never got over run with water over the top, I didn’t and still don’t believe it an issue, I guess I had better take advantage of my free water testing again and see if I am right?
On the back-end of things, while we have things in place for getting clean drinking water for ourselves and the household use.. it got me to thinking about the critters? Do I need to have some way to clean larger amounts of water if needed? Something to mull over..
Because let me tell ya folks.. this weather.. this hot, O my goodness so hot, need to have a garden area planned and prepped for shade so that you can grow food for the year is need, even if that means you need to buy shade cloths to put up if you don’t have the land I do.. that drought time.. ya.. it’s going to come again.. and you will need to adjust not just the gardening but even consider like I did looking at livestock and figuring out how to get the most bang for your buck meat wise, calorie wise for the amount of water output..
Its right there that you go.. ok, so I can have a small chicken flock (eggs, meat and feathers and compost) with a small rabbit herd (hide, meat, cold poo) and a tiny herd of sheep (milk, meat and hide or wool) and a couple good farm hunting cats for the same amount of water that one single calf will use daily..
When the well is working and water is flowing.. not an issue.. but when water is tight, honestly, you will need to change your breeding programs for your farmstead needs.
And the floods.. well the floods are going to be coming again, the heavy rains will come, look not just to our local woods where the 100 year floods are now coming not every 50 or even 20 but the one local area now says the ten-year floods!
As we found out the hard way locally, the local rivers all might be controlled by dams and waterways but when it comes to backing up them and or risking damage to them, the governments made the choice to open them up and let the water run and if you, your home are in the way.. their answer was simple.. leave. get out.. it’s coming and it will do the damage it will do..
The amount of mudslides do to heavy rainfall and the damage and deaths we are seeing is rising every year.. I know, I know.. not a happy subject.. and if you want, just shake your head and sigh and go.. I know Farmgal, I know.. climate change!
But lets bring it back to our lives, our homestead’s, and what we can control.. you are in control of if you always plant a in ground garden or if you plan to have one or two raised beds as well, (both will grow for you on an average year) but if you count on your own food, the raised bed will be the winner on a rain year.. you are in control of looking at your land and figuring out how to get water to run around your home, your barn and so forth in a way that will limit or control the damage done. You have the ability to look into ways to modify your home to prevent water damage if it did happen.
We have more knowledge at our finger tips at this time and place than any other has ever had.. someone, somewhere in some culture has figured out how to make this happen.. they know how to create it, plan it, grow it and live it.. we just need to be willing to a) find it b) put some time, effort and money into it to make it and prove it! c) Plan for the worst and then live each day like it’s the gift it is!
Better to have the plan, Better to work the plan.. better to never need the plan then to not have it!
J > Well, there’s a lot to take in there, a lot to digest. And for me this is interesting on three fronts: agriculture ; engineering ; environment. A sketch plan of your place would make it easier to imagine what you are referring to, but as most of the features are known to me by type, I can at least conjure up some kind of mental picture. It’s a tricky thing interfering with the natural hydrology. Some of what you say seems a little self-contradictory : you’re wanting to slow the run-off (very on-trend, very environmentally sound!) but at the same time you need to keep your growing areas well drained, and the house safe from flooding. Difficult to achieve all those things. Compromises may be unavoidable. But you’re a planner, and you’re certainly good at researching what you need to know. That makes what you do all the more interesting. I look forward to reading more in due course. !
Ah, I need to slow down the movement on my pastures and the lines that feed my wells.. but I want to create natural berms and drainage when it comes to the house area..
Think of my place as a square.. its not perfect but it will do.. the river is four fields away on the back, the creak is three fields away on left side, the house and main buidlings are in the front left corner.. the gardens are in all four directions. the highest point of the land is where the house is.. Does that help at all..
So I want to do very different things when it comes to the water in my pastures vs what I want the water to do once it gets to certain points of the land.. hmmm I can see what you mean.. I will see about taking some photos for you..
I am not trying to slow down the water from the dry land planting garden, I Want it to stay the way it is for dry years, I am not trying to change the raised gardens etc.. I just want to have the choices 🙂
I understand better now. What you’re thinking of reminds me of what Victorian agricultural improvers strove to do under similar conditions, and their construction of fully managed ‘water meadows’, complete with berms, sluices, and so on. I believe there are a few examples still in existence, and perhaps one still used as intended. They would rise the house up on a bank: I understand you have to think of a bund. There’s a farmer in Somerset who has done just that, and with some powerful pumps he saved his farmhouse from inundation when the Somerset Levels were flooded for several months, a few years ago.
Yup, yup, yup… “Hope for the best – But be ready for the worst”; )
Glad to hear your planning is working out!: )