A year ago we moved our goat barn. When we first built the goat barn we didn’t realize that the spot we chose was the lowest part of our property. We probably should have realized that, but we didn’t. Every rainstorm meant we had to try and dig the goats out so they wouldn’t drown. They wouldn’t leave the barn for anything. We would have to put down 2×12 wooden boards and plywood so they could fjord the floods.
In December 2012 we got warning that a big storm was heading our way. We ran down to the Sewer and Stormwater District Facilities and loaded up on a bunch of sand bags. We needed enough for not only the goats but also our garage, which our driveway slopes down toward.
When the storm came it was bigger than we ever expected. Tom decided to go hunting leaving me to fend off the water. Not the best of ideas. As the torrential downpour came I ran outside to find a river running down between the beds and right towards the goat barn. As I waded down I saw another river coming from our next door neighbor’s property also heading towards the goats. The sandbags only slowed the water as it went right over them and into the barn. The only saving grace was that the deep litter in the barn kept them a few inches above the water line, which you can see in the above photo on the wood.
After that storm we decided it was time to move the barn to the other side of the yard where the ground was higher. With the help of some awesome friends we moved the barn and made some huge improvements to it. We also made it larger by adding hay storage and a milking room. We were ready when the next storm came.
Except it didn’t. That big storm was the last. Sure, it showered a little bit since, but we haven’t had any substantial rain. Nothing that could test out our new barn. After that big storm the Ridiculously Resistant Ridge moved in and has blocked every storm since. For the entire year of 2013 we saw only 16% or our normal annual average of 20.39 inches of rain. Our normally wettest month, January, is shaping up to be bone dry with no rain at all. NO RAIN. None. Not a drop. A big fat goose egg. And none in the forecast for the last few days of January.
It’s hard not to be depressed and slightly panicked at this point. It’s even more difficult to not become fiercely angry at people that don’t think it’s a big deal and refuse to make any changes to their water use habits. I found myself grimacing and clenching my fists when the plant nursery owner said “Don’t you just love this beautiful weather?! I know it’s just a tad bit dry, but it’s just so nice out.”
Previous years being soaking wet and having slick mud caked onto my boots was merely an annoyance. This year it would be a blessing to just use the boots for what they were intended for.
Keep an eye out for the next post. I’ll be discussing what we’ve decided to do about a garden this year and how we are conserving water.