Friday, June 13, 2008

More Soggy Blog Pictures

These first two pictures are of the field to the south of our house. Alot of water and debris came down out of these fields and was deposited in the street.

This is the ditch that the field drains in to. At the height of the storm this ditch was full, and nearly backed up to the garage that you see open on the left hand side.

This is the ditch in front of that same house (the one with the open garage). It was taken 30 - 40 minutes after it stopped raining, and it's FULL.

Soggy Blog

No doubt you've heard all about the flooding in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It's very sad, really. It's one thing to see flooding somewhere and pity the poor people who've been impacted. It's another to see it happen in your own backyard, in places that you relate to as "home" - streets where you've walked, stores you've been in, roads you've driven. I've not yet seen the flooding up close and personal. Carl has - he had to, driving up Interstate 380 to get to work. He called it "eerie" or "creepy" or something like that.

Here in Atkins, things are much better. We have 100% water capacity (Cedar Rapids has only 25%), we can get in and out of town (but not much further) and the citywide Garage Sales are tomorrow. (Wheee!) However, we did have a close call yesterday. At 6AM the power went out. A grain bin fell on some power lines and knocked out service until 9AM. During this period we recieved 3.5 inches of rain, and no electricity means no sump pump. And the durned pit filled up in a hurry. We tried to hook the pump up to a truck battery via a power converter, but the initial inrush overloaded our weenie little converter. Then we tried using the pressure washer to pump out the pit, but the incoming water has to be pressurized, so that didn't work either. Last resort time. We bailed our sump pit for a couple of hours using only buckets. I would draw the water from the pit, fill buckets, and Carl and the girls would carry the buckets upstairs and into the garage. They dumped the water onto the driveway, and thus away from the house. Once the power came back on it took over 30 minutes for the sump pump to drain the pit and connected drain tiles. You can still hear water rushing at a pretty fast rate into the pit, but our good ol' sump pump is keeping the basement dry.

Some of our neighbors were not so lucky. (Or, for that matter, so smart.) The family across the street had a flooded basement. We watched their teenage sons carry soaked carpet and trash out to their driveway. What gets me about this is that they had a generator going! Why they didn't hook their pump up to it is a mystery. I've seen piles of carpet outside other houses, too. It's really a mess.

Speaking of which, I'm attaching some pictures of the neighborhood after the rain let up. I'll try to caption them as best I can. Here goes:

Our flooded garden.

Corn stalks in the street left there by water from the field (to the right). The water you see in the ditch at one point was nearly backed up to a house, but before it got to the house it over-ran the road.

Our rain gauge, the red float at 3 1/2".

Monday, June 09, 2008

The **it Hits The Fan

Last week, I bought a cow chip bingo ticket from a co-worker. He's a volunteer firefighter in Keystone, and they had their big fundraiser this past weekend. For those of you who have no idea what cow chip bingo is: a numbered grid is painted on a concrete or asphalt surface, then a pen is constructed around the grid. A cow is put into this pen, and whatever number the cow does its number on wins. Well, it just so happened that when the cow dumped its doots on the grid, it landed on my number. I won $1000! No kidding! $1000 for a pile of cow doots. I was shocked when my co-worker came into my cube today and handed me a check. I was happy, and that check couldn't have come at a better time because...

...our church basement flooded. It started last Wednesday/Thursday when water seeped up through the floor and soaked the carpet. No one did anything to alleviate the problem during the week, so I called Servicemaster 380 and had them come Saturday afternoon to extract the water. They did, and even though the carpet was still damp it was a definite improvement. Sunday morning, there was some discussion about what should be done, and it was agreed that I should call Servicemaster back and have them remove the carpet, stripping the floor down to the bare concrete. Then last night, it rained. And rained and rained and rained and rained and......the basement flooded. I found this out when I called our pastor at church to see if he'd be around on the morning Servicemaster came. He told me we had standing water in the basement, 3/4 of an inch deep in spots. So I called Carl to have him cut power to the outlets, and he called me from the church building to tell me that it was really bad. Our pastor put out an appeal for help, and I went out and bought a pump. After work I raced home, got the girls and a bunch of tools, and we headed in to church. Some people were already there moving stuff out, and more people arrived shortly thereafter. The pump I'd bought was too tall to suck the water directly off the floor, so we used Shop Vacs to take up the water and then used the pump to empty the Shop Vac tanks. By the time the evening was over everything had been removed from the basement and most of the water had been extracted. However, more water was seeping in at the spots where we'd already extracted, and it got to the point where we could have kept it up all night and not made any headway, so we quit. During all of this we bought pizza, so the helpers did get some supper. It was a pretty good turnout - at one point I think we had four Shop Vacs going simultaneously. But just think: if I hadn't bought that ticket, I wouldn't have won $1000, and I couldn't have afforded a water pump without which we never would have gotten the water out of the basement. We also wouldn't have had supper. I'm still amazed by this, but I guess I shouldn't be. After all, no one has a better sense of timing than God. Once again, God was right on time. I think it's funny, though, that the vehicle He chose to use was a pooping cow.

No one has a better sense of humor than God.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mow Or Less

In two weeks, Hanah will be 14 years old. In Iowa, that means she's eligible to get her driver's learning permit. She's eligible. I didn't say she was ready. To that end, Carl and I decided it was time to teach her some driving skills. Carl figured since he learned to drive behind the wheel of a John Deere tractor, what's good enough for Dad is good enough for the kid. Unfortunately we don't have the 2010 that Carl grew up driving (I think Loren still uses it at the home place) so Hannah got her lesson on our little 214 garden tractor. In addition to learning to drive, she's also learning to mow the grass - double bonus. (I think)

Anyway. She started out a little rough. Carl had cut a path for her to follow in the back yard, and she had trouble tracking it. Carl finally had to walk in front of her to show her the spots she needed to get - it's a slow moving tractor so he was in no danger. Once the back yard was done Carl had her drive through the gate and around to the front yard. She did really well going through the gate, and she did better in the front yard. When she was done Carl teased her about him getting out a lawn chair and having a cold drink while Hannah was out there working. She gave him her "teenage" stare.

The one thing I found interesting about the whole episode is that while Hannah was out mowing the front yard, teenage boys driving and/or riding in various vehicles kept going past our house, calling out and waving to Hannah. She thinks it's coincidence - I don't. Guys tend to gravitate toward pretty girls, and also things with motors, and when you put the two together you have an almost irresistable guy magnet. I guess there's just something about a blonde and a gasoline engine.....

Time to polish the shotgun, Dad!