April 6, 2009

The Downpour of March 16, 2009!

Posted in blogging tagged , , , , , , , at 8:36 pm by czygyny

I had meant to get this out a bit earlier, but going through one problem after another left me run down which developed into a case of pneumonia. But I am on the mend and finally can sit at the computer and actually THINK for a bit. It is my first encounter with the spectre of not having medical insurance.


I slept through most of it, the torrential downpour of March 16, 2009. The sound of the rain lulled me into a drowsy afternoon nap. When the hail came down, I finally got up to see what the racket was and knew we were headed for trouble!


Our property is out on a small, flat valley. Everything is level except for an area that looks as if a scoop of ground had been removed, perhaps the remnants of an old creekbed. At its lowest, it is about five feet below the rest of the five-acre plot. You can sort of see it in the image, below, where the fence dips down. 


By the time I got up, the ‘slough’ as we call it, was filling up fast.  By time I had my camera out, and get changed it was rapidly getting deeper.


In little more than 15 minutes, the water had risen, as shown below, and was now flooding the barn. This includes the chicken coop, the add-on on the right. With nearly eight inches of water in the coop, I had to put on some flip flops and shorts and wade out in knee-deep water to check on the banties. Most of them were huddled up in the corner of the large shelf, cackling and squawking in alarm, but poor Frazz, my frizzle hen, was floating in the water, in uncontrollable spasms of cold-shock. 


I rescued poor Frazz, who received a warm bath to wash off the pen shavings and then a nice blow-dry to bring her out of her shock. She spent the night in the bathtub wrapped in towels! Thankfully, she came through the ordeal with nothing more than a tale to tell her buddies. 


Thank goodness the rain stopped soon after, because the whole property was in danger of  being covered by the debris-filled brown water that was pouring in from the pastures from across the road. Gopher holes bubbled, bark drifted away and piles of flotsam and jetsam were starting to gather at the fences. Below is the view from the road.


Not all of us were perturbed by the dowpour, these geese thought all this water was grand!


The whole ordeal ended on a good, if not beautiful, note, we had a wonderful rainbow at the end, and a whole album of photo memories of the big Downpour of March, 2009. By morning the water was all gone…pity I didn’t have my water tank or pump yet, I could have filled it on just this one storm, alone! All’s well that ends well, I guess. rainbowe

September 3, 2008

Tying up loose ends

Posted in blogging, photography tagged , , , , , at 9:21 am by czygyny

A few months ago, my ex invited me to come and spend some time on a houseboat he had reserved for Labor Day weekend. I remained vague and noncommittal about it since our parting has been less than cordial, with a few obstacles remaining that blocks the finalization of our divorce.

When he called me and told me his father was diagnosed with cancer, indeed the same very rare cancer that his mother had died from a few years back, I decided to go and spend a day on the Shasta Lake and visit him, for perhaps the last time.

It was a bit akward to climb into the boat waiting at the dock. This particular brother and I had our differences over time, but it was nice to be at a point where we could put those memories aside for the day. I sat in silence and watched the wake behind the boat, and watched the ringed shore as we sailed past. I had spent many an hour on that boat in years past.



I was exceedingly glad to have a photo opportunity with the Hawaii (Martin) Mars, moored at Bridge Bay! All summer long I wanted to get a good picture of this awesome plane in action. There was no action, but plenty of opportunity to get right up underneath it and marvel at its immense size.


The houseboat he reserved was a big one, room to hold the extended family. With five original siblings, and the subsequent spouses and children, when this clan gets together lots of room is needed. Thankfully, there were only eight on board the day I was there.

It has been perhaps five years since I have seen these folks. Another brother had his three children there, and I was glad to see them doing well. I particulary liked the youngest, whom was only an infant when I saw him last. He became Mr. Know-it-all around me and seemed to be enjoying the attentions of a newly-found aunt.

 This was one of those moments where he was showing off. Cute kid.

Of course the water level is extremely low right now. We talked about how low it has been (I’ve seen it lower), how fast it can fill back up, and boy, a person with a small boat and some time would find a fortune in lost fishing lures, sunglasses and jewelry in a low time like this.

I found the banks to be fascinating photo opportunities, and managed to find some rocks to bring home. The denuded soil has been eroded away to show the intricate and varied backbone rock structure of the hills.

I found oppourtunity to give one of my eye-glazing geology lessons on the various mountain ranges that converge in our area, of course.

The play of shadow on the concentric rings and the contrast between tree, stone and water kept me snapping images all day.

I spent time with my sister-in-law, catching up on all the happenings, watched the kids play in their canoes and fishing poles. We filled in the gaps of information and soaked up the beautiful weather.

I finally spent some time with my father-in-law. He looked so much more haggard, with that look of knowing in his eye that he stood on the threshold of eternity. Leaving our differences from times past, we just spent silent time looking at waves and hills and sky.

I let memories pass by me like the waves, of all those camping outings where there would be perhaps 10 to 20 family members come together. We’d all have fun until the alcohol would show its troublesome face, and once again the old wounds of family drama would open. I played my part, too. I was not innocent to causing part of the drama. We were all volatile and defensive.

I remember helping to create lavish birthday parties, Christmas banquets and then stand watch with the family when the matriarch left the world after her brief bout of cancer. Then, the frightening agony of the disintegration of my marriage brought the dividing knife between them and me, and I saw them no more.

I was glad that all could come together and put the angst behind us for this time. The day played out, the sun began to sink low, it was time for dinner and then a quick trip back to the dock before darkness fell.

I stood on the bank and watched the boat leave, listened to the traffic whisper across Turntable Bridge,  glad that home was just a few minutes drive away. After watching the gathering dusk, the waves on the shore, the ducks swimming past and feeling the breeze play over my face, I turned to my car in the now vacant, rutted dirt parking area and left the day behind.

This time had stirred up a lot of emotion for me, and it was good to be back up on the lake I love so much. I was pleased to see the next generation growing up like well watered trees, and glad to see the now fading generation before their time comes to pass on.

Although the tree, my part in this family, has been cut down, the tangled roots remain, memories of the past.