Monday, February 20, 2017

Extreme Measures

We had a storm over the weekend.  I haven't used the sprinklers since December, so I figured it would be more of the same.  Then they started rattling off expected rain totals, and my area was listed in the 4+ inches zone.

Two inches of rain is enough to flood the Pond for a couple of days.  I had no idea what four inches would do, because that doesn't happen around here.  Ever.  As in my parents bought this house in 1979 and I don't think it has rained that much in two days, much less one.  My choices were to pull all the beets and carrots or try to protect them.

Really, I only had to make sure no more than two inches fell in the Pond in a 24-hour period.  Going through the garage, I found a large picnic awning that I've never used, but have seen assembled.  It said "assembles in minutes".

Technically, all time is "minutes".  I gave up after about fifteen of them and used the poles to create a lattice on which to lay the tarp, like when I put up the chicken-wire cage against critters.
I felt really dumb, stretching a 12'x12' piece of tarp over the Pond on a beautiful day with hardly a cloud in the sky and weighing it down with rocks against non-existent winds.  Meteorology has come a long way in the past couple of decades.  It isn't Back to the Future II accurate, but it's good enough that I was doing this after a long baking shift.
The rain and wind did indeed come the next day.  If I had set up the awning the way I wanted originally, the whole thing would have blown away.  The water pooled, and I had to go out and put a couple more rocks on the edges where they were catching the wind.  The empty trash cans blew around a lot and my side gate almost broke.  I'm planning to redo that side's gate and fence this year, and this made me think that sooner would be better.  The patio furniture is washed, though.  Many areas of L.A. and Ventura got worse, and several freeways were flooded.
The next afternoon, the skies cleared and it was time to remove the tarp.  I hadn't planned on how heavy it would be.  A gallon of water weighs 8 pounds, and there were probably 20 gallons in various areas of the tarp.  I pulled them up to get as much water as possible in a single section and bailed it out with a bucket.  Some did get through on the sides, but a few gallons is much better than all of it.
When the tarp was light enough, it was time to find out if this whole drama had been worth it.  I dumped the last five gallons or so on the lawn and looked underneath.
The largest beet's greens had mostly snapped at the stem, and the smaller one next to it wasn't very happy.  All of the carrot greens had been pushed down by the water, but only a few had snapped.  The celery may actually be happier than before, and the few carrot sprouts I have were intact.  It will be a couple of days before I can see how everything recovers but I should really pull that huge beet anyway.

What this experience has taught me is that the next time the storm of the decade is announced, I need to invest in one of those arched garden covers that are used in areas that get cold.  It would have been way easier, even if it had blown to the other side of the yard.

As for the actual rain total…slightly over two inches in 24 hours.  I probably didn't even need to go through all this.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I got tired of having to moderate all the spam comments and put back the verification. Sorry if it causes hassles.