Friday, July 30, 2010

How High's the Water, Mama?

The Cash family had first-hand experience with farm and flood. Johnny turned that experience into a song. Whatta voice he had!

I'm not a song writer. But I'm here to say that it's green all around us. Some of you might ask, "Isn't Iowa always green? At least during mid-summer?"And my answer is, "It depends!" It depends on whether we're in a wet cycle or a dry cycle.

I really don't know how farmers deal with the vagaries of weather. Some years we have drought. Some years we have too much rain. These days we're getting more than enough moisture and we've ended June and July with well above average rainfall. (Don't can click on the photos for closeups.)

There have been flood warnings all around us this spring and summer. We had our own flood warning this past couple days for the little river just east of us. But I'm thinking the water could have gotten a bit higher before any actual flooding would have occured. I say that because the water is still below the berms. And the dike itself is higher than the berms. This river could still hold more water...water that would cover the berms and extend from dike to dike. Unless, of course, water in side ditches could back up onto cropland.

You might wonder about all those hay bales strung out the length of the berm. Local farmers contract to cut the grass for hay. I'm thinking...hmmm, what a mess that would be if the water were to rise high enough to move those bales downstream. But perhaps they are too heavy to float? Are there any farmers out there with an answer as to the floatability of heavy hay bales?

In the above photo you can see that the water level in the ditch is actually higher than the adjacent field. Water flows downhill, folks. If, due to drainage from upstream, the water level in the drainage ditch is already higher than the pipes that empty into it...well, the fields and ditches just don't drain.

Look carefully at the above photo. What you see is a tube draining into this larger ditch from the smaller field or road ditches. If the main ditch is already higher than the water in the field...well... that means no drainage for the field.

This year many fields have low spots. These are areas where beans or corn have simply drowned in standing water. But for the most part the fields in this part of the country are lush and green and farmers will have bumper crops. (That doesn't console the poor farmer whose entire field has drowned out.)

One aspect of this weather that affects us personally is that mosquitoes love (as in LUV) wet weather. Our city sprays for mosquitoes and still, those mean critters are fiercely seeking whom to devour.

Hmmm, "seeking to devour" reminds me of 1 Peter 5:8 wherein the devil is described as an adversary who "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour". Like the mosquitoes, he knows his time is limited and he stalks us fiercely.

Thankfully, Scripture tells us that the reason Christ came into the world was "to destroy the works of the devil" 1 John 3:8. That's good news, for the work of the devil has brought death to mankind. But Jesus came to destroy the devil's work, to destroy death, and to give us life. That's really, really good news.

And, Oh! That word "vagaries" ? According to Miriam-Webster, the word "vagary" (its singular form), is probably from Latin vagari to wander, from vagus wandering. From about 1579. Definition: An erratic, unpredictable, or extravagant manifestation, action, or notion. Aren't old words fun?


Gregg said...

I can close my eyes and hear that booming bass bellow, How highs the water mama? She said it two feet high and rising. I loved that song. What a wonderful memory you brought back.

But oh oh for the land. That water is a five feet high and rising.

Glenda said...

Interesting photos and info! Wish we had some of your rain! Heat index was 117 here in Louisiana today.

Jesus came to give us life . . . the best news!

Debby said...

You have brought back a memory. As soon as I read the title, I heard the voices singing the words far more clearly than the scratched up albums we listened to them on all those years ago. That album, believe it or not, was the first album my dad brought home with the brand new-fangled stereo record player he bought. For a time, it was all we had, and we listened to it over and over.

I wondered how you were faring over there. I told someone the other day, no matter what the weather is doing, its doing it with its whole heart. We've had some extreme, extreme weather.

Love to you both. I'll try to get an e-mail out.

Elle Bee said...

Beautiful green surroundings you have. But I do not envy those flood warnings. Hey, were you in a helicopter taking those photos?! ;o)

WhiteStone said...

Elle Bee, a helicopter ride would have been fun! But, no, I was standing either on a bridge or atop a dike when I took these photos.

Bill said...

I once spent the better part of a day with Johnny Cash - and what an amazing day it was - but it was out in the scorching Arizona desert where there was little water, high or low.

Kelly said...

I know first hand what standing water (or a huge onslaught of water in a short time) will do to a bean field!!

That scripture from 1 Peter always gave me the shivers. So thankful for the one you followed with!

Pilgrim Mommy said...

Your green fields are beautiful, but I don't envy your mosquitos.

It's been very dry in our neck of the woods. However we had a severe thunderstorm that dumped torrential rain in a few hours resulting in flash flooding.