Repair and Prepare

Yesterday was gloomy most of the day, but not raining, thank goodness.  It did drizzle off and on, but nothing significant.  The school system where Daughter is subbing cancelled the school day because of roads still being flooded from the day before, so she helped me do some repair.

When we took Granddaughter to preschool, we stopped and filled the 5 gallon diesel can for the tractor.  With the tractor fueled, we tackled the ditches above and below our driveway culvert which had nearly filled in Tuesday’s 4+ inches of rain.  The crusher run and gravel that VDOT spread two weeks ago and now pooled at our driveway and ditch were dug out and dumped in the trenches the rain made.  The trenches were then smoothed out by dragging the tractor bucket downhill across them.

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The culvert pipe was nearly blocked as well and we dug and raked until it was time to go back and pick up the little gal from preschool.  On that trip, we bought two bales of straw, more on that in a minute.

Once home, I dug into the culvert for another hour, trying to open both ends as far in as the shovel and hoe would reach.  More hand digging out of the ditch on uphill side was done as well, piling the crusher run and gravel from the culvert along the edge as a mini dam.  I also used the bucket of the tractor to try to open the notch uphill on the other side of the road in hope that the water running down that side would divert over to the low grassy area and eventually into the run off creek.  Some of the wash off gravel was piled in a damn just downhill from the newly opened notch.

In the midst of these efforts, two neighbors stopped and joked that they didn’t know I was now employed by the state.  Maybe I should send the state a bill for my services.

Once the road and ditch were somewhat repaired, the prepare efforts began.  With the hurricane taking possible aim at the coast of North Caroline, Virginia or Maryland, and with the Nor’easter that is also brewing, we are expecting more rain.  Lots more rain, epic rain with severe flooding in our region, actually most of our state.  The ditch work was both repair and prepare, hoping to divert the run off from the over saturated ground.  The straw was to try to prepare the coops for the deluge.  The Buffys’ coop is on stilts, but the rain on Tuesday came from the east instead of the usual westerly direction and I had left the large pop window open the night before, so their coop was wet inside.  The bale of hay that I pull bedding from was also wet, so the coop was shoveled out and a third of a bale of straw was spread to give them a clean, dry place to be in the pending rains.  I put a waterer inside the coop and will fill a 7 pound feeder and hang it in there tonight.  The remaining 2/3 of a bale was spread in the Cull Palace for the meaties.  They still insist on sleeping on the ground in a pile instead of perching on the two generous perches in there.  I deliberately bought a breed of slower grower broilers so they would perch and forage.  After spreading the straw, I put two wooden crates with a perch between them in the spot that they generally pile up.  I am hopeful that their curiosity of what I was doing and their exploration will encourage them to pile up on top if it really rains as hard as predicted as I am sure it will run through their coop.  They also got a waterer inside and will get a 7 lb feeder filled tonight.  If I can’t get out there to them tomorrow or Saturday, I want them to have food, water, and a dry space.

Since the tractor was out, I did a quick mow around the house and between the house and coops and garden.  My mowing was assisted by a neighbor, but she works much slower than I.

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After I mowed where she wanted to be, she wandered back to her side of the fence.  The tractor was put away in the relative dry safety of the lower barn bay.

While mowing around the top of the cistern tanks, I spotted this gal.

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She is huge and was feasting on an insect that wandered into her web.

This morning, the deck umbrella and chair cushions were brought into the garage, sweeping dozens of wasps and stink bugs out of the inside of the umbrella.  When they are dry, they will be put away in the root cellar for the winter.  The outdoor chairs were stacked and tucked into a protected corner.  If the winds that they are expected really materialize, the glass topped table will be flipped upside down or tucked behind the porch swing against the breezeway wall.  There are still many potted peppers and herbs on the deck.  Being this close to the end of the season, I may harvest what I can and just take my chances on their fate.

We also bought 8 gallons of water and stuck them in the freezer with 5 gallons that were already there.  If we get the predicted wind with the ground saturated, there will be trees down and power outages.  I don’t want to lose what I have frozen for winter.  We will use the frozen bottles to pack the bags of beans, squash, beets, tomatillos and apples.  Plus they will provide us with drinking water if the power fails as we will have no pump to give us water.

As we prepare and hunker down, we hope that all the dire predictions are wrong and we will get little rain and no wind.  Better to be prepared and safe, than sorry.

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