Water, Water Everywhere But Not a Drop To Drink
This last week saw the most rainfall in on day ever recorded for Seattle and surrounding area.
That's a lot of rain.
South of here in a town called Chehalis, Interstate 5 was under 8-10 feet of water. Here is an aerial photo to help illustrate the craziness:
Isn't that amazing? The Interstate is actually under the water - the road pieces that you see are the elevated exit ramps. Yikes.
The "God Clouds" lend a 40-days-and-40-nights sort of effect that I really like.
I remember learning from my Dad many things regarding rain and the weather in general while growing up on the ranch in Montana. He is the one that taught me that rain or blustery weather is coming about a day after you see the horsetail clouds high in the sky. I knew almost exactly how much time I had to get back to the house once the thunderclouds rolled over the mountains to the west of us. I knew how much rain it took to fill puddles to a certain level. One-tenth of an inch filled the regular small puddles, one-fifth of an inch overfilled the small puddles and surprising random puddles would show up. At one-half inch or more the possibility of a "gully-washer" loomed and I would excitedly monitor the end of the lane for gushing mini-rivers from the mountain.
He explained the differences in the soil. There was the clay and the sandy loam. They caused the water to behave differently. While flood irrigating (see "Surface Irrigation" in this Wikipedia article for explanation) I was always amazed that he knew the topography of every field and how the soil would accept the water. If you ran the water over one specific area of the field for a specific number of hours you could irrigate a totally different and separate part of the field just by understanding the geology involved in the water table.
Dry fields actually "boil" as water running over the dry ground absorbs into the ground around the alfalfa. The water replaces the air pockets in the ground and if you stand really still and listen you could hear the whispering agricultural hot-tub of bubbles.
I loved flood irrigating.
My Mom called to make sure that I was okay this weekend. I was explaining to her that I don't even need to watch the news anymore to know how much rain has fallen. We have had an inch of rain in 24 hours if I get a large puddle at the end of my driveway. We have had two inches of rain if I get a corresponding puddle in front of the steps.
This rain was different. Yes, first I got the end-of-the-driveway puddle, then the in-front-of-the-steps puddle - but I found out when we get 5+ inches of rain in a 24 hour period my entire driveway fills with about 1-2 inches of standing water.
"Well, now I know how to measure that kind of rain," I told her.
She was really quiet for a few seconds.
"Wow. You sound exactly like your Dad. He was always talking about how much rain filled up what puddles around here. I had forgotten about that," she said.
The above reminiscence would have never happened without her statement. I had forgotten all about it, too. It is amazingly comforting that silly things like rain vs. puddle measurement can be so deftly connected back to him. It assures me to think that in some ways I display something, anything, that was once his.
That is the best Christmas present of all for me.