I heard from my friend Gaylyn that this winter is supposed to be 33% wetter than in the last several years. Some sort of El Nino effect that is supposed to play out across south Texas this year.
That will not work out for me. I need the forecast to be updated and changed. A long, wet winter will be difficult for us to get through. I guess I should have caught on initially when we looked at the house and found it was in the 100-year flood plain, but then ever calculating my odds, I figured, once every hundred years, we should be fine. The mortgage company made me buy flood insurance-again I should have figured there must have been some risk of flooding. My house is raised about three feet off the ground. If only I had been able to raise my barn, arena and pastures off the ground a few feet, we would be better off. But you deal with what you have.
Yesterday as part of my work, I went on a tour of a refinery that is located close to my home. While many things were interesting about this tour, I was able to reflect my farm experiences on the experiences of the plant. They showed us a retaining wall that was built two years ago when the refinery, also in the 100-year flood plain, flooded . I had the same problem. Then they discussed how last summer’s drought caused them to have extensive water worries. They had to go to an area near my town of Wharton to divert water for the plant. They didn’t have my growing hay concerns but lack of water at a plant that bases many of its processes on water was certainly a problem. It was redeeming in a way to see my petty farm issues played out on this giant canvas.
So, this winter is to be wet. I jumped into action to do what I could, with limited resources, to make my horses and farm a little more friendly in the wet conditions. I have had tractors and workmen on multiple projects this last week. One is bringing in a gravel based sand that will raise the path from gate to arena, pasture to pasture and along the front fence line where water always pools. Another is redoing part of our fence. Initially, the posts were loosened by the flood waters. Then the long, summer drought caused the earth to crack and the posts to lean.
Today, they are re-doing our backyard fence which keeps my dogs separated from the horses. Mickey, and Leo before him, liked to hang his head over the back fence in hopes of getting some grass from the yard. Of course, the dogs charge the fence and a lot of barking and running ensues. The new fence will have wood across the top that the horses cannot bend. The old fence was bent to about two and half feet high, we all know that Mickey could leap over that if he ever put his mind to it.
The projects will make my arena look nicer, provide a better base for jumping and working our horses, fix some dangerous situations and hopefully give us some walkways when the winter rains come. Oh, Gaylyn, I hope you and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are wrong about the winter predictions, but if not, we are preparing the best we can.