Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | March 27, 2012

After the flood

We think we are going to be able to have a vegetable garden this summer for the first time in five years. I am thrilled. There is nothing like walking out to the garden and picking fresh, organic green beans or kale for dinner. We feel strongly about eating organic and local foods that we know how they have been grown and a home garden affords us this luxury.

After 5 years of intense spring flooding we have been experiencing a drought in our area this spirng. For farmers this is troublesome, but in all frankness for us it is a huge relief.

Not having a garden wasn’t for the lack of desire or ability to work; it was for the lack of dry land! We lived in a rural area of outhwest Michigan that had VERY high ground water for the first time in over 75 years. Lucky us.

The high groundwater in my area has caused quite a bit of problems the past five springs. Our property and our home has been “underwater” for months at a time. This has also shown me that while we prividged American think we are in control of our lives, while we are so not in control!

Heavy snowmelt, a lot of spring rain and a thicker than typical perma frost (52″ deep instead of the standard 25″) all caused massive amounts of standing water on our land and in our homes crawl space for long and stressful months. We pumped, we cancelled my 60th birthday party, we bought knee highboots and air purifers and one of us needed to monitor the sump pump and could therefore could not leave the house for days at a time. It was very stressful and worrysome. For me this meant many nights of not sleeping, worrying about the future and mold induced ashma.

Finally, we convinced the county drain commissioner to begin the lenghty process of review and finally to engineer a solution to our problem. The existing county drain near us will be doubled. This means there will be a $480,000 project undertaken that includes additions of ditches, drain tiles, culverts and the like in the “hopes” that the standing water will drain off our property and make its way down to the wetlands located to our West. And that we will see some permanent relief.

Sixty parcel owners around us also have had the same water problems, which unfortunately no insurance company covers as we do not officially live in a “flood zone.”

I find out our portion of the costs this week.


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