Posted by: Small House Under a Big Sky Homestead | July 31, 2012

Drain Extension Begins

One thing about living in the country that is different from our previous life in the city is that here one does not have the control over ground and sky water. If you live in the city you know neighborhoods have curbs, gutters, drain and sewers to control the flow of water. In rural areas there are none of those water control features.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you are aware that we have been having issues with high ground water for the past five springs. Serious issues.

I’m often asked, did you have flood insurance? Flood insurance is ONLY sold when you are in a flood zone, and we are not in one. The old-timers here tell us that there has not been any standing water in our area for at least their lifetime….75 to 80 years. Lucky us. The engineer says we are in the “Wettest part of the hundred year-wet-cycle and that we live at the bottom of a bowl, from a geological standpoint.” Oh, lucky us.

This is the view standing in my porch and looking out on our sidewalk that we usually walk on to get to the pole barn.

It’s been a very long and very complicated process, but after four years of hard work we finally convinced the county to take some proactive steps about our water issues. After many e-mails, public meetings and discussions, the existing Scott Creek Drain will be extended and culverts, ditches and pipes put under driveways to try to control the water flow. Then if, and when, excessive water becomes an issue again this new drain system will give the water a place to run to and a way from our homes. “No guarantees,” they said. Oh, great.

The county pays 12%, the township pays 12% and we 60 property owners pay the balance of the $280,000 bill. Oh, great again.

This is the view standing in our backyard and looking towards the back and east side of our home.

The physical construction began this week. This means noisy trucks starting at 7 a.m. and running until 7 p.m., pushing down many hundreds of feet of trees, large trucks delivering and unloading huge drain pipes and the constant beeping noise of trucks backing up and dust, and dirt…lots of it.

Because I had landscaped my 5-acre property over the past 12 years and had a business here, I had a lot of work to do the past three years to get ready for this week. I had to remove my sign and planted sign bed garden. I had to remove a city blocks worth of perennials along the roadway where the ditches are going in move a pile of pea gravel used in my landscaping and a huge number of fieldstones that edged the bed under our row of pines. This is not totally done, but done as much as I can manage.

The row of giant drain pipes stages along the west side of our property.

Quite frankly, I’m not at all thrilled about ditches surrounding my home but the alternative is much worse. The fear of losing one’s home to water and mold is a great stressor indeed, especially at our age.

Scott Creek Drain 34″ pipes for under our driveways.

One of the many lessons I have learned from this experience is that we humans think we are in control of our environment. But I believe that is just an illusion that our American wealth and our culture affords us. Natural disasters happen and in spite of education, status or money in the bank – or the absence of it – nothing can be done to control Mother Nature in her fury.

It’s up to lady luck and our higher power in the end.

Small House / Big Sky Donna

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