Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published June 06, 2011, 04:30 AM

Water, water, everywhere

TOWNER, N.D. — A neighbor called me from his cell phone the other day, wondering if I could come pull his pickup out of the water and mud he’d driven in to.

By: Ryan Taylor, Special to Agweek

TOWNER, N.D. — A neighbor called me from his cell phone the other day, wondering if I could come pull his pickup out of the water and mud he’d driven in to.

“Sure thing,” I told him, “I’ll be there as quick as I can.”

I kidded him a little about his thinking he could drive through the newly formed rain-made lake where his pickup sat. But, after a wet fall, a heavy snow year and a big spring rain, a person can get stuck most anywhere, including the graded roads that lead to town.

I went to help a friend work his calves in the opposite end of our county, and getting to his place was like running a maze. There were more roads closed because of water flowing across them than there were open roads. The chance to rope calves and eat the big meal at the end was plenty of incentive to complete the maze though.

Likewise, there are no direct routes on the ranch for checking fence or checking cows unless you’re riding horse. I’ve even had to turn the horse around when the mud has gotten past his hocks.

I knew I shouldn’t have chastised my neighbor about getting stuck with his pickup in the pasture, because that very same day, I got stuck with the four-wheeler in our pasture.

When they say “all-terrain vehicle,” they didn’t mean all that terrain I attempted crossing. I didn’t call anyone to pull me out though. I was soaked from the hips down from my attempt to get it out of the bog, and I kind of needed the cool-down time as I walked home for the tractor, water sloshing in my boots with each reflective step.

Water reflections

I decided one thing while I was walking home in a swarm of mosquitoes to get myself pulled out. I figured my problems with water were pretty darn minor in the big scope of things, here in North Dakota and elsewhere around the globe.

I might be getting stuck and pumping water from our little cellar, but my house doesn’t have a ring dike of sandbags around it. I haven’t had to haul everything out of the house and move machinery from the yard to higher ground because a river is rising to new highs.

My friends in Bismarck, N.D., and Mandan, N.D., have had to do just that because the Missouri River is showing its mightiness. In Minot, N.D., and nearby communities, the Mouse River is proving it’s not as meek as its name might imply. Sure, these rivers have dams on them, but they can only hold so much water, and then it’s got to go.

My friends and relatives in Devils Lake, N.D., have watched water come in to their closed lake basin for 18 years, gobbling up land and homes and roads. My cousin and his wife put on life jackets to jump in their old pickup and drive in to their newly created island home with water coming in the bottom of the pickup doors.

Every once in a while, Mother Nature steps in and reminds us who’s in charge I guess. All around this state, and others, folks will pull together to save as much of their property as they can while the waters rise.

Stay safe, flood fighters. This, too, will pass. Let’s not let it take us with it.

Tags: