Sunday, May 2, 2010

Record Rainfall

After having incredibly dry weather for most of April the last two days have certainly made up for that! As many of you have probably seen on the news we've had massive amounts of rain throughout middle Tennessee (and west Tennessee as well). We were pretty lucky here at our farm. After receiving about 8 inches of rain yesterday we then missed all of the overnight rain and in fact did not get anymore rain until lunchtime today (Sunday). The storm thankfully kept tracking north of us. On top of that some people had bad thunderstorms and tornadoes. We missed all of that as well.

One of the two areas of flooding on our farm. This is our mailbox and you should see our driveway next to it. The driveway right at the road is under water. Our fence line starts at the tree line on the left (there is a large grass area between the fence and the road). Down in the corner of the picture there are about 8 sections of the fence where the first board, and in a couple of sections the first two boards, of the 4-board fence is underwater. Looks bad but that is a teeny, tiny portion of this pasture and the horses were not affected at all. This water receded and was pretty well gone within about 2 hours of the rain stopping.

Amazingly the only time I got wet this weekend was when Jason and I went to the grocery store this afternoon. By paying attention to the weather radar yesterday we managed to stay perfectly dry at chore times. Our rain today was mid-day to late afternoon so chore times were not affected. According to the radar it looks like our farm is pretty much done with the rain for good outside of a shower or two. In total we received about 12"-13" inches of rain at the farm. Other parts of our county fared much worse, getting 20" of rain over the last two days. To put that in perspective this area normally gets around 40"-50" of rain per YEAR.

On the other hand the property directly across the street didn't do as well. The front half of it is flood plain (100 year flood plain) and as you can see it is completely under water. This entire picture should be an open pasture. ( No people or animals live there, it just gets mowed.) Again within a couple of hours of the rain stopping most of this water was gone.

The other area of standing water on our farm was this area behind my arena. There was a very angry duck that was quacking very loudly floating around in it. I think he was a bit disoriented. I've seen standing water here several times before, it is a low area and collects run-off. It always drains quickly after the rain stops. Again the horses in this pasture were unaffected as they had 14 other acres that did not look like this.

During the worst periods of heavy rains we took turns walking or driving around the farm to check on everything. Every single time we did this the horses were just out grazing. My dad felt the need to call me after he had driven around in his gator yesterday to report that all shelters were empty and the horses were just grazing. He was surprised by this. I explained to him that I had also seen the same thing in my farm checks and that I was not surprised. It was a warm rain and in my experience the horses really enjoy that, I think it feels good to them.

We live a short 15-20 minute drive from one of the largest permanent show facilities in the country, Brownland Farm. Brownland hosts 10 AA hunter/jumper shows every year as well as numerous local events, dressage shows and other shows. This weekend was one of Brownland's AA horse shows, and the 700 stall facility was sold out for the show. Competitors had travelled here from multiple states to show. Unfortunately Brownland is bordered on one side by the Harpeth River.

Flood stage on the Harpeth River is 18 feet. The highest ever recorded prior to this weekend was 35.2 feet. It has already surpassed that and they are expecting it to crest somewhere in the area of 40 feet. Finally at 2:30am this morning the management at Brownland started calling all competitors to evacuate their horses if they had not already done so. The show was not cancelled on Saturday and everyone showed in the pouring rain, however a lot of people did decide to pack up and leave at the end of the day on Saturday, but more stayed than left. A friend of mine posted pictures on her facebook account of the Brownland arenas, and all you could see were the very top of some of the 6' jump standards. Some of the rings were literally under 5' - 6' of water.

As you can imagine this became a huge problem. A lot of the trailers were stuck in the grass trailer parking area, especially the big rigs. Tack trunks have literally floated away. A lot of the trailers could not make it down the driveway. Thankfully some people were able to make it with their 4WD dually's and trailers, and a few of the semi rigs were able to navigate the driveway although apparently many could not. Jason refuses to buy a truck without 4WD, and had I been showing this weekend I would have thanked him profusely for that.

I have shown at Brownland hundreds of times over the years and I have never been so thankful to NOT be at a horse show! Most of the horses were evacuated in the wee hours of the morning to the Ag center about 10 miles away. Then the police department would not let anyone else turn in the driveway for several hours before all of the horses were out. Thankfully they let a few rigs attempt to go through again a few hours later.
This was taken at one of the barns at Brownland before things got "bad."

The driveway at Brownland today after the police let some rigs attempt to navigate it again (thus earlier in the day it looked a LOT worse). This was taken out the windshield of a semi operated by HaulinHorses based out of Missouri. They were kind enough to make multiple trips up and down that driveway getting horses out.

Last night as Jason and I were eating dinner I told him I felt guilty. Really the only thing that changed for us was I had planned on doing a nice dinner on the grill. I had New York strip steaks, asparagus and potatoes and the plan was to grill all of it outside. Instead it got broiled in the oven. So I made the comment as we were eating our steak dinner last night that I felt guilty doing that knowing that so many others around us were living a nightmare while we ate dinner. I am very thankful that our only change in plans was no grilling this weekend, so many around us had it so much worse. Thank you storm system for tracking north and west of us a lot of the time! I think what is most amazing to me is we don't even have any mud except for a couple of isolated patches. First the grass just soaked it up and then the water ran off, so a foot of rain later and it isn't even muddy - wow!!

I hope all of my middle Tennessee friends are safe - I've heard from most and so far all is well with everyone. And I hope everyone else had a great weekend - less interesting than ours!

Another part of the pasture that has my arena in it, as you can see the majority of the pasture has no standing water.

Some of the big boys grazing in the rain today

Harmony, MyLight, Buffy and Lily grazing in the rain

Buster and Apple were just hanging out under a tree

This picture was not posed! Jason was holding Bear and looking outside as the rain came down and he looked like a dejected kid. I told him all he needed was a baseball bit in his other hand to complete the look. The truth is we aren't used to being in the house so much and we ate a lot, watched tv, and were bored. It was actually kind of a nice break from the usual routine!


Anonymous said...

Glad you guys are all OK - that's pretty scary - I would have hated being at that show facility and having to worry about getting horses out.

CheekyMare said...

Hahaha that last pic is adorable.

raphycassens said...

So glad you guys are all okay - heard that the horses at Brownlands were up to their chests in water! Once the water is gone, how bad do you think will the clean up be? Was Hunter's Court ok?

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

I think the clean up at Brownland will be bad once the water is gone. I would imagine that most of their stuff is washed away and any tractors and equipment, cars, trucks, etc. will be ruined. I would imagine there will be extensive damage to fencing, barns and footing in the arenas. I don't see how the damage couldn't be bad.

Hunters Court was fine, David even said they were showing horses to people in the indoor today. Some places, like our farm and David's were just fine, and then there were other places like Brownland which are NOT fine in any way.

phaedra96 said...

I think it is the nature of the human to thank God we are not them, while feeling sorry for those who were there and suffered the devastation. We saw some of the flooding on the news last night. Fortunately, around here; if the creeks and rivers flood we are fine. We sit on a hill and if WE flood, someone had better have built an ark!!! What is the situation at the new farm???

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Phaedra96 - the new farm is just fine as well. Again we were very lucky!

PhunnieOne said...

Glad to see your place made it through unharmed.
I can't stand rain, I don't like getting wet. It was the only downside of farm work for me. The only thing that would stop us from going out and taking care of the horses was lightening. Of course after the hated rain was the even more hated mud.
Stay safe and dry.

Java's Mom said...

Wow, I am so glad you are OK. How did your new land drain? I hope as well as your current location. I understand the guilt, but it sounds like the people at the show helped each other out and everyone is OK. I cannot imagine tack trunks floating away! The horses must have been stunned with the height of the water, how scary! Hey, no mud, life is good. I hope you don't have any more scares like that again.

Jason said...

Yes indeed ! The new farm drained beautifully with no flooding whatsoever. Among it's many attributes are gentle slope, deep soil, and zero flood plain.

Natalie said...

My friend was there and luckily her horse was not hurt. She said some of the horses were up to 4 feet in water and another girl form her barn horse lost its shoes.

RuckusButt said...

Yikes! And here I was praying for rain all weekend! Glad you guys fared well and that the new farm is good as well. You obviously know the land but still, there's nothing like a little test-run before you build!

Vivian, Apollo's Mom said...

I am glad that you and the farm are all right! I was just mentioning to my trainer, Joan, and the woman who owns the horse I lease, Sabina, that I had to email you to see how Paradigm Farm fared during the torrential rain. I am glad you are OK and I hope that the ohters less fortunate get things cleared up soon!