Floods R Us

Well, last night’s projected heavy rain didn’t materialize in this immediate area.

Or if it did, it’s hard to tell because I seem to recall only one semi-dry moment this season–when I decided to dig the new potatoes and figured out that just because it looked kinda dry on the surface didn’t mean I wouldn’t be excavating mudballs that I’d have to squish to find out if they were potatoes or just glops of saturated soil.

Heading out to the farm this morning to harvest for CSA deliveries, I met a dense wall of fog in the valley that allowed just enough visibility to see that the Vermillion River is out of its banks again at the first bridge on North University Road.  I had never seen that happen before this year.  So far this season, I’ve seen it twice.

August 3--Vermillion River at the first bridge on North University Road, looking north

I read last night that at the crest of this latest round of flooding, 25,000 acres of farmland between Davis and Vermillion will be inundated.

The corn is pulling its leaves in and starting to yellow–not the “late-summer-ripe-corn yellow,” but the “please-give-my-roots-some-oxygen yellow.”  You can tell where the edge of the flooding is by the fact that the corn in those margins is still a deep green.

The gardens are starting to show extreme moisture stress–in that everything that isn’t actively growing is starting to mold.  Anything with a hole or insect damage of any kind is simply rotting.  I spent part of my harvest time this morning disposing of anything with a fuzzy white sheen.

I did still manage to get a good harvest for today’s deliveries: summer squash and peppers, tomatoes and onions, cucumbers, basil and sweet corn.

The corn is from our neighbor’s acre-sized patch–she came outside when I pulled in the yard to tell me (again) to take as much as I want–to thank me for picking it (waste not-want not) as I was thanking her for sharing it, then ran back in the house to escape the mosquitoes.

I was wearing my headnet, of course.  I have not been on the farm without it for three months now.

At this point, the pickings are gleanings and secondary ears–there’s still a fair amount of corn out there, but it won’t be worth eating in another week.  So, I picked enough for all my members to have a dozen ears, and somehow managed to end up with a dozen extra for us.

I might go out and get a couple dozen more to go with those and do another round of canning–H has been sick for a couple of days, so he’s not really in the mood to eat more of it.  And no, it wasn’t the corn that made him ill, but getting ill in the temporal vicinity of eating so much corn has killed his appetite for it.

At any rate, the neighbor has a better view of the valley at her place (if the view can at this point be described as “better”), so I snapped a couple images of the perspective from there.

The river is supposed to rise a couple more feet before it starts to subside.  I was disappointed earlier this year that I never managed to get my kayak out in the flooded fields, but it looks like I’ll have another chance.

On my way back into town, I stopped to take the image at the top of this post, and saw our other neighbor (whose family members are almost all “conventional” farmers in this area) drive by.  She gave a friendly wave, then indicated the river, threw her hands up, and shook her head sadly as she headed past and into town.