In the wee hours of the morning on June 26th, I woke to the sound of thunder and the wind picking up outside. Oscar had been gently pawing at the bedroom door for a couple of minutes before I decided to get up. I figured he and Lollipop were scared, so I got out of bed, put on the work clothes that I had laid out the night before, and checked the radar on my iPad. Sure enough, a huge storm system was rocketing in our direction. I scurried the dogs outside to do their bathroom business before the first drops began pelting down. Back inside the house, I decided to lie down on the couch after noticing the display on the clock in the kitchen showed 3:00 in the morning. I put Oscar at the foot of the couch, and Lollipop jumped up to rest near my head. Thunder cracked and lightning flashed outside the windows, but the three of us slept fairly well through all of it.
It was 8:00 before I opened my eyes. I could not remember the last time I had slept in so late. As I put shoes on, Oscar and Lollipop headed to the front door. I was surprised at what I saw when I opened the door. Vast puddles of water surrounded our house, and the pasture looked like a lake! Oscar and Lollipop ended up doing their business on the driveway rock because there wasn’t a dry spot of grass to be found. Gracie was the only deer around and she was taking advantage of the playtime opportunity the big puddles in front of the house offered her. I checked on Ruthie deer, who had apparently spent the night in the barn since she was dry and comfortable in her bed of straw. I finally walked to the slope behind the house to check the rain gauge, which registered 5.90 inches of rain! No wonder there was so much standing water around the property!
By mid-morning, Forrest and I were curious about how the rain affected the pecan orchard. We decided on a hike to check out the slough and, from there, a walk across the orchard to the old river channel dike. Work had recently begun on the new bridge crossing the old river channel, and we were curious to see if the massive rain had demolished any of the dirt work accomplished so far. More rain was forecast for the afternoon, so I grabbed my DSLR camera and zoom lens, Forrest and I donned our Muck boots, and we headed out while the getting was good.
Not far along the orchard path to the slough, I realized the water was deeper than I thought it would be. Soon, the entire buggy path disappeared under a lake of water and all we could see on higher ground above the path was water in the weeds ahead of us. The slough had expanded greatly, overflowing its shallow banks and flowing on into the orchard and beyond. Forrest had taken the lead for this trek, so I kept asking him if his boots were still dry (to which he repeatedly responded, “Yes.”) as a gauge of what lay ahead for me.
Only moments after hearing Forrest’s latest “Yes.”, I stepped into what appeared to be a shallow ditch, and my boots filled with water. My first reaction was dismay and the thought that I would now be slogging along with heavy water-filled boots. I contemplated heading home. But fairly quickly, I realized the cool of the water surrounding my feet felt pretty good in the sweltering heat and, as I walked, the boots really were not as heavy as I thought they would be. My only regret was bringing the DSLR camera, which I now had to carry at shoulder height or above my head in order to keep it dry from the tall, wet weeds. The zoom lens made the whole camera rig a heavy load. On a good note though, Gracie deer had decided to tag along behind us, and I was thankful to have the camera to photograph her.
When the waves of rain finally subsided days later, we had received more than ten inches of rain in total. Just when the grass was beginning to burn up from the heat, green returned to the landscape. I was able to weed my gardens easily. And I was thankful that, just days before, I had managed to harvest my beets, carrots, and onions. The clover plots for the deer were lush and flowering again and my flowerbeds looked fantastic. For a week, the temperatures were in the seventy and eighty degree range. It was lovely.
But then… as the temperatures rose this week, the humidity became unbearable. And soon, a huge population of giant mosquitoes hatched. I read in the local newspaper that the city had recently sprayed for mosquitoes but, with the flooded orchard and slough to the west and north, we would likely not find relief here. Any work to be done outside, had to be done quickly to avoid losing a pint of blood to the Pterodactyl-sized mosquitoes. And, whenever we came in the house, twenty or more of the vicious beasts came in with us.
To keep these annoying pests from following us into the house, we invested in various types of mosquito control to place at the front and back doors. And every night before bed, Forrest and I grabbed fly swatters and smacked the ones who had evaded our deterrents, so they wouldn’t bite us while we slept. When the ground dried out enough that we were able to mow, the mosquitoes made that a misery as well. The mower couldn’t move fast enough to out run those blood suckers.
Rain continues to fall in ample amounts. I am thankful, as it beats dragging two to three hundred feet of hose around daily to keep my plants, gardens, and flower beds watered. However, I am not too sure how long I can tolerate these Texas-sized blood suckers. I have read mosquitoes can live days or months, depending on the species. If this holds true, we could be in for a long, miserable summer.
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