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June 26, 2011 / 74

Some Flood, More Garden News – and the Keets!

First update on the planned flood…

Don’t know how many of you know this, but my little place sits on top of a hill looking down on the Missouri River Valley… which currently has a lot of water in it. But below me there is still some dry/not completely underwater ground. (Don’t get me wrong – it’s flooded, but not entirely flooded.) Up stream a few miles is the Tarkio River and the water there is bluff to bluff. The valley below us will probably end up the same way, as I understand that the ACOE is planning to increase the rate of outflow from the Gavin Point DAMN! (;-D) and the current level of water here is temporary as when a levy breaks upstream the flood goes into the area that was protected by that levy instead of down-stream. So when all the levys that are going to break are done doing so, then our water levels will go up and stay up probably until late August or mid-September or so. There are currently quite a few folks living up here in the higher-up than before… lottsa cars on the road I never saw before.

A testament to the severity of the situation, and the magnitude, is as you drive around on the roads that are still above water, you see these collections of machinery parked in fields, grasslands, roadsides… just about anywhere they would be above the expected waterline. Starting to look like a huge implement dealership around here – or a junk yard. This will be the first time a lot of this very expensive equipment has been exposed to the weather as it’s usually kept inside of sheds and buildings.

Another thing that the Corps didn’t seem to consider or doesn’t seem to care about is the history that they’re destroying. In September of 1861 the Battle of Blair Hill was fought between Mound City and Forest City, MO – Forest City is now threatened by the flood waters.

Another aspect of this situation is that many of the kids in those mini-towns and the rural areas on the flats went to one rural school – and many of the families say they’ve had it with being flooded out all the time and won’t come back – which means the school may end up without enough students and will have to close. Lots of side-effects to what the Corpse of engineers is doing here…

Garden is doing well now since we’re getting about a half inch of rain a week. We’re up to 11.8″ for the year – which is still not a lot. This time last year we had 13.8″ – so I guess maybe we’re not so far behind. But this time last year it pretty much stopped raining for a while…

I HAVE ONIONS!!! Well… I have emergent onions… nearly 400 row feet of them… depending on how many of them emerge. And the acorn squash is coming up, and the melons, and the pumpkins are growing like crazy, and the gourds… gotta weed the sweet potatoes. Ended up with quite a few non-starters. Not gonna buy slips from that outfit again!

And the green beans are up except the “Malibu” variety – which didn’t germinate. Not one bean grew. If they don’t do something by the middle of this week, I’m going to put in a different variety… just plant right through them. If I use a 60 to 70 day variety, I’ll still get some beans out of the spot… which took up about 70 feet of the row.

And we have a predator!!! Yep. I sat out by the garden last evening waiting with my .22 rifle – but the coward didn’t show. Some of the other local wildlife folks and I talked the tracks I found and I was thinking maybe a young raccoon… but they suggested a woodchuck. I argued that they have larger tracks (The two front paw tracks I found were about 1″ across, 5 toe, fixed claws. Couldn’t get a good pad print.) Whatever it is it ate our newly planted bog-less cranberry bush right down to the dirt, and night before last snarfed about 15 row feet of new bean plants down to bloody stumps! Based on the tracks and the time of night it rained, I think it came around before dawn… but we didn’t lose any more beans last night. The curious thing is that it didn’t touch the beans that are up and growing well… must be a gourmand…

Ahhh… yes. The Keets… (young guineas). I count them every day, even though they are in a fairly tight pen. We learned early on that guinea keets are escape artists. We no sooner let them out of the box than they escaped the pen we’d built for them into the intended chick area, and from there into the hallway that leads to the outdoors – and the door was open. A fast hand with a garbage can lid captured about 5 of them, and we rounded up the rest. Then we put them back in their box and devised a stouter pen out of corrugated tin inside of the chicken wire (which didn’t even slow them down).

So a few days ago, the daily count came up short by two. I couldn’t find them anywhere – neither keets or keet bodies. Then the day before yesterday I found a keet body lodged beneath one of the panels and under a wrinkle of tarp. Okay – only one missing now. I found it this morning. I was going up to check the garden and saw it right out in the short grass snarfing bugs. It looked up and saw me and dashed into some dense weeds! The whole thing is, around here if left to go wild they won’t last through the summer. We have a host of predators that would just love to gobble a tender young guinea! So now I have to carry a butterfly net when I go to check on the garden… Maybe I can catch the escapee and return him to his group. Little buggers!



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