Forty Days and Forty Nights

email preserving the harvestWell, it isn’t quite that bad, but sometimes it makes you wonder if you should start building a boat. Luckily for me, I live at the highest point of the island and the water runs down from here. It is definitely running down. It has been pouring for weeks now and the rainfall for the month is now over five inches. My region of NW Washington usually has an average annual rainfall of approximately seventeen inches A YEAR. We are well on our way to that and we haven’t finished the first month yet.
Yesterday, big, fat, quarter-sized raindrops were falling on my windshield when I went to the post office in the afternoon. One lady I met said she thought she heard thunder, in January? Very odd. Not too many folks were out walking around as it was a drencher. The grocery store parking lot was a river. In some areas, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but in my lifetime, I can remember few occasions where we have had torrential downpours. We are having some almost every day this past couple of months. Usually we are an area of constant drizzle, not downpours. Before I moved to China, there was a period of time where we had had ninety consecutive days of rain. Thought about building a boat then too, but I was moving away.
One fortunate thing about all this precipitation is the building up of the snow pack in the mountains. In our area, this is a very important thing. I don’t mean for the skiers either. Water stored in snow in the mountains provides several cities with their drinking water, but more importantly, it provides a reservoir of water for power turbines and agriculture. It is released slowly to create electricity and grow crops.
I collect water at my farm from the roof of a small woodshed. I have storage for 4000 gallons which is used in the summer to water my large vegetable garden. On the Big Island of Hawaii water is caught for house hold use. The land I own there requires that if I build a house, it must have 500 square feet of catchment for each resident in the household. The catchment area is usually a roof. Homes have large tanks adjacent to them with filters to take out particulates and bacteria. It is the only method of having water in your household unless you have a tanker truck deliver from one of the few wells on the island. Some years they wish they had our rain and most years I would be happy to give it to them. Here on Whidbey I have a neighbor who has caught rain for over thirty years to supply his household. He has a large Sears above-ground swimming pool to store the water. He filters it and uses it in his home for non-edible uses. He uses bottled water for drinking and cooking where the water isn’t boiled. Remember, birdies do it on your roof, so collected water must be purified in order to be safe.
The downside of all this rain is mudslides. We had one very bad experience last winter during the slide at Oso in Washington State. The whole town was almost swept off the map. Many died. It was a terrible thing. We have had similar slides here on Whidbey. When I lived on the beach in Clinton, I walked a mile to the Ferry every morning and home again in the evening. The morning trip was in the dark during the rainiest part of the year. One morning I heard a terrible rumbling. I didn’t know which way to run or if running would put me directly in the path of the mudslide. Luckily it was right behind me. Whoosh! And then a garage and Mercedes Benz inside were crushed. I had to walk home on the beach that night and for several days before the road was opened again.

3 thoughts on “Forty Days and Forty Nights

  1. This is great. Had not heard about Cllinton and the mudslide. Would that be Whoopie moment? After all, you lived to tell the tale and it can be quite a tale! Thanks for sharing your slices of life from the south end of the island! It’s raining again up here on the north end, also.


  2. I guess it would be a Whoopie moment. For those of you who have missed this reference. I liken the happy moments of life to the feeling you get when you go over a hill and drop down quickly and have that lifting or partial weightlessness for just a moment. You feel like saying Whoopieeeeeee!. I guess missing being mashed by a mudslide could be construed as a Whoopie moment.


  3. OMG! The slide being so close would startle the heck out a person! There’s never a dull moment on this island! A note on your jelly/jam preserves composition: I first glance, I thought it was a photo shot before looking at it more closely to note the brush strokes. The colors are like jewels…in a jar. Really nice.


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