Archive for July, 2013

Flood Waters Are Rising

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013


It seems almost oxymoronic to observe that a swamp has been flooded, but I don’t know how else to describe it.

After days of angry thunderstorms, and heavy rain, the meteorological violence expended itself with a couple of heavy storms. The evening of Monday, July 8, it hit hard, with constant thunder, wind, and driving rain. I went out on the porch to enjoy the sound, and a lightning bolt hit on the far side of the pond, blazing the porch and cabin interior in brilliant blue light, and rocking the cabin with a huge bang. 


Not having slept well, we decided to get an early breakfast at Creekside Cafe.  At 7:30AM, our swamp was full of dirty brown water, our creek was flooded, and we had to drive through water flowing across the township road.  By afternoon, most of the local flooding had subsided.


For the next couple days, we were visited by angry red and orange waves across the online weather maps.  By the evening of Wednesday July 10, the Killbuck had flooded across Route 60 in several places, and was closed.


On Friday, the weather forecasts suggested that there might get weather. Again. Elizabeth headed into town, and thought she’d be back before the worst of the storms. At about 3:30 in the afternoon, just after my last telephone call, another front hit the cabin.  Within minutes, there were whitecaps frothing the pond, the trees were waving back and forth, and thunder and lightning were everywhere.  A lightning strike landed north of the cabin, not quite as close as the one a couple days earlier. The lights flickered, and eventually went out and stayed out.


Meanwhile, Elizabeth had encountered the storm while driving back home. She ended up with a long drive back, dodging falling trees and floods, eventually going miles out of her normal route.  With the power out, and the sky suddenly very pleasant and blue, we took a drive in Dad’s Gator.  Our township road was open, but the Killbuck was higher, and Route 60 was even wetter.  We didn’t seem to have any significant damage, but a nearby neighbor reported that the wind blew the cowl off one of his tractors and carried it 15 feet.  Our power came back on in 3 hours, but some places nearby were out for several days.


With Route 60 still closed on Sunday, some of the neighbors spent the afternoon driving their ATVs through the flood water.  All that precipitation in the Killbuck Valley took a while to drain, and even though the rain had stopped, 60 didn’t open back up until the following Thursday. Although the flood wasn’t high enough to do any real damage, it persisted for over a week.

We thought we’d seen the worst of the weather for the month (to be continued).


Saturday, July 20th, 2013


Disappointed that I wasn’t going to be able to watch a mudbog this year, I was surprised to stumble over one in my own neighborhood, and even better, it was the same day that Elizabeth and I were entertaining a high school friend.


If you didn’t see my previous post on the topic (or just can’t remember), a mudbog is a motorsport involving a large pit full of soupy mud, and off road vehicles—ideally, ones that won’t be needed to get to work on Monday morning.


Mudbogs have different levels of organization.  Last year’s event in Killbuck had a busy array of 3 bulldozed pits, sort of like offroad runways, all carefully filled with well tended mud, which had been custom mixed and then seasoned for 24 hours. 


This year’s neighborhood event was a marsh in JR & Amber’s front yard, a natural mudbog that doesn’t require so much preparation. 


Filled with a very organic muck, that had a distinct tang to it, every truck came out of the bog with the undercarriage and mirrors draped with vegetation.  It had a nice swampy feel to it.


And it was deep.


Some mudbogs are competitive, but the local ones are just for the sheer joy of pitting horsepower against slop. Friends, family and neighbors bring lawn chairs and coolers, sitting in the shade, watching the drivers powerslide around in the mud, trying to avoid getting stuck.


Not all the spectators are on the sidelines.  A lot of them ride inside the trucks and jeeps.  You don’t always know how many are in a vehicle until it gets stuck, and people start crawling out the windows, looking for a tow.


A tractor with a long nylon strap pulled out the trucks when their engines stalled permanently, or if they just got in too deep.


Held on the weekend after the July 4th holiday, this event was a memorial to JR’s sister, Matrie Ann Carpenter/Miller.  I didn’t know Matrie, but I’m thinking she’d have enjoyed this—a lot.

You can find more pictures in my Layland 2013 Mudbog gallery.