Posted by: Silver | February 12, 2011

When it Rains, it Pours…

And I’m not just talking about the sudden profusion of blog entries…

If the Pacific Northwest is famous for anything, it’s famous for rain, so I was expecting my house-sitting duties might get a little bit damp at times. My hosts had also explained to me that they had not been allowed to improve the drainage of their land at all because it adjoins a salmon stream, but I hadn’t really appreciated just exactly what this meant – until today.

The rain for the past two days has been steady, but by no means torrential. However, in the space of just a few short hours this morning, the field in which the horses had been grazing completely disappeared. In its place, I found a lake. And I don’t just mean a bit of surface water obscuring the grass: I mean a lake. The horses were fine, especially once I’d given them some nice, dry hay in the nice, dry barn, but my hosts had instructed me to put the electric fence across the bottom of the paddock if conditions got this bad, just in case our four-legged friends were daft enough to think that the new swimming pool was for them. This had seemed like a fairly simple task when it was shown to me: the electric fence wire was hooked out of the way like an open gate, and all I had to do was ‘close the gate’. Except that, where the wire was hooked, there was now a good two feet of water.

After spending a little time trying to devise a way around the problem, I rapidly came to the conclusion that actually, there was no other option but to just wade out there and get on with it. “It’s only water”, I reminded myself, “just like heading out to go scuba diving”, I pretended, as my wellingtons began to fill with freezing water. And so there I stood, knee-deep in Lake Avalon (as I have christened the new expanse of water), in the pouring rain, with a live electric wire in my hand. It was insulated by a plastic handle, I hasten to add, but a large part of me was still screaming “WRONG”.

Fortunately, the task itself was fairly straightforward after that, and so, the paddock duly secured, I squelched my way back to the house to dry off, filled once again with a boundless admiration for those who make their living from the land (and water…)

Lake Avalon, as seen from the top of the paddock. (Don't be fooled by the touch of blue sky: the rain never stopped...)

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