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How a flash flood cost me $29.95 and a little bit of pride

(Note: there are no pictures for this post. I mean, really? How can you expect a picture for this?)

Sometimes things happen around here that I have to share. About a week and a half ago, we had a thunderstorm that dumped almost 2 inches of rain in 40 minutes. It was really coming down, but I never even bothered to look much beyond my front yard down our long driveway to the road where I would be going to pick up my children from the school bus.

I had just popped a Mexican lasagna in the oven and through the storm, I got in the car to drive down to get the kids. As soon as I cleared the tree line I knew I had a problem. There was water everywhere. There’s a ditch–you can’t even call it a creek because it dries up when it doesn’t rain–but this baby was sure flowin’ now. Our mailbox and most of our dead end road were under water. Maybe 18 inches or so it looked like from where I was, and I knew that the bus wouldn’t make it down, especially with nowhere to turn around. So I called the school, who radioed the driver but I had no idea what to do with the kids. So for now, they are just riding around on the school bus with no home…that ain’t good.

I call my husband. He’s no help at all. He gives his normal answer. “Hmm. I don’t know.”

“Well, I’ve got a Mexican lasagna in the oven and I  need to get back to the house and figure this out.” I tell him as I start backing up the driveway with my head hanging out the window. I’m dangerous when I back up.

He calls right back and suggests that I have the school drop them at a row of houses across a couple of cow pastures from our house. (That’s how we measure things around here–in pastures 😉 ) So I call the school who radios the bus driver again and tell him to let them off with some kids that live in that area. But we don’t know them. At all.

I run to the garage for my mud boots and a rain coat. I have to wear Jeremy’s because I don’t even own one and I have to get across those fields before the bus does. Jeremy is 6’2″, 220–his coat doesn’t really fit, but I take off.

I hit waist-high weeds right behind the barn, and trudge through as best I can. Holes 6 inches deep are all over the field and every few feet I scare up a quail that’s hiding in the weeds. Good Lord. It’s still raining. And I need to add that this same storm killed two men just a couple of miles from my house at the same time I was out in the field.

I cross the two pastures but by this time my legs feel like jello, my boots are filled with water and my hood of my rain coat is dipping down in front of my eyes–allowing a little stream of water to run directly down the front of my jacket and into my shirt. Thanks.

I stumble out of the weeds into the backyard of my nearest neighbor. Not the neighbor who is supposed to be unknowingly receiving my kids, but I’m getting there. He’s enjoying a cool drink in his lawn chair in his garage and acts as though it’s perfectly normal for a soaking wet woman in a man’s rain coat to stumble out of the weeds. I looked like a bad remake of Field of Dreams.

He just waves. I wave back and try to look like I’ve got it all together. How do you do that in this situation? I smile.

I make it to the driveway where my kids should be dropped and check my phone–3:09. They usually come at 3:05 and I don’t see a soul anywhere so I stand and wait, assuming they will be there anytime. Ten minutes later I’m still standing there when I hear a voice through the storm. I turn and the door is open at the house and my son sticks his head out. Oh man.

I stumble onto the porch and apologize to the mother who I don’t know about the situation. I’m still out of breath from the walk, I’m soaking wet, my hair is stuck all over my face. She was very nice about it all and even invited me in. Right. I have a gallon of water in my boots. I’m going to come right in.

I gather the kids and my son who’s 5 looks up at me and starts to cry. “How did you get here? How are we going to get home?”

“We’re going to walk.” I tell him as I cover them both in rain ponchos.

Then we commit a terrible school clothes sin. We walk back through all that water, all that mud and through a barbed wire fence in our new white school shoes. But hey–their heads were dry and if you ask my mom, a wet head will kill you. Oh wait–that’s a wet head in winter. Never mind.

So we made it. And the $29.95? That’s what it cost me for a new trash can to replace ours when it floated downstream in the flood. I’d like to thank one of three neighbors who live down the road who had to have stolen it. There was no where else for it to have gone. We found the lid. Thanks a lot.

Happy, wet days on the farm make us who we are around here.



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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.