News Letter: Spring, 1999

Springtime in the Rockies...

or, "Why I Can't Get Nuthin' Done on the Farm"

Ah...spring time in the Rockies... This is how it looks? Right? Well, yes, if you happen to be having a flood. This year we had another of what they call a "five-year-flood." The last such flood was in May of 1995. This one came in April. So here is a bit about the sort of thing that makes life on the farm near impossible.

This is April at the farm. That would be the house and barn over there on the right, and that would be the river on the bottom left, out of its banks. It isn't that we have to fear being wiped out by the flooding river, as we are about 600 feet above it.

The problem is, when the river floods we can't cross the bridge (which MUST be crossed) if we are to leave the area. We leave for such things as groceries, mail, and yet another load of hay.

This is the crossing, or the NOT crossing. Over time we sort of get used to this kind of thing, but this year there were some side effects we had never seen before.

One of our many long-term projects on the farm is to build a patio/deck/porch kind of thing. Back in January we finally got to the place where we were ready to pour the concrete for this much anticipated addition to our house.

The concrete company had better things to do from January until two weeks after the flood. It LOOKED like the roads were dried out and so up the mountain they came.

Here is as close as we came to having our patio. This would be my patio on the right, oozing out of the back of the truck. The driver wasn't hurt, but it took the concrete company two days and about $60,000. to fix this mess. It seems that the heavy rains had caused a "seep" to form under the road. The road had a dry crust of about 12 inches on top, but underneath it was VERY wet. The weight of the truck hauling 10.5 yards of concrete was too much and so as it sunk it also turned over on its side.

The concrete company has refused to try again until we fix the road. Well, last week our "road fixer" Leon came with the backhoe and dug down about 6 feet and filled in with some very large rocks, and the broken up remains of our patio that never was, and put new road base on top. Here we are, the end of May and we still have no concrete and can't finish our patio.

It isn't like we've been sitting on our hands waiting all of this time. We have made some progress with fencing a new pasture for the rams. We have managed to get those early, unplanned for buck lambs to market so that THIS year we won't have any more of those random breedings which have been so disconcerting in the past.

We have also had to deal with the loss of Boo. He was one of our fearless Pyrenees protectors. Old age, arthritis, and a stroke got to him. He was an outstanding dog and we all miss him. It's just too quiet without his deep bass "woof-woof". We are on the Rescue list for a young male, and so await the challenge of getting to know and train a new dog. Lilly (Boo's sister) is still here but suffers from canine lupus and cannot make it through another hard winter. We expect to loose her in the Fall. We hope by then to have trained whatever new dog comes our way and so Badger will have a good working partner. I know both Lilly and Badger have missed Boo, and hope that the new dog can, in time, be accepted by them.

This is Boo in better times...on guard and doing his best.

We look forward to the summer and hope for a bit of rain now and then (not 6 inches in two days, please) and a good hay crop for our farmer friends down on the flat.

Our best to you all... Joanna and Keith Gleason

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