Late-breaking update to the previous post:
F. stood at the kitchen window after dinner staring out at our new river with a grim expression on his face.
We’d had a round-table discussion at dinner about the various options for shoring up the wall, diverting the stream’s flow, and/or blocking it where the majority of the water was originating at the forest’s edge, perhaps urging it to join the small lake that has developed at the side of the house.
My sister was of the opinion that attempting to divert the flow might cause another stream to form elsewhere in the plot, with potentially worse consequences. She also pointed out to me that only two garlic bulbs are completely exposed, and both of them are still upright in the stream, their roots hanging on somehow, so the actual crop damage is likely to be minimal — although I did remind her they’re predicting two more days of this crazy downpour, and the stream could get quite a bit wider and deeper in that time.
I didn’t want anyone touching the wall at all. The portion that has held up is holding back a great deal of my precious soil, amendments, and compost, and I intend to salvage them later rather than lose them to a washout in the lawn.
Other than that, I was all for any attempts to save my garlic and my plot of earth.
F. announced he was going outside to see what could be done. I asked if he wanted any help, secretly hoping he would say “no,” because it was cats-and-dogs time out there and almost dark already.
“It’s probably too late to do much,” he said morosely, shaking his head. Mumbling “if onlies,” he stepped out into the dreary, wet twilight.
And then I promptly forgot about the whole thing, forgot my sweetheart was out in the mud jungle that my backyard has become. (Hey, I was clearing away the remains of dinner and folding laundry with pauses to read entertaining blog comments! Don’t judge.) I was busy trying to decide if tomorrow I make corn-&-potato chowder or bean-&-barley soup when my sister called out, “Look what he’s done!”
Sure enough, F. had diverted three different water flows, two originating at forest’s edge and one within the garden itself, to converge directly on my naked garden path. It really does look like a small creek now, in places two-and-a-half feet wide, and at the streams’ conjunction, rather deep and pooling beautifully before cascading down again.
Maybe Mother Nature is hinting that what we really needed in the Victory Garden was a water feature?
I tried to photograph the miniature cascading rapids for you, but moving water after dark is beyond either my camera’s capability or my skill level. Probably both. I only managed a shot of a flat and not-too-deep portion at the very top of the new river’s trajectory. You can see the current building momentum as the land begins to tilt downhill on the right-hand side.
You can also see that once the mulch has been washed away from my garden paths, all that is left is bright red clay. That clay is part of the reason I have a new water feature where I used to have a garden path. It doesn’t drain well and becomes easily saturated. It’s perfect for lining a creekbed, but terrible for growing vegetables without major improvement. (We’ve tried our best, but there’s only so much soil amendment one can do in a single growing season on a limited budget using hand tools.)
I grew up thinking of this as Georgia red clay, but we’re no longer in Georgia, and that distinctive earth is still part of my life. An Italian visitor this summer said in fascination, rubbing it between her fingers, “But it’s as dark as blood!”
While I wouldn’t go that far, I sometimes wonder if red clay is in my blood; I know it is in my heart. I do love it, even though it can cause some serious headaches and pain sometimes.