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A new day 2023…

Resilience is what we have striven for. While yesterday felt like so much was lost, in reality much was also gained. From our assessment at sunrise, at first glance, it seems our losses are all manageable. Seeing the power of water moving & the twisted, oddly located debris that lay in the destructive aftermath, it’s hard not to notice what made it, what lived, what lasted, and shored up others through that overwhelming moving force. There was so much luck in our timely observation, the placement & orientation of many elements,  implements, feed & seed storage, portable enclosures & shelters, wood chips piles, pallet piles, trees & shrubs. & somehow, some way we didn’t ever lose electricity!? (We did turn off power to the farm & water pipes were shut as a precaution.)

Building a farm is such a slow process, it grows on nature’s timeline & fruition comes to those who have both determination & patience. While much of our recent work is lost, so much of that perseverance & investment of thought, time & effort still stands. So grateful for deep roots, from the native hedgerow to hugelkulters, the methodically made, just about to be perfect for use, giant piles of compost (that will be key in rebuilding our soil) to the community crafted owl cob benches & oven, the berry patch & ~ 75% of our young fruit and nut trees made it thru. The years of heavily mulched pathways provided solid ground to get traction on; the ground that is now littered with dead gophers! 

When I reflect upon how, mere minutes earlier, we were laughing and playing, totally unaware of the impending danger & destruction, I’m both relieved & very proud of us. The rain was still falling, the water was still rising & though we never put it to the test, we quickly & safely moved scared animals (including a very determined “rammy” ram) up to higher ground (goats HATE getting wet so that wasn’t easy!). We frantically repurposed areas to create safe shelters & had no trouble meeting food & comfort needs off the farm (up at our home). When I saw the beehives in the middle of a sea of water I thought we’d lost them but my husband said, “Let’s go, if we don’t go now it’ll be too late.” Carrying a weighty, full beehive, thru 2.5 feet of moving water, across 2 acres, while being stung, & doing it twice is no joke! BUT, we did it!! 

Observing how water flowed over the land will inform future project placements & ultimately will result in being better equipped to handle the next flood, which surely will come one day. We’ll send a drone up to get a better overview during this sunny break before the next storm tomorrow. 

Last, but certainly not least, so much was gained from the simple act of sharing the news of this disastrous day! In less than 24 hours we received SO many kind messages & generous offers of help & materials. Some sweet soul has even offered to send me feeders & waterers to replace any lost! It has felt like a huge embrace from our community both near & far! How connected we feel! Please know we have deep gratitude for you & for all the care being thrown our way. Thank you so much, it really, truly means a lot & totally has buoyed our spirits! Suggestions & advice appreciated too!

Now the work begins & the fungi have already started.


Jennifer & John Collins

[For those interested, we’ll continue to post updates on here & on social media as we figure things out and work thru this.]