Playing in the mud

After the morning frost dissipated and the sun rose up high enough to make a good temperature difference – which was around 10:00AM – I put on my muck-boots and advanced into the wet pasture to begin channel-making.
At first I was just going to spray weed-killer on the Broadleaf Dock, the nasty-soupy carrot-rooted plant that infests and traps brackish water, then sends up a stalk of ten-thousand seeds to propagate itself – the stuff of which I had pulled-up over fifty bags last year. Meh.
The small channel that I had gouged with my boot-heel before the last rain was moving water off the field rather well, so I decided to go back and get the shovel and do some drainage improvements. Also the pre-emergent that I spread in the Fall combined with Scott’s turf-builder “Weed and Feed” meant that I had a lot of actual grass growing instead of just prairie-crap like the Dock (and Thistles and Sedge). Now I had/have an opportunity to cut out whole rooted grass chunks and build-up low-lying areas, so I began that too over by the fence line, carrying shovels-full of grass that dripped shovels-full of water at the same time.
Large patches are still pretty squishy where still-water is standing, and there is much more to do – but on a fine and mild day like this I had to make mud while the sun shined! Rain is forecast for tonight and part of tomorrow, then Tuesday is supposed to be clear before another storm blows in Wednesday.

Windy-Rainy Wednesday

Heavy gusting winds followed a night of sluicing downpour, various locations in the King and Rim fire burn areas are under a Flash-Flood watch. We had half-an-inch yesterday, and have already gotten over half an inch of rain today – and another half or more on its way. Down in soggy Sacramento they’ve already gotten over an inch and there’s flooding. Probably won’t be able to get a shot of the snow-capped Sierras today.

Sacramento has an interesting flood-history of real serious inundations. It probably would never have become the State Capital (San Jose was Capital for a while after the Monterey Presidio was taken from the Californios, and later Vallejo (Alcalde land-grant graft-opportunity), Benecia (same), and San Frandisco) unless they had made some very major efforts to curtail flooding, because the whole region would become simply impassible and access to Sacramento itself was threatened.

In fact at the end of 1861, beginning on December 24 1861, it rained for 45-days and nights – a proverbial deluge. The whole central valley was one big inland-ocean, and not for the first time.

The entire Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys were inundated for an extent of 300 miles, averaging 20 miles in breadth. However, later it was estimated that approximately one-quarter of the taxable real estate in the state of California was destroyed in the flood.
Dependent on property taxes, the State of California went bankrupt.

USGS  ARkStorm (for Atmospheric River 1000 Storm) Scenario

USGS ARkStorm (for Atmospheric River 1000 Storm) Scenario

To rectify that calamity what they did (eventually, after fits and starts) was to essentially create an island out of the city of Sacramento. (UPDATE#2: And begin the building of the levee water-control system.)

In the downtown area they built-up the streets and buried the buildings to the level of the 2nd-floor, leaving the 1st Floor as a basement – God-knows what happened to the former basements. Spaces fronting the building where there were once sidewalks became subterranean tunnels connecting some buildings – it was rather hit-or-miss depending on the property owner and his neighbor. And robbers tried to tunnel into the Banks, of course.

Interestingly enough there is some precedent or evidence of a storm and flooding of such magnitude. Early reports from some Spanish explorers who came up the coast, say that they sailed thorough two large promontories (what we now call “the Golden Gate”), and made their way (by sail) up north and as far inland as the Chico/Red Bluff Butes on a large, placid, inland sea…

UPDATE: We got our half-inch of rain, and more than another half. Also a Flash-Flood warning for our area, but up on the Low Granite Outcropping it’s all downhill from here! Winds in the 20-30mph range tipped over an already-furled, small umbrella so we went out and laid the others down to avoid further drama. In the late afternoon some impressive sweeps of black clouds zoomed up from the flatland to darken the sky and brought wind and rain together, and then as evening approached a thunder cell came over the ridge that alternately blackened the sky and lit it up with peals of Thor’s Hammer. WOOT!