To be a farmer you must have a bit of “gambler blood.” I can’t think of another profession where a person can devote a year of labor, a year of expenses, and do everything exactly as he should to ensure a good income for his family and get nothing for it.
A farmer does not just rely on a loan from the bank and his good credit at the supply store. A farmer must contend with something he has no control over. A farmer must constantly be at war with the weather.
We have had our crops minimized because our bees wouldn’t fly in the fog. We have lost portions of crops to disease or infestation of critters. We have been totally wiped out by a freak hailstorm. In 1973 it rained.
It rained a lot where we live but more importantly it rained even more in the hills. As the water found its way to lower ground creeks and streams began to fill. Mustang Creek overflowed its banks and headed towards us. It is illegal to stop advancing water flow or to divert from one farm to another. The flood began.
It started just across Sante Fe Road, about two miles from us. The water rushed over Sunny Acres Avenue and formed a wide slow moving insult of water. The fields have all been leveled. Some fields were higher than others. The water quickly found the lowest ground. It would slowly fill up the field and when full continue on its way. Next it headed down towards Harding Road spilling onto both sides of Sycamore Street. When it reached Harding Road the rush of water turned west toward Vincent Rd.
At the corner of Sycamore and Harding was a pasture with several horses standing chest high in water. The water wasn’t running with enough force to tip the horses but they had never experience anything like it before and their concern was evident. We could see they were struggling to stay on the highest part of the pasture.
We did flood irrigate at this time so I’d seen the land under water but I’d never seen flowing water like this in the orchards and fields.
I guess Del had seen this happen before. He knew exactly where the water would go. He and Larry actually were walking in front of it for a while. At the corner of Harding and Vincent Roads Emma Kroeker and her husband lived. They had built a sun porch on the back of their house. When the water reached her house she had no choice but to open the door and let it in. It was two or three steps up to the main part of the house. The water went in one door of her porch and out the other.
From Emma’s house the water continued west across the land on both sides of Harding Road. One of the neighbors had put up levees to divert the water onto Del’s land. Larry and Del had David tap the levee to allow the water to travel in its natural path. We were upset the neighbor thought more of himself than he did our fields or the law! After we broke the levee the neighbor was upset with us too.
Dave took the bulldozer to the canal and tapped the edge causing a small dugout opening into the canal. The moving water found the broken point and the flood was diverted into the canal. It certainly wasn’t a flood that claimed lives or loss of buildings but it was interesting to watch progress before our eyes.
Other than twigs, branches, and other light debris nothing much was displaced. Other than soggy pastures, destroyed levees, Emma’s porch, and the broken canal bank damage was kept to a minimum,