Monday, August 5, 2013

Our world today, a river runs through it

A hot summer doesn't necessarily mean a dry summer on the Canadian prairie. Hot weather can bring with it thunder, lightning, and torrential rain, lasting for a few minutes, a few hours...or a few days.
I've only had to water our yard once this year, and it is already August. We've had plenty of rain, perhaps too much rain. One corner of our concrete storage cellar had damp spots already last month, and there was water in our sump pump at that time, too.
Today it rained again, and more rain is in the forecast for this evening. It might happen, it might not. This is Alberta, where any weather can happen at any time of year, where we've watched the outside temperature rise at midnight in the winter...visibly rise on the thermometer, and watched trees break due to the weight of snow in the month of May.

I took this one through the rain on the window near my computer.

Then the rain stopped, so I went outside to get a photo of the water  in our cul-de-sac.

Almost the same view as the top photo, taken from outside.

Taken from inside: our back yard greenery.
The real story for us (because radio and TV have already dealt with this year's flooding in nearby Medicine Hat, and in Calgary) involves the branches hanging down in the last photo. We have two of these big cottonwood (poplar) trees close to the house, and despite their historic habit of dropping branches when they don't get enough water, they are dropping branches despite all the recent rain, probably because of winds coming from the northeast, instead of the southwest (which the trees are used to).
We recently watched as several men with very impressive equipment—a cherry-picker (not to be confused with a machine that picks cherries) and a chipper (not to make french fries) and a grapple (which is not fruit juice) cut down the huge old birch tree next to the house you can see on the left of the first and third photos above.
Shortly after that, we were told by a tree-cutting friend that we need to hire similar equipment to take down our two big poplars because they've become so tall, with so many dead branches, that they pose a serious threat to our house as well as to power lines serving the neighborhood.
The rain stopped and through my window I can see another movie title (A Patch of Blue) to the southwest. Time will tell what the weather will do but, for now, our dog Lindy is glad there's no thunder.

Truck with lift and (at rear) chipper
Posted for

Photos at right
and below

65-foot lift (which I call a cherry-picker)
Stump-grinder (at left)
Loader (which I call a grapple) lifts large pieces of tree trunk


Penelope Puddlisms said...

Looks like Alberta is getting all the rain we normally get here in BC. It is another dry, dry day in need of a watering hose. We live in strange times. If this keeps up I might have to change Penelope's location. :)

Kay said...

You have taught me something quite important today. Mom will be so relieved. When we were in Utah and Arizona, there were a lot of Cottonwood trees. Mom kept calling them Poplar and we said they were cottonwoods. Everybody else called them cottonwoods. She couldn't understand it. I sure didn't know they were the same thing. Good grief! I'm going down to tell her right now.

Mama Zen said...

I hate when old trees have to come down! That last picture of your backyard greenery is lovely.

Phil said...

Hi Kay. After a dry spell and a half decent summer we are are now getting lots of rain too. It's those swings and roundabouts again. Look out for those trees and don't take any chances. Stay safe.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
A lovely glimpse into your immediate life Kay! It is a sad fact, though, that a price is paid by nature for the safety and comfort of mankind. Trees do become a hazard after a certain point. Meanwhile, what a view!! YAM xx

Gary said...

A lot of the flooding problem is also because developers have built on the floodplanes of rivers with city authorities ok. With the climate changing, i.e. more intensive storms these floodplains and wetlands are sweeping away fill, and berms. I`m waiting for ther Vermilon to do the same here. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

The rain seems to be feast or famine.
Wait a minute. That doesn't make sense. You know what I mean!
My client passed over last week. He's being interred. Between that and the wasps... it's been a time!
I'm taking allergy meds. I still cannot get those suckers out of the mouse holes.. sigh.

Leslie said...

Much rain, here, too, this summer. We're glad for it, because it offsets the horrible summer heat (but it does bring a LOT of humidity with it!)

Sam Edge said...

We had a great thunder and lightning storm here in Central BC the last few day but man oh man did we need it. We've been lucky with no fires this year but the woods are tinder dry right now. A great look at your neck of the woods Kay thanks

Mara said...

Where I used to live they had a lot of poplars because they grew so fast. However after 50 years most of them were to be cut down: too tall and skinny and too dangerous to leave out in the wind.

Your garden will look very empty if you cut everything won't it?