How hard has it been raining lately? After the last storm I had the option of turning left out of our driveway and dealing with a mudslide. If I turned right I couldn’t get far because there was a giant oak tree that had fallen across the road. Choices, choices, choices.

So staying put was the only option. It rained so hard, the animals felt the same way. The dogs wouldn’t go out even when bribed with treats. The barn cats wouldn’t leave the barn. Animals that won’t go out tend to lead to problems before long. The worms and the frogs are loving the rain and are loud and visible in their appreciation.

The rainstorms were a learning experience for me. I learned that the windshield on the old truck leaked and the interior of the truck had that unique odor of gas, wet dirty gloves and mold. I learned, too, that the truck bed did not leak and had turned into a hot tub filled with cold water and floating tools.

I learned where the water goes when the pool overflows and hope that only the non-chlorine laden water went into the garden. The ponds in the vineyards were so full they looked like infinity pools. The creek that is bone dry during the summer and might have some water in the winter was raging at a depth that was over my head.

But the rain wasn’t all good. The irony of all times is that while the deluge was happening outside, we had no running water in the house. The ultimate cruelty was happening around us as the clogged drainpipes were clanging and the kitchen faucet ran dry. It was the perfect storm of water problems.

We do not have the luxury of being on city water. Our main water source is a reservoir that feeds our property via a rusty 2-inch pipe through a series of pumps. I don’t know where the pumps are located. In fact, I am not sure where the reservoir is located. Before hitting the drinkable phase the water goes through a purification system that resembles a small nuclear reactor. That system is located under the house and I know this because some part always needs replacing.

When the electricity went out the pumps stopped, wherever they are. The restoration of the electricity made things worse on the water front. Maybe the breakers had been tripped. Maybe the pumps were fried when the water stopped flowing or the framistams and flux capacitors lost their memories. Whatever the reasons, the tanks were empty and the pumps were not working.

Luckily, we are well prepared with an auxiliary system – the well. Although the well hasn’t been used in a while, it has been standing ready for years and all we have to do is flip a little switch and zippedeedodah, water in the house. So we flip the switch and the water starts running. Woo hoo, let’s flush the toilets. Wait, I didn’t know the well was full of iced tea.

Yep, the water from the well was murky trending toward muddy. Even the well was too full. It is time to abandon hope and bring in the plastic bottles as soon as the mudslide and the downed tree are cleared.

How hard did it rain? It rained so hard that we don’t have any water. The winter storms are beautiful and are most welcome. They are setting us up for beautiful gardens and taking the stress off of waiting for the rains to come. I am glad the drought is over and I can’t wait to have some water in the house. Hope it’s soon.

Rich Moran spends his time in wine country marveling at nature, especially water.

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