It's been a while since I posted anything. Life has been coming at us rather hard, fast and furious of late. Some might say we are starting to resemble Job's life, we look at it a bit differently of course.
We've had a rash of bad things lately. I don't really remember when or where it started. Our main tractor broke down and wouldn't start. No money availabe to fix so I tried on my own. No salt. So it sat for a few months and we've been getting by with our little lawn tractor and push DR brush mower. The goats did there part but with all the rain in the last month couldn't keep up with the pastures.
Our pool developed problems with the plaster finish and we've been fighting that all this year. Fortunately I am certified in scuba and have gear so with a friend's help we've been trying to keep it scraped while we figure out the cause. The sink in our basement is drained into a sump pump which pumps it up and out and that pump went out a few months ago, only a few years old. ?? Then our big screen TV just stopped working in the living room. State of the art 65" screen that didn't get used all that much. We had one in the basement that went out except the DVD input a few months before. I've been watching Packer games on our 13" kitchen tv so far this year. There have been many other things not working right lately and are too numerous to mention. Of course we have no extra money to fix things due to the low volume of business we've been experiencing.
Then the flood came. We had a major flood in 1972 called Hurricane Agnes that everyone compares floods to around here and this one was worse for a small area in which we live. We had a hurricane the weekend before that brushed us and except a few tree limbs down we were left with about 4 inches of rain which was on top of a ground that was pretty saturated already. Then this tropical storm Lee came following it and dumped on us. Our 5 inch rain gauge wasn't emptied enough to keep up with it but I'm told our area received about 18 inches in a 48 hour period. Roads were buckled, the sweetest place on earth, Hershey became an island that was totally cut off with no way out or in for a time.
That day of the flood I left for Lancaster, just 20 minutes east and it was starting to rain hard as I left the house at 10 AM. The creek was still within it's banks and the rain gauge said we had 3 1/2 inches over night. As I drove to Lancaster the rains stopped and for the next 4 hours a slight drizzle was all I noticed. As I was finishing my route and headed home it was about 1:30 and was starting to rain hard in Lancaster. As I got off my exit in Mount Joy, I had a difficult time crossing an intersection that was flooded. Other cars were not trying it but in our Yukon I felt confident and it wasn't that bad. The next one was a bit more difficult and then I started wondering what was happening up here. it was reported that over 9 inches came down over a 3-4 hour period!
As I came down the hill to our home, the bridge right before our driveway was getting water coming up over it. I had never seen that happen in the 10 years we lived here. I stopped at the water trying to determine if I should try it or not. I was starting to be concerned about the goats out in the pasture but they had objects to climb to get higher and felt they might be ok. I was about to throw it in 4 wheel drive and slowly test the depth when a huge tree went by in front of me doing about 10 mph. I thought that was a good sign to not try it. I noticed our neighbors were most likely taking water in their basement as well as I turned around to go pick up our daughter at work so she wouldn't try to drive home in this stuff. It took a few alternate routes but I made it to her.
We had to cross town and find a route that would bring us in on the other side of our bridge and after many detours we made it to find a raging torrent running across and up our driveway. Totally impassable as was the bridge which the water was now up over the railings. We prayed and slowly the rain started to let up a bit. We watched it rise several inches and from what we could see were assuming it was in our house by now. Skipping a lot of details, we finally saw it recede enough to pull into our drive but still too deep to drive through. We waded up to our knees up the drive and I saw someone carrying what looked like a goat into our barn. A young neighbor girl thought she saw a goat still bobbing in the water and bleeting out so she ran through our neighbor's muddy cornfield and waded in chest high water to save the only surviving goat still floating. Crazy but was the one bright spot of the day. The poor thing wasn't strong enough to stand and had a lot of water in her lungs but we made her as dry and comfortable as possible and laid her in the hay in a stall. The goats are out to pasture at this time of year with the young kids (5) in the lower pasture, and the adults (5) in the upper pasture. The water was up over all the fencing and the poor things had no where to go to escape.
The pool which we just finished scrapping smooth the week before was now a mud pit with fish and who knows what in it. Our finished basement of 1,600 SF took 4 inches of water and then another 8 inches as the water came back up over night with another 5 1/2 inches of rain. All the carpet and hardwood on top of Drycore flooring was ruined and had to be torn out.
Well, I could go on describing the damage but I won't. That isn't the point of my post. What is, is this. The following day is all I had to clean up what I could because the following morning my daughter and I had a flight to CA to catch to take her to school. We would be meeting up with Bonnie and our other daughter Gretchen who drove her VW across country for her. A neighbor called and volunteered info about flood recovery as he had experienced this before. He recommended carpet cleaners to extract the water instead of the restoration companies. He thought that most of them would be tied up. (Our whole county was designated a disaster zone) So I called Certified Carpet first thing and was told there was quite a list and would I like to be added to it? I said I would and just felt a peace that was all I needed to do. The morning was consumed with finding and dragging the other goats up out of the muck to dispose of the carcasses. I found 6. Then in the afternoon I finally heard from Bonnie and we talked about what was going on and we prayed about it. We decided to get what we could out of the basement that might be salvagable and Jess and I started to work on it. The water had receded and I determined there was no live electrical wires down there. So we just got started and I heard her talking with someone around the corner. She came back down with some Certified Carpet guys. Was I glad to see them!!
They quickly took measurements, quoted a price which I thought was extremely good and I said where do I sign. They got to work immediately and I asked what I could do to help. They said anything I could move out of the way would be great. The next minute, without any notice, my brother and sister-in-law just showed up asking if there was anything they could do.... after looking around and exclaiming how devastated it all looked! Didn't need that but sorely needed the help. He was a Godsend and answer to prayer. So within a few hours it was cleaned up and big fans in place starting to dry it all out. It was the most I could have hoped for before leaving for the weekend. Another friend came by with a dehumidfier and then I heard something later that made my day.
Someone who was over helping is searching for the meaning of life and on the way home made a comment to their spouse, something like this: "I guess God doesn't always protect His children does He?" The response was priceless. The responder is also searching but replied to him, "Did Robert seem upset at all? Did he seem unhappy, depressed, discouraged at all? NO! He was the same as he always is, thankful for everyone there to help, joking around and very upbeat. What would you be acting like if that was you? Cursing, yelling at people, barking orders?" There was no response but I know it is a testimony that speaks louder than words. These words spoken by another, were worth the price of all our flood damage. As Vince Lombardi once said, "It's not whether you get knocked down but if you get back up." I happen to know that all things happen for our good. Oh sure, I had a few minutes of desolation try to take over but the Spirit that lives in me is much stronger.
We might not rebuild or restore it all right away, we can't. We will keep praising God through it all though. So we're no longer in the goat business, we might have lost some fencing, the basement might not be totally finished but will be usable, the pool will be emptied and cleaned and refilled with water that won't cause a problem with the plaster any longer. We had a small bit of insurance to help cover the clean up costs and for that we are very grateful, as well as the job Certified Carpet did for us and all our friends who helped.
One funny thing is the lone survivor goat was the one I nicknamed brown butt because of the "paint" patch of brown on her butt that no other goat had. Now she is called the Unsinkable Molly Brown Butt! She just went to a new farm last evening and will be adopted into another family. The pool should be restored next week and the basement has all the wet stuff out and is being treated with some expensive anti microbial solution a friend donated to me. Thanks, Mike. In the picture you can see the debris covered the entire fence at the height of the water and that run-in shed had water almost to the roof. Closer to the house the water was about 2 feet up the black pool fence.