Spring Rains Slow Homestead Projects

The dog needs to be walked even in the rain, but some chores must be delayed due to bad weather.
The dog needs to be walked even in the rain, but some chores must be delayed due to bad weather.

On April 24, I reported the National Weather Service said it would be a hotter-than-normal summer and a wetter one for much of the East Coast. Little did I know this would translate immediately into excessive rain in May. For the first three weeks of the month, it seemed to rain four out of five days. Then, on the fifth day, it was too muddy to do much outdoor work.

The rain and mud repeatedly interrupted the terracing operation going on at our house, which is an attempt to create some more level land. On one of the days when it was sunny enough to work outside but too muddy to move dirt, the excavator operator helped me cut up the rest of our firewood. Wow! So much easier when heavy equipment handles the large logs. We quickly powered through it. Now I have to do some more splitting.

Delayed Due to Rain

The rain also kept the bees from making honey. The chicken run smells like chicken poop when it gets wet and muddy, and the poor hens look like they need galoshes. (They are still averaging 18 eggs per day.) The run-off has eroded channels in our dirt road, and in the country road, making four wheel drive and a high ground clearance a necessity. (The county will fix their portion once we are sure the gully-washers won’t come back.) Worst of all, to keep her from tracking in mud, I have to clean the dog’s feet after every walk, a process neither of us enjoys.

Speaking of the dog, we found a new spring while on a walk. This is a place where the water comes out of the ground where it had never done so before during the four years we have lived here. I know there are some seasonal springs, but that one is not seasonal. It may be a once-a-decade spring. It will be interesting to see if it dries up after a few days of sunshine or if the ground is so saturated it lasts a couple months. Plenty of groundwater is a positive for people like us with spring-fed water systems.

The rain also delayed our garden, but we’ve got all the peppers, tomatoes and some other plants in the ground. Outside the raised beds, what grass we have is high and there is a bumper crop of weeds just about everywhere. The last time I went weed whacking, I had to stop in the middle of my second tank of gas because of a sudden thunder shower. At least I got to cut firewood.

A little heavy equipment makes cutting firewood go so much faster.
A little heavy equipment makes cutting firewood go so much faster.

Higher Temperatures Coming

While it was an early spring with warmer temps that usual, the rain helped keep a lid on high temperatures, especially at night. On days when Florida reported a 100°F heat index, we were well below 70°. In fact, on the 14th, I lit a fire in the basement stove just to get rid of the dampness and the chill. My rule of thumb is to light a fire when the room temperature sinks to 64°, but I caved at 65°.

We were supposed to have three days of sun this week, but it rained on the second day. I kept working, hoping it would pass. Then the sky opened up, and I was forced to make a strategic withdrawal.

I have no doubt we will see warming temperatures. We rarely used the air conditioning in the first year we lived here, but we are using it more with every passing summer. The dehumidifier in the garage is working overtime. I have to change the bucket every day.


You have probably heard about the flooding in Houston earlier this month. The lasts storm was fierce enough to smash windows on skyscrapers, tear down brick walls, and knock power out to approximately 600,000 people.

Our area has avoided flooding, which is not always the case. That’s one advantage of having the rain spread out over a couple of weeks rather than hitting all at once. Not sure how the people down river will fare, but one advantage to living on a mountain is that rain runs off it quickly. Yes, our streams are high, but they are not deadly. I expect there are some impressive waterfalls in the state and national parks.

While the flooding and tornadoes skipped us, we have not been spared power outages. We suffered through five in the past three weeks. Thankfully, none of them were long enough to require setting up my generator. On a positive note, the county issued all the permits required for the solar panel installation. We are just waiting for it to be scheduled.

War and Weather

Torrential rains, high winds, tornadoes, power outages and flooding are a good reminder that while we may fear economic collapse or war breaking out, your local weather is likely a more immediate threat. Not only was the death toll in Houston is up to seven at last count, there have been strings of tornadoes across the country, leaving extensive damage in their wake.

Be sure to take weather into account when planning your bugout or buying your retreat property. I was more worried about drinking water than flood waters, but in our case, it worked out well in the end.