Water water everywhere: a 10-year look-back

As we approach the end of 2015, we are encouraged by the report of over 60 inches of snow on Big Red Mountain, the only source of water for our Little Applegate River once the rains diminish in April and stop altogether in May. Last year there was no snow on Big Red – zero – and as a result we were in nail-biting mode all summer lest the Water Master shut off our irrigation, eliminating our ability to feed our heritage Soay sheep anything but pricey hay.

It occurred to me to check back in my photos for clues about what we might expect over the next few weeks. I had forgotten about a worthy storm exactly 10 years ago this week on December 30, 2005. The water in the river was so high we feared for our pumps, our bridges, and the sheep, although we at least could move the animals to higher ground. With sympathy for our neighbors down in California who are still in the grip of a historic drought, here’s what a hefty winter storm can do to an otherwise bucolic scene on a sheep farm in southern Oregon.

Keeping our fingers crossed for enough snowpack for next summer but no floods, a tall order in the unnerving new world of climate change.

For now …