"We live in a culture full of hares; but the tortoise always wins."
As the skies darkened, we were hopeful. Our farm needed the rain. The quiet little town of Pahrump needed the break in temperature. What started as a farmer's optimism quickly turned into our worst nightmare. Sunday July 25th into Monday the 26th, we were bombarded by rain, which quickly turned our farm into a Lake Front Property. The morning of the 27th, we rose to see that all of our crop beds had flooded, and we began to pray- a lot.
Major roads were undermined, and water flooded the streets, causing damage to homes and businesses all over the valley. Discovery Park told the story. Downed trees, dead fish at the pond, damaged residences at every turn. In my 6 years of living here, never had I witnessed a storm of this magnitude. Calvada and the heart of the town became a rushing river, as cars were disabled, and the water continued to flow. We went down to the skate park to check on the kids there, and found them swimming in the park features which had filled with run-off water. Someone brought a boat! I filmed it as it happened. God bless those kids for making the most out of a crazy situation, but as we left, we told them what was in that water. The town was hit, and hit hard!
As the water formed a current through our property, it was time to act. The first step was securing our livestock. Owning a bait shop grants me access to watercraft of all shapes and sizes. Typically, when a boat "follows me home" my wife issues a cutting glare, I stash it, and we go about our business. Quietly. That weekend, however- our inflatable life boat, and a vintage hand-crafted canoe gifted to us by a super cool diver and photographer friend became our mode of transportation across the flooded flats of our farm.
What were once access roads to my fabrication shop and our livestock corrals became private canals. Improvising gave us the ability to paddle around our farm to look for missing chickens, and herd them all to higher ground. Our goats took temporary shelter in our dog run, which quickly turned our back porch into a frat house. Broken everything, trash everywhere, and the goats kept looking for more to explore, climb on, eat. Great fieldtrip for them, hard week for us. Adapt and overcome!
With the livestock secure, our focus shifted towards the farm. Standing water all over our property for the first few days of the following week, and as I am typing this, my fab shop is still drying out. All of our service roads were flooded out, and remain "Out of Service" roads until the ground is dry. All of our crop beds were under standing water for more than a week, killing off a solid 65-70% of our production crops, as well as 50% of our Research and Development crops, which were new to the farm this year, and thriving! We were beside ourselves by the damage done, but also by God's Grace.
With up to 14" of standing water on the entire back half of our property, we didn't suffer any damage to our home, or my fab shop. I have yet to open the storage side to inspect the seals of the container, but for the most part, all of the structures on our property remained dry- except our well house. I measured the 14" of standing water from in front of my shop (pictured) and next to my shop is our well house. 12-14" of standing water INSIDE the structure, as the walls were undermined by the flow. At it's peak, the water was less than 6" from the junction boxes responsible for our well pump power, and the service to the well house. Additionally, I was storing auto parts in this space, that were floating, or fully submerged at the peak of the flood.
To say that we were soggy would be an understatement. The heat allowed things to dry up, but as we went into the following weekend, more rain came. Not nearly as significant, but with the ground already saturated, it added to the standing water. We were in a hold until we could access these areas, and as the ground dried up, we were able to get back to work, slowly but surely. Sometimes, knowing that you are not in control gives you the ability to regain control of the bigger picture. This was and continues to be a lesson in that for us.
All things considered, we were blessed to only have to deal with the damages to our crop beds, and minor damage to structures here. The bulk of the damage sustained to my well house will be repaired when we can access it, and we have already begun the planning process for the 2022 season, which will include a new water diversion system throughout the property. One thing this storm has taught our neighborhood is that we are in this together. We are currently working on a plan with all of our neighbors that will help keep all of our properties dry, should this happen again. I encourage you to think of your neighbors when designing a water diversion plan, or erecting any berms that will divert water flow. Don't be the guy with a dry floor when your neighbor is up to his/her ankles!
One of the best things about a good storm is the perspective it gives those willing to pay attention. I've been focused on what's next for Richard Wiggler's Bait Co. and Poof Dirt Farms. One thing about farmers- we don't quit. Ever. The community has backed us, and we will survive this "storm" as well. We are rebuilding, and expanding- so stay tuned! With the crop beds flooded- we turned to our community. Puff Puff Pastries and Herbs is the branch of our farm that prepares baked goods, teas, and farm-fresh cooking herbs like Rosemary, Garlic, and Mint. We began to rebuild by baking bread, and bringing it to the people. Thank you, for showing us that you have our back! It is that support that has us motivated to rebuild better than before! We are here for you! Plugged in to the community, for the long haul. Anglers Helping Anglers, Farmers for the Future! If you are interested in making an order, or finding out more, visit: www.poofdirtfarming.com. And thank you!
No storm cell is complete without a silver lining. Out of all of this madness, we were able to help our neighbor-farmers out of a bind. Two of their desert tortoises ended up in our front yard, and after finding them and reaching out, they agreed to let us re-home them! Since I was young, I've wanted to have a desert tortoise habitat, because the tortoise represents resilience in the desert. Like them, I plan on being around a while, and we will not let one "storm" detour our plans here for the farm, or our goals for building a fishing community that is safe for kids, and is far from behind the scenes deals, and corruption. It will take time, but we will rebuild- and continue to make an impact. Methodically executing our goals, until we reach the finish line. The "Tortoise Mentality" is my way of knocking this out. We will get there. The race is not for the swift, but for the steady.
Until next time, tight lines- and stay dry! Remember to Stay True. It's the only way we will be able to weather the storm! Be on the lookout for a behind the scenes video recap of this epic event this week, we will have more content uploaded here as we edit the video- stay tuned!
- Captain Wiggler
"There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace."
Simply put, the time is now.
I'm not for the "doom and gloom" of being a prepper, but I am all about empowering those I love with the tools they need to thrive when "it all goes down."
Our farm is in Southern Nevada, in a super rural area. We are about an hour from the entrance to Death Valley, and last week temperatures reached 135F. Ladies and gentlemen, when you pair that with the steady decline of the water levels at Lake Mead, Lake Powell, and a "megadrought" around most of the Western US- you have a recipe for disaster where food grows. The water restrictions that will follow the anticipated Federal Water Shortage will impact millions of Americans. The Western US will feel it- starting at the grocery store.
You've undoubtedly seen it when looking at the ever-rising prices at the grocery store, and when you're filling up your car. Now, with a looming rubber shortage, the world is starting to wake up to the fact that those who prepare will prevail. So what can you do to prepare those you love for such things? Get back to the dirt! It's time to roll up your sleeves, and get some dirt under your fingernails! At RW Bait Co. and Poof Dirt Farms, our Ethos is "Each One Teach One. Planting Seeds For A Better Tomorrow." Now more than ever- we are here for you! As we develop our plan for the Winter season, (yes- right now) I am talking with "The Boss" about filming content that will help first-time farmers feel more comfortable with the basics. We will discuss everything from choosing where your plots should fall in your yard, to identifying pests, and issues in your rows! We are developing content to get you and your family prepared. Right now. For the road ahead.
We are in year 3.5 of a 5 year Research and Development period on our homestead, where we evaluate which crops produce best in our climate, and what it took to make it happen. A lot of that information is available at www.poofdirtfarming.com if you'd like to check it out. Bookmark the page, because you can also order microgreens, farm-fresh veggies, and baked goods on the site! This Spring/Summer crop was by far the harshest reminder that we must strive to do our part. Crops like our peppers which produce well in heat, are barren. We re-seeded our plots "direct sow" after losing all of the plants (over 250) that we started over the winter. Our corn was fried. A few of our R&D crops are doing well, but we have experienced enough inconsistency to write this year off, and begin to plan for next year. If that is happening on my 2.5 acre farm, imagine what's happening in meetings across millions of acres of farmland in these areas. There are already acres of fallow ground across the region, and as that becomes the "new normal" I urge you to take this journey with us! Empower your family for the road ahead. Get chickens! Build raised beds! Thank a farmer!
Stay tuned for the video series, and if you'd like to learn more about how you can get back to the dirt, contact us at: www.poofdirtfarming.com
Stay true! In a world full of fake- DO YOU! No one does you like YOU!
- Captain Wiggler aka Captain Planet
Check out this article from NPR on the subject:
" Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
June 26th, 2021.
Our day began at 1AM at our homestead in Pahrump, NV. Gathering supplies, loading the "Fish Getter" with a canopy, tackle, and the day's supplies for the trip ahead. Boulder Beach, Lake Mead. Stop #2 in our "Reclaim the Spot" series in partnership with the National Park Service Volunteers. We teamed with Tiny Boat Universe Nevada (a local group dedicated to small boats, modifications, and their community) to get out to Governement Wash in our first outing, and we were very happy to see a few new faces from the fishing community come out and put in work at Boulder Beach. But first- let's fish!
I already had an understanding of the conditions due to our site visit a week ahead of the event, and I knew that the fishing pier was not the play for me. In the photo from the site visit, you can see why. Lake Mead has been on the decline as far as water levels go, which is rapidly changing the dynamic of how anglers can access their favorite spots- if they are accessible at all. Here's hoping it also encourages them to do their part to conserve! In an effort to help spread the word, we have links to all of the current water levels, and launch ramp access information on our site. They can be found on our page called "Angler's Edge" along with the (5) day weather forecast, barometer readings, wind forecasts, and more!
Here, I knew that my only chances from the shore would involve my waders, and a trip out toward deeper water. At the beginning of the video you can see my rods in their rod holders, after wading out into chest deep water to cast. I do this when I'm fishing in public, mainly because it's fun to see the look on people's faces, and because in spots I've never been to, I can get a read for the conditions. It's been quite productive for me in my recent trips to new areas. Added bonus of fishing this way in the summer is that it can cool you off! The only down side is kind of funny- because I fish in sock-foot waders, I get boots full of water, but that's fun for kids! In the video, when I lean down to pick up the bag of trash in the intro, you can see it splash out!
There are plenty of places that I'd like to fish around this area with my boat after fishing here from shore. I'd also want to do some night fishing here, as the bite picks up. Natural bait fish are back, bringing "boils" to waters near here- and when you have an aresenal of Striper snacks at your disposal, you want to be right on top of them when it happens- that means I have to add this spot to the "Fish Tank Playlist." Fishing spots that I want to attack and film while battle-testing our upcoming release, "The Fish Tank LTE." That playlist is ever-evolving, so if you have a spot you'd like me to check out, fish, and report on, leave a comment! A few bites, two snags, and one break-off in my recon mission- time to pack it up, and get ready to clean.
I was fired up heading into this event! Our first event at Government Wash made a huge impact, and let the Las Vegas fishing community know that we are here, and we are looking for help. Many hands make light work, as the saying goes- and today was no different.
From the start, I knew that the clean up would be epic. There were new faces with us, and all of them played a huge part in the success of the event. There were two key differences though between this event, and our first outing at Government Wash. The number of young children cleaning was one, and the intense heat was another. God bless those parents for teaching those kids the right way! If you look at the photos, they are IN the brush, picking up trash, while their parents are grabbing big items, and keeping an eye on them. It was beautiful to see these families working as a unit, to achieve a common goal. The highlight of the day was the woman you see in the photos holding her baby while picking up trash, and watching her kids! I was awestruck! Aiza N.- you are the real MVP! As the temps rose, our focus shifted to the children, and the families packed it in, knowing that they had made a huge impact. I thank you all, and hope to see you out there in September, when we resume the series.
As the temps rose, we were down to three people. My wife, aka "The Boss" , Chris "C Lo" Logan- one of the most dedicated members of the Wiggler Army- and myself. Thanks Chris, for hanging in there! I feel like that was when we dug in, and really pushed to finish strong. We wrestled a buried baby crib out of the sand, (see photo) as well as the two dumpsters full of trash at the end of the day. The National Park Service staff was amazing, and they helped us throw everything in the dumpsters after collecting it from various staging points along the beach.
All things considered, it was a great day, and we all left knowing that we left Boulder Beach better than we found it. We'll see you in September, when the "Reclaim the Spot" series continues. Until then, bring an extra trash bag with you, and clean between the fish bites. Always seems to help me pass the time!
Stay True, and remember. In a world full of fake, do YOU. No one does you like YOU!
See you on the water!
- Captain Wiggler