"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