Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hydrological Engineering.

Rain! Lots of rain. Well, not as much as California enjoyed a month or so ago, but it was a nice, long drencher.

Fortunately for us, Michigan is well endowed with a good watershed system. The rain that comes down doesn't take all that long to get to the Great Lakes. From there, it goes over Niagara falls, through the Saint Lawrence Seaway, and finally to the Atlantic Ocean. I just had to do a little digging to expedite those rain drops that were falling upon our driveway on their way.

There is a seasonal creek running through the front of our property, under the driveway, across a couple more driveways, under Eight Mile Road, through a field, and eventually to the Pine River. (From there, it merges into the Manistee River, and ends up in Lake Michigan).

Unfortunately, our driveway is on a slant. The lowest point is right at the culvert. Water runs from the road on one side, and from our property and the neighbor's property on the other side, merges into quite the stream, and washes sand into the basin on the up-stream side of the culvert. Twice last year, I had to do some serious digging (by hand) to find the culvert and excavate it. I also had to take the little Jeep to a rock pile on our property, collect a total of a couple tons of stones, and put them into the part of the driveway that was washed out. Then, I had to cover the rocks with the sand/stone mixture that's in the driveway.

Not fun. Not fun at all. In fact, I hurt the tendon or the attachment point of my bicep, and it stayed that way for quite some time. Any time I worked it a little too much, it would get sore again. It's just within the last couple weeks that I could dig very much without hurting myself. In fact, I was rather surprised to realize that, after digging Spot's grave, my left elbow didn't hurt. Ah, the joys of entering your 40s.

So, I took a look at things as I drove to the bus stop to pick up Gabe. (No, I didn't feel like walking a quarter of a mile in the pouring rain, thank you very much).

Unfortunately, there was water pooling right at the culvert, and it seemed to be draining. Bummer. That means that I have to send Gabe into the house, grab a shovel, and walk down about a tenth of a mile of driveway to the culvert. On the way, I cleaned out the two cuts that are on the property side of the culvert. They were actually working very well -- dumping lots of water down into the pasture. The one cut in the right tire track on the road side of the culvert was working well, too. The problem was that there was now water coming down the left tire track. I had to make a cut across to the tire track, pile up a little berm, and get the water guided to the other side and out the cut. Then, I filled in the hole that the water had dug over the culvert.

The culvert is flowing well, so the sand that got washed in ought to run right through and out. Now I can stay inside and enjoy listening to the rain while my boots dry out.

Gratuitous photo of the day:

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