Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hey! What's that on the road?

"Umm... I dunno, lemme' get my Manitoba Anglers' Guide. Those are carp on the road." It's great that we can rely on a publication from Water Stewardship in these trying times. Clearly identifying the fish on the road, an unequivocal answer to a burning question, Christine Melnick's Department can be proud of providing the answers people are looking for.
Unfortunately, the lake is projected to go higher than they anticipated, and we read comments from Steve Topping in the FreeP like, "Topping said extra flows from the diversion represented about three inches of water to Lake Manitoba."

Uh huh. There are number crunchers out there who are far better qualified to tell Steve that he's full of shit better than I am, but Steve, let me say now, here, in no uncertain fashion, that you're lying, and full of shit... or pathetically stupid.There are ways of calculating how many acres the lake covers, how much water is coming in, how much is leaving, and how much water the Portage Diversion has added to the level of the lake... and three inches will be a laughable number in a while... but this weekend, it'll get you lynched out our way, so do us all a favour and stay away. BTW Steve, telling us no that the lake won't crest for another month doesn't give us a lot of hope that you (or Mutulu) have any sort of clue... you just a couple of clowns trying to muddle your way through this. Clearly you folks have NO idea.
The wind warnings are good too... thank you very much for telling us it's very windy and that is can result in high waves. RM says, "Captain Obvious... my hero! Always there when you need them!"
We got pounded this weekend. We started on Wednesday evening, planning how we'd stage the work. Thursday we gathered truck after truck of sand bags, stock piling them as far as the truck would take them, which is to the end of the drive way. My wife, my daughter and I schlepped bags most of the day, and my daughter and I built our proto type "cage". We heard about fights breaking out in St. Laurent over sand bags, and heard people were "borrowing" bags from other properties, so I joked about having to protect mine with wire mesh cages, but in fact, I didn't want my dikes to "loose bags" in the waves. If the lake wants my sand bags, it better be prepared to take them 50 at a time, as a unit. My first two helpers (who double as my two favourite women (Mom excluded)) had to head home that night, but Friday would be a "prep day" for me. I was going to make a path through the bush to make a continuous line of bags on a flat surface.
 With some help from a good friend (and a blog follower), r, as well as father-in-law on Friday, joined by my two favourite women (Mom excluded) in the evening, we completed most of the cages using 4'x200' of wire and 2# of hog rings, as well as loading them with bags... but the day went from leisurely, no panic, to out and out damage control.
Waves crashed over the beach head, flooding the yard. The sand path was literally a mess of soup, and the top soil became such a bog it threatened to hold your boot with every step. Eventually, the trike couldn't pull the trailer filled with bags through the muck any longer. We realized that the waves were also crashing over a neighbouring property, so we headed over to there to build up that dike. The water built up a sand berm to the top of the sand bags and easily poured water over, sending it running into our property, exacerbating our problems. Fortunately, we had some neighbours, (Thanks Blair and Mark), ferry in sand bags on their quads. We completed most of our dike in the day.
Saturday, the wind whipped us again, lashing the shore with a fury that moved huge rock I had difficulty relocating with heavy equipment. A railway tie timber retaining wall was torn (in one piece) from where it was anchored with dead men by the rocks and was now lying across the shore. we lashed it to the trees to use it to break the waves, and followed that by lashing old telephone poles to trees to try to stop the full force of the waves from hitting the shore. Fortunately I have a full wet suit, but the hands and head were still very cold. The rhythm of the waves had to be anticipated to prevent me from being pounded into a tree.
The poles and retaining wall come wave break did the trick... we won that day.
Mother in law joined us, helped ferry more sand bags, ( we had two trucks going for a time), and of course helped out keeping everyone fed.
Sunday, we tried to take it a bit easier... after all we have to go back to work Monday. I attempted to pump the water from the front yard, filled some ruts with muck, assuming it was easier than letting it dry, and actually set up some chairs and enjoyed the sun in the afternoon for an hour, planning where we'll set up a small fire pit, up out of the muck... if we have time at some point to relax for more than an hour.
There's a lot of equipment running out there... I'd try to get some favours near our place early in the day by promising the operators coffee with a shot of Bailys... it worked.
The road in is down to one lane in areas, and it's getting beat with he trucks, all overloaded, full of more sand bags than they should be carrying. The yards are all but destroyed, with tracked skid steers tearing up everything in sight.
A plane flew overhead today. "Ohh... maybe the new paper taking pictures?", my wife said. "Or maybe Steve Ashton with Christine Melnick." I quipped.
My helpers ((who double as my two favourite women) Mom excluded) dozed off on the drive home... as I wanted to. We're tired, and are amazed at the folks out there doing this every day. Sure, they pace themselves, likely not slogging it out in the lake and sand bagging for a 10 hour stretch, but even 6 hours of this sort of work, every day, will give your aches aches.
My sympathies to those at Delta, Twin, St. Laurent, and Johnson Beaches.

It's scary to hear that Steve Topping is being asked for ideas about how to prevent this again in the future, coming up with ideas used on oceans to break the waves. Umm Steve... stop helping. I built ABOVE the required level of 817'asl, and you're now projecting a lake height of 816.3'asl?  Please Steve... you've proven that your department is inept... stop helping.

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