Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Friday, June 10, 2011

The News From My Little Section of Bank Along the Rising Missouri River

It's June 10th and the Missouri River rises each day, some days more dramatically than others.  It all depends on the release schedule up river at Gavins Point Dam (and by default all the dams up the Missouri)...the full release of 150,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) I believe is due to be reached on June 15th.  I think we're at 140,000 cfs now, maybe more...I can't keep track anymore.  The barge and its crew continue to put rock up our banks to protect us....because we are a private development of 30 or so houses, there is no county or state aid and we are completely on our own to protect ourselves.  They still have to put rock along the banks of the only road that comes in and out of here...again a private road that the homeowners pay for and maintain.  There are moments when I'm relaxed and I feel hopeful that we won't feel this a bit, except the huge outlay of monies, and others when I'm seized by panic, thinking the basement will fill with water.  So far, the water table, which seeps through the saturated land to the house, is still about 18 inches or so under the house....but we're also not at the full release of water from the dam, so that level will change some, but hopefully not too much.  

Last night I was seized by panic when our neighbor was outside arranging the house for his sump pump to move the water away from his house...it was starting to seep.  Granted he has a full basement and is farther in the ground, but still....so this morning I finally called the plumber to come out and make sure everything that needed to be in place was and that we were doing all we could.  We're pretty well set up and I was glad to know it was the owner or perhaps the son of the owner and he actually remembers doing the plumbing in our house when we built it 3 1/2 years ago.  We have a check valve where we should and our sump pump is in working order....just to make sure we bought a back up, in case the first one conks out.  This is all so new to me....I'm from Florida, where there is absolutely no such thing as a basement and the notion of a sump pump would be ridiculous, since you'd probably hit water down only a foot! 

Part of what is so disheartening about this event is that these water levels will remain through the summer....so the sump pumps will have to work hard to keep the basements dry, the banks will be so saturated for so long that even with all that rock, they'll be vulnerable. We've heard recommendations that trees within six feet of the banks should be cut down, as they may topple.  Almost no one down here wants to, nor thinks we should, cut down 125 foot cottonwoods that are probably older than anyone alive.  I always thought they stabilized the banks....only a couple of panic stricken neighbors cut any along their banks.  The trees are vital to stabilizing the bank and they soak up huge amounts of water each day. We've been advised to get 30-40 sandbags per house, just to have on hand, in case any breeches show up along our shored up banks.  Tomorrow John and our neighbor will go into town to get our sandbags....there are National Guard troops there filling them and making them available to those who need them.

These are strange times, that's all I can say and I'm sure I speak for many who will not wish to relive this summer.  With all the rain we've had the mosquitoes and the gnats are fierce, so it's hard to be outside. But, I'm thankful we're high up and I'm hoping we don't have any surprises that will threaten us further.  I feel terrible for those who are being flooded, even as I write this, and for those who watch the river take a little more of their land and livelihood each day.  I'm sure no one thought they'd go through this, especially because many of us are not in a flood zone....otherwise we'd have had flood insurance in time.  We got it last week, but too late....it will be useless in this event, although we didn't know that when we bought it.  So....I'll report back soon, although I do have family coming through on Monday, so there may be a gap.  No worries though, we're fine, really.  What we may experience, nerve wracking as it is, is probably going to be minor compared to many others.

The barge parks next door overnight...

Our last layer of rock almost goes to the top of the bank 
where I'm standing

It would be a beautiful evening if you didn't know that river
was engulfing more land day by day

I do fiddle around in the studio some, but am so distracted that it's hard to get anywhere.  In case some of you are wondering where the new work in my shop is coming from these days....I'm adding the pieces that went to New Hampshire in February for the small works show....I finally got them back this week!
These two will be added in the next day or so.

Love of Language

In the Moment no.3

So, there you have it...hope you all have a good weekend....one that is worry free, if possible!  I want to thank everyone for their concern and support.  It's good to have a base of caring folks all over the world....thank you for keeping us in your thoughts!!



  1. Oh my, I thought about you today and wondered how your rocks were holding out. Thank you for the update. Your art work is beautiful!

  2. Incidents of nature are scary--sending good thoughts your way! It sounds like you are really prepared :)

  3. I do hope you'll be OK. It sounds like a nightmare, especially as you'll get no help from the state. This is based on no scientific knowledge whatsoever - but over here the councils remove weeping willow trees from edges of water in parks becasue they are so water hungry and drink all the water. Would your cottonwoods not do the same? I'd have thought they'd be a help rather than a hindrance.

  4. Patti, yes we are thinking of you; it is positive energy that comes to someone who has given so much of hers. I forgot about the water table, but I do agree with you about the trees; they're working for you. We live in saturated basement country; it's actually normal around here and spring run-off creating a "river" through our basements is expected (though I'll have a hard time explaining that to the next owner of this home). As long as your footings are stable all will be fine. I do feel for your neighbours; Canadians are having emergency evacuations all across the country and even home demolition to help reroute flooding rivers. Volunteers are on their way to Quebec as I write. Water, water everywhere...
    These latest mixed media collages of yours are wonderful! I can imagine how hard it must be to focus on work, but if you'll forgive the pun, your well is deep. And you would do well not to divide yourself too much.


  5. Carole...thank you so much for thinking of me and also glad you like the work! Always wonderful to hear from my support network across the globe!

  6. Collage Whirl...thank you for good wishes. Yes, nature is mighty powerful and this is a reminder of just how much at her mercy we are...all this is happening because of huge rains to the west, as well as record snowfalls....yet to melt!

  7. Carrie, thanks for your comment. Let's just hope we do incur any damage that would need assistance! A little water in the basement, if that's the worst of it, is not too bad, considering what could happen. Yes, those trees are famous for sucking up the water....which was why it seemed so counter intuitive to most of us down here. I think it must have been concern that they might topple eventually onto the houses. Almost no one cut down trees...could have been yet another one of those rumors that are about all we have for news. Even the news media is spreading misinformation....alas. Thanks again for thinking of me...great to hear from you!

  8. Lorraine (Enchanted Blue Planet)....since we're from Florida and have never experienced water in the basement, it seems frightening, but apparently it's not all that unusual...especially in light of your experience. I'm sorry to hear about all your fellow Canadians facing hardship too! What times these are! I have family coming in the next couple days and we're headed to Montana for a family reunion....that should be a nice break! Thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement!

  9. Patti I hope this finds you well! This has been a bad time for the excesses of nature - floods in one place, fire in another, so many lives disrupted, so many extremes unhealthy for the planet - here we have been spared disaster conditions, but we seem to be having weeks in which the temperature can be in the 90s one day and then drop literally 40 degrees the next. Two days ago it felt like August and today I am wrapped in warm clothes again as if it were November!

    I'm glad it sounds as if you have all your emergency measures in place and will likely escape the worst of it. All the best to you, my dear friend!

  10. Gabriella....all is well! We feel pretty confident we're going to be fine and are about to head out for the family reunion we had scheduled in Montana. These are strange times for everyone....still chilly here.
    Thanks so much for your concern and good wishes!

  11. Oh Patti,
    Im so sorry to be reading your post to think of this situation, and the tension of your wait ... it chews up extraordinary energy a wait like this.
    5 or 6 months after the big floods here many are still feeling it... 2011 has been a tremendously hard year for many around the globe.
    May you be safe and rest easy soon... with the worst behind you!
    My thoughts go out to all in your part of the world who are going through this!
    Sophie x
    ps I was so anxious in the floods in January here and I wasn't even personally impacted ... I spent a lot of time on tumblr ...I couln't paint or wrote or concentrate. TV images left all of us in shock!


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