Mother Nature is always in charge



Farm and Dairy columnist

Hoping for a little Irish luck, all I am asking is to replace the mud with a whole lot of green. Bring on the sunshine and balmy breezes!

One day recently, after having had winter weather storm warnings with a flood warning thrown in on top of it, I left quite early for work. I had a strong feeling I would need a bit of extra time. What I wasn’t counting on was so many turnarounds my head was spinning.

My hometown lies fairly low, so seeing a bit of flooding isn’t anything particularly new. But, seeing roads in every direction leading out of my little town closed due to flooding was something I hadn’t seen in a very long time.

Closer to work, city streets were closed. Some people in a hurry to get to work took it upon themselves to drive through it, but the words of warning from my youth just wouldn’t allow me to do it.

911 call

In the county north of us, a woman my age on her way to work that very same morning placed a 911 call as she found herself stalled in high water, unable to unlock her car doors or windows. When the realization of her entrapment took hold, as the river raged ever higher, the frantic horror was so extreme the 911 center said it would never be released for the public to hear.

It was a couple of days later while on my way home from work I heard the car had finally been found with the body in it.

Mother Nature’s fury steps up to the plate once in awhile just to remind us we are mere mortals. Even when we think we can remain in control and predict the outcome, we are but a mere flea on a powerful planet. The tsunami in Japan, seen from aerial views, should be enough to shake us out of our complacent reverie.


My great-grandmother Young, a tiny fireball of dynamite, respected what can happen in raging waters, but was still determined to take the horse and buggy during the rains that turned in to the flood of 1913 to go check on an ill family member.

On her way home at dusk, a man stopped her and shouted, “Turn back! That bridge is about to give way up ahead!” She thanked him in her steely way, then ordered the horse homeward. She told her family later that the horse bucked and fought, not wanting to cross that old bridge with water raging, currents lapping up and over the crossing.

Never one to take no for an answer, she ordered that horse in to her submission. Just as they crossed safely to the other muddy side, the bridge split — loudly — in to splinters, swallowed up in seconds. “It wasn’t my day to die,” she said calmly as she placed her shawl near the fire to dry.

Hard winter

This winter has been a long one. We have all endured one nasty snow storm after another, inches of treacherous ice, floods and washed out roads, broken-up driveways, massive sink holes, bitter cold, oppressive gray gloom.

The night I found my way home through numerous detours, I told my kids that I hadn’t seen flooding like this since the July flood of ’69. As the words tumbled out of my mouth, I suddenly felt like an old geezer describing the olden days. I just couldn’t help myself!


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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, and three grandchildren.



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