Heavy rain doesn't seem to matter if you are a duck
It seems it has rained for 40 days and 40 nights. It must not have been quite that long, as our floods have been just short of biblical proportions.
During a break in the weather, my wife and I took the grandsons for a ride over to check out the lake at the farm. On normal days, it is a small lake, but these have been far from normal days. As we drove down the hill, we could see only the tops of the trees on the island. The dock was once again askew, and my boat was partially submerged.
We were driving down toward the dock when one of the boys said, "Something jumped out of your boat, Grandpa."
We looked toward the half-sunken boat and a whole parade of little ducks jumped one by one out over the edge and did a remarkable job of walking on water. While they were going down the lake just off the shore as fast as their little feet would take them, their mother came toward us, dragging a wing and looking severely wounded. She put on a good act until her babies were well around the bend. She then swam quickly in the direction the ducklings had disappeared.
When we last saw them, the mother was leading a parade out across the lake. The boat had made a good refuge during the most recent storm. I imagine it kept her kids corralled until some people were rude enough to show up and want to empty their boat.
It takes a fair amount of work to empty a boat half full of water. A jon boat will hold several gallons of water. The boys thought we should just pull the boat into shore and they would get in and splash the water out. I was sure this would have worked, but their parents were not due to show up any time soon and I was not having two soaking wet children in my truck. If the parents are there, a person can just say, "Your kids are all wet. See you later." Grandparents can get away with that.
Since this was not an option, I backed the truck down toward the water's edge to the point just before, "Whoops!" I hooked the bowline to my hitch and started pulling the boat out. When the level in the boat was higher than the lake level, I pulled the boats drain plug and let the water run out. Over a period of time, easing the boat up on shore and letting the water drain, I was able to get the water out without pulling the boat apart. My wife suggested we pull the boat up by the cabin and leave the drain plug out. She may have suggested the same thing a week or so before when large amounts of rain was predicted.
After spending the better part of an hour draining and pulling the boat up the hill, I decided she may have had a good idea. It is easier to pull an empty boat down hill than a full boat up. I have always enjoyed the fact my wife usually refrains from saying, "I told you so."
Swan Update: Trumpeter Swan 3H7 that was hatched at Lake Wapello and spent the summer of 2005 at our lake is nesting in the Thunder Bay area of Canada. At last sighting, she and her mate had at least one egg. This is the first nesting pair for this area. She nested in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area last year. We are proud to have played a small part in this successful reintroduction and wish her good luck.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.