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Weathering the Storms

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All of them. Thunderstorms. Rain. Wind. Political. Seems to be a busy week around here. And then some.

Did you know we were almost 3 inches above normal for rainfall in west county so far this year? That would be a good thing, for our wells, but a bad thing these days for my tomatoes. They are way behind when it comes to blossoming and ripening. The good thing is the fact that I don’t have to water the garden. The bad thing is the yellowing of the vines from too much water.

csa week three 2013, storm and fire 043

I know this is affecting the farmers. I see our emails from CSAs about what we can get. And, how far behind the crops are. Last year I had cucumbers. This year. Not even close. Maybe in a week or so.

I also only have a few small cherry tomatoes on my plants. Lots of blossoms. No real production. Should be interesting when the county fair rolls around, to see what survived.

I have blogged often about the stormwater fees too. Nice to see that they are somewhat on hold while assessments are made. I have seen lots of stories and lots of comments.

Like the Green Central Station update.

And, hocorising had a good piece, but with an interesting comment from a reader of his blog calling us names out here in west county. So much for civility and #summerofneighbors. Now, we are bullies.

Just a little clarification, though, from my perspective. Yes, many of us out here have more impervious surfaces. But, as a percentage of land, it is minuscule compared to what we had when we lived in Columbia.

My fee for stormwater would have been $30 when I lived in the townhouse. A house on a cul-de-sac. 100% of our stormwater went into swales or drains that emptied into a stormwater management pond that when it was full, drained off into a stream that fed the Patuxent. With a $30 fee, do you think I would have been really gung-ho to spend money to mitigate the run off?

Out here, we were going to be assessed $165 for our 5500 square feet of impervious surface, none of which enters any streams, drains or ponds. A large fee, with property that does not impact the Bay. Lots of our neighbors facing even higher fees because of the length of their driveways. But, we have no curbs. No drains. No streams within a mile.

Out here, water is precious. Without it, our wells run dry in drought years. Plus, if the farmers’ ponds run dry, it affects irrigation and the health of their livestock. Not to mention the fact that those ponds out here are a large source of water if you have a fire. No hydrants for the fire trucks. Finally in the past few years they have put in underground tanks to store water for fire fighting.

If you have ever replaced a well, or dealt with problems with your well, you would understand better why we resent being taxed for something most of us don’t do. Which is encourage run off. Price the cost of drilling a new well and you will see why.

winter 2010 005

Our current well is 487 feet deep. Just this exercise, when the wire to the pump shorted out due to nicks and cuts and had to be replaced was an eye opener as to expense. I don’t want to have to drill another, deeper well to find water. We are very careful about keeping our ecosystem healthy. The trees, the meadows, the grading, all of the contributors that help us retain water.

outdoors in the fall nut harch 176

It is lovely out here, even when it storms. And, we are not bullies. Many, many of us are stewards of the land, and we care deeply about it. I have to admit, it annoyed me to be called a “bully”.

Thanks, Greg Fox, for caring about the farmers, the long time residents and everyone else, including us, that live out here in wide open spaces, lovely spaces, even with all the rain.

weather with the rain 076


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

3 responses »

  1. I just started following and realize I’m not in anyway up to speed – but you get taxed for not encouraging run-off?!? My mind is boggled when I ponder the implications of this…
    I certainly hope it doesn’t catch on everywhere – it seems to me a wonderful way for controlling water sources through bureaucracy –

    • We are getting taxed to pay for stormwater management to keep excessive run-off from eroding streams and polluting the Chesapeake Bay.

      Unfortunately, the biggest offenders are not paying the most. By biggest, I mean those whose run-off 100% goes down storm drains and into the streams and rivers.

      Those out here with 90-95% of our property under grass, trees and fields, but with long gravel driveways were going to pay 3-10 times the amount the urban dwellers were paying, even though, on well and septic, with no storm drains, curbs and huge amounts of trees, we were putting very little into streams, if any.

      For me, keeping as much water here is important, to keep my well from going dry and keeping a healthy aquifer.

      They are still trying to figure out how to implement it.

      • Okay – was sure I missed something, somewhere and this makes better sense – thanks for the clarification and here’s hoping the regulators smarten up and set the tax-tiers up appropriately! 😀


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