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What to do? Low Water


Island neighbor, Catherine Hinds, tells me the water was so low the year she was born, that her parents could walk from Hub Island to Grenell Island. Another island neighbor showed me a picture of his grandmother standing high and dry on a mound between Hub and Grenell, sometime in the 1930s. Even though the water level was low this year, it wasn’t that bad.

I grew up with the adage, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” So it was time to make the best of our low water situation.

The channel between our property and our neighbors hadn’t had water in it since mid-July. So we took the opportunity not only to make the channel deeper but to get good soil for my flower gardens. The shoreline receded around the island, exposing rocks that are normally underwater. We capitalized on the situation by collecting flat rocks from the shoreline and using them to “pave” the path on our side of the bridge.

 

 

July 31st was a sad day. We had to pull our wooden boats from the water, as there wasn’t enough water in the boathouse to keep them afloat. Since we couldn’t use them, Gary decided this was a good time to redo their transoms.

 

We weren’t the only ones who tackled low-water chores to our to-do list. Around the island our neighbors were doing the same thing. Weekends were spent adding extensions to their intake lines, rebuilding sea walls, replacing staving or shoring up the underpinnings of docks.

We had a low water year in 2007. In 2008, we added a 50 ft. extension to our front dock into deeper water. That certainly helped us (and our neighbors) this year.

Looking through photo albums from our family’s 100-plus years on the island, I’ve seen high water and low water and lots of in between water. The fear is always that this is a trend we won’t rebound from. I’m no soothsayer. All we can do is plan for the worse, hope for the best and make lemonade.

By Lynn McElfresh, Grenell Island

Lynn McElfresh is a regular contributor to TI Life, writing stories dealing with her favorite Grenell Island and island life. We have learned a great deal over the past three years from Lynn McElfresh’s musings, from moving pianos to island weddings or from plumbing problems to meeting old friends, taking nature walks and the importance of trees.  Recently she presented several articles about Grenell for its 100th Birthday.   This month she describes the low water situation.  Click here to see all 45 of Lynn’s contributions!

  • Where did all the water go?  Photo McElfresh family

    Where did all the water go? Photo McElfresh family

  • Gary takes advantage of low water.  Photo McElfresh family

    Gary takes advantage of low water. Photo McElfresh family

  • Gary lends a hand in water intake extension. Photo McElfresh family

    Gary lends a hand in water intake extension. Photo McElfresh family

  • Low water exposes flat rocks. Photo McElfresh family

    Low water exposes flat rocks. Photo McElfresh family

  • Low water is the perfect time to repair staving. Photo McElfresh family

    Low water is the perfect time to repair staving. Photo McElfresh family

  • Neighbors take advantage of low water to build a seawall. Photo McElfresh family

    Neighbors take advantage of low water to build a seawall. Photo McElfresh family

  • Neighbors are always welcome to use our dock during low water.  Photo McElfresh family

    Neighbors are always welcome to use our dock during low water. Photo McElfresh family

 

Posted in: Places, Nature
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Comments

Dorothy Topping
Comment by: Dorothy Topping ( )
Left at: 6:24 AM Thursday, November 15, 2012
Lynn, Great pictures as usual. I have a picture (someplace) of Pauline Holden (Jim's mother) standing between Grenell and Pullman in 1934 and there is no water near her.
Thanks for the article and the pictures.
Dorothy
William Elliott
Comment by: William Elliott ( )
Left at: 5:30 PM Thursday, November 15, 2012
This story shows that something good comes from something bad. You can always make due with what we are given. There is a reason and a why to all. Lovely story, thanks.
Jim Buerkle
Comment by: Jim Buerkle ( )
Left at: 12:38 AM Thursday, November 22, 2012
Hope everyone obtained the proper permits/approvals and paid the "appropriate" fees to their respective towns, to improve their own properties. Now, watch out for your assessments!
Thomas Rasmussen
Comment by: Thomas Rasmussen ( )
Left at: 10:36 PM Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Hi Lynn and Gary,
Great photos. Hi or low water, it's still a special place, right. Have a Merry Christmas see you in the spring.

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