You can say all you like about how we try to “manage” Mother Nature, but sometimes you realize that she has a few tricks up her sleeve.
As you know, we have a small river that surrounds our property. See the lot plan here. (The pink outline is our property) It is actually not so small – the mighty Arguenon river that starts somewhere around Plourec and flows about 55 km to the sea. Ships used to navigate through it (a few hundred years ago – not current day) as far inland as Plancoet which is about 20 minutes north of us. On the west side it flows through a cut in the earth about 2.5 to 3 metres deep (to the water level from above) and by the time it exits on the east side it is level with our garden – our property drops that much from the house level at the west to the garden level at the east, assisted by a large retaining wall down the middle (about 3 metres high).
This river is one of the nicest features of this property. I can work anywhere inside or outside and on anything and I can always hear the sound of water. During the winter months I call it the “dull roar” and in the summer months it is more like a “babbling brook”.
Anyway, in January 2011, at the back of the house, the far bank of the ravine gave way and caved into the river, taking a tall but slim tree with it (see picture below). Thankfully, the river was not plugged (we would be having a different discussion today if it had plugged) and I proceeded to clean up the tree and move a few rocks around so that the water would continue to flow.
Just recently more of the bank had given way and added to the pile you see above. We had a large oak tree removed that was precariously perched above this latest “slide” as should it have fallen, a good portion of it would have landed on the house. During removal, some of the branches and stuff fell into the river and I had to go and clean it up. The next picture shows the results of my work with the tree branches and such on the side of the bank. I planned to go down during the summer and at a lower water level to remove a lot of this material as some of it was good for the fireplace. Note that the two dead trees you see in the foreground above are now in the background.
Now fast forward to recent days when the water level is somewhat higher and faster. The next picture was taken just the other day before we had a few days of snow. You can see the stump of the tree that slid into the river from the first picture above, now surrounded by fast water.
During the snow storm, I really didn’t realize how high and fast the water was. The next two pictures show you the same angles as above, but after Mother Nature did some dredging. I find it rather amazing that water could move that much material overnight. And, I also walked a few kilometres down the river and there is not a speck of any buildup of logs, or branches or rocks – the stuff is just GONE!