Thursday, September 30, 2010

Flood Report

It  seems very strange to be watching the Mississippi River come up to flood stage against the background of the fall leaves. Also this evening, I took a walk wearing cut-offs, a sleeveless tank top and flip-flops and was perfectly comfortable. This is quite amazing for September 30.

The views are beautiful. Here's the sunrise this morning. 

To make it a bit possible to show the river change I've been taking photos of one of the bridge supports for the nearby High Bridge.

Here's how it looked two days ago. 

Here's how it looked about sunset today. The bridge support on the opposite side of the river has markings on the side to show the clearance from river level to the high part of the arch on the high bridge. Watching that bridge support, I can see the river has come up about 7 feet since Monday evening.

The pictures I show come from about three miles down river from where the Minnesota River joins with the Mississippi River. The flood crest on the Minnesota is still 40-50 miles away, so the water will still continue to raise outside the door.

The city has a web cam on which to watch the river. You may access it at the link below. 

City of St. Paul Flood Web Cam

Well, more pictures tomorrow, plus I'll be traveling to Northfield, a town that was highly impacted by the rainfall and then flooding. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How High the Waters Mama

Two feet more and rising! That's for sure. This change has occurred in 24 hours. I'll be out in the morning to see what has happened in 12 hours and will post some comparison pictures then. Meanwhile, this morning I saw a whole tree floating down the river. That is definitely a sign that the river has gotten into timberland along the side and floated things out.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Flood is coming

In my last posting I noted that devastating rainfall had fell in southern Minnesota. A good bit of the area that received this rainfall drains into the Minnesota River which joins the Mississippi just a bit upriver from where I live. About 5 PM I took a walk and found this peaceful river scene. The news is that, however, by Wednesday the river will be nearly as high as during the spring flood.

If I walk a bit up river I walk under the High Bridge. One of the foundation blocks has marks on the side telling the boats how much clearance there is between the river level and the high part of the bridge arch. Today there is slightly more than 55 feet , certainly enough space for anything that comes down the river here. I'll be walking there every day; it's a good way to see the change in the depth of the river.

Very near this area on my side of the river is Geological Survey monitor.
There is a cable that runs from the monitor down into the river.
Watch this space for more news. Meanwhile the Governor and one of our Senators is planning to visit the southern part of the state to begin to determine the need for disaster relief.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is This the River?

Is this the river near my apartment? No, it's actually on the other side of the building and it's the start of a park. We've had very heavy rains this week in southern Minnesota. In some locations this is now a disaster, whereas I've just got a view of an interesting location. When I moved here this area that I see out of my apartment windows was still a bit of an industrial site. Last fall the railroad tracks were removed. Then it became snow covered.

When I returned from Hungary I found dirt had been hauled into this area. Under my door I found numerous flyers apologizing for the mess of the dirt hauling. My car in the underground garage was absolutely covered with dirt -- I'm sure sucked in by the fresh air fan not far from where I park. Since my car didn't move and so wasn't exposed to air, rain, or car washes, every grain of dirt from the last six months was on it.

Shortly after I returned a worker appeared and planted grass. I though the hot days of July were a strange time to try to plant grass. However, it did take and grow. Then last week the worker appeared again and harrowed the field. I then understood that the grass was meant to be green manure, to begin to enrich the dirt into something that might then be described a soil. New grass seed was planted and I thought this morning maybe I could see a hint of green. But then the monsoon hit. Again, the field is standing water.  I'm having a good lesson learning the difference between dirt and soil.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Views along the River

I decided to take a short walk along the river between 6:30- 7:00 before darkness. The first thing that attracted my attention was a tow boat along some of the stored barges. As I walked further downstream and from away from some trees, I saw a huge smoke ball.

I could hear the loud speaker system from the tow boat saying something about Robert Street. Just then a man came walking his dog, walking with his back to this. I called his attention to the view. His guess was a car accident or car fire. We could start to hear sirens, and then could easily see the red lights blinking on the road along the river rather than anything appearing to be happening in the river. In about 10 minutes the smoke dissipated.

Update -- a day later I drove along this road and saw a huge burned area on the concrete! 

My other view is of Echinacea. The seeds of this plant usually end up to be brown. But this one seems to want to be unique! Just a reminder we can all seek to be beautiful red-heads if we so desire.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Back to an Adventure

With the house gone and my apartment settled and everything so easy here, I find I have time on my hands. Well, then it's back to teaching English in the evenings as a volunteer.  This evening I subbed with a class at Guadalupe Projects. I had 8 Hispanic adults. I'll be back there next week too. My regular gig is going to be on the East side of St. Paul on Monday evenings. I'll have a beginner class which seems to be divided between Hispanic and Hmong adults.

Update -- Didn't end up teaching. The organization insisted I had to take the pre-service class. I had taught for them before and then pre-service was waived on the basis of my experience. This year they quickly referred me to doing sub work, and then this. With all the English teaching I've done, being a university professor and having a PhD in education, I didn't feel the need to take a class which included topics such as how to plan a lesson. I figure the organization doesn't need volunteers very much if this requirement is now in place. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sights out the Door

I'm gradually become used to living again in Minnesota and enjoying the sights out the door. This is a busy time on the river out the door. Recently a working barge has been there creating a more stable shore. I think some of this work connected to washouts from the spring flood. However, part was also for new construction.

Today I could see that part of the work related to creating stability along the base of the new overlook that is being constructed.
I can hardly wait for all of this to be done. It looks now that a bit more work needs to be done on the shoreline and a railing constructed along the overlook. Grass or plants need to come in, too, in some of the spaces left between the sidewalks and the trails. It is going to be very cool to grab a cup of coffee and head down the hall, down the elevator, and then out on the overlook -- all in about 30 seconds.

This is also a time when many barges are tied up along this area of the river. They are being stored here in anticipation of moving the harvest of wheat, corn, and soybeans down the river.
This morning two tow boats are busy moving things about. It looks like the main tow is perhaps assembling barges, getting ready for a trip. I've seen this main tow down at what is called the Lower Landing for the last couple of days.

And on the other side, today is the annual Bike Classic Ride.
 Since about 7 AM bikes have been coming along Shepard Road. My older granddaughter was staying with me. Last evening she asked me to wash her jeans. When it was done I had something messy in a plastic bag -- What's this -- Oh my asthma medicine. From about 5 AM I could hear her coughing. At 7:30 she came to the bedroom and asked me to drive her home so she could get her asthma medicine. I didn't appreciate making this trip, needing a police escort in and out of this complex due to the Bike Classic! Where do 14 year olds park their brains? On the other hand, she had everything neat in the living room and she was totally packed up in a very orderly manner before she came to get to me!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bad Adventure

After my class on Wednesday I fell on a bad sidewalk. I ended up with a very bad soft tissue injury on my left hand, a big bruise on my shoulder, and for a couple of days aches and pains all over. Tonight I feel almost human again. My left hand is now turning in shades of yellow and green. I'm going to ask the safety officer to walk that sidewalk with me. The workmen in Pecs would have a fit if they saw how bad a "new" sidewalk had been laid.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

High School Adventure

This evening I took my granddaughter to her high school open house. She is attending a new school which has students from  grades 7 -10  this year. She will have intense math classes, English writing, High School reading whatever that is, physical science, world history, and band. Her band teacher is thinking of having her try the bass flute. I was impressed with all the teachers I met.