Written by Lynn E. McElfresh
posted on November 13, 2012 07:41
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!