September 30, 2016
In September 2016, we had a minor flood followed by a flood that could probably be categorized as a 500 year flood considering there have been multiple 100 year floods in the past 10 years. People who have lived here their whole lives had never seen that much water going through the valley. Overnight, we received over 10 inches of rain on already saturated ground. The ground could not absorb any more water, and it poured off all of the hillsides, causing landslides, rockslides, and tremendous property damage all over the county. Sadly, two lives were lost in Vernon County as a result of this flooding, and entire areas were under water, roads and bridges completely swept away, and life came to an abrupt halt as everyone tried to get their bearings and figure out what to do next. As for our nursery, which we have spent the last two years building, a tremendous amount of our inventory was swept away, along with one whole shed that was full of potting material and tools. Our dump truck and van were carried downstream a ways and collided, and trees and debris wrapped around the insides of the vehicles. Countless dumptruck loads of gravel we had laid down to build up the nursery area and parking lot were completely washed away. Our bridge was severely compromised to access the whole back part of the property. The amount of loss is staggering and we are still sort of in shock as of September 30th as we continue to try to clean up, save plants and assess the damages. The force of the water moving through the valley was evident by pieces of metal bent around trees, deep gorges dug into the ground, and a crick bed that is now carved into new bedrock and full of really deep holes.
We were blessed beyond measure by the number of people who showed up and said, "Well, here we are, able-bodied people...tell us what we can do." Family, friends, neighbors, customers, families, school groups, Amish friends, fly fishermen, and complete strangers came to lend a hand and save what could be saved. People all over prayed for us and texted, called and emailed to tell us they were thinking of us and hoped we could find a way to bring it back to the beautiful place we had created. In the midst of the destruction of the flood, there was beauty in being surrounded by such kind, giving people who all wanted to do something to make a difference. What an incredible place we live in, this Driftless Area.
Thank you for all of your support in our efforts to re-pot and revitalize this beautiful valley and for all of the prayers and well wishes! We look forward to finding ways to make it even better in the years to come!