Report from the flood zone:
“That’s a six-foot fence we just went over,” said Keith Chadd, paddling a canoe onto his 15-acre “Dancing Nanny Farm” off River Road.
Chadd’s entire farm is a lake, inundated when the flood gates on the Puyallup River automatically closed Thursday, backing up Swan Creek.
His orchard and grapes are under water, his 100-cord woodpile collapsed and floated away; and water is flowing through his barn. About $10,000 worth of dahlias, which he sells at the Puyallup Farmers’ Market, are under water and ruined.
“The good thing is, our house didn’t get flooded,” Chadd said, pointing with his paddle.
Water surrounds the house but stops just short of the floorboards. A half dozen turkeys have taken refuge on the porch and are roosting on the railings.
When the water started rising Wednesday, Chadd said, he and two neighbor farmers helped each other evacuate livestock. They used a horse trailer to move Chadd’s sheep –12 pregnant ewes – to higher ground. He let his heirloom turkeys out of their pen. All survived the flood but one, which was on the woodpile when it collapsed.
All things considered, Chadd is in a remarkably good mood.
“This is not going to get me down,” he said. “Our house is not flooded. I have a place to live. A lot of our neighbors have it a lot worse.”
He paddles the canoe to the house next door. Water is up to the doorknob. Inside, the refrigerator has tipped over and is bobbing up and down in the kitchen. Chadd rescued them in his canoe Wednesday night.
“They lost everything,” Chadd said. “After seeing my neighbors, seeing they have nothing left, how can I complain? If i were to complain after that, I wouldn’t be much of a guy.”
(Submitted to Lights & Sirens by staff writer Rob Carson)