At the Water’s Edge


I returned to the river Thursday after the rain finally subsided.


It had been a week of almost non-stop soaking in three waves of powerful downpours and winds. Go here for a bird’s-eye view.


The Sacramento River is at its highest point since 1997. At the water’s edge, I usually find all sorts of wildlife and birds of different feathers –


most were still burrowing someplace warm and dry. And there was very little edge!


The crows, however, are opportunists;


the ducks are in their element;


and the dogs were just happy to finally get out.


For the first time that I can ever remember, Homeward Bound’s president – who lives on site – closed the rescue to all but the feeders, twice. On the worst night of all, she told even the feeders to stay home. She fed the dogs by herself and took them out for potty one quick run at a time. Leasing the property to the rescue means that she and her husband rarely get private time. Something tells me that even in the downpour, she was enjoying having the place to herself for one dark and stormy night.

The rivers have overflown all of their banks, and weirs that have not been opened in over a decade were lifted – releasing swelling waters into fields to keep cities safe. Thanks to work done over the past few years, the levees held for the most part. There have been a few breaches in rural communities, and another one currently threatened – but an amazing effort by emergency teams that worked around the clock for days to keep us out of harm’s way.

In the Sierra, rain turned snow to slush before the temperatures dropped. Then the skies dropped 10+ feet of snow – more than we have seen in years. This series of monster storms managed to lift Northern California out of five years of drought – and there is more on the way. Mid next week, another atmospheric river will add to our swollen rivers.

We get a few days to let some of the water soak in – and to wash some of the mud off.


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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

16 thoughts on “At the Water’s Edge”

  1. I know it is overwhelming to people in the north, but for me in the far south of the state, I am in a state of bliss. The wild ones have water! The plants may stop dying. The valleys and fields are green! The soil is absorbing it all here. It so parched I can’t imagine water will ever again pool or flood. The creek is flowing but I haven’t gone down to check. Yet. I am waiting and hoping for it to roar.
    I love your Black Phoebe photo. We have one that shelters under an awning in the winter when it’s cold, when the great horned owls sing, and now, when finally, there is rain.
    Your photos and post are beautiful.

    1. My heart goes out to those who have been flooded out. Still – it could have been so much worse. I’m so grateful for all the hard work that went into not having a repeat of 1986. And despite all the muck and worry, we are all grateful for the rain and snow. Hurray for California!

  2. Beautiful photos as usual. Hope things even out for you guys. Weather’s been crazy here in the east also. Not with rain though, just high low temperatures. Look forward to hearing things are better there.

  3. Wow..and the aerial photos too. Glad for the lull, and glad for the water in general, and especially for the easing of the drought. But hopefully things will be a bit calmer going forward. How did you deal with the rain at home with the pool??

  4. Oh my, this really hit hard! I had read about the waters being released and wondered if you had been affected. Still, temporary danger and inconvenience will pay off eventually in a much healthier ecosystem. Good to hear that you and the pups are OK, especially that sweet face that ended the post 🙂

  5. I’m glad the levees held for you. I hope this next set of storms delivers a more gentle rain. I loved the photo of the crows reflected in the water and the one of the duck landing. That’s priceless. The one that melts my heart, though, is the last one of the pooch. Oh my goodness, look at that face.

    Thanks for sharing all your wonderful pics, Audrey. Best of luck with the week ahead.

  6. The first thing I think of is “wet dog” aromas! LOL! Our one long-haired big dog has been a challenge in this wonderfully wet weather, and I cannot imagine the many steps required at the rescue! The sight of the Sacramento River that high is a welcome sight, although I do understand the concerns. I enjoyed a long walk today in some sunshine, preparing for another few wet days later this week!

    1. We’re grateful for a few days to dry out. The rice fields that surround us are pretty full. Hoping they can accommodate the inch of two more expected this week without overflowing the road! Stay dry. 🙂

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