The Flood and the Useless Path

My home is in danger of flooding. That’s what I faced yesterday afternoon.

If you don’t know, I live in the country in Texas. We’ve had record rain the past couple of weeks; not record for the year, but for a short time period. A few years ago, when we did have record rain for the year, I used a hoe and a shovel to build up the edge of the back tank (pond) to prevent it overflowing and flooding into the house. The path from the tank goes straight to the house, and it goes downhill. But I still felt overcautious; I didn’t expect the water level to ever go higher than the record.

Well, I checked it yesterday afternoon. The bank I’d built up was almost at the point of overflowing. The water was higher than it has ever been. My home was in danger. It would be a major project building up the bank, and that would be in the rain and the soon-coming dark. With nothing but a hoe and a shovel. There didn’t seem to be any way I could do it in time.

But then I thought of something. Earlier this year I cleared a curved, side path through the brush and the trees with a hoe, a shovel, and a saw. Clearing it in my spare time, it took me months to do. It had no practical purpose whatsoever (other than giving me exercise). The straight path went to the same place. The side path was technically redundant, useless. But the brush and trees had grown so thick after that record rain of a few years ago, I had no place to go where I could feel like I was in the woods without seeing a building. So I made the curved, impractical path–that was slightly lower than the surrounding area.

So for an hour and a half in the rain, I used a hoe and shovel. It was enough. Now, if the back tank does overflow, the water will flow over the bank of the tank, start down the straight path, then detour down the lower curved side path and harmlessly into the woods.

That path may have saved my home.

So remember that the next time you think something is “useless.”

An opinion of an individual members of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the entire family.

The photo is by Walter Siegmund and is not by Alden’s home. It is under a GNU 1.2 or later license.

Boston Bombing or Texas Heroism: Choose One

Most people choose a terrorist bombing over people facing death to save others.  As least that’s the conclusion of Margaret Rose Dominado writing for  She said she found a billion hits on Google for the bombing in Boston compared to a little over a hundred thousand for the explosion in West, Texas.

To be fair, we don’t know what search terms she used.  It’s highly unlikely she checked to see if every one of those links was actually related to the April 18th fertilizer plant explosion or to the April 15th explosions at the Boston Marathon.  And certainly Boston is much better known nationally than the small town of West.

But reports do say 15 people died in Texas, five of them firefighters, while 3 people were killed in Boston.  The number of injured was about the same.  But the West explosion and fire damaged or destroyed about 150 buildings including a school, a nursing home, and a 50-unit apartment complex.  Buildings as far as seven miles away had their windows blown out.  From over 20 miles away, Alden Loveshade heard a metal barn rattle.

Something they don’t have in common is that the cause of the fire that led to the West explosion is not yet known.  It’s also not know if Texnas’ Governor Perry-proclaimed low regulations are partially to blame for the explosion as referenced in a highly controversial Sacramento Bee cartoon by John Ohman.

Another critical thing they don’t have in common is that several of the people killed in West were first responders.  They came to put out a fire in a facility known to house highly explosive chemicals.  They risked their lives to save others.  Shouldn’t that be the bigger story?

Read Dominado’s opinion at

See the cartoon and Ohman’s response to criticism at

Thanks to Herr Bookmonger for bringing Dominado’s story to our attention.