The Slow Descent of an Ozark Mountain Landslide

I’ve been observing and recording our slowly descending Ozark landslide. Leaning trees and driveway encroachment, photographed day by day.

Since the flood last Monday I haven’t done a whole lot of cleanup. The main reason for that is the landslide.

It’s blocking my path from the house to the camper and to the gate.

Landslide at Wild Ozark
6-20-15 The slide begins at the junction of the path going up and the driveway to the left.

 

So I have to go around the long way.

This landslide isn’t what you might imagine a landslide to be. It didn’t come down in one crashing announcement.

It’s tiptoeing in, sliding across the driveway one foot at a time. This creeping encroachment is how the other Ozark landslides I’ve seen looked like they happened, too.

Slow Landslide at Wild Ozark
Two days later on 6-22-15 You can see how the trees on the right are leaning and moving into the driveway.

Trees are moving too.

Today I would ordinarily be at the market selling my plants and books. Actually, it’s impossible to bring my things to market right now anyway (even if I had anything left to bring), so it’s just as well. Having to go all the way around by 4-Wheeler just to check the mail is keeping me at the house more than usual. And I’m getting a lot of work done on my book because of that. So I really don’t have any complaints.

The landslide started becoming very noticeable on the 20th, but it started long ago. This is how the landscape of the Ozarks came into being. This is why there are all those gorgeous rock bluffs and promontories. The earth simply slips away from the rock, and this hillside on our mountain is a late-comer to the process. Our hillside started it several years ago when we got about 11″ of heavy rainfall over a period of about three days. On Monday night last week we got 7″ in a period of about 7 hours,  and now this slide will hopefully close to finishing the job. I want it finished so I don’t have to worry about this particular Ozark challenge again.

This morning I actually saw a fieldstone fall from the side when I drove up to it to take this morning’s pictures. It moved less last night I think than the previous nights. We haven’t had any rain for a day or so, so that has probably helped stabilize it some.

However, the leaning tree is leaning a little more and the second leaning tree is now over and under the lines. A limb is sticking between, too. I don’t know how it hasn’t already shorted out the electricity, but I still have power at the house so I’m going to use it until it’s gone.

leaning tree 6-23-15
6-23-15 It’s leaning more today and you can see the driveway is just a bit more encroached. You can’t see that tree in the previous picture, but yesterday it wasn’t into the lines yet. Today it is over, under and between. Amazingly, we still have power!

I called the power company yesterday and they’re supposed to send someone out but they’re also supposed to call first and so far no calls. I want to meet them out there to make sure they understand the slide starts far higher than right there at the driveway so no one gets hurt because they didn’t know the scope of the problem. I also want to hear their opinions on what can be done.

Yesterday I trimmed all the branches from the 4-wheeler path to the other side so now I can ride through without feeling like I’m getting covered in ticks. That gave the spiders a nice area to stretch webs across. Ick! I hate running through spider webs.  I also moved some rocks to make my passage through the creeks easier. That helped a lot and will last at least until it rains again. LOL, then I’ll have to do that part again. Clipping the branches will have to be done again, I’m sure, too. This place is looking like a jungle.

My car won’t start and it sounds like it has water in it. The weedeater starts but has no power and won’t run enough to do any weedeating. So I’m down to swing blading my trails to the horses and chickens and right around the house. I’ll sharpen my scythe to do more later. I’ll bring the weedeater out with me when I go to my dentist appointment on Thursday and drop it off to be serviced at Cleavers. By the time I get it back the weeds will be so hardy I probably won’t be able to use it. The wheeled trimmer might work, I just haven’t tried it yet but will try it later today if the power company ever calls.

Tomorrow  after the power company comes (they called before i finished this post), I might use the tractor to (attempt to) fix the area right in front of the gate. If I do that, at least so I can bring the truck to park it by the connex. But then if the dead sycamore falls I won’t be able to get past it, so maybe it’s better to leave it out by the picnic table for now anyway.

Here’s my other leaning tree study. I watch the tip of it and the distance away from the tree next to it to gauge how far it moves overnight.

My daily leaning tree study.
My other daily leaning tree study.

 

Update 6-25-15

Here’s the leaning tree study with this morning’s pic added.

Leaning tree study
Leaning tree study

The power company came and cut all the trees that were in the lines. Now the junction looks like this.

Trees on the driveway
Trees on the driveway

And underneath all those trees, the driveway looks like this.

One of the cracks. Can't see the bottom of it.
One of the cracks. Can’t see the bottom of it.
Got this pic before they started cutting the trees.
Got this pic before they started cutting the trees.

This morning I went down to the tractor, determined to learn how to use it so I feel a little bit more able to do some things for myself here. OMG that was fun! Now I know why men don’t complain when they have to go do dirtwork. I dug some dirt with the backhoe, then scooped it with the front-end loader, and dumped it into one of the holes and smoothed it out with the bucket. Tomorrow I’ll do some more during the cooler hours.

woman working the backhoe
My view from the seat – don’t look at my hairy legs! Been too busy to shave, lol.

Turbo keeping an eye on things and making sure the 4-wheeler “stays”. I told him to “stay” but he seems to think that meant he was in charge of something.

Turbo making sure the 4wheeler stays.
Turbo making sure the 4wheeler stays.

Update 6-26-15

The leaning tree has pretty much left the picture and the driveway is following suit. It’s crumbling more and if it rains today and tonight, maybe the whole landslide will finish. Then we can figure out what to do about it.

6-26-15 leaning tree update
6-26-15 leaning tree update
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About the voice behind this blog, Madison Woods

I'm a creative old soul living way off the beaten path with my husband in the wild Ozark Mountains. Besides homesteading, growing plants & making crafty things and newsletters, I write books and stories. My rural fantasy fiction, written under the pen name, Ima Erthwitch, usually takes place in a much altered Ozarks.


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