Last Summer, This Snohomish Farmer Wished For Rain
Farmer Micha Ide had to canoe off her property for this interview – that’s how bad the flooding was.
Ide was at her neighbor’s house when she spoke with KUOW’s Bill Radke. Her goats and sheep were there too, and would be until waters from the Snohomish River recede.
“I’m sitting on their porch looking down at our farm,” Ide said. “It’s a giant lake. It’s really beautiful in a way. It’s eerie.”
Yet again, her farm, Bright Ide Acres, had been engulfed. Micha and her husband Andrew Ide raise animals on the floodplain here, about 40 miles northeast of Seattle.
The Ides raise goats, sheep, laying hens, broiler chickens, pigs, Thanksgiving turkeys and cows. They moved here from San Diego, where they worked corporate jobs. They fell in love with the Northwest and the idea of ethical farming and decided to make a go of it.
This is their third year, and it has also been their most trying. Last summer they were plagued with drought, and their pigs overheated. So they wished for rain.
Their wishes came true.
“The last flood we had a few weeks ago was the worst we’d seen,” Ide said. “We moved all our animals up onto a manmade hill, into a hay barn. But the water got really close. So this time around, we decided we weren’t going to risk it.”
With more flooding predicted, they moved their animals to higher ground on nearby properties.
“We have about 100 laying hens, and at night they go into a trailer,” Ide said. “We shut the door so they couldn’t come out and hauled the trailer out at about 4 p.m. before the flood.”
The goats and sheep fit into a stock trailer. “It was pretty crammed, but we just went across the street,” she said.
The two sows – female pigs used for breeding – were also hauled out. The cows stayed put.
“They have a big pile that they were herded onto, so they’re still high and dry,” she said.
Kind neighbors have made life easier, she said. Bob’s Corn, Maze and Pumpkin Farm across the way has offered coffee and use of their barn.
This is the time of year that farmers plan for their next season. But the Ides have been scrambling.
State climatologist Nick Bond told Bill Radke that climate change wasn’t to blame for the heavy rains this month.
“It’s just one of those things – natural variability in the weather,” Bond said. “This here is a cruel joke by Mother Nature.”