Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Spring flooding in my home county of Redwood April 30, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:57 AM
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Entering my home county of Redwood along Minnesota State Highway 68 southeast of Morgan.


SEVERAL DAYS AGO, traveling back to my hometown of Vesta, I noted snow sculpted in some road ditches. This late in April, the scene was unexpected. But then a blizzard raged across southern Minnesota only weeks earlier. And that road ditch snow, hard-packed by prairie winds, had yet to melt in the then 60-degree temps.


Nearing Vesta (left in photo) along Minnesota State Highway 19, I saw more and more flooding of farm fields.


A view of the flooding from Highway 19 just northwest of Vesta.


And just across the highway, more flooding.


Beyond the snow, though, I noticed water setting in farm fields. The late significant snowfalls and plugged culverts and tiles likely contributed to the collection of snow melt water in many low-lying areas. It would be awhile, I surmised, before farmers would be working this land.



The deep blue of those temporary ponds appeals to the poet in me. I see lines of poetry in splashes of blue across an otherwise drab landscape stubbled by remnants of last year’s harvest.


The Redwood River, flooded over its banks, along Redwood County Road 10 heading south out of Vesta. That’s my home farm in the distance. There have been times when the river flooded across the roadway.


A temporary lake of floodwaters borders my hometown of Vesta.


Flooded farmland along the Redwood River on the edge of Vesta.


On the south edge of Vesta, within view of the Redwood River, a lake formed as the river overflowed its banks and flooded surrounding farm land. The town itself was in no danger with a hill—rare as they are on the prairie—bordering that end of town.


Water spreads easily across the almost tabletop flat landscape, here just north of Vesta.


There’s something about floodwaters that draws my appreciation, causes me to stand and just look at the river and recognize its power.


These grain bins sit a gravel road and short stretch of land away from the floodwaters of the Redwood River in Vesta.


I realize that soon (maybe even as I write) this flooding will be another memory as farmers ready for planting and, in several months, the harvest.


© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


14 Responses to “Spring flooding in my home county of Redwood”

  1. Wyonne Long Says:

    Audrey! You are a part of my life here in Norway. I so much enjoy “living” in rural Minnesota with you!

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    The thing I love most about church is meeting outside on the lawn after services. We gather in flocks of family and friends and hash health issues, a friend of the family is over in Rochester getting chemo, and we talk about the goings on about town (the international press about a local woman was a big deal, everyone asked me what I knew about it but I haven’t worked for the state police in four years) and then there is the weather. My brother-in-law said he hit frost while tiling and suddenly this murder business was no big deal….frost was a bigger deal. My farming relatives do not like field ponds but I love the refection of the sky on the earth….. Half of Steele County used to be swampland, now it is corn and beans…..

    I do ramble on… but while I walked Scooter this afternoon, in the big wind, I mourned the passing of those ponds and yes, the swans I saw swimming in them…

    But there I go rambling again. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    People around here say I do that a lot. 🙂

    • I, for one, appreciate your rambling. You have a writer’s soul. You notice the details, like that reflection of the sky. I understand from whence you speak/write.

      Like you, I mourn the loss of sloughs. And I understand how talk of hitting frost can suddenly diminish murder investigation discussion.

      Yes, I understand you and your observations. We are writers.

  3. Littlesundog Says:

    That’s a lot of snow melt! We are so dry here we’d give just about anything to see standing water like that!

  4. Jackie Says:

    Wow, now that’s a lot of excess water, hopefully it’ll absorb into the dry ground soon the farmers can get to their business in the fields. 🙂

  5. I appreciate how you see beauty … even in the left over snow!
    And I love your replies to your readers. Such caring, kindness, and time you take w/ details….as if you know everybody personally.
    Also, the comment from “Almost Iowa!”
    These posts make me feel all warm inside…Like “Home.”

    xx from Duluth.

  6. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Wow, that is a lot of flooding and standing water. What a mess the farmers have this year

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