Sandbags, Zen and Hesco

Somehow, in a vague way, they remind me of the porta-potties from 2009. My wife says that I should be nice and refer to them as twin utility sinks. Irrespective of which description is more apt, they definitely make it easier to fill a sandbag. Using the ‘porta-sinks’ eliminates the risk of finger injury to the bag holder and removes about five arm gyrations for the shovel operator. You will understand what I am talking about once you get up to sandbag central. Even though Hesco Fences are going up all over town we still haven’t reached our goal of 150,000 sandbags in Valley City. Go on up and give the student volunteers a break, we will need their strong backs for the sandbag lines later this week.

Friday night is date night at the Collins house. I am a cheapskate date so last Friday night I took my wife out for a free sandwich and all the gummy bears she could eat. We went to sandbag central. I recommend you try the strawberry gummies, they are the best ever, it must be all that red dye that gives kids ADHD.

I was trying to find a Zen like oneness with the job of filling sandbags; scoop, twist, dump and ruminate but my back wouldn’t cooperate. In fact several people wondered why I was there at all and advised me to take it easy, let the kids do the work. So far the VCSU and VCHS students have carried the load for the rest of us. I stubbornly didn’t heed their advice. My wife reminded me of that stubbornness later that night while she placed a checkerboard of pain patches on my back. She reminded me again the next morning when I couldn’t lift my coffee cup.

While I was leaving sandbag central and limping toward the car my wife suddenly made an inspired, Dennis Walaker like flood prognostication. She said the flood waters in Valley City will peak at 17’. She has no more scientific basis for making this prediction than Dennis but her hope was contagious. I want to believe the crest will be no higher than 17’ but I am not willing to bet on it. If I can lift more than my camera this week, I will be back at sandbag central, seeking Zen and fighting the pain while trying to fill more bags with sand.

In the mean time I will amuse myself by watching the inflow/outflow of water at Baldhill Dam and the Ashtabula reservoir elevation. You can do the same at this website:

The current stage of the Sheyenne river elevation in Valley City can be found here:

About Steven A. Collins

The cornerstone of our Republic is an enlightened populous and the keystone of that enlightenment is a free press. The free press will only survive if the general public contributes. These blogs are one method of supporting our free press. I was once a soldier, serving to defend the Constitution of the United States. Photography and writing are now two of the ways I use to support our freedom of speech and defend the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. I am a happily married man and currently a resident of Valley City, ND. Here is a random collection of my photos:
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One Response to Sandbags, Zen and Hesco

  1. Dave says:

    I am glad to see Valley City using Hescos and trying to save everyone’s backs. I think the river will crest around 18 feet, maybe 18.2. Of course, mother nature can always make things interesting.