MANVEL, N.D. - Five horses grazed the lawn of Matthew and Sara Duprees' home a few miles southwest of Manvel on Monday, July 6.
The Turtle River is flooding the horses' 20-acre pasture, and water is flowing over the roads leading to the farmstead, so the grass in the Duprees' front and side yards are providing some roughage for the animals until their owners can get hay.
“This really wasn’t what I was picturing, but they have to have something to eat,” Sara Dupree said.
There are unofficial reports that as much as 10 inches of rain have fallen in and near Manvel during the past week, causing the Turtle River to flood its banks and ditches to overflow.
Nearly 5 inches of rain fell on Saturday, July 4, alone, flooding yards and basements in Manvel. The rains also caused water to flow over roads, including Grand Forks County Highway 33 that runs west from Manvel. That’s the road that the Duprees typically would take to Gilby, N.D., where they have a trailer with 20 bales of hay on it waiting for them.
The Duprees bought the hay from a farmer near Inkster, N.D., late last week when the Turtle River flooded their pasture. However, the farmer couldn’t deliver the hay to their farm because roads leading it to are closed. He left the hay in Gilby in hopes that the Duprees eventually could get there.
That hadn’t happened as of noon, Monday, July 6. Instead, Sara and Matthew Dupree were keeping a watchful eye on their horses as they ambled around their lawns, grabbing mouthfuls of grass.
The plan when the Duprees bought the farmstead in October was that they would pasture the horses during the spring, summer and fall, Sara Dupree said.
The flood thwarted that plan.
“This is going to be it for the pasture,” Sara Dupree said.
The pasture is under as much as 4 feet of water, which is not likely to recede anytime soon. Meanwhile, by the time the pasture does dry, the grass will be ruined.
“For it to dry out enough for new grass to grow enough so it could feed horses, I think the chance of that happening is pretty slim," Dupree said.
That means the Duprees will have to buy hay for their horses for three months longer than they had planned. They initially had intended on buying hay only during a few months in the winter.
“It’s going to be more expensive to feed these guys,” she said.
Besides choosing the farmstead because it had pasture to feed, and barns to house, their horses, the Duprees liked its scenic location across from the river near the Manvel Golf Course.
Now the river no longer meanders by the couple's backyard, it's in their back yard.
The previous owners, who had lived on the farm for 10 years, told them that the only flooding they ever experienced was water flowing over the driveway for, at the most, five days in the spring, Sara Dupree said.
“We’ve had three floods since we’ve moved here,” she said.
That was in October 2019.
“We were here for about a week, and it started raining,” Dupree said.
But the couple haven’t given up on the farmstead.
“Despite this, we love this place, and we want to stay here and make it work,” Dupree said. “It’s just ending up being a lot more complicated than we thought.”
The complications include keeping their equine lawn mowers on task.
“No, no, don’t eat the flowers," Dupree admonished one of her horses as it dove its head into a planter.